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Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour

Interview
& Photos

Rews

Date - 27/10/23
Venue - West End Centre
Town - Aldershot

Aldershot... Home of the British Army, though on Friday Evening it was home to three artists at the West End Centre. A venue that had not been on my radar for a long, long time but was the scene of some famous gigs during the nineties including The Happy Mondays, Suede, Blur and The Stone Roses only one of which I attended sadly but it shows the importance of this place in the history of many an up and coming band.

REWS  were the headline act with a new album Meridians only a couple of weeks on the shelves and making ground with fans as we speak. REWS are a vehicle for singer-songwriter Shauna Tohill with backing from a varying roster of band members.

Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour

Before the music started and the bands were grabbing time to eat I caught up with singer of REWS Shauna Tohill while there was relative quiet to speak......

ReturnToSound - The tour looks to be going well from your social media, do you feel as though your support is growing?

Shauna Tohill - It's hard to say. I think this is only the third date tonight, as far as the one thing that I am finding so far is that it's been really lovely to see people. They have showed up and you can see that they've been really delighted to be here with all the new songs.

RTS - Are they getting to grips with the new songs and singing along?

ST - They seem to know the songs pretty well. There are the people who've been supporting REWS for a long time and there have been, you know maybe about 10% new people, maybe 20% and it's actually really lovely to see these new people that are singing along with the new record. I only released it two weeks ago, so I'm pleased as some know the words better than I do.

RTS - How do you think that word is getting around, do you think do you think you're getting airplay more or it's a mixture of that and word of mouth?

ST - I would say a mixture with the Tour coming up and some airplay plus interviews but Social Media is King in some ways. You know, I have  just been trying to be a bit more savvy about how to do that because it's it's very difficult as you know as an Independent artist to try and manage all the plates that are going round. So yeah, it's been all of it though I feel like I have managed that better on this album. It's just trying to get that balance. 

RTS - Do you do a lot of that work yourself?. 

ST - Everything. 

RTS - Seriously? 

ST - Yeah, I do. 

RTS - Is this added stress on top to manage?

ST - It can be. I have better time management, for a long time I used to think I had to just do it every day on the day. But now, I'm a bit more planned. So I'll come up with an idea of what I'm gonna do for the next month, for example, and I put the schedule together and then I try and put aside the time to actually create the stuff and then schedule it a lot. It also means that there's always going to be good content that's been better thought out and produced to a better standard in some respects. I can also have the off the cuff days where for example I go on tour and make reels each day. I'm making little ratings to say how the days been going because it's fresh and new and has to be done on that day.

RTS - Yes that’s right, the difference between Now and the past is a very short time in the social media world.

Rews  on Tour
Rews  on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour

RTS - Taking in all the time that you spend on the day to day running of socials do you think that it impinges onto your music and creative times? Songwriting?

ST - Yes it definitely does and can have an impact. But I think it's just trying to be that bit more organised than you would have  in years gone by in some ways, because you just have to think about, right, OK, this is when I’m going to do rehearsals and writing so things don’t overlap and also I don't really want to live my life on the Phone either. So I really value my time with my friends and family and my other half etc.

RTS - With out doing the “normal life things” where would your songs come from?

ST - Exactly.......

RTS - Do you feel your songs have adapted over time now after 6 years or so?

ST - Yes 6 years that Rews has been going now.. gosh.

My songwriting is still in the same vein, in the sense that the reason I do music will always be the same kind of reason so the inspirations and the kind of lyrical content will kind of speak to the soul. So I think that's going to be consistent and I think there's definitely a “Rews” kind of sound in a way. But I feel like this new album is maybe a bit more mature lyrically, yeah. Song writing wise, I think there's a bit more diversity, there's a really, really pop song like “Psycho, Maniac, Killer” and then we get a really, really heavy track called “On My Back” and it's got, you know, proper death metal screaming. Yeah. So there's been more of a dynamic diversity within genres. 

RTS -  Are you trying,to go down those roads a bit more.?

ST - Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm just kind of a bit more like, OK, I have found my final voice and you know, you are always finding yourself as you grow up anyway.

RTS -  On the songwriting front do you tend to do the songs on your own and demo them up, how do you sort of start and progress:

 ST - It really depends on the song  but generally speaking I will sit with Logic and I will programme, pretty much. I'll come up with some ideas. Sometimes a song will come to me and then I've got the whole arrangement at play in my head so I can hear everything.  The drums and everything else, Yeah, if it does, it just strikes that I have to just get it down. So maybe just singing voice a note into myself into my phone,  Then once I have the inspiration I'll go home and sit with logic programming for the drums.  I'll play the bass I’ll play guitar all of it,  the lyrics come a bit later. So generally starts with a melody idea and usually guitar but sometimes I get a lot of piano based ideas as well actually. I think it's more guitar for REWS at the moment 

RTS - You have the new album out, how is that being received?

ST - I am  delighted to see that people are responding to it. Yeah, seeing video and social media coverage really helps, so that's good. 

RTS - Have you got any parts of the country where you think your sound is hitting home better than in others? I am guessing Ireland must be a home win?

ST - Yeah it's really hard to know but definitely there are those supporting at home. It sort of changes, so on social media you can kind of see where people are listening to you and on Spotify for example. So there's people who listen in the United States and UK and also from Australia too, obviously REWS has never played there though once I played in the States maybe just pre-pandemic so I haven't been back over. With the dip since the pandemic I can only really see people face to face at the gigs in the UK, but it still has been received well.

RTS -  What are you hoping to do next year? Maybe hit the continent for some shows?

 ST - We will see….

 Because nothings planned yet, so we’ll see, maybe Australia next. 

RTS -  Really?  it sounds like you have set your heart on Australia, I hope that comes off....

 ST - Yes, that is my goal for 2024 so let’s see

RTS - Not a bad goal at all, many thanks for your time and enjoy your show tonight.

Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour

The gig itself was well attended, REWS played a very tight set, their sound had some volume but in a controlled way that you could hear the songs, helped by the competence of the musicians. A really enjoyable show, the hour they were on wizzed by, I hope that I catch up with Shauna in the future as with many before who have played here they are further up the stairway to "making it big".

Rews Shauna Tohill on Tour
Rews on Tour

 The West End Centre are putting on many more artists such as REWS over the next year mostly promoted by Jasta 11 live music promoters so if the feeling for some Live Music grips you then take a look at what is on offer.

Photography - Dan Reddick

Interview and Review - Dan Reddick

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