London-based South African band was formed in guitar player and vocalist Ryan Morris’ garage in Ballito 2001. With the dream to go international from the beginning, Tyron Layley (lead vocals and bass guitar) and Adam Jenkins (drums) joined Morris to risk everything and go overseas. The rockers say the UK was the most realistic option as they all have English ancestry. They were also greatly encouraged by Britain being home to some great bands.
As well as English bands, What Now are influenced by artists such as Kings of Leon and The Black Keys. Their influences have changed over the years, previously listening to Green Day and Blink 182, now enjoying older classics such as Depeche Mode and Led Zeppelin.
The band is interested in collaborating with artists from different genres, for instance Morris is a fan of Wiz Khalifa albums and has always wanted to work with a rap artist. Layley would love to collaborate with Die Antwoord, purely because it would be ‘crazy and extremely creative’. Jenkins, a Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl fan, says although “people have preconceived ideas about the guy”, he would most like to pick the brains of U2 artist Bono.
Make or Break
Although moving to England was a shared dream, it wasn’t immediately the perfect picture the boys had in mind. Layley explains, “We were broke, living in the dodgiest part of London and doing very little music. We started having some musical differences and I decided to leave and start another band. Ry and Ad also started something else and we basically split up for about three years.”
During the time the band spilt, each member used the time to explore their musical differences. Living in a foreign place with no money had taken its toll and Jenkins says the band “needed to survive first to then be able to be creative.” The guys reconciled their differences and got back together after meeting at a gig Jenkins and Morris were playing at. They decided to ask Layley about starting up the band again. Layley admits to missing “jamming with each other” while Jenkins agrees, “The side projects we were in didn’t seem to have that special chemistry that What Now had all along.”
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Having known each other for years, the guys say it wasn’t hard to reconnect and it felt very natural. Each member of What Now brings their own sound to the band which somehow just works. Take Control, a three track EP released in 2010 after the band reformed is described by Layley and Jenkins as playing it safe.
The boys didn’t want to push things too much in terms of their varied music taste, though come Move Like a Sinner, they were ready to take more experimental risks.
Touring the Homeland
Returning to South Africa having not toured there in eight years, the band was surprised by the large turnout at gigs. “It was amazing and we really got to explore our beautiful country,” says Morris. With the positive reception of the band and their new album, What Now plan to finish touring Move Like a Sinner in Poland and Finland this year, as well as a few UK dates.
As the trio continues to write new material, there is talk of a new album and hopes of visiting the United States in 2014.