London-based outfit Whales in Cubicles released their debut single ‘We Never Win’ this week. Taking their name from an Andrew Bird song and drawing influence from Neil Young, Black Sabbath and Blur, Whales in Cubicles give us a taster of what’s to come with their anthemic, call to arms debut. Italian born singer and guitarist Stef Bernardi spoke exclusively to Gutter.

What were the beginnings of Whales in Cubicles like?

After playing as a guitarist in various London bands, I felt it was time to give my songs a try. I met Leo through an ex-bandmate and played him some chords on guitar one night we were hanging out. Those chords became ‘We Never Win’ and in our minds, even before meeting Alex and Jamie, that’s when the band was born.

‘We Never Win’ is an anthem for the downtrodden and forgotten, does this give us an accurate taster of things to come?

I think everyone can relate to the song at some level. We all know something about making the same mistakes again and again and again don’t we? And indecision, two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and you can’t take either. The album is going to revolve around this theme.

What do you draw influence from when shaping your sound?

There are beacons we turn to. I personally gauge everything against what the people I love have done before me and strive to think of how I can contribute in adding to that tradition in my own way. We all have a similar taste in music but everyone has a different idea of what any given song should sound like.

Do you think your mixed backgrounds within the band adds anything extra to your dynamic?

I believe so, take out anyone of us from the room doing practice and it’s just not the same. We all balance each other. We all grew up in very different places.

How would you rate the current UK music scene? And what are you looking to contribute?

There are a few guitar bands we love…Tribes, Dud, Arrows of Love, Second Head… I’m into music that reflects its times. When everything around me is collapsing and some clean cut looking kid is singing “kiss me baby tonight, let’s dance oh yeah” I lose interest immediately. Thankfully, Tribes are killing it and that makes us very happy cause it’s about time someone like them gets the attention of a wide audience.

What do you strive to bring to a live performance?

Music is the only thing I would call sacred. As much as I hate the S word, there’s a part of our brain that relates to it. I always struggle to get in that mindzone although it’s hard to keep spontaneity at times.

What do you hope to have achieved by the end of the year?

We hope to have toured the country extensively, played a bunch of festivals and have an album ready to come out.

Listen here:

We Never Win is out now on Young and Lost.