COVID-19 nightmares aside, at least we're getting some interesting music out of the stay-in orders. One of those examples comes in the form of War Babies, a new project featuring Mike De Lorenzo (Kill Your Idols, C.R., Deathcylce, Sheer Terror) and Darren Nanos (Born Sinner, Survivalist, Brain Slug).
The New York-based musicians recently dropped an 11-track demo packed with pissed-off hardcore that wouldn't sound out of place on a label like Beach Impediment Records or Quality Control HQ.
I chatted with both Mike and Darren about the new sonic endeavor.
Give me the backstory on how the War Babies project came together. Also, tell me how you guys initially became friends.
Mike De Lorenzo: Darren and I had talked about putting something together for a while, but nothing really came of it for one reason or the next. Well, all of a sudden here comes COVID-19 and I am furloughed from my job and sitting at home. One night, Darren asked me if I wanted to do something remotely. I was down for sure. He sent me drums for 3 songs and I knocked those out. We were so into how it was coming out that 3 became 6 then 7 then 10 , then 11 songs ! We know each for years mostly connected through LIHC and NYHC.
Darren Nanos: The best part about this for me was that everything started with the drums, like I literally just went in and played drums to imaginary riffs that didn't exist yet. It was like a Cracker Jack box in a sense that when Mike sent back the finished instrumental I had no idea what kinda surprise I was getting! [Laughs] Sometimes it was almost exactly what I figured and other times it was the exact opposite of what I'd imagined. Either option was really cool.
What drew you guys together on a musical level?
Mike De Lorenzo: Darren and Drew Alexander asked me to fill in for Brain Slug for a little bit and that’s really where we clicked musically. As far as influences, I’d say this project in particular was heavily influenced by NYC Mayhem, Straight Ahead, and for me, West Coast power violence stuff: Spazz, Crossed Out, etc. We wanted to have short, to the point, and maybe even, quirky songs.
Darren Nanos: Yeah, I'd say that anytime I check in on the news, or some quote from 45 popped up on my screen I would just get this frenzied anger boiling up inside. It just seemed fitting to unpack it in to some short blasts of music in reaction.
Since you mention Donald Trump, tell me about the lyrics on the War Babies stuff.
Darren Nanos: This whole project is a reflection of what's going on right now in the world. Literally every song was spurred from something I read or saw minutes before. For example, I was talking to the homie Drew about doing a remote guest spot on one of the last two unfinished songs. He had heard the rest, got the vibe, and just said, "here's the title: 'You Are Not Essential'." Immediately, something jumped to mind because that fucking fool Elon Musk was just running his mouth earlier in the day about getting people back to work.
And as of writing this today, he just said he was going to break the California state orders and get his factory moving again. That he should be arrested if someone has a problem with it. (Well someone cuff that jackass) Why don't these rich fools just put their billions where their mouth is and pay for something actually helpful, instead of bitching about "unfair" laws.
This guy has enough to probably find 20 teams of scientists to find a real answer to this problem, but instead he wants to force people back to work. These Silicon Valley types are so detached from the rest of society.
So, yeah, the whole thing is about the situation at hand: the idiot President and his party, the fact that there is no worthy candidate opposing him anymore, the incompetent healthcare system in place, the state of the earth, and the anxieties of waking up in a world with no forseeable future.
What else do you each have going on musically? What can we expect in the future?
Mike De Lorenzo: I play bass in Kill Your Idols and guitar in Deathcycle. I am working on a project with Ron Grimaldi, Jeff Kaplan, and Aaron Pagdon called Bombs in Boardrooms that seems to be cursed, but is really cool and I am looking forward to getting back into that again. I have tons of music I wrote and recorded at home with a drum machine, maybe I will get some vocals on that stuff one day and put out to the interworld.
Each band will hopefully release new music in the not so distant future. Hopefully, War Babies will get it together and play some shows and release these songs in a physical format.
Darren Nanos: In the (unfortunate and uncontrollable) time I have off, I'm working on some new tracks and projects as well. I've just been sorting riffs into different piles in a sense, trying to figure out what kinda shit might fit what project. I'll be demoing some stuff for Born Sinner and eventually trying to record some new Survivalist stuff as a follow up to the first EP.
Super Natural Psycho is doing some remote recording as well, and I am currently mixing a COVID-related project with a bunch of buds from Long Island. The plus side of this crazy shit is I'll probably end up with a few new bands coming out of it. Quarantine Core!
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