WARMDUSCHER are still an unknown gem within the post-punk resurgence. They’re even unknown to some fans of the band’s other projects. To start off, Warmduscher are a supergroup, of sorts, that formed in 2014, supposedly at a New Year’s Eve house party in London. They comprise of members of Childhood, Fat White Family and Paranoid London. They don’t hold back on being wild, weird and unlike any of their respected peers or any other band today. Their stage names (Clams Baker Jr., Jack Everett, The Saulcano, Mr Salt Fingers Lovecraft and The Witherer aka Little Whiskers) give you just an inkling of what I mean by wild and weird and, perhaps, what to expect from the Warmduscher sound.
The band have gained a reputation for their live shows which are mainly improvised. Some shows have resulted in members being kicked out mid-set or walking off. Stories such as this certainly had me intrigued to see them on their next UK tour, which hits The Shipping Forecast in October. They’ve also gained notoriety and interest with their surreal music videos, with Noisey calling the video for The Sweet Smell Of Florida “the weirdest shit to
appear in our inbox”. Quite an achievement.
Their first album Khaki Tears, released three years ago, cemented their place as an act not to be messed with. Tracks such as The Salamander offered us unadulterated fuzzy sleaze sounds similar to The Fall or even guitarist Saul’s main project, Fat White Family. But where next? It was quite a wait, but I’m sure many weren’t expecting Whale City, with its discernable level of development, when it dropped this year. It’s an album that seems funkier and smarter in a sense, and it’s even been compared to the likes of Funkadelic. Even better, Whale City hasn’t lost that fuzzy, simmering sound from the band’s debut. In fact, Whale City appears to have gained a clear concept, more transatlantic in nature, making it all the more interesting and exciting.
But I’m curious to know more about this band. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding them, a lot of unanswered questions for a band mainly described as a ‘supergroup’ or a ‘side project’ by the press and critics. How does one manage creative control within a band of big personalities? How does a band like this keep it together? Does it sometimes feel like you’re in the shadow of something separate? There are also plenty of unanswered questions about their onstage antics, and how they feel about them. Are they intentional? Do they add to the live experience or take away from the music? Are the band elusive or do they just let the music do the talking?
Georgia Turnbull speaks to Lightnin’ Jack Everett and Clams Baker Jr. hoping to delve further into the band’s mind and discover some of these answers. We’ll let you judge if the ensuing conversation about musically endorsed microwave meals throws up enough of those sought-after answers.
You guys formed at a London house party in 2014, right? How did come that about and what made you decide to keep working together?
Jack: It came together by accident and working together since that moment was never difficult, so we kept doing it. And that’s all I can think of. There was no trying; it was just easy. That’s basically 99 percent of the reason Warmduscher are still going. But we didn’t start at that house party, we formed together in AA meetings. That’s how me and Clams met anyway. We met The Witherer at a blimp convention.
Various members of the band have separate projects such as Fat White Family and Childhood. How do you manage creative control within the band?
Jack: It’s anyone game, whoever wants to take control can. Sometimes it’s me; sometimes it’s someone else. It’s nobodies and everyone’s at the same time. We work with a ‘whatever happens, happens’ ethos. And if you don’t like it, you get whipped in the legs by one of the other band members [laughs].
Your live shows have gained quite a lot of attention from critics and music fans. Some would say notoriety. Why do you think that is? Are you more focused on live shows than recording?
Clams: I’d say we’re a live band. I think a lot of shows turn out the way they do because of the nature of the music we play. With Whale City, we have a set built up of practiced songs. Before then, we’d improvise half of the set, which was great but now it’s definitely more structured. Now, all we need is matching suits.
Your new album Whale City sounds more influenced by the other side of Atlantic in comparison to the debut. What inspired that change and what inspired the album in general?
Clams: It wasn’t anything intentional; it was just how we started playing. We began by playing the songs for the album live, but we recorded it so quickly that no concept was planned or anything like that. We didn’t really know what it would sound like until we went into the studio and began recording it. We made the album, then the ideas and images of Whale City followed. Jack and I came up with the song names and lyrics, so it became conceptual in the sense that the titles tell a story but it wasn’t set out to be one, none of us have the energy or brains to intentionally create a concept album. It was more a desire to record the songs that inspired its making.
Jack: The songs were written before we really had the songs down, kind of because loads of songs were taken from live shows. The lyrics were conceptual but we didn’t know what the outcome would sound like, to be honest. Then Dan Carey and Alexis Smith – producers of Whale City – did a good job of that, they didn’t tell us what to do that much but they created a good working environment for us. They gave us constructive pressure. The time constraint was an obvious pressure, but it didn’t feel stressed out. They were really good in that way, that and making the album sound amazing.
Finally, are there any future plans for Warmduscher?
Jack: After the UK tour with our friends Silent K, I think we’ll start working on a new album. It’s kind of the thing to do. Maybe then a line of microwave meals, it’s an untapped market that needs to be tapped.
Warmduscher play the Shipping Forecast on Tuesday 16th October. Whale City is out now via The Leaf Label.