Darren Edwards, Drummer
Christopher Grant Ward, Singer/Songwriter
Karim Elghobashi, Bass
Mauricio Munguia, Guitar
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Music Of The Future sat down with Los Angeles-based WARD, a post-punk, new wave live act recalling the live stage energy of classic bands such as Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, and The Stone Roses. Their concert presence was recently praised by Music Connection as “quality new wave” set to “easily become a genuine force in LA. (Feb 2017)” Since starting in early November 2016, WARD has gained tens of thousands of online followers and drawn enthusiastic crowds to venues all over Los Angeles. With their first EP cut and a full album coming soon, WARD is one of the hardest-working bands in LA, and always looking forward to what’s coming next.
Nice to meet you both. How would you describe your genre of music?
Darren Edwards, Drummer (DW): New wave, post punk, indie.
Christopher Grant Ward(CW): Yes. I’d also say, US meets UK in the 80’s.
Give us a little bio about you.
DW: I was born and grew up in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. Played in a few bands in Merthyr and Cardiff, and then London. Toured the world playing drums with various bands. Came to Los Angeles. Played in loads of LA bands, and then joined Ward.
CW: After leaving my hometown of San Francisco, I traveled internationally a fair amount as an executive for global tech companies. By the time I got to New York City (a city I love by the way) I hated my path. My last job was a VP role in the Empire State Building. One day in 2016 I walked out and flew to LA to start a band.
Tell us the story of how you met the band members?
: I had an ad on Craigslist.com
, and Christopher contacted me. I loved his music, so I auditioned, and got the gig.
CW: Well…it was a little more work on my part than that. Darren took some convincing because it was a very, very long drive down to the rehearsal space. But, we were desperate for a drummer, so I told him, “Look, this is British rock in LA. This never happens and it’s exactly what you’re looking for. Turns out, I was right and he dug it. “
Tell us more about your single ‘No Time’. What was the recording process like?
DW: We recorded all the basic tracks live in one room in the studio.
CW: Yeah the drums, bass took a day. The guitars and vocals took the next 4 weeks!
Who are your influences?
DW: The Stones, Sex Pistols, The Who, The Clash, The Smiths, Sleaford Mods, Bowie, Zeppelin, Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop,…
CW: Yeah we both like Smiths and Velvet Underground, I also dig Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Interpol, Echo and the Bunnymen, Stone Roses…also Police, Doors and a little older Tom Petty rock.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
DW: Work at a recording studio in North Hollywood.
CW: I’m actually doing this full-time. I also do professional pen-and-ink illustration, web programming and long 200+mile hikes in the Sierras.
Where would your dream venue to play in your hometown?
DW: Outdoors at Cyfarthfa Park in Merthyr Tydfil.
CW: I’m gonna cheat and not say in my hometown. I want to play Red Rocks in Colorado. Hands down.
You get off a plane in your hometown, what do you do?
DW: There’s no airport or planes in Merthyr.
CW: Skip the city; drive straight to Marin and the forests north of San Francisco.
If you could collaborate with one UK Artist or Band who would it be?
DW: The Rolling Stones.
CW: I’d love to open for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Echo and the Bunnymen. I’d love to write a song with Johnny Marr. These are all obvious things that everyone wants though? Maybe?
US Artist or Band?
DW: Robert Johnson.
CW: Interpol. Or Wilco maybe.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more into rock music?
DW: Dazed and Confused – Zeppelin.
CW: Two albums: Full Moon Fever and The Joshua Tree.
What quote or advice do you always stick by?
DW: Go vegan! “If you argue against veganism, then you are arguing for animal cruelty”.
CW: Yep, that’s great advice BTW. I think I always remember Bowie saying, “Never play to the gallery.” meaning don’t do things for other people or what you think they’ll think.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
DW: Listen to what the other band members are playing, and go vegan!
CW: Yeah, agree…I’d also say, follow that Bowie quote, and write the songs you would love to listen to. Nothing is worse than doing things you think other people are going to like, just to find out they would have preferred how you actually are. YOU and how you are uniquely you, is your most valuable asset in life.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
DW: Sticks, Cymbals, Foot pedal, the songs, the time we go on.
CW: I’d say ‘lyrics’ but Darren knows, I forget those all the time. Most important is to connect with the room. To thank the crowd for their time, to thank the venue and sound person for their efforts, and to do it while performing. I tend to tell everyone to tip their bartenders too.