They are currently selling out shows across Europe and delivering some of their biggest ever performances, so there’s no better time to catch up with the Wage War boys.
Wage War have jumped back into life on the road two feet first.
Fresh off the back of the release of their expansive, exploratory and explosive album ‘Manic’, the band have spent 2022 playing to as many people as they possibly can. From the Knotfest Roadshow to their current headline run across Europe and the UK with The Devil Wears Prada, it’s a busy but fulfilling period.
To find out how it has been and to reflect on ‘Manic’, we had a catch-up with vocalist Briton Bond and guitarist Cody Quistad…
How does it feel to be back on the road and in such a big way as you are?
Cody: “It’s been wild. We’ve been touring all year, literally. The only month of this year that we won’t have been out on the road will have been June, which just passed, so we have been out at some point every other time. We had just three weeks at home before hitting Europe and the UK as well. We’ve missed it, but it has been really hard. But it’s all been amazing opportunities that we could never pass up. From Slipknot to Three Days Grace to this European headliner, it’s all been amazing.”
Briton: “The shows have been really good, especially on this run. Many people have been digging the new stuff more than the old stuff. That’s a big thing. The new record feels like king over here.”
Cody: “We’ve had a lot of sellouts as well. I think that Europe and the UK were accustomed to American bands booking a tour and then not being able to make it over, but we always knew we would make it happen. It’s been pretty extensive, but it looks like by the end, most dates will have been completely sold out. That feels really encouraging because on the flight over, we really weren’t sure. We’re super thankful for it all; it has been a dream.”
How has it been finding yourself in front of those different audiences over the course of the year, then?
Cody: “Something we have accomplished on ‘Manic’ is versatility and the ability to cater a setlist to a group of people or a fanbase. So with Slipknot, they can be a really tough crowd to win over. And Three Days Grace has a very specific sound and style that their fans like. So the beauty of what we are doing now is that we have the catalogue to appease those who want melody as much as those who want heavy. We went out each night and did exactly that. We kept the old hits in there, but we have so much more stuff at our disposal. It’s always been about putting the best show on as possible, and then seeing the benefits afterwards.”
With ‘Manic’, how do you feel a year on from that record, now that everybody around you and yourselves has had a chance to let it sink in?
Briton: “It feels really good. I feel like the new songs have gone over so well. I think they are incredibly singable, not to say our past stuff isn’t, but there is something out there. We were playing the other night, and you couldn’t hear me. It was that deafening. I also feel like the emotion we were trying to portray with the record has really spoken to people, and you can feel that in the crowd. So many people have told me that they have come out of a dark place, and ‘Manic’ has helped them a lot, which is really crazy to be able to hear. To feel like we are all in this together, and finding our way together, is really special. I feel like we have a blueprint of what we are really good at out of this process, and we hope to take that forward into whatever we make next.”
To be in a place where you both know what you are about but also know that other people love and appreciate it as well, that’s all you could ever ask for out of a writing and creative process, isn’t it?
Cody: “It’s been wild to see and feel that. I feel like the best part of our set at the moment is the block of ‘High Horse, ‘Godspeed’ and ‘Manic’. That part is noticeably a higher energy than the rest. ‘Manic’ also feels like the biggest song of the whole tour, which is cool to know as it’s a really raw and real song. Lyrically, it’s very mental health based and outlines the feeling of a panic attack, something that Briton and I have both been through and dealt with over the last couple of years. Seeing people find healing and connection, not feeling alone, and then finding themselves in the live scenario when 1000 other people around you think the exact same way is emotional. It’s crazy to see what something created in such a dark place can bring to people in the light. We’re finding ourselves on the other side of the world from home, and seeing that connection, it’s priceless.”
How has this period affected your appreciation of the band? What did it mean to have Wage War there for you during the more challenging moments?
Briton: “Playing music live has always been the thing that I have wanted to do. It’s been a very special job for me. But getting back out over this period has really solidified that I have the best job in the world. I will always be chomping at the bit to be able to keep on coming back to this feeling again and again.”
And how is 2023 looking so far?
Cody: “I feel like we will be cooling it a little bit just because of how hard we want this year. It’s by no means an off-year, though, so we will be focused on getting new music together. We will be playing a few shows on both sides of the Atlantic. It will still be busy but certainly not to the scale of what 2022 has been.”
And when you are thinking about new music and the next chapter, what do you feel as though this era has taught you that you are able to take into the future?
Cody: “It may be a cliché, but if it scares you, then do it. I sent the ‘Manic’ demo to the boys a couple of years ago, and they said, ‘This is cool, what’s it for?’ and I said, ‘Oh, this is s Wage War song’. It felt scary at the time because we really didn’t know how it would do or whether people would get it. I was prepared for that, and it’s currently the biggest song on the record right now. I’m taking that to the next record to create things that didn’t sound like us but going out and doing it. I want us to keep on finding ways to innovate when we can. In heavy music, it’s hard not to sound like another band in some way. It’s getting harder and harder to find ways to make something for yourself, but I feel like ‘Manic’ is the first moment we have been able to stamp the Wage Wat identity. So we are going to take all of everything we did with it that step further. Find the extremes of our heavy and the extremes of our melodic and do some weird stuff. We love it and always want to make the music we love, so that will continue to be the goal.”