We had the pleasure to interview one of our fav bands She Wants Revenge to chat about their new tour and more.
It’s your first ever Australian tour what took you so long!? And what can your Aussie fans expect from She Wants Revenge in October?
What took so long is that every time we had a tour planned something unexpected came up which got in the way. Once it was a late-night television appearance, once it was a tour or music video. So far back it’s hard to remember, but each time we were gutted, as we’ve been dying to come. Thomas Froggatt, our bass player who’s been in the band since our first show, is actually from Byron and Melbourne, so it’s incredible to finally get over there. When I told him this time he said, “I’ll believe it when I see it”. It’s like there have been outside forces keeping us from coming, but now it’s time to build a foundation so that we can continue to come play with some regularity.
Fans can expect a full-on rock show. We put 1000% into what we do, and take it very seriously. We never phone it in or give less than our best, a) because we love what we do and are super fortunate to be in the position we’re in, b) because the fans deserve it, especially those who’ve waited this long. We play a combination of deep cuts, familiar hits, fan-favorites, as well as two songs from our upcoming album.
Is there any truth to the rumors you guys are working on some new material? And if so, when can we expect to hear it?
Yes! We are about 85% into the process. We had to stop to come on this European/UK tour, but as soon as we get home we’ll be right back into it. You can expect a single before year’s end, and then a full LP sometime into 2024.
What made you put the band in hiatus in 2012 and then again in 2020 and are you guys enjoying playing live again?
To be honest, we were just fighting too much. Bands are relationships like any other. It’s a marriage really. Communication had broken down, and after years of being in a van, bus, and studio together every day for years, it took its toll. You either work through the stuff, individually and collectively change and make it work, or you let it build up until it implodes, and in 2012 it imploded. We got back together in 2016 because of the 10th anniversary of our 1st album, and agreed to try and make it work, and it did…. but things didn’t really change in a meaningful way, it was more like a bandaid on a bullet hole. So when the world changed in 2020 and so many of us were taking stock of our lives and what we wanted, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in the band any longer. After making a solo album and spending time away from it, I realized I missed it, but knew that there were also parts I never wanted to experience again. What started as a thought turned into a lot of long, deep, pretty serious conversations between Adam and I figuring out why things were the way they were before, how to both change the way we communicated and interacted, and realized that there was a path forward which could be different, could be fun, communicated, not combative, and appreciative of this thing we created and built with so much time, energy and love. So now to be doing it again, I think I can speak for both of us when I say it’s the best it’s ever been, more fun than ever, we appreciate it on a deeper level, and the way the music is being received really makes us feel like not only are we exactly where we’re supposed to be, but that we’re doing what we’re meant to be doing.
What are you looking forward to most on this tour?
Surfing the Gold Coast, experiencing the culture, meeting the people, playing music for new audiences, the coffee, and hopefully some great food.
Justin what was it like touring with one of your heroes Peter Murphy in 2011, is their truth to the saying “never meet your heroes”?
I respect and enjoy the music Peter has made, but I wouldn’t use the word hero. No disrespect to him, I’m just not sure I have heroes. No one should be put on a pedestal for their art. But touring with Peter was fun, and everything I thought it was. We definitely developed a friendship of sorts, had some laughs, and even had some friendly competition, as he definitely has an edge, but that’s no secret. But just being able to share the stage with someone who’s music influenced ours is a trip. That was definitely great.
What Song do you love playing live?
It really changes, but what I can say is I don’t play any songs I don’t want to play.
You have 3 blistering albums which we love here at Black of Hearts, at a push do you have a favourite, and which one came together the easiest?
The first is always the easiest, as you don’t know you’re making it, and it’s the sum of everything that came before. I think that’s my favorite, as is the new one. But there are moments of each which I think are pretty special. The second record is solid and has some really good tunes. The 3rd is a great record. Now some of the tunes are considered fan-favorites, but at the time the core fans felt it was too much of a departure. I can see that, as it clearly has the sound of a band trying to stretch out beyond its confines, but I do think it’s a good record as well. So I guess the first, which coincidentally came together the easiest. That is not unrelated. The new album came together quite easily as well, so that should tell you something.
What does your writing process look like?
It really varies. In the past we would write music together, I would go off and write lyrics and sing to it, then show him the song for notes and his feelings, then we’d finish the songs together and separate.
This record was unlike any we’d done before. With this record we either the wrote music together in a room, or Adam would start a piece of music on his own and send me instrumentals to check out and see what connected and I’d tell him which songs were resonating with me.. Sometimes I’d have an idea for a type of beat, a tempo, a feeling, or a vibe, and I’d give him a prompt which he’d take and make something and send it over to me. A lot of the time it was exactly what I was hoping for.
Once the basics of the song are there, I then I go off and write the words and melody, track all of the guitars, write additional parts, and sometimes plays with the arrangement and rearrange things. As well as feeling like the songs had to have a certain feeling and tone, my only real intention was writing the best lyrics possible, and I’m really proud at what I achieved in that regard.
The most striking difference this time around is that rather than sing a song and present to him for notes, this time I worked on all of the lyrics and melody until all the songs were done, and then presented him with all the songs at once. It’s unorthodox and was probably a bit jarring getting all that information at once after only hearing them as instrumentals for so long, but not only did I need to hear it develop as a whole while I worked on them to get my head inside the album, but it felt right to present them to him as such. He definitely put a lot of faith and trust in me and let me have the space to do it the way I needed to this time, and I think it ended up working out quite well. That said I doubt he’d want to do it this way again. Haha. It wasn’t a conscious choice though, it was due to having separate schedules, studios, and to some degree just ended up being the way I had to do it to find the literal and figurative voice to an album that was the first in over a decade. The good news is it worked, so I’m not complaining.
Is there a song you wish you had written and why?
Loads. Hard to name any, but if pressed I would say just about anything from Loveless or Abbey Road.
Is there a song you are most proud of writing?
A lot of the lyrics on the 1st album (except Monologue, which just sounds silly to me now), and all of the songs/lyrics on my forthcoming solo album. Also, most of my 1st solo album (My Field Trip To Planet 9), and Bug Powder Dust. Those come to mind.
There are elements of erotic themes running through a lot of your lyrics, is that a conscious choice or is that just organic?
Both, but as I’ve gotten older, that has mellowed. I’m not a single 30 year old any longer. To me the songs are about love, loss, regret, heartbreak, lust, betrayal, longing. As I get older that remains, but so do themes of mortality, hope, love, and the emotions of living in the modern age as the world has gone completely mad.
What has been the highlight of your careers so far?
Simply having one. Very fortunate. I don’t say lucky, because I don’t believe in that so much as karma. Talent + hard work + sacrifice + being a good person and trying to help others, build community, and grow = fortunate.
What does the future hold for She Wants Revenge?
New album, more touring, solo releases for both, lots of videos, art, and moving up and forward.
What is the best gig you’ve played?
Impossible to say, but Serbia the other night was among the best I’ve played this decade.
We can hear shades of some of our favourite bands in your music but who would you say has been your biggest influence?
Prince, Depeche Mode, Girls Against Boys, Sonic Youth, Jane’s Addiction, Tom Petty, Psychedelic Furs, Robert Smith, Johnny Marr, My Bloody Valentine, A Tribe Called Quest, Rakim, Led Zeppelin, De La Soul, Suicide, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, The B-52’s, The Pretenders, Iggy, Lou Reed, early Stones, George Harrison, the list goes on….
Justin, you started out as a rapper and Adam you were a DJ for a while how did you guys end up in a post punk goth rock band?
Being record nerds, coming up in hip-hop which at the time was a sample-based culture, the sound of the music we made and listened to was shaped by multiple genres. Additionally, we both were into new wave and hip-hop in real time as it was coming of age, so doing both has always felt very natural. From Blondie doing, “Rapture”, to New Order being exposed to Black disco in the clubs of New York and incorporating that into their sound, that type of cross-genre blend has always been exciting, and I feel our music is part of that lineage.
How do you guys spend your time when you’re not doing, She Wants Revenge?
Even while touring and working with She Wants Revenge, I manage three artists, as well as overseeing release strategy, marketing, and creative direction for a handful of others. When I’m not working I mainly just spend time with my family. Adam has other creative projects, produces other artists, DJ’s, takes photographs, and makes coffee. We both spend a lot of time making coffee. It’s a passion and obsession.
If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My deceased grandfather. He was a very interesting character with a colorful past who led a wildlife. He was hugely influential to me, and we were quite close. My son is researching for a film he’s planning to make about him, so I’d love to spend one more night with him under the guise of my son asking him questions, but really so that he could get to know his great-grandson who he only met when he was quite young.
Thanks so much for you time and we look forward to your show in Melbourne:)
Black Of Hearts
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