Wovenwar are set to grace the UK with a string of headline shows this month and I was very lucky to grab a quick conversation with Josh Gilbert before he set off from LA.
Hi Josh, Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me this evening.
Firstly, The past 2 years have been a whirlwind for Wovenwar. This will be your second trip to the UK as Wovenwar. What are you looking forward to this time around?
“We first went to the UK last summer. We did a few festivals like Reading and Leeds, and we did like, one show at the Barfly, and that was a headliner. That was really cool to us, because even before we headlined anywhere in the world, we did a headlining set at the Barfly in the Camden, and that was a pretty insane show, because it’s such a small place. We did, like, 3 shows in the UK on the ‘In flames’ tour, which was amazing too, because While She Sleeps was on to, and that’s like their home turf. This time we are looking forward to going back, because we are going to do a full headlining set. You know we’ve been on tour constantly since then, and we’ve got a lot better at keeping the momentum playing the songs themselves. Hopefully, people have had the chance to digest the record and learn the songs, as last time the record wasn’t even out yet. People had only heard the songs from streaming, so we are quite excited.”
This year alone you’ve toured with In Flames, Periphery and All That Remains. Has the reaction been consistent throughout those tours, or has the reaction varied depending on who you have been on tour with?
“All of the tours have been really awesome in terms of the crowd’s reception. We did the Periphery tour, and that crowd was more like a musician’s crowd, whereas the In Flames and All That Remains crowd are more like ‘let’s get drunk and go to a show’. I mean, both are equally awesome. City to city, there will be certain nights where the crowd will be insane for either bands, it all depends on the kind on night they are having. We are quite lucky as we have never had a show where we have come off stage and been like ‘Man there wasn’t anyone having a good time.”
You return to Europe in May on tour with Sylosis. What are you looking forward to on that tour and is there anywhere you are particularly look forward to playing?
“There’s no like a specific place I’m especially looking forward to, I wouldn’t want to exclude anyone! We’ve known Sylosis since like, 2010, around the time we did a run of shows with Suicide Silence, I think, and we met them because they were opening up the show, and now those guys are gigantic. We had them on our 10-year anniversary tour in the States with As I Lay Dying. They come to the States, and we share gear, because that’s a nightmare for international bands. We know them well, and we are sharing a bus with them on this tour coming up. Gonna be awesome hanging out… also with As Lions… a lot of fun hangouts coming up. We try to take in as much as we can locally on tour, local beers and food.”
So there’s plenty of beer then, I’m guessing…. Is there any booze related tour bus stories you can tell us, or are they all far to X-rated?
“Erm…… I wouldn’t say they were X-rated, unless that’s a dude with his clothes off! Some of the best bus stories are like, well, we have a tradition now when we are drinking and listening to music where we are like, ‘Hey, the next person who walks onto this bus is getting crowd surfed!’. It’s evolved from just a normal crowd surf, especially in Europe, on the double decker buses, where the ceilings are low, it’s barely tall enough to stand up downstairs. So we crowd surf a person and like, pin them against the roof. Like, once that happens, there’s like, no way to get down it’s the worst feeling ever (laughs) There’s going to be plenty of those!”
After the tour with Sylosis, you have a run of UK headline shows. This will be your first headline UK tour as Wovenwar. Is there much more pressure on you from that perspective, or will your past UK tours take away those nerves?
“I wouldn’t say nerves, it’s more of being on tour there’s a few distinct vibes depending on if your headlining or not, so it’s more of making sure our set is more of an event. A headlining set is a little more physically challenging for vocalists singing for an hour as opposed to like, 30 minutes, if you’re supporting, But by like, the 3rd or 4th show, everyone is pretty conditioned for the tour. So it’s mainly staying healthy. It’s a lot harder in the winter, but it should be warm by the time we get over there, I think.”
Hey, it’s the UK it’s never warm!!
“Well, it may not be warm but we were in sub-zero temperatures in Canada for 3 weeks in January. We spent 3 weeks of not seeing the ground because of the snowfall! Everyone was getting sick, singers were losing their voices because it was so cold and dry outside. That shouldn’t be a problem on this tour….. I hope!”
What’s in store for Wovenwar throughout this year’s festival season?
“This year we can’t announce our European or American dates yet, but hopefully soon. I guess they want to wait to everything is in stone. But this year we are holding off on the festivals as we did quite a few last year. We will probably wait until summer 2016 to do some more festivals. Hopefully, don’t quote me on this, that’s when we’d have a new record coming out, so that’s kind of what we are holding out for.”
Uh? Is that a little DGM exclusive… we have a new record to look forward to?
“Haha! There are no official plans, but if I was to just have a guess, it would be round about this time next year when we would want to be recording a record. Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t spoken to Metal Blade about it yet, however, it would put the releases around 2 years apart, and I mean who knows, maybe something would happen, and we would tour longer, but I mean as a new band we are writing even on tour. I would personally be pretty bummed if a year from now we don’t have an idea on a new release, because I’m feeling pretty tired of these 13 songs (laughs) would be fun to play something new.”
When you started up back in 2013, did you imagine it being as successful as it has been?
“We had kind of gotten to the point where the old band had it’s own identity, and it was almost on auto pilot, and we had reached a level where we obviously were not going to become a household name, but still write a new record every two years, and put it out, and tour, and there was really no thought about it. We knew we could go on tour and do well. A solid kind of set up I guess. With the new band, we had no expectations; we were all emotionally in different spots. That was a really violent close for us, so from that we really wrote the record to stay busy, rather than to have it come out. We didn’t know Metal Blade would be interested. When we first approached them with the songs and they were excited, having a label behind you gives you that peak of confidence, and having Colin Richardson mix it and, Bill produce it, having it the way we wanted. We were hoping people would kind of latch onto what were doing, because they thought it was very sincere. I guess the record came out and the first show, 200 people turned up and knew lyrics before the record had even come out. It was like a big ‘hey people can connect to this. We just need to get out there and play it.’ Everyone has been like really surprised, it’s still a heavy metal band, but some people could have been turned off by there not being as much screaming, less brutal and more melodic. It was the natural progression. We’ve been able to open ourselves up to a new audience by just writing the best songs that we can. We are just really thankful. Thankful to tour, but for our new stuff to be accepted, and we are all a lot happier doing what we are doing now.”
When Wovenwar started with Shane Blay as a vocalist back in 2013, did you notice any changes in band mentality and throughout the writing process?
“Yeah, well I guess with the old band it was very… Tim would write the lyrics, and we’d turn up at recordings and be like ‘hey this is the lyric’. What’s cool about Wovenwar is that Shane wrote the skeleton, like 80% of the lyrics, but Nick and I could bounce ideas off of Shane, and it was all very open and having that equality when you are writing. Everyone is able to bring ideas up and I suppose that 3 heads are better than one. He came into the situation, and it was just so easy. We wrote like, all the lyrics and melodies within like, 3-4 weeks, for 13 songs, and that would have been unheard of with the last band. It was insanely productive. We could just turn up in a room with acoustic guitars and hash out melodies in real-time, rather than over the internet.”
Are there any specific techniques you use to write together?
“There’s no special drink, but I have a recording studio here in LA, and Shane would fly out from Texas, and basically we have a few beds in here, grab a few drinks hang out and play songs. It was cool not having studio time that you pay for by the hour, so there was no like, in the back of your head like ‘holy shit, we’ve got to be productive, or it’s going to be a waste’. That, to me, is always the quickest way to writers block, by having that pressure in the back of your mind. We’d come here every day from 5pm to 3am and hung out, and listened, and slowly worked through songs, come to natural stopping points and sometimes, not even record… it’s just more like hanging out and getting to known to Shane better. Bonding experience I guess.”
What’s in store for Wovenwar the rest of 2015 and beyond?
“I wouldn’t say there are any imminent plans. In the US, we have been doing a few record store’s acoustic sessions to try and get more people behind the record. I think people really appreciate that kind of stuff. We talked about maybe doing an acoustic rendition of the songs, so maybe something like that, maybe later in the year, but there’s nothing set in stone yet, so let’s see where we go!”
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Josh.
“No problem, hey don’t forget to come and check us out at one of our UK dates!”
So after such a heart-warming interview, showing us that Wovenwar are doing what they love, from the heart, and would love it if you can come along and join the party. I’ll be sure to be checking them out at one of the UK dates this May!
Interview by Amy Sterriker]]>