INTERVIEW BY CHRISTINA ANGRABEIT
IAMWARFACE is an electro-rock band founded in 2016 in London by singer and producer Matt Warneford. It consists of Louis Matthews (guitar), Mike Smith (bass), Tom Howe (synth) and Adam Stanley (drums). The band has released three singles so far and their debut album is ready for release. The band played an exclusive live session on the BBC and was in 2017 the support act for Gary Numan. The legendary Virgin Radio presenter Eddie Temple Morris gave their sound the name ‚Rocktronica‘. I asked frontman Matt Warneford some questions about the band’s history, how he creates songs and music videos, projects and much more.
You have a mosquito as a band logo. What do you associate with it?
MW: „Well, it was kind of a happy accident. I was designing an image for my song ‘Bleed Out’ and thought a mosquito would fit perfectly. The song is about self harm. Seemed appropriate. I was so happy with the image I decided to use it as a logo for the band.“
IAMWARFACE Bandlogo (c) Matt Warneford
How did you come up with the name IAMWARFACE?
MW: „So, my surname is Warneford. A long time ago I changed my user name on Facebook to Matt Warface. It just kinda stuck. So originally I called the band just ‘Warface’ but I soon realised that there was approximately 5 million other bands called Warface so I realised I would have to change the name. Then my good friend Maryanne in NYC came up with the (IAM) part. I was immediately struck by it. It’s a powerful name. It also references the novel ‚I AM LEGEND‘ of which I’m a big fan.“
Your songs for the debut album are ready and some singles you have already released. When will the album be released and what will it be called?
MW: „All being well, I hope to release the album in August of this year. And it may end up just being called Iamwarface.“
Where did you meet Mike, Louis, Tom and Adam?
MW: „I first met Louis in London over our mutual love of all things Star Wars. We became instant friends. All the other guys just fell into place.“
And when did you decide to start a band?
MW: „So I started it as solo project. I soon realised that to be able to play live I’d need a band. So when I met Louis he was very much up for it. Mike I’d known for quite a few years on the local music scene. He actually asked me if he could join the band after he saw our set at ‚Into The Wild‘ festival. Soon after, Mike bought Tom Into the fold, of whom I’d also known for a few years. Adam I found after looking through websites for a new drummer. It all just slotted very nicely into place.“
For a while you were known under Rocktronica. How did you create this special IAMWARFACE electro rock sound together?
MW : „The sound just kind of happened. I’m not the worlds best guitar player so when I started I had to make most of the parts using a synth, keyboard and V Drum kit. From there I added a bit of guitars into the mix but really liked the electro-rock sound so I stuck with it. I think we’re still known as Rocktronica.“
In July 2017 IAMWARFACE were the opening act on Gary Numans Savage Tour at the Leamington Spa, UK. How did you get that chance? Which impressions could you take with you?
MW: „So, I was in a cab on my way to the airport for a stag do in Amsterdam and suddenly an email arrived from a Mr Numan. He was asking if we would be up for supporting him. I thought it was a joke. It turns out it was actually Gary Numan. I’ve never been so happy,scared, excited and star struck in all my life. It’s not every day you get to support a living legend. It is a moment in my life I’ll never forget. We played some incredible shows with him.“
Your current video for your single ‚Fear the Future‘ is a very dark scary video. Are you writing the storyboard for each of your music videos, or are there any influences from others?
MW: „So basically my videos start with a rough image in my head of what I want to portray. Then working with Yohan Forbes, we generally flesh out a rough work print and just go for it. I prefer the guerrilla style* of film making. Some of the best stuff is as a result of happy accidents.“
When do you decide to become a singer? Was there any key experience?
MW: „I saw Stone Temple Pilots play at Brixton Academy. Scott Weiland utterly blew my mind. I’d never seen a frontman so cool. I immediately realised I must also be that person. I bloody love getting up on stage and making a tit of myself.“
Besides the music, you also like to draw. Is there any of the two things you like more? Do you have any other creative hobbies?
MW: „I love my art and music. I think I’d go mad without some kind of release. I also have a huge passion for cooking. Although, I’m like Gordon Ramsay when I’m in the kitchen. I have been known to become very angry and shouty if someone is getting in my way whilst I’m making food. My poor wife.“
Do you enjoy cooking to switch off every day life? Is there a meal that you expecially like to cook and eat?
MW: „Well, generally I just love to cook. My mum has always been the most fantastic cook so I think I definitely got that from her. Mostly I like to make seafood pasta or good curry, I also love making a good old fashion Sunday roast and occasionally a smoked Kipper Kedgeree.“
I have read that you are already writing the songs for the second album. What inspires you to your lyrics and compositions?
MW: „There’s never any rhyme or reason when I’m writing songs. I prefer to think that they write themselves. The minute I start second guessing myself, I get writers block. So the best way is to just let it happen. Lyrically, I either sing about my deepest feelings or just write lyrics that sound phonetically pleasing. Noel Gallagher does the same.“
What will be your next single?
MW: „We will be releasing our long awaited video for Say My Name in July.“
What is the song ‚Say My Name‘ about?
MW: „‚Say My Name‘ is about a very close friend of mine who was experiencing very self destructive tendencies and depression. I wrote it as a way of saying “just say my name and I’ll be there for you. “ But I also like to write lyrics that are ambiguous as the listener will make up their own mind as to what the meaning is.“
You will play on 2 nd June 2019 on the ‚Camden Rocks‘ Festival with Iamwarface. Which plans do you have for this show?
MW: „This will be our third year playing Camden rocks. It’s always an awesome event. And it falls on my birthday. Couldn’t wish for a better birthday present. So far every year we’ve had the pleasure to play to a packed house. There’s no better feeling than playing to an audience that totally loves what we’re doing.“
Are more concerts planned? Maybe even in Germany?
MW: „We have a few lined up for later in the year but I’d dearly love to be able to come over to Germany and play some shows. That’s my ultimate plan for live gigs.“
On May 21, artist Billy Chainsaw will present your three music videos ‚Closer‘, ‚Fear The Future‘ and ‚You Don’t Love Me Anymore‘ on a big screen. Do you know him personally or how did this idea come about?
MW: „So I met Billy a few months ago when I was invited to the same event but to screen my friend’s John Whitaker’s videos for his project 1i2c. I gave Billy a cd and off he went. He messaged me a few days later saying he loves the material. Since then we have become good friends. We’re both comic book nuts as well. He’s a top lad.“
Are there German bands or singers which you like to listen to?
MW: „Yes. Kraftwerk and Rammstein are probably the most popular German bands of which I am a fan. Also I’m a huge fan of Hans Zimmer. I saw him in concert at Hammersmith Apollo a few years ago. It was utterly mind blowing. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.“
Have you ever been to Germany? If so, what did you like most or what would you like to see or get to know?
MW: „I’ve been to Berlin for a weekend but I didn’t realise that it was one of the coldest weekends ever. I arrived in a leather jacket. I was so cold I couldn’t do anything so a sat in the hostel and just wanted to go home. I’ve also been to Munich over a New Year’s Eve a few years ago. Was good fun.“
I read that you are looking for a promo agency and a record label. That would be the opportunity to start a call to all readers?
MW: „Yes I think so. We are a very self sufficient band so we just need a decent label or agent to get behind us and help to get us where we need to be.“
Thank you for the interview and your time.
Interview: Christina Angrabeit
*Guerrilla filmmaking is an independent form of filmmaking characterized by low budgets, minimal crews, and simple props that use everything available. Scenes are often shot quickly in real locations without warning or permission.