Text: Isabel Aleman | Photos: Courtesy of She Wants Revenge
When you hear the dark mysterious music of She Want Revenge earlier fans will be transported back to 2006 when they first heard “These Things” singer Justin Warfield sexy voice and the enthusiastic striking of the percussion of drummer Adam Bravin and felt the deep connection with tormented love. Newer fans got a taste of the band during the epic entrance of Lady Gaga in American Horror Story, Hotel. The song catapulted the band back into action just in time for their 10th anniversary. They are now on tour and playing all the hits and possibly some new material. We had the opportunity to pick the brain of drummer Adam Bravin and he gave us chills.
Let’s talk about She Wants Revenge, You and Justin met as teenagers at a party, did you guys think that more than 10 years later you guys would be doing a 10 year anniversary tour?
We honestly never thought anyone would hear our music other than our close friends or whoever happened to be at club we were DJing at. The answer is No, we honestly just made that album for ourselves and the fact that we had what some people would call a hit on the radio and we have been able to tour the world is really incredible . Ten years later for us to have a little momentum because of the ten year anniversary and because of American Horror Story is really amazing.
You guy have toured with Be Your Own Pet, Block Party, Placebo, and Depeche Mode, how have these bands influenced you musical style or your personal lives?
As musicians we are hugely influence by the music we grew up listening to, so I think that there are certain bands that we toured with like Depeche Mode we learned a lot about what you should be like when you are a headlining band, every single person on their entire crew was wonderful complexly generous and completely selfless to work with and we have tour with bands that were to complete opposite, one of the greatest lessons we learned there are certain bands that are some of the biggest bands in the world that have the opportunity to be assholes if they wanted to be cause they are just that big, for all intents and purposes they are mega stars but the choose to be humble and to treat everybody the same. That was a very important lesson for us, just on the human being side of things always treat everybody with respect which is what we did when we toured with people and I think that lesson was taken away with people that opened up for us in return. As musician were are who we are fundamentally, but there have been some bands where you watch them every night and go ”WOW” that thing they do particular thing they do, or that song, or that key boardsound. You I think its just little you pick up here and there that maybe subconsciously that might influence you somewhat to go in a certain direction at a certain time. But I don’t think there has really been bands that we tour with other than the bands that inspired us as younger musicians Depeche Mode, Phycadellic Furs we had already been influenced by them before we had already played shows with them.
You guys recently played a show in Mexico. How was it? What about Mexico excites you?
Mexico is one of our favorite places to play, South America, Central America, Mexico I think that more passionate a culture is the more passionate the people are going to be at the show. Our Mexican, our south and central American fans those cultures are so passionate. You know when I was younger I used to think it was werid if you went to a morrisey show or a cure show show and half the audience was latino, id never really understood until I started playing shows and going other places and being around other cultures in general rather just going to different parts of Los Angeles, which isn’t the same. Mexico is really special for She Wants Revenge, it been really special for me personally cause more passionalte the culture the more passionate the people. Even though all of our shows are amazing in the states, I think that sometimes when you get outside of the united states things get turned up a little bit.
Adam, you directed Take the World. When I saw that video I loved the eye camera connection, all the girls, a lot of your music videos have themes like Shirly Manson being a vampire in these things, how important are they to She Wants Revenge?
Having a visual representation of your song is an important part of being a artist in a promotional way but also allows for us to collaborate with people which is something we don’t do when we make the music. When we made all three of our albums and our two EP’s its just Justin and I, Justin has directed a couple of our videos but we have a couple of other videos directed by other people which is great. Joaquin Phoenix directed “tear you apart” and Sophie Muller directed “These Things” there was another version of “these things” that our buddy Ryan Rickett directed. Justin directed “must be the one” and ‘true romance”. Another way for us to express ourselves and collaborate with some of our friends and with people we really respect in that world. Its also another way to express ourselves as artist, there is only so much you can say through music and there is a whole other world of things that you can say when you create a video. Take the world was the first video I ever directed so that one will always be super special to me, just called up some really close friends of mine and they came over and just kinda winged it.
You have some beautiful friends!
I do! I think that the most important thing about that video is you nailed it, is their eye contact. I take photos I kind of noticed and that other people have commented on is that fortunately I’m able to get my friends to trust me in that way so when we were in there shooting that video I think you can see it in their eyes when they are looking in the camera the connection.
So, side projects cause you just don’t She wants Revenge? Can you tell us more about your side projects? Tell El Paso what the Cloak and Dagger club is?
Cloak and Dagger is a club in Los Angeles that you have to be a member of and its members only and each member has a membership card that allows them one guest and everyone has to wear all black, no exceptions. The music is all dark music and when I say dark I mean any genera of music, for me as a DJ I’ve been to every “goth or industrial club” in Los Angeles and having traveled around the world I have been to a lot. Especially being in She wants Revenge we are always invited to that club in whatever city we are in, the problem that I have always found is that it is always the same thing, you know what your getting musically, its gonna be pretty much 80’s -90’s goth and industrial with whatever newer goth or industrial songs that particular DJ happens to play.
I started thinking about having a place where people actually go and have fun and its exclusive and there is no photos and everybody wears all black and the music is not just goth and industrial but Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep and like dark hip-hop stuff or dark house music, there is tons of amazing darker house music or dark rock and roll, or dark Motown, even if the lyrics are dark and a lot of that Motown stuff if you read between the lines of that stuff you know they are sad. There are a lot of things about it that you can only experience if you come there, I’m not allowed to talk about it you have to come there and experience certain things that there will never be photos of and no one will ever talk about the secrete things that go on there that are pretty amazing. We do have plans to take it to other cities. Its almost impossible to have underground when everything is always being broadcast via social media almost immediately, that’s not underground. I want everybody to be in the same room together and experience the same thing and not worry about what anybody else thinks that is not in that room.
We heard that you a DJ to a pretty important person, you are the presidents DJ?
(chuckles) I am. I have a friend in Los Angeles that I have been working with she is a promoter and she has been promoting parties in LA as long as I have been DJing, which is a long time. She helped in the campaign, she was affiliated with his campaign. And I was DJing at one of her events and I had this women come up to me and she was like “Hey do you do private events cause I think my boss would really really love you” she was like I really like the way you made it enjoyable for everybody in the room the younger people and the older people and everybody had a good time. She gave me her card and it said Obama 2012 in it and I’m born and raised in LA so I’ve heard it all, and immediately I was all like bullshit but then it immediately stuck me who’s party I was DJing and how she was affiliated with the campaign and I was like oh wow its probably not bullshit. I emailed the women a few days later and she said the president is having six birthday parties in six different cities, and we want you to do the one that is in Los Angeles so I said of course. The president won’t be there but the mayor will be, so from what I understand they secretly recorded all the dj sets from all the different parties and gave him six ipods to listen to all the different djs or the course of the month or two. And from what I understand he was like whoever that guy is I want him to dj for me. I got a call call he is gonna do this thing in Los Angeles, House oF Blues, will you do it? The next thing I knew I was shaking his hand and I was djing at the democratic national convention, djing.
If you had the chance to DJ for the future Mrs President , what would you spin for her?
Well I just did. Well I DJed for the Hillary Clinton foundation in Aanheim, before I DJ for anybody I do a ton of research, I always figure out what it is that they like, for Obama I had a little bit of insight of information from people that have worked with him for years , obviously he was from Chicago so I take into consideration the years that he was probably most into music as youth or in college and I research what was popular in Chicago during those years. So for her I would probably do the same things. But ultimately what it comes down to that generation is to listen to Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin and old soul, 60’s and 70’s soul always seems to work.
We know that you are a big reader, if you could bring a book to with your music which book would it be?
Definitely House of Leaves, there are no rules it’s like you took the rules of writing and you totally rearranged them. It was written by this guy Mark Z. Danielewski and it’s a romantic horror story, but the format is crazy, the page layout is crazy, its written upside down and sideways all kinds of footnotes and footnotes contain footnotes and a lot of amazing references, some pages only have a couple of words on them some pages are super packed with word almost Closter phobic, its pretty amazing and intense its not a easy read but its books like that, that are inspiring to me when people take whatever form of art that they do and just flip it over and do whatever they want and don’t pay attention to the rules.
Where do you see She wants Revenge in the next ten years?
We have no idea, we weren’t really planning on this tour honestly, we weren’t really planning on doing anything as She wants Revenge, any time soon. Justin has his new band The Dream Club, I have my solo project and we worked on She wants Revenge together for a lot of years and life takes over, to be a band is a lot of time, you have to dedicate a lot of your life to it just like anything else. So for us to be in She wants Revenge there months of recording, mixing and mastering a album which can take up to a year sometimes and then the touring part of it which can take another year, so it’s a couple years of your life per album cycle that you have to be willing to dedicate and you know, we do a number of things in our lives and sometimes people don’t understand that. They are like we like your music we want a new album, come on get back together and make a new album. We have felt that way cause we are music fans and when some of our favorite bands have broken up or stopped making music or taken a hiatus we are like come on we want to hear new music from you cause we love you, but sometimes people don’t take into consideration the amount of time and dedication it takes to make music as a band, so having said that, the American Horror Story thing happened and suddenly we are the radio again and all these younger people many of them didn’t even know we were a older band, they thought we just came out of nowhere. They stared asking us to do shows and older fans wanted new music. So we did two shows in LA and they were very successful and we kinda took momentum from the American Horror Story and from the shows in Los Angeles and all this radio play and said you know what, it’s the ten year anniversary lets go on the road, which is what we have been doing. And we made a new song right around New Year, we said lets go in the studio and see what happens. Literally we had a song within 24 hours it was done and it was super fun. We have spoken about a new album, but we don’t see that happening anytime soon but who knows I cant predict the future I didn’t even think She wants Revenge would be a popular band. But I will say that a year ago we never planned on making new music or touring and we have been touring and made a new song. We do plan on touring a little bit in the upcoming years, as long as people want to hear us we will continue to do shows. Ten years from now maybe we will be doing the 20 year anniversary, who knows.
Tell the Fusion magazine readers something nobody really knows about you guys?
Hmm? I’m really good at keeping secrets so this is a hard question. Justin and I have a hip-hop background we both come from hip-hop. He was a rapper in the early 90s and I have always been a hip-hop dj and a hip-hop producer so we met when we were younger but never really worked together. Not to many people know that when we first got together we were making hip-hop beats and formed a production team with the intention of producing beats and selling them to rappers but something people will never hear except for Justin and I and some executives at Def Jam records, right before we were she wants revenge we were a band called “The Spits” and I was the DJ and Justin was the MC and we were making hip-hop music. If you really look at that first record its really a hip-hop record in many ways, that’s the secret sauce , if you look at the big picture, people always get the references wrong, people always say Joy Division, they tend to focus on 80s goth or industrial when they try and pick out references the real references aren’t really goth. They are hip-hop and Prince and if you slow down “Tear you Apart” to a hip-hop tempo it’s a hip-hop song. If you listen to how he is delivering Tear you Apart its like a MC. Hip-hop was just as important as a influence for She wants Revenge as all the goth and dark wave references that people tend to peg on us.