Waif Premiere: Music Video
Waif Magazine recently sat down with Brooklyn-based pop-punk band QWAM to discuss, “Mall,” the lead single off their forthcoming full-length debut.
Waif Magazine: Thank you for meeting with me, Happy New Year, how were your holidays?
Felicia Lobo (Vocals): Fine
Rachel Zisette (Drums): They feel far away now
FL: Yeah it does feel very far away
WM: A month ago
Eddie Kuspiel (Bass): Three weeks
FL: But overall good, it’s been a good new year I think
WM: Feeling good about 2019?
RZ: I think so yeah
FL: We had the first practice back, and it was sort of like oh these are all my friends and we’re doing stuff, cause we haven’t played a show in a long time, we haven’t done anything in a long time
WM: What was the last thing you did?
FL: We did a weekend tour at the beginning of December, but we haven’t played in Brooklyn in literal months
WM: I haven’t seen you guys play in 6-8 months
FL: That’s wild, but yeah now we’re doing it on Tuesday
WM: So there are two sort of realities about this interview. One is which I think I’m gonna do like a shortened interview to release with the music video
EK: The music video is coming out tomorrow?
WM: And then the magazine comes out on Wednesday, so I’m gonna put the full interview in that, but for the Wednesday version, at that point your show [at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Tuesday, January 22nd] will have happened. I wanna know: how did it go? Who was there? What makes the show legendary or big - looking into the future, talking about it in the past.
FL: It was so sick
EK: It was sold out, we sold all the tickets
FL: The audience was so crazy
EK: Felicia crowdsurfed
FL: I did
Matt Keim (Guitar): A guy came up to me afterwards and told me that he cried cause he was so excited
FL: And he was naked, that was the weird part, that’s why it got so weird
MK: Oh wow I don’t remember the nakedness, maybe I just don’t remember that moment, I feel like I should remember something like that
FL: Retail and Nice Knife [the supporting acts] were both awesome, we haven’t got to play with Nice Knife ever before, and with Retail it’s probably been over a year, so that was awesome.
WM: I heard there were some big celebs there
FL: Yeah, absolutely
WM: Can you name three off the top of your head?
RZ: Ariana Grande was there
MK: Dwayne The Rock Johnson
EK: Ed Norton
FL: And she had this weird thing because she didn’t have her ponytail on because it was actually a clip-in, so she had a bob
MK: And she was riding around on The Rock’s shoulders all night
WM: That’s a good pair
MK: I think that’s the next blockbuster movie
RZ: Has she been in - she doesn’t do any acting right?
FL: No yeah that’s how she started, she was on…
FL: She was, in 13!
WM: She was on Nickelodeon
RZ: I don’t know anything of hers
FL: She was on Nickelodeon in Victorious?
RZ: So like as a kid right?
FL: As a kid
RZ: But she hasn’t done like any adult TV, drama
WM: She is not in any adult films
RZ: No Adult films? Dammit. I was trying to Google search that film
WM: So we’re back, we’re here, in Brooklyn, you guys haven’t done a show in Brooklyn in a few months, we’ve just come back from a holiday break - other than going on a weekend tour, what have you guys been up to? What’s going on?
EK: So much.
FL: We have this album that’s gonna go out into the world
MK: We took a bunch of pictures, I spent two days spray painting a TV
FL: We had to buy extra spray paint, and then after he spray painted it, he realized the TV turned on, which was shocking, because we didn’t think it worked at all.
MK: What else? We’re planning a tour. There’s not much going on in Arkansas
RZ: There’s gotta be
FL: There’s gotta be someone somewhere
RZ: Well we set ourselves up pretty cool because we got all the music for this thing done in September and October so then it was like, what else goes into this album? And then we realized that it was a lot of things. But this group is really good about…
RZ: Foresight. So, I’m on board.
FL: But it was a shocking moment when we realized that we had taken the pictures just being like ok this thing comes out in April, and then Matt on his way home
MK: On Monday
FL: On Monday had a panic attack because he was like the single’s coming out in a week which means we’re supposed to have the pictures edited and on the Facebook and the Bandcamp and the video and all this stuff, so that wasn’t as planned as we like to be but now I think we’re prepared
RZ: Right, we stay prepared so we don’t have to get ready for anything
FL: That’s right
RZ: Ample resources. We just have to - when I say that, I just mean see what Matt’s up to
FL: Is there tea in a hot toddy?
RZ: Tea? There’s tea in it?
MK: Not always
WM: I think so
RZ: I thought it was just water lemon honey
FL: I guess I’ve had it with tea before, somebody made it for me with tea, but this is like just alcohol
EK: I think this is delicious
FL: No it’s good, but it doesn’t have the tea flavor I thought it would
WM: So sort of switching gears: can you tell me a little bit about your new single, “Mall”? Where did it come from? How does this single contextualize the rest of your forthcoming album?
MK: I wanted to write some words that were kinda fun to say and then - this sounds so dumb - and they were kinda snarky, I was inspired by that Lizzo “Phone” song, and then we started singing it as a group, and it turned into the thing it became about going to the mall
EK: We wanted an excuse to go to Flushing and eat dumplings
FL: I personally love malls, I think they’re so fun, it’s like all these people in one building, fitting all of American culture into a small place so you can just walk around and look at everyone, and you can eat there.
WM: And then, especially after listening to the rest of the album - you guys start off with a song about how nobody actually wants to do anything, they just want to lay in their beds and watch other people do it - how do songs like “Mall” that are more about these fleeting activities fit into this larger vision that you guys have that’s a bit more philosophical, if you will?
MK: “Mall” is about remembering all the shit you used to do with your friends in the mall and how hilarious it is now, but it’s also kinda like “fuck it - let’s go to the mall” so it’s the going and having fun and being stupid after the I don’t wanna leave the house
FL: It’s also about the superficial things that we talk about in a lot of our songs, that sometimes it’s okay to indulge in those things. A lot of songs on this album are looking back on like - a favorite quote of myself is, “I’ve been mourning my youth since I was 19” which is really true of myself. I feel like the moment I turned 19, I started being really nostalgic about everything that happened before, and a lot of those things are TV shows and going to the mall and these things that are not very deep concepts, but are also what formed my existence. There’s something about these superficial things coming up and being loud about them.
MK: Fuck it I’m going home with my brand new shoes
FL: Yeah, I liked these shoes, so I bought them. Sorry.
WM: Can you talk more about how you yourselves toggle between this sort of youthful vibe of the band and also being a grown-up band that’s actually trying to make waves in an industry?
MK: Well you wanna project the idea of the first thing, but you can’t do that without doing all the stupid adult working stuff. It’s all about the fun and having a great time, but to get things done you need to do a lot of stupid emailing and work and stuff
FL: So you can get to more fun. You don’t get to go on tour unless you send a bunch of emails.
WM: What do we have to look forward to with this upcoming release and everything that comes along with that?
FL: Can’t wait to get back on tour. We have a really good time on tour together.
FL: We’re bougie as fuck.
MK: We hit up so many pho spots.
FL: We get the pho, we get the salad at the grocery store, we have a good time. It's also so different, like when I hear my boyfriend talk about his tour versus our tour, they’re such polar opposites just because our bands’ personalities are super different, but I can't wait to do that again. Whenever that is. April.
MK: On top of this music video, there’s gonna be some more
EK: Fame and fortune.
FL: Oh yeah, for sure.
WM: I just have a couple quick questions to wrap this up. What does Waif mean to you?
WM: I work for a magazine called Waif Magazine
EK: Right right
RZ: I’ve been trying to figure that out since I met you
WM: What does it mean to you?
RZ: I've been searching
FL: It’s doing something so hard that you're not doing it at all. That’s what I understand. But also I don’t know
MK: It's like a mixture of confidence and sarcasm and manipulating perceptions
RZ: To me it’s like you reflect on everything that’s going through the world and it goes through your perspective or your filter of your opinion, and then whatever comes out, there’s no wrong answer about what something is
WM: Do you guys think that you are Waif?
FL: Not really. I don’t know ! I think Rachel’s really Waif.
RZ: I think I am
FL: Rachel’s like super Waif
RZ: That’s why I’ve been trying to figure out what it is because I think I am this
FL: You are Waif
RZ: I can just feel it, you know
MK: I really want to be, but I don’t think I am
FL: That’s okay
MK: But I really want it, but I can’t achieve it
FL: I don’t know, I don’t think I’m naturally Waif
EK: I think you guys have to tell me if I am or not. ⧫
The music video for QWAM’s latest single, “Mall,” premiered in Waif Magazine on January 21st ahead of their appearance at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY on January 22nd.