Just in case you didn't know yet, Miami noisemongers Wrong have a new album coming out this Friday via Relapse. It's called 'Feel Great' but it doesn't sound like it. Featuring former members of Torche and Kylesa, these guys took the sounds of Helmet and Unsane and ran with them. And if you thought their debut full-length was already pretty brutal, wait until you get a load of these new songs. We checked in with vocalist/guitarist Eric Hernandez about feeling great, producing yourself and releasing an album on Friday the 13th.
PRT: You are releasing ‘Feel Great’ on Friday the 13th… I’m guessing you’re not superstitious?
Oh we’re totally superstitious! But we just figure let’s go all the way with it. That way there’s nothing to worry about because you know it is coming. Isn’t that how it works? Nonetheless, the record is coming out exactly a week earlier than we planned. It’s cool though. Sometimes that’s just how things work out.
PRT: I already liked the first album, but every song on here - along with the album as a whole - feels a lot more organic. Is that something you were striving for?
Oh thanks, yeah that was more or less the idea. We wanted to push things on this record a little further. We also still like what we've on previous records, so it was a balance of those two things. But we didn't think about it too hard. Our first two releases have all kinds of turns and shifts in the music, so really nothing we do should seem too out of left field. We knew we wanted it to be heavier and darker, which didn't mean all the songs had to be blisteringly fast or brutal. It's funny because we love doing the heavy stuff, but when we listen back later we get sucked into the more melodic tracks like 'Gape'. We just sit there and go 'Ahhh ok', as opposed to a more pummeling track like 'Errordome' we go 'Whew. Ok next'. So some songs had a little more thought put in, but everything worked pretty quickly. If we sat there for too long trying to make a song work we'd just move on to the next one. More times than not, that's usually the best move when it comes to writing any song.
PRT: The album is called ‘Feel Great’ but you don’t sound like it, you released a video for the song ‘Zero Cool’ that looks like a psychotic breakdown and said that that is pretty much what it looks like in our heads. Are you guys really feeling great?
Well, let's just say we feel better now that the music is on the record and we can move on haha. Don't get me wrong, we love making records! We starting writing for this record right after our 2016 release and had all these songs by the time we got ready to go to the studio in 2017. There were a lot of songs that we liked but what ended up on the record just felt like the best vibe for it. They all kind of clash and create tension. So naturally a lot of the lyrics are kind of moody and contradictory, and that really ties into what became kind of the theme of the record. The contrast of 'feel great' on the on the surface, and the dark, scary shit underneath it. It felt like something we all related to. Something we all see every day when we go to work, or go home, or on t.v. , etc. Every time I say that I feel like I just took the red pill. Nonetheless, this record does feel like more of a whole than the other releases. More fully formed.
PRT: You have been playing quite a lot since your self-titled debut came out. In what way do you feel you have grown as songwriters in those three years?
We played a lot when the first record came out. The last few months since we finished the record though, we have all been doing different things. Our drummer goes to school in England for journalism. Our guitar player - who also recorded and mixed the record- is usually recording bands and doing sound for bands like Red Fang, among others. Our bass player plays guitar in another band and works at night. And finally, I've been working on the new Torche album and we hope to have that out by later this year or... even later this year. But yeah as far as songwriting, it always helps you progress when you write in other projects and we’ve all collectively have written probably hundreds if songs throughout our musical upbringings. Probably hundreds? Haha
PRT: You produced the new album yourself. What prompted that decision?
We’re used to producing our own records really. Ryan - guitars- has engineered all our records since I can remember, with WRONG and numerous past projects, so it’s just natural for us. We recorded albums with Torche’s Jon Nuñez before that and even then it was just the feeling of having the control in our hands that is hard to let go. We know how to get what we want in the studio by now so there’s always that feeling of freedom to go anywhere we want with it. However, I would totally be open to having a fifth ear in there one day...if we can afford it. Haha. It really saves us a lot of overhead when we do everything ourselves. It was part of the gig when we were growing up. You recorded the tracks yourselves, burned cd’s, printed shirts in your guitar player’s living room, borrowed you mom’s minivan, and hit the road for three weeks. And if someone wanted to put your cd put on vinyl later that was just a bonus! We still see things that way and we like having it our way.
PRT: What is the biggest challenge when you are producing yourself?
Really, to stay objective. I’m sure that’s a common problem with anyone who works that way. You are your own worst critic, always. You have to know when to stop thinking about it and let go. You shouldn’t get too attached to songs, because there are always going to be more. So you learn not to overwork yourself or burn out on trying to get one song to work. Sometimes you spend a month trying to get a song to come together and it just won’t happen. Then one day you sit down and write a song in half an hour. Those are the ones you go with, the songs that write themselves. And when you are producing your own records - or don’t have a producer - that’s an instinct that you develop.
PRT: It’s not exactly a secret that you have been heavily inspired by the likes of Helmet and Unsane. What is the nicest compliment someone has already paid you about your band’s sound?
Pretty much when anyone says we remind them of an awesome band it’s a compliment for sure. Obviously we get the Helmet comparison, because it’s right there. All bands start somewhere but also there are a lot of bands out there that wear Sabbath, or whoever, on their sleeve and that’s great. So we thought ‘why not start a band that embodies the vibe of this era over here? Not really many bands sound like that.’ And then it was about making it our own thing. Someone said we sound like Godflesh and the Melvins (probably when I had longer hair, ha) and that’s probably the best compliment anyone get.
PRT: And what was the worst comment?
The worst comment was probably that we sound like Helmet haha. It can go both ways really. I suppose because to us there is more to it than that. We’re not here to capture the novelty, but to create something that feels honest to us by playing the type of music that brought us to where we are now. Anyway, someone also said we sound like Killswitch Engage, and that was pretty weird.
PRT: And what are other influences (musical or otherwise) for you that people might not expect right away?
Personally, I was listening to a lot of Morbid Angel when writing this record haha. And maybe the Damned? Well that was just over that period of time. As far as songwriting, to be honest it’s probably James Hetfield. I mean when I was in 4th grade and heard Master of Puppets, even then I knew right there that was masterful songwriting. I mean you could be Metallica or the Beatles, heavy metal or... whatever the Beatles are, the basis is always a good song. We try to write good songs with WRONG, haha, but really we just believe in everything we do and not force any kind of formula upon ourselves.
PRT: What’s up next for Wrong once the new album is out?
We have some touring in the works for later in the year. Like I said I’m going to be in the studio for the next couple months working on the new Torche stuff, so WRONG will be doing more after that. We all have things on our plates, so we have our own pace when it comes to touring. We are going to shoot a video in April for another song off the record as well. So yeah, once it’s time to get to it we’re going to hit the ground running.