You never know what you’re going to get when you interview a band, especially a band on the rise, who tend to have more of a sense of entitlement than bigger bands, or those just starting out. Thankfully Steven Bradley and Mike ‘Rickshaw’ Martin of iwrestledabearonce are absolute gentlemen, and the nicest humans in rock – even if they are, in their own words, a bit weird.
Christine Backer caught up with them before their show at the Relentless Garage in London to talk about everything from medical marijuana to Mariah Carey. As you do.
OneMetalYour music is pretty out there, what inspired you to do this?
StevenWe’re weird. We’re ADD.
MikeYeah, I get really bored, really fast.
StevenMedical Marijuana… that doesn’t exist here…
MikeI just feel like most bands play breakdowns throughout their whole song, and that’s kinda boring. So, You know, growing up listening to metal and shit you just start going “Damn, everything’s boring.” So that’s pretty much what happened, we started getting high and drunk…
StevenAnd to be honest we’re just weird anyway… It’s not really forced or planned.
MikeI like more than just metal.
StevenThe next album’s gonna be an RnB record actually. I wish.
OneMetalHow would you classify your music? Is it metal?
MikeIs it metal?
OneMetalThat’s what I’m asking you!
Mike(sarcastically) IWABO doesn’t ‘label’ itself. We let the fans speak.
StevenThe fan. There’s only one. He was at the bar earlier, we met him. Umm. I dunno, tech, jazz, metal, grind…
MikeThere’s too many names!
StevenElectro… I don’t like to use the word progressive because you immediately sound like a fucking asshole when you use the word progressive so… not that. I guess it would be progressive in that we’re trying to progress forward.
MikeThere are bands that aren’t progressive at all… that progressed.
StevenYeah, but they’re all a lot bigger than us. We’re regressive! We’ve regressed! We get smaller as the days go on.
OneMetalThere is an obvious humour to what you do, from the song titles to the music itself. Did you set out to be funny, or did it just happen naturally?
StevenWell… You can’t say that you’re funny but.. It’s like the same thing, we don’t like to say that we’re good looking, we just let it speak for itself really.
MikeIt’s not that we’re funny but, if we have to sit in a room for more than 15 minutes without a TV on then we have to start talking, and if we’re gonna talk for more than 14 seconds then it has to be funny or else we have to go out or something.
StevenI’d say we all just make a joke out of everything. It’s how we cope with life and being in a vehicle with each other for 200 and whatever days out of the year.
MikeWe’ve all bought the gun, but then we started making jokes instead and just never decided to use it. Right? And then we got broke, and sold the gun.
StevenI might actually kill myself with the money I got from selling my gun. Strangle myself with quarters.
MikeThe only other way I’d go out is by laying my head on the train tracks… Wait it out…
Steven…. So anyway… We’re all idiots, we don’t go out of our way to be humourous, we just can’t take shit seriously. We mentioned handsome right?
OneMetalRuining It For Everybody is impossible to review on a track by track basis as the songs bleed into each other and take elements from other songs to pull it all together. How do you write this?
StevenIt’s song by song, then we’ll notice things kind of go together and sort of work with that but it’s definitely, like, I don’t know. Each song is kind of like “Oh Christ, finally that one’s done! Let’s do another one!” Despite the fact it’s only 2 and a half minutes, some of them have 100 fucking ideas in one song so… I don’t know, we mentioned drinking and smoking right? That helps.
MikeWe actually just record one big song then chop it up…
StevenI wish. We’re not Between The Buried & Me, we’re not actually talented.
MikeWe just chop it up and rearrange it.
StevenWe don’t do that.
MikeNah, we don’t do that.
OneMetalWhat bands are you into as a group? What inspires you?
StevenMariah Carey. We’ve listened to a lot of Mariah Carey. Ginuwine.
MikeBoys II Men. Usher, I like Usher a lot.
StevenGushers, the fruit snack. I don’t know if you’ve got those in the UK?
StevenThat’s just you. I’m kidding. Everyone likes Brian McKnight. Realistically? Deftones, Slipknot, Glassjaw, Refused. Like, literally everything.
MikeYeah, Deftones are actually my favourite band.
StevenFrom stuff like that to other weirder, grindier shit. Honestly I think most of us don’t listen to the heavier stuff anymore and haven’t for years now, but we still love playing and writing it.
MikeI only really like two of the heavier bands, and have done for the past two years.
StevenLet’s see, Animals as Leaders and Pantera? That’s what you were gonna say right?
StevenOk, next question.
StevenThere’s not an ‘s’ on their name, so you’ve already failed.
Steven…and there’s a ‘the’ in front of it.
OneMetalWhat can fans expect from a live show? Is your live show as unique as your music?
StevenI like to sit in a chair. Sip wine out of a goblet. Talk about Satan… No, we break a lot of shit and have a lot of fun, dive off shit. Shows are supposed to be fun, it’s weird to me especially in the UK, I have to say, and I don’t wanna talk shit, but out of anyone on Earth in the UK you get more fucking cellphone-looking, bored, leaning on the bar drinking a pint or whatever people than, I swear to Christ, any other country on Earth. It’s fucking mind boggling. It’s confusing to me, I’m like ‘I think you paid money to be here?!’ Just have fun! We’re not the kind of band that’s like “Fucking fight everyone, fuck shit up” but it’s like, when I pay money to go to a show then I’m at least dancing or diving off shit or something, I’m not standing in the back fixing my fucking hair off my cellphone mirror… Again, that’s not everyone, there’s plenty of people who aren’t like that…
MikeBands love to see high energy kids… UK, just to let you know!
StevenYou don’t have to be punching the person next to you like an ignorant fucking mosh-fest. Although that’s fine too!
MikeJust jump up and down every once in awhile!
StevenAt least (your) phone’s in your pocket and you’re flipping us off…. something!
OneMetalWhere is your favourite place to play in the world? Who has the best crowds?
StevenRussia was fucking insane. Japan… nutty. There’s plenty of cities in America where people are goddamn maniacs. Pretty much all of Texas, people are sick in the head.
MikeDefinitely, the South is definitely nutty.
StevenPeople in the South have got nothing to live for.
MikeThere was a show in San Antonio, we’d played there before, and it was just a bad ass show. There was at least four or five kids on stage the whole set, backflipping off.
StevenThat was Moscow too. Except people would kiss us, on the lips, then backflip off stage. It was awesome. There were plenty of places though, Paris was awesome. In the States too, it’s just random, like Worcester Massachusetts is consistently one of the crazier shows on the tour.
MikeLong Beach. In Long Beach we played a boat show…
StevenWe shut a boat down!
MikeThey pulled the plug on our set because so many kids came onstage.
StevenIt got bad, like literally the entire venue jumped onstage, started ripping the ceiling down. London’s actually cool, I guess coz it’s a bigger city so the shows are always bigger and crazier. We have plenty of insane shows like Underworld, Electric Ballroom, just insane as shit. When we played Underworld there was a guy in like a full bear costume jumping off the fucking balcony. I guess the past couple of shows in the UK have just been…
MikeSometimes you come from mainland Europe and it’s been crazy then you get here and everyone’s just like “what’s up?!”
StevenIt’s so weird though, you’d think Southern California would be like that – everyone’s stoned!
OneMetalWhat are you doing after your tour?
StevenNew album. Tour until mid December then new album. Hopefully it’ll be out by next spring or next summer.
MikeI’d say next summer.
StevenIt’ll probably come out to line up with whatever summer tour we’re doing. Hopefully some festivals, European festivals. We’d like to be back here next summer.