Fresh off the release of their third record, American thrash metal band Warbringer’s bass player Andy Laux took some time out from his busy schedule to discuss the new album, Worlds Torn Asunder. Andy talks about how the writing process was very different for World’s Torn Asunder compared to the band’s first two albums, and how new drummer Carlos Cruz was actually the group’s first choice to fill the open void. He also diffuses rumors that have been going around about tensions in the band and talks about the great influence of producer Steve Evetts on the making of Worlds Torn Asunder. Check out Warbringer touring pretty much the entire world in 2012.
So Worlds Torn Asunder is your third record. What would you say makes this record different than your first two in terms of its sound?
Andy: The ‘sound’ of a record comes from the recording process itself and usually has a lot to do with who the band hires to direct and facilitate the process. Warbringer has always opted to change things up with every record we do and this time we put Steve Evetts at the helm. Steve’s methodology involves putting in the time and effort to achieve killer, all-organic tracks. In the case of drums for example this differs from Waking Into Nightmares where snare and kick replacement were employed. Another major difference is that we were more involved in post-production with this record than ones in the past where we would be out on the road somewhere trying to listen to mixes through an FM transmitter in the van. In the end these things make for a more honest representation of the band than records done in the past.
Was the way you went about writing and recording Worlds Torn Asunder any different than the first two times?
Andy: Writing was hugely different. The first record was the culmination of all the material that had been written in the band’s formative years so in a sense that one wrote itself. Waking… was the first time where we actually found ourselves writing on a deadline and the pressure was pretty significant, but the band clicked and we’re proud of that one. This time we set aside an excess of time to avoid any stress, but the writing was largely the same. For the most part John and Adam work on things individually and then bring them to rehearsal where the whole band gives feedback and hammers things out. This time around we especially put emphasis on trying to write around Kevill’s vocal hooks and in general keeping lyrics in mind when we’re working out the dynamics of the song.
How long would you say it took to write, record and produce Worlds Torn Asunder? Was it relatively fast?
Andy: The record was written and recorded from about January to May 2011, so we’re talking about a period of about 5 months give or take; 4 months writing, 1 recording. For a band our size that’s relatively slow, but for the bands Steve usually does that’s very fast.
The album has been met with some favorable critical reception since it was released. Do you pay attention to what the critics have to say? Or could you care less?
Andy: I’ve always felt Warbringer does what we set out to do very well. If the critics like it great, if they don’t then that’s fine because the music wasn’t written for them necessarily. Obviously we want everyone to get and appreciate our work and it feels good seeing positive feedback. Our most important critics are the fans and if we see them reacting to our music in a live setting or singing along that is the bottom line.
Carlos Cruz recently took over as the group’s new drummer. How did Carlos come to fill this role and what made you decide on him?
Andy: Carlos was the band’s first choice. He was part of the same niche metal scene in L.A. that Warbringer came out of and was sort of an island of professionalism and talent among what was really just a bunch of kids churning out metal as fast as we could back then. The other deal maker was that he mostly knew all our material before we even jammed with him, which helps when we’re constantly trying to buy time between tours to write material and deal with personal business. Adding Carlos worked out great, he hits hard and plays with lots of feel, he even wrote the track “Echoes From The Void” which turned out to be one of my favorites.
There was some talk of some personal tensions within the band after so much touring that caused you to go on a short hiatus. What can you tell us about this? Would you say the time off was beneficial to the band?
Andy: I’m really not sure where any of this is coming from. In the case of Nic he really wasn’t too into the music we were doing and in the end there was a mutual decision to part ways. We never took time off from the band or went on hiatus as a result of personal troubles between us. The time off we took was just to recharge after 3 years of constant touring and to begin work on Worlds Torn Asunder.
You chose Steve Evetts, one of the truly great metal producers as your producer for Worlds Torn Asunder. How did Steve become involved in this project?
Andy: We were checking out a few different producers. Steve fit the bill and was available and interested to do the project. We liked that he had a lot of experience with a variety of different bands and styles. We were also looking for someone who could capture a pure performance, natural sound versus the more modern techniques of making a record.
Check out the song: “Shattered Like Glass”
The band has experienced a few line-up changes over the last few years which can be difficult to adjust to. Would you consider this current line-up of the group to be settled for a while now?
Andy: There was never an intention to be switching out members, but things happen and people change. The interesting thing here is that despite the changes the band currently has 4 founding members. The two Johns, Adam, and I were all around from the band’s inception and for years onward so in that sense things have almost come full circle with the band’s line-up. I don’t think any of the changes were difficult to deal with as it’s just a matter of getting the new guy up to speed.
In terms of your touring schedule you barely have a day off until the end of the year. What is your set list like? Is it mostly new or a cross-section of new and old songs?
Andy: Yeah the powers that be like to keep us busy. At the moment we’re playing equal amounts of each record, sort of a ‘best of’ thing. We also have a lot of fun taking requests; it keeps us on our toes.
If you had to pick your three all-time favourite metal (or other) bands who would they be and why?
Andy: Carcass – perfect mix of technical and tasteful writing.
Thin Lizzy – awesome soulful rock and roll with tasty bass playing.
Bathory – this band just clicks with me, and I have tons of good memories listening to this stuff with friends.
What does the future hold for Warbringer? What are your plans for early 2012?
Andy: Nothing I can publicly mention at this point, but be assured we will remain active touring around the globe through 2012.