Even within metal’s endless labelling and over-specific sub-genres, Germany’s War From A Harlots Mouth have always been a hard band to pinpoint since their inception in 2005. With the group’s debut Australian tour kicking off this week, guitarist Simon Hawemann kindly caught up with KYS recently to talk about touring, German brew and the possibility of a new studio album in 2012.
G’day mate, Kane from Killyourstereo. Hope everything is well with you. Just to get things started could you please state your name, role in the band and your favourite record of 2011 so far?
Oi! I’m doing very well, thanks. My name is Simon and I’m the founder and guitarist of War From A Harlots Mouth. My favourite record this year? Tough question, but oh well… Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire’s ‘Visceral’ is among them and I’m digging the new Will Haven record as well. Good to have them back.
So, your first Australian tour is fast approaching, which must be exciting. How are things going with yourself and the band at the moment?
It’s most exciting, yeah. Apart from being so excited, things have been pretty chill for me and also for the band lately. We just played a few weekend shows lately, so we all had enough rest to get a solid and exhausting tour going, I’d say.
These upcoming December shows will be your last of 2011. How has the year been for War From A Harlots Mouth?
Well, the year wasn’t the busiest for us, which was relaxing. We didn’t record anything in 2011 and toured a bit less than last year, but we’ve been on a great tour with Emmure, who went to Australia right afterwards, as far as I’m concerned. That tour was going really good and it was good times for sure. We also played headlining tours in eastern and western Europe and a few festivals and weekenders. All in all, it’s been a great year and we’re going to end it with a highlight, which is amazing.
And, speaking of the end of 2011, what plans (aside from touring) do you have for next year? I remember last month you guys wrote on your Facebook page that the band are in the process of working on some new tunes. How’s that progressing?
I’m currently into the writing and pre-production process of a few new songs. We’ll be putting out a new full length record in 2012 and so far we’re a good three songs into it. As of yet, i’m not sure on which label we’re going to put it out. We’re talking to some at the moment and it’s exciting, of course.
Speaking of labels, Lifeforce Records have released all three of your studio albums. It must be crucial to have a positive and ongoing partnership with a record label. Can you tell us how it’s been working with them?
Working with them has been nice. We have a good and personal type of relationship with each other. As mentioned, we don’t know if we’re going to stick with them, yet.
‘MMX’ has been out for the best part of a year now. Can Australian fans expect a set-list featuring tracks predominately from this album or being your first time playing down here should we anticipate shows that include a good cross-section of all of your releases?
Yeah, we’re playing a cross-section of all of our albums. Pretty much (it will be) the songs we like to play live the most and some of the occasional most-wanted songs as well. There will be a good portion of ‘MMX’-material though… it’s the album that represents us as a band the most.
And speaking of the shows themselves, you toured with popular Aussies Parkway Drive last year. Did they happen to share any observations as to what you can expect from Australia?
Actually, we toured Russia with them in 2008 as well. Unfortunately, we never really got to talk about Australia that much, simply because we didn’t expect to get there so soon, to be honest. I’ve heard how crazy huge they are in Australia, but well… so are they in Europe. That tour we did with them last year was the biggest we’ve done yet. I’ve heard that Thy Art is Murder are doing quite well in Australia too. So I’m pumped for those shows…should be great!
For someone who may be unfamiliar with the German music scene can you give us an insight into what it’s like being in a band over there?
Well, simply put, it’s not that great. Most of the younger bands are jumping (on) pretty much any bandwagon and at the moment it’s cool to play metalcore, mixed with eurodance / trance and (the) most stupid lyrics. The worst pop music isn’t worse than that anymore, really. It’s kinda sad, because I was growing up as a metal / punk / hardcore kid, when it was kind of a counter culture. Germany has a huge, more traditional metal scene though. Black metal is doing well at the moment and I’m a black metal head myself, so that’s cool with me. I’d say anything “-core”-related is a bit shitty right now, while the metal scene is alive and well.
With an eclectic sound like yours, it’s no secret that War From A Harlots Mouth don’t care much for genre labelling. Some musicians have strong and sometimes negative viewpoints on certain ‘metalcore’ and ‘deathcore’ scenes. Do you have an opinion either way?
I’d say we don’t like being labeled as a deathcore band for example, simply because we’re not influenced by deathcore or even death metal really, apart from more experimental stuff like Gorguts or Cryptopsy. Generally, I don’t mind all those labels, as long as some good music is coming out of it in the end. And it’s very important for me that a band is authentic. If they all dress up the same and even move around on stage the same way as every other band out there, it’s hard for me to buy what they’re trying to sell. I want to feel something and get hooked on a vibe, rather than seeing a band perform a choreography, which seems to be more and more established among metalcore and deathcore bands. Leave that to the boy
This may be a cheeky question but it’s no secret that Germany has a strong beer culture. As Aussies, we can probably lay claim to this too. If we are ever over in Germany is there any particular brew we should keep an eye out for?
Germany does have a strong beer culture, indeed. Now I’m the worst person to talk to, when it comes to beer, because I don’t drink at all. I can recommend a great German, non-alcoholic wheat beer though. It’s called ‘Erdinger Weissbier Alkoholfrei’ and people are loving it. Still, I’m sorry that this is all I’ve got (laughs).
No worries, fair enough. And just some quick ones to finish with before we let you go,
Favourite all-time metal album?
Celtic Frost – ‘Monotheist’
Favourite non-metal album?
Gang Starr – ‘Moment of Truth’
Biggest musical influences?
Bands like Deathspell Omega, Gojira, Celtic Frost, Will Haven, Ion Dissonance, Botch, The Dillinger Escape Plan and the Deftones. (Also) some Classical music (and) some Jazz.
Favourite bands you’ve toured with?
Musically, Intronaut was an awesome band to tour with. I remember watching them every night and being blown away by literally every show they put on. We did enjoy the two tours with Emmure a lot as well, because we got along with them so well. Winds of Plague were awesome people to tour with too. The same goes for Darkest Hour.
What are you most looking forward to about touring Australia?
Besides the shows, we’re really looking forward to see the country. None of us has been there yet, so it’s very exciting for all of us. I actually have a few German friends who are living there and can’t wait to see them. All I know is, that they love Australia. So apart from huge spiders, there is nothing I am not looking forward to about touring Australia.
And finally, any last words you want to share with the Killyourstereo readers before we wrap things up?
Yeah, we hope to meet some of you along the road. Say hi and let’s chat about metal and what not. We can’t wait to travel your country and get to know all the different places and people. If you want to check us out and haven’t yet, tune in at our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/wfahm and feel free to drop us a line there. See you around.
Thanks for the interview Simon, appreciate it. Looking forward to the Australian shows.
So am I, thank you.
You can view the tour dates for the ‘Soldiers Of Immortality Tour‘ here.
Fans can read Killyourstereo‘s review of WFAHM‘s most recent studio album, 2010’s ‘MMX‘ here.