One of the most exciting metal bands to emerge from the SoCal metal scene, the mighty Warbringer is ready to thrash it once again with a vengeance. Their latest magnum opus has just been completed and will be unleashed through Century Media Records later on this year. Warbringer are slated to play various West Coast dates over the summer, and will surely be assaulting the world with their anthems once the new CD is out. We shall now catch up with Warbringer to discuss the upcoming album, their tour in Asia, their new drummer Carlos Cruz, and other topics in interest…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Warbringer and how long the band has been together.
Hey, this is guitarist John Laux from Warbringer. I’ve been in the band from the start and I have had a lot of influence on the sounds and directions the band has taken down this long windy road. We all got together in my garage sometime in 2004.
What do you think of the current Ventura and Los Angeles metal scenes and are there any current bands you could recommend?
It just keeps growing and growing. When we were starting there were a lot of familiar faces and bands. Today we can barely keep track. A lot has changed over the years and there are always younger kids and new bands coming out to shows full of energy and new ideas. Witchaven always knock me out, Heavy and nasty as hell, I hope they catch a good break soon. Exmortus and Bonded by Blood have had a lot of setbacks with line-up changes and they still press on and kill it every time I see them.
Tell me about your new drummer Carlos Cruz, what other bands he’s been in, and how did he become involved with Warbringer?
We have been playing shows with Carlos and Hexen for as long as anyone in the band can remember. He is an extremely talented and versatile musician. Simply, after two years of heavy touring we needed a new record and we were out on a rock because things just weren’t clicking with our last drummer. We knew Carlos had the chops and the passion so we had only asked him to help us write and record while we would have been looking for a permanent replacement. When we started rehearsing the whole vibe between the 5 of us just clicked, it’s all history now and we are all really excited to have him in the fold.
How far along are you on recording the new album and is there a working title for it?
We are finished! The whole process is still always stressful. I’m really glad we had 6 weeks to record this time (versus 2 weeks on the last one) and more than a few months to write the music! Everyone pulled their weight on this record and I couldn’t be happier with the results. We named it “Worlds Torn Asunder.” Dan Seagrave has done some killer art work again, and we needed a good fit. Lo and behold, Carlos came up with the title.
What made you decide to work with Steve Evetts this time around?
The most important reasons were that we wanted to work with someone who understands thrash and had a field of experience outside of it. We just aren’t happy with sampled kick drums and copy pasted guitars practices that are the norm in metal today. We wanted an organic record.
Steve Evetts’ production credits are huge, All the way from early Incantation records to Sepultura and The Dillinger Escape Plan. We wanted someone with real experience and who would be involved in the process from engineering the tones to mixing the record.
Select two songs from the upcoming Warbringer recording and what inspired you to write the lyrics?
With the songs I wrote for the record, I put a lot of thought into the whole picture, from the riffs to the the concepts and lyrical themes.
“Shattered Like Glass” is basically a song I worked out because of my RSI related wrist injury. I went through life for 22 years thinking the human body was invincible and amazing because it could always recover. The title and extreme themes echo how fragile existence and the body really are.
“Treacherous Tongue” had some basic lyrics that I gave to Kevill to take in his own direction. The main lines and themes came from an unnecessary, drunken debacle between a close friend and I. I was reading an autobiography written by Thomas De Quincey, “Confessions of an Opium Eater“, at the time and came across a Latin translation, “words once spoken can never be undone” that stuck out in my mind. I was also just writing some words down when I was stressed and stumbled onto the title of the song. Musically this is a pretty unique song for the band and it was a productive and cathartic experience for me.
How will this Warbringer album compare to the previous releases?
As always, more dynamics. I listen to a vary wide range of music, so when it comes to metal, I want it to hurt people, I want things heavy, mean, fast, and INTERESTING. I believe this record is our strongest effort to date. I had begun brain-storming riffs and structures for my songs for months on the road prior to working them out with band and had some very concrete ideas to bring to the table right off the bat. We also had a enough time for some pre-production and reflection of the new material. The actual sounds on the record also just blow the tones on the first 2 out of the water. Steve also had some pretty unreal tricks with analog effects for vocals hooks and guitar solos. It sounds HUGE. There is a ton of passion on War Without End, we had our whole garage band lives to work on those songs and the energy sold it, but the experience wasn’t there. I’m still very proud of Walking Into Nightmares. However it was a very difficult though an ultimately successful accomplishment, Gary Holt fell into place at the last minute and we had only 2 months to work out 10 new songs before I went in for shoulder surgery. As soon as I recovered we had to track it and split for tour. We felt pretty rushed and weren’t excited about only having only an IPOD and a Radio FM transmitter to work out the mixes. This time around, we had more time, experience, and resources. We’re always pushing ourselves harder and I feel that with every record the band just grows stronger and stronger.
How did your tour of Asia go last year and what were some of the highlights?
The whole damn thing was amazing. We basically went from Japan to Thailand, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The fact that we could play those cities for the first time in our lives and run into hundreds of kids who cut their teeth on the same kind of metal we do was a testament to the connection between young people across the globe. We had a blast in Japan sharing the stage with Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste. After that we basically played the longest sets we could for some killer fans. So far, I think that was easily one of the highlights of our career. We had a great time and met plenty of great people.
What could one expect from a live Warbringer show?
Stage presence and performance are the focal points of our entire career. We give the crowd all the energy we can. When they give it back… the whole thing Just explodes.
Any strange or unusual road stories you could share?
Oh, most of this is NSFW. You never run out surprises. Thankfully we have met many great people all over the world, the good stories balance out the bad. My personal favorite was a street walker in Edmonton who would blow balloon shapes and animals for change. Some kid popped a dog balloon with a cigarette the homeless guy was handing to a cute chick. It was uncalled for. The guy blowing the balloons wasn’t straight up begging for change and at least had a decent gimmick. He just calmly blew a few balloons, tied them behind his back, and in seconds dropped a cock and ball shaped hat on this kid’s head saying. “How does it feel to get T-bagged by a bum?” That comeback was full of class. I gave him all the pocket change I had.
What advice would you give an unsigned metal band looking for a record deal?
Work hard. Everyone has had to bite a few bullets, and understand It doesn’t get much easier on the other side so just make sure you enjoy yourself. Most importantly take chances and learn how to utilize the social networking sites. Personally, I’m not so crazy about admitting these things, but good image and presence on myspace really helped us network with local promoters, land gigs with similar bands, meet metal heads worldwide, and get attention from label reps. It’s even more complicated today, between Facebook, Youtube, and newer sites like Reverb Nation. There is a lot of ground to cover. Good Luck!
Do you have any messages for Warbringer fans?
Thank you for all your support! We couldn’t be happier playing music, and we’re glad we have had so many great opportunities to do so.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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