Editor’s Note: Tampa, Florida’s own Wirethrone recently released their EP entitled “The Serpent Queen” to the delight of those who get down with melodic death metal. Guitarist James Harper described the release as the following:
This EP is very ambitious and unique with some of the most dynamic music we’ve ever written. This EP is one song, split into four parts that flows seamlessly into one another. We are incredibly happy with the production from Mastersound, and we’re extremely excited to share with all our fans.
James and Adam of Wirethrone sat down with Madness To Creation to discuss “The Serpent Queen” and mental health awareness. Fans can find Wirethrone at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Wirethrone has released the EP “The Serpent Queen”, take us into the EP. What were the most challenging and rewarding aspects about creating The Serpent Queen?
James: The most challenging aspect for me was creating a lyrical story that made sense in a metaphorical way. All the lyrics I’ve written for Wirethrone are more or less based on true events that happened in my life. I take inspiration from everyday trials many have gone through and use those situations to fuel my creativity. Serpent Queen is based off a real life situation I was in. I won’t go into details on what happened because I feel it best that the listener draws their own conclusions so that they can relate to it in their own way.
Adam: The Serpent Queen EP has an interesting history. It started out as a few riffs & demos that James and I put together during our first few encounters. It sat on a hard drive for a few years until we decided to brush the dust off & dig in to the meat of the riffs until it eventually grew into its own EP. The biggest challenge was pushing ourselves to go outside of our creative “box” or comfort zone. James & I would intentionally write riffs to frustrate each other and test our limits but in the end made us both better guitar players. Chris also writes wickedly tricky riffs that bend our minds backwards too, he really wanted bass to stand out on this release and he did a hell of a job. We don’t like to follow trends and strive to put out music we would want to hear so we set goals for what we envisioned a more aggressive and no-frills Wirethrone would sound like. Once we got all 4 of us together the perfect mix of ideas developed into an 18 minute riff-fest. It was very rewarding when our producer Preston played us the final mix, especially since these riffs have been with us since I first joined, and they have finally have found new life in the EP.
Madness To Creation: Take us into the Tampa metal scene. Favorite things about the music scene in Florida.
James: There are a ton of hard working local bands in Tampa that are laying down some incredible groundwork for the future of the metal scene in Tampa. I absolutely love seeing the unity that Tampa has. We have bands that are opening up their own studios like MasterSound or bands that have decided to open up affordable merch providers. Quite honestly this is the best I have ever seen the Tampa scene, and I’m very excited to see it continue to grow.
Adam: The Tampa metal scene has been a major influence in heavy metal and we absolutely cannot stress enough that if not for Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Atheist, Deicide, & Death among others we would not be doing this right now. The support from people like George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, Robb Barrett, Steve Asheim, & Kelly Schaefer along with the many talented bands and fans is really flourishing the scene and bringing a new era of bands to the front and center of the metal spotlight. It is a family and everyone works hard and takes care of each other. Everyone is a team player and it’s tight knit but newcomers are always welcome to the party. Venue staples like the Brass Mug, known as the “CBGBs of Tampa”, Crowbar & Orpheum (both in Ybor City), The Verona in New Port Richey, and professional studios such as MasterSound Tampa & Morrisound have laid the groundwork for the progress of our scene and we are proud to be involved with so many passionate friends and fans. Tampa is the place to be for sure for metal.
Madness To Creation: How does Wirethrone stand out from the rest in the world of metal?
James: From a songwriting stand point, you can expect quality riffs and meaningful lyrics with no gimmicks. We take pride in knowing who we are and what we’re about, and I think it shows in both our music and live performances. If you like soaring harmonies, huge choruses, and catchy melodies, I think you’ll like what have to offer.
Adam: We follow a code of respect and set ourselves to high standards, & we don’t relent or compromise for anyone. Go hard or go home. At our shows the fans are always first, without our fans there is no show or point to playing out. We strive to always be good to people whether it be the venues, fans, or other bands. It gets you a long way. Nobody likes a rockstar attitude, we just like to party!
Madness To Creation: You have shared the stage with so many acts, take us into a few of those acts and favorite memories.
James: We have been very fortunate in the last few years that all of my favorite bands have come to town, and we have opened up every single show. Insomnium, Dark Tranquillity, Omnium Gatherum, and Rivers of Nihil are all just great people, and great musicians. Insomnium especially have been really friendly and always put on a master class performance.
Adam: Every time we play shows with Insomnium it’s magical, the fans love it. We usually play their Florida dates when they come into town. The first time they ever stepped foot in Florida it was this tiny venue called the Dungeon in Panama City, they had no idea where they were, and neither did we. We played our entire set in the dark not knowing where the light switch was above our heads. It was far out, we bought them beers and all of us got pretty tipsy at the end of the night. It was a great time. Another big one for us was Dark Tranquility, that was to me our best show. Morbid Angel was a major one for me personally, as well as Josh. We were watching Trey Azagthoth play a wicked solo from the side of the stage and Josh was geeking out, he never thought he’d get to see something like from that perspective, it was amazing. I also really enjoyed hanging out with Rivers of Nihil. Those guys are the most genuine people and have perfected their craft. I think that every show is notable in some way and I can keep going on about each and every one because every band and crew has treated us so well.
Madness To Creation: Madness To Creation is geared towards mental health awareness, what gets you through when times get difficult?
James: For me, it’s songwriting. As mentioned, the lyrical content I write for Wirethrone are all based on true events in my life. Doing so has allowed me to turn any negative feelings into a healthy creative outlet for myself. I’m still working on honing my craft, but I think I’ve done a pretty decent job so far. Other things I enjoy to blow off steam is weight lifting. I’ve started lifting in March of 2019 and have seen some amazing results. People tend to forget that exercising releases endorphins so taking care of your physical health will also help with your mental health as well.
Adam: Mental health is very important to us as a whole and individually. We touch on some of it in our music because we write as a way of expression. When James has feelings about something he turns into a songwriting machine and outputs what he’s feeling into the riffs. It’s a healthy way to deal with whatever is going on in the mind. I enjoy playing super heavy chuggy guitar riffs and jamming with the guys to blow off steam. Weight lifting and keeping a good diet & exercise are also good ways to keep both your body and mind healthy.
Madness To Creation: What advice do you have for our readers in regards to taking care of their mental health?
James: Find a healthy hobby and get into a routine. Lift weights, run, ride your bike, play games, spend time with family; anything to divert your focus. If you’re more of a creative person, learn an instrument or write a story. Always remember to take time for yourself.
Adam: We’re all about open communication and we’re here for any of our friends and fans that need to vent or express how they feel. You never know what someone is dealing with inside, and if someone finds peace in our music or what Josh is saying in the songs, then it’s working. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or people you look up to. They will help guide you through whatever journey you are on. Even if it’s just a quick chat, text or a FaceTime, it can make a huge difference just being able to vent.
Madness To Creation: Plans for Wirethrone for the rest of the year?
James: Wirethrone is actively seeking a drummer so that we can start playing shows and possibly even tour. We also have enough material for new full length album, and we are actually in the middle of a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for it. You can check that out here:
Adam: Start playing shows! Hopefully gear up to tour in the near future, and finalizing the writing process for the 3rd full length release!
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add in regards to The Serpent Queen?
James: I’m very proud of this EP. I feel that we were able to produce something unique without being too pretentious. This EP is also very ambitious with it being 1 song that’s about 18minutes long, broken into 4 parts, but each song flows seamlessly into another and it doesn’t feel like a task to listen to the whole thing in one sitting. I really enjoy this format and it might be something we return to later on in our career.
Adam: Wirethrone is coming for your city, bow down! Just kidding, we hope everyone enjoys the new music, we had a hell of a time making it. We owe everyone at Mastersound Tampa a huge thank you for putting this one together in a way we never imagined. Our producer Preston DiCarlo, and studio partners Matty Bluntz, James Harrison, Jakob Sin, David Ellefson of Megadeth, & Thom Hazaert are doing Tampa a major service with their professional quality studio! We wouldn’t have done it any other way. We also wanted to shout out Corpsegrinder for always repping us, as well as Rob Barrett for letting me record with his special Hamer Explorer, one of the best guitars I’ve ever played! And as always a big thanks to our fans and friends all around the world!
And there you have it! Go to www.wirethrone.bandcamp.com to check out “The Serpent Queen”!