Interview: Gnarwolves

von am 7. Dezember 2014 in ...in english please!, Interview

Interview: Gnarwolves

Their dynamic style of pop punk combined with fun, oldschool skate punk vibes make Gnarwolves one of the most interesting new bands the UK currently has to offer. On their first headline tour through Europe Thom (Guitar, Vocals) and Charlie (Bass, Vocals) met Heavy Pop at dasBach to talk about their debut album, skateboarding, and why their song ‚Smoking Kills‘ isn’t really about smoking.

Heavy Pop: Your Europe Tour started about two weeks ago. How is Europe treating you so far? 
Thom: Extremely well! This is our first time doing a headline tour, so we had no idea, no preconceptions of how it would be and it’s been really surprising … in a good way. Really good!
Charlie: Europe is great, yeah! We’ve been really surprised that people are coming to the shows. A lot of the places we played, it’s been our first time playing there. It’s our first headline show sort of thing in that area and that there are people coming – that’s cool. Europe is great … you get fed and you get as many beers as you like. (laughs) It’s the same thing every time, but it always gets better.

Any highlights so far? Or crazy tour stories?
Thom: Oh, we had some lowlights, more than highlight – to be honest.
Charlie: You have to talk to ‚Prawn‘. They have better stories than us. But anyway, the short story is: our van broke down and that was it. That’s kind of boring. ‚Prawn‘ though … we played in Holland and we were loading out. Jamie the drummer and Tony the vocalist were carrying my cap of the stage and it was like wobbly. It came off and it fell and Tony sliced his heel. We were like “Fuck!”. So, we went outside. It was bleeding and he had to go to the hospital. By the time we had all spoken about it, the van had been robbed. Literally, in that moment, in those 5-10 minutes somebody had smashed the front window, taken our rucksacks and legged it. It was pretty crazy!
Thom: We had a few days of bad luck in the beginning, but now it has be pretty plain sane.
Charlie: Berlin was like WOW. Last night was also like WOW! Budapest was sick!
Thom: Prague was incredible. Hamburg has been amazing!
Charlie: All the German shows have been great.
Thom: I think it also can be a good one tonight!
Charlie: Our friends ‚Public Domain‘, a skate punk band – they live here. They are really good friends of ours and they are joining us on the UK tour. They are coming tonight. That will be fun.

You guys love skateboarding, right? While touring do you have the time to check out spots in the city you’re playing in or is it just loading out, sound check, show, loading in again and driving off?
Charlie: It’s a mixture of both. Sometimes we are running a bit late or we’re on time, we have to just do everything. It’s a bit cold at the moment as well, so we are not going on massive adventures and get lost and get cold. (laughs) You know, we might turn up to a venue, we got like two hours, so we are going to find a park or a couple of spots. Have a little skate and come back. We try to skate as much as we can. That’s what we just like to do. We skate in the venues quiet a lot, because the venues got nice floor. So we just skate there.

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Let’s talk about your debut album ‚Gnarwolves‘. It’s been out for about two months now, but I heard you never had the intention of writing an album in the first place. Is that true?
Thom: Yes!
Charlie: That’s very true!
I was wondering, why?
Thom: Because we never though that far ahead with our band. We kind of thought of the first record and then doing some gigs. And everything since that moment three or four years ago has been like a surprising event. More than anything else … more than something that’s planned.
Charlie: I think the fact that people wanted us to write more was the shock about it. Like “That’s a great record, do some more!” and we were like: “What? Really?” Some many people were telling us to do it.
Thom: I guess we never thought anyone would want to hear an album of our band, but then so many did.
Charlie: I guess we thought we wouldn’t be a band for that long … long enough to do an album.
Thom: At that time we didn’t know any bands in our peer group doing albums anyway.
Charlie: I didn’t really grow up like that whole: EP, EP, EP and then you have to do an album. I never thought about it. Like shit, we got three EPs now and somebody was like “I guess you are doing an LP next” and we were like: “What do you mean? Is that how it works?” So we just did it.
Thom: It was fun as well.

Yes, thank good you did it. I really like it by the way. So what did the process of creating that record look like? Did you write the songs together?
Thom: A bit of everything really. It started off with little ideas and they turned into real songs when we were playing them together. We had a fairly short time to do it, so a lot of it was done like “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go”.
Charlie: Thom would sit with his guitar after work every day trying to bash out a few songs for us to jam. We just played a lot of Thom’s ideas and then we put Max’s parts into it. Just joint effort really.
Thom: We collaborated a lot. Sit in our rehearsal room and try make a song kind of thing.

Let’s talk about ‚Smoking Kills‘. I see you smoke, Thom.
Charlie: I don’t smoke. Smoking kills! In brackets “Charlie doesn’t smoke!” But it’s OK, you can do what you want. Close brackets (laughs)
Thom: But it’s not about smoking.
Yes, that was my question.
Thom: So you want to know what it is about?
Right, and why you chose this title?
Thom: The title was mostly a way of making people say: “Oh, but they smoke! Aww they can’t say that!” (laughs) I wanted to wined people up a little bit. Sometimes you just have to piss people off – it’s funny.
But there is a personal level to that song. It’s about the way our generation has been discarded and almost written off by the way the previous generation lived. The 90ies have caused the problems that we have today. You generation doesn’t have a voice.
Charlie: You just get arrested or told off.
Thom: There is no respect.
Charlie: Kids just get worst, because they don’t know what’s good.
Thom: It’s the assumption that young people don’t have the intelligence or moral to decide the way we get to live. This is really bad. That’s what the song is about. I think the lyrics are better than how I explained it. (laughs)

No, I got your point. It’s a really good song. Is it your favourite song to play live? Or which song on the record is?
Thom: For me ‚Everything You Think You Know‘ – at the moment.
Charlie: Mine is ‚Boneyard‘ – I love playing it. That’s my favourite song on the record. My favourite one we wrote.
Thom: We’ve been playing ‚Smoking Kills‘ for ages now. A long time before the record came. It was one of the first songs we wrote for the album. So we played it maybe 50 shows before the album. ‚Everything You Think You Know‘ as well – we probably played 150 shows with that song.
Does it get boring when you play a song that much?
Thom: Not boring. It’s boring to practise it in the rehearsal room, but it’s not boring to play live.
Charlie: I tell you what’s boring – when everybody else is bored. It’s not boring when everybody else is not … when everybody else is having a good time. All of our songs are fun to play. We travel miles and miles just to do that.
“Boring” was maybe the wrong word.
Thom: I know what you meant. Don’t worry! (laughs) But yeah, we are glad that it doesn’t get boring.

I heard you had your own beer called ‚Bru Cru‘. How did that come about?
Thom: Yes!
Charlie: Yeah, we did! We drank all. (laughs) A friend of ours he has a little record label and he wanted to put out one of our EPs on tape. In favour of that he would brew us some beer.
Thom: He had a friend who owns a brewing company. So he was like: “Let’s do both of the things together!”
Charlie: So we did it. It was great! We had a little release show. We got really drunk. We drank it all, we lost loads of it. And that was all it. Everybody was like: “Are you doing any more?”
Thom: Probably not. (laughs)
Charlie: It was a limited thing. It was just a fun thing. But we are always having fun doing weird thing. There will be more of that … like knives or something.
Thom: Gnarwolves knives. (laughs) Kitchen knives maybe.
Charlie: Yeah, different sets. And we will get on the teleshopping thing. (laughs)

That would be fun. So, last simple question: What can Vienna expect tonight?
Thom: Some of our songs. Not all of them.
Charlie: Played well – hopefully. I hope nothing goes wrong. It’s going to be loud. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of head banging, site-to-sites, a lot of moshing. It’s going to be fun. Every time we play in Vienna we have a very good time.
Thom: It’s going to be a Gnarwolves show.
Charlie: A bloody good Gnarwolves show.

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