Exclusive Interview: Whipworm talk Ghostbusters, Faith No More and new album Gozer!
The sources that bands are inspired to write music by never cease to amaze and going back to the original Ghostbusters movie to re-animate the corpse of Gozer seems to have kept the almighty Whipworm up until the small hours. We spoke to mastermind Travis Weinand about the duo’s latest burnt offering, a masterpiece of Thrash infused Death Metal frontloaded with samples from the movie and the conversation went something like this…
What inspired you about the Ghostbusters folklore as a concept for “Gozer”? “Ghostbusters came out the same year I was born, in 1984. So I’ve pretty much been watching it my whole life, becoming so familiar with it, that I started really looking beyond the comedic aspect of it. I found the story to be so dark, with lots of really interesting mythology to delve into and try to flesh out a bit in my own way. When I first thought of making an album about the movie, I even laughed at myself, and so did our drummer, Dave, haha. But once the songs started taking shape, I felt that it was really something worth seeing through”
Is there the prospect of more mining into the bedrock of the film for future albums or may other films like Night Of The Living Dead for example offer up similar treasures to plunder? “That’s not a bad idea, actually. As of now there are no plans for another album based on a specific film, but I am not opposed to the idea if I’m confident I could write music and a story that reflected and respected whatever the source material is”
We mentioned our review the well thought out use of samples to help build the atmosphere and convey some of the dramatics of the story, how important do you feel they are to the album as a whole and do you think you’d go down a similar line in the future? “I absolutely love using sound clips. I’m pretty sure most every Whipworm song I’ve written has some sort of sample from a film or some symphonic reference hidden in there. Thankfully for this album, Ghostbusters has so many to choose from. I had to narrow it down to the ones that appear on the final release. There were many more in the initial drafts of the songs. I will definitely be using more samples moving forward”
There is the feeling listening to your older material that these longer, more dynamic and ambitious tracks were on the way, did you see that coming yourselves or did everything naturally fall into place? “We kind of have an unspoken agreement that with each album we want to push further forward in our sound – not just musical technicality, but the overall scale and ambition of the songwriting itself. We started Whipworm as kind of a love letter to all of our favorite metal bands, from all eras and sub-genres. There’s still so much sonic territory to explore, and we have imposed no limits on what we will make in the future”
What brought about the choice of “Surprise! You’re Dead!” by Faith No More as a cover to conclude the album? It works incredibly well having been adapted into the Whipworm style and also feels like part of the whole album rather than simply being tacked on at the end. “Faith No More is my favorite band of all time. I can’t overstate how important they are to my musical evolution. We had a lot of fun recording this song. I thought it would be a fun addition given the concept of the album. The last line in the song “Gozer” is literally “NOW DIE!”. So it seemed fitting for the next track to start with the line “Surprise! You’re Dead!”. It solidifies the fact that in our version of the Ghostbusters story, the humans don’t win, Gozer does. It’s the end of the line for us”
Speaking of being ambitious, the vocal range on this one has been utilised to the fullest with different voices and characterization. When you were recording the tracks did you have any vocal lessons or was it all trial and error to see what worked with different lyrics? “I never had any vocal lessons, I’ve just been doing this for a long time. I’ve done lots of experimenting in some of my other bands over the years, so I know what I’m capable of. From there it’s just getting the right vocal sound to convey the emotion and feel of the lyrics. I try to be as clear as possible with my vocal performance. I feel like a lot of metal vocals lose out on understanding some great lyrics”
What’s next for Whipworm? “I’ve already started writing the next one! I’m finally planning a pretty massive full length. So there’s lots of work ahead of us with no plans of slowing down. There’s also the possibility of playing live, but with just the two of us, we have some logistics to work out for that. Whether that means adding some members, or using backing tracks, we will just have to wait and see”
“Gozer” by Whipworm is out now and available over at bandcamp.