"I woke up this morning. I carved her name into my arm, kissed her on the cheek and said goodbye forever. No bags packed. No round-trip tickets. I’m heading straight to Whale City, where they’re all going to know my name. I see the lights off this full tank of gas. I watch these flames burn in the distance. I’m coming home. These golden rings will see me through and the dust is going to fill my lungs. My hands, bruised and bleeding from the constant pounding of the dashboard. Here it goes. Whale City.”
There are very few powers as raw, uninhibited or ferocious as that possessed by Warmduscher. The quintet are the bastard lovechild of Clams Baker and The Witherer (Paranoid London), Lightnin’ Jack and The Saulcano (Fat White Family) and Mr Salt Fingers Lovecraft (Childhood). Whilst their sound falls firmly within the realms of boozy rock ‘n’ roll regression, the raw power comes from interlocking guitar licks that hit like forks of lighting and enigmatic lyrics that travel faster than the speed of light from the mouth of acid house cowboy Clams Baker.
They prepare for the release of new album Whale City, a journey to a magical land far removed from our own. It’s difficult to describe exactly what Whale City itself is; a geographical place? A state of mind? A heady concept? Clams recalls thus: “Watch Fort Apache, The Bronx on acid, then pull your pants down and stand in front of a mirror while listening to Street Hassle or anything by Big Black or James Brown, and you’re there”. So in short, our trip to Whale City is far from an adventure we yet understand, but it is certainly we’ve all booked tickets for on the pre-sale.
The long-player was recorded at the Speedy Wunderground studio in deepest darkest Streatham with Dan Carey and Alexis Taylor. “We recorded it with the only men crazy enough to do it,” says Baker, and it is certainly the case that no sane human being would take Warmduscher into the studio to record a whole album. “Now here’s where it gets fun,” Clams says. “When we actually recorded it, we hadn’t seen the Saulcano, or rehearsed with him at all. We knew we had three days to finish it so our balls were in our bellies”.
But alas, these are seasoned musical shamen. Whale City was blitzed through in two days, with another day for overdubs. “We didn’t mess up much at all, and pretty much nailed it,” Clams says. “Most people don’t believe us when we tell them it took three days, but it’s true.” Testament to the brawn of Warmduscher, not only did the album take three days, but was also partly improvised, with I Got Friends being written on the spot, Baker cramming already written words atop a spontaneous space jam.
“Lightnin’, Saulcano, Salt Fingers, and The Witherer are top musicians and mad men,” Baker continues. “It’s easy for me and inspiring to work with them, I have the easy job really.” It’s difficult to disagree with the frontman. Quite inescapably, Warmduscher are a unit comprised of extremely talented musicians, who seemingly utilise Warmduscher as more fun, cathartic and almost light-hearted affair than their “main” bands. However, Whale City and the group’s live shows do speak for themselves, and speak for themselves loudly at that.
Big Wilma dropped a couple of months back, and set out a manifesto for the group’s release. Far from a side-project, Warmduscher are a bloodthirsty band in their own right. And because for so long, they’ve existed as the members’ other projects reached relative fame, Warmduscher as a unit, a force, a superpower, are hungry for human flesh.
The track itself is a full throttle garage-rocker that pushes a new heroine to the fore. “I’ve never really liked men too much,” Clams continues. “So Big Wilma is my version of a superhero. She’s the single mom holding it down, the hooker that doesn’t need a pimp. She’s the head honcho with a razor in her mouth and a smile in her eye. She’s all those wonderful things.” Perhaps this female empowerment is elusive on first listen, Clams’ blurting delivery being almost unintelligible, clarity can be added either with repeat listens (recommended) or the video (also recommended).
The Big Wilma video stars Lightnin’ as a sleeper agent, hunting down Big Wilma for the CIA, before – as he told me in an interview for So Young Magazine a month or two ago – “slipping into a Colonel Kurtz type of madness shouting down dead telephone lines, and trying to steal strangers’ belongings in search of a secret dossier that doesn’t exist.”
Elsewhere on the record is early single Sweet Smell of Florida, a wrangling bastardisation of garage rock with an incessantly recurring guitar riffs and sleazy grunts of the most depraved nature, and 1,000 Whispers, a personal favourite of Clams. “It’s my own version of a throwback to all those overweight, pastel-suit wearing preachers, dripping with sweat,” he says. “Driving around in a lime green ‘77 Cadillac as they run away from neighbour’s husbands. Pure passion.”
A passionate, intuitive, some-might-say-ritualistic affair, Warmduscher’s new album will put Whale City on the map. Whilst the music is much more fun than it is serious, it’s unquestionable that this proposition will give the group the recognition it deserves. Titans in the realm of phantomic rock ’n’ roll, it’s about time we crown our new reptilian overlords.
You can read this interview, alongside chats with Goat Girl, Go Chi Minh, Madonnatron and Peeping Drexels in SEE YOU MATE vol. 1 - order here. (There's roughly ten copies left, so be quick!)
Whale City is out a week today. Pre-order it here.