September 28, 2022
Written by Amara Sorosiak
Photos by Lou Watson
Written by Amara Sorosiak
Photos by Lou Watson
WARGASM Talk "EXPLICIT," Experimentation, and Causing a Scene in the Scene
“A Sordid Collusion of Euphoria and Violence.”
That phrase opens up EXPLICIT: The MiXXXtape, WARGASM UK’s first long-form release as of their inception in 2019. This premiere release under Republic Records features new songs, an already-iconic introduction and interlude, and remasterings of older singles. All these elements in tandem live up to the mixtape name and their slogan: loud, provocative, and daring. Punkaganda Press chatted with Sam Matlock and Milkie Way on Zoom to discuss all things EXPLICIT, from their process to inspirations, and what’s to come.
EXPLICIT is a mixtape, not an EP or an album, a conscious decision on the duo’s part. Not only is the format choice an extension of their rap and hip-hop influences, but as is typical of a mixtape, nothing about this release is rigidly formal, either: “It just felt more right for this group of songs,” Way stated, “sometimes an EP will have a story, an order, it will be somewhat cohesive. This [release] is a little bit less [cohesive].” Matlock chimed in to mention that “‘mixtape’ is a word for experimentation, or a flavor of what’s to come. Rappers drop a mixtape when they’re finding their feet and showcasing what they’ve got, and that’s what this project is still doing,” a sentiment that is especially promising from a band that already has so much character, and unabashedly bold releases underneath their bullet belts. One of which is “D.R.I.L.D.O,” which officially introduced this release cycle. The song has a throbbing, club-inspired beat intermittent with heavy guitar riffs and a killer solo—two opposing genres that prove to both be their forte.
The one thread that ties this release together is its title. The band believe it sums up the ethos of this project, regarding the, often, vulgar lyricism, but the instrumentation as well in its “jagged” nature, as Matlock described it, “we wanted kind of a last chance to experiment, to see where we could push the sound, to see what elements of hip-hop … EDM, and heavy metal music we could get away with.” This release exemplifies what they do best and more, blending genres that seem worlds apart and turning them into an entirely new entity—and it may be intimidating at first, but that’s the point. “We’ve always been very polarizing, I think the release does that.”
Following the candid “Introduction” track, meant to embody both the “war” and “gasm” aspects of their name, is “Super Fiend,” which is sure to polarize, and weed out anyone who can’t handle WARGASM’s caliber. It wastes no time in setting the pace of the mixtape, combining Matlock’s harsh vocals with Way’s pop-(ish) sensibilities, electronic drumbeats, and topping it all off with a hardcore breakdown in the middle—perfectly abrasive for a song about embracing antagonism, sprung on by boredom and dissatisfaction with someone unwilling to change (“You’re just a lost cause / No reward”).
WARGASM lyrics call back to many facets of the late-nineties and early 2000s, in addition to genres like nu-metal being embedded in their core influences. “Salma Hayek,” previously released in 2021 and remastered for EXPLICIT, references the actress of the same name and her role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1996 film From Dusk Til Dawn. The song endorses letting loose and giving in to the discordant, unglamorous aspects of ourselves, complimented by a chaotic yet dynamic sound.
However, almost simultaneous with those eras is misogyny and bigotry, especially in heavy music, and a nauseating amount of materialism. When asked about how they’ve made the aesthetics of those eras their own as a fem-co-fronted band, that meant simply existing in a genre known to suppress them, as well as subverting the stereotypes. “Someone said that I have more [nuts] than Fred Durst in a peanut factory,” Way stated. “I’m here to take on that macho, masculine role and make it a little bit different than what was expected of the nu-metal era when it started.” Matlock added on, “Just existing in that capacity in quite a male-dominated genre, I think that’s kind of doing your part … Milkie Way just existing on that platform helps the situation, and I think [others] can help the situation by not being a misogynist.” Or a “dick,” as Way plainly put it. It’s clear they’re here to cause a scene—on recording, on stage, and in the heavy music canon, and make the experience enjoyable for fans of all backgrounds.
EXPLICIT is just the beginning for WARGASM, as the two hinted at more to come, and soon. Fans should expect “more sex, more violence, good collaborations,” as well as “more experimenting and pushing it, more jumpy stuff … more of the same but it’s just gonna keep evolving. The bits you don’t like you’re gonna like less, and the bits you do like you’re gonna love more.”