Meet The Watermelons. The soon to be non-juicy-fruit-elons. “We’re currently looking to change the band name from The Watermelons to LikeBike, we want something a bit snappier and a bit less fruity.” Toby, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist, tells me.
Having been together as a band for seven years, The Watermelons’ name switch signifies a change on their part. But lead guitarist Sam assures me their hopes for this year are “the same as ever: to keep getting the music out to more and more people, and hopefully switch people on what we’re doing.”
David, who plays bass in the band, agrees that the fundamental reasons the band are together aren’t going to be compromised: “What inspires us is realising we can make people feel different emotions through listening to our music, we’ll get a lot of comments of people saying ‘wow, this song really makes me happy’ and that’s always a nice thing.”
Sounds like the band have enjoyed their share of humble, watermelon pie in their time, which is certainly reflected in their lives outside the band.
Toby is studying Creative music Technologies at Kingston University, while training part-time to become a primary school music teacher. Sam is studying History and Politics at the University of Sussex, and David works in a pizza van selling pizzas from a mobile stonebaked oven, making The Watermelons a bit of a well-intentioned motley crüe. And it’s no wonder, with influences like The Beatles, The Libertines and the Arctic Monkeys, The Watermelons are slightly Brit-pop, but with a zingy alt-American injection a la Eels and Haim. “I think a lot of how we work, as a band anyway, is I’ll bring an idea, usually chord structure, melody and lyrics, and we’ll jam that idea for a bit, see what we like and what we don’t, mix it about a bit until it’s smoothed out, and then bake in the oven for about 20-25 mins or until golden brown.” Toby tells me.
The Watermelons met when they were still at school, and started off playing covers in pubs, but David says it’s only in the past two years that they’ve realised their potential as a band to make The Watermelons their full-time career. “It’s really fun coming together and making music, and I’d like to think if we didn’t make this our career we would still be together writing and producing records.”
Genre-wise, it’s difficult for the band to pin themselves down into one category. “It’s hard to say what exactly inspires the music but I’d describe the majority of it as bouncy, upbeat indie rock. There’s a real mix of style and feel in the tunes so it’s hard to generalise.” Sam explains.
Toby agrees with this analysis: “It is kind of a double edged sword as it means we end up with a lot of our music sounding very different, genre-ly speaking. One day we might have a Paul Simon inspired sound and the next a Nirvana-guitar drum-driven sound.” Recently, The Watermelons have played a gig at fundraising event for the charity Dig Deep. Held in Kingston, the show brought together a range of talented acts, and all to support volunteers who will climb Mount Kilimanjaro this summer in aid of Dig Deep.
As well as supporting a great cause, the events also served as a platform for bands to showcase their music to a new audience: “we try and help where we can. It’s also a great way for us to gain new fans,” David explains. Naomi Lynch, one of the organisers of the event, and Dig Deep volunteer, said: “They were great! They really got the crowd going on the night. They have lots of talent and were so much fun to watch.”
“They brought all their own equipment and were kind enough to let some of the other bands use it,” she added. You can donate to Naomi’s Dig Deep project here. The Watermelons play regularly around London, but they’re Brighton-based boys for now. Hoping to release a new EP and video under their soon-to-be pseudonym, The Watermelons will “keep on writing music, and hopefully gain more fans,” David tells me.
You can check out more of their music on SoundCloud.