Our writer Christie Ots sat down with Vikki Thorn from The Waifs to discuss music, friends and just what she thought the first time she saw Missy Higgins.
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For the second time this year The Waifs are travelling the country showcasing their special blend of folksy melody and honest song lyrics to rousing crowds. Back by popular demand from fans that have, as Thorn put it, loved the band for fifteen years and never seen them. For the first time since 2011 the full band is back together on tour, with Vikki Thorn, her sister Donna Simpson and Josh Cunningham joined by Ben Franz and Dave MacDonald; a recipe for success.
The band is just about to head south for a song writing retreat. Vikki says they’ve never done this before – all gone and written in one place together.
“We usually write separately, but I’m excited to go and write some Waifs songs and see if you can hear the collaboration,” she said.
With life pulling band in different directions – Thorn herself lives in Utah in America – a lot of things have changed over the years since the band first formed in 1992.
“I used to think that music had to be written in a dark corner by yourself,” Thorn says as she laughs, “But I’ve been playing with friends and the music that comes out of that collaborative atmosphere is so different, so it will be interesting to see what comes of this.”
One thing we might not be hearing is more travel songs, such as How Many Miles, Highway One and the still in demand London Still. “I might just put a ban on any songs about being on the road or travelling,” Thorn laughs, “I feel like maybe we’ve written about that a lot! Who knows though, we’ll see where it leads.”
The band is touring more regional locations this time around, like Alice Springs, Thirroul and of course Miami Marketta on the Gold Coast come 7 December, something that has been inspired by the overwhelming amount of social media the band received pleading with them to tour again.
“We are so grateful for our fans’ support, they are the reason we are still able to do what we love,” says Thorn, “Our passion for music has only gotten stronger over the years and our fans are always so raucous and fun to play to.” As for touring itself, she says it has gotten a lot healthier over the years, “It has become something that we want to do, instead of something you had to do.”
In the 22 years since the band has formed they have played with, and toured with some amazing artists. In 2002 and 2003 the band was lucky enough to tour with Bob Dylan, first around Australia and then throughout the USA and Europe. “It was surreal,” Thorn says, “He is one of those artists you grow up thinking the world of, and to open for him, it was like a dream.” The Waifs’ career has been full of those sort of pinnacle moments. Speaking of when she first heard Missy Higgins Thorn says, “She opened for us in a little place in Melbourne when she was 16. I looked out and I saw this one girl and her piano and I thought she was going to get eaten alive! We have pretty energetic fans, but I looked out two songs in and you genuinely could have heard a pin drop. She had captivated the entire audience. That was the beginning of the phenomenon that is Missy Higgins.”
Having never played at any of the upcoming venues previously the band is excited to see new places and faces along the way. If you haven’t seen The Waifs before find a venue near you and hit the road!
“We’ve had feedback that we’re much better live,” Thorn laughs.
The Waifs hit Miami Marketta Sunday 7 December and second release tickets are now available.