Autumn has arrived and festival season is a distant memory... Or is it? First Fifty is here to save us from the doom and gloom.
We met up with Long Beach residents WARGIRL at a Polish cafe in Hamburg following their triumphant set at Reeperbahn Festival to chat about everything from Sly & The Family Stone to strudel...
Hey guys, what do you think of Hamburg? This isn’t really West Coast weather is it?
We love Hamburg. We feel very at home here. Long Beach is the port town of L.A. so it has a similar feel. You’re right, the weather’s not the same though!
In the build-up to the release of your debut album you’ve been out on a huge European tour. Are you all still friends?
Haha! We’ve toured together before so we know what two expect but yeah, we’re still friends.
You name a Sly and The Family Stone’s Woodstock performance as particularly influential to the band. What was it about that performance that you find inspirational?
Matt – I think I started that but it’s true. It’s a performance that we each take things from in a different way. Those performances have a lot going on and each player adds their own element which is definitely something we try to do as a band. Every member is very active on stage. It helps to keep us in shape, especially in Hamburg with all the strudel flying around.
Sam – Oh my God. The strudel here is so good.
It sounds like you’re real fans of the music you make. Are you obsessive collectors too?
Tamara – Yes. Alongside coffee (and pastry) that’s definitely a passion. L.A. is a great place to shop for records. As well as places like Amoeba there are other great independent record stores.
Matt – I have all the original Bob Marley pressings. In fact the German pressings are the best. Those guys really knew what they were doing. Even now when we’re getting our own vinyl made if I know it’s getting pressed in Germany I’m like “Okay, that’s cool”.
Matt, you run Tackyland Studios where all the equipment is 100% analogue. What’s special about using that equipment?
Matt – Well, we use both but there’s always a large part of each track that’s been recorded live in analogue. I think what that equipment brings is an atmosphere of being in the moment that you can’t recreate and that’s very important to us. For this album we spent 7 days recording in a studio in Costa Rica which is such a beautiful country. Some bits were tough, like we’d have blackouts that might wipe out whole takes and then we’d have to wait around for the power to come back but is was worth it. There were sessions where we were all playing and Sam was improvising off the atmosphere of the place.
Sam – Yeah, that place was amazing. There was a huge window in the studio and sometimes when the storms came there would be lightening that just lit up the whole sky and we just had to say “Okay, let’s take 10”.
Would you describe WARGIRL as a political band? Do you the role of your music and progressing social change?
Sam – I’d definitely describe myself as a politically aware and socially conscious person. I think the band’s music reflects that too but we’re not here to tell people what to do. There’s space in the music that allows everyone to interpret it their own way. Coming from our part of L.A. teaches you that there’s space for everyone and that’s what we’re about.
From left to right on the album cover WARGIRL are Matt Wignall, Tamara Raye, Enya Preston, Samantha Parks, Erick Diego Nieto and Jeff Suri. Their eponymous debut LP is released on October 26th 2018. Pre-order it here.