Here’s the skinny on War Gods of the Deep: they play heavy metal; they’re based in Chicago; and they are beau coup mysterious. I scoured the Internet for any references to who is in the band, like names or nicknames or initials. Nada. Zip. Zero. So in reality, it could be one person or a duo, and not a band at all. Or it could be four or five musicians who want to remain anonymous and, rather than wearing masks like Slipknot, or masks and makeup, like Ghost, just remain hidden in the shadows.
Their new EP, Robots, Rockets & Rampage, is excellent, full of muscular melodies, hefty guitars and gonzo drumming. And the person I interviewed, whoever he may be, is obviously intelligent and came equipped with a sense of humor.
How would you describe yourself?
Just another carbon-based life form doing his best to decorate the time on this earth that he’s been allotted.
What kind of guitar do you play? And why?
All kinds these days, but if I’m being honest and narrowing it down, then mostly guitars by Framus PRS, Gibson, and Fender. The “why” part is a little more daunting. I guess each guitar serves a very different purpose for me personally. The guitars have their own way of pulling certain playing styles out of me, which can be both a blessing and a curse.
What is your songwriting process? Do the lyrics come first, or the music?
For this band, thus far, it’s been the music first and then the lyrics.
What musicians influenced you the most?
Kiss and Queen are the big two. Their contributions to music are what got me interested in music to begin with. Without those two bands, I don’t exist as I do today. Iron Maiden, Dio, and Metallica also hold a very special place in my heart, as they really made the harder, heavier sound of music so appealing to me at a young age. Not to mention I’m a big classic pop music fan. So yeah, it’s all in there if you listen.
How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?
I try to honor the legacy of all my favorite bands by just trying to be true to who I am as a writer and producer who has lived his entire musical journey in the watchful shadow of all that those bands have created musically. They keep you humble. They remind you how high the bar is, and should be, for rock and heavy music.
Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
I manufacture it. In the studio I’ll set up a TV with some old movies and/or cartoons playing, grab a stack of vintage comic books and magazines to thumb through, maybe even some old roleplaying game material. I’ll even grab a bunch of old records and scatter them across the floor just to look at the album art and photos. Then I’ll pick up a guitar and start writing riffs or progressions based on how all that stimulation makes me feel. It’s a process that really has helped me focus in on the specific sound I am after for WGOTD.
How would you describe your style of music?
We like to think of our band and the music we create as a “love letter” of sorts to all the various styles and genres of hard rock and metal music that really became popular or ”came of age” between 1975 and 1989.
I really like your new EP, Robots, Rockets & Rampage. Are you happy with the finished product?
Thank you very much for the kind words about the EP. I am very happy with it. I think it is a great “next step” from our previous EP Monsters, Magic & Mayhem and helps really set the stage for our full-length record which is what we’re working on now to come out next.
In my review, I stated that you guys can really sing and actually harmonize extremely well. What’s up with that? Do you work at it or does it just happen?
Many of my heroes are great singers, so melody and harmony are very important to me and thus become very important to the context of our music. I like to add as many vocal/singing elements to a song as the song can facilitate. If there is room for a harmony, yell or background vocal and it won’t disrupt the song’s presentation or integrity, then I’m going for it.
Who produced the EP?
I can be incredibly difficult to work with in the studio at times, so I produce everything. This way when it’s good, I can say “told you so” and if it’s not good, I can blame you for not having been at the production sessions and contributing. That’s how I keep my very large, very fragile artistic ego safe, by creating a circumstance where I’m the hero regardless of the outcome.
What’s the story behind the band’s name, War Gods of the Deep?
Believe it or not, the fact that there is a movie by the same name is actually coincidental. When I was putting this project together, I had some fairly specific criteria I was chasing in an effort to make this my “perfect musical vehicle.”
The words “war” & “god” were at the top of the list simply because they are two of the most popular words in American culture today. The ”deep” part stems from my narcissistic belief that somehow I’m an intellectual/theologian/scholar at heart and am always trying to look past the obvious to the not so obvious, or even the hidden to gain insight and knowledge that might not be so common. Then of course, I find that my brilliant band name is already the “variant” title of a Vincent Price movie from the Sixties – whose real title is City in the Sea. So we just let people think we pulled a “Black Sabbath” or a “White Zombie” and named our band after a movie (but we really weren’t trying to). Sometimes it’s just easier to let folks take the easy way out and believe what they want to.
What’s next? Another EP or perhaps a full-length album?
We are in the middle of recording our first full-length record. Literally I just took a break from cutting vocal tracks to do this interview. We’re hoping to have it ready and out by fall 2018.
Any plans to tour? If so, where and when?
Absolutely. Once the record is done and out, the hope is we can hit the road to support it all across the globe. Given our entire catalog only consists of two (2) EPs as of right now, we’ve been waiting for the completion of our first full-length to hit the dusty trail and share the WGOTD experience with as many people that will allow us to.