WORDS : GUGULETHU KHUMALO
It’s often said that too many chefs spoil the broth, yet with half a dozen chefs mixing their own flavour makes Wargirl rich with a plethora of influences. The iconic Wargirl sound is inimitable in itself, a cacophony of influences, genres and styles, all at once, but expertly arranged to not overwhelm the listener. They draw inspiration from a variety of musicians across genres and they incorporate this into their music simply expressing it as “Put some world music into the Long Beach California sound.”
everyone in the band comes from such different backgrounds musically, so we have a lot to throw at the music. Diversity is what makes it cool from our perspective
Their music acts as a time capsule, preserving and re-arranging some of the greatest times in music, and the song “2069” is both a form of adulation to the past and a look into the future. The band explains the meaning and inspirations behind the track “2069” “Almost all of our song lyrics come from conversations, “2069” is pretty crazy as it muses on the idea that maybe the 60’s when they come again will bring another wave of pushback from the people, we have another shot at things like world peace.”
The songwriting process with 6 members sounds like it can be a bit much with varied styles and preferences, yet instead of prioritising one particular sound or aesthetic they embrace the diversity of the music, comparing and labelling their sound as “some kind of diversity bumper sticker, “unity within diversity!”Everyone in the band has so much talent and we tend to just sit in a circle and jam on an idea” the process of crafting a record is “ organic and fun.” And even as a group of six, the band celebrates the idea of creative diversity by acknowledging that “everyone in the band comes from such different backgrounds musically, so we have a lot to throw at the music. Diversity is what makes it cool from our perspective. Someone in the band has no concept of reggae, and someone else is playing a reggae part. Put it all together and it sounds pretty unique and musical.”
While the band embraces and celebrates its diversity in all aspects, it is no secret that there is a little bit of a diversity problem in the live music scene and the alternative music scene, both in terms of gender and race, the band recounts finding themselves straddling the lines between many worlds and genres “ We always talk about how much we would love to play a festival like Afro-Punk, but we don’t quite fit into that, and then we don’t quite fit into dominantly white alternative rock. So there are definitely challenges being in the middle, but in general, we have received a lot of positivity and opportunities. We can’t complain!”
Musicians and music festivals are among the worst hit in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, in such a time an industry’s resilience is tested and shown through its inventiveness in times of crisis. Festivals and concerts have moved from large fields and crowds to sofas and intimate crowds. They played the ‘DORK The Homeschool Festival’ and immediately noticed the difference “ …we just walked into our rehearsal space and played a show. So in that sense, it was not like playing a gig. It was more like having band practice.” they more than anyone are eager to get back to the stage “We cannot wait till the world is back to gigs. Unless you’ve seen us live on stage you haven’t really experienced Wargirl.”
Women have a lot to say musically. I think this is their time, I don’t think anyone is consciously holding women down, but there is a status quo that needs to be broken down – things seem to be heading in the right direction
Festivals and live events in the past few years have come under fire for lack of diversity in their festival rosters the festivals seemed to overlook the importance and value of female-led bands and band that aren’t entirely comprised of white men, and the use of women-led bands to fit a diversity quota “I think sometimes there can be an attitude of a girl fronted band being a token thing. It’s like ‘yeah, we already have a couple of girl bands on the bill’ kind of thing.”
Wargirl and many other bands are subverting that narrative and attitude around that, by actively having female members share their stories, ideas and experiences shared in musical projects. Bands like Wargirl are not only appreciated but also needed in the music scene. Guitarist Matt Wignall explains that “ that slowly but surely is being represented more at concerts and festivals. Women have a lot to say musically. I think this is their time, I don’t think anyone is consciously holding women down, but there is a status quo that needs to be broken down – things seem to be heading in the right direction.” and the need for women’s stories and perspectives are being amplified in all areas of life but is really needed on the alternative scene.
These sentiments are being expressed on social media and the streets in the recent wave of “civil protests” the band explains that “People are waking up to it all now. I think there will be a need for music that is more relevant to this. People will always need a good time, and we definitely try to bring that with our music, but pretty much every song we write has a lot of thought put into the lyrics. We have been attacking these issues since the band began.”
Wargirl has become a force to be reckoned with, slowly changing and shaking up the industry by their mere presence, bold sounds and honesty in music. New diverse, unfiltered and raw energy is what we need, now more than ever.