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First Listen: WAAX ‘Holy Sick’ EP

Vocalist Maria DeVita opens up about the tracks on the Brisbane band’s surprise release: “I felt like I was stuck in a rut of drinking a fuckload and how shit I felt about it”.

In many ways mirroring the spontaneity of their initial singles, “I For An Eye” and “Wisdom Teeth”, Brisbane’s WAAX have decided to today push out a surprise release — a brand new EP entitled Holy Sick.

On Holy Sick, those two previously released singles bookend a pair of new tracks. “Holy Sick” follows the lead of its predecessors, constructed around Maria DeVita’s remarkably elastic vocals, the formidable front-woman keeping the composition on a leash as she sets the course with her parabolic yelps and snarling growls.

More surprising, however, is the second new song, “CC Thugs”, a haunting ballad that teasingly takes DeVita’s vocals to the edge of despair. A notable display of susceptibility, but more significantly — evolution. Destroying any pre-conceived ideas that WAAX are simply a full-throttle vehicle.

Listen to the Holy Sick EP below:

We also caught with DeVita recently to go through the EP. Below, she breaks down the release in an exclusive track by track.

All words below by Marie DeVita.

I For An Eye
“This song is a thick mix of angry feelings. Lyrically: It’s a conversation with my ever conflicting views within myself. When I wrote it I was feeling inferior to other musicians and questioning where my place is as a woman in this industry. On the flip, the chorus asks why there’s always something about my idols that somewhat lets me down. Then I realise that fuck it, I am what I am and you ‘can take it or leave it or I’ll keep it to myself.’Instrumentally:This song pieced itself together over a period of time. I’m particularly proud of Tom’s exceptional drumming and Ewan’s thick lead in the pre-chorus. In the studio I usually sort out the cherry on top stuff, such as the hints of synth.”

Holy Sick
“Ohh boy. Loud noises. This song makes me want to punch walls. In a good way. A band favourite live as well! Lyrically: I was angry as shit for this one. I remember writing it in my dodgy apartment after getting fed up with Abbott. I’m particularly pissed about the immigration situation and I’m ready to kick a door in. At the time I was exploring the themes of ‘Slactivism’ at art school, as in ‘keyboard warriors’… people who makes themselves out to be heroes, but are sitting on their arses 95% of the time. I feel like music is a powerful vehicle for political dialogue, but I wanted to do it in a way that was somewhat ambiguous. This song’s main hook that I want to drive home is ‘something’s not right here’. I’m hoping the listener engages with this line particularly, because I guess it can be applied to anything. Musically: Bass, bass, bass. This song is arranged to lift the chorus and kick the listener in the head. Catchy lead lines, and sneaky hints of synth. This song evolved over a period of time and our favourite part is the end crescendo, which was an in-studio creation.”

CC Thugs
The vulnerable/moody track that we all love. It’s also super cool to play live. Lyrically: The song evolved over two separate periods of turbulence in my personal life. I wrote this song for me and my dearest gal pal. We both got screwed over romantically. It’s about all the feels we both had during our respective messed up relationships. Feeling vulnerable, insecure and manipulated. And I guess sometimes you end up in a place you never thought you’d be. Human beings can really suck. Musically: [guitarist] Ewan and I whipped up this little ditty in a matter of hours with our go-to production wiz Konstantin Kersting. The little chorus motif was a really lovely addition that came out of the studio. I guess we went into the studio with open minds and just created. It was a really cool, organic process.””

Wisdom Teeth
“This song is the oldest on the record and definitely helped set the path for what the band has evolved into today.Lyrically:I wrote this song the morning after a big night and was feeling pretty seedy about it. I really did have a tooth ache and I concluded that it was probably all the scotch and Pepsi Max I’d been drinking. I wanted to write a song that amped the crowd up; and it certainly did the job. This is like an angel/devil on the shoulder scenario. I felt like I was stuck in a rut of drinking a fuckload and how shit I felt about it. I wanted to feel like a grown up, like domesticated and organised (still struggling with this haha). At the end of the song I’m asking my head to shut up and leave me alone. (I always wanted a crowd to tell me to shut up, also). Musically: Balls to the wall fuzzy guitars. At the point of recording this one, I wasn’t so sharp on writing lead guitar lines, but I was always fond of the line at the end, god knows where I pulled that one from…none of us had a clue how to be recording artists at that stage.”

WAAX have also locked in a handful of early summer shows in support of the new release:

Friday, December 4: Workers Club, Melbourne
Saturday, December 5: Ed Castle, Adelaide
Thursday, December 10: Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Friday, December 11: Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Saturday, December 12: Festival of the Sun, Coffs Harbour