WAR NERVE INTERVIEW (Stockholm, Sweden)

by xjtx Seems usual to me to add some new Swedish band to DROIDxRAGE contents. WAR NERVE has a largely different sound than most Swedish recent bands I’ve already dealt with – you’ll discover their approach is actually oppened to more “extreme” musical means of expression than current Swedish Youth Crew. I’d like to thank guitar player Gabe for answering to my questions. Here’s another WAR NERVE interview http://www.nerepanoll.se/nyheter/intervju-war-nerve/ – hope you understand Swedish!

1/ That name “WAR NERVE” is, in my opinion, a satisfying starting point when a bunch of friends want to create a band whom influences get from hardcore to metal: what’s behind that concept, that idea…?

Well, WAR NERVE wasn’t supposed to be our name, I was thinking it was gonna be BAD FAITH as a sort of nod to BAD SEED, but everyone thought it sounded like a BAD RELIGION ripoff! Not sure why that’s a bad thing, hahaha. But yeah, WAR NERVE is a PANTERA song and I think it fits because it literally begins “fuck the world for all it’s worth, every inch of Planet Earth, fuck me too, don’t leave me out” because well, I’m almost 30 and I still just get mad at the world on a daily basis, haha.

(and if you guys still wanna name your band BAD FAITH, I can submit that idea…)

Processed with Moldiv

2/ How and when did you guys start to talk about forming a band? Can you introduce each member and tell us if he/she plays or used to play in other bands?

Currently, WAR NERVE is me, Gabriel, on guitar, Gabrielle (Gabi) on vocals, Leo on bass and Simon on drums. As far as previous hardcore bands go, I think I’m the only one who has any with any recorded output. I used to do vocals in a metalcore band named HERCYNIA about 10 years ago and then a hardcore band named PLAYED OUT!. None of them really went anywhere, though.
3/ You come from Stockholm, Sweden where there’s a big straight edge/youth crew scene. Is there a lot of bands, attendance who seem to be attracted by that metallic side of hardcore punk?
I think it’s getting better! There’s always been an accepting side to it as far as people being free to listen to whatever they want, but there hasn’t really been a lot of people who have wanted to play anything but youth crew, “dark” hardcore or emo. But a lot of bands of different styles have sprung up lately, so between GOD MOTHER and MEDEA (check both of those bands out!) there’s a huge space that’s opened up for any more metallic band that wants to have a go.
4/ To introduce the type of music you wanted to play for you first show, I guess, WAR NERVE was described as a MERAUDER-worshiping band. What’s so special about MERAUDER?
The MERAUDER thing has two sides to it, I guess. First of all, “Master Killer” is an immortal record. Top 5 ever, any day of the week. But it also has a meaning for myself as well as for Gabi, since we’re both latinos. I feel that it’s easy for people of color to get written out of heavy music history under the banner of “colorblindness” or we get pigeonholed into playing “ethnically flavored” metal or whatever. MERAUDER were latinos who played heavy music and did it right.
5/ Leo (bass) told me you’ll try to sound more death metal in a near future. That’ s interesting because there are huge parts of your ’15 demo which remind me of BOLT THROWER, especially “Shame” and “Nada Olvidado” – really “Warmaster” sounding like tunes – what’s important about that death metal aspect concerning your compositions? I’m attached to emphasize to DROIDxRAGE readers that WAR NERVE isn’t a deathcore band…
Yeah, the death metal influence is on me. I write most of the riffs and bring them to practice for everyone else to hear and I love death metal, so it’s inevitable that it comes through in our music. I’ve always thought of what I’ve been trying to do with this band every since the lineup solidified as “BOLT THROWER meets MERAUDER”, so that really means a lot to hear! It’s just something I try to get through because as I said before, there’s nothing that really sounds like that here in Stockholm or even Sweden. It’s a shame that the word “deathcore” means something else entirely, because it would’ve been a useful descriptor for us.
6/ What do you guys think about bands like GOD’S HATE or XIBALBA? I personally think WAR NERVE has a more hardcore background than XIBALBA, for example, but I can’t help thinking of some analogies between your sound and their latest “Tierra Y Libertad” LP on Southern Lord – like the same kind of early SEPULTURA-guitar riffing or the Spanish songwriting. What’s your point about that? By the way why the song “Nada Olvidado” is written in Spanish?
I think it’s safe to say that everyone in WAR NERVE likes both GOD’S HATE and XIBALBA. We’re not as downtuned as the latter band, of course, but I guess it makes sense that people would find a similarity. We take it as a compliment. I love SEPULTURA as well as the bands mentioned previously, so that probably comes through as well. It’s also funny that those bands come up as a reference to us, because I feel like the Young brothers and the bands they’re involved with one way or another have made it more acceptable to have this overt metal influence while remaining a hardcore band, and it’s not something I could’ve done maybe 6-7 years ago, even if I’ve always loved metal-influenced hardcore. The reason we have songs in Spanish is because as I said before, both Gabi and I are latinos living in a predominantly white country. The national conversation is very focused on racism right now, both overt political racism and the more insidious, structural type. With permission from the others in the band, we’ve decided to represent who we are and the way we stand out in the society we are currently a part of because we feel that representation is important.
7/ Can you describe us your lyrical approach? I think the lyrics have that punchy aspect of hardcore punk but they are also a bit mysterious or appeal to the personal interpretation of the listener. Who writes the lyrics? What’s important to share with the listener?
I don’t really get involved with the lyrics because it would provide me with another aspect of the band to get really controlling and perfectionist about and I’m sure my bandmates don’t need that. As far as the lyrics we’ve already got, “Nada Olvidado” was written by Gabi alone and the others were by different ratios of Gabi and Leo. Deadlift came together because they’re both gym rats, “Shame” is about a common acquaintance of ours and “Guerra” as well as “Nada Olvidado” are reasonably political songs. They’re very in your face, I rather like that. I’d be more cryptic if I wrote lyrics for this band, but that’s about all I can tell you.
8/ What’s that sample we can hear before “Deadlift”?
The sample is of Icelandic strongman Jon Pall Sigmarsson, who shouts it while deadlifting 1000 lbs. and change. The idea to stick that in there was Leo and Gabi’s. I’m more of a runner myself, actually.
9/ Who designed the illustration of your demo on bandcamp? When we’ll be able to own material releases of it?
The demo for our cover was written by a good friend of ours named Jacob Bondesson who draws a lot of covers and flyers in Swedish hardcore. We reached out to him and he was more than happy to do it. I don’t think we’ll do a physical release of the demo, mostly because we feel it wouldn’t be worth the effort and money. Don’t get me wrong, we’re proud of it, but I’ve already started writing new songs, which I hope will add up to a proper release sometime later this year. Free is a fair price for what we’re offering right now!
10/ You’ll feature on ALIVE & WELL FEST 2015 edition in Eskiistuna with a lot of great bands. Are you excited about that? Which band(s) do you really want to see on stage?
We’re definitely excited, on my end even nervous, since it’s our first proper show and on top of that the first time we play as a four-piece rather than five. It’s gonna be pretty damn bomb, though. I’m hyped for XREPENTANCEX and all the Swedish bands, because Swedish hardcore is at an awesome point right now.
(funny fact: I can hear INTEGRITY’s “Vocal Test” at the begining of the video!)

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