Guitarist Simon Hawemann of the German Metalcore band War From A Harlots Mouth took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about the band’s new release, MMX. Since 2005 WFAHM has been steadily gaining a loyal following through constant touring. They’ve shared the stage with many other extreme metal acts including Cattle Decapitation, Dying Fetus and The Ocean. They’re currently on tour in Europe as part of the “Mosh Lives Tour” where they are playing alongside Emmure, Winds Of Plague and I Wrestled A Bear Once. Here’s what Hawemann had to say about the band and the new record MMX.
The name of the band, War From A Harlots Mouth 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?
Simon: Basically, the name has something to do with lies. The war from the mouth is the actual lie itself, while the harlot stands for a random person. It does work in both ways, though… since the harlot is someone who is offering false love. But yeah, generally it’s all about the lies, since people lie to each other all the time.
Now that your brand new CD, MMX, is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Simon: Very much. It feels like the end of a journey, I think we found our niche. This is the sound we’re gonna build upon in the future, I don’t see why we should try to redefine our sound over and over again.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Simon: I’ve been writing most of the riffs at home, but it mostly got pieced together in the rehearsal room. Our drummer Paul has a huge influence on our material as well. Whenever I write a riff that I find very twisted already, he adds even more twists and turns.
I feel the new material is significantly heavier and more aggressive than your previous releases. Was this a conscious effort or do you think it was more of a natural progression?
Simon: So so. We wanted to head for a more heavy and extreme sound, after In Shoals was more of an experimental record. So we straightened it out a bit, wrote actual songs and made them heavy and extreme, but with a very gloomy vibe. It is less hectic and spazzy, the chaotic elements are a little more subtle this time.
Give us some insight into the meaning behind its title, MMX?
Simon: Well, there is no big secret behind the title, really. 2010 is a big year, a good number to play with and we wanted the record to be some sort of a time witness. At least our very own time witness, musically and lyrically.
Give us some insight into the album lyrically. This is a super pissed off sounding record!
Simon: It mostly deals with alienation, based on fictitious characters. All of those characters can’t make their way into society for some reason or another, be it a mental or physical disease or simply a general issue with today’s society.
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?
Simon: We don’t prepare physically, really. I mean, most of us do sports in their free time anyways. I’m cycling quite a lot and got into running lately, the others do different sorts of fitness as well. But there is no special preparation needed, really. It just takes a few days into a tour and it’s all going well from there. The first three days are always tough, your neck and back hurt, but then it just disappears.
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?
Simon: On our very first tour there was a couple at a show in Switzerland that was making out in front of the stage, right next to the audience. The dude was fingering his girl, pulled his fingers out every now and then to play air guitar, while Dying Fetus was playing. After the show they just walked around the venue and talked to people as if nothing happened. Weird people.
When you are out on the road anything can happen and often does. Can you think of any disastrous events that happened while out on tour? How did you solve the problem?
Simon: Luckily, nothing disastrous happened while we’ve been on tour. Our US tour in 2008 was pretty tough and we didn’t get paid every now and then, which was annoying, to say the least. We needed the money to pay the gas bills and all that, but we made it in the end. I can’t think of anything real bad, though… we’ve been lucky, I guess.
What artists would fans be surprised to find on your iPod?
Simon: D’Angelo, for example. I’m listening to a lot of different stuff that has nothing to do with Metal or Hardcore, especially on tour. I mean, you’re surrounded by extreme music all day, so it’s nice to listen to something mellow or catchy when traveling from show to show.
Tell me about a book or two that you’ve read that you think other people should read?
Simon: I’ve been reading this book entitled ‘Power & Rebel’, literally translated, which are the name of the main actors. The author is a Scandinavian dude named Matias Faldbakken and he really is crossing almost every possible border in this book. If you’re a sarcastic person, you’re gonna have a good laugh every now and then, but some stuff is real fierce and fucked up beyond belief. For everyone interested in the music business, I can only recommend ‘Kill Your Friends’. It’s such a fucked up story, but at the same time it plays with some good old music industry clichés. It reminds me of ‘American Psycho’ in many ways and is just as sarcastic as ‘Power & Rebel’.
If you had not become a musician what other career path would you have liked to attempt?
Simon: Maybe a social worker or teacher. I can picture myself working with teenagers. Something literary would have been interesting as well, but all in all I’m dedicated to music and that’s it.
What three words best describe your band?
Simon: Extreme, experimental, gloomy.
If you were a superhero, who would it be and why?
Simon: I’d might be an antihero… we entitled our debut full length Transmetropolitan for a reason. I love the main character; I’d just not smoke, drink and do drugs all the time. [ END ]