Liam Whybrow, a British musician living in Slovakia

22. february 2013 at 21:21 | greatmilan |  greatmilan conversations
We know you as the former drummer of the British rock band Sister Gracie which has toured around Europe and given a lot of concerts at clubs and festivals in Slovakia. Although you have left the band due to a different opinon as to its future direction, you have found a Slovak girlfriend and you currently live here. Are you satisfied with the daily life in this country and especially in Košice, isn't it a lot different from the British Isles?

Yes I have had a girlfriend here now for over a year, which was included during the previous band Sister Gracie. People ask me almost every day the question 'Why are you here?', as if I'm crazy or something! I found this country through touring here and the culture, people and lifestyle here has pretty much given me no choice but to stay! I have seen a lot of the country, been to different towns and cities and I can´t work out exactly what makes me like being here so much! Whatever it is, its clearly good! It is different from the UK for sure. I'll be honest, the people here are a lot more friendly here and outgoing than in England. Slovakia also has very pretty women! (I hope my girlfriend does not mind me saying that!) The music scene too is less competitive here than in the UK. People give the effort on both sides of the industry, by that I mean the audience really enjoy watching music in small or big clubs, and the clubs themselves put the effort into a good event for everyone!

Recently, you have launched an electronic project under the name of Woluux, and you decided to more club-oriented sound using synth, drum machine and sample, bringing elements of hip hop, jazz, funk, reggae and glitch, which together give encouraging and fun vibration. What is the response and what are your ambitions as Woluux?

I am just trying to create something a bit different. I have not heard this music in Slovakia yet in any clubs. There is too much of this 'robotic' dubstep sounding music going on. I wanted to create something with a more melodic feel, and of course a feel to get people on the feet and dancing. Its pretty much a fact that everyone enjoys some funk music sometimes, especially after a few beers! So I have used certain sounds and composition techniques to give funk music a more suitable sound for night clubs. After every show I play I am also trying to learn to play as much of live as possible to give more of a show than a dj set, which I consider myself not to be.

You have been offered to be Billy Barman´s drummer. Is that really so? What's behind that? What is it like to be an English musician playing in a Slovak band?

Aha yes. It´s not 100% yet. We met in Bratislava recently and jammed a few songs out as they need a new drummer. Andreas from Talkshow hooked me up with them. They are great guys! We will see how it goes and I guess maybe you will see me on stage with them soon! For me yes, it was a bit strange to not understand the lyrics of every song being played, but it´s a new challenge I guess! We seemed to communicate okay at the rehearsal.

Do you feel to be more drummer, dj, or is there something undiscovered about your talents?

I'm always a drummer, I have been for the past 16 years. I used to dj maybe 6 years ago and then stopped doing that and focused more on drumming. Since I discovered the funky glitchy hip hop sound and pursued in writing this I always use my knowledge behind drumming to create nice grooves for my music. I plan to be an electronic drum machine soon to drum my music in quarter beat wave samples soon which I'm really excited about doing. I don't know many dj's to pull a pair of drum sticks out during their set!

In fact, do you like Slovak alternative scene? Give me some names that really got you.

Yeah during my time with Sister Gracie we of course played with many Slovak bands. I particularly enjoy The Uniques and a band from Nove Mesto nad Vahom called Genuine Jacks. I have also listened to some traditional Slovak music at the theatre.

You grew up in the British Isles. I think it's basically a musical kingdom. What British music do you prefer?

Yes I guess the UK is a musical kingdom! Since the first Muse album I have become more and more obsessed with the genius music they make. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of all this new music that has been going around for the past few years though, all this 'dark and quirky' outtake people are trying to make. I'm more of a 90's music lover and I think I'll stick to that!

What about your musical vision. Actually, will you cooperate with the existing bands, or can you imagine yourself setting up another one of your own (and no less great), like Sister Gracie?

I don´t know. Sister Gracie took some years to progress to the sound we achieved to this day. I don´t plan to cooperate any of the vibes we used in the band. I want to move on and away from it and create something new for myself. Of course the electronic element is there, but Sister Gracie used the more concert atmosphere, my new project is more for clubs. But I do plan to slowly make it as live as possible. I recently played at Tabacka in Kosice and used a live saxophone player as my music uses it a lot. I have to maybe include a live bassist maybe, keyboard player and of course the saxophone, and be able to enjoy the live concert atmosphere as well as the night club atmosphere.

photo: greatmilan

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