‘’The band (Woewarden) was founded initially by me (John Pescod) and our former drummer (Chris Gebauer) in 2016 who is the lead singer and founder of Deadspace – Dan
Jackson, Thomas Major, and Herb Bennetts are still members of Deadspace to this
day, however, I part ways from Deadspace back in 2020. A month prior to the
establishment of Woewarden, I was asked by another quite famous Perth black
metal band to fill in as lead singer for a show supporting Inquisition – may I add, well
before the publicly documented allegations against them surfaced in 2018. In the
early hours of the morning on the day of the show, I was notified by the promoter that
Inquisition had cancelled their Australian tour. I was livid. That evening to vent off
some steam, Chris and I went out for a beer for me to let off some steam at Joe &
Juice Joint, a rock / metal dive bar in our hometown of Perth, Western Australia.
During that spur of the moment, Chris and I decided to form Woewarden – formally
Cancer (Aus). Initially I was sceptical we would ever get off the ground, but two days
later we had line-up that included Dan and me who are still here to this day. Four
years later, between Chris, Dan, and myself, we had released an EP and two full
length albums: ‘Terminal,’ ‘Into the Heartless Silence’ and ‘Opioid’!
‘’So, as you can see, I wouldn’t say we are exactly the guardians of misery so to speak
– or any kind of guardian in general. We are just your typical bunch of Australian
blokes who are fortunate enough to have like-minded friends and a drive to create
when life tries to inflict forms of negativity – such as misery – upon us.’
The progression with your new album In the Art of My Caged Existence ?
During the process of producing ‘Opioid,’ our final album under the moniker Cancer
(Aus), Chris decided not to longer continue with the band leaving Dan and I to
continue as a two-piece. At that point, given the foundations and dynamics of the
band had now changed drastically; Dan and I thought it was appropriate we changed
our name to Woewarden to reflect this, as we progressed towards writing our next
record, ‘In the Art of My Caged Existence’ and looking to become a live act once
‘’The writing process for the record felt quite a lot more streamlined compared to
previous releases, but at the same was crafted quite meticulously. By now, Dan and
I have worked with each other on so many occasions we’re quite accustomed to
each other’s strengths and weakness; Dan with his uncanny ability to experiment
and create riff-after-riff which strikes straight to the core, me being able to sit back
and look at all those progressions as a collective, and work with him to structure and
polish them into a cohesive album worth more than the sum of its parts. Once Dan
and I were happy with the layout the of album and the structure of the songs, it was
simply a matter tracking everything to best of our abilities; getting Herb (us
incredible human metronome) to track his interpretation of the programmed drums
into a vibrant and organic studio recording, Dan, and Tommy to work through us
bass and guitar tracking with some spontaneous flourishes, myself to punish me
voice day-after-day for weeks on end, and finally Dan adding atmospheric elements
for good measure.
‘’What really excited us with this release is we were able to commission the duties of
a good friend ours me met on a European tour with Deadspace several years back:
Déhà. I personally have been a massive fan of his creative endeavours and
countless projects such as Imber Luminis, Déhà, and Slow. Knowing how well he’s
captured atmospheric and engulfing music across several metal sub-genres, whilst
still maintaining clarity through avoiding an overmastered mix, I knew he would
perfect of us and our vision of the album. Combining that with our newly allegiance
Australian label, Bitter Loss Records, and the always amazing artwork from Adam
Burke of Nightjar Illustration, we truly believe we’ve created something truly special
and reflective of our take on atmospheric, yet bleak and harrowing black metal.
The combination of all the extreme components?
‘’The ‘extreme components’ so to speak, distil down to our eclectic range of influences
Dan, Tommy, Herb, Rod, and I bring to the table, and what we as a collective
think sounds good. Everything from the rather evident sounds of DSBM and 2nd
wave of black metal, all the way to EDM, 70’s / 80’s / 90’s pop and rock, classical
and romantic era music, post rock and shoegaze, hell even power metal and scrolls
from 80’s action films. There are very few styles that have not shaped us an entity in
some shape or form.
''Personally though, I do greatly admire artists that don’t let musical boundaries or
being categorised portray who they are, even to the point of eccentricity. David
Bowie, Björk, Melt Banana, and Pupil Slicer are just handful of random artists that
come to mind that I have admired from afar at doing this. So, I guess eccentricity has
rubbed off onto to me to some degree, and with that, my approach on to music and
the cuts of bleak atmospheric black metal Woewarden makes to others would be
classified as ‘extreme components.
The overall theme of emptiness/confinement? Does the outside world influence your
work or are they personal metaphors given life?
''You’re second question has pretty much answered your first question without me
having to say a word! Unlike our previous release ‘Opioid,’ ‘In The Art of My Caged Existence’ is really a collection of personal stories battling my hardships with insomnia, depression, mental and physical exhaustion, borderline alcoholism (at
times), and frustrations with my hometown, my country, and my world between 2020 and 2022; combine that with narrating the tortures close companions I care for were
having to endure at the time. Without giving too much away and instead allow the listener to make these songs into their own which connects with their life
experiences, the album wholistically deals with the ongoing rut we as individuals face
in this vast modern landscape, we live in, only to be tied down to a pitiful status quo
that can’t be broken.
The biggest frustrations from social constraints, expectations and the lack of
’Quite simply, the biggest frustrations boil to the absence of freedom. As society
becomes more and more complex, and entities worldwide just want obedient
servants rather than people with intuition, creativity, or a conscience, these
pressures mount to the point that we question why we even bother living to endure it.
But through Woewarden, I use our music, or lyrics, and the friendships I have made
through fellow band mates, listeners, and other musicians as a vessel to voice these
frustrations, reaching out to those willing that they’re not alone in feeling this way,
and we’re in this together.
Is being the nails of the hammer a burden or relief?
‘’I’m glad to see someone pays attention to the lyrics I painstakingly put together with
that reference to Modus Operandi! Based on that remark, you’d think I’d say it’s a
relief being the nails of every hammer. However, Modus Operandi is neither to do
with burden or relief, rather the punishments you allow another to inflict upon you in
the hope it will find you a sense of purpose, an ultimate goal, a destination.
Is your music just a release and is only extreme because it differs from the normal?
''The extremity I think is a product of the catharsis that is Woewarden. We don’t go
out to write music just to be extreme. It still needs to mean something, and its core is
focused on evoking human emotion.
Black Metal and its constant evolution...
‘’It can only be a good thing in my opinion. Irrespective of black metal, if music isn’t
constantly evolving, we’d still be playing on harpsichords in the Baroque era – not
that I have anything against that music, quite the contrary! My point is though,
pigeonholing bands, artists, and listeners into what they should or should not do is
counterintuitive to the purpose of performing and visual arts. Hell, if people want to
create black metal that completely trolls’ others and norms of a ‘genre,’ more power
to them. At the end of the day, if it connects with people, it ultimately has a message
the world needs to hear.
Future Plans ?
‘’Off the back of our recent album launch for ‘In the Art of My Caged Existence’ in
our hometown of Perth, Western Australia, we’ll be closing out 2022 with one final
Perth show, before concentrating on touring Australia in January 2023. Cities we’ll
be targeting include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide.
Top 6 albums of all time?
‘’This is a tough one because it strongly depends on who you speak to who in
Woewarden, their mood at the time, and what they think defines their ‘top albums.’ Is
it their most influential? Is it their most played? Or is it simply their most rated?
Focusing on myself only, and assuming ‘top albums’ means those that created the
most influential turning points on my musical journey through life, I would have to
1) Shihad – Killjoy
2) At The Gates – Slaughter of the Soul
3) Opeth – Morningrise
4) Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse
5) Moonsorrow – Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa
6) Slowdive – Souvlaki