PRETTY AWKWARD isn’t just a new band. They’re a bad with years of cred. The band’s frontman Austin Held was in Girl on Fire for years and spent years on the road playing dingey clubs to sweaty people. The band’s Nicholas Wiggins? He’s from Aiden. Jake Jones and Damien Ward – they’ve played in different bands over the years too. It’s not fair to call them a supergroup because those bands didn’t break big exactly, but they’re not far off from it either. Alternative Addiction recently talked with PRETTY AWKWARD’s Austin Held about the group getting together, their new song “Misfits” and the plan for releasing more new music before the end of the year.
“Nicholas and I grew up in Seattle and we were in a bunch of local bands” began Held talking on how the band got together. “Nick was in Aiden and I was in Girl on Fire. When he was done touring with Aiden, he was in another alternative band and he was home for about a year. Girl on Fire was recording a record with Jay Baumgardner at NRG Studios and Jay had mentioned that there was a lot of guitar on the album and we needed another guitar player. So, I talked to Nick. He came and played on that record and he was in the band for a couple of years until that group disbanded. At that point, Nick and I really became focused in our songwriting and we wanted to hone in on that craft.”
“We grew up in punk rock,” explained Held on he and Wiggins working on their song writing after Girl On Fire ended its tenure. “We weren’t traditionally framed in music. We developed our abilities through feel, just having fun with that. So, a few years ago, we locked ourselves in a room and really started focusing on songwriting. Jake Jones hit us up, he wasn’t doing anything, and he heard we needed a guitar player and joined up. We practiced and wrote for a year and then we had a headlining gig a few years ago under our previous name and Damien – our current drummer – hit me up and kind of solidified the lineup. He had talked to me after we released an acoustic track online. He said he’d be into it and he came and jammed with us and the chemistry was there. We didn’t want to stay in one lane, we wanted to do just whatever we wanted to do on any given day.”
Even for a band coming up in Seattle and growing up in music in the era of alternative/punk/rock music that they grew up in, the coming together of PRETTY AWKWARD can be said to be organic. Still, the guys in the band? They don’t really fit in with modern music that you’d expect a lot of people to do. They’re misfits, which happens to be the name of their most recent single.
“I feel like it’s one of many anthems that we could have,” said Held refusing to claim that’s the only thing the band is about. “We only have three songs out, but everybody has yet to hear the rest. We really like that kind of anthemic punch to songs. We like storytelling and especially just – it shows where we’re coming from. We’re not the coolest, we’ve never been the coolest, we’re the misfits. It was funny when Nick started the idea of that track and tossed it to me. I heard this nostalgic vibe to it. I wondered how we made that work and it started out as kind of like a ballad and it ended up being more upbeat after we worked with a couple of different producers,” added the PRETTY AWKARD frontman.
Next up for PRETTY AWKWARD? It’s still September and with everything going on in the world we’re unlikely to see touring return until at least Spring of 2021. Keeping that in mind, Held and PRETTY AWKWARD are staying active and looking to stay relevant until they can win fans over with their live show.
“We’ve got two more songs – at least one more song to come out before the end of the year,” said Held on the plans with PRETTY AWKWARD before the years is up. “We’re just playing it by ear like everybody else. We just have to get music out and show people what we’ve got. You just have to keep moving forward.”-aa