Warwound have reformed and are on an aural assault all over the globe! Taking time out of their busy schedule, the band recount how it all came to pass…
So, tell us a bit about the band.
@S: Warwound are an old school D-Beat hardcore punk band originally hailing from Lichfield in Staffordshire, England. The current line-up is Damian, Stevie, Ian and Rat, who live from Tyneside to Herefordshire, by way of Stoke and Nottingham. Everything Warwound recorded from the old days has been collected and released on the Huge Black Cloud record in collaboration with Profane Existence and Spinal Vinyl records.
What caused Warwound to fold originally and become ultimately The Varukers?
@D: Warwound were relatively busy for a small band in early 1983, three demos had been recorded and local gigs around the Lichfield area (where all original members lived at the time) and they were regular & good fun. However, that was the extent of it. When The Varukers placed an ad for new members in ‘Sounds’ magazine, Damian & Andy auditioned & were offered places in a band that already had a record deal & toured worldwide. Warwound, as it was, ceased to be. Some younger friends from the same area adopted the name and carried on for a while later.
The band has had such a long hiatus – what catalysed the reformation?
@S: Part of it was Damian being ready to do it and partly a chance encounter. Rat was on his way to South Shields in Tyneside to work on The Vile material with me when he bumped into Damian at the train station in Newark. After a conversation and a few discussions about line up we met for a jam in Nottingham and clicked from day one.
The current line-up is indeed a who’s-who of hardcore punk. Was that planned at all or was it just a case of available talent at the time?
@S: As Rat and Damian had bumped into each other in that Newark train station and started talking about Warwound, so the current line up just grew from there. Rat and I play together in The Vile so were already connected through that and although I play guitar in The Vile I originally started with them on drums and have also covered for Stick on a number of occasions with The Varukers. Drummers are always difficult to find so I suppose it was an easy choice for Rat. I was interested in playing guitar with Damian, he was originally the bass player in Warwound and initially intended to resume bass duties. Rat and I really wanted him to play guitar as he rips on it but he would only agree to do it if Ian played bass, so Damian asked him and Ian agreed to come for a jam. I agreed to play drums as we seemed to be gravitating towards being a four piece so we met up and jammed and kicked arse from the first note. The rest, as they say, is history.
Coming from disparate areas of the UK, it must be hard work practising etc? How do you all manage it?
@S: We have to put extra effort in to make it happen but you kinda get used to it. It’s much easier to keep in touch these days so that helps a lot. We write riffs and send ideas back and forward so when we rehearse we hit the ground running. It’s hard, but if you want something to work, you do what’s necessary to make it happen.
The crowd at the recent Obscene Extreme festival seemed to enjoy your set… how was it for you to play out in front of that lot?
@I: They were a fantastic crowd, really up for it, and the atmosphere at that festival was quite unlike anything I’ve encountered anywhere else. Just look at the footage, with all the pool inflatables flying around! It was a crazy gig, but they made us feel so welcome, from the moment we walked onstage to the moment we left. They were stage diving within 30 seconds of us playing the first note, haha! Also, bear in mind that Brussels Airlines had lost all our equipment on the flight over, so literally 5 minutes before we were due onstage, we were still running around backstage, trying to borrow guitars and bass drum pedals – even plectrums and drum sticks. We had NOTHING, and there were a few minutes there where it looked like we weren’t going to be able to play. But, thankfully, the international punk community that we belong to is very trusting and generous, and people who we hadn’t met until that moment were prepared to step in and help us out by loaning us their own instruments. And our old friends in Memoriam sorted us out with effects pedals and cables and stuff, and it all came together at the last minute. A fantastic, heart-warming experience, and Curby, the promoter, really looked after us, so we were very happy.
You’ve been hitting Europe hard recently. How did that come about? Was it demand or simply part of a planned invasion to win hearts and minds?
@I: There’s no plan as such other than trying to get out and play good punk music in front of people that want to see it. Obviously as four old veterans it’s more exciting if we can somehow hit places we’ve never been to before, but we will go and play anywhere that people are prepared to have us. We’re not bothered about making money, so there’s never any discussions about ‘shifting more units’ or ‘upping our profile’ or ‘breaking new territories’ etc… if we can cover our costs and it looks like fun, we’ll probably do it.
Are there plans for more UK dates? I’m sure there are plenty of people out there waiting for a chance to see you play.
@S: We will definitely be playing UK dates and as we are currently demoing an album, we want to play our new material to as many people as we can. Like Ian said earlier, if we can cover our costs and people want us we will pretty much play anywhere, we’re wanted.
What do you think of the current South East Asia scenes?
@S: Wherever we find ourselves in the world punk seems to find a way to live, breathe and prosper. South East Asia is somewhere we haven’t been, however the punks out there are making it happen and standing up for their way of life the best way they can. We salute them and punk all over the world.
Are there plans to record new material? If so, do you have producers in mind?
@I: We have always said we want to be a band that records new material, and we’re not content to just live off past glories. Although as die-hard fans of many years of the Sacrilege songs that Damian wrote (and the ‘Another Religion Another War’ material he did with Rat in the Varukers), some of those songs will always be in the set. But it’s important to us that we validate ourselves as a band by producing new material that is relevant today, and we are all too creative to just rest on our laurels and not write new songs.
Punk isn’t about nostalgia, it’s about the here and now and creating an alternative for ourselves.
Will it form part of an album or an EP perhaps?
@I: We have two songs on a split 7″ with Minneapolis band, War//Plague, coming out in the US on Dr Strange Records and as a CDEP in Japan on MCR, but more importantly we are working on the debut Warwound LP, which will take the Warwound formula hit upon by Damian Thompson over 30 years ago and bring it screaming up-to-date. We’re demoing songs for it right now, and they are fast, nasty and intense, with a raw metallic edge to them, and although we’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re certainly putting our own stamp on it.
If you had to choose between Bandcamp and Facebook for the band to use as a promotional tool, which would you rather keep?
@S: We use the most popular social networking and email to communicate and promote Warwound. However, playing gigs and getting out there and talking with punks all over the world, good old word of mouth and a reputation for playing hard and fast whilst staying humble works for us as a band.
Has there been any interest from record labels or do you prefer the DIY approach?
@I: There has been some interest from record labels, most of them pretty small and grass roots, but we are leaning towards financing our own recordings, so we own them, and then we can proceed by licensing them ourselves. Damian runs Spinal Vinyl Records already so we have a way of releasing our own records. That said, we also don’t have a lot of money, so we’re currently figuring out the best way to raise the cash necessary to record our LP… maybe if the right label – i.e. who we TRUSTED – was prepared to invest in our album, we might consider it. But artistic control is very important to us. We’re too long in the tooth to put up with some label telling us what to do and when. We want to record and tour when we feel like it – not when they need us to for their marketing campaign or whatever.
Have you been interviewed in any other magazines? I’m thinking Terrorizer, Iron Fist, Zero Tolerance etc. Are you bothered?
@I: Terrorizer and Down For Life are both going to interview us, but it makes sense to wait until we have something coming out, so we can let people know about the new release.
It’s always nice to get chance to air your views to a whole new set of people, but it isn’t the end of the world if you can’t, and the grass roots fanzine network can always be trusted to write about underground music when no-one else will. But we’re not elitist in any shape or form, so if we can reach out to some mainstream metal kids, for example, and get them interested in Warwound, and hopefully by extension UK punk music, and just punk music in general, that’s a good thing.
Is there anyone out there that you’d like to take the time out to thank?
@I: We have to thank Dejan Podobnik, who just drove us around Eastern Europe with no Sat Nav or map – or brakes! He is a wonderfully patient, exceptionally generous human being, and we’ll no doubt be working with him again in the future – just because we like him so much. And that’s what it’s about for us – playing this music around the world and making new friends as we go.
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