December 2002 - RWAKE
RWAKE aren't your typical Sludge-band, with all the typical trademarks of the genre. This five-piece have proven on their second album "Hell Is A Door To The Sun", that you don't need to come-up with the next brainless Grief or EHG clone. RWAKE have intergrated a lot of different influences to one big intense melting pot. Sometimes it's more played in the vein of Neurosis, just to turn over into a mind-blowing experimental metal part and so on. Their live-gigs are legendary, due to the awesome intensity. Thanks to Chris of Retribute Records for passing over the questions to CT, one of the singers of RWAKE. Enter the world of RWAKE, fellow reader!
A few days ago, you've played a show with BBtP.How was this evening and have you any plans to promote the new intense album "Hell Is A Door To The Sun" with a longer tour?
Sorry, we played with Bongzilla and Weedeater the other day, and it fuckin' ruled. The music was awesome and everyone was trashed! And yes, we plan to go out again in April for about a month (hopfully w/ Weedeater). Until then we'll do some weekends here and there w/ Collapse.
I've read a lot of positive live-reviews about RWAKE in the past, where you've played different gigs in the USA? How important is it the live-situation for you, and have you ever played outside the USA?
For us the live situation is everything. It is pretty much what has paid off for us mostly is the word of mouth about our live shows. And I couldn't tell you what it is, you would have to see us or ask someone who has. We have never played out of the US but we trying to plan on it if we can drop a few of these felonies.
You've played together with so much outstanding heavy bands in the past, as Place Of Skulls, Spirit Caravan (R.I.P.), Bottom or Weedeater. Which gigs belong to the good and/or bad ones when you look back?
All those bands you mentioned rule to play with. Wino is like the truest form of a Jedi. You can just learn from hanging around with that man. I'll tell ya a show that sucked ass though. In the summer of '99 we opened for Earth Crisis and the Misfits. Those dudes were nothin but fuckin cock blowers.And one time we played w/ Nick Turner ( Hawkwind ). It was very weird and his guitar sucked extremly and his keyboardist was a trek-ion, I think.
In October 2002 , the earlier mentioned new album "Hell Is A Door To The Sun", was released on Retribute Records. How would you describe the difference between the self-released debut "Xenoglossalgia" in '98? and the new one?
HUGE. We have grown musically. And so has the song writing and the intensity of the live show. When "Xenoglossalgia" was released that's when everything started growing for us. We pretty much started playing all new songs right when we started selling it. That's kind've the way we progress now. Plus not having the keyboard sound that was on the first one is good we all think.
How long have you worked on the album?
We worked about two weeks here and there w/ the music and then the vocals about two weeks later for a few days then the mix for a few days a couple of weeks after that. Mark up at Harley's rules.
Is there any story or meaning behind the poetic album title?
It is a cross between a divine and a cosmic sense.
It seems, as if there's any kind of concept behind the whole album, but not in the sense of being a concept-album. What is your point of view?
Well, I like to write a lot in an earth bound concept and also an outerspace one. Some of the songs are based around dreams I've had and then some go deeper to say they are about dreams I've had about my brother (died in 96 of brain tumor) visiting me and explaining the secrets of the soul and time travel through reincarnation. Each song is about different things but are tied together by the way I write them. And that's where the concept ties in. "Smog Monster" is written about the Godzilla Vs Smog monster movie from '69 or '70 .
I wondered that no lyrics were printed in the booklet, because I've got the impression that the lyrics are a important element in your sound. How important are lyrics for you?
The lyrics are important, but nothing compared to the music. If the band was not doing what they are, I mean, there could be know way I would these kind of lyrics for another band. It is the music that we feed off of. But all that has nothing to do w/ why we only printed some of the words. Next time we will print all the songs lyrics.
Who's responsible for this abstract "bloody" cover-artwork? It looks very unusual, but for my taste it fits totally to the unique sound.
Actually the labels artist did. We sent them some art of mine and Britnys ( B ) and they ran with it.
At the end of the seventh song, you've integrated a long sample of an anrgy discussion about practice rooms. Every time, when I listened to it I ask myself if any band members were involved into it.Where is it from?
The sample came from the Billy Bob Thorton movie "Slingblade". The reason we used it is because it actually sounds a lot like us at each other.
When I listen to all the different influences in the music of RWAKE, which are ranging from sludge to grind to hardcore and metal and there's still more to discover, it's nearly impossible to categorize your sound. A lot of changes from different emotions and musical directions within the whole album. How do you compose the songs? Is a song more planned from the start or is the final result based on a lot of improvisation? And, how imporant are musical categories for yourself?
Our songs are definitely planned. Very planned. We practice sometimes two to three more times more than any other band. When we write a song there are many riffs that sometimes just come out but then we bind it all together some how. I think the important thing is to not just try and rip someone off. It is important to try and make not only our music progress, but for metal as a whole to keep progressing. When you do the same thing over and over you can only do that for so long.
Although you've created a very own sound, there's sometimes one band which shines through the songs and that's earlier Neurosis, for me personal. Can you agree and do you feel influenced from them?
I feel that Neurosis is a great influence on our band. When we first started people would say that it made them feel like Neurosis made them feel live. To hear someone who really liked Neurosis say that felt incredible it just made us want to keep having an intense live show. They are definitely the innovators of everything for me.
Isn't it difficult to remember all the complex, sometimes long song structures during a gig, and are you using samples in the shows, too?
Actually no. We kick the shit out of the structures. We live to play it and could play it backwards probably. For me it just helps to record the songs to memorize all the lrics. And yes, we do all the samples live.
In the past, the band have been through a couple of member changes. In 1996 RWAKE was formed as a four piece and today, six people are in the line-up. What was the reason for the member changes and how solid is the actual band situation?
At first it was about getting together to jam. Then we started playing good shows and branching out. The only reason the people that have been in our band in the past are not in it any more is cause they could not keep up with the band. I feel confident that they did the right thing by not draining us too. And for the other question... solid as a Rock.
Was it a natural development in your sound, that you've got two singer in the line-up?
From the beginning no one would sing with me. Either they couldn't or wouldn't. B has kindle always been there from the beginning any ways so we hooked it up.
What about the musical background of the band's member? Have you played in other bands before?
Yes, but nothing we would ever want to mention. Me and Gravy have been jamming together for over 11 years, and ain't gonna stop.
Which meaning has the insect in your logo? Is it connected with any tribal or nature mystizism or more meant as an occult thing?
It's a sacaida ( I don't know if that's spelled right). Every summer they shed this evil lookin shell of their body that sticks to trees. If your a kid and you find it on a tree it can leave a lasting impression on you.
Would you describe RWAKE more as a political or philosophical oriented band?
More like southern or cosmic.
How much time does everyone of you spent for the band? How often do you rehearse?
A lot, a lot, a lot. Just depends on the up coming plans and what to rehearse.
Have anyone of RWAKE visited this year's SHOD IV festival? If yes, how were your impressions and which bands have you seen there?
We were not able to, but I heard that Dixie Witch ruled it, and also that The Rubes kicked ass.
2002 is nearly over, so what are your plans for 2002? What about tours, compilation tracks etc.?
Another tour, another album, we did "The Sloth" for an upcoming Vitus compilation. We will definitely take the fuck over in 2003.
I like to thank you for the interview. Is there anything you like to add?
Thanks to Weedeater and Bongzilla for last week and also the other bands we played w/ on some of those bills Hobbs End (Nashville) and Shitfire (North Little Rock)