Seventh Rule Recording artists Wetnurse are preparing to release their newest offering Invisible City on September 30th. A combination of hardcore, metal, grindcore and a healthy dose of punk, these guys mean business. Recorded and mixed by Martin Bisi (Helmet, Swans) and mastered by Alan Douches (Converge, Mastodon) this is a well-produced, great-sounding record. Their self titled debut received critical acclaim and garnering 9 out of 10 from Decibel Magazine. With the release of Invisible City Wetnurse proves they are no flash in the pan; they are here to stay. Recently I spoke with vocalist Gene Fowler and guitarist Garett Bussanick about the band, their new disc, and their upcoming fall tour with Metal Blade artist Khaan.
The name of the band Wetnurse is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Gene: Wetnurse is a supple mother, one who gives her milk to other children. So our music is the milk and you are all our children.
Your brand new CD titled Invisible City is set for release September 30, 2008 now that it is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Garett: I think I speak for the entire band saying we all feel quite great about it. It’s been a long time coming for the release since we did the tracking back in April/May of 2007. There are always at least minor things you’d like to see different about the final outcome, but we’re really pleased with the songs and how they’ve been captured.
You worked with Martin Bisi producer of Helmet and Swans fame. How did you get in touch with him and what was it like working with him?
Garett: Martin had recorded the first record in 2004 and based on that experience, the band was interested in working with him again. We like the fact that his studio is totally analog and think the results come across really genuine. His studio is a large dungeon-like basement with very high ceilings. The room gives off the vibe of a dank cavern with huge room sounds and I think the depth and space was inspiring to us and caught on the record. Martin’s been recording bands since the late 70’s, so he knows what he’s doing and was able to help us get sounds we liked.
Give us some insight into the record Invisible City and the meaning behind its title?
Garett: Most of Invisible City was written between early ’06 and early ’07 with 2 of the songs being older. This was my first writing experience with the band. When I joined, the first record had been out for awhile and when it came time to write for this record, I wanted to help the band continue in a similar vein since I was into them before joining. Yet at the same time, I wanted to have my ideas and influences thrown into a melting pot, yielding a familiar although different sounding record. So we spent time crafting an album that would be engaging from beginning to end and that would have many different feels and ideas, all the while concentrating on meaningful songwriting. It has 2 distinct “sides” which is our nod to tapes and vinyl since most of us grew up with those formats. There is also an intro, intermission, and outro which are there to divide both “sides” and are all done solely with acoustic guitars. The title is taken from a book our drummer read called Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino. I’m told it is about the fictitious travels of Marco Polo. I don’t feel there is one specific meaning behind the title. We had been discussing various meanings and everyone was coming up with their own interpretations. To me, it is a reminder that perceptions can be misleading.
What is the hardest part about being in a touring metal band and what is the biggest obstacle your band faces?
Garett: We’ve done one full U.S. tour, a couple of east coast tours, and many weekends over the past few years without any major problems. I wouldn’t say we face any sort of obstacle. We tour and play shows as much as we can and enjoy it. The challenge of longer lasting touring opportunities is going to be making it work with regards to money and jobs at home.
Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a theme or themes behind the writing of this record?
Gene: My lyrics are poems that are based on everyday life. My vocals are the expression of the stories. The theme usually is one person talking to another, one “Monster Vs. Bigger Monster,” and I’m just the narrator.
The art work for Invisible City was created by the acclaimed New York art group, Lansing-Dreiden is quite amazing. How is it tied to the album’s title?
Garett: The art is not rigidly tied into the album’s title in any way. It’s very much open to interpretation. Lansing-Dreiden had also done the artwork for the first record and we liked the idea of having a visual continuation which serves to link the 2 records.
When you are on the road for a while I am sure you see and experience many different things you might not even have known existed. Are there any stories that stand out in your mind as being exceptionally strange or odd?
Gene: The whole touring thing is strange, odd and overwhelming. Living in a van with four guys is a little stressful, but it’s all worth it in the end. It’s such a learning experience to be out on the road. Being born in NYC, everything is completely different to me. I feel like I remember every single day of every single tour, but I can’t remember one specific story to tell; the whole thing is a roller coaster.
Do you find it difficult being away from family and friends for such an extensive period of time? How do you cope with the separation?
Gene: A lot of electronics, a lot of drinking, and a lot of apologies.
All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
Gene: A lot of electronics, a lot of drinking, and a lot of apologies. Video games are my life. It helps to relieve tension and stress, not to mention being in this band is very therapeutic.
What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
Gene: The studios are a breeze for me. On the early recordings I used to make up half the vocals in the booth. Stage is its own war; there are so many elements that can and will go wrong. The main lesson I’ve learned is that you’ve got to keep going. Being a very emotional person, when something doesn’t go right, you have to realize, “Oh well.” I tend to dwell on stuff, which I guess in the end makes me hungrier for the next show.
What does the future hold for you guys as a band?
Garett: For starters, we’re going to be touring for the month of October with Khann (Black Market Activities/Metal Blade). We’ve been busy doing weekends throughout the northeast about once a month too and plan to continue that indefinitely. We are also planning to do more touring in 2009 and would like to try to get to Europe at some point. As for new material, we’ve started brainstorming ideas for our next album and the writing process is in the very early stages. So we plan to be really busy supporting this record as much as possible while creating the next record. [ END ]