San Diego band The Writhers blends sounds from some unlikely sources.
“It mixes the avant-garde weirdness of Tom Waits with the chaos of Dead Kennedys and is sure to satisfy that spooky aggressive itch!” As posted by Writhers drummer Rikk R Treat. I can’t say I disagree.
Their new single, “Greasy Strangler”, dropped on the 15th. It is a curious hodgepodge of musical styles that comes coated in slime, grease, and perhaps some more intriguing fluids as well. The song changes gears drastically between verse and chorus and has fun with it all. Their bombastic sound is well-produced (but not over-produced) and the manic evil clown vibe feels like it borrows from the darkest and dingiest corners of glam rock.
Rikk R Treat and vocalist Robert Writhe were kind enough to take some time for an interview with us:
- Who are your influences and what did you take away from those artists?
Robert: The band’s guiding influence is a mash up of The Cramps and Dead Kennedys. Not only do I like their unique sounds but both Lux and Jello are inspiring in their wildly charismatic performances as front men. My favorite band is They Might Be Giants, a New Wave / indie / art rock group who came out of the New York punk and creative scene. They’re not really “punk” in the typical sense, but their subversive approach to songwriting has those exciting non-conformist sensibilities. Drawing inspiration from oddball sources like TMBG and a more recent favorite of mine Tom Waits helps me attempt to make my take on dark punk unique.
Rikk: My influences vary a lot, I listen to anything from batchata to metalcore so I typically throw in weird breakdowns or Latin influences whenever I can. My biggest influences for my playing are Fran Mark of From Autumn to Ashes, Adam Carson of AFI and Travis Barker.
- Do you draw inspiration from sources outside of music, per se?
Robert: Everybody does unless you’re living under a musical rock. The great horrorpunk tradition demands tributes to the horror genre of film. While we don’t usually write show directly about horror movies, our latest single is somewhat inspired by the bizarre and chaotic 2016 movie, “The Greasy Strangler” though mostly in name only. I am in charge of the visual side of the band and take a lot of inspiration from surreal cinema and internet creepypastas for the art direction.
- Please describe a typical day in the studio. What is the chemistry like?
Robert: Kenny shows off. Chewy cruises in neutral killing takes in one go. Rikk is a sweet boy. I try not to go insane.
Rikk: The chemistry in the band is usually one similar to siblings. We record videos and laugh a lot, poke fun at each other and some times get on each other’s nerves. But at the end of the day, we have a great time and are usually really happy with the end result.
- What’s next for you? How are you forming/adapting your plans in the age of COVID?
Robert: We’d like to do more media beyond or to compliment our sound but we don’t have the budget. But over all patience is the keyword.
- What is your take on the current state of the dark music “scene”?
*Impressions, opinions, funny thoughts, etc.
Robert: Fragmented. A lot of sub genres that can be considered “dark” have some crossover but my impression is people aren’t open to try related things. But at the end of the day I don’t care.
Rikk: I have been playing in the dark music scene for many years. I think it can be both very welcoming and very exclusive at times.
We are sort of a hodgepodge of music so it definitely has its ups and downs. While we have mainly found our fan base in the horror punk scene, we would love to play within the goth/ deathrock scene as well but it hasn’t happened yet.