INTERVIEW: WD-HAN – Red Sun

WD-Han are back with yet another earworm, this time adopting a mellower tone in their latest single “Red Sun“.

Turtle Tempo caught up with the Tampa three-piece to chat all things music on the release of their third of four Spring 2020 singles…

Hey guys, how’s life treating you?

Spencer: All things considered, we’re doing great! This is such a weird time for literally everyone on Earth right now, and for artists it’s no exception. We can’t play live, we can’t tour, so it’s been about focusing on writing and finding other ways to out-work the quarantine. We started 2020 with a plan of releasing a new song once a month, which is challenging enough without the ‘Rona, but we’ve kept it on track and are so proud of the music we’ve put out so far.

As a band, you’ve been performing with each other for over ten years – what’s the glue that gels you three together?

Cal: Literal super glue. Only kidding! No, we are just good friends who have the same goals. We openly communicate with each other about other things, not just music. We’re just four friends on the search for the world’s best boba tea.

“Red Sun” is your third single of four to be released this Spring. How does this song fit into the narrative of this set of releases?

Spencer: It’s a funny thing, when we started out writing this latest group of songs, I wasn’t trying to have a connected lyrical narrative between them. What happens, though, is that as an artist you tend to draw inspiration from your own narrative, your own life. For me, in the last year there’s been a lot of personal growth by tackling the biggest things in life head-on.

“Red Sun” is about a very specific moment in any relationship – when you first put yourself out there. That first moment when there’s no hiding behind a joke, no “hanging with friends” no “we don’t like labels”. There is a moment that terrifies everyone where you boldly state that you want more. It’s raw, terrifying exhilaration and I can’t think of a better thing to be inspired by.

I’ve read that this single is pretty much based around the idea of vulnerability – how did it feel to write something that was so intensely heart-on-sleeve?

Spencer: “Red Sun” is about taking a leap of faith. Both people in the story of the song are vulnerable and dealing with it in their own way – her by being cautious and a little jaded, him by blustering his way through the nerves. They both realize the potential of what could be and are terrified of screwing it up, but they go for it. It’s a push and pull between keeping your heart safe and going for something better. We’ve all been there. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, other times it does – and that’s what makes it magic.

For me, that moment was really important in my relationship with my wife (Lea, our drummer). The song isn’t directly about us, per se, but some elements are inspired by her, and so writing it was an intensely joyful and personal experience.

What does the writing process usually look like for you, and did the process for “Red Sun” follow suit?

Cal: Every song is a group effort. I remember reading an interview with Chris Martin where he said a similar thing, that it’s not a Coldplay song until every member has played their part on it. We share a similar feeling. We all have ideas about different pieces of the song whether they have an idea for a guitar piece, I’ve suggested a lyric change, etc. We allow each member to wear their hat, so to speak, and not take it over. But every suggestion must be tried. It’s worked out pretty well for us! “Red Sun” in particular was a meaningful one. I’d been holding onto the verse guitar lines for years and Spencer had the lyrics for a while as well. It was really cool to see it come together.

How are you keeping your minds creative during lockdown, when we’re all lacking some level of inspiration?

Lea: All I can say is, you should be following us on TikTok. Ha! But also, thanks to modern technology we have been recording full songs and releasing material throughout this entire quarantine. Times are weird but we are convinced that creating in whatever way you can is what’s going to keep you sane.

Ok, if only for my own benefit – how do you pronounce WD-HAN and where did the name come from?

Cal: W and D are spoken individually and HAN is pronounced like Han Solo. The name came about from our friend’s dad, who was joking around with his wife about a name for her company, “Why don’t you call it, ‘WD-HAN – We Don’t Have A Name’?” Our friend stole it and told us at practice and we instantly cracked up!

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Jimi Hendrix, Third Eye Blind, Young The Giant

If you could write a song with anybody, dead or alive, who’d you choose?

Cal: Jimi Hendrix, Chris Martin, Ryan Tedder

Lea: Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind. 100%! That man can write a SONG!

Finally, we LOVE “Red Sun” and we want some more! When can we expect the release of your next 2020 single?

Thank you so much! We just put out an acoustic version of “Red Sun” that we recorded entirely at home, as well as mixed and mastered ourselves. We also have another release called “Steppin’ 11s” coming on 6/19. This one has got a great Beastie Boys vibe that we think will be a great way to kick off the summer.

You heard it here first, stay tuned for more great music from WD-HAN! Find them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Spotify.

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