MUSIC INTERVIEW: WARGASM
Photo Credit: Haris Nukem
WARGASM are a band that every metal fan needs to know. Although it’s early days in the bands career, they already boast a vicious live show and a sound that can range from Prodigy to Slipknot. As a result, their own brand of ‘angry songs for sad people’ is seeing more and more fans flock to them. After their massive Leeds Festival performance, we caught up with singers/musicians Sam Matlock and Milkie Way to talk about their awesome live show, their huge new single Salma Hayek and a potential debut album down the line.
How do you feel your Leeds set went?
Milkie: I thoroughly enjoyed it especially when people always say Leeds is a harder crowd than Reading, I thought we got them on our side eventually.
Sam: Not for you Milkie.
M: Not me, it wasn’t hard.
S: Yeah, I thought it was great, I’m really happy with the pits, really happy with the songs we played, for us it’s all about gaging by the pits, just because we come from a more metal kind of world. So, we’re kind of used to people wearing battle jackets and fucking each other up, to see us bringing that energy to Reading and Leeds is probably why they wanted us on the line-ups, firstly check out WARGASM. Secondly, we need a band to make people fucking kill each other aha.
M: Every festival needs a bit of chaos.
100%, so how have you guys found playing festivals compared to gigs, because I remember at Download Pilot, Milkie said this was the band’s first ever festival performance
M: That was our first ever festival gig, yeah.
How have you found playing festivals compared to the gig environment?
S: Do you know what, you’re going to have to ask us next year after we’ve done some gigs, because we’ve done two little tours when we first started in 2019, and we were quite a different band then, then we evolved a bit in lockdown. People started liking us, and then they were like do you want to come back on the Main Stage at Download and we were like yeah alright, so it’s hard for us to gauge this compared to a gig as everything’s got a bit out of control because our first proper headline show that’s not socially distanced is like the fucking Underworld in a week or something, and it’s been sold out for ages. So, it’s gonna be 550 people bashing each other up. So, I don’t know how that’s going to compare to festivals because we haven’t actually done them yet, and the lockdown was quite a weird thing because externally we flourished digitally.
M: The band flourished, but personally, not so much, so we were lucky to be stuck together for most of the lockdown.
So, you guys have recently announced a tour, what should fans come to expect from a WARGASM gig that have never seen you guys play before?
S: I think it’s fun because obviously we’re not as heavy as Slipknot, and we’re not quite as cool as The Prodigy, but if you go somewhere between those bands, I find there’s a specific type of energy that’s the same at both concerts. It’s very tribal, and I think from watching the crowds so far at festivals we done, I think that’s what it’s going to be like, I mean I wouldn’t bring any valuables.
M: Or anything too spikey.
S: Look good but prepare to be bruised and be ready to spend the next morning off or something.
M: One of the guys from one of the bands who’s playing the same stage as us said y’all really fucked me up in the pit yesterday, and he was like I hurt my wrist and I have to play bass today, but it was worth it aha.
Yeah, some guy elbowed me right in the back during it, and it really fucked my back up but it was worth it aha
S: Yeah, but its good though, pain is good and it reminds you that you’re alive.
Speaking of The Prodigy, you recently released a new single called Salma Hayek, how do you feel the reception has been to that one?
S: Pretty awesome to be honest, there’s so many politics involved, and we don’t deal with them, it’s management’s problem, with the politics being involved in Spotify playlists and shit like that, so it’s done alright. I think showcasing it live has been exciting, and being given a chance to drop a song and to play it live a week later is fucking sick, I think the crowds liking it.
M: Seeing people sing those lyrics is just woo finally!
Interestingly, Spit also feels like a song that has been around for ages now, because as soon as that came on, everybody knew it – even the people not in the pit
S: Spit’s a weird one though, because a guy we work with naked Kieran Pepper, who’s a friend that’s really fun to collab with, he sent me a lot of the parts to Spit, like the instrumentals that were similar but also quite different. I just ripped a bass line out of that and some drums and that song came together really quick, for me it was a song that I never saw us releasing.
M: I forced him to release it.
S: Yeah, Milkie was like you gotta do this, we gotta drop this tune, and I was like nah man if I was an A and R and a four-and-a-half-minute song dropped with a screamo chorus and Meatloaf instrumental was dropped on my desk, I would say it’s good but wouldn’t release it as a single, it turns out I was completely fucking wrong because the amount of live radio plays that got is more than most people’s entire album campaigns. So, I think if you just write what you want to write, and I think if you’re honest and chill and just have fun with it, people connect with it and stuff finds its own place, the second you start trying is the second you’ve lost and you start cheating on yourself, it’s not about trying, it’s about doing and enjoying it.
M: Do or do not, there is no try.
Yeah, I can say as a fan of you guys, I got into you guys through Download TV when Spit came on, and I’m pretty sure that’s where a lot of your fans came from too
S: Mate, I had to play guitar for it on that one and now I don’t, now I’m unchained and untethered, and I am now the destroyer of microphones, do you know what it is, when you throw a microphone, it’s the perfect weight, if you grab it like a javelin with the little ball on the front, it will fucking go, and some of the stages are a bit big so when I’m down on the barrier and I look back and one day his face is gonna be two inches lower and his mouth is going to be open and I’m going to get him.
Milkie: Our drummer or guitarist?
S: I’m gonna get his teeth and wear them as a necklace and shout PLAY BETTER.
M: That’s what session guitarists and drummers are for!
S: If you play a good show, you can have your canine back!
Where did you guys actually find your session drummer because having seen you guys live, he’s awesome.
M: He’s actually a promoter from Birmingham that we’re friends with.
S: He’s a work friend and I used to do some bits with him in our band, and he helped us out when me and Milkie started jamming because we were first like well we’ve gotta learn how to play guitars and sing at the same time – let’s do that in a rehearsal room together, and we tried out a bunch of professional drummers and it didn’t really work. He suggested a few mates that were a bit pants and didn’t work with the vibe, and when he was filling in to help me and Milkie practice, I think it’s because we’re friends and everyone’s a bit, not rock and roll, but a bit sleazy and doesn’t give a fuck – maybe that attitude is what gels together better than technically proficient playing. Like WARGASM is under no illusions that we’re not like virtuosos, it’s the same thing it’s just back to the energy and trying to match that, like our session guitarist we found in a pub, he said to us you look cool and showed us his Instagram and showed us a load of his Linkin Park CDs and selfies and we said do you play something and he said yeah, I play guitar.
M: and it turns out he was fucking amazing at it.
S: 18 months later I was like yeah, I don’t want to play guitar all the time anymore, what you up to, and that’s it and that’s what life should be. It should be natural, we should be natural, it should just happen and I’m sure it comes to a point where we’ll have to hire out professionals.
M: But we’re not at that moment yet.
S: We’re not at that moment yet, and I’d rather as a team we grew together, to be honest our van is basically a crew of people we’ve met over the years. We meet people and we’re like you could be good for our band, wanna come for a ride and play some festivals for free!
Aha, I remember during your set and your guitarist was like rolling around on his back playing guitar and it was awesome, they felt really like part of the band
M: That’s Eddie Phoenix.
S: Eddie fucking Phoenix.
You guys have also spoke about releasing an album at some point and I was wondering if you had any update for the fans?
M: We haven’t started recording it technically.
S: I think I might have some of it written, but to be honest, Milkie models and does like collaborative shit, and I write for other people quite a bit. Since everything’s opened up, everyone’s been a bit overwhelmed.
M: We just haven’t had time to write an album.
S: I don’t know how much kids are into it these days if they are reading interviews, but I mean to be honest, we’re being sent away to somewhere residential to make some songs. Maybe it’ll come back as an album, maybe it’ll come back as a bunch of singles again and then we’ll be like cool let’s keep dripping them out, I think people put too much value on an album, if you’re enjoying something, just enjoy it, there’s definitely enough songs to put in your playlist without having to add an album. We’re not going to rush it, and when we do this album, I want to do it right, I want it to be perfect and I want to be a snapshot of exactly where we are at that time, and Milkie wants it to be as good as Hybrid Theory.
M: There’s no point in releasing an album if it’s not as good as Hybrid Theory like just be better aha, that’s the milestone I’m setting for myself.
S: There’s that thing as well where Slipknot obliterated the charts with their most recent record.
M: And knocked Ed Sheeran off his three-week reign.
That was beautiful.
S: It’s a bit weird to be doing that in a digital age, but to me there, the lesson is that it’s just a really fucking good record, and it’s personally my favourite Slipknot record ever.
M: If you’re just that good, you simply cannot fail, that’s what Slipknot taught everyone when that album dropped and it went straight to number one in the UK off physical record sales, which is mad!
S: But then the thing is, why would you not wanna play songs that good live, you’re not just going to sit there and be like must do better! Must sell records! If I wanna be playing it live, I wanna be so fucking proud of it, there’s a consistent battle in WARGASM where we wanna do this and have authenticity versus how far can we go before we start cheating on ourselves kinda thing. I think we’re starting to find that balance, and when we find that balance where we can get away with fucking murder without crossing any lines or doing anything that’s really out of character for us, that’s when it’s going to be time to sit down and record the entire thing, and I’m hoping it will be a lightning strike thing where we blitz it out in a week and then suddenly, we’re like done. It’ll be a snapshot in time, and the more people that hype it up and ask for the album, the more pressure there is to deliver, but I’m confident as more time passes, the more people are going to be like fuck me, I’m glad we waited.
I hope so! Lastly, what does the next 12 months look like for you guys?
M: A shit load of live shows, we’re playing ALT LDN on Monday, Slam Dunk next week, Underworld on the 10th, Burn it Down on the 11th, we’re doing a headline tour in November, we’re out with Creeper in December, we’ve got some other shows that are yet to be announced.
S: We’re going to America with Enter Shikari in March next year, should be good.
Oh wow, you guys are busy!
M: Yea aha.
S: To be honest, even if we do come back with an album, I wanna put some more songs out. I’ve got a hankering for one more track this year before album time, or maybe two. I don’t know, to be honest mate if we can record something next year I kinda just wanna yeet it out.
M: The single format is fun, and so is the album format, but they both serve different purposes.
S: But there’s like two on my phone that I really wanna put vocals on aha.
M: Well, there you go!
Interview by: Joe Loughran
See WARGASM live at the following dates:
Fri 10th – LONDON – Underworld
Sat 11th – TORQUAY – Burn It Down Festival
December 2021 with Creeper
Wed 15th – LONDON – O2 Forum Kentish Town
Thu 16th – BRIGHTON – Concorde 2
Fri 17th – BIRMINGHAM – O2 Institute
Sun 19th – GLASGOW – Garage
Mon 20th – MANCHESTER – O2 Ritz
Tue 21st – LEEDS – Beckett University Students Union