“WAAX have redefined what it means to be punk in the 21st century.” – The Music “You would be hard-pressed to find a live act in Australia right now that’s more feverish than WAAX.”– Pilerats“Maz is really hitting the top of her game as a singer and lyricist and it’s so great to see her reveal the whole range of her voice, both its ferocity and delicate beauty.” – Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger)
WAAX fans – we hope you’re ready. The Australian rock four-piece today return with not one but two new songs, an incredible and innovative video, and news of a brand-new album. The first single, ‘Dangerous,’ is a gigantic piano ballad that recalls the megahits of ’90s rock. That’s probably down to the fact that it was in fact co-written with an actual ’90s rock megastar – Linda Perry – frontperson of rock icons 4 Non Blondes and legendary songwriter behind hits for P!nk (‘Get The Party Started’), Christina Aguilera (‘Beautiful’), and Gwen Stefani (‘What You Waiting For?’).
LISTEN TO ‘DANGEROUS’ HERE
WAAX lead singer and principal songwriter, Maz DeVita, co-wrote the song with Perry in what she describes as one of the defining moments of her career. “The process of writing ‘Dangerous’ was one of the most wild experiences of my life,” she recalls. “I had talked to the (label) team about planning a writing trip over in LA in late 2019, so naturally everyone reached out to anyone they could think of. I don’t know what the universe was doing during that time, but an email found its way to Linda Perry, and she listened to our music. She requested to set up a writing session right away – and I was literally speechless. She told me she saw something in me, like a real darkness in my voice. Next thing I knew I was in an Uber on my way to her studio absolutely shitting myself. She was and still is the most remarkable human being I have ever had to privilege to meet.” The result is a song unlike anything WAAX has released before. An anthem that draws on deep emotion and conveys it in a tense, shadowy ballad, the stripped back production style allows DeVita to sing more tenderly than she’s ever attempted before in her career. The result is a mesmerising, spinetingling moment that fans of the band’s raucous history will be immediately struck by. However, where ‘Dangerous’ is new territory for WAAX, it is juxtaposed by the second single ‘Help Me Hell’ – a thrashy, melodic, power chord storm that is all things punk, grunge, snarl and fun. In other words – pure WAAX. “‘Help Me Hell’ was one of the earlier tracks we wrote,” says DeVita. “We just wanted a straight to the point, minimal chords, simple lyrics and no BS. James [Gatling – WAAX guitarist and co-songwriter] and I wrote it in one session very quickly. I felt during that time that no matter what I tried my life was not changing, the same patterns were emerging, and I felt frustrated. I always had this feeling of hitting my head on the ceiling trying to get the f*ck out.”
LISTEN TO ‘HELP ME HELL’ HERE
Both songs are taken from the band’s brand-new masterpiece record – At Least I’m Free – scheduled for release August 5 via Dew Process and Universal Music Australia. They represent the broad spectrum of shades and sounds across the album’s 11 tracks, which also features 2021’s QMA Award-winning barnburner of a single ‘Most Hated Girl’. “We chose to release a double single to give the listener the most vulnerable song versus the most visceral song,” explains DeVita of the double release. “Our album is one of duality and extremes, so we thought it would be best to give fans a taste of what’s to come. The highest highs and lowest lows. No in-betweens. BUCKLE UP.” If that wasn’t enough, the album also features another co-songwriter credit from US rock superstar K.Flay (‘No Doz’), and once again sees them once again team up with the production team behind their debut breakout album Big Grief – Australian icon Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger) and Grammy Award-Winner Nick DiDia (Bruce Springsteen). To compliment the two NEW tracks, the band has delivered one, extended clip for both songs. Filmed at famed Meanjin country venue The Triffid, the video – much like the songs themselves – is an exercise in darkness and light. The first act captures DeVita, dressed to the nines in a suit and solo on stage, emotionally banging out ‘Dangerous’ on an old piano (an heirloom owned by Gatling’s family that was damaged in the recent floods) which is draped in beautiful, dried, native flora. As the video unfolds and ‘Dangerous’ comes to a close, DeVita strips off her jacket, revealing her gallery of arm tattoos, as she runs off stage, picks up the mic, and explodes into ‘Help Me Hell.’ It’s a full band performance that perfectly encapsulates the ferocity of the live shows WAAX have built their reputation on. Directed by Phoebe Faye, it’s a brilliant and unique approach to a music video release, and the perfect take off launchpad for a project as daring as At Least I’m Free.