Consisting of Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams, REWS are a female alternative rock-pop duo from London/Belfast, creating high energy music with an exciting modern rock sound. After having great individual successes of their own, they came together and formed REWS in early 2015, and by the end of the year they had released their debut single, ‘Can You Feel It’.
A quick progression by any means, but one that was clearly well thought out and put together. We talk to the ladies about their successes individually, as a band, their latest single release, ‘Shake Shake’ (today’s GIGsoup Track of the Day), and their exciting year ahead.
How did you ladies meet and eventually put REWS together?
Shauna: We joke that it was on tinder! Haha!! REWS was a kind of idea that developed during a time I spent in an artist retreat. I was keen to move to London & eager to find another hardworking female musician to create & perform with. After looking for a number of months, I was pointed in Collettes direction via a mutual friend & hunted her down & sent a few messages online – she must of liked what she heard & agreed to meet up & jam – and we’ve been together ever since!!
Collette: Exactly that! I was in a few other bands at the time and doing some sessions as I’d just moved to London. Through the small world of music, Shauna met the sister of someone I went to Uni with and then sent me a message! We met up a few days after to have a jam and instantly clicked.
You’ve both made names for yourself in the music industry singing and playing alongside some fantastic artists separately. With Shauna touring as guest vocalist with Snow Patrol the past year or so, and Collette playing alongside the likes of Mark Richardson (Skunk Anansie) and Kojo Samuel (MD for Jessie J, Katy B, Plan B), you’ve come a long way already. How have these experiences helped you individually and as a band?
Shauna: I feel that every experience has been really beneficial in learning how the industry works & how bloody hard you need to work to make stuff happen. It’s helped me gain the ability to burn the candle at the both ends but also has allowed me to experience the rewards of the hard work when you begin to achieve what you aimed for & it’s worth every minute! I’m still learning every day! I think the most important thing I’ve realised is that good relationships & communication is vital with everyone you work with!! And it’s all about making friends!
Collette: I’ve learnt alot through my experiences to date in the industry. The main thing being; always be professional, no-one likes a Diva! I also try to always think of the fanbase and the people that support us in our journey and make sure we give them our time and attention, they’re the ones that make our job worthwhile!! The Industry has also taught me to be flexible, you never know where/when/how things will change and you have to be on the ball at all times!
What made you decide to bring out your songs in this 4-single series? How did you find the process of raising the money to make it happen through your pledge music campaign, putting it together, and making the videos?
Shauna: It was kinda an idea I had after several conversations with my music friends & thankfully Collette agreed. I was thinking that it would be more interesting to release 4 singles with videos rather than an EP right up front! The industry seems to be more about singles these days?
Pledge was such an interesting thing as it really highlighted the development of REWS from an idea to an actual female duo & it was amazing to see all the support rising throughout and it felt really empowering! There were moments of fear – like ‘will we meet the target’ but we exceeded it!!!! Really encouraging to know people are behind you. It was a lovely little journey from seed to sprout & we will continue to develop REWS into a massive sturdy tree!! It’s a journey & it’s exciting!
Making the videos was cool as it gave Collette & I the opportunity to show people our energy as a new duo & try out a few different ideas with different creatives & figure out how we work together too!
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‘Shake Shake’ is your third single from your 4-single series you’re bringing out this year. For such an upbeat song, it highlights the darker times in life that everyone goes through. Your two previous singles were ‘Death Yawn’ and ‘Can You Feel It?’. Is there a common theme that runs through the singles, that carries on through your 4th one too?
Most of the songs so far are inspired by experiences that I / we have went through. These four singles don’t really have a common theme except for the fact that they all are true experiences & feelings & written from a real honest place.
Can you feel it? Is about allowing yourself the grieve after loosing someone & learning to grieve & find yourself again.
Death yawn was an interesting take on how to defend ones self inspired by a fiction novel ‘into that forest’ by Louis Nowra whilst encountering a strange man in a hostel who followed me around.
Shake shake is about the boomerang effect following a relationship that some people slip into and how it can eat at your sense of self & confuse you.
Let it Roll is about a person who I felt was so absorbed in themselves that they fail to see that their is more to life than what they think is the truth.
You’ve got some great festivals lined up this year. What are you most looking forward to?
Shauna : I can’t wait for Kendall Calling & Glasto!
Collette: I’m really excited for Glasto and Beautiful days! It’s going to be great sharing the stages with some amazing bands and soaking up some sun on our travels!
What are your goals for the band for the rest of 2016 and 2017? Are you planning a full length album, or further tour news?
Our goals are to write more together, be creative, record our debut album, tour as much as we can, & inspire future generations (especially women!!) & people going through hard times!
This Track of the Day article was written by Alia Thomas, a GIGsoup contributor.