The Warned is a five-piece rock band from Orange County. At a recording studio in Orange, Justin and Jesse Warn, Robbie Coleman, and Steve Sievers discussed their musical influences and the upcoming album.
What kind of bands were you in before The Warned formed?
(Steve) I was in a hardcore band in high school. Out of high school I was in an alternative rock, more mainstream thing. Justin our singer was the drummer in that band. That’s pretty much it for me.
(Jesse) I started out playing blues. I did a couple of those when I was a little kid. Then thrash punk and the underground punk scene. Then I moved on to hardcore and metal. Now I think we’re a little more commercial alternative rock.
How do you go from blues to thrash punk?
(Jesse) High school. I got angry somewhere.
(Robbie) I just kind of grew up in the hardcore scene and did the hardcore bands. Then I started branching out, doing a little bit of jazz, doing stuff with churches. A Latin rock band I played for, blues stuff, whatever. Wherever I could get some gigs. This type of music is more along the lines of what I’m passionate about.
Was there any band, or couple of bands that made you want to start playing?
(Jesse) When I was in seventh grade I had a band called Safety in Numbers. Not exactly pop-punk, more like alternative punk. I was in seventh grade and we did our first demo Being in the studio and seeing what the big dogs were doing really gave me that extra boost, made me really want to do it the rest of my life.
(Steve) You mean like bigger bands?
Yeah, who were you listening to that led you in this direction?
(Justin) We like Deftones a lot. We used to watch them a bunch.
(Justin) Far, Thrice Finch.
(Steve) Focused. There was a scene called the Spirit-filled hardcore scene. They played in churches all the time. We’d go and kids would get gnarly and mosh and just get crazy. That’s where we started.
(Jesse) I think I was more inspired by classic rock. That’s what my parents force-fed me when I was a kid. Fleetwood Mac, the Stones, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Big Brother and the Holding Company. All those bands got me into the blues-rock.
(Justin) I grew up with Phil Collins.
(Steve) I grew up with Anita Baker.
(Justin) That’s why you have so much soul.
When someone finds out you’re in a band, and they want to know what your band is about, what do you tell them?
(Justin) I tell them it’s music with a purpose and a meaning. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. If you get to know us, you’ll know that. But we have serious messages and we want to get things across to maybe open their eyes in a different light. A lot of bands are out there being goofy and that has its place.
(Jesse) A lot of bands are out there for chicks and glory.
(Justin) Oh and we’re not?
(Jesse) A lot of bands today are in it for the drugs, sex, and rock and roll. They just want to be huge. We’re in it for the music. We want to reach people. Nothing better than hearing younger generations putting your music on their iPods. It’s a good feeling and we try to give them a positive message. Try and change the world one little thing at a time.
(Justin) But keep it fun at the same time.
(Jesse) We’re fun guys, really.
What’s a typical show like?
(Justin) We usually come out with a lot of noise, a lot of energy and a lot of emotion brought forth.
(Jesse) We feel it and I think it really portrays to the crowd. That’s a big thing. Feeling it takes you to a different place. It’s almost like a high.
(Justin) It’s definitely like an out-of-body experience.
No costumes though?
(Jesse) Justin came out in a panda outfit, but that didn’t work.
(Justin) I have that sequined number.
(Jesse) That’s kinda Freddy Mercury.
(Justin) No outfits. There’s no gimmicks. If we had money, we’d do some fireworks and pyrotechnics. That’s for sure.
(Jesse) Oh yeah. We’d be blowing crap up all over the country.
(Justin) Hopefully, we can incorporate a visual show when the money’s there.
(Jesse) Get you a jet-pack.
(Justin) We’ve got someone working on that.
(Jesse) Some zip-lines too.
(Justin) We look all right. We look very good I think.
(Jesse) We’re very good looking.
(Justin) We’re the normal guys. When we go onstage, we don’t all have to look the same wearing a suit. We look good and every one of us has our own style. Bringing that together people realize, “They can rock it and they’re a little bit like us.”
(Jesse) We’re kind of like an omelette. A mixture of really good, tasty stuff.
(Justin) We’re like an omelette.
A musical omelette.
(Justin and Jesse) A musical omelette!
I think you have an album title.
(Justin) Use that in some press releases or something. We all have so many different influences and styles that we all like. Then when we come together it just melds into something that I feel is very special.
(Jesse) It’s really a neat thing. We’re all into different kinds of music. Our styles are pretty much all different. Somehow we’re able to come together and turn it into one mess of goodness.
(Justin) We compliment each other.
I know you guys are recording. Tell me about your recording process.
(Justin) This one, or the one we did before?
The one you’re working on now.
(Jesse) Finishing up drum tracks on this one, we have a twenty-four hour block, so it’s pretty much been straight through.
(Justin) We took about five hours to sleep.
Sleep is overrated.
(Justin) It is. As long as Starbucks keeps making those big things, we’ll be able to keep going. Our drummer Robbie is amazing and he’s so dedicated to his craft, we just kind of let him play his parts. We might have a suggestion here or there. He goes in and lays it down. From that point, Steve will lay bass, and Jesse will do guitars. As this is all going, I’m kind of milling it around in my head. Thinking over some ideas, but nothing is set in stone. I’ll go in and I’ll lay some rough vocals down, just to hear where we’re vibing. When stuff is weird, we move it out. The recording process is really cool because you don’t really know where it’s going. It’s kind of art in the moment.
(Jesse) New stuff comes out. We write new parts from it.
(Justin) On the vocals, I really have to vibe on the energy of what everybody is doing. It inspires me to create my own parts in a different way. In a lot of bands, maybe one person will write the whole song and show it to the band. Ours is a collective effort. It kind of melts together.
(Jesse) It just randomly falls in. “Gravity,” a song that’s coming out on our next album, I think we wrote that song in twenty minutes. Other songs come together in three weeks.
(Justin) Or three months. We’ve got one that’s probably two years old that isn’t finished. They’re getting done slowly but surely. The recording process is fun. We got a great team of people: great group of guys, great engineer. We got a great manager. It’s inspiring because there are people that want this to succeed and for us to explore different avenues we may not have thought of. He (Steve Glowalla, the manager) is a big advocate of that, pushing us. Pushing us to think outside the box. Sometimes we get into this area where we don’t focus outside the box.
You play it the way you rehearse it.
(Justin) Then we kind of experiment.
(Jesse) Something between me and the other guitarist just clicks. It’s weird. We know our next step, so we just kind of flow off of each other. He’s a big part in the learning process.
(Justin) And he does anything you tell him to. [laughter]
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
(Jesse) Probably producing. I’d be on the other side of the glass. I really want to do composing and scores. If I weren’t making music, I’d definitely be behind the board. Or stripping.
(Justin) That was the other option. I got a cool job. I do tattoos.
(Jesse) Get a plug in there. Costa Mesa Tattoo dot com. [laughter]
(Justin) I might be a vagrant at this point.
(Jesse) A hobo on a train.
Good way to see the country.
(Jesse) We could tour on a train.
(Justin) I’ll bring a banjo. We just want to do this because we love it so much. Who wouldn’t want to do what they love to do? There are so many bands that are great but can’t make a living at it. Hopefully, we can be blessed with somebody who wants to put some money into it. Really it boils down to having the money to get the stuff out there. Without that, it’s just a website and people can come and check out your local shows. We just love it. We’re gonna run with it as hard and as far as we can. It’s just something we feel in our hearts. We would still play because it’s fun. And we have nothing better to do.
For more information about The Warned, visit http://thewarned.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/thewarned.