Interviews

WARMOUTH’s Yogyakarta trip to the darker side of hardcore

WARMOUTH band
Yogyakarta’s WARMOUTH recently released their demo CD and a brand new split with their pals from CLOUDBURST! The style of their music varies from grindcore, hardcore, crust, sludge, and many more. These guys try to blend various elements of the forms that built the extreme music scene, because they don’t like to bound their influences, trying to make it to their own style.
WARMOUTH’s lyrics revolve around self depression, self struggle, perspectives on life, etc. Mixed with the radical, raging blend of hardcore madness and metallic darkness will make you fall into a pit of agony, frustration, torment, and despair.

WARMOUTH x CLOUDBURST split was released digitally on January 1 and physically on December 15. CD version is available via Unleash Records.

Hey there guys! What’s up? How’s Yogya? How are you folks?

Hey Karol,

We’re doing great here.

Right now we’re preparing ourselves to tour due to promote our split with CLOUDBURST that just released a couple weeks ago and still writing new songs at the studio.
As Yogyakarta is always great with bands that always came up with different influences and tend not to follow trends. But recently we encountered some issues related with venues and renting gears for us to make shows.

Can you expound more on that? Feel free to introduce your local heavy music scene to our readers.

The music scene in here is really diverse. From the sweetest Indie Pop music, epic Post-rock, till some bloody Death Metal and brutal stuffs. Most people here tend to have open mind with different music and ideas. There is not much conflict going here through the diversity of the scene. Maybe it’s because a person playing music here can be in a various and multiple other bands. Yogyakarta is also a place for different background culture and education because this place is a place where lots of people gather to study and do arts. So I guess that’s why we can accept other people’s ideas.

But unfortunately, not much of the bands here get much attention from the big medias in Indonesia. But I know and sure there are very much of hard working bands here that support each other’s scene that rarely get exposed by the media. But I’m happy that local bands here are starting to show their fangs by doing tour, promos and stuffs independently. The DIY movement here is big and it’s applied in almost of the bands here.

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Awesome! OK, so where does WARMOUTH fit in Yogya local scene. What is WARMOUTH? Feel free to introduce the band to our readers.

To be honest, we don’t know either in what scene we are. Our members came from different backgrounds. Most people label us as a Grindcore band, but I think that’s because a label that is stuck in me because I played in a Grindcore band before WARMOUTH. For some people here, we are too harsh and fast to be called Hardcore or Punk but we’re not even Metal enough either.

We can hang out with all scene in here. I usually come to Indie Pop gigs and talk with some of the bands. I also come to Punk Rock gigs, DIY Noise shows, and much more. We tried so hard not to border ourselves with labels like that. But I don’t know either. We don’t really want to bother with that kind of stuff. Let people label us the way they want. And I think that describe us as WARMOUTH. Let their mouth sparks war on each other about us.

What other bands have you been in?

I previously played in a Grindcore band named DEADLY WEAPON and also an anti-name Drone/Noise project (named) (((…))). Right now, I’m also helping a Prog/Tech Deathmetal band, GODDESS OF FATE, as a rhythm section. That last band I mention is also the singer’s band of CLOUDBURST (which we are having a split album with). But he plays bass over there.
Our drummer, Rahmat, is currently playing in a Mathcore/Mathrock/Progressive named ENERGY NUCLEAR and also a Funeral Doom band, MAUR. They both just released an album.

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Your almost one year old debut demo is one hell of a noise trip through a specific hybrid of grindcore, crust, and metallic hardcore. It’s overwhelming! Why was it so important for you guys to hide in such dark areas of heavy music? Tell me more about your influences and your agenda from early stages of writing this sick record.

Thank you, I really appreciate your words. I think playing music, any kind of, is some sort of medication to our madness, disappointment, frustration or any feelings even such beautiful thing as love. I think through this kind of music, I can relief some of my madness inside of me. I always think madness as a fuel for me to make art. Any kind of arts. I grew up listening to NIRVANA and as a teenager filled with angst, I feel some kind of comfort listening to them. And as I read Kurt Cobain’s biographies, about his frustrations, drug addiction and stuffs, I can relate on where those madness could lead into a fine peace of art, or even a masterpiece. I also always remember a quote Kurt made about tragedies and art. As a man in my 20’s age, I always often feel my teenage angst just when I was like 16 or 17 or something and I could be crazy for that. I think I’m a very sentimental person and I gladly accept that in myself as a trigger for me to make art. I think that is my standing point in here. I’m not sure either, that Ian Mckaye of MINOR THREAT could make such a great hardcore song if he wasn’t been that really mad back there and he puked it out his madness through the lyrics he made.

And looking back at how we made that two song demo, I remember I was in one of my darkest time at that time. At that time I don’t have a band and I stopped playing electric guitar for some months. But sometimes, I just keep imagining riffs in my head and I started calling Rahmat and Iwan to help me compose the music. It just goes very natural and quite spontaneous in the studio. Maybe it’s because I already had the concepts in my head long before we came to the studio. The funny thing that some people would be surprised is, that the idea of those two songs is not from any heavy metal/grindcore/hardcore music. I was listening to a lot of PINK FLOYD at that time. I remember it was The Wall album when I start writing the lyrics. But of course I listened to heavy musics. From what I mean is, I want to make something like that album, something heavy and ‘brutal’. For me, being heavy and ‘brutal’ is about how to make the listener being blown away by the music and can’t figure out what just happened at the time he listened to the music, a trip perhaps. I often feel that kind of feeling whenever I listen to a good record, and I was like “Wow… What the fuck just happened?” and I love whenever that happens.

Many of the concepts and lyrical themes explored by WARMOUTH have to do with darkness, pain, self struggle, and depression. Can you explain why? Are you facing your inner demons?

Indeed, yes I am. When I write the lyrics, I want it to interpret my feeling, my anger, my lust of love, my point of view and my psych condition at that time. For me, making a lyric for a band like this is almost about personal feelings. And just like what I said before, my madness became fuel for me to do this. I wrote about depression, struggle, nihilistic thoughts and stuffs, because I think that’s what we need and fit for the music and that’s the way I feel about this world. I don’t wanna write something from a book or a movie that has nothing to do with my inner self or wrote a fake tragedy just trying to make the music even more ‘darker’. The way I wrote the lyric as myself as a subject makes the music even more powerful and have it’s meaning. I wrote what I feel, I sing what I feel. I even tried to make myself not in a state of 100% happy. Not trying to be ungrateful in life, but I need those depression and sadness to create my art. In fact, I need my demons to help me write the lyrics and build the atmosphere of the music.

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Is this everything you’ve got so far, or are there already more tracks waiting to be released sometime soon? What are your next steps when it comes to recording and releasing more tunes?

At this current moment, we only have the demo and split album. But we’re also writing new songs, I can say the writing progress is around 75% done, and hopefully to release a full length on 2015. And just like most other bands, we always want and plan to tour, though we know it’s very hard for a band from a third world country to do so. But for now, we are making a schedule to tour in Indonesia first.

Did you already hook up with some label?

This split album is released by Unleash Records. But we are currently not signed with any label yet. We’re searching for it but I think it might come just as how we progress. But if we like on how Unleash Records work with us, it doesn’t close any possibilities that we might work together again in the future. Until now, I still think that Unleash Records is great and can help us to grow. But we’ll just see how it goes.

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What do you think about the present situation of punks in Indonesia? Tell us a bit more about your local hardcore punk scene.

The punk scene in Indonesia is quite big, especially in big cities like Bandung and Jakarta. Most of them still have the DIY spirit, and some of the members of the band also write zines and stuffs. Some bands are having a good progress by starting to tour to Singapore or Malaysia as their first milestone. But if you tried to google “Indonesian Punks” I’m quite sure you’ll find some top articles related with re-educated punks and shaved punks in Aceh as the top result. I guess that thing is kinda getting a highlight since 2011. I don’t know much about that stuff about the scene in Aceh nowadays, neither do any thought about it.

The local hardcore scene here is quite big as well. Sometime, you can even find multiple shows in one night. The music itself diverse in many kind, but the kinda big thing here now is beatdown-stuff hardcore. Mostly, the new kids trying to get into the scene are always into that stuff. No doubt you’ll be famous quite fast if you play that kind of stuff. Since I moved to Yogyakarta in 2009, I didn’t witness the birth of the scene in here. I was involved deeper in the scene at 2011 when I got a chance to play in a grindcore band. But from what I know, the scene was born in the 90’s and was influenced by sounds like WARZONE and even RYKERS. And from what I heard, the scene varies more back then than now. Crust punks, power violence was considered hardcore and can share stages together at that time. And even though I said before that we support each other here, the sub music in hardcore is divided these days. Bands like us, that is even more noisy and faster than the general hardcore bands, is quite hard to be in the generic hardcore shows. I think it’s just because it’s hard to gather more new kids due to the noisy sounds. Not much of the new kids wanted to play something more violence or innovative than before. You can even count by your fingers on how many power-violence bands that is still active here. New kids just love the more trendier ways and just want to get in the “trend” just to prove their existence. I guess that’s what I see nowadays.

I know exactly what you mean. The more melodic and accessible forms of punk and hardcore are everywhere and there are thousands of kids who praise it more than the heavier subgenres and forms you mentioned. Also, the old Aceh case surely does not give the real picture of your national scene, but somehow it managed to hit the top listing of Google’s search results and stay there forever.

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What shows of foreign bands have been the best this year in Indonesia? As an attendee, tell me more about your favorite gigs you’ll never forget.

I would say many. But my favourite I think is a hardcore punk band from Malaysia, WEOT SKAM. They have an intense set and they’re really nice people. The venue was set into chaos, people jumping around everywhere. A small gig but very fun. The other is ELIZABETH from Switzerland. They are also nice peoples and they have a great live set and a great vibe in stage. The other, I would say, is from other noise artist like DJ Sniff from Japan, and also DJ Urine from France. Dj Urine is a wacko man, he destroyed a lot of records in his set. Ah and a honorable moment, I would like to say PARIS IN THE MAKING, a skramz/postrock band from Singapore, even though it’s in November 2013. But they really play a beautiful set and they played in an amphitheatre. It’s one of the most blissful thing I ever felt in my life. I think the list could continue again and again. But I guess that’s it for me.

Which of 2014’s local metal and punk records do you think will last? What other Indonesian artists would you recommend to our readers?

I would personally say that EXHUMATION‘s Opus Death is a really killer record. It’s a death metal album, and by what I mean it’s really pure death metal. No tryin-to-act-br00tal stuffs or any useless technical riffs. Listening to them really gives you the shiver in your spine and they’re music is really haunting even though they’re kinda underrated in the local metal scene here. But I know they’re hard work and passion so I would really recommend them for you.
I have a lot if you ask me any recommendation. If you love some atmospheric/folk black metal you should check VALLENDUSK. NOCTURNAL KUDETA is also a great band if you dig some modern death metal with technical riffs. If you want to be angry with power violence, I can say WICKED SUFFER is the best here, and DISFARE is also another great powerviolence band. Alice is also intense with it’s mathcore tunes. If you wanna find a metal punk like MOTORHEAD mixed with MIDNIGHT you should check OVERDÖSE (you’d be like finding 10 bands with the same name lol). A SISTEM RIJEK!? and also WRATH! is my personal favorite for the local d-beat here. Go heavy and sludgy with OATH, they have really great songs that will make you bang your head. ENSENA also have some sludgy sound but with more post-metal/rock influence in it. If you’d like some skramz go check out LKTDOV and SENJA DALAM PROSA, blissfully destroying. Noise stuffs? Check out TO DIE, SODADOSA. FALLENLIGHT is Jogjakarta’s best kept secret of black metal, they have been chosen as Band of the Week (BOTW) by Fenriz from DARKTHRONE in 2009. HEADKRUSHER is a funeral thrash metal, very fast, loud and evil, they will really fit if paired with EXHUMATION. FADHALIUS is an excellent prog-metal band, they are in their perfect line up right now. Unfortunately they are kinda underrated here. If any of you here love some experimental or avant-garde stuffs, be sure to check out ZOO or SENYAWA. You won’t be disappointed with them, I guarantee it. And of course our split partner, CLOUDBURST, as your soundtrack for destroying your annoying neighbour’s house.

I could go on forever with this and there are really much great bands that is unexposed here. Those bands are friends of us, my favorites and worth to check, besides our side project or ex-bands. Most of the bands are from the locals here, but some are from Jakarta, Bandung and Solo city. I will not mention any ‘big’ bands in here, because they’re just too popular and I’m sure you can go find any info about them very easy. I would rather write the ‘other side’ of the scene because it’s really a treasure hunting there.

Awesome! Thanks a lot man!

So, lastly, what are your resolutions for the next year?

We have a lot plans for 2015. We are preparing our self to tour in February, only in Java Island of Indonesia first. After the tour we hope that we could enter studio again to start recording. We still have some plans that we couldn’t tell here yet. We’ll let you know when the time is right. But hopefully 2015 will be a great year for all of us.

Thank you very much :)

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