Ben Woolford, Jamie Pope and Tiger Flynn from Warehouse Republic
Published: 4 October, 2012
by ROISIN GADELRAB
WAREHOUSE Republic play the kind of authentic dirty blues-rock you expect to find in a smoky whisky den. Fitting then, that the band’s name was born with thoughts of prohibition in mind.
Frontman Charlie Flynn has interrupted the very rock ’n’ roll activity of visiting his mum to speak to Grooves from a forest in Elveden, Suffolk, about guns, scouting for girls WR-style, and their forthcoming City Showcase set at 229 Great Portland Street on October 12. In the meantime, the band are giving away their EP for free on their website – in a bid to overcome “anaemic indie bands”, in Charlie’s words, by spreading around some thoroughly authentic tunes.
Drinking partners Charlie (lead vocals and guitar), Jamie Pope (lead guitar), Ben Woolford (bass) and Florin Pascu (drums) have just emerged from an intense few weeks in the studio and are just about ready to introduce their new EP featuring more dirty blues and a little country.
Charlie said: “We’re trying to do something really positive for the world and be like thinking, feeling beings with bite who feel, love and really live and pour every part of this into our notes and entire beings.
“Music matters to us more than anything in the world and I feel when the fire catches, the rest of the world will too. It is the best thing in the world after love.”
Their videos come with a touch of glamour and a simplistic approach to casting. Standout single Revolver featured Hollywood actress Rachel Hurtwood: “Me and Andrei (manager) were watching this film called Perfume…We were like, ‘she’s so beautiful’. It turned out we knew her through friends which was a massive stroke of luck. She’s done loads of amazing stuff. If you don’t ask you don’t get.”
Casting for single YDEK came from something a little more lowbrow, stumbling across an episode of Hollyoaks: “It’s really quite a vacuous shallow thing. Ben was at my house one day, we were bored and flicking through the channels and we saw this really pretty girl. We were like, ‘we’re going to get her in the next video’. So Andrei got a call…”
Happily, actress Anna Shaffer obliged. Charlie added: “That’s going to be the plan for the next one – who’s going to be the next WR girl? Like a Bond girl.”
However, he stressed, the casting process is not as superficial as it sounds and relies on finding the perfect person to fit the song.
The band are becoming known for their memorable energetic live sets. Charlie’s onstage exuberance has in the past caused himself harm, an early attempt to smash up a guitar ending in injury.
He said: “It’s really hard. You see Pete Townsend do it and you go, ‘that’s easy, I can do that’. But he used to saw through the back of the neck, I found out afterwards. They’re almost impossible to smash up, they’re so hard-bodied. I ended up doing it for ages and shoving one of the bits of wood and the body right through my hand, that was pretty painful.”
Charlie’s lucky to be with us, considering an unlikely encounter he faced aged 17, which could have come straight from one of WR’s own songs. He found himself staring down the barrel of a gun – in rural Lincolnshire – after getting into a fight with a fellow teen.
He said: “The next thing I knew, his stepdad pulled a gun on me. I think this guy was a wannabe gangster, but apart from that he was a really good guy. I told him to shoot because my unbelievably bad logic was I’m not going to give him the dignity if he’s going to do it anyway.
“I thought he was bluffing so that would make him seem like an idiot and he did, he backed down, and got a fine and community service.”
Camden has been the main stomping ground for WR, who love each other’s company so much they socialise together as much as they can. But it has led to some bizarre experiences.
Charlie said: “We’d just played in King’s Cross and friends asked us to an after party at their house in Mornington Crescent. We were drinking a lot and, bizarrely, taking random prescription pills, that was not a good idea.”
Naturally, they decided to hold a seance in the garden.
Charlie said: “I lived with a family who were Wiccans before and so have had a good grounding in this and other rituals.
“We set up a ouija board and glass on the stone table in the rose garden by candlelight. One of the women asked if we could contact her grandfather so we joined hands and touched the glass lightly on top. We started asking questions and the glass moved left and right. We then asked for a greater show of presence and asked him to lift the glass from the table. Four fingers were lightly touching the top of the glass and there was no way we could have lifted it otherwise. It lifted a full inch off of the table.
“After that the women who lived in the house said all manner of strange things happened. Electrical devices like the TV started turning itself on and off, things started moving. I think we’re in for an exorcism next.”
Perhaps that experience on some level prompted rousing tune Possessed from their forthcoming EP, described by Charlie as “visceral, ritualistic and tender”.
He added: “It’s about wrenching the very drops out of human existence and putting it into song. Music is magic. It can transcend life out of the ordinary and make you feel and fall in love and lust more deeply and want to learn and get better or just drink and have wild times. That is its power and extraordinary magic. And this is what we are going to spark again in this generation.”
• Get hold of Warehouse Republic’s EP from website http://onesheet.com/warehouserepublic/splash/