OD – It seems that finally all the hard work from gigging over the years is beginning to pay off with your performance at 2012 Wacken Festival, the recent successful support slot with Sepultura and your addition to the this years Hammerfest in the UK. Do you feel that finally you are getting the attention and international recognition that you have been looking for?
Darren – Yeah man, for sure. I mean we have been putting in the grind so it is definitely nice to be seeing the rewards from our hard work. We are without a label, So we feel very privileged to be doing what we are doing as an Unsigned Irish band, But we work our asses off behind the scenes so I guess it if you put in the hours, you reap the rewards.
OD – How did you get the booking for the Hammerfest show in the UK?
Darren – Well, I am pretty much what you would call the bands Manager if you we had to appoint one, I take care of the gig/tour and fest bookings and all that sort of stuff. Our bassist Dunne has been to Hammerfest over the last few years 3 or 4 times and he was always telling us how great it is. So this year I sent in an application for the festival and they got back to me saying they felt a Brutal death metal band was what the bill was missing, so we negotiated details from there and we were confirmed for the bill a week later. We were delighted.
OD – How was your experience at Hammerfest?
Darren – We had an amazing weekend. We clashed with Kreator which is no easy task for any band, so we thought we might be playing to an empty room, but that was far from the outcome, we had an excellent crowd. We finished our set and had the whole crowd chant “one more tune” and luckily we had timed our set in the studio to make sure we wouldn’t run over time and we actually had 5 minutes to spare so we blasted out another tune for them and they went nuts! Couldn’t ask for much more than that! Even got over to the other stage afterwards to catch the last Kreator song. Success!
OD – Warpath won last years Bloodstock – Metal 2 The Masses competition to play the festival. Having played the event, how did you find the whole experience?
Darren – Yeah man, that was a crazy experience, We were absolutely thrilled to have won the Bloodstock battle after we had won the Wacken Battle the year before. We had an unreal time playing Bloodstock and who wouldn’t, playing on the same bill as Slayer, Lamb of God and King Diamond. We had an amazing weekend, we were treated really well by the whole Bloodstock crew, who made sure everything was looked after for us. The weather was great, surrounded by great company and we got some amazing networking done, which I find is key when you go to play a Festival abroad. The only negative thing I have to say about the weekend was that we showed up about an hour and a half early for our set, so we could get warmed up and get everything ready, like we always do. But when we pulled up backstage, a member of Bloodstock crew ran over to me and asked “What band are you guys” I said “Warpath” and he said “Awh thank god we have been looking for you guys everywhere” I was fairly confused as we were so early, he then continued to explain to me that the band that are meant to playing before us were lost trying to find the venue and explained we had to play there slot! We were completely caught off guard. We had less than 15 minutes, to tune up, set up drum hardware and do any sort of warm up we could before we hit the stage.
We played the show, and pretty much everyone that was coming to see us, missed our set. All weekend we had people coming up to us telling us they were gutted they missed it, that they showed up and the band who was lost were playing. But at the end of the day we still had a good crowd, the tent was fairly full towards the end of the set and to look on the bright side, anyone who came to see us probably hadn’t heard us before so that was good. Because we knew we were making some new fans and playing to some fresh ears it made it totally worth it. Afterwards we were approached by a lot of people saying they loved the set and that they will be checking us out when they got home. It was a weird situation but we had to be professional and as the saying goes “The show must go on” Ha Ha!
OD – Would you recommend bands to follow suit and take part in Metal 2 The Masses?
Darren – Ahh, 100%, what have they got to lose? If they do come out victorious they will not regret it and the chances of what happened to us happening to them is fairly slim. It’s an opportunity to play with big name bands, at an international festival where networking is limitless. We certainly did nothing but benefit from doing the Wacken and Bloodstock Battles.
OD – Did you feel that playing the festival has helped with gaining more exposure and securing such gigs as Hammer Fest?
Darren –Yeah man, For sure. As I said, Networking is key when your over there, I mean if you go over there, play and do nothing but go on the piss and hang out with your mates all day you could be missing out on big opportunities to get chatting to someone who could be a festival promoter, possibly work for a record label or be a gig promoter in their home town. You could miss out on securing yourself some more gigs.
We have pretty much never walked away from a festival without bringing some new contacts home with us. When I was at Bloodstock I had beers with Digby Pearson who owns Earache Records, I chatted to one of the main editors from Metal Hammer, chatted to other band members from the UK and sorted out UK gigs and tours. If you use your time at the festival well, your band can only benefit from it. But of course, you also got to get your beers in and bring home some drunken ass memories too. Which every member definitely did at Bloodstock Ha Ha.
OD – You played some new material at the Sepultura show, how is the writing process coming along and when can we see a new album from Warpath?
Darren – Yeah, we played about four tracks off the new album at the Sepultura show. We have about 50-60% of the new album written, So we hope to be recording in the summer at some stage. We have been gigging a lot and we have been between practice spaces etc.. So writing has been slow, but we are fed up of that now so we have cut off gigging for awhile. We have had to turn down festivals this year because we need to fund the recording for the album, so now that Hammerfest is over we are getting down to business and get the writing done.
OD – Do you have any thoughts on the current Irish Metal scene and if so what would you like to see change?
Darren – The Irish metal scene in my eyes is very strong. I mean H from DME Promotions has us spoiled for choice with gigs lately. He is definitely keeping it alive and gives local support to big international bands as often as he can and we have been fortunate enough to share the stage in Dublin with many huge acts like Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Napalm Death and Sepultura to name a few.
There are loads of great Irish bands out there too and it’s great to see Irish bands getting more recognition overseas. It’s also great news to hear of the Coldwar and Abaddon Incarnate lads getting signed to Candle Light Records recently. Well deserved, as they are two of the hardest working bands on the Irish Scene. Then you have Red Enemy with their recent signing to MediaSkare Records and their debut album being recorded in L.A., which will no doubt be a stomper. At the same time I think local gigs run by the smaller promoters have suffered quite a bit in recent times and I think the introduction to club nights in the city has had a major impact. I mean the guys who run these clubs have nothing but good intentions which is to give people a fun and entertaining night out while listening to good music and they provide it, not to mention the biggest selling point for punters is they may as well be giving alcohol away for free the drink promos are so good, but I think unintentionally it has damaged the gig attending numbers.
The economy in Ireland has plummeted and seen a lot of people without jobs and with little money, so these club nights are now way more appealing than going to gigs for some people, as they are a much cheaper night out.
It seems people have thought to themselves, I could go to a club night with no entrance fee and get pissed drunk for dirt cheap, or go to a gig where I have to pay in at the door and the drink promos aren’t as good as the club and I think this has seen gig numbers drop. At the same time though, I also think some bands are to blame for their own bad gig turnouts because they insist on playing the same venue every two weeks to the same crowd, that can only last so long until people stop showing up. I can’t help think a conversation like the following is being said on a regular basis. Someone turns around and says to their friend “Hey did you hear such and such are playing tonight, You going?”…friend replies “ah nah man, sure you can see them any time”, you know what I mean? And then on top of that there are some people out there that call themselves promoters, but they forget that a promoter’s job is to in fact….promote! Ha Ha!
Some “promoters” simply set up a Facebook Event and that’s it. No flyers, no posters, nothing like that and that is also a reason for bad gig turnouts. So, I reckon there are plenty of different aspects as to why gig numbers have dropped in recent times but in saying that, the lovers of metal music are bigger than ever which is a great sign and long may it last and hopefully keep growing.
OD – Where does Warpath take their inspiration from in terms of music and lyrics?
Darren – We take our influence from many different aspects. But the general theme is, if it’s dark, evil, brutal or anything along those lines, and we think we can theme a song around it…we will.
We are huge Death Metal Fans obviously and starting off our biggest influences would have been the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Suffocation and the likes. Those bands certainly influenced us in taking a Gore theme with the first album, “Gorefare” which pretty much speaks for itself.
So from there the sound and music matured and we wrote “Malevolent Reprisal” which was our second release and that was more themed around, types of revenge, people suffering from mental disorders and stuff like that. Now we are currently writing our third release with some new members in the band and the song writing is becoming much more professional and matured.
We are seeing ourselves write new material like we never imagined we would. One of the best compliments we received recently was after the Sepultura gig. They said that watching us perform they would never have thought we were a local band! That is amazing for us to hear because we don’t want to be known as a local band anymore, we want to be known as an International band and represent Ireland across the globe, which is why we hit as many gigs abroad as we can. We play abroad more than we do in Ireland nowadays, and we want to keep it that way. Warpath have definitely found the type of writing and sound we like and want. We are gearing our way to release the best slab of brutality we have to date for sure. There are themes so far from Roman Mythology and being drafted for war that are influencing some of our new material. We will write about anything and everything once we think it suits our style.
OD – With the current state of the music scene and the ongoing free downloading debate, how important do you feel it is for bands to invest in their own merchandise as a means to earn cash at shows?
Darren – It’s really hard to shift CD’s nowadays with all the downloading going on, but you will always sell T-shirts, Hoodies and the likes at gigs. We always try to get new designs made up, but currently we have slowed down on getting new prints made as we want to sell what we have so we can put it towards the funding of the new album. Once the new album is done and we have artwork and everything sorted, we will definitely get some brilliant new designs done up for people. We also run what we call “The Warstore” through Bigcartel.com so that helps sell stuff online and it has been a great help in increasing our sales since we set it up.
OD – What can we expect from Warpath in 2014?
Darren – Well we have just recently arrived back from Wales from performing at Hammer Fest, but later this year we plan on releasing our third album and we are all extremely excited about that, We have a very special guest that will be appearing on this release that we are all stoked about, but unfortunately we can’t tell you who it is. Then we have a few UK tours in the pipeline for later in the year, but again nothing concrete and set in stone yet but we will 100% be having a busy year which we are looking forward to.
OD – If you have any advice for bands that are coming up through the Irish Metal scene, what would it be?
Darren – I’d really just say, work hard, promote the fuck out of yourselves and try get yourselves abroad because playing the same venue every few weeks in Dublin isn’t going get you a bigger fan base. It’s just going to have the opposite effect if you do it long enough. We fell into this trap when we first started out, but luckily we learned that lesson in time. Good work ethic is really everything, don’t wait around for opportunities to fall on your lap, put yourself out there and try get them yourself. As Arnie said “You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets” Ha Ha!
OD – Warpath have recently been added to the Neurotic Deathfest in Holland, how did this come about and would you have any advice for other bands when it comes to approaching promoters outside of Ireland?
Darren – We are beyond happy to have been added to that bill. The line up consists of many friends of ours and also some of our biggest influences and favourite bands, so its a bit of a dream line up for us. We pretty much apply for festivals in a similar format to a job CV. It states that we are interested in playing their festival, what we have done as a band, what we can offer them as a live act and what we can do to help their festival.I think that is very important.
Promoters have 100s of bands applying for festivals just looking for a gig slot. I like to tell them what I will do for them to benefit their festival. It’s lets them know that you’re not just in it for yourself, but your actually looking to work in a “you scratch our backs and we will scratch yours” fashion. I also include a full biography and music videos with live footage clips and hope for the good news Ha, Ha! I also find persistence is key too. If at first you don’t succeed try and try again. That’s how we do it man and itseems to be paying off so far.
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Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photography – Steve Dempsey Down The Barrel Photography