Im Sommer 1998 landete Chat-Show-Host Harald Schmidt einen Wirkungstreffer, als er den letztmalig bei einer Fußball-WM eingesetzten Stürmer Jürgen Klinsmann als Warmduscher titulierte. Schmidt wiederholte das Wort fortwährend, machte es zum Trending Topic und wurde dafür vom strengen Deutschen Fußball-Bund vors Gericht gezerrt. Weit entspannter reagierte Thilo Markwort. Der Techno-DJ nannte sich Warmduscher und feierte mit der Single Auf die Fresse wenig später seinen größten Chart-Erfolg in Deutschland.
Unlängst staunten Musikschaffende nicht schlecht, als der Name Warmduscher in der Veröffentlichungsliste des englischen Labels Bella Union auftauchte. Ausgerechnet. Dessen Gründer Simon Raymonde und Robin Guthrie, ehemals Mitglieder der Cocteau Twins, sind für Feingefühl bekannt. Nun kümmert man sich um eine seit 2015 existierende Londoner Band, die auf Remmidemmi jeder Art steht, politische Korrektheit nicht so erforderlich findet, Humor dafür umso mehr und einen Sound zwischen Garagenrock, Post-Punk, Electro und Funk anbietet. Man stelle sich Fun Lovin‘ Criminals, Electric Six, Alabama 3 und Fat White Family vor, irgendwas Frivoles und Ungezogenes, schon ist man mittendrin. Angeführt wird das Ganze von Clams Baker jr. Er ist in den USA auf der Halbinsel Cape Cod aufgewachsen und war lange in der New Yorker Clubszene unterwegs. Vor 13 Jahren siedelte er nach London um. Im Gespräch erwähnt einige seiner musikalischen Stationen. Hauptsächlich geht es um At The Hotspot, das vierte Album von Warmduscher. Grundbotschaft: Leiden vermeiden, leben wie auf der Feierstrecke. Reisebegleiter: Joe Goddard und Al Doyle von Hot Chip.
Gerne hätten wir uns das auf der Bühne angesehen. Für Berlin hatten sich Warmduscher genau den richtigen Termin ausgesucht. Wie gerne hätte man mit ihnen am Abend des 30. April Krawall veranstaltet! Aber die Shows in Kontinentaleuropa mussten verlegt werden. Im großbritischen Revier hört man nur Gutes, die Shows sind fast alle ausverkauft. Weil Clams ein echter Simpatico ist, hat er sich trotz aller Unbill Zeit genommen und seine Sicht der Dinge erklärt.
How do you sum up the first seven years in the band?
It‘s been a whirlwind for one. We started out as an improv band, it came about at a party because we‘re all friends in the South London scene. We got together for a New Year‘s Eve party and played. It was fun doing it, we got on as a band, continued and played at a house party for Mica Levi. Then Dan Carey had seen us, he wanted to record us, that took it to the next level. Since our second album Whale City we‘re gelling constantly as friends and musicians. We‘re all from different backgrounds, but we‘re all coming together through the love of music. Ben (Romans-Hopcraft, bass) might come in and bring one song, Adam (J. Harmer, guitar) might come in and bring another one and then we all blend it together and put our take on it. The last seen years have been starting chaotic. It‘s still chaotic in the sense that it‘s busy work-wise, but more structured and serious, I guess….
Serious you aren‘t, Clams. You‘re talking about a life that a lot of people don‘t know or accept. It‘s hedonistic, fun, dirty and dangerous. Do you love the nasty side in mankind?
Haha, nothing‘s ever really contrived. It‘s unspoken. I‘ve been in the nightclub world since I‘m 20 years old, which is about 50.000 years ago. (laughs) We come from acid house backgrounds and club promotion and Adam, the guitarist, is also in the Fat White Family. When it comes to vocals and lyrics it‘s me, that‘s my job. If anything were to be contrived I‘d say I do consciously try to make a decision to keep a sense of danger alive. Nowadays you get a lot of people that are sooooo heartfelt. You lose the stuff I used to like when I was growing up that are more rock‘n‘roll. Feeling a little bit scared or getting into a situation that is a little bit sleazy. I do make a conscious decision to maintain that. The day I start talking about my poor bad day, I‘m sure they‘re going to say we‘re not going to do that…(laughs)
In Twitchin‘ In The Kitchen you‘re describing a party scene: „Two four out the door, sniff it off the kitchen floor, let‘s go“. A lot of radio stations don‘t play songs with explicit lyrics. How do you approach a world in which you can‘t always say what you want?
We just say what we want, that‘s probably why I‘m still working cheque to cheque. (laughs) It does what it says on the tin. The day I‘m thinking oh gosh I can‘t say that, it‘s not going to work. I‘ve done it once in my own things in the past, I‘ve done a song when I was in one of these existential crises, I‘m talking about eight or ten years ago. I just got a publishing deal and needed to write an album and I was freaking out: Oh my God, I gotta be heartfelt and blah blah blah. I wrote this story about me growing up and Iiterally got the worst review I ever got in my life. Worrying about stuff to me is nonsense.
There is a radio edit for the song Fatso.
Initially there was a question whether we could keep in the words Viagra and Peruvian gold. If you can‘t say that in a song what it conjures up in your mind, then I don‘t want to put this song to radio. It‘s silly. It‘s describing a moment of what people do, taking Viagra and having sex, you know….(laughs)… is pretty normal. If you‘re threatened by something like that, I don‘t think it‘s worth doing.
In Wild Flowers you‘re using a lot of F-words, you‘re ranting like an angry man. Is which kind of situation have you been in when you wrote that song?
With that I was sitting down during lockdown. I was working on that song and I couldn‘t figure how I was going to do the vocals. I got so angry, it was at the end of the day and I did that, I closed my eyes and improvised. That was it. It was out of a frustration, one of being locked in and sitting around with nothing to do, and two being frustrated with the actual song, what I was trying to do not getting it. And then I got it almost as a joke and I sent to the guys. They all loved it. If everyone‘s happy, I‘m happy.
How did you deal with life changes during the pandemic? Did you reach a point where you thought you can‘t do it anymore or did you know right away you have to approach things in a different manner?
Initially I was relieved in a weird way because I was touring so much. I‘m also in a project called Paranoid London, which is an acid house club thing. I was happy to slow down. Initially it was a breath of fresh air. It was a horrible situation of course, but it gave me time to slow down and think. And then it was like – boom! – I got so antsy, I always need to do do something. I‘m very neurotic, I need to be prolific. Luckily I‘m signed as a writer to Domino Publishing and they have a writing room. When they started saying you can go to work as long as you‘re isolated it was perfect, because it is a studio in a basement. I was going there and trying to stay busy and mentally focussed. At he same time I was being evicted from my place. The flat that I‘ve lived in for 13 years with my kids got sold and I was trying to get a council house but couldn‘t get any of that. Luckily the situation worked itself out, I didn‘t have to leave because the court system shut down during Covid. I was super all over the place, I had no money coming in, no work coming in, got evicted, got kids…it was fucked up.
Joe Goddard and Al Doyle helped you to get back on track. How is it working with them as producers compared to the job Dan Carey did before?
Dan has seen us at a house party, his attraction to us was the live element, he always wanted to capture that. We would do things super fast and live with no bells and whistles, the main thing was capturing the energy of the takes. Joe and Al come from an electronic and dancier vibe which makes total sense for us. Mainly we had a bit more time with them, ten days instead of five with Dan. We didn‘t have to rush, we could explore ideas a little bit more. Initially we recorded everything in a room live, but we had more time to go back and think: What if we add this, what if we add that, like overdubs? I stumbled into the situation with Joe and Al because I was working on another project with them, they just asked me to come in and do a vocal. As I was in there working on that, I got the news that Dan was going to be delayed again because of Covid, and they were: Oh, we‘ll do it! It was a happy accident.
That other project you‘re talking about is helmed by Iggor Cavalera from Sepultura and Cavalera Conspiracy.
We did an EP together, it was playlisted and on the radio. It went under the name Mixhell & Joe Goddard featuring Mutado Pintado – which is another name I go by. Crocodile Boots was the name of the song that did really well, Soulwax remixed it. It‘s one big family really. Then Iggor and his wife Laima were in with Joe and Joe brought Al in to do a project they‘re doing themselves. They asked me to come in and I did four tracks vocally. Iggor‘s got this insane studio setup. Him and Laima have got a lot of modular synths. He‘s an immense drummer, but he‘s also doing a lot of exploration with noise and sound through synths. It‘s totally different from the Sepultura and hardcore stuff. He‘s also got a band called Petbrick that I love. It‘s with Wayne Adams from Big Lad and him on the drums, it‘s very intense electronic noise with drumming and heavy vocals, it‘s one of my favourite things.
Last time you had Iggy Pop and Kool Keith as guests on a Warmduscher record, now it‘s Buck Angel who appears at the start of the new album. Why is he a great companion?
When I was living in New York City around the year 2000 I went to a place called The Box. It‘s like a cabaret club, but they do some really wild stuff in there, anything goes, fearful. I was there one night randomly with a friend and it was a Buck Angel movie release night. They were playing parts of the movies and Buck did stuff on top of that. I‘ve never seen anything like it. Through that I became obsessed with Buck Angel and what he‘s doing. Over the time I saw his Instagram. saw what he posted and I just messaged him. What he represents is what I really like. I really find amazing qualities in people on the edge, who are going to be themselves at any cost and comfortable in what they are and who they are.
I have to ask you about a certain German producer who in 1999 had a hit single over here called Auf die Fresse (Right In The Kisser)…
…you mean the techno DJ Warmduscher? Yeah, I know!
He also had a hit in 2008 with Lauge im Auge (or Lye In The Eye, funnily enough).
Exactly your kind of fella. What do you make of his stuff?
I got the name Warmduscher from friends of mine who are German when I was on tour with Kasabian. They were calling me Warmduscher because I was complaining so much about silly things. I loved it, the word looked so strong and masculine to me, but it actually means the opposite. Weirdly I never got in touch or spoke with the DJ. Ever since we were doing the gigs around here in London as Warmduscher I wanted to ask him whether he can do a remix for us. It would be hilarious.
We‘ll pass it on to him. Thanks for your time, Clams.