1. Hi, it’s a pleasure for us to have on HARDROCKHEAVYMETAL Scott Waldrop guitarist of WALPYRGUS! Let’s start talking about the early days of the band; When is this all begun?
Scott Waldrop: It was 2012, I was not doing much with my music at the time as some of my band mates in Twisted Tower Dire lived far away. Also, Marc & Dave of TTD were busy with other projects at the time, so I was getting “itchy” to do something musically. I wanted to have a Raleigh NC-based band to rehearse with often and write original music so I didn’t become some old decrepit motherfucker in the guitar shop talking about how “I used to play music”. I needed a new band because I’m so often brimming with ideas that I’ll go crazy if I don’t have a creative outlet to get them out of my brain. Anyway, I already had Aune & Jim (TTD vox & bass) living near me in Raleigh. I had no interest in starting a new band with people I didn’t already know and trust. I’d rather NOT play music if it came to placing ads in the paper like I did when I was 15. I knew Peter (drums) and Charley (guitar) and I wanted any excuse I could find to start a band with those guys as they’re both very talented. They were under my “I’m going to steal you” radar for years. I called everyone up on a drunken whim and said, “Hey, do you want to join my awesome new band.” Ha ha. Everyone did accept my call that day and joined the band immediately. I should add that other than just being “lost” without anything to do musically, I was also developing into a very heavy drinker and I wasn’t quite sure at the time how to start picking myself up. I had come to the acceptance of knowing that I was an alcoholic but instead of putting the bottle down, I thought starting a new band would help me feel better about myself. Walpyrgus did come together wonderfully and I’m proud of it, but I think the band was really born out of me trying to avoid my deeper problems which I managed to face a bit later. It was a first step though, so it’s a thing of beauty.
2. We’re listening to your first full-length called WALPURGYS NIGHTS! Can you say us somethin’about that and its composition process? I’m totally fallen in love for this album, with a mix of influences but with an own special style..
Scott Waldrop: Thank you so much! It’s so nice to hear that people understand you as an artist and that they can take something from your music with them on this life’s journey that it brings them a little joy. I usually will start with a topic such as ‘coming of age and losing innocence due to the world’s various evils’ - hence the song “Dead Girls”. I will try to be thinking of a catchy and unique/creative song title that will be in the hook of the chorus. About 10-15 years ago while writing music for Twisted Tower Dire, I began to study what really makes a great song. I wasn’t necessarily interested it what makes a ‘metal song’ good but rather any contemporary pop song written from the golden age of pop music (the 50’s) up until now. So, I have my “pop” influences and then I have my “metal” influences. For pop, I like song writers like The Beatles, Bob Marley, Willie Nelson, Sam Cooke etc. Then for metal/punk I like Maiden, Lizzy, Sex Pistols, Misfits, old Slayer, BOC etc. I’ll begin writing a song with open guitar chords and some lyrics. I just write a song and develop it on an acoustic guitar and get it to the point where if I wanted to, I could go and sing it solo at a coffee bar despite the lyrics being fucked up and gruesome, ha ha.When I feel like the structure of the song is solid, I go into my home studio and turn it into a “metal” song. Imagine a metal band trying tofigure out how to cover “Material Girl” by Madonna or “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding – that’s basically what I’m doing with my own songs. I’ll take the basic chords and turn them into metal riffs. I’ll map the song out again by playing these riffs to a drum machine. Then I ‘ll sing over it so Jonny has an idea of what to do. Most of the ideas and inspiration come while I’m running or at complete random when I’m not “seeking” ideas. I have notebooks of ideas scribbled furiously that only make sense to me but I can go back and look at them years later and remember the song idea. Thus, I have a catalogue of ideas in my own brain (and on paper) that I sort-of “file away” for later use. Some of the ideas of have been there since childhood.
3. What’s your feeling about music business today and about a classic format like vinyl?
Scott Waldrop: Things are changing so quickly with the way information is shared and it’s hard NOT to be resistant to it as a middle-aged dude. However, if you’re going to be an entrepreneur or artist of any sort these days, it’s incumbent upon you to learn and embrace these tools as they are very powerful. I had the privilege of living right through the golden age of pop music with MTV and vinyl. I saw the rise and fall of music videos. I worked in a record store for 7 years right before the CD’s relevance started to be eclipsed by digital audio files. The medium in which music is delivered is in constant flux and you just need to calmly “float in this river” and enjoy the ride as a musician. Record labels are no longer the “Gatekeepers” if you want to get your message out. Labels will come to you if they’re interested in the hard work you’ve already done. I think the only reason you should associate with a label is if A) they WANT to work for you and you’re not begging them B) you don’t have the time to track down the press and spend time on social media to get your word out C) you don’t have the money to have your music produced properly for wide acceptance. As for vinyl, the only reasons it was ousted as a format was the cassette and then the digital age. Its unwieldy size meant it was not car-friendly for all us party rockers that needed to drink beer and listen to Van Halen on the road. The digital age brought on that snobbery about superior sound quality. True – digital sound is crisp but vinyl through a tube amp is more dynamic and intimate. In an age where you have mp3’s and no tangible evidence or souvenir of your favorite band save perhaps a t-shirt, it makes total sense that this artwork-rich format would thrive once again. LP’s in and of themselves are beautiful art pieces with the glossy gatefolds and the sleek often-colored vinyl. They’re fun to collect and look at on your shelf in the same sense that you would still want to keep books that changed your life or vintage Star Wars toys. It’s fun to gather “stuff” to have around you to feed the ego and give yourself a brief sense of “self” in this fleeting blink of an eye we call life.
4. Your album is out on CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC, an Italian label. Which are the relationships with them?
Scott Waldrop: Cruz Del Sur Music put out our other bands Twisted Tower Dire and While Heaven Wept so they’re already very familiar to us. We knew we’d be treated well. Our music isn’t as popular in America as it is over in Europe. There are labels here in America which may have been interested but CDSM always shows the most “enthusiasm” for what Walpyrgus/Twisted Tower Direand our other projects are creating and that’s the most important factor. If your label is putting you out there half-heartedly you might as well be independent. Enrico really has the ability and reach to take our stuff and distribute it further than we could. You can order the CD from Target here in America which is a big deal. He hires great PR people like Clawhammer and Suer Shot Worx that get us interviews, reviews and help with social media so that’s “everything” to me. I try to squeeze a lot into this one life I’ve got and time away from my computer is cherished. I’d have to sit on my ass all day and do nothing but beg people to listen to my album if we didn’t have Enrico helping us. We’re a total team. We worked very hard to give him a product he can move. We went the extra mile and did stuff like make a comic book, hire a well-known artist to do the cover art, hired pro photographer Robert Campbell here in Raleigh (the best metal band photographer in the region I think). So, Enrico reciprocates our hard work. He has the CD’s and LP’s printed at the best places and so on and so forth. Also, I have a great deal of respect for his taste in music. As far as the bands he has on the label, you know – it’s the place I want to call home. It’s a place where lots of our friends are like Slough Feg, Argus, TTD, WHW, etc …
5. I love the cover of your album..Can you tell us somethin’about that? Who made it?
Scott Waldrop: Thanks! I love it too ha ha. It was done by Gustavo Sazes who is a rather famous heavy metal cover artist. He had done work for While Heaven Wept and was friends with Tom so that’s how that connection came about. It is a photo of the “Walpyrgus Tombstone” which you see in most of our artwork and our EP cover. It’s our icon or “logo within a logo”. It’s supposed to be one of those simple things you immediately recognize and connect with the band - like The Misfits skull. I wasted my parents’ money by taking several semesters of sculpture in college so I put some of those skills to use by making these rather largetombstone stage props made from shellac, drywall mud and wood. Gustavo had me take photographs of these things in all sorts of different lighting around my house and then he “recreated it” in Photoshop. As for all the background “ancient cemetery” stuff – these were my concepts. I made a photoshop version of what I saw in my head by taking chunks of photos off google and sending him the example. Then, Gustavo took these ideas and made them look “good” - for there is no better word, ha ha. I was going for more of a black/purple Sabbathy vibe in my example, but he came back with this “blood red” motif and it was instantly catchy. There were a bunch of different versions he sent where the band’s logo was black or white but we wound up using that “dead skin” color as it was reminiscent of the Slayer “Reign in Blood” layout and it just contrasted so well. Jim Hunter and I were very particular about how the logo was positioned and its color as him and I designed it and it was important to us that it was displayed prominently and correctly.
7. Can you give us some info about your next projects and gigs?
Scott Waldrop: I’ve got a lot going on which I’m very happy about! There are new Walpyrgus songs that I have demoed and they showcase a wide array of influences from a very thrashy old-school Slayer sort of song, to a drudging Doom song that almost sounds like it could be from a band on Sub Pop Records. The trick with Walpyrgus is to showcase a spectrum of eclectic references seamlessly – you know, so that it doesn’t seem like we have an “identity crisis”. Not sure what will happen with these songs just yet. I’m sitting back and waiting to see how the album does over the year. If there is a demand for more Walpyrgus music then we’ll make it happen. We’ll (Walpyrgus) be making a live appearance with Twisted Tower Dire at Jarvis Leatherby’s (Night Demon) Fest “Frost and Fire” III this coming October: https://www.facebook.com/events/364057710637390/ If you would like to connect with Walpyrgus on social media, buy our merch, and hear our tunes it’s all there at www.walpyrgus.comAs for Twisted Tower Dire, we are working on a new album with about 10 songs. This has mainly been Dave Boyd and Marc Stauffer’s undertaking with me adding a small amount of arrangement suggestions and contributing to about half of the lyrics. My focus on the new TTD is to write great guitar solos, and to help Dave realize his vision so that he can have a TTD album that’s “his baby”. If you want to connect w/ TTD we mainly reside on Facebook for now at: https://www.facebook.com/TwistedTowerDire/ We hope to have a new site up sometime this year where you can connect with us and buy stuff, but right now we’re concentrating on “resurrecting” ourselves. Outside of music – yet connected in its universal importance, is the charity work I do with an organization called The Herren Project. I was a very heavy drinker and recreational drug user since I was 13. My addiction started to become a very dark and visible problem for me in my mid 30’s. I was very overweight, highly addicted to cigarettes and a daily drinker (usually ending in me angrily blacking out). To simplify a very long and convoluted story – I found peace, fitness and sobriety through long distance running as my father did before me. I found like-minded people in The Herren Project that are filled with gratitude and dedicated to give back and help those with mental illness and addiction. It’s something that touches all of us. I am running The Leadville Trail 100 this August to raise money to help folks that are like myself. There’s a lot of us out there. Heavy drinking and drug-use is very normalized today and many of us don’t end the party when we’re supposed to. If this resonates with you please check out my crowdrise page where I bear my soul concerning my alcoholism and recovery at: www.ultrarunvegan.com If my story touches you or resonates with you, please donate anything you can. You can connect with me personally on Twitter & Instagram at the handle @ultrarunvegan Please feel free to share your story with me if you wish and know that there is help and redemption for those of us who are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Please reach out to The Herren Project were there many resources for addicts and their family if you should need to: www.theherrenproject.org
Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on HARDROCKHEAVYMETAL!