With a name like Warehouse Republic, you’d be forgiven for thinking these guys are a bunch of anarchic squat ravers. You couldn’t be further off the mark as they’re actually one of the only acts in the UK who’re being brave enough to do something new with Country Music. Don’t for a moment think that it’s all cowboy hats and the Yellow Rose of Texas however as these guys are blending some of the most contemporary voice and sound-work with the classic melodies of the genre.
They’re one of the acts that have been chosen to play at the highly rated and proper cool Secret Garden Party this year. This eclectic festival has been a big hit with those in the know and is one of the places you can find that rare old school party vibe in full effect. We’ve been looking forward to this event all year so when we found out that Warehouse Republic were going to be there, we decided we simply had to get them in for an interview to learn a bit more about the band.
1.) We’ve seen a massive revival in Country music, which was hauled over the coals in the mid 1990s with tunes like Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achy Breaky Heart and all that Garth Brookes nonsense. Why do you think that Country is coming back into fashion?
In the 90’s though there was other stuff like Shania and Sheryl Crow especially who were taking country and making it real modern. And the seeds of alternative country stuff. As for Garth Brooks, he made it hugely popular again and not only kept it alive, but expanded it massively. He’s got like 8 US Diamond records or something, which is just incredible whatever lens you view it through. Whatever you think of him you can’t fool people into buy 20 million copies of one record, 17 million of another and another 6 selling 10 million plus each. You can fluke one or two, but not 8 you know?
As for now I think that finally there are fresh faces making genuinely great records. Young guns as opposed to old men in Stetson’s or whatever. The Band Perry record just sounds like a greatest hits collection from start to finish. The lyrics are just incredible throughout. Kimberly Perry isn’t overtly sexual and people who don’t want to listen to Rihanna singing about dicks are attracted to it. It’s more real in that it’s talking about love and life in a non-cheesy way. She also has a nice turn of phrase. I love ‘Independence’ by them; it’s about busting out of a small town and just hits the target straight-shooting. “Some say I’m crazy/a little loco/ but most of my friends will live and die in this zip code” and “there’s a road like a long grey ribbon far as I can see and its pulling independence out of me”. Its poetic and well-written and catchy. Brad Paisley is smashing it on the guitar and knows how to write clever, funny songs and gets hammered for being a Democrat which is rare in Country. Then obviously people like Taylor, Carrie and Kellie Clarkson are just bringing it to a huge audience again. There’s so many now and 99% of stuff out of Nashville is better played, better written and feels better than the stuff outside it.
It’s a no brainer really; it’s just a matter of time before Britain catches up and swaps The Wombats for The Band Perry and the faceless pop stars for someone great.
2.) You’re playing at two of the coolest festivals in the UK – SGP and Strawberry Fields. What do you think makes these festivals cool whilst the big events, like V and Glastonbury have lost their cool tag to an extent?
Glastonbury is definitely still cool. I mean they do stuff like getting Jay-Z to headline in the face of backwards-thinking criticism. Also getting people like Shirley Bassey to headline is just brilliant really. I think it dipped and then rose again like a Phoenix. Secret Garden Party had 30,000 people last year; that’s pretty big, but it does have the feel of what I guess people would call a Boutique festival. I like having Warehouse Republic and K.T. Tunstall and Orbital and Alabama Shakes, it’s real diverse you know? Strawberry Fields looks good too. We always used to talk to Stooshe on Twitter when they had about 10 fans so we’re looking forward to meeting them I hope our set times don’t clash. And Labyrinth is a bit of a genius – I wanna watch him. It’s gonna be a fucking cool summer for us.
3.) Country music is always associated with cowboys. We’re big fans of all the villains from this world, like Billy the Kid and Jesse James. So if you were a naughty cowboy, what would you be called and why?
We’ve got names like Tiger, The Wolf and Bee. Benny is The Wolf because his surname’s Woolford and he’s like really Lupine. He howls at the moon you know. Bee’s actually part of her real name and I got the name Tiger from a bunch of girls because… well you might work it out. Let’s say I’ve earned my stripes, you know. They kind of sound bad-ass anyway. If I had to pick one though I guess I’d go with Shooter Flynn. I like guns, I like drinking and I talk straight as in like shooting from the hip.
4.) We hate clichéd questions, but as you’re fairly new to the whole festival scene we feel we can get away with this one, so how did you guys come together and form the band? Is there any ethos behind what you’re doing?
Benny knew an old lover of mine from back in the day, I mean he’s only 20 now but you get the picture. We’d go drinking and that and then formed a band. We’re just wild when we’re together in like a healthy way mentally. The rest we found ‘in outer space’. The ethos is this, we have two principle rules. One is to become the best band in the world. The second is to become the biggest. Too many acts now just want the second bit so it all sounds hollow and cheap. Our ethos is always quality above all else.
5.) You seem to have worked with many big names in a wide variety of different scenes. Some slowly falling stars and some rapidly rising ones too… How important do you think collaboration is in getting people to hear about your sound?
Honestly I don’t think its too important. Going back to the quality thing, we would only ever do stuff if it was good. It doesn’t matter what type of music it is as long as we’re feeling it and it sounds great then it’s in. So doing a co-lab with a rapper was because we loved the sound and wanted to try it, not to just get more fans or whatever.
6.) The Secret Garden Party is a wonderful name for a Festival. If you had your own secret garden, what would be in it and where would it be?
Honestly? I’d have it in the woods. I mean I’d have a clearing that was fenced in by trees and a moss carpet, some wooden chairs, a table, a drinks maid – someone to serve, loads of single malt, Cuban cigars, marble ashtrays, Russian cigarettes, lanterns, a chess board, books, a radio and someone to love. This would be Eden for me. I’ll get it one day.
7.) We watched an interview with you in order to research and you said you were trying to avoid the “recorded in a tin shed at the back of your garden sound, which had been done to death…” – So what’s going to be new about your production?
Its more like we’re going for a really warm sound but beautiful production. Few artists get both. Not over-produced like RnB, but warm and a really good quality. The problem is most bands since The Strokes have decided that should be the rule not the exception and its a shame. It has to sound polished, but sparkly you know. Sparkly is our sound or perhaps glimmering.
8.) We always like to throw in a really stupid question, especially seeing at the last one we asked was so hard going… If you could create any sport to go in the London Olympics, what sport would it be and what would it involve?
I’d put in rodeo stuff. Or bull-fighting or something. I know I didn’t invent those but it would be really cool. Not too animal friendly, but the thrill of it would be incredible. Maybe like an electronic bull then. First the rider has to stay on, then it gets thrown and it has to kill it, or de-activate it or whatever. Points given for staying on longest and quickest and cleanest kill. Just give it a really cool name like Matador or something and bang you’ve got a new sport.
9.) As we understand it, The Secret Garden Party is one of your first big gigs, how do you feel thinking about your performance and is there anything special you have planned for it?
We’ve done the O2 in December as part of the festival thing they had and it was echo-y. Real weird, but big sounding. It suited our sound. Playing outdoors or in a tent? I have no idea what that will be like. I’m more comfortable in front of bigger rather than smaller audiences so its gonna be fun. We can’t wait. We’re gonna have a camp-fire somehow afterwards and just get anyone who wants to come and share a drink, a song or a story along. Life is too short not to enjoy yourself. You have to fill it with special moments every day. We always live by that and making an event out of the weekend ourselves will add to the drama, magic and falling in love with life thing.
10) We asked you on Twitter if you’d be getting involved with the dressing up theme and you suggested you’d be excited to go as this eccentric occultist. So what exactly would this entail, a funny triangular hat and a masonic apron, or something more demonic altogether?
We might go Pagan, you know? The original ‘nude and dance round the fire thing’ just for the hell of it. Make a ritual out of it you know.
11) Finally, any words of wisdom for the fans or any advice to any young people out there contemplating getting involved in the music business?
Concentrate on writing. Writing, writing, writing and always put the music first, always and you’ll get through. One thing my Great-Grandma, who used to sing at the Liverpool Empire told my Dad “if you play an instrument, you’ll never be short of friends” and by God is that true.
Charlie Flynn, Warehouse Republic…
If you’re going to The Secret Garden Party be sure to check out Warehouse Republic. In our opinion one of the best things about going to any festival is listening to new acts and bands you’ve never heard before. If you’re in the right place at the right time then make sure you bend an ear towards this band, as we can promise you they’ll be playing some of the sweetest sounds of the days.
Of course, if you’re not going to The Secret Garden Party, then you can still have a listen to some of Warehouse Republic’s awesome tunes through their website at the following URL: http://www.warehouserepublic.com/
Watch Revolver by Warehouse Republic