Wargasm: “We love being validated by all the nu-metal daddies”

The rock duo talk to NME at Download 2022 about the changing face of metal, ambition, their new mixtape, and how their debut album is "pretty much done"

Wargasm have spoken to NME about receiving praise from their nu-metal heroes, as well as the shifting face of metal and what to expect from their upcoming ‘Explicit’ mixtape and debut album.

After being one of the first bands to play the Download Pilot in 2021 – a scaled-back COVID test event that celebrated the best and brightest in UK talent – the band revelled in how much their nu-metal swagger met with a punk attitude upset some of the festival regulars. “Understandably so,” said singer Milkie Way, whose mantra is “don’t be bitter, just be better”.

This year, at the first full-scale Download for three years, the band opened the main stage on the Sunday. “I was terrified,” Way told NME shortly after coming offstage. “I was nearly throwing up all morning. I don’t get scared before a lot of shows but that was very scary.”

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The band also opened with a song that no one had ever heard before, and that they themselves had never performed live before. “I do love it though, so that grounded me,” added Way.

Wargasm UK tour
Wargasm perform live in 2021. CREDIT: Getty

In the past few months, the band have been invited to join support Limp Bizkit – as well as joining them on-stage multiple times – while KoRn’s Jonathon Davis called them his new favourite band. “I love being validated by all the nu-metal daddies,” said Way. “Mike Shinoda, you’re next.”

However, the band argued that Wargasm aren’t here to appease the older crowd. “We might take influence from a lot of dated sounds, but we’re mashing them together in a way that you perhaps haven’t heard before, explained the band’s Sam Matlock.

Way added: “It can be chaotic at times,. People inherently like chaos. The world is chaos right now and art should reflect that.”

Speaking of which, the pair recently released ‘D.R.I.L.D.O’ with its chanted hook of “Drink, fuck, fight, love”.

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“Lockdown is still affecting people and the way we write,” explained Matlock. “I was just missing that catharsis of being in a mosh pit where nothing really matters for a brief moment. You get a little respite from reality.”

Produced by Way, the song saw her looking to create “a song for the Blade soundtrack”. “I wanted to make something that would soundtrack that blood rave, with a fat guitar so,” she said. “Plus I love Eurotrash clubbing.”

It’s the first song from ‘Explicit: The Mixxxtape’, Wargasm’s first full-body of work after releasing a string of singles. It will feature new tracks plus a handful of remastered older songs. “I feel like people deserve something more from us,” said Matlock, before explaining how it’s given them license to get weird. “The mixtape is less about being catchy and having good, refined songwriting. It’s more about fucking about and seeing how it feels.”

Another new song from that mixtape ‘Fuckstar’, was performed at Download and will be released soon, according to the band. “I really don’t like rich people. Those Jezz Bezos figures” said Matlock of the song’s lyrics.

“I’m not somebody who gets political, because short of going and murdering everyone there’s not much I can actually do. I’m not the biggest fan of peaceful protests or performative activism” – (at which point Way interrupts to describe this as “sharing infographics and being a cunt”) – before Matlock goes on: “So it’s nice to be able to let off steam in a song. It keeps me sane and stops me doing something irresponsible that will prevent me from getting into America or Japan. Hopefully people will read the lyrics and get something from it but it is a fun song as well.”

With the mixtape out this summer, there won’t be too long a wait for what comes next, with Wargasm’s debut album “pretty much done”. The band are currently working out what tracks have made the cut, but Matlock promises “some cool, hard shit”.

“We need to try and find a ballad though,” added Way. “I don’t know where a ballad belongs in a Wargasm set but we’ll figure it out.” Matlock continued: “Bizkit made it work, Slipknot made it work, so will we.”

Last summer, Matlock told NME that Wargasm weren’t the sort of band that would ever headline festivals like Reading. Today though, after that set on Download’s main stage, Matlock would like to “abstain from answering that, because I’m not sure where my heart lies after that reception. I may have been corrected.” Milkie is less tentative. “I believe it,” she said.

“The only thing I will say is the bigger the stage, the bigger the slot, the bigger the production budget,” Matlock went on. “We have a song called ‘Pyro Pyro’ that doesn’t have any pyro yet. Fucking come on,” added Way. Maybe that will change by the time that massive UK tour rolls around this autumn, when the band headline London’s O2 Forum in Kentish Town.

Wargasm UK tour
Wargasm perform live in 2021. CREDIT: Getty

The band started at house parties and, as Matlock explained, were always meant to just be a bit of fun. “It’s still that,” he admitted. “It’s just that it’s more fun now. This band works better on a bigger stage. Punk shows are cool but we just sound better with a bigger PA. It just sounds fucking great when you crank it. Music is better when it’s really loud.”

Wargasm were the youngest band to have played Download’s 2022 main stage and the only band to not be all-male. There were plenty of options across the weekend – including Spiritbox, Cassyette, Yonaka, Creeper, Meet Me @ The Altar – but they were all on the bill for the smaller tents, despite all drawing huge crowds. Do Wargasm feel like the metal world is reluctant to change?

“I think it’s changing,” replied Matlock. “I think progress is just slow. We just need to reach a point where this stuff is so undeniably good, that it has to have the spot.”

And do Wargasm feel an obligation to blaze a trail for others to follow? “I don’t know about that; that’s a lot of responsibility,” replied Way. “I am happy to represent and to be part of some kind of change. I am really thankful about being put on the main stage for that reason.”

Wargasm kick off a UK headline tour this October. Visit here for tickets and more information.

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