The Wraith Interview by Kris Hex
- Alright, to start off guys, would you mind introducing yourself to people who may not know you or your backgrounds (musically speaking)? Davey, most people know you were in Lost Tribe but what about the rest of you guys?
KAZ : I’m Kaz, I play guitar. The last band I was in that was pretty active and touring, etc was a band called Monikers, which sounded like jawbreaker.
- I talked to all of you about this a bit before but given that there is no real goth scene in the U.S. anymore, dark punk and deathrock is the word, plus about a dozen other fusion styles with punk and post punk roots, what’s your take on the shift from the usual old tropes to the new crop of bands who are trying to do something a bit different while still paying respect to the original crop of 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s bands?
KAZ: There’s a ton of post punk and dark punk bands popping up but it seems to be spread out so maybe that’s why there’s no real scene for it. Most of the bands coming out all have a pretty diverse sound, which is awesome. We definitely lean heavily towards an 80’s sound Like Killing Joke, Chameleons, and Southern Death Cult.
DAVEY: I think there’s a lot of good bands in the U.S. that have a lot of creativity. The scene is very strong and there’s a new band every month from all over the U.S. It is what you make it but you have to understand that not every city is like L.A. or NYC. From my experience from touring I’ve seen shit towns with a weak scene and some with a huge scene.
- Davey, I know you’re the youngest member of the band, I imagine there’s a bit of mentoring going on even with your experience already as a front man and musician in general, not to mention the usual ball busting that goes on with younger bandmates.
KAZ: Yeah Davey is the youngest in the band. It’s actually the opposite he’s the one busting everyone’s balls.
DAVEY: He’s right! As a front man I do crack a shit ton of jokes. Haha! It is weird being the youngest in the band but I also learn a lot from my band mates.
- There’s the one demo out right now which is receiving a lot of positive press, it’s nice that you can tell who’s in the band without having too many comparison’s to your previous bands individually, you planning on releasing a 12 inch any time soon followed by the usual round of live shows?
KAZ: We put one song online and the response has been pretty crazy. Much more than we expected. We get a lot of emails from people all over the world saying they’re adding us to their radio station or online radio show. Right now we’re finishing up our demo tape. It’’ll be 4 songs. We have our first few shows booked in LA and Long Beach. Once we get through that I think we’re going to figure out some type of 7” release. Maybe a split with another band. But yeah eventually we’re going to do a full 12” release and maybe a west coast tour later this year.
DAVEY: Yea, We’ve gotten a lot of attention just from that one song. I would like to do a 7” from a label that’s into that shit we play. I remember sending out emails to European labels and I got a response saying our sound was too angry. Haha! Not going to name drop but that shit was funny as hell.
- I talked to a friend in 45 Grave about this but what’s your take on promoters out in LA? I have heard mixed things and having dealt with a few myself at the Hollywood Convergence, it’s hit or miss, particularly when you can’t really influence much about promotion if you are doing stuff from a “distance” (this can be in reference to out of town/city/state etc gigs ) or if you’re just a support act, DJ, whatever.
KAZ: So far we’ve been pretty lucky. Everyone in the band is pretty experienced and been around a while so we’ve really only had deal with friends who are booking shows and such.
DAVEY: honestly, I haven’t played in LA that much. Just a hand full of times but we’ve gotten offered a good amount of shows since we started sharing that one demo song.
- I’ve heard a complaint or two about people wanting to hear the same stuff over and over again from bands i.e. it’s gotta have a drum machine (nothing wrong with them but sometimes I’ve seen it used as a musical crutch instead of seeking out a skilled drummer who knows the styles you like), the same style of vocals, same guitar licks, etc., is there anything each one of you actively avoids doing just so you don’t fall into the same old stereotypes related to the dark post punk scenes?
KAZ: I don’t think there’s been anything we’ve purposely avoided. When we first got together we talked about using a drum machine but figured since we’re more guitar based than synth based we should get a drummer. Plus we felt a real drummer would be better for a live show. Seems like it would be awkward to play live with a drum machine. We’re still messing around with the idea of getting a keyboard player. There’s a lot of synth on our demo but having more people in the band means more scheduling issues. As for stereotypes, I think Davey’s more aggressive vocals kind of sets apart a bit from other dark post punk bands too.
DAVEY: Eh, who cares honestly? I listen to a lot of bands that have drum machines. But for The Wraith I like that live power so I prefer a really good drummer like Delano. That fool is a beast behind the kit and knows his shit.
- I’ve noticed a distinct difference between the British and American scenes in that, in the UK, you can still have the hard rock goth acts and they’ll do the big festivals and people will attend but in the U.S. that style is virtually dead with a few exceptions, if anything and I think this is a source of pride, I’ve noticed most American acts these days, even those with Brit expats in them, are trying hard to be unique with some great results, have you all noticed this as well? I’ve been watching the trends for almost ten years now between the two countries and its impossible not to notice I suppose.
DAVEY: I don’t search out other scenes overseas because I don’t live there. If we ever play out of the U.S. then I’ll get to see what its like.
- Most of the Spanish speaking countries seem to be churning out amazing dark punk acts at a fast rate now, do you communicate with them at all? The musical tact seems to be similar in that there’s a desire to stay closer to the punk roots and ethos with a focus on more “human” subject matter in the songs and that feeling of dread that was there for most of the youth in the early 80’s with Reaganism in the U.S. and Thatcher in the UK in addition to the endless parade of civil rights issues in Latin countries.
DAVEY: I know there’s a shit ton bands that play post punk and its good that they have the punk mentality behind what they stand for. I mean that’s what its all about anyways. Even in the 80s… it was all apart of the punk subculture movement. You cant think otherwise because if you do you’re a fuckin idiot. It’s a DIY band. We all have strong options in what we believe in in The Wraith. We’re a band that just likes to play punk, drink, play shows, and have fun. We just want to travel and be apart of the scene.
- How are you all coping with the cost of living out in California and the rash of natural disasters? I imagine it does take a toll mentally after a while just trying to get by as a band and as people, you try to ignore it but it’s hard when that kind of things shoves it’s nose in everything you do, even stuff like musical projects and going to events.
KAZ: It’s not as expensive as you would think. I guess rent can get pretty crazy but I was in Brooklyn before LA so it wasn’t that big of a shock. Davey and I coincidentally moved out here at the same time and we’re both really like it here.
DAVEY: Its does suck but I love living in California. It’s a new experience for me because I’ve never lived anywhere else except Richmond, Va. I work about 40 hours a week so I get enough money to get by. As for the band if all goes well we’ll be doing the same too. Its awesome that people in punk support each other and help bands out. I mean there’s tons of fests and promoters that come out of their pocket to fly a band across country and book them a tour. That’s what you call support. Nothing is free but that fact that people love your band that much is fucking awesome. I love punk!
- Lastly, anything else you all want to tell readers or pass on that you feel is important, let it rip!
DAVEY: Start more bands, book more shows/ fests, and do what the fuck you want to do!