After two decades, Wagons still pulse and stomp together as a joint force, with singer Henry Wagons at the helm. Henry's fierce intellect, once hurtling toward a career as a philosopher, was thankfully derailed by a record deal, a thirst for whiskey and an insatiable need to make noise. Wagons will be touring in September at iconic music venues around Australia. Wagons are also gearing up to release their new album "Songs From the Aftermath" on August 9th, followed by an Australian tour throughout September.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Henry Wagons: Wagons is a drunken seance summoning all your very favourite dead entertainers to roam the Earth again using a collection of new bodies that they are not quite used to.
Question: What inspired Wake Up?
Henry Wagons: Wake Up is about those weird and lonely moments when you wake up at night when everyone else is asleep and you have a cheeky little freak out, but can't tell anyone about it.
Question: Can you tell us about Songs From the Aftermath?
Henry Wagons: This album is, in many ways, the result of everyone in the band taking some time away to live life, to make more music and to breed. Many of the band have had kids since we last made an album! Though, I would like to say, this is by no means a 'dad rock' album. That said, there is nothing like having kids to dial up all the emotions in all of us. All of us have plenty of joy, pride, angst, frustration and elation to express upon our respective instruments... and I think that shows in the album. It's a passionate album we are all really proud of.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Henry Wagons: There is an older Wagons song called "The Gambler". I'm a big fan of melodrama and wildly moving limbs and that tune has a few different gears as well a bit of audience interaction. It's Chess the Musical in seven minutes. It's fun.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Henry Wagons: I absolutely froth over both. I get to express very different sides to my personality in each place... which I need to stay sane.
Question: What should we expect from your upcoming tour?
Henry Wagons: We are really intrigued and excited to play a few of the new tunes from Songs From the Aftermath. Not having fully road tested them live yet, we are looking forward to standing on the edge of the cliff and jumping into those ones. Last year we celebrated the band's 20th anniversary, so we are also in the mood to reminisce... so there will be some long strolls down memory lane too.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?
Henry Wagons: I'd love to see Emmylou Harris pop up side of stage. It'd be hard to resist trying to convince her to hop up for a duet too. Just a heads up, if that does happen, I WILL retire. That is a threat and a fact.
Question: What is the story behind the band name?
Henry Wagons: I made a little collection of country songs on a tape in my early 20s, I loved doing it. Problem was, while I was packing and gluing it all up to pass out to my mates, I needed the call it something! While immersed in the country song writing mode 'Wagons' popped into my mind. I saw the wheels, I saw the horses, and I saw the headless horsemen. The rest is history.
Question: How did the band come together?
Henry Wagons: I went to high school with most of Wagons. We have known each other so closely for so long I'm very surprised we still like each other!
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Henry Wagons: I have a radio show on Double J each Monday called the Tower of Song. I am submerged in so many songs every single day in getting that together each week. It exposes me so much new music to broaden my perspective. My faves from this year so far are probably records from Yola, Faye Webster and Bruce Springsteen.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Henry Wagons: It was probably watching Elvis flailing and kicking around on Mum's VHS as a kid.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Henry Wagons: I'm loving Dan Auerbach's production at the moment! He is channeling all of my favourite ghosts from the past, but forging a new and powerful beast.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Henry Wagons: I am lucky enough to do a bunch of stuff in an around music, so my days shift and change. I'm constantly in and out of my home studio in Carlton, Melbourne. I often duck down to my other larger studio space in Mt Martha, also sifting in an out of the ABC for radio and TV stuff over there. It's tough to pin me down for a coffee, but tell me when and where and I'll be there. I'm thirsty, and tired.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Henry Wagons: The attention? (laughs) Also, getting to have a raised platform to jump around on is a handy opportunity for release too.
Question: Can you share your socials?
Henry Wagons: I'm easy to find. @henrywagons everywhere.
Also @wagonsmusic for band stuff on Facebook.
There's www.wagonsmusic.com too.
Interview by Brooke Hunter