To go along with the show review that I recently did for Warbringer's "America Torn Asunder" tour, I was fortunate enough to interview singer, John Kevill before the show. John talks about the new album, the first headlining tour, new member Carlos Cruz and everything Warbringer. Enjoy!
SFM - Your new album "Worlds Torn Asunder" has been out for almost a week now, how has the response been?
John - Response has been mostly pretty good. There's a lot of stuff going on, with reviews and interviews that seem to like it. Seeing a lot of the fans responses when we play the songs live, and there's always a really good response, and people really seem to like the record. I'm pretty happy. We worked hard on it, so hopefully people like it.
SFM - What are some common criticisms or praise that you've heard about the record if any?
John - Oddly enough, we always hear, and this is one thing I see in a lot of reviews, is that we're basically doing the same thing which is also the opposite of which is a criticism from other people. So it's usually just one of those two things with the new record.
SFM - With Carlos Cruz coming in on this record, has there been any change in the writing style?
John - We do it the same we always have, like a band. We get in there and jam and talk about it. Come back in the next week and do it again.
SFM - Did he have any specific input on the record?
John - Oh yeah! "Echoes From the Void" is a Carlos-written song and it's the first song he's written for us and probably won't be the last. Unless he Spinal Taps on us, but I don't think he's planning on it. (laughs) Actually a lot of the lyrics, because Carlos lives out in my direction and so the way the carpool would work, I'd always go to and from practice with him. So whatever I had on my mind for lyrics, I'd shoot it by Carlos and we would mindstorm a lot of it. Echoes in particular, we went over to his house and had a nice little session going. We talked about ideas for a couple of hours. I wrote a ton of stuff down and we got the lyrics down that way. And other stuff, whenever I hit a roadblock, Carlos is really the guy to talk to, to get ideas. He's actually involved with just about every step of this record.
SFM - That's great, and it's always nice to have some collaboration and someone to bounce ideas off of.
John - Yeah, definitely. He said when he joined the band, "I don't want to be another hired gun. I want to be the drummer of Warbringer" which is great because we don't want a hired gun.
SFM - Was there any kind of statement or message that you were trying to make with this record?
John - I think it was the same as always. We just want to get out there and play some honest, real metal and do it to the absolute best of our ability. If we're going to state anything it's just that, this stuff still kicks ass. Metal is metal is metal, and if you do it right with good songwriting, it's just always awesome!
SFM - Now that you have 3 albums, is it harder to make a setlist? Trying to balance the older stuff and play the newer material?
John - Not really. I mean right now, fortunately, we're playing an hour plus because of the headline tour. So, we're usually doing 4-5 new ones and 8 or 9 old ones.
SFM - And is this a whole band collaboration? If someone wants to play a specific song, will there be any bickering?
John - Yeah, definitely that happens. We don't really write out setlists, actually. This sounds funny, but we kind of just wing it every night, and we're professional at winging it. I pretty much call the songs out on stage and someone will yell out "this song" and I'll say "I don't want to play that one!"
SFM - Then you definitely have the songs really well rehearsed to play anything on any given night?
John - Not all of them, but I'd say enough. The whole new album we're really tight on, I think we can do just about anything from Waking, there's only a couple that we probably couldn't do, and then like half of the first album we're pretty solid on. We need to rehearse some of those old ones because I wanted to bring some of them back on this tour.
SFM - That actually was the next question. Do you plan on playing any of the band's more obscure material that fans may have been asking you to play?
John - Probably not at the beginning of tour. I think we're going to probably start doing sets based on the old stuff that we're really tight on and the new stuff, but I think as the tour goes on and we get in the swing of playing shows again, I mean it's been a while guys (laughs), then we'll probably try to bust out some old ones.
SFM - How excited are you about this being your first headlining tour? Are you nervous at all?
John - Yeah, I'm real nervous! (laughs). Here we are at the Key Club, it's our show and especially in Hollywood tonight, all of the record people come out... If no one comes to the show, that looks real bad, it's not going to help us. And, just in general, doing our first headline tour is kind of a gamble, because every US tour we've done so far have been support tours. The numbers for this tour, how ever many people show up can really help us or hurt us either way. But we're three albums in, it's really time to take this risk and basically go out there and see what our fanbase is. Who's gonna come to see a Warbringer show?
SFM - Does it feel weird at all to be the last band on the bill, and not having to open for another band?
John - Most of our local shows... Well all of our shows that we've done since December, we've headlined all of them, except for the festival in Mexico. What's going to be weird about this, is I've really got to not party or be fun on this tour because by the time we get to the east coast I'll be sucking up a storm, if I'm raging like that every night. (Laughs). I'm pretty much just going to have to have a more business like mentality toward the road here so I can pull off an hour plus show every night. We're shooting for an hour minimum, and if people are really into it, we'll keep playing. If the crowd seems dead, we'll rap it up.
SFM - You guys are known for touring a lot, and being road warriors. Do you plan to tour as much if not more for this album as you did for "Waking Into Nightmares?"
John - We're booked solid for this year, and a couple weeks into next year there's a tour. It's not announced yet, but it's booked. (Laughs). Then we're going to try and get another US tour and another Europe tour. I think we're touring straight into next winter. Basically, yes, the same thing from us.
SFM - Do you plan on playing anywhere that you haven't played before?
John - Yes. We're shooting to get into South America. We've played Southeast Asia before, but we're trying to get to play China and all of those places. We're trying all of that and to fit in some stuff to the schedule that fits and makes sense. That's all in the works. Right now, what we have solidified and is made public is this tour, our headline tour from today October 3rd through November 7th. That is the North America tour, there's only two Canada shows, we're sorry Canadians we tried to get some more. And then we have a tour in Europe, it's kind of a two part tour. The first part is a headline tour for a couple weeks and then a few weeks with Arch Enemy. The headline dates are pretty much everywhere that the Arch Enemy tour doesn't go. We'll be hitting places like Italy, Croatia, Spain and some UK. The Arch Enemy tour is mainly focused on Germany, Netherlands, and France.
SFM - That's pretty much the end of this interview, so thank you for your time. Do you have any words for your fans?
John - Hell yeah, guys! Keep rockin' out there and we'll see you at some shows!
Be sure to check out and like Warbringer on Facebook, as well as catch them on their first ever headlining tour!