The British band Wasia Project is formed by siblings Will Gao and Olivia Hardy. In less than five years since the band debuted, Wasia Project has accumulated a lot of fans and can be seen at many music festivals. After releasing their debut EP last year, their fame gradually spread like wildfire on social media. With the release of how can i pretend?, they began to understand the changes in their lives as they officially entered the music industry.
Olivia said "Last year in the summer, we did some shows, and there was one in London that we did that was very big. And I just remember that live performance being one of my favourite parts, I just felt like we'd grown a lot. And it was very exciting for me.” Will continued and said "The most impressive thing since releasing the last EP? I’d say writing and recording in the new studio that we work in now. And that shift being like, that's probably my favourite moment since.”
Everything Went Fine After Taking The Stage
Wasia Project's performances on stage always make people sway to their music, but although they are full of youthful confidence, they are still somewhat nervous when facing a large audience. "I get really nervous. It's something I've always been nervous about, going on stage. And I'd say now it's as I've grown older, like when I was younger, it was much easier to go out on stage, I cared a lot less. But being a member of Wasia Project, I really care about the show being good. And people paid to come and see us and it's got to be good. So yeah, I get nervous. I don't know how anyone doesn't get nervous. It baffles me.” After listening to Will’s words, Olivia said, “There are some times where I feel less nervous. I have this thing where I get really sleepy just before. But I don't know if that counts as nervous. Then I go on stage and it's fine. I just have the thing where once you are on stage, then everything is just fine.”
Olivia and Will they are very close. Even when performing on stage, it feels like having a party with the audience. Whether it’s jumping up, getting low, or singing along. They always have a joyful connection with the audience.
Conflict Makes Music Better
“Probably when William is posting, because we share the social media account, it's like deciding what to post is always very difficult. Because it's one of those hard things where because when you have your own social media account. It's very easy for you to just do what you want. But when it's joint, we have to collaborate and work together on how we want to present ourselves as a collective. So, it takes a lot more thought. But I think it's not frustrating. It's just the first thing that came to my brain. William, what do you think? Will said, "I don't really know. I’m super chill."
Since there is nothing that the members of the Wasia Project can't stand about each other, there is always something they like about each other the most, right? Will said, “I think Olivia's musicianship is very good. And her creativity in a room is very admirable. Yeah,” Olivia said, “My favourite thing is when we'll be creating something together. We'll sort of bounce off of each other. And I think my favourite thing is when we reach a conclusion creatively, that we both feel just clicks in. We're in that space, it’s a very special thing.”
Wasia Project has a very good vibe. Although I only interviewed them through video, their interactions and conversations with a journalist in Taiwan; I can feel their youthful and confident atmosphere in every word.
But their opinions are not always the same. For Wasia Project, if there is a conflict during the creative process, then this is actually a good thing for them. Because only by constantly challenging each other and giving real opinions will the work be better. Like Will said, when you take the opposite view, the music produced is better. "It makes the music better if you disagree.”
How would you define the musical style of Wasia Project? Perhaps it would be closest to their hearts to let them explain it themselves. Will said "I think with the songwriting, it’s quite classic songwriting. And it's basically both of us writing about the kind of the youth experience or life experiences. But the way we create, I'd call it alternative pop or pop, the way we project it and kind of present it is in a way with quite a fused way of lots of different influences. So, I'd say that's kind of the crux of it.” Olivia said "Yeah, it does. I think it's like a fusion of a lot of different influences that sort of come together quite naturally. Because a lot of the time in the music we write and create, it's not intentional, like, ‘oh, this one's gonna sound like this, and it's gonna have a bit of jazz and a bit this huge classical bit.’ It's sort of written, and then it carries out and it's, it becomes this thing of a lot of different paths.
Proud of My Roots
The rise of Wasia Project demonstrates that the musical prowess of East Asian culture cannot be underestimated. Although the two of them are of mixed Chinese and English descent, we must not deny that there is still some a strong influence from East Asian heritage. If Wasia Project has the opportunity to tour Asia, they will want to visit as many cities and as many countries as possible. At this point Will said, I'm beginning to see lots of artists from around the world, but who are originally East Asian, or from Asia. And it gives this kind of voice to people, especially back in Asia. Like artists, obviously, Laufey, and Grant Perez, like that. They're giving inspiration to people and representation. And I feel that's something we really want to honour.”
As for the two musicians, how does Wasia Project interpret Labour of Love? The band said: "The love of music that Waisa Project as well as collaborators and as a band, we share and we love them. The work we put into the music is our own. We think it's our love of our own integrity, like artistically. We want to put out and we want to share the music that really means a lot to us and really excites us. We think the kind of hard work we put into that is not only kind of loving the music, but it's also kind of loving the honesty that we can create and loving the kind of the passion that we create around the music as well, if that makes any sense?”
PHOTOGRAPHY/ @jemimashoots at @almaartistsltdlondon
HAIR/ @diegomirandahair at @btstalent using @marianilaprofessional
GRAPHIC DESIGNER/ @zenyunzon
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT/ @ericranderson & Lee Furnival
FASHION ASSISTANT/ @beckyjadeoconnor