Alter The Press!


Interview: Warship - 01/06/09

Jon managed to sit down with front man Francis Mark of Warship whilst in the UK on their first tour overseas.

Francis spoke to Alter The Press! about signing to Vagrant Records, being in Warship compared to From Autumn To Ashes, touring with Reggie and The Full Effect and LeATHERMOUTH, being vegetarian, English food and more.

Alter The Press: What has the reception for Warship been like overseas?
Francis: So far, pretty solid. We've played Manchester, which was really good, Nottingham went well and Colchester, with not really knowing what to expect, turned out to be the best show so far. It's been really positive.

ATP: How did you end up signing to Vagrant Records?
Francis: I've been working with them since 2003 and the last band I was in, From Autumn To Ashes, did four albums with them. I did a studio project, Biology, with them and had a pretty good working relationship. When we started Warship, we phoned Vagrant, sent them some demos, asked if they were interested and if they wanted to continue to work together. They liked the music, and the direction we were going into, and kept it moving.

ATP: How does being in Warship compare to being in From Autumn To Ashes?
Francis: For starters, in this instance, we would tour in a bus or van with at least a driver but this tour, we've done everything ourselves. We rented a vehicle and have been driving ourselves. It's just the four of us, and my girlfriend, and it’s a much smaller scale but fun. It's not a business. With From Autumn To Ashes, it turned into more like a business and that’s not what I intend with Warship. Warship is kind of how From Autumn To Ashes started, by getting back to the basics of it.

ATP: What was it like touring with Reggie and the Full Effect (James Dewees of The Get Up Kids’ band) and LeATHERMOUTH (Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance’s band)?
Francis: That was pretty fun. It was the first tour we'd done, and before we had an album out, so it was good to get out and introduce the band to people. It was a good way to gauge a reaction to songs people hadn't heard before but it was a pretty positive response. James is a great friend of mine so I got to play drums for the Reggie set, which was fun, and I was always a fan. It was great getting to play drums for songs I used to listen to whilst driving in my senior year of high school. I've known James for years and he planned on doing the 'farewell' tour. He is practically my brother, as he's married to my girlfriend's sister, so I'll see James at Thanksgiving dinner and he's a really close buddy of mine. He plays keyboards for My Chemical Romance, and he had some time kicking around, and said if you want to play drums for Reggie, you can have Warship come out and open so it worked out perfectly; Reggie would carry all of our gear for us which made the tour easy, we didn't have to carry any of our gear. I knew Frank from touring with My Chemical Romance years ago, so it was cool to see him now doing his own thing. It was pretty cool for him to do something on such a smaller scale which he used to do with the My Chem guys.

ATP: What happened between yourself and Rob Lauritsen? (original starting member of Warship)
Francis: I guess, in a nutshell, it was a combination of a lot of things. I might be a bit of a workaholic. When I started this band, I didn't want to do anything half assed and I wanted to be 100% dedicated to this. I don't want to have a day job, this is what I want to do and spend all my time on. When starting a new band, getting paid is shit and I’m not getting like what I used to in From Autumn To Ashes but that's fine. I am just trying to tear my lifestyle so I don't need that much money, like I’ll move to a cheaper city, sell my car or do whatever I need to do so I can keep playing music, I don't care. I'll live in my van and just tour full time; there is nothing else I can do which will bring me this much satisfaction. I'll make any sacrifice I have to, and to ask other people to do that, maybe it's just asking too much. Rob couldn't afford his current lifestyle with the paychecks, which were coming from Warship, which was essentially no paycheck at this point. Instead of making sacrifices, he would rather stay at home and work 2-3 jobs, which he doesn't care about. It's something I don't understand, he'll work to pay for his car that only takes him to and from work and for an apartment that he rarely sees because he's at work. You might as well just get rid of your apartment and your car to rid your expenses so you are free to do whatever you want. I was trying to pitch it to him that way, but it's hard to say. I don't know what happened but he just wasn't interested in touring anymore. I want to tour a lot, for as long as I can and as much as I can because I love playing music and seeing the world; trying new things, meeting new people, drinking local beers, being part of different cultures and cities. Rob is a phenomenal guitar player, and a musician, I wish we can keep playing together, but we'll see what the future brings.

ATP: You want to try new food? This is the wrong country to come too apparently!
Francis (Laughs) That's true! I don't really complain about the English food too much, there are a few things I'm into, like beans on toast! It's the cheapest thing you can get and it's my lifeline over here. I like some places where you can get a vegetarian breakfast, and that's hard to find unless you go to a particular vegetarian restaurant, but it seems here, like in some of the chain restaurants, there are more options.

ATP: How long have you been vegetarian for?
Francis: Since I was 13. I decided to go vegetarian then because I was young and impressionable. I have compassion for animals but some of the bands I liked at the time, like Earth Crisis, would play and spoke about being vegan/vegetarian in their music and they would have literature on the table at their shows. It really opened my eyes to things that I didn't realize go on in life, more so than compassion to animals. I recognized even eating a meat diet impacts the structure on the environment. They've cleared about 30% of the forests just by raising cattle and the omissions that cattle, pigs, livestock give off is worse than all the automobiles combined so it's just destructive on the planet really. I don't know how much the difference of one person makes, but I really enjoy the food, I have a lot more energy and feel better. I don't feel like my body could really digest meat properly, it would just feel foreign in my system. I've always felt this way and I feel pretty fit.

ATP: What stopped you from going vegan?
Francis: I haven't gone vegan because I really like a variety of cheeses. I don't drink a lot of milk, I prefer soy milk over regular milk but one thing I really enjoy is different cheeses. I like goat cheese and wouldn't want to cut that out but I try not to indulge in too much of it. I would say a few days a week I eat vegan, but I would never adopt that title as there are some foods I enjoy too much that I couldn't deprive myself from. Maybe that's selfish, but I don't know.

ATP: Any plans for a future release or a split EP with another band?
Francis: Maybe. I have a lot of song ideas that I've been working on and since Rob left, I've been collaborating with a lot of musicians. Each tour I did in the US, I just taught guys different songs or brought different members with me. I don't want to collaborate with anybody on a recording again, or in a studio, unless I know they are really going to be onboard for the long haul. So maybe that means going into the studio and playing all the instruments myself. I am left with a Reggie and the Full Effect type scenario, record my own music and when I tour, use my own musicians.

ATP: What's planned for the rest of the year?
Francis: I just moved to Philadelphia. I lived in Brooklyn for the past five years so I'm thinking, when I get home for the rest of the summer, I want to just stay put. I want to get to know the surroundings. I like working on art but I don't have so much time when touring, so I'm going to take a few months to buckle down and work on some new paintings. I'm going to just take it as it comes. I might try to do another tour in the US around the fall because I want to do some more touring for 'Supply And Depend' (debut album) before I start the new album. I'm really proud of that album, and I want to get it out to more people, so I feel like I have to do more work for it and give it it's fair shot.

Supply and Depend is out now on Vagrant Records.

Alter The Press!