Interview: Wovenwar Talk Band's Beginnings, Tim Lambesis, and More with Jose Mangin
San Diego’s Wovenwar--featuring current and former members of As I Lay Dying and Oh, Sleeper--recently visited with SiriusXM host Jose Mangin for an hour-long interview and "Takeover" special to discuss their new beginning, Tim Lambesis, owning a club, and more. Guitarist Phil Sgrosso called the conversation "probably the most interesting band interview we've done."
For those of you who missed it, or for fans who want to revisit their chat, we’ve posted highlights below. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments.
MANGIN The new album came out recently. How do you guys feel--it is a new beginning and new chapter for the band?
NICK HIPA I think, for us, having the album out has been one of the most gratifying feelings for us. The way that we spent the past year of our lives was putting every emotion, feeling and thought into the actual music of this band and this first record. So it is us sharing the things we didn’t say, didn’t talk about or know how to deal with, with everyone else in the world finally. So to me, it is amazing.
MANGIN Maybe some people don’t know who you guys are. Does anyone want to briefly tell the story?
JORDAN MANCINO The four of us used to be in a band called As I Lay Dying. I guess a couple things happened and we decided to start a new band, more or less, sparing the details. Shane [Blay, vocals] came into the picture, shortly after we began writing, and that was really our main focus. Once he was in the picture, we started writing the whole record and actually came up with a band name and started putting things together from there. I guess it is a new book for all of us.
MANGIN Now this is a different sound because, for As I Lay Dying, you guys had the melody and you guys had the brutality. Fans listening to Wovenwar are going to find that it’s more melodic. Is this a direction you wanted to go in before all the drama with your former singer? Is that something you thought about or did that cause things and you said “now we can do this"?
JOSH GILBERT I think we sort of got together and jammed before we got anyone on vocals. Once we did the first demo, "All Rise," with Shane, it sort of opened our minds to what we can do with the band and it was really liberating to be able to work with more dynamics when we were writing. That’s the biggest difference in what the two bands are. It is that we are able to experiment with the dynamics and the loud and soft, as opposed to 100-percent balls out, 200 bpm for the entire song.
HIPA We didn’t want to do As I Lay Dying No. 2. Once we decided to start the new band, we decided to preserve the legacy of the old band, out of respect for the fans and the past. So with Wovenwar it definitely made sense to expand the sound the way we write together. When Shane came into the picture, it increased our limits substantially.
MANGIN When I first heard the news, I was mad for you guys, I was pissed. These dudes fucking worked hard, it is not their fault. Then I went to take a dump and said, “This is for you, Tim!” I’m just kidding--but I’m glad that you guys have this new beginning and a chance to start over. Some dudes die, some dudes get arrested--shit happens. Was there any resentment and for how long? And are you guys passed that?
HIPA I think for all of us, there was a very wide array for emotions. There was anger, there was sadness, it was a very personal thing. More so than a band disbanding, it was something that affected people’s lives on both on both ends that were a part of our lives for so long. Because of that, we were more concerned with things as they related to people that we're involved with. And we were frustrated, to a certain degree, that we spent so much of our lives working on a band that got to a certain point, but have it fall apart as immediately as it did. When you put it in perspective to people’s lives that got scarred and ruined by it--I think it helped us deal with things a little but more appropriately. I don’t think we went through a long phase of being resentful or hating anyone or being depressed and apathetic--we just kind of accepted the world that was created around us and started writing music. It is natural for us to be at home and to pick up our guitars and start writing music.
MANGIN It’s therapeutic.
HIPA Totally. You just channel everything that is going on inside, through this vessel of music. I think that’s one of the most beautiful things you can share with someone is that place and time, and have it exist there forever.
MANGIN Do you forgive Tim?
You know, it’s a hard topic to talk about because there are so many unfinished things and things that haven’t been said yet. And really for us this band is a new book--we’re focusing on this, we’re focusing on the future of this band and at this point leaving that stuff behind. Who knows that’s going to happen in the future and what we will or will not have to deal with as far as it related to our past. Our focus now is Wovenwar and moving forward and focusing on the brotherhood that exists with this band, on the fans that we have, the industry we have, and being able to spend time with all the people that supported us.
MANGIN Yeah, because your fans stuck by you this whole time--especially when "All Rise" was debuted on SiriusXM. There was a lot of great reaction and feedback and I know the fans have your back because they love you dudes and your music. They know it’s not you and I think you guys will have a great support system all around the world. Like a wise Indian once said, “All things shall pass.” So right now it’s this, and you guys don’t have to take Viagra yet, so you have a lot of things working for you. But Shane, lyrically, what did you bring to the new album, were they yours, or was it a combo of these dudes writing short stories?
SHANE BLAY I wrote 70 percent of the lyrics, and Nick took over on some songs, but most of the lyrics just came from what I’ve gone through. "All Rise" was about how I was kind of like a vampire, just sucking the life out of me for a buck. Other songs are about picking yourself up after everything, because I just feel lucky to be here singing for these guys.
MANGIN I remember years ago I think I offended you guys when I asked you guys what music you listened to for the first time you did it. Years later, do you want to answer that question?
PHIL SGROSSO 'Game of Thrones' intro.
MANGIN Recently de-virginized. [Laughs]
MANCINO The secret song on the Green Day 'Dookie' album.
GILBERT You were like 5 years old.
MANGIN It was his babysitter, dude! San Diego has some hot nannies!
BLAY I don’t think there was music, but I did like doing it to Team Sleep.
MANGIN That was kind of recent, dude.
BLAY No, old Team Sleep, the demos!
HIPA I have to say the "Sound of Silence."
BLAY Simon and Garfunkel?
HIPA Not Simon and Garfunkel--that would have been tight. I’ll let that be an artistic response, so either nothing or Simon and Garfunkel.
MANGIN Mine was Pantera--'Cowboys From Hell'... I didn’t know you guys owned a club, is that true? Who owns the club?
GILBERT Jordan, Nick, and I recently purchased the Brick By Brick in San Diego.
MANGIN I’ve heard of that place and I’ve promoted shows there. Hasn’t it been around for a little bit?
GILBERT 20 years, almost.
MANGIN When did you do this?
GILBERT We got ownership two months ago. We’ve been in the process for three-and-a-half months. It was just one of those things that happened. We know the previous owner and we thought it would be pretty cool to be a part of the music community in San Diego and help it grow, like it helped us grow. To preserve the history of such a legendary venue, we thought that was important for San Diego and the community in general.
During the takeover, the band picked tracks to play and here's what they chose:
Black Breath – The Flame
Demon Hunter – Life War
Cannibal Corpse – Make Them Suffer
In Flames – Fear Is The Weakness
Meshuggah – Rational Gaze
Dillinger Escape Plan – When Good Dogs Do Bad Things
Embodyment – Halo Of Winter
Oh, Sleeper – The Pitch
Testament – Down For Life
Dio – Stand Up And Shout
Volbeat – The Mirror and The Ripper
Killswitch Engage – The New Awakening
At The Gates – Slaughter Of The Soul
Mastodon – March Of The Fire Ants
Motorhead - Born To Raise Hell
Karnivool – Simple Boy
Slayer - Disciple
Mastodon – The Wolf Is Loose
Slipknot - The Negative One
Deftones – Change (In The House Of Flies)