On a cold, wet and windy June day in Cardiff, 3 crazy individuals from Singapore arrived in a white van, crashed into the venue and delivered a punishing set of maniacal grindcore. Perhaps surprisingly though, their onstage lunacy is completely opposite to their calm demeanors offstage. Before they went on, I got a chance to catch a few shouted words over the wind with Arif [vocals], Rasyid [guitar] and Fit [drums] about playing live, the situation back home. The band’s name? Wormrot.
Angel: Welcome to the delightful weather in Cardiff, again. How’s the UK/Europe tour going so far, you feeling happy with it?
Arif: Yeah, so far so good. It gets better every year, but the weather gets worse every year. *laughs* That’s the only downside, other than that it’s fine.
Angel: You’ve mentioned before that there are quite a lot of social/cultural differences between playing in SE Asia and coming out to the US and Europe? Are there any that surprise you, given you’ve played a fair bit in both areas?
Rasyid: So far there’s no surprises, but if we chance upon something we usually just deal with it then and there.
Angel: Alright! Well, Wormrot have been around for 5 years now, and you’ve got a shitload of material out, you’re headlining tours and festivals like Undergrind…Pretty damn quickly for a cool up-coming band like yourselves. What do you attribute to this success?
Rasyid: Well, I’ve said this before, but maybe it’s something to do with us being Asian. No, really, for instance we get some foreign bands playing and we get hyped up for it. And vice versa! It’s just that there are a lot more people here. So whereas in Singapore maybe 20 people get hyped up, we come here and 80 people get hyped up. So maybe that’s the major difference, but it’s just a theory.
Angel: OK, so you think it’s nothing to do with the magic of the Wormrot goat? [Read about it here]
Arif: Nah man, I don’t think so!
Angel: Ah, never mind then! Well, I did some research into other projects that you’ve been involved in, and apparently you, Arif, were in a death metal band?
Arif: Yeah, I was in some kind of brutal death metal/grind band [Flesh Disgorged], but I quit because there were some issues going on in it. They’re still active right now though.
Angel: And Fit, apparently you were in a black metal band if some media is to be believed? What happened with that?
Fit [his eyes widened slightly]: What?! Ah yes, it was just a fun band to start with, you know those 16-year-old kids trying to be black metal or something.
Angel: And did that bring anything into Wormrot itself?
Fit: No, no!
Angel: Haha alright. I find this slightly amusing, how people can play such extreme music and yet in real life you guys are down-to-earth and not aggressive in any way, not exactly starting fights or anything. Do you think people are surprised by this juxtaposition between extreme music and extreme personality?
Arif: Nah, music is just music. We just have our own personal shit, everyday life and all that. You don’t have to relate what we’re playing to how our lives are. You don’t have to be as aggressive as our music in real life, that’s kind of stupid. We just try to be ourselves. You don’t have to act like how you play onstage offstage.
Rasyid: We get our own surprises too. I mean we see big bands, and offstage we see them as really calm and humble, bands like Birdflesh and so on.
Angel: That’s true. Alright, last year recently yourselves and the Indonesian area had a lot of trouble with the Shariah law?
Rasyid: That’s actually Malaysia.
Angel: Ah my bad. But I still heard you guys got arrested while over there [here and here]. How do you feel, looking back on the incident 6 months later?
*Fit starts laughing*
Rasyid: We try not to get into the political side of this matter. We take it as a funny experience rather than being too serious.
Angel: So you’re not thinking of moving out of the area then?
Rasyid: Nah, we’re out of the area, it’s nothing to do with Singapore.
Arif: Just our neighboring country. We can’t do anything about it, just when we’re in their country…
Angel: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Arif: Correct, man.
Angel: Alright! On a different note, I looked into the lyrical topics (mostly on Dirge because it’s the one I’m most familiar with), and it mostly comes out with social themes and so on. However, you also seem to have some parody songs, joke songs etc., “Butt Krieg Is Showing”, “You Suffer But Why Is It My Problem?”…Are these intended as joke songs, or where do they come from?
Arif: Well, most of the lyrics are from my personal social issues. But I mean, the song from [first album] Abuse, “Blasphemy My Ass”, those are just jokes man. We don’t have any hidden agenda, we just love to see something different onstage. Like black metal bands performing in Singapore, it’s entertainment for us, with props and all that shit. It’s all about jokes, man. In grindcore there’s too much politics going on, but it doesn’t change the world, there’s still a load of shit going on right now. So we’re trying something that isn’t so serious.
Angel: Haha, that’s cool, fair play. I was reading about the stuff that you guys have going. I mean Arif you have Rotworks [graphic design], working, military service, Wormrot. How the fuck do you keep doing all this thing?
Arif: Well the military service is just two weeks per year.
Angel: That’s true, but with all the other stuff, how do you keep going? You seem like soldiers.
Arif: Well I don’t actually work, I live off my artwork. These guys are working, actually.
Rasyid: Yeah, no social life *laughs, then awkward pause. All start laughing*.
Angel: OK! One question I’ve always had is how do you discover that you can do that kind of extreme vocals? I mean, there are 5 or 6 insane different styles on Dirge alone!
Fit [pretending to be Arif]: Duuuurgh! There’s a difference between vocals?!
Angel: Well, is there a health regimen that you bring in?
Arif: I dunno man, before Wormrot I was in another band, listening to tons of bands and trying to mimic it myself. It sounds stupid but it turned out pretty well. Copying the bands with different styles of vocals and all that.
Angel: And how do you recreate that kind of intense chaotic atmosphere from the concert in the studio, particularly when recording the vocals?
Arif: During recording, I don’t look much at the lyric sheet, actually. So if you listen to the shouting, it doesn’t match the lyrics that we have in the album. You guys won’t understand what I’m doing. I don’t have time to read and shout at the same time!
Angel: Alrighty, good for the dear listeners to bear in mind! So, two questions left that I have for you guys: do you have any surprises lined up for album number three?
Rasyid: Well, we’ve got a few new unreleased songs which we’ll use after our long break, when we start recording. Before that, I guess this is the closest you’ll get to ‘em.
Arif: We’re going to play some songs from the new album tonight.
Rasyid: If you can catch them! *all start laughing*.
Angel: I’ll do my best! And finally: What is “The Final Insult”? [Ed: Final track of sophomore album Dirge]
Rasyid: Well, song wise it’s something different, something more rock-based, more accessible and mainstream for other people to listen to. But lyric wise…
Arif: There are no lyrics! *laughs* I mean, we’ve been insulting throughout the album, so that’s the last song, final insult.
Angel: That’s awesome! Well, thanks for your time guys and good luck with the set.
Arif: Thank you!
You can catch Wormrot on the following dates remaining of their tour:
26-06-12 La derniere chance – toulouse – fr
27-06-12 Raymond Bar – clermont-ferrand – fr
28-06-12 La miroiterie – Paris – fr
29-06-12 JH Kavka – Antwerpen – bel
30-06-12 Dokkum open air – Dokkum – NL
01-07-12 Bumzen – copenhagen – Dk
02-07-12 Alte Zuckerfabrik – Rostock – Ger
03-07-12 Willemeen – Arnhem – NL
04-07-12 The Inside Out – Liege – Bel
05-07-12 Extreme fest – hunxe – ger
06-07-12 Extreme fest – Pratteln – ch
07-07-12 Extreme fest – St. Pölten – au
08-07-12 New slimak pub – Lučenec – sk
09-07-12 SZABAD AZ Á – budapest – hun
10-07-12 Abyss – Oradea – rom
11-07-12 Dejavu – Cadca – sk
13-07-12 Obscene Extreme Festival – trutnov – cz