In an attempt to reach new audiences with TONIGHT AT DAWN, we are beginning what will hopefully be an ongoing music interview segment. Several artists have expressed interest in participating, and hopefully that enthusiasm will continue. Our hope is to offer the reader and fans a different style of music interview. Some discussions will be straightforward, while others will have a more humorous take (whatever KralTunes finds humorous, that is).
Any comments, questions, and critiques, please direct them to @KralTunes on Twitter. This was my first attempt, so please be gentle with the criticisms.
WHORES is an American rock band hailing from Atlanta, GA. I recently talked via email to lead vocalist Christian Lembach about their music:
KralTunes: The term WHORES stirs up a slew of connotations for people. Was the potential divisiveness that comes with such a title something the band thought about in the beginning? How did the group come to decide to name itself Whores.?
Christian Lembach: We certainly considered the implications of using such a loaded word; it’s a serious thing. We also thought hard about the fact that some people would misinterpret the name. I feel obligated to state this plainly every time we are asked this question, which is often: There is not an ounce of misogyny in the people in this band, and our name is in no way meant to denigrate women or sex workers.
We intend the name to be more of a statement regarding the nature of capitalism and a commentary on how people are forced to sell out any realness and decency in order to succeed. Look at the words for any one of our songs as evidence. Pick one. We, as a people, have been beaten into submission, and we’re supposed to be happy about it as long as there is still a standing McDonalds within striking distance of our homes. We’re told we can be anything we want when we are children. It’s the biggest hustle of all time. In order to have a life that’s not completely devoid of comfort, you have to “sell out” to some extent.
It’s a bummer of a situation that it’s mostly people from the underground who give us grief or otherwise misinterpret our name. I consider these people allies, so it’s especially disappointing when it gets weird. I expect people outside of mainstream culture to not respond in such a knee-jerk fashion, but it seems there is a rise in what I’ve heard called the conservative left. It’s pretty gross.
I am so far left that I basically see things in a Marxist way, and democratic socialism seems to be the best system to me. I also grew up listen to music, watching movies, reading books and checking out art that was termed “outsider” at the time. It wasn’t socially acceptable to be into punk rock and skateboarding or whatever like it is now. Things have really changed with the erstwhile cheerleaders rocking the satanic, witchy pose, and I think a lot of people who are secretly into Radio Disney-type bullshit music think they have a voice in the underground. They don’t. They’re tourists, and they can fuck right off. It’s utterly bizarre to me that you see these people covered in tattoos and faking a counter culture pose who are really conservative people. It’s baffling.
I was recently talking to Thomas Hazelmyer from Amphetamine Reptile records when we were in Minneapolis on our last tour with Retox. We were talking about the gentrification that happens in every major city, and the parallels to the underground being co-opted.
The majority of the songs I write have an “us-vs-them” element. It seemed like an appropriate name, considering the subject matter of our songs and how I feel on a day-to-day basis. But the dialog surrounding our name never ends, and we’ve taken it on the chin several times in terms of lost opportunities because of the name.
KralTunes: A question I have always wondered… As a singer that does an awful lot of screaming on many tracks, does the strain on your vocals ever concern you about the future of your career?
Christian Lembach: Dude. I think about that all of the time. It usually takes me a few shows to blow it out, then I’m in the pocket for the duration of whatever tour we’re on. It’s painful at times, but I don’t really know how else to sing. I’d love to take some lessons or see a coach or something, but I can’t afford something like that right now. We had like 30 shows on the tour we just wrapped. I have to take care of it – lots of water, lots of sleep and no dairy. I’d love to write some more somber, laid-back songs, but my focus is on Whores right now.
KralTunes: I recently read on your facebook that your studio location is about to be no more (What, the owners don’t realize they are housing the seeds of musical genius within their walls)!! Is this demolition a done deal, or can it somehow be prevented? If not, what are your plans for future practice areas?
Christian Lembach: Yeah, it’s a done deal. We have to be out before May 10th. Tons (like, literally hundreds) of ATL bands are being put out. It’s insane. There are no other spots to practice in ATL that aren’t already full and with a long waiting list. The place where we were practicing was the central spot in ATL where all of the bands practiced. It’s a huge blow to the scene. I’m sure something else will pop up eventually, but we’re furiously writing a new record, and this is a pretty big hiccup. In the immediate future, we’ll be packing all of our stuff up and moving it to a storage space outside of ATL.
KralTunes: Having just watched a youtube clip of one of you sets (Saint Vitus Bar, 2014), you guys put a ton of energy into your performance…I can only imagine that a standard show is pretty brutal on the three of you. Is this the case? What is the recovery time like after or between shows? Do you have any pre/post show rituals that you stick to?
Christian Lembach: Yeah we push super hard every time. We’re in that sweet spot where we’re firing on all cylinders, but we’re also playing to a bunch of new people every night. So I honestly feel obligated to just blast the shit out of every song. I want people who are seeing us for the first time to stop in their tracks. I want us to be your favorite new band. Anybody can make a cool sounding record. Playing a show that takes peoples’ heads off is the important part. As far as recovery time and pre/post show rituals, I try to warm up my voice before we play, and I try not to talk for a good 30 minutes after. We’re not doing a whole lot of local shows, so it’s mostly show after show on tour. You kind of just have to make it happen.
KralTunes: You three seem to be having an amazing time up on stage. Is playing the part of musicians what you always envisioned yourself doing with your lives? Wikipedia has the band starting in 2010. Have you three known each other prior to that date? How did you get together?
Christian Lembach: I’ve tried to do other things, but it seems that music is really the only life for me. It’s taken a pretty hefty toll on my personal life and financial stability at times, but I really can’t legitimately pursue anything else that I would be this passionate about.
We’ve all sort of known each other from other bands that we’ve played in the past. I was a huge fan of our drummer’s old band, and actually learned a few songs on their record with the intention of trying out as their second guitar player back in the day.
Things sort of fell into place one by one for this band. Jake, our bass player, was initially interested in acting in sort of a managerial capacity with the band. An opportunity came up for him to fill in for a show, and after we got off stage he said he wanted to join the band. He was in a pretty active and successful band at the time, so I was a little skeptical as to how it would work, schedule-wise. We’re not well known enough yet to be taking breaks and turning down opportunities. Jake ended up leaving his other band, joining us full time, and that was that.
KralTunes: After reading the lyrics to several songs, many images spring to mind (very little sunshine and unicorn imagery to be found). What are the inspirations for the lyrical content of your songs?
Christian Lembach: Well I don’t want to get too specific and melodramatic, but I have had a few pretty terrible things happen in my life. I just try to tap into a real emotion, and that’s often a fairly ugly one. That’s all I’m really comfortable saying.
KralTunes: I’m always looking for something new to listen to. What music’s got your ears right now?
Christian Lembach: New Metz record, new Fight Amp record, new Retox record, two Athens bands, The Powder Room and Motherfucker, are just wrecking shit right now. Of course I love all of the 90s noise rock stuff, but I’m also heavy into 80s goth/eurotrash type bands as well. I listen to The Birthday Party a ton. I also love a lot of early 90s hip hop. I’m not kidding. I torture my band mates with it. The repetitive nature really appeals to me.
KralTunes: On the current events front, does the officer in the Walter Scott shooting have a prayer in being acquitted of these charges against him??
Christian Lembach: I certainly hope not, but things are so fucked-up right now that it wouldn’t surprise me. There seems to be a certain type of person that is attracted to a job like that in the first place. So as sad and terrible as this is, it’s nothing new. The only good I can see is that technology is making it harder for creeps like this to hide.
KralTunes: What does the next year hold for the band?
Christian Lembach: We’re writing our next record right now. We hope to have it released late this year, or early next year at the latest. After that we’ll be doing support tours worldwide, as well as a few headlining U.S. tours. We’re constantly (and currently) submitting for support tours, so we really never know when the next one is until it’s imminent. The soonest we’ll be back on the road is late summer, unless something really amazing comes up. We’re talking to a few different labels right now to see who the best fit will be. We plan on hitting super hard with this next one, so we’re trying to take our time. We don’t want to let people down.
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