Having been an avid fan of Wednesday 13 for well over a third of my life the anticipation of a new record, a new stage look, a new album concept is something that always excited me. Though some artists lose their way through age, overzealous experimentation or lack of creativity and their career turns to a dismal dust in their hands and some artists excel, excite and age like a fine wine becoming tastier as time goes by… luckily ‘Condolences’ the 7th studio album was such a bottle of dark red hidden in a cooling basement which has now been unleashed on the world for all to drink! Nickie got to catch up with the ghoul himself to talk about black metal, imagery, diversity, horror movies and cats….
‘Condolences’ has reached the light of day; I can testify to how dark, Metal and heavier this sounds! It’s a far cry from the usual satire and camp Punk Rock comedy that you normally have to offer. What the story behind the new direction? Is it a conscious effort? Yes! The past couple of releases we’ve done are gradually steering in a heavier direction. We didn’t really go into this one like “let’s write the heaviest record we’ve ever done”, we just went in and wrote songs and it just so happened that we wrote something in a heavier direction. For me it’s a natural progression, but we knew it was going to have a heavy aspect but it wasn’t really a thought-out process; that’s what shine’s about it – it’s an honest record.
It’s fantastic to see the response the new album has had, not just from all the new fans but also from the older fans that have supported you along the way. For me personally I’m really into my Black Metal and I loved Condolences; so found it very accessible!How was the recording process? Where did it take place? What stories do you have from the recordings?
We took last summer off and I sat down and wrote this record with the band, which is very different to how we’ve worked in the past. In the past I’d just kinda wrote songs and send demos to the guys to work on ideas, but it was never a case of us all sitting down together in a room to write songs like we did this time round. We spent three weeks where we dedicated an entire day for each song the entire time; the songs that we wrote over those three weeks are the songs on ‘Condolences’. Occasionally it’d take two days to complete a song because we wanted to try out every aspect of playing the songs faster and slower. Once we had the music down, I sent it back home and I started writing all the lyrics for it and Roman started writing all the guitar parts for it. So it was basically three weeks of writing it and then a month of drawing up the lyrics and guitar parts and then a month of recording it; so it was three months all together. I’ve never spent that much time preparing one record! I think that’s why when you hear this record you can hear how much work we’ve put into it, because we sure as hell spent a lot of time on it!
Monsters Of The Universe was the first concept album you released, has Condolences followed suit? Would you say there’s an over-arching story or vibe for the record?
Monsters was a whole crazy album; you’d have to know the whole story to understand the record. The concept thing was really cool, but I don’t think it was my favourite thing to do, so when I made ‘Condolences’ I didn’t want there to really be a concept for the thing. Once the music was finished and I took a step back and listened to it I found that all though it’s not a concept record, the theme for every song is death, whether it’s the killer or the victim it’s something to do with death.
You’ve had a pretty solid band line-up now for a while and they have a very diverse taste in music. How’ve they influenced the over-all direction and how do you feel about the current line-up you’re working with?
The guys in the band bring as much to the table as I do! We tour together so much and we’re around each other so much, we write for this band. When the guys bring songs for the band, they’re not just bringing random songs at me like “Ooh here’s my riff!” they actually write songs for the project. We also like a lot of similar music so we bring together lots of things. There really are no rules. To me, as someone who’s been writing music by myself for years I’m so glad at how creative we all are together; it’s great not just having me write all the music!
Absolutely! You can be challenged with other like-minded people to find something that you didn’t realise was inside of you; I think it’s great that you can experiment amongst yourselves!
Exactly! Thank you.
Imagery is something that’s quite important to a lot of artists, you’ve acquired somewhat of a Goth-tinge with a Black Metal approach to your look this year. Is that a reflection of the evolution of your music, or was it just time to call in something a little darker?
I’m a fan of a lot of Black Metal bands but I’m not into everything Black Metal, I do love Satyricon! As far as imagery we never consciously took anything we’ve done from those bands, as weird as it sounds the imagery we have right now it’s all based on comic book characters and Star Wars villains! As you know from my previous interviews with Devolution, I’m a massive fan of the GI Joe cartoons, especially the bad guys Cobra; we base a lot of our clothing off of those characters!
That’s awesome! Now you said it I can see what you mean actually!
I can totally see why a lot of people see it as Black Metal imagery, but for me we’re just comic book villains! Even if there is a slight Black Metal feel to it, our image is always ever-changing. When you see us live next we could look totally different to how we look now! We’re a visual band and our imagery is based on all different things. You’re never going to see this band going the band thing over and over!
You’ve been such a hands-on artist; you’ve often valiantly presented yourself through the DIY route which is very commendable. Now you’re signed to Nuclear Blast, how do you feel about your new record label family?
I’m COMPLETELY happy with everything they’re doing! I’ve been on labels for years, but now I really feel like everyone’s pulling for us and it’s a great time right now! Doing all these DIY and self-release records over the years was one thing but actually having a whole team behind us now I can really see and really feel the difference. Not that the DIY stuff was a bad thing for me, it worked GREAT for me at the time but things started to feel stale over the years and I started to feel like I wasn’t reaching everyone I could reach. Now we’re on Nuclear Blast we’re on the best label that’s out there in my opinion.
They’re incredible! Did they approach you or did they seek you out?
I went to them first. Originally for this record we didn’t have a label in place at all, once we made it we were like “well it sounds good, let’s hope someone picks it up!” and Nuclear Blast was the first place I went to. I knew a few people there from my prior days with Murderdolls, in fact the guy Monty that signed us was our old guy from Roadrunner. I showed Monty the record and I was like “Hey! I’ve known you for a while listen to this record and give me your opinion and let me know what you think.” He wrote back like “this is great, let’s talk!” After a few months we worked a deal out and I couldn’t be happier, I couldn’t keep doing the DIY thing for all of these years. It’s been cool (doing DIY) but to have this whole team and this entire army behind us now we can get SO MUCH more done! I don’t know how to run a record label; I just know how to play my shows and tour; now I can leave all the label stuff to the professionals.
I came down with the Devolution crew to see you perform in Southampton a little while back, which was an awesome performance! That particular tour you were paired with your side project Bourbon Crow, however on that night there was no Bourbon Crow material played and instead we were quite graciously treated to an extended Wednesday 13 acoustic set, we were wondering why this was the case?
Unfortunately we had a family issue with Bourbon Crow; one of them had to fly all the way home for that!
Would you ever do a similar tour to the one you did earlier this year with Bourbon Crow, but with Gunfire 76 opening?
That tour that Gunfire 76 did in 2009 was really short! We never really got to explore the Gunfire 76 project because Murderdolls came back out and that unfortunately took priority. We hear it all the time at our shows that people want Gunfire back though! I would really like to re-visit Gunfire eventually; in the future I’d definitely like to do something like that again. I was such a different thing, it was straight up Rock ‘n’ Roll and not based on all these theatrics, it was a total throwback to an old school Rock ‘n’ Roll band! I’d love to get back into that in the future!
Sounds like a lot of people would be really into that, judging by the responses we’ve received from posting about Gunfire 76 online! I never got to see you perform with them the first time round; so I’d love to get the chance! Now Condolences is released you’ve embarked on ANOTHER tour, it seems you’re forever on the road! Tell us all about the tour!
We have a full year of touring planned out, more or less! We’ve been going all over, including Europe; we’ll be back in the UK for the week of Halloween as usual. We really enjoyed finally returning to Download earlier this year which was really cool. We’ve had US runs too, it’s been non-stop. We’re over in the UK for the week of Halloween but we’re not actually playing on Halloween night this year, fear not though we will be in London around Halloween!
What’s the story behind the theatre stage production props you’re planning on bringing on stage with you?
I’m certainly trying to!
Is it confirmed?
I’d say so! This record is such a step up for us now we’re on the Nuclear Blast label, we wanted to make a bigger sounding record; so we achieved that and when it came to the live show I was like “We have to make the stage show match the album!” I’ve put every ounce of thought I possibly could and every dime I have into the stage shows; so hopefully it will work! I wanna do sometime bigger than I’ve ever done before and my Download performance was the biggest show I’d ever tried to pull off.
When we’ve interviewed you previously you’ve always told us a categorical “no” to there ever being a Murderdolls reunion, but in the past few months we’ve read rumours that that might not necessarily be the case anymore. Where do you stand on that now?
***BIG SIGH*** I’m waiting to find out myself! Basically, Murderdolls last show was 2011 and from there we pretty much went on permanent hiatus. The whole thing was floating in the air and no one knew what was going on, you’ve asked me before and I gave a definitive “no” to a reunion, but my outlook has always been “if it happens again, it happens again”. I read that interview online with Joey just like everyone else where he mentioned Murderdolls and how proud of it he was and that he’d love to do a reunion. When I read that I was as shocked as everyone else was! I still haven’t spoken to Joey. I know he’s into doing it and I’ve always felt inside that I’d be interested in doing it. I definitely feel that it’s a “future feature thing”; by that I mean that neither of us are going to drop what we’re doing right now. He’s working really hard on his new band and I’m working hard on this ‘Condolences tour’ and promotion. When it comes time to do it, for me in my perfect world I’d love to just do some shows first and go out and play and see if we have fun doing that! If it’s good from that point them maybe we could talk about a record. I’m eyeballing 2018 or maybe 2019 as being the time Murderdolls could happen again.
Hollywood is FOREVER re-making movies it seems, some re-makes can be justified and others come across as quick cash-grabs. If you could pick any Horror film, which one would you like to see re-made any why?
Well, if I could pick ANYONE to direct a movie it’d always be Ed Wood! As I’ve mentioned to Devolution previously, Ed Wood is one of my all-time heroes! He was my inspirational weirdo. Not sure about the exact film I’d like to be re-made to be honest but if someone was to re-make a classic and do it well, it’d have to be Ed Wood!
For the most part, your interviews consist of Horror movies, comic books, Punk music and Shock Rock. Is there anything else that makes up Wednesday 13 that everyone is missing? What else should we know about?! Here’s your opportunity to tell us about who you are NOW in 2017!
I like cats!
Well that will please half of my readership! ***BOTH LAUGH***
Well, cats are awesome! They’re the coolest animals ever. I have two little cats, I wouldn’t mess with them!
Your fashion sense is fabulous, especially the items you’ve DIY’d over the years! Would there every be an opportunity for you to release a Wednesday Couture range? Even if it was for a bit of fun?
Clothing wise? I really don’t know. I’m always trying to change everything that I’m doing. I’m always trying to do something different to everyone else, so if I made a clothing line and everyone was dressed like me that’d probably freak me out!
It wouldn’t necessarily have to be based on you ha-ha
With clothing I’m always trying to stay one step ahead of everyone; so I’m not going to give away my secrets!
With the launch of our new website do you have a message to all of the Devolution readers who are reading digitally that Devolution and Wednesday 13 have teamed up again?
Thank you all so much for all the support! The UK really is my home-away from home; the UK is the place that put me on the map! We’re back throughout this year with our best record so come and see us for our best stage show ever! Hopefully see all you Devolution readers there, but if not we’ll see you next time! Thank you readers for all your years of support!
Interview By Nickie Hobbs
Photo By: MichellexStar
The Duke of Spook, WEDNESDAY 13 has revealed a brand new video for ‘Cadaverous’, a track taken from his current ‘Condolences’ album. Check it out at https://youtu.be/vqnVqmeSVpI
Don’t miss these upcoming shows to see the brand new live show! Dates run as follows: