On the go for the past five years, Belfast/Lisburn based Wardomized have been building up a sizeable fan base, and played in Europe a number of times.
With less than a week to go before they play their biggest gig, supporting The Exploited in Belfast’s Mandela Hall, Chris Owens caught up with them to find out more.
Tell us about how the band got together.
Eddie Cross: The band got together when me and Steve met. We started jamming in his attic all this weird metal punk stuff, and I was playing in another project with the original drummer Luke so we got together.
We started quite well we were practising a lot and were really enthusiastic live but our early recordings back then were weak so we experimented more with the grindcore direction live.
The ‘Strained’ release received a mixed reception when it first came out. Looking back, what’s your take on it?
Eddie: Personally, I think ‘Strained’ sucks. It wasn’t really the direction me and Steve wanted to go, was too slow and dragged out. Some good ideas and great drumming from Luke but I think personally my contribution to song writing improved after that.
Steve McKeown: Yeah, not being offensive to ‘Strained’ as we were finding our footing but I was losing enthusiasm for it majorly and I think the band was too. I think it was the hype around ‘Strained’ Luke was building on social media.
It became quite overwhelming and removed from what I wanted personally, I found it hard to speak up against it and eventually lost interest in the whole thing.
On stage singing that song I wasn’t there in spirit compared to a newer song like “Brainrot” where I’m 100% having fun with it.
Thankfully it kicked me and Ed into full gear creatively and found a weird style for writing and on stage, this also got furthered by the amazingly talented new members. Mike, Dean and Ale, who keep my drive going every practice and show, keeping away those ‘Strained’ feelings.
Eddie: We prefer our very first release, ‘In the Raw’, even though that wasn’t grindcore!
So is that a pitfall that unknown bands can find themselves in: hyping up releases and shows to unrealistic expectations?
Steve: Yeah I think so…but if you can pull it off and be happy with it congratulations are in order for sure. These days I don’t have expectations for most shows it keeps me feeling fresh…
You’ve changed line-up quite a bit. Are the two of you dictators?
Eddie: Well really we have only had two line ups: Luke left to take a break and do something different and is now doing slam with Rupturation. When he left our original bass player Josh left, so we got in Deane Montgomery on drums and Mike Largey on bass to go for a newer grindcore direction of the band.
We have been going a year and a half with this line up and recently added Alessandro Rocco (Deathbus, Neamhní) as co vocalist to expand on our sound.
So what was the turning point where the two of you thought “we’re finally on the right track?”
Eddie: During the writing sessions of ‘Red Death (Flows Through My Veins)’ for sure. But we finally found our sound on ‘Forced to Eat From the Apple Tree.’
Steve: Yeah I would agree, me and Eddie’s stay in Necrofuck was definitely a yearning for more aggressive fast paced music. The sound of Wardomized now is that aggressiveness we wanted in the past mixed with creativity in breaching into a different genre even be it a chorus or two. We want to be grind and death but not stuck to it.
You’ve toured Europe quite a bit. How did this come about and what have you learnt from these tours?
Steve: The tours came about from our easy going and helpful attitudes in getting to know other bands, this has led to possibilities such as home bands going over seas and for foreign bands coming over to Northern Ireland.
We really enjoy this and make new friends and find so many new places to play. We have really learnt about life in general going on these tours and how to appreciate it more.
In terms of what to expect from a show with European customs?
With food beer and accommodation provided every night in France for example it certainly makes your stomach rumble a bit at home. But in terms of people…you always have great people that appreciate you and your music anywhere.
Eddie: Doing the tours and stuff have really helped us get tighter musically and learn more about how the industry works, we are all really keen to get back on the road
We have contacts from Spain and Brutal Arratia records from Basque country who have booked our tours for us and to be honest taught us everything! We played over in Belgium.
The crust/grind scene over there is great. One of the biggest shows we played it was also cool seeing more shows going on week nights with great attendance.
Steve: Playing that crust punk warehouse in Belgium back in January was my first time doing like 6 dates consecutively so I thought, of course, I’m going to be road kill on vocals but with how professionally we acted believe it or not we all fuckin nailed it that night the only problem we had was the electric sparking out during half a song!
So what have been your most memorable gigs/support slots?
Eddie: Holocausto Cannibal and Gama Bomb with the old line up. Playing along Mutilated Judge and Sete Star Sept, Basement Torture Killings at Bilbao Deathfest. We played Paris with a band called Randy x Marsh on New Year that which was great and that mini fest with AxGxI in Belgium was fantastic.
We headlined Poser Holocaust fest in Lisburn this year with Insurgency and Hellbastard which was a dirty show. And the owner of Punkerama Records, Gary Fahy, has asked us to support The Exploited in Mandela Hall! its been a good 2018 so far.
Whose idea was it to get Roysta to do the artwork from ‘Red Death…’ onwards?
Eddie: We were always a fan of Lee James’ music and art style, so we got him on ‘Red Death…’, but we got Ciaran from Flashpoint to do all the artwork on ‘Forced…’, up to our newest EP. I personally want to keep working with Ciaran for now, as I love his art style. We are working on a new release now which will be our 3rd EP with the new line up.
Tell us a bit more about this new release.
Eddie: We have been working on this EP since September, carrying on our grindcore/death metal sound from ‘Forced…’ but embracing our hardcore punk roots a bit more. We have been really influenced by hardcore and the heavier melancholy side of stuff like Deftones on this material.
I’d say the band’s goal at this point is to create a very modern, dirty as hell grindcore release that’s fresh, but still sound 90’s as fuck.
Hopefully it will come out on a label but, if not, DIY. We have been doing all PR work ourselves for the last two EP’s. We’ve had some good offers but we’re too broke from touring. However, this will be our strongest material to date
Eddie, you were also known for being the front man for Acid Age, but you recently announced your departure. What happened there?
Eddie: I enjoyed my time with Acid Age but not so much at the very end. The other members wanted to try something different, and I thought so as well so we mutually split.
Of course, I wanted to focus more on Wardomized, but I felt I was more suited for crossover thrash anyway. Acid Age’s sound has sort of steered from that and require someone more melodic, in my opinion.
How do you view the current Irish scene in 2018, compared to when the band first started?
Eddie: The scene is great these days. A lot of the bands that were starting or still going when we started are even better now: Scimitar’s new EP for example. Wow, majorly good.
Disconnect these days are something else, I wish there was more of a pure grindcore scene though, but we are in good if not the best company regardless. I would love to arrange a tour with any of the local bands around here.
It would be class doing one with Disconnect. We are good friends. It could happen someday!
-Christopher Owens ::: 06/05/18