Warp | Interview | New Album, ‘Bound by Gravity’
‘Bound by Gravity’ is the exciting upcoming release by Warp, out February 1st, 2023 on Limited Edition Vinyl via Nasoni Records.
The band was formed casually by three friends from Tel Aviv coming originally from the punk rock scene. The original aim of Warp was to play mostly riff driven stoner rock which they successfully did with their debut self-titled album from 2019. Their upcoming album, ‘Bound by Gravity’ is different and showcases the gloomier side of the band.
Would you like to talk a bit about your background?
Itai: I was born in Haifa which is a big(ish) city in the northern part of Israel. My father is an immigrant from Uruguay and my mother is an immigrant from Romania, both immigrated as teenagers and lived nearby each other. We are a very warm family; none are musicians though. My parents always fostered my musicality, allowed me to pursue every musical instrument I wanted and make a lot of noise in my room. Since adolescence I was drawn into hard rock music. First was whatever I was introduced to by my elders – The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors et cetera. And then I found out about Punk from attending this local Punk show and getting blown away. I was about 15 and been to several local Rock/Metal/Nu-Metal gigs before but this time there was something else in the air. This sense of a kept secret only the regular attendees knew about. I was captivated and soon after met a lot of new friends who introduced me to some of the most crucial music for me. I was mainly interested in American Hardcore Punk from the early 80’s. As I grew up the angst deteriorated a bit and I was drawn more to the Old-School popish side – The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, Descendents et cetera. Even forming a band in the vein of The Ramones (a genre some of us know now as ‘Ramonescore”). I’ve been playing shows, setting up gigs, touring Europe, playing small venues, playing big venues – Creating, playing, recording and performing music was always a thing I was obsessed with. A few years ago, me and some of my friends had our own venue in which we would do shows on weekends and practice during the week. Me and two good friends from the venue shared our desire to form something different than we were accustomed to – Slower, heavier, more dynamic – in the vein of our mutual love for Proto-Metal, Stoner and Doom. We formed Warp and started writing and practicing. I think we went like that for around 2-3 years with only a handful of gigs, just because we were constantly trying to find our voice, which was frequently changing. Eventually Ezra, our first drummer, left (apparently, he left drumming altogether). Sefi (bass) and I were roommates back then. We approached Mor which we knew from shows around the city (most of us moved to Tel Aviv which is the “big city” and the place to be if you’re into anything alternative in Israel). He knew and dug Warp and was happy to join. First thing we did was asking him to write lyrics and sing lead vocals for a song we were working on back then (turned out to be ‘Intoxicated’ from the first record). Since Mor joined, we’ve increased our frequency of shows (until COVID, at least), built some local following and released our first record on German label Nasoni Records. We toured Europe right after, which was a dream coming true for all of us, and then when we were making plans to tour again during 2020, came the pandemic. We decided to take this time, write, practice, try some new things out and do it all the Warp way – slow cooking, sharpening edges, changing parts et cetera. So eventually, here we are – Ready to release another record and get back out there.
When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music? What brought that about for you?
I listened to music for as long as I can remember. It came naturally to me as a child, trying to come out with stuff on the piano, trying to compose and imitate stuff I heard on the radio – it was always like this since the beginning. I want to believe I got better over time.
Were you part of any bands before forming Warp?
Sure, like I mentioned, I have played in bands ever since I can remember. Even now, I play in a couple of bands in parallel – The Orions is an instrumental surf/garage/psychedelic band, Jarada is a hardcore punk band, and there are some other projects I’m taking part of. Also, Sefi and Mor were always playing in bands, always trying different genres – Sefi is currently playing in a post-punk band called Princip. Mor is playing for a bunch of bands, mostly in the heavy/atmospheric rock areas like Vessel and Mokujin.
You debuted in 2019 with a fantastic record on Nasoni Records. Would you like to talk about it?
First, thanks! Glad you liked it. The first record embodied our initial approach of what we were trying to do. We were thinking “slow and heavy” but were still in the mindset of playing and writing for Punk bands. So eventually, you got this crossover between the genres. Even production wise – the record was recorded in our own practice space in which we installed a mobile studio, playing mostly live in “guerilla” conditions. Everything was much rawer, dirtier, and the writing itself focused on the playing aspect – Riffs, jams, solos – In my own songs I wrote very few lyrics. I remember back then we were invited to play with another band, bunch of high school stoners who’ve recently formed this super cool band called Love Your Witch (check them out now and see what’s become of them), they brought their buddies to the show and while we played, some dude who just came into the room yelled “is this an instrumental band?”. So yeah, I was very proud of this record, the fact that it got a proper vinyl release and that it got us a bit of recognition, especially overseas.
Who did the cover artwork?
Idan Ezra, who is our first drummer! Even when he left, we stayed close (Ezra plays with me in The Orions and is a good friend of Sefi from their home town). He does this amazing, weird collage images which tell you the most bizarre and fucked up stories you can imagine. We loved that. Also, people responded to it and that’s what we were trying to achieve.
Nasoni Records will be releasing a brand new album in February. Are you excited about it?
I couldn’t be more excited. In my opinion this is our best material yet, and as an album, one of the best I got to work on personally. We’ve anticipated its release for a while now and can’t wait for other people to find what it’s all about.
“We still wanted to make it raw and a bit harsh”
What are some key differences between the two records?
As I said about the first one – it’s rawer, vaguer, more scattered. The new record was recorded in better conditions (by the same guy – Gad Torrefranca), we got deeper into sound and production. We still wanted to make it raw and a bit harsh, but at the same time we wanted to achieve a deeper feeling to it. The songwriting is different as well. It’s a much more balanced piece between the three of us. All three wrote lyrics and sang lead vocals. All three wrote this stuff together in the practice room. Each brought his own influences which resulted in a way more versatile record. Oh, and more lyrics/singing parts this time.
How do you usually approach music making?
I never felt comfortable with writing at home, on my own. Maybe it’s something about me. I do think of melodies, lines and riffs constantly but seldom do I stop everything I do, pick a guitar and try things out. I get bored easily. I have this idiotic idea that if a riff is good enough – I’ll remember it until practice time and show it to the others. Mostly we just play together and see what’s coming out of this. Then one of us can stop the others once he’s heard an interesting part which ignited an idea. I like the shared writing process and also exercise this in my other bands. I’m (usually) not the “I brought a complete song from home” guy. It’s also important for me to get everyone involved. I never wanted to feel like I had a backing band. Always encouraged the other members to write and sing in their own right. Both Sefi and Mor never sang lead vocals in any of their other bands. Suddenly they found a voice in Warp which, personally, I dig so much. Sefi has this bleakness in his voice and Mor is a fucking monstrous Metal lead singer. The ones they made back in the 70’s. I mean – come on! How can we keep this guy in the back hitting them drums – these guys need to be heard.
Would you like to share some further words about the writing, recording and producing of ‘Bound by Gravity’?
The material on the record took around two years to complete. Actually, in some of the tracks we weren’t sure how to approach the lyrical part, so we decided not to touch them in this manner – keep on practicing, record them as they are and then listen to them at home. I wrote the lyrics for ‘Dirigibles’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Be Remembered” on the bus on my way to the vocal recording session, just from listening to the backing track on my headphones. From months of struggling with lyrics, the words just came out. The melody was super clear to me. I finished a vocal track which until 10 minutes earlier didn’t exist – in 2-3 takes. Most of the album was recorded live. We added some guitar layers, lead parts and sound effects afterwards but mostly it is what it is – a well-practiced group who know they’re on a budget. We gave the mixed tracks to Brad Boatright (Audiosiege) to master. He pretty much got what this record is about right away and made it all shine brighter.
The cover artwork is fantastic.
Again, our very own Idan Ezra. If you like it, you should employ him (email@example.com). He’s not into graphic designing full time, so there’s no portfolio or anything like that but I welcome you to check out his own band Moom’s releases for which he made the cover arts as well. We never told Ezra what to do. We wanted him to listen to the record (in both cases) and come up with however the album made him feel. I couldn’t be happier with the result and can’t wait to see this on a physical copy.
Are you planning to play some shows? What’s the local scene like for a band like yours?
Damn sure we’re planning to play shows. We were on hiatus for about a year since Mor moved to the Netherlands, but now he’s back and we’re back practicing in order to perform again. The Israeli alternative scene is a bit weird in the way that it’s a scene of extremes. People here really like extreme music, which is either super-fast or super slow, shrieking vocals/growling et cetera. Few bands are even interested in songwriting. Their aim is to fuck shit up. Not that I’m complaining, but there has been a couple of years of just that. For example – most local Punk bands nowadays play Death-Metal/Powerviolence/Grindcore. Even Hardcore Punk turned out to be not extreme enough. Having said that, there’s a newfound emergence in the Stoner scene. The guys from The Great Machine led their own scene for many years, produced a lot of events and we got to collaborate with them quite a lot, and now I see some new blood that takes the heavy-but-melodic side of stoner/doom/psychedelic to new directions. So yeah, there’s a few bands around that I’m excited to potentially share a stage with.
What are some future plans?
We want to tour again, see where this record and material take us. Build it all back, piece by piece and enjoy the ride. I definitely believe we’ll write another record. Let’s see how long it’ll take us this time.
How important is improvisation for you?
A lot of the guitar solos are improvised. It’s about what I’m able to come up with at the moment and it is pretty interesting to see where this road takes me each time. We improvise a lot during practices to improve our dynamics, but to a certain limit. Songs, especially the longer ones, need some kind of structure which we can operate within, or else it’s all a total mess.
Let’s end this interview with some of your favourite albums. Have you found something new lately you would like to recommend to our readers?
Pigs X 7 – ‘Viscerals’. Kinda late to the party but we got to see them in the last Desertfest in Berlin and they ripped hard. They look like a bunch of cool dudes as well.
Svpremacist – ‘Meaningless Death’.
A local band from Tel Aviv, Gad who recorded our stuff made this record too but they’re not close friends of ours, so I feel objective enough. Not really into Death Metal but this one is so well executed and well-constructed, I love it!
I haven’t heard much of the new stuff in a while, actually. I was drifting back in the past couple of years to explore some old music I haven’t touched yet or I did and dismissed in real time – Bowie, Captain Beefheart, Budgie, Brian Eno et cetera. I listen to a lot of the stuff my wife likes – Angel Olsen, Beach House – it’s a different ballpark but still pretty interesting and innovative.
Thank you. Last word is yours.
Thank you for having us. We invite everyone to look for ‘Bound by Gravity’ on all streaming platforms available. We worked super hard and we’re extremely proud of it, we believe you would too.