Interview: Wretched on the Road

Rabid death crew Wretched are on a rockin’ roll.  In March of this year they released their third full-length record in as many years, and they’ve been burning up the road with some seriously badass acts in the months since.  Right now they’re out with Six Feet Under, and they’ve got mucho dates scheduled for the spring with Soilwork, Jeff Loomis, Blackguard, and The Browning.  If you haven’t caught’em yet, get out there and bang yo Wretch-head.
A couple of the guys were gracious enough to stop brutalizing the masses long enough to answer some questions about the band and its trail of tours.  Here’s what they said, along with a couple killer vids to get your weekend revved up right.

How quick was the turn-around time between finishing Son of Perdition and getting out on stage to support it?

ADAM: It was all most instant.  We had the Metal Alliance tour with DevilDriver, Dying Fetus, 3 Inches of Blood, JFAC & the Faceless lined up with the release of Son of Perdition.  So after recording this record we all went back to work for about a month & then jumped on tour for the rest of the spring & summer. 

Did your live show require you to put in some intense rehearsal time, or did you already feel well prepared?

ADAM: The songs we played on Metal Alliance felt very natural & easy.  But there was some intense practicing to go along with that. We also knew those songs better than others.  Since then we’ve added more new songs to the set & these have really kicked our ass.

ANDREW:  It would be great if we could spend a few weeks preparing for a tour but we all live in different places so it’s tough for all of us to take work off a week or two early when we’re already about to leave for a month or two.  We leave it up to everyone to get their parts down solid in our own time before we meet up. 

ADAM: I think we all feel more comfortable now with the entire album now; after playing everything live.  

How has your travel experience been while touring?

ADAM: We always have a good time on tour. Granted, it can be exhausting & at times really rough; we make the best of it. Otherwise we’d all go a little crazy.  We just left a tour with Death Angel, Bonded by Blood, & Threat Signal.  It was way too short for a change.  We just got to know the other bands & it’s off to start a new one.  We’ve toured the US so much that it’s pretty much a routine thing. Going to Canada is the only time I really feel like a traveler or tourist.   We did a Canadian tour this summer with 3 Inches of Blood and it was really amazing to see the metal support from the north.

ANDREW: It’s been incredible so far.  We get to travel the world doing the thing we love.  I love waking up in a new city with a different environment.  We make new friends every day and meet some interesting people. 

What have you enjoyed most about being out with the bands you’ve shared stage with so far?  What are you anticipating for the SFU/Cattle Decap tour?

 ADAM: Death Angel really made everyone in the band reevaluate our live show.  Those guys play for over an hour and 1/2 every night.  No signs of fatigue at any point and the sound was beyond great.  Dying Fetus was just the most brutal set & all most identical every time.  The Faceless was a band I was curious to see.  They pull off every piece of their recorded sound live & there’s a lot of strange things to cover. SFU & Cattle Decapitation is going to be awesome.  It’s a bill that we fit right into.  I expect solid shows with real diehard fans & hopefully that means we can expose those people to an up & coming Death metal act.  If all else fails we’ll be able to watch an awesome show each night.  Our bass player Andrew is totally obsessed with the newest Cattle Decap album & I am pretty stoked to meet Chris Barnes.  I was heavily influenced by his vocals.

ANDREW: Just getting to meet great musicians and great people.  Everyone who grinds it out in a metal band understands how tough it can really be.  It’s great to be surrounded by people who truly do it for the passion and have success doing it.  It pushes me to be a better musician.  We’re all really looking forward to touring with SFU and Cattle Decap.  I’ve been a big fan of both bands for a long time now and both are incredible live.  It’s the perfect size tour package with three bands so it shouldn’t feel too rushed or cramped on stage or anything like that.  I’ve been listening to Cattle Decapitation’s latest album non-stop.  It’s fucking amazing.  It’s been a while since an album really grabbed me like that.

What do you feel the biggest band accomplishment has been with the new record?

ADAM: I think our biggest accomplishment was the new record.  Our timeline was really short; so I’m most surprised that the CD came out the way it did.  We had a lot of success on YouTube & Vimeo.  We had more views on our music videos than ever before.  So next to the record I think our internet reach was highly expanded. Personally, this record gave me a chance to tour with Dying Fetus.  That to me is forever going to be an honor & a privilege.  We also had about 7 months of successful touring this year; so I’m proud of this as a whole.   

What role does Wretched’s music play in your own life?  What do you hope it will mean to your audience?

ADAM: Creativity and making the most of life.  I lost a close loved one when I was 18 & I am forever in debt to live out what dreams I have.  Call it a curse or the greatest thing that ever happened to me; but I cannot give up on music.  To do this happily I had to be playing music that I enjoy; so being creative was extremely important to making this dream work.

ANDREW: It’s a great release and a great escape.  It’s therapeutic.  I hope it does the same for our audience.  When I perform it’s like nothing else matters.  The worst shit could be going on in my life but when I’m playing all of that stuff goes away.  Pain, emotion, it all goes into what we do and the crowd is right there with us releasing that energy too.  

Can you talk about some of the most difficult trials, as well as the satisfying highs, that feed into the Wretched experience and music?

ANDREW: On our last tour we were out with Death Angel and our van broke down in the desert in Texas.  We had to cancel the last two shows which we were really looking forward to.  I felt like I was going crazy because we were stranded in the middle of nowhere for two days with no Internet or even signs of life except the guy in the shop fixing our van when we should be out playing shows and making money to keep us going.  After it was fixed we had a few days to kill so we headed to Austin, Texas to crash with a friend.  We ended up playing a last minute kick ass show with Ill Nino, got to see our buddies in Havok play, tripped our balls off playing mini golf and pretty much partied the whole weekend without paying a cent, so it ended up working out great! The most difficult thing for me personally has to be my back and neck problems.  I have three compressed discs in my spine and some severely pinched nerves.  Too much head banging and lifting heavy gear, I guess.  It has gotten to the point where some tours I can’t even stand up for longer than 5 minutes.  Lately, I’ve had to change a lot of things about the way I play.  It’s tough when I’m used to going crazy and head banging all the time and now have to really tame myself.  But I’ve become much more aware of my body and staying in shape and I’ve found other ways to release that energy.  I’ve also become a hell of a lot tighter bass player.

ADAM: We’ve all lost jobs during our touring.  We all remain somewhat broke at home.  I’m in the process of losing a 7 year relationship due to touring.  We’ve all given up just about everything an adult can claim.  So our trials are constant & will never vanish; but with a new album comes new things to be excited about.  All the highs are typically in the form of tour opportunities & making new music.  Hearing the band with the current line-up & having a good reaction continues to be a high for us.   

What direction do you feel your musical path is taking, through the past few albums and into the future?

ADAM: I think we all want to do it all.  We discussed going for a more straight forward brutal death metal Album. But we also discussed doing an album of epic instrumentals with vocals scattered throughout.  I don’t see us delving into Deathcore, Djent, or any other recent fad.  The band started with most of its members in high school; so on our first album it’s pretty obvious that much of the band had just been exposed to modern thrash & scene music (or hardcore). On the second album, Beyond the Gate the mood was much more melodic.  Tons of Euro thrash & old school death metal were thrown into the mix, and on our newest album we went for it all.  There’s influence from every extreme genre or niche; hopefully they blended together to create a new sound for us.

Any thoughts on what it means to you to be Wretched?

ADAM:  To me, being in Wretched means being down for whatever.  We don’t have rules other than your obvious ones.  We don’t condone hard drugs, karma will fuck you if you let it.  But we want to enjoy our time on earth & we want to inspire the same way that all our heroes inspired us to do something.  You don’t have to sell a million records or even start a band.  But please remember your time is constantly running out; make the best of it & thank you for taking the time to talk to us!  

Stories from the road…. This is always rough because nobody wants the good stuff to come up… I will leave out the guitarist’s name to give them a fighting chance.  We played a small bar in Shreveport, Louisiana .    A very nice guy at the show offered to hook me & the guitar player up with primo Herbs.   Our guitar player was beyond drunk at this point so I had a feeling this could be a bad idea.  The fan drove us to his house;, which was a really nice place; brand new floors, furniture, & all that jazz.  He packed up a bowl and before you knew it said guitarist started spewing out a freshly eaten taco dinner unto the fans brand new couch.  Myself & the fan started scooping up this still warm vomit with our bare hands because of a lack of paper towels.  We get the guitarist out of the house and back into the fans truck.  On the way to the house, the band was crashing at more spewing occurred until we finally arrive.  The fan started to get a little mad when the guitarist refused to leave the truck; so we hoisted him up to a couch to sleep on.  The next morning we realized that the same band member had a very big brown stain on his jeans.  To top it all off, he shit himself. Moral of the story:  say yes to natural herbs & say fuck you to alcohol! I gave the fan 20 bucks to help with cleaning & all is well.