Interview: Sam of Werewolves

Interview Werewolves

Interview: Sam of Werewolves
Interviewed by Daniel Phipps

A couple of weeks ago Werewolves dropped the brutal 'From the Cave To The Grave' via prosthetic Records. Today we catch up with the band to chat about the album, song writing and what is to come next!

The Razor's Edge: In a relatively short amount of time you already have three full lengths and an EP. Can you tell us about your creative process regarding writing?

Sam: It’s simple economics, really. Price is defined by the point at which supply meets demand. So when you see the price of coffee commodities spike through the roof, it’s because Matt is sinking three coffees per second and writing one of our new albums. That’s basically it. We’re terrified of telling him about amphetamines. But seriously, that’s it: Matt gets strung out on caffeine, writes an album in a week, gives it to me and Dave to learn, then I spend a few months sorting out the vocals and lyrics. We’re in separate locations so we tend to work off videos and online chat to put it all together. I wish we had some Lee Perry-style stories about burying the masters in grave earth and blowing weed smoke over them for a full night to get the ‘right sound’, but we don’t.

The Razor's Edge: Can you talk us through the meaning behind the albums title 'From The Cave to the Grave' and what are lyrical concepts found within the songs?

Sam: The title was something Matt came up with one day and it just stuck with us. We often joke that we’re low IQ neanderthal death metal and the title seemed to sum that concept up perfectly. There’s no coherent theme tying the album together lyrically, although there’s concepts I tend to return to… the horrors of fascism, stupid people, hypocrites, traitors, and we tend to keep things in the emotional range of abuse and fury. Self-Help Book-Burning is about people who indulge in endless exotic self-help activities while never getting better. All The Better To Eat You With is about abdicating restraint and responsibility. Crushing Heaven’s Mandate is an anti-CCP track. Watch Your Mouth… well, the title kinda speaks for itself!

The Razor's Edge: Who did you use for the album artwork and how did you work together to get your vision for the album's artwork completed?

Sam: We always use Mitchell Nolte from Tasmania for the artwork, he’s a friend of Dave’s we got for the first album and he smashed it out the park with the massive erect wolf-god image he did for that. We tend to give him the lyrics, the album, and if we’re feeling particularly generous a theme we’re after for the cover. Mitchell does up a couple of sketches, sends them our way to make sure he’s on the right track, then off he goes. So the artwork you see is very much his own vision, with only the barest guidance from us.

Interview: Sam of Werewolves

The Razor's Edge: As a group of veteran musicians what is the most important lesson you have taken from your experiences when it comes to recording to ensure the final product is as you want it?

Sam: There’s no one single thing or trick we can give you. Okay, maybe this one: have a good team. Find yourselves good studio technicians, mixers, artists, and a label who do what they say when they say it, and stick with them all. Make sure everyone is paid promptly, that all materials are provided when you say they will, and that you’re always available for communication. If you’ve got a good team, then it makes everything so much easier. If any part of that is weak, it slows everything down. You can have an album finished and ready to go, and if say a photographer has taken some promo band pics but is a slack-ass and won’t provide them, then all your combined efforts are waiting on this one weak link. Just having one person who isn’t into what you’re all trying to do and not pulling in that direction messes it all up. Get rid of all the weak links and find people who work as hard as you do.

The Razor's Edge: How do you find the running of an extreme metal band now compared to 20 years ago, what has improved and has anything in your opinion caused the style to suffer?

Sam: I think it’s easier these days to do a band. These days the dust has settled a bit and you know what tools and sites to use, and how to go about putting music out and promoting it and shit. Twenty years ago though, the internet had just hit. There’s no way to describe to anyone younger than thirty just how much change was inflicted so quickly onto… everything. File-sharing fucked sales immediately, and the established industry fell apart, labels had no idea what to do. The sites you used to promote music would change each year, the methods of approaching magazines and labels changed constantly, there weren’t really any tools for getting your music across everything, it was a real fucking mess. I think we have the best of both worlds now, the flexibility and independence of the internet age, and labels have worked out what their place is amongst all this. There’s still an advantage to being on a label.

As for the music itself? It’s worse. Don’t get me wrong, the playing and production are better than they ever have been, just the majority of bands sound the same… same tones, same vocals, same emotional palette, same riffs. I may just be old and bitter. Over twenty years ago, there was a huge amount of difference between bands. Everyone wasn’t as self-conscious as they are now or terrified of having hooks in their music. Everyone seems to be desperately, repeatedly, trying to prove that they can play their instruments. Everyone needs to get over themselves and go for it as if an asteroid is hitting next week.

The Razor's Edge: When you as musicians have such a rich history of musical output, do you still find influences from other bands or artists, or do you find it more productive to look at your own previous musical accomplishments to influence your next steps?

Sam: With Werewolves, it’s pretty easy. We just stomp on the accelerator with both feet and let rip. We’re not looking out the window at everyone else, and we’re definitely not looking in the rear-vision. We’ve kind of settled into that midlife thing where we know what we like and aren’t constantly getting into new styles, we’re not going to suddenly pull a U-turn and record an homage to Blood Incantation and start on about aliens. We listen to enough stuff to have a fair idea what’s happening out there in metal and where we get placed in it every time we record.

Interview: Sam of Werewolves

The Razor's Edge: Having worked with Prosthetic records since 2020 what was the main driving force for you to choose them as a label?

Sam: They made the best offer, basically! For me, they came recommended by Dave Haley which is a big thing. Personal connections are everything. A label can promise you all the money, tours, and pudding in the world, doesn’t mean anything if they’re dodgy, desperate, and broke. Prosthetic did everything they promised for the first three releases, so we were happy to re-sign with them for another three. Steve, EJ, Wil, and Becky are all great to work with, and it probably doesn’t hurt that I’m a bit older and less of a pain to work with these days as well!

The Razor's Edge: What are your plans next for Werewolves? Are you looking towards touring for this release?

Sam: Album four was recorded last year, same time as album three. I just need to put the vocals on it, which will happen this August and then it should be ready for a 2023 release. We’ve got a couple of shows coming up in Melbourne, July 8th and August 5th, then a festival appearance in Adelaide on November 19th. We had our first show last weekend, and even though it went well we’re pretty keen to take things to a new level. So, this year is us finding our feet as a live band. We’ll see how far we take it next year.

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.