Hello and thanks for taking part in our by-now traditional end of year recapitulation – now, to the questions!
For the benefit of our readers, please identify yourself and what you do in Werewolves… “G’day, I’m Sam Bean. I do bass and all the vocals in the band. I could not give two shits whether you can understand the lyrics. Just assume that I’m aggressively telling everyone to fuck off, and you’ve got the gist of it”.
What sort of a year do you think it’s been musically, notwithstanding the chaos going on in the real world? And what were your musical highlights in 2020? “It has been a great year for us, totally sucked for everyone else though. I can’t think of a year where I’ve got more music done, they should lock us up more often. Our highlight was releasing the debut Werewolves album The Dead Are Screaming and then writing and recording enough material to last us for the next four years. Apart from us I think the new Napalm Death totally crushed it, and Venom Prison are releasing some regular brutality”.
Any lowlights for you? Or do you prefer to try and stay away from things that are going to make you disappointed? “We love negativity and disappointment so 2020 has been an absolute feast. But if you’re talking musical lowlights…can’t really think of many. My disappointments were mainly to do with movies and games getting their release dates delayed to 2021. Dune and Foundation coming out next year? That’s some fucking bullshit. I wonder what Villeneuve is gonna do when cinemas are still COVID no-go zones next year. Show me your bastard flick already, you fuck”.
We can’t talk about 2020 without mentioning COVID- how did it impact on your band specifically? And how did you combat COVID setbacks? And, moving ahead, do you think the way we do things like touring in the future will be able to take any positives from what’s happened since March? “Things were great for me personally and because Werewolves is so new, the band wasn’t really harmed by being unable to tour. We all work remote to each other and have the online-working thing down pat, so it didn’t stop us writing or recording. The opposite, if anything, Matt has been grinding out album after album. The absolute lowlight would have been Matt (Wilcock, guitars) and Dave (Haley, drums) getting locked down for six months in Melbourne. Now I think of it, Dave probably had the worst of it out of all of us. He works with Direct Bookings and when COVID hit in March he had to cancel the next twelve months of tours. Just an unfeasible amount of work, down the toilet in a week. Having said that, he and his team took another week to pivot Direct Bookings into Direct Merch and has totally feasted upon people stuck at home ordering things online. You could only wish the rest of the business community in this country was that adaptable and resilient. I think that touring will need to work with a far shorter pre-tour timeline in the future, probably can’t happen in the winter, and it’s only going to happen once countries get their shit together and start working out the conditions for international travel. I personally don’t see that happening til 2022. I also think VR has been underutilised. Oculus Events should be jammed full of bastards screaming their beards off”.
If a worldwide pandemic had happened twenty years ago it’s arguable that the effect on bands may have been even worse given the absence of the internet and social media – Do you think the fact that fans now have a much more direct line to bands meant that social media played a part in helping bands survive this period of financial instability? What do you think of the rash of pay per view concerts we have seen spring up recently? “Yeah, you couldn’t have asked for an easier pandemic for this current state of humanity to survive. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a big deal, but without the internet then EVERYTHING would have been fucked. Bands, businesses, schooling, centralised authorities trying to give orders, the lot, all in the trash. Extreme metal bands like us tend to be relatively inured to financial instability in that we have barely any music-related finances to affect. Almost everyone in extreme metal has a day job. I think more bands will have discovered this year what works for making money online though. Dave would definitely attest to the online appetite for spending on niche stuff. This year is all about content – more music, more pictures, more writing, more stuff that entertains people. Everyone’s at home bored out of their minds dying for some entertainment. If you can do that, it’s your year. Before you used to just tweet, re-tweet, and hashtag everything, and redistribute whatever your label and PR were saying about you and you get all these bands who have a profile just cause they’ve gamed how to get their stats up. Not this year. You have to make an effort. We’re not about pay-per-view concerts though. I mean, the whole social aspect is an important part of shows and you’re missing that out the gate. There are some mysterious pheromones that get about during a gig, and people are herd creatures. You can’t get that transcendent concert experience sitting at a screen by yourself, and it compares badly to what you can dig up on YouTube”.
And what about the ‘Zoom Jams’ – are you a fan? If so, what ones should we be seeking out on the internet to cheer ourselves up? “Not our thing. It doesn’t help either that I live roughly eight hundred kilometres away from Matt and Dave, and the border has been shut for half of this year. We’d have to Zoom rehearse with each other to Zoom jam and find a way to kill off any lag when playing at 260BPM from multiple locations. Absolutely fuck that. I swore after Berzerker I would never do another band consisting of anything more complicated than fumbling a guitar lead into an amp. Stuff to cheer you up on the internet? Porn normally does the trick. I recommend vore, grimdark, spacedocking, apotemnophilia, mouth larva, BMS Pain Olympics, and Gokkun Attack, with perhaps a side serving of botfly removal videos. I spasm with pleasure every time one of those little bastards is removed from someone”.
Shows are tentatively being booked now across the world for 2021 and beyond – what does the next twelve months hold for you? “I think it’s too early to be booking shows, unless you don’t have a problem wondering if it’s all going to be cancelled right up to the moment you step onstage. We’ll be recording more of our horrible music, we feel like we’re on a roll and we plan to release an album every year. If a vaccine/quarantine combination stabilises things enough, we may get to have our first rehearsal together. Baby steps. Shows will come when we’re not just throwing a dart at a dartboard. We’re also full speed ahead releasing music with our other bands. The third Antichrist Imperium album that Matt and I have been working on with Dave Gray and Sam Loynes should be out around mid-next year. A Berzerker album we’ve been part of might materialize at some point. SpaceX is flying to outer space now, so I’m sure Dave and the rest of Psycroptic will be clamouring to be the first metal band to tour the moon”.
It’s our end of year round up, so of course our thoughts are turning to the Holiday season. What’s best for you? Christmas or New Year? And what will you be drinking? “I prefer New Year. Not because I celebrate and have fun or anything, just because you’re guaranteed no-one else will be out on the morning of January 1st and you can get up early and pretend that people don’t exist anymore. It’s glorious. We all drink different stuff. Matt will be on the beers, probably ending with whiskey. Dave will probably be on Powerade as he attempts to rehydrate after recording “twelve thousand albums this year. I’m partial to gin. I’ve got a killer variety from the Original Spirit Company that is yuzu-infused and doesn’t give you the sads like normal mother’s-ruin does”.
You’ve been invited to the Sentinel Daily office party -we’ve let you take charge of the stereo for five songs. What will you play?
“Marduk – Christ Raping Black Metal, Brutal Truth‘s Mainliner, Inhuman by Origin, Anaal Nathrakh‘s – Blood Eagles Carved on the Backs of Innocents and Hate Eternal – Dethroned”.
That’s enough festive fun – here’s your chance to speak directly to our readers – what would you like to say to them? “We want to be the band where if your mum and dad catch you listening to us, they know they’ve failed as parents. Merry Christmas”.
Thanks for taking part!
Werewolves new album, What A Time To Be Alive, releases January 29th.