William John Jr. & Voodoo Youth, By Ryan Williams / by Ryan Williams

William John and Hunter Powell have both been on Mirage's radar for a long time. It was hard for a stage there to go out anywhere in Newcastle and not see either one of them playing somewhere. Mirage has held off doing an interview with either of them until they decided get off both their asses to put out some new music. William John sent me a text last week to say he's doing it – a split with Voodoo Youth.  

I met up with Hunter, Will and bass legend Luke Hay at Lowlands for a burger and chill. Laura Bonzo was also there, but she didn't say much. She was working on a merch design for James Thompson.

When does the EP come out? 
Hunter: Mid-March. 
William John: Yeah.
H: Yes [laughs].

Is there a date? 
We could make one. We'll do that this week.

Yeah, that would be good to know. You've been recording everything together?
H: All at Will's house, yeah. We've just been camped out there for the last month or two.
Luke: Nearly done now. 

How many songs each?
Two songs each.

Same band on everything?
I'm playing on the Voodoo stuff. Will has been going ham on his songs himself.
H: Will has this whole setup.
L: Nate and Campbell have been helping us out too. 



Campbell is pretty handy with that stuff hey?
Very handy. 

Is he mixing everything for you?
I'm using Shaun Cook from Mexico.

[Laughs] He's the drummer from Maids. He moved to Colombia but now he lives in Mexico.

Is that what happened to Maids? 

God damn. So he'll mix everything there and just send it over?

Image: Matt Waddingham

Image: Matt Waddingham

Nice. It's been a really long time between releases for both of you, right? Two years since the last EPs came out?
I remember it was the 22nd of February, 2015. I've been long overdue.

 Is it different stuff, do you think? You both have played so much between then and now.
We both play the most and record the least [laughs].
W: It's hard to record and play that much. We were doing two or three shows a week at one stage there. [Fit] that around work and you have no time for anything.
H: I've been trying. 
W: It always falls through. You write a few tracks, it gets into the cloud and it's gone.
H: When you play everything off Facebook Messenger from links people have showed you. I always get ‘This link cannot be found’. 
H: I've been playing new songs live for ages. 
W: Hunter probably writes the most songs out of anyone. Always pumps them out.

I feel like you get this momentum going when you're writing. Once you stop and try to record the stuff you have, it really stops that process.
That's right.
L: I've noticed... Recording really kills your fucking soul. Literally the same thing over and over and over. I've been avoiding it for as long as I can.

If you don't get it in the first or second take, it's over.
Click tracks are the worst.
L: By the time it comes out you don't want to know about it.

So painful. Is there stuff in the pipeline after this EP?
I feel like right now I've got enough material for this split [and to] finish up my album, and then I've got stuff for the next album. Last year was about playing as much as possible, building a reputation. I don't think there's much point in releasing something before you've done all that. Now, onwards, I want to work really hard in the studio and get exactly what I want. 



You've got the DIY studio at your house?
W: It's more of a creative hub than a house.
H: Gear everywhere at that joint.
W: People are doing a whole lot of creative stuff there – drawing, painting, graphics, all that kind of thing.

Is it similar music to what you've released in the past?
H: It is different. I think my stuff, at least, is a bit more mature. 
W: Mine is heavier. On my first EP I used midi drums – now it's all real. I've got a lot more fuzz, harmonies. It's good.

Do both bands have one main writer, or is it a collaboration with your bands?
I've been trying to get Luke to give me some shit for ages. He doesn't want to share though.
W: Luke's got his own project – Red Rocket.

Strawberry Jam?
Yeah... I'm happy with everything. 
H: Voodoo has been an unintentional solo project. 

 I think every time I've seen you play it's been with a different backing band. 
The members are always changing, apart from Luke. I think people get the vibe it's that way. I've had like 12 drummers.

There aren't that many around. 
H: I find them [laughs]. I've had drummers that have never played on stage before.

It's all coming out in March – definitely?
W: Yeah.
H: We'll set a deadline.

Stay tuned to the internet to find out what date they set.