Dark Romania webzine
DARK RO: Thanx for accepting the interview!
DARK RO: Which
is the music you grew with? Now, what music are you listening to?
WARREN: I grew up listening to a lot of Classical music as a child. My parents would blast Mozart, Bach and Beethoven records on the weekends. Beethoven's stuff was my favorite... I was attracted to the dark, melancholia and minor chords even at that young age. Later on I got into The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and a lot of old Blues artists... and eventually real early Ultravox (with John Foxx)... then Bauhaus, The Cure, The Damned, Sex Pistols, Play Dead... The Fall, and the like. Lately though, I haven’t done a lot of listening to other bands. There are just too many groups around to try and keep up with. I've heard a bit of Bloody Dead and Sexy, Avaritia and Belisha, which I thought were all really good.
DARK RO: Where
are your music and lyrics inspiring from? What are your favourite themes?
WARREN: Most of the time I try and write from personal experience... and combine that with different elements from the people, places and events that are in my life at the time I'm working on something. I like writing about dark emotions and religious subjects... not "organized" religion per se, but more in the area of spiritual yearning... for answers... finding one's place in the universe, and feeling like you're here for a reason... that your existence isn't some random mistake or something. A majority of the time it's a mixture of a lot of things expressed in abstracts that hopefully all work together to form something the listener can feel or get a sense about, rather than just hear. If I come up with a line or phrase that expresses or reveals a common truth that everyone can relate to, I feel I've accomplished something. Lyrics that cut through all the bullshit... that's what I aspire to most, I think.
DARK RO: Are
there any artists or arts (not music necessary) ever influencing you? I mean
literature, phylosophy, film etc.
WARREN: I'll tell you straight out... I'm not the most well read individual on the planet, that's for sure. But, as a child I liked the fantasy and adventure found in the books of Jules Verne. I read very little in my teens and early twenties... Of what I have read in the past several years, my favorites are Franz Kafka, Charles Bukowski and Italo Calvino. Three totally dissimilar writers, but at the same time, all three paint incredible visions with their words. NO Anne Rice... Edgar Alan Poe... or Albert Camus. (Sorry, Robert...).
DARK RO: What
about social themes and politics?
WARREN: I'm really on the fence about whether those two subjects belong mixed up with Rock music, in general. The Punk scene grew out of those as a sort of backlash against modernistic social tyranny, I guess. But for what we're doing, I don't see either of those concerns fitting into the scheme of things. My attentions dwell more on what takes place in an inner world, than an outer one.
DARK RO: Religion?
WARREN: Religion is such a deep well for commentary... it's age old. But, as I mentioned before, it's more a question about the personal journey within that context, rather than the outside trappings, that I feel are most important.
DARK RO: Vampire
WARREN: Boo!!! (laughs) That's never been a part of us. We're more post-punk than Batcave. If Bauhaus had've never recorded "Bela Lugosi’s Dead", I doubt that whole image would've ever taken off like it did. I think it's made the scene appear a bit silly to outsiders, in some respects.
DARK RO: You
began to play music in mid-80's, and reborned in 2003. Are there big differences
between deathrock scene then and now?
WARREN: Yeah, there are a lot of differences. The Goth scene in 80s L.A. started developing just as the New Romantic thing was fading out at local scene clubs like "The Veil". Slowly, people were showing up in all black, and talking about this new "gothic" thing coming in. It was original back then. It had never existed (at least in L.A.) and since the New Romantic crowd was so mixed... so was the early Goth crowd. By "mixed", I mean everyone was welcome. No one was looking down their nose at anyone else for not dressing like an emaciated gravedigger. So, it was developing. And live bands were the main feature of any given evening. These days, it seems very much a small, well-attired crowd, attempting to some how recreate the glory days of the past, but with emphasis on DJs and dance floor hits... and some industrial and EBM thrown in for good measure. Live bands are starting to climb their way back to importance, but I don't know if the whole thing could again be considered as being "progressive". It's more of a "party" experience now than a creative, aesthetic one as it once was.
DARK RO: In your
oppinion, how is the entire (not just deathrock) nowadays gothic, industrial,
post-punk scene? What do you like, what you don’t like?
WARREN: I like the fact that there are still some good, aggressive sounds around... at least there was a year or so ago. But overall, I feel there are just too many bands in existence. It used to really mean something if you had a CD out... you had to be pretty talented to get a label to put something out on a disc. Now, anyone with the money and the right gear can do it from their home and litter the Internet and where ever else with yet another, possibly mediocre offering. That's not to say everyone who records at home is lacking in talent or anything. It's more the principal of the matter. I'm not really into much of the Electronic stuff that's been around for a while now. (Give me a good guitar-based outfit, any day!) Variety is perhaps the spice of life... and music... but at the same time it seems to have polarized the scene to some degree and created hardcore fans of one style or another, who are at odds over the choice of instruments at a particular style's core.
DARK RO: You
belong to LosAngeles 80's gothic-punk generation. Did you ever met Rozz Williams
face to face?
WARREN: We played with Christian Death once, and Shadow Project twice, I think... and it was like we were on different planets or something each time; before and after the shows. They hung out in their little corner of the venue and we hung out in ours. But, that wasn't anything strange or out of the ordinary for the L.A. Goth scene. The whole thing was very competitive and I think everyone wanted to think that their band was more unique and Gothic than the other. The original, early version of Christian Death was simply incredible, but by the time we played with them, it was a reunion situation, and Rozz was having to wear his glasses on stage to read his poetry. It just wasn't all that impressive.
DARK RO: Where
does the "Screams For Tina" name come from?
WARREN: The main incentive, was to come up with a name that we felt an underground audience might easily identify with. You have to remember that "the scene" as we know it today, didn't really exist yet, back then. We were trying to stand out and gain attention in a city where the big thing at the time were hard Rock/Glam bands like Guns'n'Roses, Motley Crue, Faster Pussycat and L.A. Guns. The choice of "Tina" in the name, I think was probably influenced by the fact that I had been listening to a record by a local transvestite-singer/artist who went by the name "Tina Benez". It wasn't a case of saying "Hey, let's name the band after this person", but like a lot of things, there was a subliminal influence at work. We got a lot of negative reactions to the name at first. Some people liked it, but there were even more who didn't know what to make of it. After we'd gigged around town for a while, the audiences warmed up to it and we started getting increasing reports of people saying it was cool.
DARK RO: Nowadays "Screams For Tina" album is very hard to get, "Strobelight Funeral EP" is almost impossible... do you intend to re-release them?
WARREN: The possibilities of those things happening are getting stronger each day. I can't give out any exact details at the moment, but I can confirm that efforts towards both those projects are presently in motion.
DARK RO: What
about a new album? Will it be soon available? Will the sound be the same as
old stuff and new "2003 AD" EP?
WARREN: The rest of the material on the upcoming album I'd say is similar in instrumentation, but the range of styles goes beyond that which is presented on the EP. Listeners won't find another "Standing in the Rain" or "Life of Sin" in the remaining balance of songs. There will be a second instrumental included on it, but it's quite far removed from the East Indian strains of "Ranjipur". As far as when the album will be released, we don't know at this time... the financial aspect of completing the project is probably the biggest matter in question at this time.
DARK RO: "2003
AD" has programming percution. It's my personal opinion but I would prefer
real drums instead the drummachine. Will the programming percution be present
on future recordings, too?
WARREN: We would've preferred the use of a live drummer as well. Again, it was a matter of economics. With just the two of us working on the recordings ourselves over a long period of time, it was the only practical way of getting things done. We recorded in short spurts with an often erratic schedule... putting the pieces together when we could. The rest of the album uses drum machine as well. We
couldn't have afforded to do it any other way, unfortunately. It's far more expensive to record a live drummer in a proper studio setting. But, we did make as many efforts as we could to get the drum tracks to sound as natural as possible. Beyond the upcoming album, again, of course we'd rather use a live drummer, but we'll have to see what our overall resources are like, if and when the time comes to record again. It's not been a purposeful shift in our sound, by any means!
DARK RO: Is music
your main activity? Beside music, what do you like to do?
WARREN: In general, music is the main activity, although in the past few years, with the economy the way it is here, there has been more energy put into simple day-to-day survival than anything else.
DARK RO: There
is a small number of SFT fans here, in Romania. I'm sure you have fans in
other ex-communist European countries too. BTW, have you ever play in Eastern
WARREN: Hello, fans in Romania! We've never played anywhere in Europe, actually. Situations for touring never seemed to pan out very well for us. Either the opportunities presented them selves at a time when we were missing members or just weren't there to begin with. I think our level of popularity around the world is incredible when you consider how limited the scope of our live playing has been over the years.
DARK RO: Is there
something else you want to add to this interview and I've missed to ask?
WARREN: I'd just like to encourage as many people as possible to check out our website at www.screamsfortina.com and say hello through our contact page. We never really know who's out there until we hear from them. We're genuinely interested in finding out who our fans are, where they're from, how they first found out about us, their favorite songs, and anything else they'd care to tell us.
WARREN: Great talking with you, Ionutz. Thanks for the interview and all your supportive words!