INTERVIEW: Wednesday 13

Bursting back onto the scene with their seventh album, Condolences, the American horror outfit WEDNESDAY 13 are quite the busy bunch. Preparing for their embarking on a tour which includes this year’s Download Festival, the band are set to take the horror metal scene by storm. We managed to chat to the man behind WEDNESDAY 13 itself about Condolences, Download Festival, and possibilities for the future.

How’s your day going?

Wednesday 13: It’s about to get real busy. I’m doing this interview, and then I’m heading to the airport to head out for rehearsal for our tour, so it’s a busy day!

Nice, where are you off to?

Wednesday 13: We rehearse in Portland. I’m in Los Angeles now, so we fly out in a couple hours.

Awesome. How are you feeling about the tour?

Wednesday 13: I’m excited! We haven’t played a full band show since Halloween night last year, so it’s been quite a while so we’re pretty excited to get back on stage.

So, it’s just over a week until your new album, Condolences, comes out. Are you happy with it?

Wednesday 13: I am super happy with it, and super excited for it to finally come out. We’ve spent a lot of time writing and recording this record, we took three months off of touring last year. We spent June, July, and August writing and recording this record, and so we finished it up in September last year, and we’re excited for it to finally be coming out. We’re excited for it to be coming out on Nuclear Blast Records, our new label, and it’s just a really good time. We’re super excited, we’re happy with this record, and we’re excited to get on stage and play it for people.

I’ve given it a listen and it’s brilliant. It’s a lot heavier than your previous material – how did this come about?

Wednesday 13: It’s been a natural progression for us. I mean, the past couple releases we’ve done since like 2013, the music has definitely started steering in a heavier direction. So, when it came time to start writing for this record, we knew ahead of time it was going to be heavier. So, when we went in to start writing, we didn’t go in with that thought, “Let’s write the heaviest record we ever did!”, we just went in and wrote songs like we normally do and they just turned out to be heavy. You know? So, for us, it’s a natural progression, and that’s how it always is for us. For me, anything, if we try to sit down and write something a certain way, I feel like it would come off fake, you know? So, for us, we just write naturally how it came, and these songs are the natural songs that we wrote.

Yeah, it’s got to come natural otherwise it’ll just sound forced. You’ve tried to make something instead of just letting it happen.

Wednesday 13: Yeah, that’s the way it’s been for me. I feel that’s the way it is – to be natural and just do what you do, and if you try to do something, people can tell that. I just like to be honest with it and this record is honest for us.

What was the writing and recording process like for it?

Wednesday 13: Totally different from anything I’ve done in the past. I mean, for years I’ve been just kind of recording in friends’ houses and closets, and with home recordings now you can do so much stuff, but this album, I didn’t want to do that this time. I wanted to go into a studio, I wanted to record with a producer, so that was different this time around. We worked with our producer [Chris] Zeuss, and we recorded the drums and organ, and then we flew to Massachusetts and recorded the rest of the record there. So yeah, it was all over, it was a different process, and it was cooler for me, because I had the whole band involved with it, and we had a producer working with us. It did change a lot of things up for me from how I’ve done things in the past, and I think that’s why this record sounds the way it does. It sounds bigger because it just had a lot more hands on it, and yeah, it turned out great, but it was a total different process than what I’ve done in the past.

Do you prefer it this way?

Wednesday 13: Absolutely.

So, building on what you said about working with Chris, what was that like? What did he bring to Condolences?

Wednesday 13: Working with Zeuss was great. I mean, this is the second record I’ve done with Zeuss, we worked on the last MURDERDOLLS record, Women and Children Last, that was where I first met Zeuss and we worked on that record for a few weeks and just hit it off. We became friends, and we’d always just kind of talked and just said “Hey, you know, it’d be really cool one day to do a WEDNESDAY 13 record”, we just kind of always had that conversation in the back of our heads, and when it came time to do this record I hit him up and he was like “Yeah, I have time, let’s do it!”. So, it was great working with him. Zeuss is just a master of knowing how to get the best guitar sounds, the best drums sounds, but doing it on a natural thing where it’s not just these fake sounds and things like that. We really did a natural recording process with this, as much as you can these days, and Zeuss was the kind of guy to say “Hey, that’s good enough, you don’t have to redo that over and over again, don’t layer that, just let it be”, so it was cool having someone there to be the judge and jury at the end of the day instead of me overthinking everything. Because I’m the kind of guy that overthinks everything. If it was me producing the record, we would still be working on it now, probably.

I imagine it’s good to have that second input, just being able to bounce off each other. Especially with you guys all being together when you’re creating the record, it just makes the whole process a bit easier?

Wednesday 13: Yeah, it’s just having outside ears, someone to tell you “hey, maybe that’s not so good”, or “try this a different way.” I like having that outside ear.

Do you reckon this is WEDNESDAY 13 at its best so far, then?

Wednesday 13: I feel it is. I know that sounds strange for some people to hear that, being that we’re this far into the career of WEDNESDAY 13, the first album came out in 2005. A lot of people would think that after time, bands just kind of fizzle out and start just kind of coasting through it, and for me, I feel like I’m at the top of my game. I’ve never felt more confident. My voice, the music, the band, the image, the stage, everything is just, it’s finally almost to that satisfaction level for me. Over the years, it’s always been fun, it’s always been good, but it’s never been 100% where I want it, and this is finally to the point where it’s 100% where I want it. So yeah, for me I just feel like we’re at the top of the game.

That’s really great to hear. So, you think all those things together will make Condolences stand out and blow fans away?

Wednesday 13: I think so. I think it’s just, you know, it just feels like it’s the right time for us. I don’t feel like we could have planned this any better. It’s almost to the point where it’s kind of eerie in a sense [laughs] the way things are falling in place with this record. I’m just letting it do what it’s doing, and we’re just excited to get it out. And again, I think this is WEDNESDAY 13 at its biggest and best.

Great, I can’t wait to see what the general reception is like because I love it. You’re playing Download Festival next month, you looking forward to it?

Wednesday 13: Absolutely man. That’s such an honour to play the festival and they’re letting us headline one of the side stages this year, which is really great. I’ve been on the main stage twice in my career and to come back there again, and headline a side stage and be able to play in the dark is really cool. You know, the main stage was amazing, but it’s just kind of hard to do the right WEDNESDAY 13 show in the sunlight, so I think having the side stage and us playing at night, we can have the darkness on our side so it’s going to be a good show. I’ve pulled out every step I can to make this show the biggest and best show I’ve ever, ever put on, pretty much ever! [laughs] I have so many tricks and things ready for this, so yeah, I went all out on it. So, hopefully, everything goes according to plan without any Spinal Tap moments, but it’s going to be the biggest, best show I’ve ever tried to pull off.

Definitely going to see it then! What’s it like playing some of the world’s biggest festivals?

Wednesday 13: It’s amazing man. I grew up watching Headbanger’s Ball as a teenager and watching The Monsters of Rock, that’s what it was called back then. Watching that from my little tiny town in North Carolina, going “Wow, one day, maybe I can be on a stage like that”, and now here I am for the third time. Life’s crazy, man. It can take crazy turns, so I’m honoured, I’m thankful for the opportunity, this is our third time being there, so it’s a cool thing. Again, I’m so excited to play and people are going to see how excited we are because when they see the show and see what we’ve put into it, they’ll see how excited we are about it.

So, when did your fascination with horror turn into a musical platform?

Wednesday 13: It pretty much started with it. When I started writing music and started wanting to play music, I was always into, when I wasn’t trying to learn other band’s songs or anything, I was always trying to write my stuff. And when it came time to write material, you write what you know. And what do I know about? I know about The Munsters and The Addams Family, and Night of the Living Dead, and Rambo [laughs], so I just wrote about what I knew. So, for me, at an early age, my earliest memories were sitting in front of the television as a kid and watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and then, right after that The Munsters would come on or something like that. So, it’s just always been there in the world, the horror theme, you know? As a kid, there was so many little action figures, and I’d play with G.I Joes, but I also had Frankenstein and Dracula, and Creature from the Black Lagoon, and I’d make them play with the G.I. Joes. So, for me, it’s kind of like Dracula’s always been the household guy there, so when it was time for me to write music, it just came naturally for me. I just do what I do, and here I am, 40 years old and I’m still doing what I know, and I know about horror movies, and that’s where I am!

It’s just great you can play on your strengths and do what you love, combining music and horror. Two greats things, you can’t complain!

Wednesday 13: Definitely!

So, what are some of the more obscure horror movies that you love?

Wednesday 13: Oh, there’s so many. I’m a big fan of rock and roll horror movies from the 80s or the early 90s, and there’s a few that are just really obscure, they’re so stupid they’re amazing. One is called Rocktober Blood, and it’s about this rock and roll guy who commits suicide and his band continues on. And on Halloween night, his ghost comes back on stage and tries to kill the whole band, it’s so dumb! [laughs] But it’s amazing, it’s called Rocktober Blood, so I’d recommend that one.

I’ll keep an eye out for that, it sounds brilliant. What do you think will be next for you, after this album and touring?

Wednesday 13: I mean, for us, getting this record out and touring. I’m sure we’ll tour on this record for about a year and a half, and then we’ll be right back in the studio working on the follow-up to this. So yeah, I mean for me it’s never, ever looking for a vacation [laughs] if that makes sense. This is all about building this band up to the next level, and hopefully, two years from now we’ll be at a different level, and when I’m talking to you again I’ll be talking about how crazy our stage is compared to this one. So, it’s all about building the band up and for me, the sky is the limit, and I’m never satisfied until I reach that point.

That’s a great attitude to have. Do you reckon we could see something happening with MURDERDOLLS?

Wednesday 13: Oh, yeah. I’m hoping so. I’ve always kept a positive outlook on that project and that band, if it would ever happen again. I’ve heard that Joey [Jordison] is possibly doing some future MURDERDOLLS shows, so that’s great. Hopefully in the middle of doing all this WEDNESDAY 13 stuff, when we have a little bit of time, we can get together and do some shows for the fans. And if we have fun doing that, we can talk about the interest of doing a new record in the future. For me, I like to keep doors open, I do different side projects, and I just do that whenever I have time and it’s fun. And MURDERDOLLS was all meant to be fun, so when it’s time to do it again and it’s fun, it’ll happen again. But I feel pretty positive about it, it will happen again in the future, but it’s going to be a while before it does.

Of course, but that’s very exciting. Thank you for taking the time to talk, it’s been an absolute pleasure.

Wednesday 13: Thanks! Hopefully we’ll see you at Download Festival, you don’t want to miss it!

Condolences is set for release on June 2nd via Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-orders are available now and can be purchased here.

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