Interview with Josh Cunningham of The Waifs

Interview by Stuart Blythe
The Waifs are touring Australia throughout October/November 2015 in support of their latest album ‘Beautiful You’. We caught up with Josh Cunningham (guitars/vocals) for a chat.

You’ve recently completed the west coast leg of your extensive Australian tour. How was that experience?

It was really great. Firstly, it’s just wonderful to be playing music together again and sharing life on the road. The WA leg was particularly special because we drove the whole way instead of flying. That enabled us to visit some places we haven’t been able to get to in years, enjoy some solid hours of “Tarago time” and see and experience our beautiful home state from the ground. You really meet some interesting characters out there in the roadhouses and far flung reaches of WA.

Your Australian tour continues throughout October/November and covers many cities and regional areas. For the uninitiated, what can punters expect from your live shows?

The band seems to be in really good form. We’ve done a lot of touring lately and it’s feeling and sounding pretty tight. There will be a heavy focus on the new album, of course, but we have been including all the old favorites as well. We even take it back to the three of us for a little acoustic nostalgia trip mid set.

You’ve also toured in the USA recently. How was that experience?

We’ve always enjoyed playing in the States. We have a really solid fan base there and not just for our accents and “Aussie novelty” factor either. The crowds really love to listen and engage with the music there, so it was a good chance to get a feel for how the new material goes over. Thankfully, it went over really well. We hadn’t played there for a few years either so there were a lot of excited, happy people and we had some really fabulous shows.

Your latest album ‘Beautiful You” has been well received. Do you enjoy the writing/recording process or prefer touring and playing live shows?

Both. It’s really just two sides of the gold coin that is this amazing and miraculous life that we have. I absolutely love the studio. I can get so into it, I’d literally not see the sun for weeks. As much as I love that side of it though, The Waifs have always been a live band. That’s the context that the band really shines in. There is nothing as great as the connection you get from an audience. It’s truly an exchange of an indefineable sort that you just don’t even bother trying to define or explain. You just enjoy it and marvel at it.

What are your thoughts on how the public buy your music these days, digital vs physical (Vinyl/Tape/CD)?

I guess it’s like the world itself – always changing. I remember our first recording was released on cassette tape and our latest album has been released on vinyl. I’m open to any format really. The main thing is that the music gets out there and touches people – that’s why we do it. I know in the digital realm, there is so much scope for downloading music without paying for it. Obviously that kind of sucks in a way and I think that everyone has seen a decline in record sales as things have moved in that direction. Thankfully there are still enough people who like to buy the music and support us in what we do. I’m fairly philosophical about it all really. I’m not about to start or join an activist movement to combat the injustice of all that. There are far greater injustices in the world I’d sooner fight. I certainly encourage people to do the ethical thing and pay for their music, but at the end of the day, if someone got a free download of a Waifs song and it made a real impact in their life, helped them through a rough time, gave them inspiration or hope, then that’s payment enough for me. If they had that experience, hopefully it would compel them to support us in some other way – preferably by coming to see us live and telling us about it. I love those kind of stories.

With such a long period of the bands existence, you have an extensive catalog to draw from. Is it hard these days coming up with a set list?

The hardest thing is agreeing upon a set list. With so many songs now you are juggling new songs, old favorites, personal preferences of band members and audience requests. We usually do a reasonable job of satisfying all those considerations but it can be a challenge.

What influences your music these days?

Real life experience, faith, love, hope. Still the same old stuff really.

What does the band have planned for the rest of the year after your Australian tour dates finishes up?

The band will be having a break before some more shows in the new year. Not sure what everyone else will be doing but I’ll be building my house.

Is there anything you would like to say to your fan base ahead of the tour?

You were born to love.

Quick Questions:

:: What track changed your life ::
Michael. J. Fox playing Johnny. B. Goode at the high school prom on the movie “Back to the future”. That was the moment I knew I wanted to
play guitar.

:: Biggest influence ::
God, parents/family, friends.
Musical influence? Donna and Vikki from the Waifs.

:: Favourite Quote ::
John 3:16

:: Three words to describe the last few years ::
Adjustment, challenge, growth,

:: Three words to describe the year ahead ::
Purpose, potential, growth

The ‘Beautiful You’ Tour

Wednesday 14th October 2015 The Triffid Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Tickets from Oztix | | 1300 762 545

Thursday 15th October 2015 Nambour Civic Centre Nambour, QLD, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 07 5475 777

Saturday 17th October 2015 Townsville Civic Theatre Townsville, QLD, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 4727 9797

Sunday 18th October 2015 Musica Botanica – Tanks Arts Centre Cairns, QLD, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 1300 855 835

Wednesday 21st October 2015 Bangalow A and I Hall Bangalow, NSW, Australia
Tickets from Ku Promotions | | 0434 705 506

Thursday 22nd October 2015 Miami Marketta Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Tickets from Oztix | | 1300 762 545

Saturday 24th October 2015 Palais Theatre Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Tickets from Ticketmaster | | 136 100

Sunday 25th October 2015 Her Majestys Theatre Adelaide, SA, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 131 246

Wednesday 28th October 2015 Geelong Performing Arts Centre Geelong, VIC, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 03 5225 1200

Thursday 29th October 2015 Albury Entertainment Centre Albury , NSW, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 02 6043 5610

Saturday 31st October 2015 Granite Town Festival Moruya, NSW, Australia
Tickets from

Sunday 1st November 2015 Canberra Theatre Canberra, ACT, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 02 675 2700

Tuesday 3rd November 2015 Anitas Theatre Thirroul, NSW, Australia
Tickets from Ticketmaster | | 136 100

Wednesday 4th November 2015 Civic Theatre Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Tickets from Ticketek | | 13 28 49

Thursday 5th November 2015 Enmore Theatre Sydney, NSW, Australia
Tickets from Ticketek | | 13 28 49

Saturday 7th November 2015 Araluen Arts Centre Alice Springs, NT, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 08 8951 1122

Sunday 8th November 2015 Darwin Entertainment Centre Darwin, NT, Australia
Tickets from venue | | 08 8980 3333