The Warlocks are creating psychedelic Goth rock at its finest. Hailing from Los Angeles, they cite the Velvet Underground as one of their many influences who are often brought up in comparison. Since their debut album in 2000 they've been making dark, moody music with post-Punk attitude and a psychedelic edge. Their 2007 release, Heavy Deavy Skull Lover, succeeded in expanding their groove. Their songs invoke a gloomy atmosphere; droning, fuzz and noise all swirling around your head. Close your eyes and you're floating toward the ceiling, open them and you're standing in the crowd, tightly packed, staring at the silhouettes on stage. The Warlocks will sweep you away in a dream-like trance. Here, frontman Bobby Hecksher gives us a peek into their world.
Interview by Melissa Pierce
DTC: Before we start could I ask you to explain a little about how The Warlocks came about, how you'd describe your sound and the philosophy behind the band?
Bobby Hecksher: I like the sound of unison drums and layered guitar. The philosophy is Destroy and Rebuild. Meaning when it ceases to work, kill it and start again.
DTC: I bet people ask all of the time how the band name came about but I'm going to ask anyway. How did you come up with the name?
Bobby Hecksher: Yup that's mind-numbing question number two. Don't worry, it's okay. I'm used to it by now but, wow, right on queue. It's usually question number two or three! Whew, here goes again: I thought it was a cool name in 1998. I really didn't know that the Grateful Dead and Velvet Underground had it years ago at the time.
DTC: You have a fair amount of band members [the count is at 8 I
believe, correct?], what different instruments/how many different instruments are used to come up with your sound?
Bobby Hecksher: Two guitars, Two drums, bass and vocals works out great. We're trying keys again so hopefully that will work out.
DTC: I read you're looking for a new bass player. What is going on there?
Bobby Hecksher: Oh it's a sensitive subject. I really care about the people that were in the band and I never want anyone to leave. Though I know that's not realistic as people change and want to move on, live lives and stuff. I'm trying to get over all that and try not to be so affected but it's hard.
DTC: What was the response to your last CD, Heavy Deavy Skull Lover, and have you been working on any new material since its release? If so, what is the time line on future music?
Bobby Hecksher: "Far out" and "weird one" or something like that is what I usually hear. It's doing well, so I'm told. I am always working on new music.
DTC: I just found out this morning that you will be returning to Minnesota in June. It seems like you've been here quite a few times. How do you pick the states you are going to tour? And what has been your favorite?
Bobby Hecksher: It's part of a routing. I like Portland, NYC, SF and Texas.
DTC: Are we the last stop on the tour? Will you be up for some hijinks or will you be ready to head back home and curl up under the covers? How do you wind down and return to civilian life after a tour?
Bobby Hecksher: No, but yes to Hijinx and of course trouble and riots! YES!
DTC: My friend saw you play at Lollapalooza and she was wondering how
that experience was for the band? Especially considering that it was 100+ degree heat in the middle of the day.
Bobby Hecksher: We were so tired I had no idea what time it was. We didn't sleep for 24 hours. But it was still fun and crazy so, okay I guess. We played pool with Blonde Redhead and that was cool!
DCT: Are any of your members working on other music projects? Or is The Warlocks the primary focus?
Bobby Hecksher: At the moment The Warlocks are the primary focus.
DTC: What kind of impact do you think The Warlocks have made? Are you where you want to be [personally or professionally]? Do you believe those goals are even attainable?
Bobby Hecksher: I think we've affected a lot of people, though it's different for everybody as to what magnitude. The Warlocks are an experience not just a band. We are always trying to improve ourselves as musicians and performers. I guess we provide some kind of escapism or something; magic, explosions or something. I don't know. I would like to make richer sounding records. I'm never quite satisfied. I've only really hit it just right with a handful of tracks.
DTC: Do any of you ever get stage fright? If so, how do you conquer it?
Bobby Hecksher: I do. I get over it by just playing more or have a nice stiff drink before or during the set.
DTC: Another question from my friend: she wants to know if you are single.
Bobby Hecksher: That's funny. Yes, I am single.
DTC: Do any of you get a lot of questions like that or weird propositions from fans? Have you ever had any strange fan experiences on the road?
Bobby Hecksher: Yes we do, a riot broke out in Atlanta over it. This dude heckled Jenny, and I heckled him right back and the audience threw him out. Hilarious.
DTC: Finish this sentence please: "In general, our fans are…"
Bobby Hecksher: Awesome. I really mean that. We have some of the coolest fans on the planet. I've been lended gear and put up countless times all over the world, been bought drinks, dinner, some fans circulate bootlegs, bring booze or gifts. Crazy! Some have even made us cookies (thanks Abby!) Oh yeah, I got my gear stolen and a fan found it on ebay. He turned them into the police and - voila - I got my gear back. I sent him a Theremin out of gratitude.
DTC: Who have been your favorite artists that you've worked with or
toured with? Are there any that you'd like to work with or collaborate with that you haven't yet?
Bobby Hecksher: Pete Kember has always been a favorite. Anton Newcombe as well. He taught me so much and I've always been grateful. The Sisters Of Mercy was very interesting. They operate like ghosts. It's weird.
DTC: Have you ever seen an extra-terrestrial?
Bobby Hecksher: Sure feels like it.
DTC: How many albums have you released? And is there a personal favorite?
Bobby Hecksher: Four. I have favorite songs, as I was saying, that came out perfect sonically and emotionally…
DTC: I look forward to your show on June 18th. Thank you again for
taking the time out for this.
Bobby Hecksher: No problem, take care.