What are your biggest metal/non-metal influences?
I listen to lots of non-metal bands and i'm sure they've influenced how i write, although sometimes i can't really pick out the parts. Savages, Jungle, early Paramore with the kickass old drummer, just to name a few.
For metal in general, the recent years i've mostly been listening to the works of Takafumi Matsubara (Gridlink, Hayaino Daisuki, etc.) so naturally his influence will show in Wormrot's newer materials.
As for all-time influences, rhythm works of early James Hetfield (Metallica) and complete guitar works of Daron Malakian (SOAD).
How do you see grindcore as a genre? Is it meant to be a low-budget kind of thing or not?
I dunno, dude. I approach grindcore from a musical point of view, nothing else. What makes grindcore what it is, personally, is the sense of urgency. You listen to their songs and you know these musicians are putting their lives on the line because the death clock's at 00:02 sec. That doesn't mean you have to play fast and do blastbeats throughout the album (... although you can.) Big budget, small budget, who gives a fuck. Sacrifices are made. A good album is a good album. But you just know it when they're faking it and using the grindcore hashtag to up their punk points.
Your band comes from Singapore. Is there a scene there? Can you mention some of the finest bands from the city-state you are living in?
There is a scene here. Punk, hardcore, metal, non-underground, we're all made up of the same people. We're a small country, so we might not have the healthy numbers, but we've gotten used to that. Bands to check out are T-Rex, Daily Ritual, I Am David Sparkle and Abrasion.
How well is metal music received in your homeland?
Alright, i guess. We don't really care how it's being received, we're just gonna gonna do our thing. Sure there are struggles we, and especially the organizers, have to face, like the closing down of various venues, but i believe we'll persevere.
What was it like to grow up as a metalhead in a land so far away? DId you have a hard time of buying music back in the day?
It's not too hard. We have a couple of shops that carries metal albums. I grew up with the standard metal bands like Metallica and Slayer so their albums are all over. At the age of 14 or 15, it was the dawn of Napster, Limewire and Kazaa, and i realized that i can pirate-consume the fuck out of everything. I might have single-handedly brought down the fall of the music industry. Sorry.
One of your songs is dedicated to the underground metal community of Indonesia. What makes it so special that you made a song about it?
Arif writes the lyrics, so you should ask him. For 'Indonesia', I just wanted to write a heavy punk song!
Joko Widodo is probably the world's first "heavy metal president". Is he a tribune of metal music out there? I mean, both Singapore and Indonesia are pretty exotic for us Europeans who have no clue of what is happening in that part of the world at all...
No. I do not care if he listens to metal or not.
Both Tony Iommi and Barney Greenway tried to persuade Joko not to commit capital punishment to some junkies who were having fun in Indonesia. How do you feel about this?
I do not condone the death penalty at all. I believe in rehabilitation and reeducation, til death. It's not only about giving others a chance, it's also about you, as a human being, willing to stretch your hand out and saying "let me help you out, fellow human." But the world is still primitive, or old fashioned, in some parts of the world, and we have til the end of mankind to learn. Give us more time.
Singapore is known for its religious diversity. Is there a clash between religious doctrines and metal and vice versa?
Nah, i don't think so. They have bigger problems than metal. Like how to break into the US music market by using their followers' donations.
A great deal of your lyrics are against politicians and wars. So the question is: what's more absurd, politicians or wars? Or maybe the people who support both?
We can do without both, there's no use comparing the level of absurdity.
Grindcore music is just like a premature orgasm. You have a blast and all the sudden it's gone. Would playing 3-5 minute songs be an act of treacherous blasphemy for a grindcore guy like you?
It depends. There's just a certain beauty in a sharp and concise 1-minute song, but there's no written law that says you can't do a 5-minute song. There shouldn't. If grindcore is about breaking boundaries, the last thing you wanna do is to create one. Sure, you can challenge your songwriting skills by writing with self-imposed limitations, but to say you shouldn't do something because it's 'not grindcore' is rather dumb.
Principle of the Puppet Warfare is one of the finest Wormrot songs in term of lyrics. Nuclear Assault's verse reminds us that : We become the enemy when freedom dies for security. Is freedom of speech combined with democracy the cheapest lie in the universe?
Man, i dont write the lyrics. I wish he'd written about Rogue One or cats or something. Can we talk about something i've written, like blastbeats and riffs instead? But to answer your question, freedom of speech is an illusion. Acceptance (not tolerance) is the real problem.
Few months ago I read an article on a topic: should metal and politics be separate in a matter of state and church kind of thing? And I found that quite stupid because if there is no one to point out the bad things that happen to us by the politicians we become mindless sheep and they win for sure. Since you've been playing in a grindcore band I would really like to hear your opinion on this topic...
There are lots more outlets and mediums to learn from other than metal music. Art, books, movies, stand-up comedies, etc. Unfortunately, not many appreciate them and bother to look deeper than what's on the surface. The metal community is made up of everyday people too, so why shouldn't we talk about everyday things like politics? But i still rather talk about Star Wars and cats.
Album cover of Dirge is pretty apocalyptic. What was the idea behind it?
The apocalyptic background was a generic idea. We wanted to follow the style of putting faces on our albums and though of putting a torn up face of a female refugee. We sent a mock-up photo of myself posing with my head tilted back to Andrei Bouzikov who has worked on the Municipal Waste covers. But somehow, the message got lost in confusion and he drew my face zombified instead. So what you see on the Dirge cover is actually... me. And we thought, "Ehh, why not."
Is it me or You suffer but why is it my problem perfectly describes the neo-liberal world we live in?
Are you working on a brand new Wormrot album?
We've recently concluded the recording process, so it's just a matter of time. 2016 will not end without a Wormrot album
There's a picture of a goat at one of your shows.How the hell did that animal get there and where and when did that concert take place ?
The goat's name is Biquette and she lives with the punks in a farm squat in Villeneuve, France. Sadly, she passed away last year.
It was our EU tour in 2011 with Maruta (USA)