Warbringer are one of the most promising American metal bands to emerge in the world of thrash over the last ten years. Back in July they played a very intimate show at London's Camden Barfly, and ScribesOfMetal's very own Ben Alexander was able to go along and have a chat with Warbringer founding member and guitarist, John Laux. This is what he had to say for himself...
First of all, I’d just like to ask are you enjoying yourself here in the UK?
Yeah man, we’ve only been here for like an hour or two but I’m really excited for the show in London. I’m surprised we’re not playing the underworld, I’ve gotten used to being on that weird stage but I think tonight’s going to be great. We’re excited to kick off this tour.
You’ve got quite a busy month ahead of you touring all over Europe, are there any dates that stand out for you?
Yeah, a lot of festivals we’ve already played some really killer gigs in Denmark [Roskilde Fest] and Bruce Springsteen was playing that day, it was pretty interesting. We played our first show in Sweden [Getaway Fest], we played a show in Lithuania [Devilstone Open] and then we’re playing [Legendary German festival] Wacken. We’re playing Brutal Assault [Czech Republic], Party San [Germany], just a number of festivals all over Europe. And these are some of the biggest and best shows a band could hope to play. We’re opening for a lot of killer acts like Thin Lizzy, Graveyard, and sharing the stage with a lot of great bands.
What kind of setlist have you got planned for tonight?
We’re Americans so we kind of run and gun it. It depends on what kind of feedback we’re getting from the audience, how we feel. We always like to play a good mix of all three albums, you know, we like to play that songs that everyone screams and try and keep everyone happy. We just try and keep a balance that has a good pace, like we don’t want to machine gun them, we just slow it down and break it up sometimes and at the end we pull out all the numbers that everyone loves. That way we keep the energy moving right, so it’s not always going uphill.
So you just kind of play it as you see it?
Yeah, it helps keep the vibe right.
Where do you draw influences from? Are they all rooted in old school Thrash?
No, well when we first started we weren’t really playing Thrash metal. We were just playing Metal. We were really kind of growing up with the band – we started when we were fifteen – so when we first started it was bands like Kreator, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Those were kind of our first extreme influences and then we started listening to Demolition Hammer and a lot of Death Metal. What we listen to now isn’t even close to the music that we generally play. We just love music and when it comes to heavy Thrash Metal we just think it should be really mean. There are a lot of influences.
Like you say, you’ve toured with some incredible bands like Exodus, Testament and many others. Who’s been your favourite to tour with, or you’re favourite to learn from?
The first tour we did was with Exodus and they’re great. They’re really easy to tour with and told us how to make money and keep our sense about the road. It’s kind of like a game; the music industry is a little crazy. As a fan, my favourite tour I’ve ever done was with Napalm Death and Suffocation. Those are two of the sickest Grindcore and Death Metal bands. We’ve also got to tour with Megadeth which was an honour. So that was cool.
How do you feel your sound has progressed over the last three albums?
I think we’ve definitely developed our sound a lot. On our first record we were really young and we didn’t have a lot of experience. We didn’t even know we were making a record that was going to be released on a major label. Since then we’ve just done so much touring, and met so many different bands, and grown as musicians and developed our talent. I just think we write sharper songs, and that we have more dynamics, more range, just as any developing band should. They should climb up their ladder.
Thrash has seen quite a resurgence in recent years. What do you think caused this?
It’s really interesting and I think it’s cool that a lot of younger kids got sick of the mainstream Metal and they went back in time. I think Thrash is a really exciting style and it’s really aggressive; there’s something about it that lasts. It’s the cornerstone of the development of all Extreme Metal. That was when they fucked up Punk, and they fucked up Discharge. I think there’s something really memorable about it, and something that people want to hear. That’s why they keep going to the shows. It’s cool, because when we play our audience is a mix of an older and younger audience. It’s interesting, especially for the older bands, to see younger kids coming to the shows, and young blood just pouring in.
It’s not really been a trend that’s come and gone, it’s stuck around for a little while now.
Yeah, I don’t think it blew up as big as everyone was hoping. Everyone thought it was going to be this huge new thing, and that really didn’t happen. What did happen was that you had a couple of great bands, like Evile and Skeletonwitch and Municipal Waste. These are bands that are doing their own thing, and they’re playing Thrash Metal, but they’re basically just really good Metal bands. It doesn’t really matter if they’re revival or retro, they’re just playing good Metal. That’s something that people are always going to want. It’s timeless.
Finally, after your busy month is out of the way, what is next for Warbringer?
We’re going back to the States, we have a tour in Australia that we’re really looking forward to. I think we’re planning on going back to Europe in the winter, but I can’t really be positive about that. We want to write another record, and we want to be out on a fresh record next year, promoting some new material and just blowing people away.
Got anything written yet?
Yeah, we’re always writing, but when we tour so much it’s really hard to get together and hammer out an album. We really like to spend time together and focus on it now. We’ve also had to deal with a lot of line up changes in the last couple of months. But I think the line up we have now is the strongest, things have to happen for a reason and we’ve got a great guitar player and bass player, and I’m really happy with the line up right now.
Well good luck with your new album and tour, and thanks very much for your time.
If you'd like to read Ben's review of Warbringer's show at The Barfly, you can do so here. Warbringer's most recent album World's Torn Asunder was released last year (2011) through Century Media Records. Scribes Of Metal will continue to bring our readers interviews with metal's finest so keep checking back regularly to see who we've been talking to next.