INTERVIEW: Wargasm (19/06/2021)

Credit: Promo

New bands just starting to gain some momentum before COVID hit have most had their plans halted and derailed, but for fresh faced duo Wargasm, there’s been no sign of any turbulence.

Doing several livestream sets and dropping new singles regularly has kept the Wargasm name in a constant frame of mind throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and has managed to secure the two-piece quite the achievement for their Download Pilot appearance. They’re the only band performing on the main stage who don’t have an album or even an EP to their name.

We caught Milkie Way and Sam Matlock after their set to see how it went, how a Wargasm song comes together, and how they aim to make a debut album that’s at least as good as Linkin Park‘s ‘Hybrid Theory’.

DP!: How did your set go earlier today? It must be so great to be part of a special event like this, especially being such a young band.
M: It was fucking mental.
S: It went so well, but it was just terrifying, you know? We went into the pandemic being a band that had just started and not many people knew us, and now today we’re not even opening the main stage but we’re further up on it. So, yeah, I was bricking it but the crowd was there and people sung along.
M: Seeing people pit to your songs is one of the most gratifying things.
S: Do you know what, actually? It’s a really dicky thing but if you watch one of the Gerard Way interviews with MTV, there’s one where they say something about him blowing up and he actually stood and looked at the camera, and said “I knew, we all knew.”
M: Sometimes you just know.
S: Today wasn’t the moment where I know that something big is going to happen, but something definitely happened today. If they bring off the restrictions and we’re allowed to tour properly and go into headline tours, what the fuck is going to happen if we’re controlling the venue for a night? Jesus.

DP!: Well, when I was going over the line-up before, I think you guys are the only band this weekend who are playing the main stage and don’t have an album or an EP.
M: Wow, I love that statistic, yeah.
S: And when we do have an album we’ll be one of those bands like KISS or AC/DC who bring their own stage to headline the festival one day.

DP!: You two have done quite a few livestreams over the past year of the pandemic.
M: We have done a lot, perhaps too many actually.
S: Yeah, we’ve almost done as many livestreams as we’ve done live gigs. It’s getting ridiculous, haha. But, you know, some things can’t be kept. I was talking to Frank Carter about this when we did a livestream with him actually, and he knows of all people – some things can’t be kept down. What do you want us to do? Sit there and do fuck all? What’s our other purpose in life? Why else would we exist? We make noise and that’s it. It doesn’t matter how hard things get, we’re always going to do that same thing.

DP!: And there was the Jamie Lenman one too that you were a part of recently, Sam.
S: Yeah, I liked that one but I don’t think I nailed that one personally. I’m a big Jamie Lenman fan and we write some songs together sometimes, none that have been released yet, but we have some fun. Everyone in my old band had Reuben tattoos and stuff like that, and I was so proud to be brought along to be part of the livestream that he did, and on the day I just didn’t nail it.
M: I thought that he nailed it. I thought that he did really good, he’s just being overly critical about it.
S: If you come along to watch his set tomorrow, I’m bringing Milkie with me this time and I’ll be back with a vengeance. My mission is to be like “Jamie, fucking watch this. Witness me.”
M: Yeah, I’ll be there so it’ll be much better. It’ll be at least twice as good, haha. We tried to get Jamie Lenman to help write ‘Witness Me’, a track that we did, but it just didn’t work out.

DP!: Do you think livestreams are going to stick around in a post-COVID world?
M: I hope not. I mean, it’s good for some people, like people who can’t be there for whatever reason like they’re in another country, but for us, and not to sound bad about it, but we don’t make a lot of money from it. We spend a lot of money on it and spend a lot of time on it – like, it’s three days of work for 20 minutes – so it’s not really viable for a band like us.
S: Milkie has changed the game a bit though. She bought a bunch of live DVDs and we used to just get messed up and sit on the sofa at home watching live DVDs. We called it Milkstival and we had all of the emo ones, like Fall Out Boy and Taking Back Sunday.
M: And My Chemical Romance at Reading 2014.
S: Yeah, but when this is over if we’re a bit bored or something and we’ve got nowhere to go out on a Friday night, and if we’re allowed to go anywhere we want without a mask or taking a test or anything, I’m still gonna suggest “Hey man, do you wanna have some friends over and watch a live DVD or something?” because Milkstival is kinda fucking lit, man. If you’re around you should come by and join in.
M: That’s why I think in the future with lifestreams it should just be live sets in front of people and record them, because you can only play so many sets to a wall in an empty room.

DP!: With the Yungblud ones, didn’t you have to record multiple different sets for the virtual tour?
M: Don’t even. I don’t even want to think about that ever again, haha. We did four different sets three times.
S: Yeah, we done four different sets.

DP!: So far you’ve only released one-off singles. Are there plans to release an EP or a full-length album in the near future, or will you continue dropping one-off songs here and there for now?
M: We won’t be doing an EP, no.
S: Not an EP. There’s an album and we’ve started working on it recently.
M: It’s not coming out any time this year though, so don’t get your hopes up.
S: We haven’t had time to develop live yet so we need more time with that first. When it comes out, Milkie says that it’s got to be as good as ‘Hybrid Theory’.
M: It has got to be as good as ‘Hybrid Theory’, otherwise what’s the point in releasing it at all? If you’re not going to release a debut album that’s as good as ‘Hybrid Theory’, don’t bother.

DP!: Wow, that’s a high bar you’ve set for yourselves.
M: I only aim for high bars, haha.
S: It’s not though, is it? It’s not because Bowie did it, The Who did it, Led Zeppelin did it, The Clash did it, and they’re all from the UK. There’s so much good stuff from here. You’ve just got to bear in mind that one day in the history of the UK, a band called The Prodigy dropped ‘Firestarter’ and it wasn’t even on Radio 1 when they dropped it. They just dropped it to a bunch of DJs.
M: No one liked it until like a year and a half later.
S: So when you’re going to drop your fucking record, and you think it’s good and you’re proud of yourself, remember that. If it’s not up to that standard, don’t drop it. If you want to do something that you love and is just for you, don’t put it on fucking Spotify. Wargasm as a band is an extension of mine and Milkie’s personalities mixed together, but by the same token we strive for greatness and we want to be proud of what we release. Songwriting is a job and a talent, you know? You’ve got to learn the ropes, and I really hope that we get there. I really want to get there one day, and when we get there and I’m ready we’ll do the record, and then two weeks after we release it I’ll probably hate it and do another one, haha.

DP!: So how does a Wargasm song typically come together with you two?
S: Sometimes I come up with a bit and go “Milkie, what do you think?” and Milkie goes “No” or “Yeah”, and then we build on it together.
M: Or sometimes it’ll come from a concept if we want to write a song about that, or even just a single riff.
S: Yeah, we’ve done this really good one recently where Milkie – I don’t want to give too much away – but Milkie played a load of pop music and stuff like Kim Petras and stuff like that. It’s not out yet, but Milkie played that kind of shit to me.
M: Don’t give it away, haha. It’s the hot girl summer Wargasm track basically.
S: She was giving me some shit when we were in the studio, like “Do it like this” and I was like “What? Like this?” being facetious and this bass line came out of nowhere.
M: And I screamed “Yes! Exactly like that!”.
S: Writing Wargasm songs is a nightmare for me, because I love songwriting but there’s no formula. When you’ve got constraints to a sound and people already know your band because you’ve done EPs or whatever, you can’t go too far this way or that way. You can experiment, but you still want to be seen as the same band. Wargasm has no rules, and as fun as it is to release these songs and when you nail it it’s the best high in the world, when you’re trying to work it out and you’re like “I want to write about this but I don’t know what to do”, it’s a fucking nightmare. I’ve no idea what the spectrum is, but that’s also where the magic happens between us.

DP!: That’s one of the pros of you not having an album though, that you’re not confined to how you’ve portrayed yourself as a band in that one big body of work.
S: That’s the idea, man. For the album we want to build a really fucking big box of where we can go with it, and once that’s done and we move onto the next album it’ll be a case of “fuck the box, let’s build another one.”
M: Exactly. The really good thing about being able to release singles is that you get to re-invent yourself with every track that you put out. You don’t have to commit yourself to one single body of work.
S: It’s weird. Everything comes so naturally to this project. There’s a never thought that we should do this or that song at this time, it’s just a case of “I want to drop this”. When you look back in retrospect, you go “that was a good business decision actually”. Everything just kind of finds its own path and I think that’s why it’s so hard to read a map with it.

DP!: What else is planned so far this year for Wargasm?
M: We’re touring with Yungblud, we’re touring with Creeper, we’re doing Reading & Leeds, we’re doing Slam Dunk, we’re doing ALT LDN. So, quite a bit.
S: We just lost some dates in Russia sadly.
M: Yeah, we can say it now. We were meant to do two headline shows in Russia and a festival there too. They love us over there so hopefully next year we can head over.
S: This year is when when the wheels come off and we want to show you what we’ve been working on. We’ve worked on a lot of songs this year. I know that it’s only singles and so it might not look like a lot of work, but what people might put into an EP we’ve put into each track. I want to show people them live. I want them to really feel it like we’ve felt it, and I think they might even feel it more than us judging by that crowd today. Then next year, I want to be back in Europe. I don’t want to be trapped on this little island. Our first live show ever was in Paris, so Wargasm is always going to belong to Europe and something bigger than our shitty little Tory country, haha. But, yeah, I want to be back there and part of them as quickly as possible.

Wargasm‘s latest single, ‘Pyro Pyro’, is out now.

You can keep up-to-date with the band online over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.