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INTERVIEWS THE WARNED
CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!!!Rock music is full of humanitarians. That's been the case since 1985, when BOB GELDOLF launched his USA FOR AFRICA campaign. I was ten years old and I had my hair spiked for the 48-hour broadcast of LIVE AID. It was exciting watching allof these artists come together for a great cause. The problem with rock n rollers playing MOTHER THERESA is that it is easy to doubt their sincerity. One would get the feeling that it is all about posing in front of the cameras and hoping that the GRAMMY nominating committee is listening. After speaking with JUSTIN WARN of THE WARNED, you get a sense that his charitable deeds come from someplace else other than pop martyrdom. For the past two years, JUSTIN has been working abroad in places like Africa and The Phillipines doing mission work, and seeing the desperation of people in parts of the world such as this has opened the singer-songwriters eyes, both musically and spiritually. "We just wanted to do something out of our comfort zone and help other people in different parts of the world, which to us is very important." says WARN. "The year before, I had been to the Phillipines on the same kind of mission trip where we bring medical supplies, clothes, and shoes and we fly to different parts of the world with a team of people. We spend two weeks out in the villages and its an amazing way to kind of give back and you stretch so far emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As far as what prompted it - I think the prompting came from our hearts."
JUSTIN WARN OF THE WARNED
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT OPENING UP PEOPLES EYES
THE BAND'S SELF-TITLED E.P.
SENDING OUT A POSITIVE MESSAGE
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
All good deeds aside, JUSTIN and this band THE WARNED have just released their first self-titled, 7-song E.P. and are currently working on additional tracks for a forthcoming release. ROCKWIRED spoke with JUSTIN WARN over the phone as the band was booking dates for shows for the coming year. Here is how it went.
JUSTIN WARN spoke with ROCKWIRED over the phone before the Christmas holiday. Here is how it went.
You guys have just released your first EP. Now that it's out, how do you feel about it?
We've put it out and there's been a good response. We feel pretty good about it. We know that there is always room for improvement and I think that this new batch of songs that we're working on right now will topthose that we've already recorded.
How did the band begin? What brought everyone together on the same page to write and record music?
My cousin JESSE (guitarist, JESSE WARN) came to me with these songs that he had been messing around with and at the time I was playing drums, so we started jamming on these songs. After a while I decided that I wanted to sing over this stuff. So I messed around with singing. JESSE and I would jam out on these tunes and he had a couple of friends who would come up and fill in on instruments. When we wanted to put something solid together, I called upon my best friend STEVE (bass player STEVE SIEVERS,) and ROBBIE (drummer ROBBIE COLEMAN). I told them that "...now is the time to do this. I've got a project that I really believe in and me and my cousins have these songs that we want to have produced for people to hear." So that was how it was started. It's all friends and cousins coming together to form this family. A dysfunctional family but a family nonetheless.
What makes you a dysfunctional family?
You know, the normal band antics, the scheduling, and things like that. Two of the guys in the band live near San Diego and we're up here in Fullerton. We're able to come together. We all have different influences and that can be an issue at times but in the long term, it actually benefits us.
Who are the fellas in the band and what do you think each of them sort of brings to the table musically, creatively or personality-wise.
My cousin JESSE is kind of like this amazing guitar player where he can just sit down with the guitar and come up with something that rocks everytime. He comes up with some amazing ideas like dual harmony guitar parts with our other guitar player EDEN GODINEZ. JESSE is such an inspiration to me because he's always trying to push himself creatively and go places that we haven't been as far as music is concerned. EDEN GODINEZ is really laid back. He's the youngest of the bunch and holds down the rhythm section really good. STEVE SIEVERS, the bass player, is also a recording engineer so he recorded the first record for us. He's like the backbone. When we write a song, he'll listen to it and say 'let's change this part!' He's there for the technical side of things. He also takes care of our internet stuff. He's really computer savvy, where I'm not. We've got our drummer ROBBIE COLEMAN and he is one of the most determined musicians I've ever met in my life. He studies every different style and he rehearses nonstop. He's sort of an obsessive compulsive, so it kind of works out for him in this case. Everyone in the band is a solid individual. They are good people that just care about the music and care about each other. We don't want to be here for a minute. We want this to last. We want our message to come across for people to hear. I'm the vocalist and for me, it's an inspiration to be playing with these guys and write music that I feel so passionately about. I've been fortunate enough to travel the world for the past two years and it's opened my eyes to what's going on out there. There are bigger issues in this world rather than the little petty stuff that we get caught up in. I guess I try to bring the realities of life with a positive message for the band.
What's your musical background?
I started going to hardcore shows back in the day when I was in high school with STEVE. He and I formed little garage bands and I started off playing the drums which was a lot of fun.
So was there a long sucession of bands before THE WARNED was established.
We've all been in about four or five bands each before THE WARNED. We messed around with different styles and learned along the way
Early you mentioned that you had traveled to other parts of the world and that your "eyes were opened". Where did you travel and what prompted it?
Me and the drummer ROBBIE went to Africa with about twenty other people. We just wanted to do something out of our comfort zone and help other people in different parts of the world, which to us is very important. The year before, I had been to the Phillipines on the same kind of mission trip where we bring medical supplies, clothes, and shoes and we fly to different parts of the world with a team of people. We spend two weeks out in the villages and its an amazing way to kind of give back and you stretch so far emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As far as what prompted it - I think the prompting came from our hearts.
Do you feel that any of this work that you have done abroad has inspired the songwriting at all?
Yes, absolutely. The last song on our disk AT THE SIGHT OF THE DEAD was definitely written with Africa in mind. I saw a video from THE INVISIBLE CHILDREN ORGANIZATION that was showing things that were going on in SUDAN with these kids being turned into soldiers. These children had nowhere to sleep and were running for their lives. I saw that movie and I saw that this organization was something that I wanted to get involved with. It's a local organization. We also found this other organization called the ROCK OF AFRICA who basically getting people together over to Africa to help. Lyrically, the experience opened up a whole new world to me with regard to songwriting. I've got books filled with lyrics now.
Now explain how the creative process work for the band? How does a song get realized and then turn into something that you hear fromthe speakers?
That's a good question. The first seven songs on the CD were written by the guitar player JESSE. He wrote the guitar parts and then he came to me and asked me to write song lyrics and melodies, which took a little time. The newer songs that we've been collaborating on have just come from everybody in the room chipping in. Someone will play a riff and then a beat will start happening. It's all coming out of jam sessions. We've collectively been inspired to write as a unit in our rehearsal space and I think we're really having success with it.
Are there any tracks from this CD that stand out for you in particular?
AT THE SIGHT OF THE DEAD is very personal to me because I was there (Africa) to witness it with my eyes. Every song we write has to have this message. We're not trying to be preachy but it has to have some substance, and feeling, and meaning behind it. So, AT THE SIGHT OF THE DEAD is the song that has the most meaning for me.
What do want a person to come away with after hearing this CD?
After they've heard the CD, I want them to go to our MYSPACE page and read the lyrics and I want them to kind of understand where the band is coming from.
And where do you think the band is coming from?
It's coming from just pure heart. We want to create music that we feel and love, and if we create that to the best of our abilities then hopefully people will feel that with us. Hopefully, it might open up their eyes to something like what is going on in the other part of the world. We're here to create positive messages.
After having traveled the world and seeing how challenging it is for many of these people to survive, what kinfd of a perspective does that give you on music-making?
Sometimes, it almost makes us feel funny because we're creating music and doing something that we love and then, there are people in the world who don't have food and are dying from malaria. To bring that into perspective, it kind of makes music seem silly, but we have to take that angle and use that platform to call attention to things like suffering. Hopefully we can just bring a message that people will hear.