Fuckin Whatever
[Photo via TikTok/@fuckinwhatever]

Over the last year, artists have found creative ways to fill their time and connect with their fans. With time and space to either work on new tracks or release previously shelved projects, we’ve been spoiled for choice by many bands and artists, and some of the projects have been unexpected. None, perhaps, more so than Fuckin Whatever, a supergroup of scene legends.

In March, Adam Lazzara, John Nolan, Anthony Green and Ben Homola of Taking Back Sunday, Circa Survive and Grouplove announced that they had teamed up for the nonchalantly named project Fuckin Whatever. Dropping two tracks via Bandcamp, “Trash” and “I’m Waiting On You,” the group instantly subverted any and all expectations for what they were capable of. The multi-layered tracks feature zero instruments and a lot of vocal and percussive noises. The final result has been called “psychedelic” and “psych pop,” but it really has to be heard to be understood.

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While the release of the singles and upcoming EP was instigated by the pandemic, the project was actually born five years ago, backstage at the Taste of Chaos tour. Bored and without instruments, the four artists started playing around with creating music with whatever they had to hand: their mouths, bodies and anything else they could find. The result was something completely new: dreamy, trippy indie pop more reminiscent of Beach House or Tame Impala than their heavier roots. With the exception of Grouplove’s Homola, it’s completely new territory for the group. 

When we interviewed the band back in March, they told us that they were excited to release single “Original Sin,” out now. It’s easy to hear why: With layers of almost euphoric percussion and Green and Lazzara’s unique vocals, it’s less a song and more an immersive experience over four minutes.

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We caught up with Nolan to talk about “Original Sin” and what’s next for the supergroup. You can also listen to the new track below and preorder their debut EP.

Has working together on Fuckin Whatever inspired your other projects? 

With Fuckin Whatever, there’s been so much emphasis on enjoying the creative process, appreciating everyone’s contributions to it and expressing that appreciation and enjoyment. I think we’re all bringing that mindset into our other projects.  

Do you have any plans for a studio album? Or are you just taking everything as it comes?

We’ve written and recorded more songs since finishing the EP, and those are probably the start of an album. We’ve only worked from home so far, sending ideas through text and email. Ideally, we’d like to get together in person someday to write and record more and pull everything together into a full-length album. 

How has the response been from your die-hard fans? Any surprises?

I haven’t seen hardly anyone say anything negative on the internet, so that’s the most surprising thing. Maybe the people who aren’t into it just ignore it, or maybe everyone loves it. Who knows? 

You said previously you were most excited for people to hear “Original Sin.” Why?

“Original Sin” is an example of the amazing things that happen when Anthony and Adam’s lyrical and melodic styles combine. They both have these unique approaches that are very recognizable, but when you combine them, it makes something that’s not like anything I’ve heard before. That song was so exciting to work on and watch come together, and we feel it’s going to be as exciting for people to hear. 

Does it feel liberating to shed people’s expectations of you and your music?

It does. I think we also shed our own expectations of ourselves, and that’s an even bigger thing. When you’ve been making music for as long as we have, you can start to internalize people’s ideas about what you can and can’t do. This project had no expectations attached to it, and there was nothing riding on its success, so we felt free to have fun with it, mess around and let ourselves get carried away in the creative process. What’s most liberating is realizing we can do that and still make something we feel is genuinely good and are extremely proud of. 

“Original Sin” feels euphoric, optimistic, almost summery. Do you feel like that’s something we need? It feels fitting as the darkness of the last year starts to lift a little.

It’s interesting to hear that. My feeling from this song was that it’s darker. For me, there are elements that are optimistic and euphoric, but the feel of the music adds a menacing overtone to everything. I like that it can be interpreted in different ways, though, and I hope any way it’s interpreted is uplifting and cathartic for people after this past year.

After spending so much time embedded in East Coast music culture, this is a very West Coast song/EP. Was that intentional?

It wasn’t. I think the lightheartedness that we approached the writing and recording with might’ve brought some of that West Coast feel. And even though the music Adam and I have made is so associated with Long Island, I haven’t lived there in over a decade, and Adam only lived there briefly. Also, I picture Anthony living in California for some reason. I’ve always known he’s from Pennsylvania, so I’m not sure why I have that image of him in California. 

Are you planning on touring or doing any shows as Fuckin Whatever?

We don’t have any plans yet. It’s something we’re open to though. There’s a lot we’d have to figure out to make this work live. It’s all layered vocal sounds and weird percussion noises. I’m not sure how we’d do it. We’d love to figure it out though.  

It’s obviously a very different vibe to a rock show—a lot more dancing, which could be fun.

If we figure out how to do this live, it would be a very nontraditional show. It might be more like performance art. We’d love to have people dancing in the crowd, dancing onstage, anywhere and everywhere, really. It’d be great.

You can preorder Fuckin Whatever’s vinyl here. The group’s debut EP is set to release on June 4.