A couple of months ago, what could be classed as a supergroup of sorts from Australia had enough of the standard wimpy, keyboard clean vocals in extreme metal as it can be today. Werewolves wanted to return to the old days when death metal was death metal the brutal way and before you knew it, Werewolves had released its debut album The Dead are Screaming through Prosthetic Records. My comrade Rick summed up the album as “full of blind hatred, blast beats and unrelenting brutality”. It seemed to be that I was the only one brave enough to ask questions to the band and I must admit, I was apprehensive about the responses but I found myself to laugh my ass off with them and damn sure not at them. With album numbers two and three already written, Werewolves will disappear into the night before you know it… Or will they? Let’s find out.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Sam: Matt and Dave live in Melbourne, although Dave is Taswegian. I live about 800km away in Adelaide. We’re all Australian.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
Sam: I think… July last year? Not long. Roughly the same amount of time it takes your average metal band to finish their first demo track.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Sam: We are not unique. We are not special. We are horrible basic dumb-as-fuck death metal. We do not care about tone, scales, “music”, being unique, our fans, ourselves, or each other.
Recently you released your debut album “The Dead are Screaming”. How does it feel to get the new song out there for the masses to hear for the first time and how have the reviews been so far?
Matt: There have been some great reviews and people get what we are doing. There’s also been some shit reviews, journalists suggesting that we should experiment more, refine our sound and work on songwriting. Fuck off!!! This is death metal, some of these cunts might get top marks at the university for creative writing but why discuss brutal death metal if they want to hear keyboards.
Sam: It’s great to get the songs and album out there, just to get it the fuck out of the way so we can throw albums two and three at you as soon as humanly possible. We don’t make this music for reviews. Do you know who makes music for reviews? Losers, that’s who.
Being active for only a short while, do you think you have found the sound you strive for or will Werewolves never experiment?
Sam: Do you know why bands experiment? Because they’re not musicians, they can’t write a song, they can’t play their instruments, they have no confidence, and they can’t fuck. Then you end up with a hundred million bands all doing the “dissonance” thing, or the “breakdown” thing, or the “multiple time signatures” thing. Go ahead, point out that’s what we do in all our other bands.
Matt: This is it!!! We do enough experimentation in all our other bands. The whole point of this band is not to experiment, not to use clean vocals and not to use different time signatures for the sake of being pretentious. Fuck all of that. The next album is even more savage and less intelligent than the first.
Sam: “Experimentation” disgusts me. Word too big. Too many syllables. Not enough hit-rocks-go-bang-make-noise.
Was Werewolves always in your blood to do, do you think? Was this monster always inside of you waiting for the right time to escape and return to the glory days of punishing death metal rather than the other bands where you have more artistic freedom?
Sam: It was in somebody’s blood. I think any real metalhead has a rude boy sitting deep inside that wants to make fuck-off music and get up people’s noses. I tell you, there is no freedom like writing an album in a weekend and not feeling the slightest bit obliged to fine-tune it.
Were you surprised with how quickly the material was written? Was there ever a time where you thought as a band, let’s take more time here and get it right or did you have the feel-good factor straight away?
Sam: I was surprised, to be honest. I’m used to how fast Matt works but this was something else. Then I thought, well, the drummer is usually the slack one, but then Dave recorded all his parts the week after Matt wrote everything. And I was like shit, I need to step on it and make the bass and vocals happen. There was no compulsion to fine-tune. We very quickly got onto the wavelength where fine tuning was the opposite to what we were trying to achieve – magnificently stupid, raw, molten death.
You have a three album deal with Prosthetic Records. This is quite an accomplishment but with the way this debut album was written and recorded, the three albums deal could be over in three months. Do you have a long term vision with Werewolves after this?
Sam: That’s quite astute of you. All three albums have already been written. We have no long-term vision. Our muse is a delicate, flighty creature who would flee the moment we tried to entrap her with crass, base ambition. We want to make noise. All the noise.
Before this fucking virus, how often were the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio? Where do you get together and record?
Matt: We didn’t. We don’t. Over the years we have played together. With Sam in Antichrist Imperium, Dave in Abramelin and many years ago Dace jammed with The Bezerker. Anyway, I write most of the riffs, Dave adjusts the tempos for maximum brutality and Sam writes all the lyrics. We haven’t played these songs together yet and we record independently at various studios in Australia.
How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Werewolves a band where all members contribute to the songs?
Sam: No shit, Matt just writes it all in a weekend, gives it to us, Dave does drums, I learn the bass from video files Matt sends. Then I record clean bass, write the vocals, and record those last. Everyone does their own instrument, we all work to our strengths.
Is there a main lyricist within the band? What are the lyrics for “The Dead are Screaming” based on?
Sam: I write all the lyrics. I was searching for horrible words and phrases that matched the vocal timings I was after. Every song required two things, a moment where it feels like I’m crossing the line, and a final phrase that closes things off with harrowing brutality, kind of like James Elroy’s novel “American Tabloid”. There is no message. There is no meaning. There is only hate, death, plague, evil, and bestiality. I’m really disappointed that no-one has been overtly offended yet by the filth I’ve written.
Being a three-piece band and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?
Matt: We are all on the same page with this band. Dave is the best metal drummer in the country. That doesn’t mean that he needs to try and be clever and play polyrhythms or some shit. We write savage music for savage people.
Sam: Not only is the entire band on the same page, but so is everyone we work with… Joe Haley with the mix, painter Mitchell Nolte, photographer and filmmaker Wilson Bambrick, the label, everyone. We have tapped into the everyone’s latent drooling lunatic and they relish the chance to get down into the gutter with us and dribble.
Once the virus pandemic is over, do you see Werewolves playing any gigs or is Werewolves a studio project only?
Sam: Definitely gigs. We can play this shit in our sleep. Personally, I’m not into playing a million tiny pub gigs to twenty people, I’ve well and truly done that already. Big supports, limited runs, or festival slots are more my sauce.
Before the internet, magazines and fanzines were the places to find out about new bands and trends. Now publications are replaced with thousands of websites catering for all genres. Do you think that some of the passion has been lost or do you think that the internet has been a good thing for music and far from refuge?
Sam: I’ve kinda seen both sides of it… Being on Earache pre-Napster, being on labels in the modern day, and having a solo independent band during it all. It’s so easy to make and release music that the music scene today is a bunch of white noise. Might be great for consumers because the variety and accessibility are astonishing. But to stand out as an artist, you need a killer film clip or a big site giving you a great review, something like that. There are still gatekeepers like there were in the old days, just that they are different entities now. And when the label/distributor/retailer lock on everything broke down, so did the illusion of ever “making it” as a band. Personally, I preferred the older days particularly when it comes to metal media. I liked a bit of mystery about bands. I was a big Morbid Angel fan until I saw Trey’s facebook page and all the models he creeps after, or Pete Sandoval’s dick pics. Check it out, we almost gave you an entirely serious reply to a question!
Unfortunately due to the virus situation, are you looking at new ways of getting your music out there?
Sam: We’re still releasing a ton of physical stuff despite the problems the virus is causing postage. People love our barbaric IQ-reducing shirts. The internet takes care of everything else. We’re doing a few covers at some point. We merely ensure we don’t bore everyone into a stupor with what we do. We’re not far enough into the band lifecycle to go do stuff like virtual gigs.
Being from the Melbourne area, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend and give a shout out?
Matt: Psycroptic, Abramelin, The Antichrist Imperium, The Senseless, Ruins, King, The Bezerker.
Sam: All our own bands, basically.
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
Header image by Wilson Bambrick
The Dead Are Screaming was released via Prosthetic Records on April 24th