Interview mit Wasei (Juni 2023)

For starters, why don’t you briefly introduce WASEI and its members?

Nad: Alright, WASEI is a punk rock band from the Milan neighbourhood, and it’s composed by Milano hardcore scene veterans. We met together in different bands in the 90‘s, and in 2010 we decided to start a new band, playing skate punk covers from the 90‘s. The name of the band was STOP’N’GOES and you can find some live videos on YouTube.

In 2013 we decided to switch the band to an original project, and we changed the name to WASEI HEY! GO!. Some members decided to leave and the core that remained on hold was made by me (Nad Savarino on vocals/bass), Danny Merlani (vocals/guitar), and Lore Baggio (drums). Me and Danny have always been the writers, but we have always been open to any idea.

After changing two guitar players (Sandro Guerri that played on the first s/t EP in 2015 and Pera that played in the 2017 EP „For the Human Species“) due to personal reasons, Stefano Orlandi joined the band in 2018, completing definitively the line-up of WASEI.

Your music seems like the perfect time capsule for all fans of classic melo-core bands from the mid to late 90’s. Regardless of the tribute aspect, where do you set your own creative marks to evolve the sound of the influential (pop-)punk trailblazers?

Nad: We don’t think bands need to evolve a style of music – or better- we don’t think that we are capable of doing it! But in the meantime, we think that skate/pop punk needs a better song-writing. These songs sound good even with just an acoustic guitar and voice. You know what I mean?

So our mission is writing good songs and good melodies, this will make a difference in music in

Which bands or artists do you see as most influencial on your music?

Nad: In general, the four of us are influenced by NOFX, NO USE FOR A NAME, LAGWAGON, MILLENCOLIN. About songwriting, I take a lot of inspiration from BODYJAR and THE STEREO. Danny is more a MXPX and BAD RELIGION guy.

Lyrically speaking, I like Fat Mike’s lyrics a lot and I try to be caustic and provocative as he is. I like to make a lot of quotations and easter eggs, both into words and music as well. But very well hidden, otherwise I’d feel like I’m copying and not quoting!

Danny on the other hand likes to write intimate lyrics and to speak more about his personal experiences.

You’ve recently released your debut album „Vulgar Misplay of Burkett“ through Dr. Skap Records. What can you tell about the production process of the record?

Nad: It was during Covid, so it was quite hard for us to go to a recording studio, cause our region had been hit hard by the pandemic, and we had very strict rules about moving. But during the years, we’ve been experiencing a lot of self recordings for demos and pre-production, so we thought we could record all the instruments and vocals (except for the drums) by ourselves. Our friend and producer Marco Bonanomi recorded the drums and helped us on set with our „home studio“ in our rehearsal room.

Then we sent all the tracks to Davi Pacote at Hill Valley Studio in Porto Alegre (Brazil). We met
Davi at his studio during our Brazilian tour in 2019, and we liked him – and also the records he
produced – very much. I think he did an amazing job. We let him choose 10 out of 14 songs to put on the album in the end. Then we mastered the tracks in Italy, we wanted them to sound very loud and with a killer sound, so we chose Simone Pietroforte who normally does extreme metal stuff. He nailed it as well!

We’re so  happy with the record production. The record is also full of „Covid collaborations“ just like how it was in that period. We asked a lot of people to be on the record. First of all Hanne from FOR I AM sang two songs („Shyla“ and „Forgotten“) and Jo from CORAL SPRINGS played violin and cello on
„Adelphia“. Then there’s a crowd of friends from bands all over the world singing „Be Nice to Harry“.

Is the title aiming at NOFX’s Fat Mike?

Nad: Everything starts with them. NOFX are the most famous punk band and the biggest influence on
any other skate punk band in the world. Even the ones that never listened to NOFX, they‘ve listened to bands that are influenced by them. Every skate punk band born after the golden age of the 90‘s, are basically misplaying NOFX. Most punk records are just poorly made NOFX versions, ours included.
That’s the brief explanation.

How came the cooperation with Christian and Dr. Skap Records?

Nad: We sent the record to many labels and he’s the one that liked it and believed it was worthy to put some money in it!

What are your lyrics dealing with on „Vulgar Misplay of Burkett“?

Nad: Most lyrics – willing or not – are related to the pandemic. This record is a son of Covid just like
many others have been in the last two years. Starting from „The Dawning” that speaks about my way of feeling while I was stuck in the Netherlands in march 2020, or „Charles vs. Social Distancing“ that started with the question „How would Bukowsky react to all of this?“, to „Adelphia“ which is a sort of
letter to some childhood friends of mine that had tragedies in their families, and I couldn’t reach them because of Covid restrictions.

There are also other songs less dramatic to give some fun to the record, and others more intimate. Of course there is „Punk Police on My Back” that includes the verse „Vulgar Misplay of Burkett“ that gave the title to the album. It speaks about the life struggle to be compared with „monsters” like NOFX, PENNYWISE, LAGWAGON etc. and our attempt to reach the quality of their influencial 90‘s records. More than 25 years trying to get the perfect song, and the sense of
misleading compared to them. And the „punk police“ is always lurking behind the corner, talking shit about you.

The song‘s end lyrics saying basically: You know what? I’ve been doing this my entire life, why
should I care about you? Fuck you, I’m the punk police, you’re the one to be judged“.

How have the reactions on the record been so far?

Nad: We had a lot of good reviews and purchases especially from the USA, where most of our Spotify
listeners are from. We have been highlighted by Punk Rock Radar, Dying Scene, and the Punk Rock
Museum in Las Vegas (!).

In Europe we only had a mild reaction from the press, but a good one from listeners, the people bought the record and we can’t wait to play it live!

You’ve shot a video clip for the song „Fingers Crossed“. Has the whole process behind it been mostly fun for you or is a visual addition sort of a necessity in order to reach a wider audience?  

Nad: As you can see on our YouTube channel, we always have been very active in the video clip
production. We have 10 videos/singles out on a total of 24 songs released and more are coming up
from this record!

I was a video producer before being a tattooer and I have friends that are still doing it,
so sometimes we sit together and brainstorm for new ideas for video clips. Then I propose the ideas to the WASEI guys and they’ll come up with even crazier ideas!

How often do you get the chance to present yourself live? And do you have concrete plans for a tour outside of Italy?

Nad: We tend to play more outside of Italy than in our home country, we try to avoid to play in the Milan area, cause we like to make it „an event“. On our last tour we headed to France and Spain, in 2019 we toured Japan and Brazil.

We‘re always looking for new places to play, so if you‘re reading this interview and you want
to invite us, do it please!

What comes next for WASEI?

Nad: Playing live as much as we can, and starting to write the new record.

Any concluding words you’d like to share? 

Nad: Fuck the punk police!

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