Singapore grindcore trio Wormrot are back this year! Their debut album ‘Abuse’ sent ripples through the underground in 2009. The album reached the ears of Digby Pearson who signed them to his legendary label Earache records. The band released their third album ‘Voices’ yesterday, five years after their previous release ‘Dirge’. ‘Voice’ is 20 tracks of ball-crushing grindcore.
Grind enthusiast Peter K spoke to frontman Arif about the album, their new drummer Vijesh, performing in India, and more.
Transcending Obscurity (Peter K): How does it feel days away from the release of your third and highly awaited album, ‘Voices’? How has the response been to the album thus far?
Wormrot (Arif): It’s more agonizing than I thought it would be as the album will be released tomorrow after 4 to 5 years of nothingness. We just couldn’t wait to get it out to our friends locally and globally. It’s been way overdue. Counting down the hours as we speak. Quite a handful of reviews has already been published and we can’t thank them enough for the amazing write ups for ‘Voices’. Great responses so far. Extremely thankful.
TO: From the songs released so far, the album sounds crushing. Tell us a bit more about the album and what it signifies.
Wormrot: Personally, every album is like a diary to me. Whatever happened on that particular time period, I’ll chuck it in. There’s quite a few ‘happy unity’ songs off ‘Abuse’ and ‘Dirge’. Writing about the good times on tours, hilarious social issues and whatnots. The only thing I could say about ‘Voices’ is that, ‘happiness’ is being brutally murdered with a butter knife. The hiatus affected how I wrote the lyrics. It’s purely hateful words of regrets, revenge, utmost negative ‘Could have’ fantasies. Hence, I would advise everyone who got the album in hand to read the lyrics.
The hiatus affected how I wrote the lyrics. It’s purely hateful words of regrets, revenge, utmost negative ‘Could have’ fantasies.
TO: How did you drummer Vijesh become a part of the band? His drumming is insane. How much of an influence was he on the band?
Wormrot: Vijesh dropped from the grindcore heavens and gave us a new breath of fresh air to start getting back on our feet. For him “getting use” to grindcore takes a while as well. Rasyid and myself worked hard to get this dude on the same page as us. As hardworking and as passionate Vijesh was and still is, we bond rather, rather quickly. He contributed his style in the mix and it just flows smoothly with whatever me and Rasyid already had in mind.
TO: You released a smashing video for the track Fallen into Disuse. How important do you feel are music videos are in the age of Youtube and streams?
Wormrot: Music videos are important to lay across what is the song really about. Even if it’s narrative or a live music video, it does the job conveying the intended emotions visually. It pretty much brings the track to a whole new level.
TO: You (Arif) is a well-known artist. How does he balance his artistic inclination with his time in the band? What projects is he currently working on?
Wormrot: You are talking to him right now. Ha! Man, it has been a long time since I drew something new. My priorities changed drastically ever since my son was conceived. Hoping that 2017 will be a good start for me to get back on track with Rotworks. As for now, just family time, day job and Wormrot.
TO: Being from India, your performance in Bangalore, India in 2012 at the Undergrind festival was unforgettable. What are your memories from the show and the trip?
Wormrot: Undergrind Fest was amazing. The show was great and we couldn’t ask for a better hospitality from our dear friends. We tried a few new dishes and they tasted great. No idea what it’s called but damn they are good. Visit a couple of places and whatnots. It’s more like a holiday then performing in the festival. We had great time in Bangalore definitely.
TO: How does it feel to be an actively touring band from Asia? What are the challenges you have faced? Which has been your best tour/show so far in the band’s career?
Wormrot: We are not really that active on touring for now due to our personal commitments etc. As for now, we can’t afford long tours like we used to back in the day. Like I have mentioned before, our priorities changed recently. It’s tough getting time off from work and of course the Army. Which we had to cancel our Europe tour which is happening now as we speak. Man, every tour we did over the years has been amazing. It’s not perfect but the experiences and learning stuff along the way made us somewhat well prepared for the next time around. Be it in the US, UK, Europe or Asia.
TO: What can you tell us about your legendary label Earache Records? How instrumental do you think they were in propelling your band to worldwide recognition at least within the style?
Wormrot: Earache Records has been cool with us since day 1. Well, there were some miscommunications but that is the least of our worries. Having them to wait for 5 years to release an album is a very long time. And we are rather very fortunate to have them being as understanding with our situations back home. They helped us with tons of promotions and as well as a few bookings too. So we can’t really complain much. If it’s not for Earache Records, we will not work as hard as we were and still pumped for datelines to this date. Let’s just say we are honored the push start they have given us in 2009.
TO: Can you explain the progression from when the band first started?
Wormrot: This might take another 5 years just to answer this question. Haha. Well we started of just being friends jamming along cover songs for fun. I was in a band already before Wormrot. Shit happens, left my band and decided to form a new one. Met Rasyid and our ex drummer and start to just write basic grind stuff to kickstart finding our own sound. And it just bloomed from there onwards.
TO: What is it about grindcore that appeals to you? Do you think the genre has limited accessibility and thereby limits your scope as a metal band?
Wormrot: It’s the raw, pure aggression which I love most about grindcore. Although I am not really a fan of the politics side of it. If it sounds angry and pissed off, I’m in. Grindcore is not really a famous sub genre. Maybe due to its content. But the satisfaction of mixing it up with hardcore, punk and metal makes everything kind of fun to vent your frustrations. I listen to other metal genres as well but grindcore just sticks to my heart since God knows when.
TO: What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?
Wormrot: I’ve been listening to a lot of rap lately with the likes of Bone Thugs and Harmony, NAS, Tupac etc. But 2016 has been amazing with all the new albums that surfaced like Trap Them, Oathbreaker, Gadget, Ulcerate and many more. The angrier the content is, the more inspired I will be. And these guys definitely helped me through.
TO: What do you think sustains the ‘underground’ so to speak?
Wormrot: Well if they are happy with playing shows and recording EPs, demos and albums for the underground then so be it. It is all about having a blast no matter if you are an underground band or not. And I believe up to this day and age, it’s best to be passionate about something and making things work for yourself. The underground scene will always be there. And I truly respect that. Just don’t be a jackass and you are good in my book. At least.
24/7 grindcore is just plain dumb.
TO: Are there any influences on the band besides music? How about movies? Culture?
Wormrot: 24/7 grindcore is just plain dumb. We enjoyed numerous genres and sub genres since day 1. Personally I am not really into movies but Rasyid does so I can’t answer what kind of movies he is into. Basically we just listened to whatever that sounds great for us individually. The three of us are quite differ from one another in terms of taste in music, movies etc. But we are fortunate enough to have our own common ground.
TO: The Singaporean scene is rising with stalwarts like Rudra and Impiety becoming better known for their craft. Wormrot is another addition albeit a new one to that list. How does it feel to be regarded as one of the best in the style despite coming from a small country like Singapore?
Wormrot: It’s nerve wrecking yet a beautiful feeling. We are not used to be in the lime light all the time. And believe me ten years later, we are still nervous before every single show despite the number of tours we did. We are most definitely grateful of how we are right now and we can’t thank enough to those who supported us for years and years. Blessed is an understatement.
TO: You are launching ‘Voices’ at a show on the 15th of October at The Substation in Singapore. Can you tell us about other shows planned for the rest of the year?
Wormrot: The launch will be our very last show in 2016. We are pretty much going to rehearse our ass off for the US and Europe tour next year which we can’t hardly wait to be on the road again. It’s about damn time.
TO: Thanks a ton for this interview. It means a lot to us as we’re big fans. Do you have anything else to add?
Wormrot: Voices is out NOW on Earache Records. Do not forget to crank the volume and we’ll be back on the road again early next year.
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