Warbly Jets "Propaganda" | Q&A
The Los Angeles rock band trio Warbly Jets released a gritty video for their new single “Propaganda.” Shot and directed by Samuel Richards, their latest video focuses in on the world outside of a culture consumed by social media and advertisements. We caught up with Warbly Jets to discuss the single, the power of technology, and what's to come for the next generation of rock.
Between self-releasing your debut album in 2017 and now, what have you been up to?
For a long time we were on a pretty steady diet of touring. We toured almost non-stop for a year and a half between releasing our first single and the end of our first album cycle. We finally took a break over this past summer/fall in 2018. I guess it wasn’t honestly “taking a break” but more so getting off the road for a spell. During our down time we’ve still been steadily writing, recording, renovating a studio, and producing and engineering other artists. Though it was nice to be home for a little, we haven’t stopped grinding.
Musically, the EP still sounds like Warbly Jets, but there's an evolution. What do you credit for the shift in sound?
Stepping outside of our comfort zones in anyway possible. Thinking about making music from an angular path rather than a straight line in regards to what tools and structures we have at our disposal. The EP is hinting at a larger direction we’re working towards now.
This evolved sound that you have now reminds of bands like Primal Scream? Which bands where you listening when you composed the songs?
Does it? I’d be curious to know in what ways that comes across to people. Not that I’m opposed to that comparison, but what we are usually compared to is rarely what we’re listening to while writing. These specific set of songs were more made under the influence of Beck, Beastie Boys, and Dust Brothers.
The EP deals with themes of technology, consumerism, and the way we are constantly being bought and sold. Do you find that those issues are magnified within the music world?
I don’t know if it’s anymore magnified within the music world than elsewhere, but there’s a strong reality within the music community that artists are being forced to adjust to the new world order of hyper-data-analysis-social-media-absorption. It causes a friction between creativity and necessity to create “content” at constant turns. Keeping inside the lines of bombarding fanbases and attracting new ticket buyers is damaging the integrity of purity within the art.
Where did the idea for Propaganda come from?
Observing the world, how quickly capitalism is failing a vast majority of people, how much marketing is integrated in every single aspect of life. There’s a lot to chew on.
How do you keep yourself from being swept up in it?
Unless you live under a rock, it’s not possible. The best way to live is to be aware of the swarm that circles and take it all in moderation.
In your own personal opinion, is social media an overall positive or negative tool for political expression and change?
At this juncture of the technology’s age I would say negative, but social media is at an infant stage with plenty of room to grow and develop into something stable and positive. Data based targeting is just an incredibly dangerous construct right now that keeps like minded groups huddled in a xenophobic mass, hidden behind anonymity. Hopefully, it will find a positive way forward, unifying more than dividing.
Are advertising and self-promotion too inseparable from the platform these views are being expressed through?
The individual is now a brand. In the last decade culture has been slyly altered on such a massive level, if you don’t attempt to brand yourself as a product you risk isolation from the developing world and losing potential financial gains. Self-promotion is now an integrated piece of reality, an extension of our subconscious thought process, a subversive compulsion instilled through a conditioned rewards system.
What led you to write "Cool Kill Machine?”
Musically, it started as a bit of a cut and paste collage. There were many sections written and we wanted to just make it a little chaotic from part to part. A lot of the samples and concept came later on. ‘Cool Kill Machine’ was a phrase a tape sample made when reversed and chopped, it wasn’t really saying “cool kill machine,” but that’s what it sounded like in the moment. There was something attractive in that subliminal understanding when paired with the context of firearm fetishism.
As a very independent band, what was it like being involved with a massive brand like Marvel? What was the reaction you received?
We’re grateful for the opportunity to be involved. The reaction from fans all over the world has been overwhelming positive, a lot of Marvel fans have commented on how shocked they are to not hearing us sooner so that alone has made us feel welcome to a community we were pretty unfamiliar with before.
Which do you believe is the future of rock oriented music?
For the longevity of rock music you have to look at what is coming in from the next generation of artists and the consumers that bind them to a mold. Are teenagers still hauling amps and guitars over to friend’s houses to start bands and write songs? Not really. Some are, but a strong majority is dedicated to making beats on laptops and other stand alone sample devices. This alone dictates a lot of the future for where music is heading in general. On the consumer side, well over half the music consumed globally is rap and pop. Rock music needs fresh heads to move forward and keep pace with the changing world. A punk mentality to say fuck the guitar, let’s make an entirely new sounding instrument by sampling guitar and warping it over a blast beat. Rock won’t last without evolution.
PROPAGANDA WORLD TOUR
2.12 – Montreal, QC at Quai Des Brumes (w/ Moonwalks)
2.13 – Toronto, ON at The Drake Underground (w/ Moonwalks)
2.14 – Detroit, MI at Third Man Records (w/ Moonwalks)
2.15 – Chicago, IL at Schubas (w/ Moonwalks)
2.16 – Minneapolis, MN at 7th Street Entry (w/ Moonwalks)
2.17 – Kansas City, MO at The Riot Room
2.19 – Denver, CO at Lost Lake
3.29 – Las Vegas, NV at Vinyl (w/ She Wants Revenge)
3.30 – San Diego, CA at Music Box
3.31 – Santa Ana, CA at The Observatory (w/ She Wants Revenge)
APRIL / MAY (TOUR DATES CHINA):
4.28 – Beijing at Omni Space
4.29 – Shanghai at Yuyintang
5.03 – Wuhan at Vox
5.04 – Chongqing at Nuts Live House
5.05 – Chengdu at Little Bar
5.08 – Guangzhou at Tutu Space
5.09 – Shenzhen at B10
5.11 – Taipei at Revolver