Games, Brrraaains and a Head-Banging Life are very pleased to bring you an interview with thrash/metalcore band, William Wallace.
Their debut album, How Gods Are Made, will be released on October 26th 2018. You can read our review of this excellent record here.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did William Wallace get started?
Joel: William Wallace started with my brother Jordan and me. We had been writing and playing music for years, but there is only so much you can do as two guitarists. We had been told numerous times we should be playing in a band to people, and not just for ourselves. So, we reached out to some friends and were able to form the band.
Jordan: We brought in a friend of mine to play bass and spent a good amount of time showing him the material. He had friends in another band in town, but they weren’t doing anything musically and wanted to join up. In April of 2009 we officially became William Wallace and started playing shows. We went to a small recording studio and recorded a 4-song demo, so people could get a feel of the music, and off we went.
2. Where did the name come from? It’s is certainly a bit different!
Jordan: The band was hanging out one day and began throwing names around. We didn’t want to be the same as all the other bands, we wanted to different. Stand out. There was something different about William Wallace, and it definitely stood out. We all agreed it was different from the typical metal band name and decided this was the name we would go forward with.
Joel: Without turning this into a history lesson, William Wallace was a Scottish rebel that fought in the first war of Scottish Independence, but more than likely you would know him from the Mel Gibson movie, Braveheart. For me personally, the band name is more of that attitude, or way of life. William Wallace was a rebel, and I guess I am also. I don’t wear black every day, have tattoos, long hair, piercings, or anything that is a stereotype when it comes to metal music. I won’t follow the common layout for what a metal band is “supposed” to be.
3. So we’re almost at your 10-year anniversary. Why has it taken so long to get your debut record out?
Jordan: A lot has happened along the way. We played a ton of shows and went all over the state for 3 years. Around 2012 we didn’t see eye to eye with the current members, and decided it wasn’t working. We started searching for a new drummer, but that seemed to be an impossible task. The band is out of Modesto, CA, and even though there are over 200k people here, the music community is a small one.
So much so that the drummers we found were already in projects. Some of them were in 2 and even 3 bands at the same time. Nobody was looking to start over from scratch, learn new material and work from the ground up. The drummers we did find to jam with just didn’t mesh well with our style of music.
Joel: Yes, it got to the point that we decided to move forward with the album even though we didn’t have the means to play live. We attempted to record the album two previous times but had some bad luck that stopped us. We ended up focusing on our personal lives, while searching for a drummer. We jammed with some drummers, but it just wasn’t working out. We didn’t sound the way we wanted to.
We finally said enough is enough, let’s just do this thing. Our close friend Erick Rodriguez did drums for us and later did the narration for the album. Another close friend, Brett Morgan, had us come to his home studio to record everything. Along the way we asked him to provide some vocals to the album.
So, he is responsible for the lows and highs that you hear throughout How Gods Are Made. And of course, once we stopped looking for a drummer, we promptly found one. We are now at full strength with Brandon Garrett our front man, my brother and I on guitars, Josh Ruloph drumming and Aaron Wheeler slapping the bass.
4. How Gods Are Made is a concept album. Can you explain it and what made you want to go down this route?
Joel: I had the story plotted out in my head for the longest time, and always knew what it was going to be about. I had explained the story in detail to the guys back when we first formed, and Jordan had written some lyrics for the demo. When it came time to record I finally sat down and wrote the storyline out and went from there.
Each song is a chapter from this story, which is why we refer to them as chapters. The story is about a nameless Hero and his men that are returning home from battle. They arrive and discover their village has been decimated. All the women, children, everyone has been slaughtered. Our Hero knows the evil Tyrant from across the sea is the culprit, and he must be destroyed. This is all told in Chapter I: Nautical Departure. Each chapter is named for what transpires in that specific piece of music. So, Chapter II: Calm Before the Storm is about the Hero and his fleet sailing towards a massive sea storm. Knowing these types of storm have been known to stir the depths of the sea and cause vicious sea creatures to rise from below, they still sail regardless.
Everyone is preparing for the battle in front of them and the waters are still calm. Hence the chapter title and why that piece of music is calming. I even recorded what I loving refer to as a Tibetan monk chant at the end there to symbolize our Hero calming his mind, body, and soul before the eventual battle.
Jordan: We never want to give too much away, since the CD will have the story in the lyric’s booklet. But at the same time, we really think people will enjoy it more knowing ahead of time what the entire story is. Our hero and his men fight sea creatures rising from the depths, the evil Tyrant, and a battle with the Octobeast. Possibly a trip to the underworld? You’ll have to get yourself a copy and follow along with the lyrics to find out. The title really tells it all. How Gods Are Made. The Gods from mythology aren’t really made, they’re born that way or have always been that way. But how is a God made?
5. It’s no easy task to get a concept across in the harder sounds of metal. What was your approach to make sure it came across here?
Jordan: Having the lyrics written down for everyone to follow along is a huge part of getting the story across. Without that, we could say How Gods Are Made is about anything and maybe people could make out the lyrics, maybe not. The narration is also something we added later in the recording process. We believe it helps draw everyone into the story. You put on the album and the narration starts up and it’s like “Oh crap, stuff is about to get real”. We don’t want to come off as cheesy, but we really want to draw listeners in. That’s why the entire album all flows together without breaks. It’s like a good book that you just can’t put down and want to finish reading in a day. Then when you get to the end, you don’t want it to end. That’s what we are aiming for.
Joel: Yeah, that’s why I added in the acoustic songs. Those songs are pivotal in the storyline. It didn’t make sense for us to write a song that has distorted guitars and shredding guitar solos to get across the fact that our hero is trying to calm his mind before the storm hits. Or the fact that he finally has time to mourn the loss of his family. I wanted to have songs that would show the proper emotion to what was going on in the story.
6. It’s an incredible listen. Detailed, well-produced and interesting all the way through. Are you happy with the end result or are you a bunch of tinkerers looking for perfection?
Joel: Thank you very much. We really appreciate the compliment. I am very happy with it. We could have continued to tweak and change things and always try to make it better. But at some point, you just must put it out there the way it is, or it may never get out. Plus, we have other material that we want to start recording, so the more time spent on HGAM, is less time recording a 2nd album.
Jordan: I’m happy with the turn out. Like Joel stated, we could have kept doing some things to it here and there but It turned out good, so we moved on and are happy with it. I’m excited about the new material that we have been working up.
[amazon_link asins=’B07HDVG2XM,B07HDVLWTM,B07HDVSJ3D,B07HDWDV1V’ template=’UseThisOne’ store=’g0e5b-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’d54878dd-d349-11e8-b5fd-81708d3ca037′]
7. Making it in music is very difficult since the rise of streaming services and YouTube. What is your approach here? Do you think you’re hindered by social media or is it beneficial to you?
Joel: I think it’s a great tool if used correctly. Without social media we would never have got in touch with you, or anyone else outside our area. It has helped us find listeners across the United States as well as other countries, and that’s awesome. Since we are an unsigned band unknown to the masses and can’t go on huge tours that bring in thousands of people, this is the next best way for people to discover us and get to hear what we create. For the record, if there is anyone wanting to put us on a huge tour like that, we’re are all ears (laughs)
Jordan: Well the streaming services and YouTube are great because it’ll get more people to hear about us and keep in touch with what we are doing. Those services are more of an advantage if used correctly.
8. What’s next? Are you going out on the road?
Joel: We are playing as many shows as possible to promote the album and gain new listeners. But since we are an unsigned and relatively unknown band, we don’t get the touring opportunities those signed bands get. Going back to your last question, this is where social media can help us reach a broader audience and meet promoters out of our area to get on metal shows across the state, and neighboring states.
Jordan: Yeah, we have been playing as many shows as we can. Becoming tighter as a band and getting ourselves out there. Yeah don’t have any major tours coming up but a lot of local cities that we’re excited to play.
How Gods Are Made will be released on October 26th 2018 and will be available via all major platforms on release but you can order it via iTunes now. You can find out more/keep up to date with news by liking the band’s Facebook Page, following them on Twitter and Instagram and stream songs on Soundcloud.