Whirr: Loudest Band in the World

Posted August 19, 2013 in
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Whirr: Neither shoegaze nor a sextet. Photo Courtesy Big Hassle Media
Whirr is the loudest band in the world. Or, at least, they aspire to be. “We want to be the loudest band in the world,” singer and guitarist Nick Bassett says. “Mogwai, Swans, My Bloody Valentine, Manowar––that’s kindergarten. We blow them out of the water.”

When I told him a little about the Shred Shed, where the band will be playing on their stop in Salt Lake City on Aug. 24, he had one question: “Will the sound guys let us be really loud?” During our interview, when Bassett wasn’t offering indifferent, one-word answers, he was not shy about his ambitions. “We have two goals,” he says. “One is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.” He was also not shy about putting people on blast. He continued, saying, “Number two, more importantly, is to be bigger than that band DIIV. They suck. They’re boring.”

Whirr calls San Francisco home, a city notable both for its garage rock and black metal scenes. Bassett says of the music scene in his hometown, “There’s only one other band that we like: Lycus. They’re probably the only other good band on the west coast besides us.” He conspicuously left out the critically lauded black metal band Deafheaven that he once played guitar for.

The woozy, atmospheric guitars and numinous, co-ed vocals of Whirr’s catalogue bring to mind such shoegaze touchstones as Slowdive and the aforementioned My Bloody Valentine, but the band doesn’t seem to agree with the shoegaze genre label they’ve been given. “We’re just a loud punk band,” Bassett says. “We’re not actually a shoegaze band at all.” While his attitude seems strictly punk, their latest release, Around EP, is four songs that extend the length and depth of their previous work without tinkering too much with the formula. Pitchfork’s 6.2 rating of this record earned them Bassett’s ire. “Pitchfork sucks,” he says. “They don’t like us. They gave us a bad review. They’re dumbasses. Fuck Pitchfork.”

When I asked about the direction that the band is heading in, Bassett was characteristically to the point: “Heavier and louder,” he says. “The songs are basically all almost done. We’re going to record in the winter.” Bassett expressed that the band’s recorded material doesn’t adequately capture the loudness of their live shows: “Could be louder,” he says. The band is about halfway into an extensive, cross-country tour, and Bassett trolled me with a claim to only be listening to Leonard Cohen in the tour van, also stating that Philadelphia was their favorite date on this tour because the promoter got them the most money there, but not everything in our interview was punk nihilism. Bassett showed some love for their tourmates, Nothing. “They’re really good. They’re better than every other band out there besides us.”

While I had read several times that Whirr is a sextet, Bassett set the record straight. “We only have five people,” he says, “It’s better that way. The spotlight’s mostly on me because I’m playing all the leads. I’m probably the best guitarist too out of all three of us. We all kind of agree that I’m the best guitarist in the world. Can you do me a favor? Make sure you put in this interview that I’m the best guitarist in the world.” When I asked him if he could just play all the guitar parts himself and trim his band down from a three-guitar quintet to a trio, he said, “Probably.” At the end of the interview, Bassett wanted to re-emphasize some points, saying: “Final statement right here. Pitchfork sucks, DIIV is the worst band ever, and I’m the best guitarist in the world. Whirr is the loudest band ever. Lycus are our homies. Nothing rules. The end.” Come check out Whirr on Saturday, Aug. 24 for $8 at the Shred Shed, 60 E. Exchange Place. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
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Whirr: Neither shoegaze nor a sextet. Photo Courtesy Big Hassle Media Whirr's enigmatic stage presence is sure to make for a good show. Photo Courtesy Big Hassle Media