War Baby

"...We declare war. We’ll make our own spot."

photo by Robert Fougere
photo by Robert Fougere

  War Baby is a Vancouver-based trio that smells faintly similar to teen spirit. Don’t worry, they’re the first to admit that the Seattle sounds of yesteryear top their list of musical influences – but so does the musical genius of Phil Collins. Australian drummer Kirby Fischer left the Gold Coast and landed in Canada on a pilgrimage to find bandmates with similar style, taste and senses of humour and was rewarded in his efforts by making the acquaintance of Jon Redditt. The twosome recruited a bassist to fill out what low gauge strings, distortion and double-kick drumming could not and thus were joined by sea captain Aaron Weiss.

  The band is poised to release a new album in the upcoming months, including a re-release of the stand out track “Black Swan,” originally from their debut EP Permanent Frown. Their Cobain-esque vocals, simple bass riffs, eruptions of guitar and machine-gun precise drumming are a refreshing throwback. Discorder sat down with the band to discuss how they to got together and how comedy factors into their music.

Discorder: So, War Baby started out as a two-piece?

Kirby Fischer: Yeah, it started in late 2008. When I was in Australia my friend Blake was here and told me about Jon. It was really hard to meet anybody like that back home; everybody either liked Sublime or… Sublime. Long story short I finally got here and got introduced to him and had a jam. What made us rush it is that we stupidly booked a show when we had been a band for two months.

D: How was the first show?

Jon Redditt: We were supposed to open for a band I used to be in from Calgary at the Media Club, but it snowed and they got stuck and the show was canceled.

KF: But we still wanted to play a show, so we rang Wendy 13 from the Cobalt and basically lied that we were some crazy punk band. We played the show, it was fine, you know, first show jitters, over-and-done, but she fucking hated us!

D: When did you decide you needed a bass player?

KF: The very very first jam we ever had was with a buddy of ours on bass but he was too busy to do it. We could never find anybody that had the same sense of humour, because that’s the most important, or find someone who was cool because there’s just so many fucking asshole musicians! It was never a conscious, White Stripes-gimmicky duo thing.

JR: It was just [a matter of] finding the right person.

D: How did you come up with the name War Baby and what does it mean?

JR: It’s kind of a cross-section of things. Its a generational term. At our first jam, I threw out three names; one of them was Bonkers, the other was Melting Witch, which became a song title, and the other one was War Baby, which was by far the best.

KF: We were playing all these shows and 90 per cent of the time we never felt like we had anywhere, there was no place for us. It was like, “you sound like Arcade Fire” or [you sound like] “Black Sabbath”. We couldn’t find the middle ground. So we were like, yeah, we declare war. We’ll make our own spot. We’re far from it, but we’re trying our hardest!

D: It’s kind of a juxtaposition for a heavy band to say they have a sense of humour, but it seems to work for you guys.

Aaron Weiss: Are we a heavy band? I don’t really see us as a heavy band.

KF: It depends. Back home the scenes blend, whereas here everything seems a bit cliquey. We’re definitely heavy, but at the same time Jon and I are obsessed with pop music. Phil Collins is my hero! I’m obsessed. When you’re a band in the city, playing in the scene, having an emphasis on pop and melody is not cool.

D: It’s easy to see the humour and artistic sense in your YouTube videos too. Who made those?

JR: We did, all except for one.

KF: I think the reason the humour works is because it’s like when you meet a girl and if she’s not laughing at your jokes, you can’t date her. It’s not going to go anywhere.

AW: You’re just going to be the goof forever!

KF: I think “Goof Forever” is a good name for this album by the way!

JR: Rat goofs!

KF: If you have the same sense of humour you’re more than likely going to have the same taste in music and you’re going to at least hate the same things. That’s more important than if you love the same things.

D: I’ve heard you guys have some interesting day jobs?

AW: I’m ahh…

JR: Aaron, you should be proud standing next to us.

AW: The technical name for my job is “Tug Master,” or you could call me a seaman; I run tug boats.

KF: I run a vintage clothing company and wholesale online.

JR: I pick vintage and do part-time pest control for the Portland Hotel Society.

D: How’s the vintage business?

KF: Certain vintage pieces are worth a bit of money. I found a really old pair of jeans and got enough to pay for the recording. If I find another pair we’ll get the record out really soon.

D: Well, we’re looking forward to it very much!