Frontman Francis Mark about the new record, the demise of From Autumn to Ashes and having the creative freedom of a stray dog...
Fusing the metallic hardcore of former act From Autumn To Ashes and the quiet/loud dynamics of Nirvana, Warship have laid a late claim for album of the year thanks to their stunning debut offering Supply and Depend (Click HERE for our glowing review). A collaboration between former FATA members Francis Mark and Rob Lauritsen, the band are set to embark on their first full US tour this winter with Fall of Troy, The Number 12 Looks Like You and Black Horses. Before the New York-based outfit hit the road, Dan Jones spoke with Francis Mark about the new record, the demise of From Autumn to Ashes and having the creative freedom of a stray dog...
We're speaking just as Supply and Depend is about to hit stores, how are you feeling right now? Excited, nervous?
"Full... of cake, I'm feeling like I over-indulged; as far as music is concerned, I feel good. I can't be nervous because there is nothing I can do now. The album is out of my hands. If it's good it will thrive and if it sucks I will keep playing for fun and go find a new job to pay my rent."
Do you tend to read reviews of your new records?
"Yeah, but a review is just one person's opinion and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Bad reviews should not get you down and good reviews should not give you a big head. It's just one person with an opinion, and where did that opinion come from anyway? You have these likes and dislikes but where do they come from? What lead me to a life of music instead of Law School? The trouble is when an impressionable kid reads a review and adopts that opinion as his or her own without checking things out for his or herself."
What would you say the main themes of Supply and Depend are?
"Corporate control over public opinion. The uneven distribution of wealth. Working yourself to death to make another man rich. Putting your faith in that which does not exist because when bad things happen in your life it's easier to say "Gods will" than to accept that you f**ked up and brought such plagues upon yourself, and death. Death is something I had seen a lot of while working on this album."
Given that the split was reportedly an amicable one, do you get tired of being asked about From Autumn To Ashes' hiatus?
"I think that because we had an amicable split there would be more confusion around it and more questions, so I'm not tired of it. I expected a lot of that. It's easier for people to understand if we all hated each other, or if our label dropped us. It's such a vague explanation to say I just felt like it was time to move on."
Why didn't you feel Supply and Depend could have been the next FATA album?
"Because there is no more FATA. There has not been for a while. You can't have one original member and keep calling yourself by that name. When I think of FATA I see myself as the 17-year-old kid I was when I started it, and that is just not me anymore."
"Furthermore I feel Supply and Depend is better than anything I have done before so it deserves its own title. Why would I call it by a lesser name?"
So when and how were the seeds for Warship first sown? Given how quickly the album has come out, were you working on the songs in the final days of FATA?
"Yes, we had written three songs during the final days of FATA. It was December of 2007 that I started to feel detached. Felt like it was time to move on with my life and give up false identities."
You recorded the album with Andrew Schneider (Pelican, Made Out Of Babies), how long did you take in the studio? Was it any quicker for you given there's only the two of you?
"Including Andrew and his dog, Brady, there were four of us in the studio at all times and that was all the cooks we needed in this kitchen. Three weeks in the incubator. Two weeks tracking and one week mixing. This was almost my shortest time recording a full length, second to Too Bad You're Beautiful (FATA's 2001 debut album) which was recorded and mixed in one week out of necessity (we did not have much money). Supply and Depend was recorded twenty minutes by bicycle from my apartment in Brooklyn, NY. It's the first time I have ever recorded close to home and enjoyed sleeping in my own bed after a long day at the studio."
If you were talking to newcomers to Warship, how would you describe the difference between Warship and FATA? Would you say it's a natural progression?
"If I were talking to newcomers to Warship I would not even mention FATA. I don't want the two to be connected and I don't want people to have preconceived notions about Warship because of what I have done in the past."
Supply and Depend sees you working with Vagrant again. What's it like to be part of their family?
"Creatively my leash is so long I might as well be a stray dog. They are great with that. My main man, Wayne in the USA really knows his sh*t with heavy music. They seem to be getting behind this record and doing all they can to help it along."
How have the live shows been going for you guys so far?
"So far no casualties."
Any nerves in bringing in musicians like Darren (Simoes) and Greg (March) who weren't involved in the writing of the songs to play them live? How did you recruit them?
"We know Darren from his days in The Bled but he is not going to be a permanent member of Warship. We are still looking for a full time bass player. Greg has been a friend of ours for years. He is a local man about town on Long Island, New York."
What are your plans for the next 12 months? Do you think Warship could head over to Europe at some point in the near future?
"I will come to Europe right now if someone will help me pay for the plane tickets. I love Europe, love touring there. I think we have a lot of work to do in the USA though before we can realistically make it to Europe."
What would you like the future to hold for Warship? Are you intending to become a full time touring band and making more records under the name?
"Yes to both of those questions. This is our only focus at the moment and this is just the tip of the iceberg for Rob and I writing together. This was our first effort getting to know each other in a musical sense."
Ok so finally, what are your hopes for the rest of 2008 and for Supply and Depend?
Warship's debut album Supply and Depend is out now on Hassle Records.