Hey guys – Super excited to be chatting with y’all!!
Nicholas Wiggins (NW): Thank You! – we appreciate you taking the time to chat with us about our art!
How did you guys become a band?
Austin Held (AH): After our previous projects disbanded in 2015, Nicholas and I decided to lock ourselves away in room with no windows and really set our focus on the art of songwriting. From there, Jake (Jones) called me up inquiring about a guitar playing position that we had open. We had toured with Jake before, so we knew he’d be a perfect fit. It was’t until a couple weeks before our first headline show under our former name (GOLDNWOLF) in 2017 that Damien (Ward) shot me an email asking if the position for drummer had been filled, which at the moment it wasn’t. We jammed for a couple weeks and he had his debut show with us at a sold out Columbia City Theater in Seattle.
How did you come up with the band name “Pretty Awkward” & what’s the meaning of the name?
(AH): We thought it would be really funny to go out on stage every night and say, “We’re PRETTY AWKWARD!”. The name represents us perfectly. It’s a bong-rip idea, but it does speak to how we view the human experience in this day and age. It’s pretty weird. Cars have only been around for a about 100 years; cell phones 40 years or so. Yet, these things have changed literally everything. It’s an interesting time to be alive. Human DNA has altered. You could say it’s a commentary on how everything has evolved.
Can you tell us a little something about each band member?
(NW) Of course! I’ll start with our awesome guitar player and friend Jake Jones. Jake spent his childhood growing up in East Detroit. As a teenager he moved to Southern California, then to Seattle to join with what would one day be Pretty Awkward. Guitar has always been his true love – he started playing at the age of 11 and never really put it down. His musical influences came from a wide range of Classic Rock to Hip-Hop to Pop, Blues, Funk… pretty much all of it. He has always looked up to players like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Angus Young, etc.
Outside of music, Jake has always been passionate about working with animals. It’s been his second love behind music. He has a dog named Jackson that is absolutely the dog version of himself through and through.
I’ll tell you a little about myself then hand it off to Austin. I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. My first encounters with music came at a very young age via the music my older sisters would listen to daily. Everything from Nirvana, Soundgarden, to The Notorious B.I.G. and Garbage. My songwriting style comes from that very blend of 90s Alternative and Hip Hop artists I grew up listening to. There’s also a dash of punk rock that comes from my years touring and performing all over the world with punk and rock bands. When I am not on tour you can find me hanging with my best friend – a Boston Terrier named Dexter. My hobbies include photography, videography, cooking, camping, reading, movies, traveling, and exploring the realms of deep meditation.
(AH): Our friend and amazing drummer Damien Ward grew up just outside of Seattle. He and his family spent a lot of time in the city going to music and art festivals. His brother was heavily into music and influenced him – he encouraged him to play drums, starting at age 7. As a kid he would put in his favorite CDs and play for hours to a wide range of music from Hip-Hop to Heavy Metal while also being inspired by old school Jazz and Blues drummers. Playing along to drummers like Travis Barker, Joey Jordison and Buddy Rich. He started his first band with some friends at the age of 13. When he is not playing or practicing he spends time with his family. He has a love for food and cooking as well. Damien is an extrovert, and he loves to be outside whether it’s hiking, at the beach or cruising the streets on his skate board.
I was also born and raised in Seattle, Washington not far from where Nicholas grew up. Through the influence of the friends in my neighborhood, I found an interest in music at a very young age. I grew up with a love for Hip-Hop and was influenced early on by artists like KRS1, The Living Legends, and Eminem – all while singing along to the ‘Millennium’ record from Back Street Boys! When I was 14 I began to take a serious interest in writing poetry and playing guitar. I learned the beauty of using song writing as an emotional outlet. In high school I became a fan Pop/Punk and Punk Rock. After high school, I formed the Alt-Rock band Girl on Fire – we released a few EPS toured internationally for a few years. I learned piano during that time, and it really helped me hone my craft as a song writer. When I’m not playing and recording music I enjoy cooking, photography, videography, biking, long boarding, camping, hiking and traveling.
What artists/bands are you most influenced by?
(AH): We really have a wide range of influence and appreciate so many different genres based on all our backgrounds. When we came together, we decided to not hold ourselves to any limitations and we just write whatever comes out. It’s helped us grow in our art immensely and opened the door to endless possibilities for our music.
You guys recently released your new single and Lyric video “Misfits”. How excited were you to get this song and the new video out into the world?
(NW): It feels so wonderful to have new music out in the world. We are for sure extremely excited and grateful to share our song “Misfits” and also the lyric video! It’s been a little over a year since our previous release so it was for sure time for new music. We’re looking forward to releasing even more songs soon.
Can you tell us how this song came about and the meaning of the song?
(AH): Nicholas came up with a pretty sweet beat and passed to me. When I first heard the track, I thought it was very nostalgic sounding and wanted to capture that vibe lyrically. One the first things that came to mind was the phrase “we are Misfits” and from there it was pretty easy to put together. The story evolved when we got into the studio with a pair of producers called, HEAVY in Los Angeles, CA. For us, it’s always an interesting and exciting experience to include another perspective in our process and really watch what a song can grow into. The song started out as a ballad, but became more of an anthem and really paints a fun and rebellious attitude as well. ‘Misfits’ to us feels very much like the middle of summer, riding bikes and hangin’ with friends. Especially during these times, being there for our friends and family couldn’t be more important. We love the imagery of that compassion and unity being conveyed in the song.
What’s the feeling you guys get when performing live in front of fans?
(NW): I know for me personally and I believe Austin would agree – being on stage preforming is where we feel most comfortable and at peace. It is a form of meditation and release playing with so much positive energy. Something truly special and magical happens when you are on stage and look out to a sea of people that are all on the same wave! It’s hard to put into words – it’s truly beautiful and I feel we live for it and that connection.
What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans?
(NW): We find Instagram and Twitter to be our favorites for interacting with our fans – those seem to be the most direct way! We also use our email list to stay in touch and provide info on shows, merch, etc. – http://prettyawkwardband.com/.
“Misfits’ is very Alt.Pop sounding. Are all your songs in the same vein, or do they vary stylistically? Will there be more new music and videos out later this year? Any details you can share?
(AH): We do our best to not repeat ourselves and constantly create something that’s new and exciting for us. Always keeping the door open for any new possibilities and happy accidents that we find along the way. It really helps us to find sounds that we’ve never thought of to use or even heard before. We do have plans on releasing another single in October and hopefully an EP in the early part of 2021. We couldn’t be more stoked!
Where do you guys hope the band is in 5 years?
(NW): All of us love writing songs and touring everywhere we can. So taking Pretty Awkward to every corner of the world with our message is something we will strive to make happen over the next 5 years. We would love to see this grow into something that is so much more than a band. We’d like to effect positive change in any way possible by spreading a message of self-awareness and unity. I love the idea of Pretty Awkward being involved with helping animals and humans in need. We are all on this earth together and the world needs more love, understanding, and connection.
Do you guys have any last things you want to tell your fans?
(AH): THANK YOU for love and support and we hope you’re well in these strange times. We look forward to seeing you as soon as possible!
Thank you guys for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions! TMI 😉
Connect and Share with Pretty Awkward
Smart URL: https://orcd.co/misfits
Official Website: https://www.prettyawkwardband.com/
Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PRETTYAWKWARDBAND
Official Twitter account: https://twitter.com/PrettyAwkward
Official Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFcvf6qNU40sKQjN1Ql-IWQ
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prettyawkwardband/