Thursday, April 7, 2011

Interview with John Kevill of WARBRINGER!

This interview has definitely been one of my favorites as I am a GIGANTIC Warbringer fan. I really liked their debut, but their sophomore effort "Waking Into Nightmares," is just downright godlike. The best thrash album since Epidemic of Violence In my honest opinion. Anyway before I gush over Warbringer some more, here's the interview that I was lucky to enough to do with their frontman, John Kevill. I hope you all enjoy!

SFM - First off, you guys have been working your asses off to promote "Waking Into Nightmares" by touring around the world nearly all of the 2010 year. Have you been enjoying your much needed time off? What have you been up to?
John - It's been cool having so much time off, I've been home over twice as long as I have ever been since this band started touring at the beginning of 2008. Even when we made "Waking..." we only had a little over two months to write and record the whole thing before we were back on the road. It's been great, we have a had a lot of time to work with the recent lineup change and get everything sounding really natural again, and then a lot of time to work on each song. Some of us have been working some random jobs in the meantime, but mostly focused on meeting at least a few times a week and moving forward on the album.
SFM - Well you only had a little time to write the modern masterpiece that is "Waking Into Nightmares," so I can only imagine what you're all capable of with all of this time alotted to you. Since coming off of the tour, you suffered a loss of your drummer, Nic Ritter. He was a very integral part of the brutal and heavy sound on "Waking Into Nightmares", but as far as I know Carlos Cruz, the new drummer, is very talented and even plays spanish guitar if I'm correct. How has he been doing since joining the band?
John - We knew Nic wasn't going to be an easy drummer to replace. From the first time we talked about finding someone else who could do a great job playing drums for Warbringer, Carlos was the first guy that came up. He had been playing in the local metal scene for a while, and we had hung out with him at various shows for a long time. We jammed with him a couple times and he picked everything up really quickly, and after jamming with him for about a month and just working him into the band we started writing all the time. He's been doing a great job and is really easy to work with, we all have a unified collective mindstorm going on each one of these songs we are making.
SFM - That's great to hear. Now there was a pretty big refining of your style on "Waking Into Nightmares" compared to the debut "War Without End." Do you think this new album will sound similar to the death/thrash style that was implented on "Waking Into Nightmares"?
John - I think it continues from our previous two albums but is different in its own ways as well. I think all the songs we have written so far stand out from each other pretty well and together will form a damn fine record.
SFM - Well I'm looking forward to the new record a lot and I'm sure the fans are as well. Gary Holt's obviously been busy touring with Exodus in support of their album "Exhibit B: The Human Condition" as well as filling if for Jeff Hannemann over in the Slayer camp, so I think it's safe to say you won't be working with him on this album. Who is producing this record?
John - We will be going into the studio in a little under two weeks from now with producer Steve Evetts down in Orange County. We are pretty excited about this, we are going for a really big sound this time, we want the riffs to sound gigantic.
SFM - So how does the band go about writing the material? Does one member come up with a rough version of a song with just the riffs and then the whole band jams from there or does one person typically write an entire song and everyone else learns it?
John - It's pretty collaborative. One person starts by bringing a few ideas up, a riff or a set of riffs, and we'll jam it out and chew it over, talk about it, add and subtract stuff, and generally mess with it until we have a whole song that we feel works well on every level.
SFM - Now that we know about your songwriting process let's talk about a sound that I hear a lot in your music. Demolition Hammer has obviously been a huge influence on you guys, so I was wondering since I too am a huge Demolition Hammer fan, which of their first albums do you prefer? Tortured Existence or Epidemic of Violence? What would be your favorite song?
John - I'd say Epidemic of Violence by a slight lead, the sounds on that record are a little more savage, and I think all the songs on there are really good. It's a little more death-thrashy than Tortured as well. The first record is awesome as well though.
Some random favorites- Skull Fracturing Nightmare, Pyroclastic Annihilation, Carnivorous Obsession, Gelid Remains, 44 Caliber Brain Surgery.
SFM - Those are all great choices. In addition to Demolition Hammer you guys played a cover of Unleashed's "Execute Them All." Have you guys ever played that cover live? If not do you have any plans to play it live?
John - We never really do covers as part of our live show. Maybe one day, I think our version came out pretty good (we rehearsed and recorded it in one day, in the middle of a tour in Germany), and some people have asked that we play it. So maybe someday, but on our next few tours we are probably going to focus on playing a bunch from the new album as well as including some from the first two that we haven't usually been playing.
SFM - What would be your favorite songs to play live and which tend to be the most popular with the live crowds usually?
John - Living in a Whirlwind and Total War both go over well live and are both a lot of fun to play. Abandoned by Time is fun for me, though one of the harder ones just because there is a lot of sustained fast vocals in that song. Shoot to Kill is a bone-simple song but is just a lot of fun to sing live. And we always close with Combat Shock, which is always one of the more fun ones.
SFM - Well from experience of playing your guys' songs, I'd have to thoroughly agree with you. How did it feel to sing along with Mille Petrozza and Kreator during that special performance of "Pleasure to Kill?"

John - That was awesome, such a good time and thanks to all of Kreator for letting me do that! It was a huge adrenaline rush to be up there with Kreator, as I am a big fan of theirs. That is one of the songs that got me into the kind of rapid-fire vicious vocal style so it was just an awesome feeling to be able to go on with them and do it live.

SFM - Well I'd like to thank you again for letting me interview you so in closing do you have any words for your fans?
John - Thanks for all your support, we will be doing shows again soon so keep your eyes open! Hammer on!

Check out Warbringer at the following links

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