|Our editors with John Kevill|
John Kevill: Yes. Well we’ve been here for 4 hours and all of us like it, everyone in the production crew has been very nice to us and everything’s very organized. The venue is nice, the sound is good and everyone has been very nice. I met a few of the fans just now and they had Warbringer decals on their iPods. It’s really cool and when you see that kind of stuff it gets you really excited. The streets are clean and nice. Singapore’s a really nice place. We’ll get to see this city more tomorrow and we are heading to Malaysia the next day. We literally showed up maybe 4 hours ago in Singapore but we like what we are seeing so far. Tomorrow we’ll get to do some sight-seeing.
For people who are NOT here at the gig, give us an introduction and history of Warbringer.
Well, we’re Warbringer from Los Angeles, California. We started in late 2004 and it was our first band. We’ve just rehearsed loud and been touring ever since. We play aggressive, punch-to-the-face kind of thrash metal.
|Waking into Nightmares|
How has the reception for the band’s latest album been?
It’s pretty good. People seem to really like the album and it makes us feel really happy.
For this album, the band managed to get Gary Holt of the legendary Exodus to produce the album, and for the debut full length, you got Bill Metoyer to produce the album. How did these collaborations come about? Was having a legendary producer like Bill produce the album difficult? Was creativity within the band limited?
No. Our first tour ever was with Exodus when we put out our first album. We were really rookies then. Exodus were actually much nicer to us than had be, because we were screwing up and fighting each other over stuff that bands do on their first time on the road before they know what they doing, and Exodus were just really nice to us. The tour there was harsh winter weather and sometimes we were showing up so late at the show that we couldn’t even play but they didn’t kick us out of the tour. A lot of bands they kept us on there actually helped us out, so we had a friendly relationship with them from the beginning.
So you learned a lot and had a lot of experience from Exodus?
Yeah, we have already toured with them twice now and all those guys are our friends and really nice dudes and when we were looking for a producer for the second album, the idea came across to see if Gary was interested so we called him up. He gladly accepted the request and everything just fell into place.
Prior to this show in Singapore, you guys played in Thailand and Indonesia. How are the fans in Asia like so far, compared to back at home?
It’s been really good. The Thailand show especially was amazing and before that we played in Japan. The Tokyo show was extremely good where we played with Toxic Holocaust.
Were there any problems faced when in Thailand?
Well, we went in right as it started. It happened right before the day we flew in. Bangkok is huge and it was happening only at one part of the city. Apparently it has gotten worse since we left. It’s really unfortunate because it seemed like a very great city and we had a lot of fun there. The fans were amazing so I really hope that the situation resolves itself and there is not too much violence. On the last day we drove past a part of the town where all the exits were fenced off and the army was there. There was a high rise building that we went past where there was a huge billow of smoke and it was on fire. We’ve never really seen that before. It’s very unusual.
Warbringer has often been mentioned as the band that has brought back good old school thrash metal. How does it feel to be put in such high regards among fans of metal?
It feels great. We are playing this kind of metal because it is where our passion lays. It’s all about playing what you feel and we wanted to play what we probably feel the best style of heavy metal. We more into all kinds of metal, not just thrash. That’s what we set out to do and we are really happy that people are receiving us so well.
The touring schedule for Warbringer in 2010 has been pretty packed.
Since Century Media put out our records, we have done almost 600 shows.
Any experiences that you have encountered on this tour that you might want to share with us?
The only thing that we want to complain of is the heat. It’s not so bad here. In Bangkok it was for real. Oh man. Indonesia was brutal too so we’ve been trying to stay indoors as much as we can. Apart from that, the fans, the people from those places make it all worth it.
What’s do you think is the reason behind new bands playing old school metal all over again?
I think people started looking back in heavy metal history, because of the dissatisfaction with the way that normal metal was going. I kind of felt that way myself and I think that a lot of the modern metal doesn’t have the feelings and the passion in it that the classic styles of heavy metal had. That’s pretty much it. The old stuff’s better so that’s what we are gonna play! There are so many bands that sound the same now but you take 2 of the classic bands, they each had their unique sounds. That’s what drawn us to playing the old school style and we are trying to forge our own identity and form our own sound within thrash metal. We aren’t trying to copy any bands.
How do you differentiate yourselves from so many thrash metal bands around?
[Laughs] We don’t think about it so much, we just play. I think it’s the best way.
Warbringer has shared the same stage with the likes of Megadeth and Vader. Are there any other bands that you would like to perform with that you haven’t as yet?
We’ve pretty much played with a lot of our favourite bands. We’ve played with Kreator, Exodus, Testament, Megadeth, all the thrash metal legends, and also Vader, Napalm Death and Suffocation, so some death metal legends in there as well. We haven’t toured with too many black metal bands.
Now, for some light hearted questions. First off, why bring war when you can bring peace to the world? What are the situations when you think peace should be brought instead?
Well, all the time. If you read any of the lyrics, we never said that it’s good. We just talk about people dying and all the horrible things that are happening but I never ever said that it’s good. It’s one of those things where you just look at it and go “oh obviously this is a very bad thing.”
So Warbringer doesn’t actually advocate war.
[Laughs] No! We just like to put out aggressive music and warfare kind of represents the worst way that people can treat other people and it’s a terrible thing. So we get that out through music and don’t actually do it.
What are the band’s pre-performance rituals prior to bringing war to the stage?
Everyone kind of have their own rituals. Sometimes I’ll just have a beer and yell at the wall. I just yell at things and make sure that everything’s working right, maybe do some push ups or some jumping jacks. It’s to prevent me from feeling tired and wake myself up so I can go up and deliver a good performance.
No particular rituals for luck or stuff like that?
Any particular influences for yourself?
Oh yes! At first I started off trying to sing because my favourite vocals were the classic heavy metal ones, like Bruce Dickinson, those kind of guys. But I can’t really sing for shit. So what I’m really doing, I’m going for a really aggressive style, like Tom Araya, Mille Petrozza, Pat Lind from Morbid Saint are some of my influences. It’s a really aggressive rapid fire style. Don Doty from Dark Angel is another influences, the really rapid fire kind of vocals. That was partly what got me into thrash metal. So it’s the style I worked on. The trick is that you have to be really harsh and annunciate the words a lot. If you can spit out the words fast and have yourself understand the songs and the lyrics are aggressive, it sounds like a barrage of violence.
So you grew up listening to thrash, or were there other influences as well?
I started out with classic rock and classic heavy metal and went from there. So I listen to a lot of thrash, a lot of black metal, death metal, speed metal, power metal. Basically, good heavy metal. There are a bunch of stuff that aren’t even metal and they are just cool music, but metal had a special place in me.
What made you decided to form a band?
At the beginning? I think it was just from listening to more music. As I mentioned, we formed the band when we started to listen to heavy metal. We didn’t know each other before. We met each other because we didn’t know anyone else who listened to heavy metal. John Laux and I were both around the same days. He was really into Megadeth and I just got into metal. I just heard Kreator and he just heard Megadeth 6 months ago so we kind of got into a lot of metal together and started writing songs almost right away. We just had passion for music and we just wanted to play. We didn’t really think that we would end up in Singapore. We just wanted to start out as a garage band and we just rehearsed a lot.
|Warbringer live in Singapore|
How did Century Media get hold of the band?
They went to see another band that we were opening for and it was one of our early shows and they thought we had some potential. We weren’t very good yet at that point in time but we had some attention. So they said that if we decided to do something else, let them know and keep them in the loop with what’s going on in the band. So 6 to 8 months later, we made our EP and we gave them a copy and that’s when they wanted to sign up because they thought that we have improved enough to be signed. They caught us really early as a band and we maybe only had 5 songs written then.
On the EP?
No. It was really really in the band’s history when they first saw us.
Ok, we have come to the end of the interview. Any parting words to all the fans of Warbringer?
Thanks to everyone for your support, and thanks to all who have come to the show tonight, it will be awesome! Hope to see you all next year!
Thank you for taking the time off for this interview! We hope you have a good time in Asia!
Thanks to John Kevill for taking the time to accept the interview despite having just arrived in Singapore 4 hours prior to the session. Special thanks to Zul from Cynical Sounds for arranging this opportunity for us!
Photos courtesy of Ayla Omar from SRH Singapore.
Intervew with Yazed from Cynical Sounds