Wormrot are finally back after a four year hiatus. The grind masters have been making waves across the world since their 2009 debut Abuse and solidified by their 2011 album Dirge. Now five years later, after taking a hiatus in 2012, the band are back with an excellent new album in Voices. The buzz around this album is incredibly high, I have not seen this much hype for a grindcore album for years and I had to speak to the band. Luckily for me, I was able to talk with them about Voices, their hiatus, politics and the legendary grindcore goat that watched them live.
Jack: How does it feel to be back after a four year hiatus?
Rasyid (Guitar): It feels like we’ve gotten a new life. We’re really looking forward to this new stretch.
Jack: Why did you decide to take a hiatus?
Rasyid: It was mainly because our vocalist Arif had just started a family so he needed some time to stabilise. We were supposed to return sooner, probably a year earlier, but we had ‘drummer issues’.
Jack: When writing Voices, was it hard getting back into the writing process or had you never stopped writing?
Rasyid: Most of Voices had already been written by the time our former drummer left the band. We wrote and practised consistently, so it’s an organic process. Although we played shows here and there and sampled new songs once in a while, we kept ourselves in the dark most of the time so people didn’t know that we’re actually writing, so there was no pressure. It felt like Abuse all over again.
Jack: The album has been described as your most personal and intimate, what made it so personal?
Rasyid: Arif is an… emotional guy [Laughs]. Nah, he puts all his angst into the lyrics. He had four years of shit to talk about. He takes our albums as his diary, so he writes about everything. Myself though, I try to convey my thoughts and feelings in the instrumentals, so I’m actually trying to ‘sing’ with this one, not just hard riffs after hard riffs. This album will feel more diverse compared to our previous outings and I can’t wait to read the ‘Wormrot has gone softer’ comments [Laughs]!
Jack: Was it an intense recording process?
Rasyid: It was, very. Especially for me. It took us about a month and a half and I was in the studio with Cedric, our sound engineer, almost throughout the whole process. We pushed ourselves hard and the result is our proudest offering yet. Vijesh worked himself extra hard, his willingness to learn is commendable. Arif is just a savant. He’s a natural. His every take sounds like the right one so it’s hard for us to pick out a good one.
Jack: This is your first album with new drummer Vijesh. What does he bring to the band?
Rasyid: We’ll tell you when we’ve caught up to him. He’s very diligent and passionate of his craft, so Arif and I feel like slobs every time. He’s the only professional in this band, honestly.
Jack: The album features a five second song called ‘Still Irrelevant’. Is it hard to construct a five second song for grindcore?
Rasyid: It took us almost half a day coming up with that one…
Jack: What grindcore bands have you been listening to lately?
Rasyid: The last grindcore album I listened to was The Kill’s ferocious ‘Kill Them… All’. I’ve not listened to much grindcore lately. Sorry, grind gods.
Jack: What has it been like working with Earache again?
Rasyid: They get shit done when it’s time, and it’s easy for us. They’re also willing to wait four years for us, it’s a long and indefinite promise so we couldn’t be more thankful for their patience.
Jack: The album promotion has been accompanied by the hashtag #MakeEaracheGrindAgain. How do people in Singapore feel about Donald Trump?
Rasyid: He’s quite a character, isn’t he? I dunno man, the things he says and does… he’s like a good B-grade movie villain. It’s more funny than scary for us not living in the US. Not saying that it’s not the least bit scary, especially if it ever were to come true.
Jack: What is the political climate like in Singapore at the moment?
Raysid: Same ol’. We’re like the kid who has to tolerate a nagging, control-freak parent.
Jack: Despite tackling a lot of social issues, in an interview for The Sickening Art you described yourselves as not a political band. Why don’t you see yourselves as a political band?
Raysid: We don’t feel comfortable writing about politics, we don’t pretend that we know politics. We do have our individual perspectives, everyone does, but we try to write something simpler, more general, more abstract if you will, that you can relate to. I’d rather listen to lyrics about pure hate than politics.
Jack: Are you still based in Singapore at the moment? If you are, do you plan to leave or stay?
Raysid: Yup, still here. We’ll see.
Jack: You had to drop out of the Weekend Nachos EU/UK tour due to personal commitments. Are you planning to visit the UK/Europe soon?
Raysid: We are planning some tours. UK/EU and US are definite, we’re hoping for AU and JPN tours. It’ll be awesome to meet friends old and new and play with our favourite bands.
Jack: A lot of people want you to play Bloodstock 2017, is this a festival you’d like to play at?
Raysid: We’d love to!
Jack: Has Britain leaving the European Union made you less inclined in any way to play Europe?
Raysid: Nope, we have no idea how hard it will affect us. We’ll find out next year!
Jack: What are your upcoming plans?
Raysid: We have two shows this year: 100 Bands Festival on the 17th of September, and the Voices album launch on the 15th of October, so do check out our Facebook page for more details on that. After that we’ll be practising for our tours, so probably no local shows for a while.
Jack: Finally, do you think the meme of the goat watching you guys perform live helped give your band publicity in a way?
Raysid: It got out of hand, I think. It didn’t feel THAT weird when we’re playing and on the road [Laughs]. But she propelled the band’s name to greater heights not even the label nor the band itself can achieve single-handedly, so we can’t thank her enough. RIP, Biquette.
VOICES EU/UK TOUR 2017
Feb. 22 – Antwerp, Belgium – Het Bos
Feb. 23 – London, UK – The Underworld
Feb. 24 – Manchester, UK – Rebellion
Feb. 25 – Leeds, UK – Temple of Boom
Feb. 27 – Hamburg, Germany – Hafenklang
Feb. 28 – Berlin, Germany – Cassiopeia
Mar. 01 – Vienna, Austria – Viper Room
Mar. 03 – Tilburg, Netherlands – Netherlands Death Fest