Warbringer’s front man John Kevill and drummer Carlos Cruz met with HEAVY as they were about to brutalize Melbourne audiences on their first ever tour here. With the lasting impression Australia’s metal punters has left on them, I think it’s safe to say this won’t be the last time they will be bunking down on our shores.
HOW HAS THE TOUR BEEN GOING SO FAR?
Carlos Cruz: Fantastic, this was supposed to be the last state but because it’s been so successful, they’ve added another date. So it’s been a total of ten shows maybe more. We started in Brisbane and have been travelling all over the place.
John Kevill: I’ve quite enjoyed it so far it’s been a hell of a great time mostly and been really good and I’ve enjoyed the country a lot.
WHAT HAVE YOUR HIGHLIGHTS BEEN SO FAR?
Carlos Cruz: The major cities do a lot better than the ones in the country towns. Brisbane and Sydney were both highlights and surprisingly a lot of people on the east side of the country would tell us that the west side wasn’t doing so well or vice versa, all the people in Sydney were like ‘Don’t go to Perth’ and we went to Perth and it was by far, not to put anybody down but it’s been the best show so far
WHAT HAS TAKEN SO LONG FOR YOU TO TOUR HERE?
Carlos Cruz: It has a lot to do with the size of the group combined with a demand for the group or if there’s just promoters who are willing to put the band out there, you know so that’s usually what comes into account. If there’s a person out here who, some sort of agent or booking promoter, what have you that is willing to invest in the group to bring us out. Luckily with three albums out, a lot of people have shown up to our concerts so it’s been great. We get to see how the local scene has been doing in each individual city with us headlining.
John Kevill It just takes a while to get an offer and the cost of bringing a band out so far away and then having to fly between every show is really expensive.
DID YOU KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN METAL SCENE BEFORE ARRIVING?
Carlos Cruz: No not at all. I’ve known that there’s a handful of different kinds of groups, maybe not metal that are popular from Australia from the major cities but now that I’ve actually been here and travelled throughout it, it’s a completely different perspective.
John Kevill: Truth be told not a lot. The folks here seem really happy to get bands making the trip out to see bands playing the music they want to hear and there’s been a lot of energy in the shows.
SO IT’S MET YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
Carlos Cruz: oh absolutely yeah and then some.
HAVE YOU BEEN BLOWN AWAY FROM THE RECEPTION YOU’VE RECEIVED, HAS IT BEEN POSITIVE?
Carlos Cruz: Definitely , We’re 13-14 hours ahead of our home countries time zone so travelling over here is going forward in time and everything has been completely wonderful, from the people just on the street or in clubs, fans what have you have been open and generous people. Everybody who’s helped us along the way, other musicians in groups that have lent us their gear, who have let us stay at their place, fed us everything so. Really generous people. The weather has been nice, todays like the first gloomy day of the entire tour but as far as the performances go, yeah everybody attending the concerts, buying out t-shirts what have you have been really supportive so it’s been an amazing experience.
John Kevill: I’d say the response has been unanimously very good. We’re happy with it.
AS A BAND, DO YOU PREFER THESE SMALLER INTIMATE SHOWS OR THE LARGER FESTIVAL SHOWS THE BAND HAS DONE IN THE PAST?
Carlos Cruz: Over the northern summer, we did a few shows playing the different festivals in Europe, the major festivals throughout Germany and what have you and personally for the fans it’s a lot more intense to see the band in a smaller venue because like you said, it’s a lot more intimate, there’s no barriers blocking the band from the audience and everybody can just get up in each other’s faces. We love it when the people jump up on stage and jump off. There’s eye contact made and everything is so close, near and upfront. With festivals everybody’s miles but regardless it’s an amazing site to see so many people in the one time there for your group.
John Kevill: I dig both. There’s a really different feeling to both kind of shows. When you’re playing to a festival crowd, there’s like twenty other bands that day and you’re just one of them and that can be a downside but the upside is it’s great to play and perform to so many people and it feels awesome for the band too. You get to play to people that might have never heard of you that then may turn up to your club show later and that’s where we get to play for the die hards and that’s always fun.
WITH ALL THIS TOURING, HAVE YOU HAD MUCH TIME DOWNTIME TO GET OUT AND SEE SOME SITES, GET TO RELAX?
Carlos Cruz: Relaxing has been few and far between but in terms of going out sightseeing, we had a few days off in Sydney where we were able to go and view the city and see the local life and go to some local bars and see a few bands play. Usually the time from arriving, in between that and sound check and the performances is when you can stray off. So here and there but there’s been a lot of travelling, so we’ve spent more time on planes, trains and airports more than on stage.
WITH ALL THE EXTENSIVE TOURING, CAUSE YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TOURING, HAS THERE BEEN DOWN SIDES OR HAS IT BEEN ALL YOU HOPED IT WOULD BE?
Carlos Cruz: It comes with the natural nature of both good and bad as everything does. When the group started, they were a lot younger so they had a different mentality on what they wanted and view things, now 200 shows later, things do change. The group has been through a lot of line up changes for the better and for whatever reasons past members have been let go or leaving themselves, so with anything and keeping that relationship within the band can be difficult at times but the usually the stage is worth every negative aspect of it. No sleep, financial issues, booking issues etc, etc, the list goes on but that hour or seventy five minutes we get on stage, it’s worth every second.
John Kevill: Yeah sometimes, especially if you have a string of crummy shows. Our performance can be physically painful and that’s tough to keep up over a long period of time but I really love to travel and playing because it’s my favourite thing to do. The thing about touring is, the whole part of the day before you play is kind of lame but then the actual show itself is always a lot of fun.
WHEN IT ALL CAME TO FRUITION, DID YOU THINK YOU’D GET TO COME TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD?
Carlos Cruz: No not at all. I mean we all started in garages covering tunes from whatever groups we liked and we’d all meet up in small clubs in L.A and two years into that is when people started catching on and from there luckily, with so many small bands coming out of L.A, we were able to get picked up by a very successful label and that played a major role and everybody taking the group seriously.
DOES IT GET HARD COMING OUT EVERY NIGHT DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER. HOW DO YOU KEEP IT FRESH?
Carlos Cruz: In a rehearsal setting or a recording setting they all have different elements to it but playing live is the reason anybody starts a group in the first place. Essentially we are entertainers, performers and that’s exactly what the people are paying their ticket for. Keeping it fresh for me is listening to other types of music, movies and putting it into the funnel I guess to keep fresh on stage.