“Give me Metal, or give me Death!” Or how about just some Death Metal? But not any old thing… Gimme something that tears my head off and scares the bejesus out of me. Enter Warfather.
The group’s debut full-length, Orchestrating The Apocalypse, on Greyhaze Records, drops tomorrow (January 21), and you may recognize Warfather’s leader and creative mastermind, Steve Tucker. As a previous member of Morbid Angel and Nadar Sadek, Steve has once again brought a brutal beauty to the Death Metal community with his latest project, though I wouldn’t call Warfather a spur of the moment endeavor. Mr. Tucker has been calculating the group’s entrance into the music world for quite some time. It just so happens that 2014 is the year the war begins!
Leading up to the debut, I spoke with guitar/vocalist Steve just prior to the release of Orchestrating The Apocalypse to talk about his absence from the Metal limelight over the past few years, the writing/recording/thought-process behind Warfather’s debut album, and when we’ll have a chance to catch this machine in action.
G- What’s going on and thank you for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today. You’ve been out of the spotlight for a while now preparing Warfather’s debut album. How is it going, Steve?
S- What’s up, brother?
G- Not too much, man. Is it super cold in West Virginia, too?
S- It’s cold as fuck, man! (laughter) Sorry about the curse word.
G- We are uncensored at Live High five, so say what you mean, man.
S- Ok good.
G- Say whatever you want.
So, you’ve been away for a little while, an absence from the limelight anyway, being the writer, producer, and general overlord behind this debut album from Warfather. How’s it been going, man?
S- It’s been going great, man. We took a couple years to write and record an album and get to know each other, and everything has been brilliant.
Now, Orchestrating The Apocalypse is everything a fan of Death Metal could possibly want in an album, laden with scribbling guitar solos, breakneck blast beats, and guttural vocals that seem to summon the Antichrist. I took a few listens yesterday and a couple today, so what I wanted to do was go through the album track by track with you.
S- Let’s do it.
G- Alright! It starts off with “XII.”
G- And it starts right off hard, man. Tell us about the track.
S- “XII” (12) – Pretty much, that song is about the strike of midnight, man. The song starts and, from that point, it’s just an assault. That is what it’s intended to be. You know, the term “12” to me is about the strike of midnight, when everything changes. It time for a new beginning and time for a new start, man.
G- I dig it. Now, I wasn’t able to check out any of the lyrics for the tunes yet, so is there a particular concept behind the record that Warfather is going for, from an overall flow?
S- Yeah. Actually, every song on the album is pretty much sort of another conjuring or curse to bring about the apocalypse. The concept is it happens one change at a time, every with every song, there is a change. There are a bunch of other things coming about to bring the change.
G- Right on.
And the second track is called “Legions,” and I can only imagine it’s about pulling everybody together to start the war, huh?
S- Yeah it is. That is exactly what it is, man… It’s a call to arms. It even says in the middle of the song “This is a call to arms.”
And only of my favorite tracks early on is “My Queen Shall Not Be Mourned.” Tell us about the process to writing that particular track, and how you came up with the idea behind it.
S- Really what that song is about, man, is about the idea of the seed being passed, man. The idea of what is more important is not now, but what your legend is. The entire concept of that song is about yes, the queen has died, but the queen has given me a child, and my blood lives on.
Now “Taunting The Deity” is a nice little intro track leading up to “The Shifting Poles.” It’s got a cool marching drum cadence and some evil screeching whispers behind it… Who was playing the drums behind the tracks, and where were those whispers coming from?
S- Well, the drums were done by Deimos, our drummer, and there is an effect on there where the drums are actually swinging. It’s an effect called Doppler Effect, and it swings from left to center to right, and so forth.
The whispers are actually from a… The girl on the album actually did a lot of things that aren’t entirely noticeable on the album, but the more people listen to it, the more that they’ll hear. Her name is Milena, and she’s the best, man. She is absolutely amazing… Very haunting voice.
Pretty much, everything in the background, between her voice and my voice, make and effect the album.
G- Alright. And with the placement of the intro prior to “The Shifting Poles,” was that calculated or…
S- Absolutely. Everything on the album is calculated, actually. Everything was thought out, and I had the whole concept for this album a couple of years before I even started it.
“Taunting The Diety” is pretty much what it says (laughs.) It’s about flipping them off and taunting them. It’s trying to bring about the shifting of the poles, man. Where things start to change.
Now, to break it up a touch, you were also in charge of all the recording duties for this album, correct?
S- Yeah, which was a complete pain in the ass. (laughs)
G- (laughs) I wanted to ask you about that. How long did it take to get this record recorded and really ready for release the way you wanted it to turn out? When did you get behind the boards with everything set in stone, and how long did it take to get front to back and to that cold beer you probably needed?
S- Actually, it was a nice, fat…. Yeah. (laughs)
G- Alright then!
S- Man, it was a year before I actually sat down behind a console to mix it, man. We had some issues with the original tracking, so we had to re-record drums in Holland where our drummer actually lives. Because we couldn’t get him back to the states, he had already used up his (visa) time, we ended up having to do it in Holland, getting it all set up and get the actual, physical recording of it and to receive the tracks back. So, the process of the album was about a year. The mixing of the album was probably 3 days to 6 days.
S- But getting to that point was pretty difficult, man… It was quite an adventure. A few different hard drive problems, some motherboard problems. Yeah, it was eventful.
G- Yup… Computers.
S- The gods just didn’t want it to happen, bro.
G- Making the world easier and more difficult at the same time.
S- Yes sir.
G- Now, “Waltz Of The Solstice.” Tell us about it, man… It’s another one of my favorites.
S- That one is a celebration of the new coming. The Solstice is the change of season, and in the middle of the song I used a waltz beat, with the vision of people dancing and celebrating the coming changes, man. That’s really what the solstice is… The celebration to end period and begin another period.
G- And “Summoning The Warfathers” is another eerie lead-up to continued brutality going into “Ageless Merciless.” How do they tie into each other?
S- Well, “Summoning The Warfathers” would be the time when things have gotten to a point where it is time to call in the generals. It’s time to start to take things seriously.
And the song “Ageless Merciless” is actually… There was a song I wrote when I was in Morbid Angel called “Ageless Still I Am.” This is a continuation of that song. The ageless one from that song has been reborn again. He’s had to come forth again to take care of mankind.
G- Ok. It cool to hear that you’re continuing on with the creative process from Morbid Angel, because that was a long, long time ago.
S- Yeah it was. And honestly, that song was something I had words for long before I was in Morbid Angel, so it’s a continuation of my idea. The Morbid Angel thing… It’s been years, man. I think it’s been 10 years since I was in Morbid Angel. (laughs)
G- Yeah it’s been a little while, for sure!
And “The Chaos Of” is another intro into “Gods and Machines.” In your opinion, who will win?
S- Neither. That’s kinda the point. That’s what “The Chaos Of” is the point that neither is right. There are no gods, and machines just ends up destroying life. They take jobs and they make human kind lazy, the same way gods make human kind lazy. So Neither wins.
G- Good point. I was expecting that response… Excellent!
And finishing up, the album ends as strong as it begins. “Ashes and Runes” and “We Are The Wolves,” the latter especially is probably my favorite track and the one I grasped onto the hardest during my listens. Tell us about “Ashes and Runes” first, and then I really want to talk about “We Are The Wolves,” because that is one of my favorites right now.
S- Ok. First of all, “Ashes and Runes” is really a song where the next element comes along. In “The Shifting Poles,” it talks about flooding, it talks about winds. In “Ashes and Runes,” it talks about fire. It’s all about fire and how fire will cleanse the Earth.
And that is a lead up to “We Are The Wolves.” To me, “We Are The Wolves” are the people that are left over, those that obeyed their instincts and didn’t worry about what the television told them. They used their instincts and let those lead them just like a wolf would do. That’s why “We Are The Wolves” signifies that we are beasts, man. We acknowledge that we are beasts, we acknowledge that we have instincts, and we will listen to those instincts regardless of who tells us we should not.
I mean, people tell us all the time ‘don’t listen to your instincts,’ and at the same time ‘Take a pill.’ They want to medicate. I truly believe that so many people in this world are so nervous because they all know we’re fucked, man. We all know that it is coming to a head, and it’s all about to explode, and that’s why our nerves are on edge, man. It’s our instincts telling us that, and that’s what “We Are the Wolves” is about.
G- Right on! Great synopsis of the tracks so far, and I am really excited to catch the group in the live sphere. This is going to shred live, and I’m pumped for it! Do you guys have any shows or tours coming up?
S- We’re just now beginning to get into the booking situation. We are planning and looking at doing some shows in March possibly, and possibly doing more the rest of the year.
More than likely, we’ll start in America, maybe make it up into Canada, and then we’ll start doing the rest of the world after that.
G- Excellent! And for everybody who is going to be seeing this for the first time, what should we expect of the performances, and especially what should some of the first time listeners expect to see when Warfather takes the stage?
S- First of all, expect it to be completely professional. Second, expect it to be extremely tight, and expect it to be what you would want out of a live show. It’ll sound good, it’ll look good, and we’re taking this very seriously, man. We’re coming out to do good shows.
G- Beautiful! And do you guys have any plans for stage set up, or are you just going to come on the stage and destroy everybody?
S- I tell you, man… I have a group of friends that include quite a few artists, and we’ve been developing some stuff, so regardless of the size of the venue, we can use it. We will be bringing a vibe to the stage, man. We won’t just be wearing jogging pants.
G- (laughs) alright!
And to finish up today, obviously this is a brand new thing and a brand new creation for you, and Orchestrating the Apocalypse will be dropping on Greyhaze Records very soon… I want to know do you have a particular favorite song off the record right now, one that you really speaks to you? Or if you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard Warfather before, to try and make a new fan, what track(s) would you give them and why?
S- Man, I would probably give them either “We Are the Wolves” or “XII.” Both are extremely aggressive songs and, in my opinion, if they can’t handle those songs, there is no reason for them to listen to the album.
G- Ha… That’s the bread off the sandwich right there! The top and the bottom, and everything in between is really good, too. I think if they can hang with those, they’re gonna love this record, man!
S- Yeah. There’s more adventure in the middle, man. Those two are just straight brutality.
G- I dig it! Well, that’s what I have for you today, Steve. I want to say again I’m very much looking forward to the release, and I look forward to seeing you guys in concert! Until then, best of luck with the drop, play hard, and can’t wait to see you on the road!
S- Cheers brother! We’ll see you in Syracuse.
G- Alright brother!