Právě si prohlížíte Wasia Project: “There’s intertwined bond between experiences and lyrics”
A Wasia Project´s show at Omeara in London. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Will Gao and Olivia Hardy, siblings from the UK, started making music in 2019. Last week they performed as the openers at Tom Odell’s sold out Forum Karlín concert on his Black Friday Tour. In an exclusive interview, they talk about the meaning of music, dealing with fame and Will uncovers what can be expected of the third season of Netflix’s best-known series Heartstopper where Will appears as one of the cast members Tao Xu.

The tour manager Karima sits us in a white plain room. There is nothing but a few black chairs. It feels more like an interrogation room than a place for an interview. However then Olivia Hardy comes in with a big smile on her face and gives us a hug. A few moments later, Olivia’s brother Will enters the room and greets us just as cheerfully.

Your debut single was released in 2019. Five years later, you’re on a tour with Tom Odell. How does this genesis feel to you?

OLIVIA: Pretty crazy.

WILL: We feel very lucky and very grateful to be able to do this now and to be able to be on tour and to share our songs with more and more people.

We’re really happy and grateful that people resonate with the songs, and they mean something to others because they mean a lot to us and it’s really nice to see love for them.

OLIVIA: I think it’s been, even though when you say it like that, it feels very quick, it’s been quite like we’ve been working on it for a while, but it’s like slowly building and that’s really exciting, cause it’s like a journey.

WILL: It’s a marathon, it’s a journey. And it’s not just, you know, sometimes things just happen very quickly. But I feel with us, we’ve worked substantially with the same effort since that first single and we’ve had the same ethic going forward.

After a sold-out tour in the UK, you are suddenly performing for thousands of people in Europe. Earlier in an interview for Euphoria Magazine, you said you liked the connection with your fans. How are you feeling about european fans so far?

OLIVIA: Yeah. I mean there are a few of the fans that know our music really well and seeing them in these places is really cool because this is my first time in the Czech Republic.

WILL: Same here.

OLIVIA: And like, we were in Poland and Germany, my first time in so many of these places. And seeing people that know us is amazing and really exciting. And then there’s like mainly the big crowds and we’re introducing ourselves. It’s like letting them know our music. But seeing people that already know it is really “wow”.

WILL: Everyone is so supportive and it’s just so beautiful, like the countries you’ve been able to go to. Everyone just loves music from their soul, and it really connects us. And even though we don’t speak the same language, there’s this language of music that we’re able to celebrate together every night. And that means a lot.

In interviews you often mention your parents when talking about your musical background, their impact on your life and musical journey. What do they say now when they see your success?

OLIVIA: Dad is actually here tonight, in Prague. First European show he’ll see.

WILL: He’s very excited.

OLIVIA: Very, very proud, very excited. And for the first few days at, my mom was cool and like “Oh my God, there’s so many people”, very supportive and very happy.

Photo: Leon Heaney (Instagram / Wasia Project)

Lyrics of your song usually focus on relationships, love, but also mental health. Sometimes it feels like you’re telling your personal stories. How often are your life experiences reflected in your music?

WILL: I think everything is informative in the music, our experiences as people growing up in today’s world.

OLIVIA: Naturally, the music we listen to. Everything.

WILL: Everything kind of informs it and I think with lyrics in particular, I think there’s a tide, completely intertwined bond between your experiences and the lyrics themselves. I think that’s just what’s been created, as you know, in the songs that we’re creating is always informed by what’s going on around. And even if you don’t realize, sometimes we write songs and we’re not realizing what’s coming out. But obviously it is what’s coming out.

And sometimes I look back and I’m like, oh, maybe I was thinking this at that time, but at the time I didn’t even know I was thinking it. So, it’s this kind of strange thing where it’s very therapeutic.

When writing a song, do you sometimes discover something new about yourself you weren’t aware of before?

OLIVIA: That’s a good question. I find that the best songs I’ve written have certainly been when it has that personal connection, even if it’s not an experience, or about a relationship, or an emotion.

Even if it’s like an idea that he’s (Will) written, and I need to connect with it. It’s like finding a way to understand it and connect with it. And that’s what I discover through that. I don’t necessarily have to experience it, but connecting with that emotion.

WILL: Resonating.

OLIVIA: Yeah. Understanding. It makes the song better. Instead of writing or singing about something that I feel like I don’t really care about.

WILL: Definitely. With “Is This What Love Is?”, which is our latest single, I started right back in 2022. So, it’s two and a half years ago, when I was still at school. We’re both still at school. And I look back now and I’m like: “Oh, my goodness”.

You grow so much from looking back at 18 when you’re 21. I’m 21 now and, oh my God, it was such a different kind of person. I’ve learned so much since then. So there’s definitely that discovery over time.

Also, when you’re writing, I think that’s an inherent part of growing and how music can aid your growth as a human. I think it’s again intertwined music and creating art, and being an artist and learning more about yourself, is in harmony.

As you mentioned your latest single “Is This What Love Is?”, have you discovered what love is?

OLIVIA: Well, in terms of the song, I think it’s not necessarily like a relationship, like romantic love, but I think it’s all sort of attachment and it’s very out of control sometimes and it’s very intense.

And there’s a lot of emotions inside it. It’s like with fans or strangers, it feels familiar or like friendship, but it’s still love. It’s a very intense feeling. It can get overwhelming and very out of your control, but that’s a beautiful thing since it’s like understanding that and going with it. I think in the context of that song at least I don’t know. Nobody knows what love is. That’s why it’s a question.

Will, what is it like to combine the role of an actor and a musician?

WILL: Good question. I think again there’s a relationship between them. When I’m preparing for a role or when I’m on a film set, for example, there’s definite similarities between that and then being in a room with musicians. But the thing that’s crazy is trying to juggle the two when it’s one human with two jobs, so that was crazy.

OLIVIA: They’re both very unpredictable. Or maybe music is very unpredictable.

WILL: This industry is just very unpredictable. Managing time is a bit crazy, but I learned from each other. There’s also an element of love going between. I love doing both because it’s a perfect balance for me. In music, it comes from us. We completely create that art. But then as an actor, I’m honouring another artist, I’m trying to interpret someone else’s vision and having both of those roles, is really fun to play with.

Netflix announced that the third season of Heartstopper is coming out in October. What can we expect from the new season, how will Tao’s story continue?

WILL: You can expect just love and acceptance and growth. I think those are the three words I’d use.

Olivia, you’re 18, Will, you’re 21. It’s quite hard for me to imagine the public life you have to live. How do you deal with all the attention?

OLIVIA: I think we’re not quite at the stage of like extreme fame where it’s like we can’t have a private life. Because I feel often like I forget that people know about us. I forget that, because my friends are the same, family is same.

WILL: I think it’s all a journey. And it did take some adjusting initially from acting and from the Netflix show. But I think it’s something that you kind of grow to, to be at peace with and it’s just one of those things. It’s a part of our jobs and our lives and it’s just a part of the job, people are going to know who you are, I guess. And on the whole it’s fine. I still take the underground and the bus every day. We both do. We take the bus or the tube to work and we run around. And you know I don’t let my life be defined by it.

In 2022, there was your first EP, now the tours, what’s next? What can we expect?

WILL: EP number two. We’re working on it. “Is this what love is” is the first song on that EP. That’s our main plan and it’s conceptual. So, everything around it’s going to be tied in together. And we’re very excited. We’re working really hard to do it.

OLIVIA: And we’re going on tour in the autumn.

Something like headline shows across Europe in autumn?

WILL: Maybe.

OLIVIA: Yeah, maybe. (both chuckle)

On the occassion of releasing your single “Remember When”, you started an online safe space where people can write their individual experiences of time and memory. What would you write in there today?

OLIVIA: Recently I felt a lot of change happening. I was in school like studying every day in the library, all day, every day, like music to myself. Spent most of my time alone and it was amazing. But it’s so different and I think just in times of change processing it can be quite difficult or feel like things are happening faster than you can think about it.

And I think everybody finds that and things happen out of our control, but just staying present and taking in things. Like before the show yesterday in Warsaw, he was talking about “Today we’re going to be present and grateful”. And I made the experience performing for me at least, a lot better because I felt just like grounded. And I think just focusing on what’s right in front of you instead of everything all at once… Just focus on the next steps and you’ll get to where you want to go.

WILL: I think these last few days of performing in these beautiful venues. I mean, today is so beautiful. It’s so nice. And it’s just like just that sense of gratitude. And I’d say, you know, I’m very proud of us. I’m very proud of younger us. It’s not all like we’re playing in front of 10,000 people, it’s really hard work this job, it’s up and down just like a rollercoaster. And I’m just really proud that we worked hard, and we embraced everything that came as well and then that allows us to be present in this moment. Do you know what I mean? Like I thought we were so present and we’re more present I think, than me and we ever have been, relative to the last few years. It’s a random answer with lots of words, but I’d like you to formulate it into a paragraph. (both laughing)

Tereza Bartáková, an external author, contributed to this text.

Jakub Hříbek

Student žurnalistiky na Fakultě sociálních věd UK píšící o domácí a zahraniční politice. Žurnalistika je můj život.

Napsat komentář

Tato stránka používá Akismet k omezení spamu. Podívejte se, jak vaše data z komentářů zpracováváme..