We asked WARD XVI to tell us more about themselves using our A-Z challenge!
A song that made you want to make music?
Lex: Planet Hell – Nightwish, still my favourite band to this day, but I was super obsessed when I first heard them during high school.
Von Stottenstein: The Final Countdown by Europe was the lightbulb moment for me. I was only 7 when it was released but I vividly remember playing air guitar to it, I also remember vetoing listening to terrestrial radio after they cut the song short mid guitar solo!
Best rider you have had?
Lex: We once asked, not being serious, for the venue to provide cheese for us backstage (A packet of Babybells to be exact) and they actually did it.
Psychoberrie: May I just throw out there that we are hoping for an endorsement with Terry’s Chocolate Orange in case there’s any Umpa Lumpa’s reading this.
Craziest moment in the band?
Psychoberrie: There’s been many but I guess one of my favourites is the adventure that our keyboardist at the time and myself went on on our first night camping outside the studio. It happened to be Rewind festival next door, a big 80’s pop festival with the likes of Adam and the Ants. We didn’t have any wristbands we just decided to try and break in. It was after the bands for that day had finished and we just walked in past security with no problem. We started of at the silent disco then moved onto the bars and then found some crazy people in the campsite dressed as superheroes to hang with. We helped ourselves to the showers because we needed one and then I had the great idea of “let’s try and get into the festival grounds and go on the main stage”. We had these torches with us and we started pretending we were security, asking people to show us their wristbands etc as we made our way, it even fooled security. We stopped off at the fairground which was now shut but it didn’t stop us attempting to play on all the rides, we were sat drinking and swinging ourselves for a bit on the chairoplanes. It was great fun. Then we eventually made our way over to the main stage, there were security guys dotted all around so we kept running and hiding behind obstacles until we reached the stairs at the back of the stage. We’d finally made it, bearing in mind we’d only played small pubs at this point, we were stood there on stage pissing our sides going “We’ve made it, Ward XVI are on the main stage at Rewind Festival”. After that we checked out the other stages. I climbed the scaffolding pole that held the tent up as I’ve always wanted to do whilst Martin danced to the non-existent music (did I mention we were drunk?) We eventually made it back to the studio (complete with a traffic cone on Martin’s head) where we’d pitched our tents on the stoney car park.
Deepest lyric one of your songs features?
Psychoberrie: Probably Hold Me, this song although it fits with the story is actually very personal. The line “It’s so easy to forget what it means to be alive and so hard to remember the child we left behind” is about becoming so far fetched from that innocent child we used to be. As I wrote that song I was looking back at the little girl I used to be. I didn’t like who I’d become, I was cold and I’d done some things I greatly regretted but the thing that cut deepest was that I forgot about her and that she is still me and when I thought about the little blonde girl with blue eyes who was always kind and helpful I stopped being hard for a minute and let in all the emotions I’d been shutting out for years and I guess I just felt weak wanted someone, anyone to hold me.
Easiest song you wrote?
Lex: I’d say Run For Your Lives, it’s basically a punk song, so technicality wasn’t really taken into consideration when writing it.
Psychoberrie: Possibly Take my Hand as I pretty much wrote most of it before the band even existed so it was just a case of letting the others put their own spin on it.
Favourite song in your set?
Lex: Probably Toy Box, the crowd always goes crazy when we play it live.
Von Stottenstein: either Cry of the Siren or Hold me because it was the first song that I’d ever written start to finish, and its a culmination of all my influences from Maiden, RATM, living colour etc.
Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?
Psychoberrie: The band will probably hate me for this one but Eminem!
Von Stottenstein: Eminem is a cool one!! Mikee from Sikth would be ace to work with.
Hardest thing about being in a band?
Psychoberrie: Having your dreams constantly torn from under you. The way it’s always been in this band is that just as we’re on a high, ready to go for it something is taken from us whether it be an opportunity or a member leaving. “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll”, there’s never been a truer lyric written. It’s a constant 2 steps forward, one step back up hill struggle and the hardest thing about it is persevering and not giving up when the shit hits the fan as it so often does.
Dr Von Stottenstein: compromise can be difficult. You can work loads on developing a song on your own for it to be unliked by the rest of the band.. you learn to try and collaborate and not take it personally but it can be hard. Agree with what Psychoberrie says too. We’ve always been on the brink… for someone to either leave just before or a tour be cancelled, but there have always been silver linings that come from these when you look back. Another one is that your band mates get to see the good and bad of you, which isn’t always a good thing.
Interesting fact about one of your members?
Psychoberrie: Lex Whittingham shrinks when he drinks
Dr Von Stottenstein: Psychoberrie is a ridiculously good artist. She paints/ designs our art. She also has incredibly long fingers.
Jokes you have in the band?
Dr Von Stottenstein: see above…
Psychoberrie: That’s not a joke. How else do you explain how he disappears after one glass of Baileys? He was nowhere to be seen and his tent was empty bar a pair of socks. He was hiding in his socks. It’s the only logical conclusion that could be drawn from this.
Key to writing a song?
Von Stottenstein: E is a good Key… also D.
Lex: We’re all a little different with our approaches to song writing, a few of us prefer to just meet up in our practice space, have a jam, and see what happens, whereas personally, I’m terrible at that. I much prefer to write at home on my own and present a selection of ideas to the rest of the band once I feel that they’re up to scratch.
Psychoberrie: Don’t get attached to anything you write, you have to have the self-discipline to throw out the stuff that’s OK, just throw out whole sections if they’re dragging or not really serving a purpose. It needs to keep momentum. We did that with the ending of Hold Me in the Studio, there was this whole lengthy section on the end of Hold Me and we just clicked the ‘Delete’ button. Similarly when Von Stottenstein joined the band he soloed over a section I originally sang on that song and the rest of the band were like “are you not gonna tell him that’s where you sing and I was like “Hell no that sounded way better”.
Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a show?
Lex: So far London has been the furtherest show from home for us, and we’ll be back there later this year.
Von Stottenstein: Camden was pretty far- we are hoping, ready, willing and able to go much further.
Most inspiring musician you’ve experienced?
Von Stottenstein: Jason Becker!! He was destined to be the greatest rock guitarist in history, but at 20 he was hit with ALS which paralysed him eyes down. Instead of giving up he continued to compose by utilising a computer programme that allowed him to select notes, tempos via a blink of the eye. He wrote the most Beautiful operas and compositions this way. Absolutely mind blowing and an inspiration for me. I’d certainly not have had the drive join a band when I was diagnosed with PAH in 2013, he inspires me not only musically, but spiritually. I sent him a copy of the album. Hope he liked it.
New band you’d recommend?
Lex: We’ve met so many awesome up-and-coming bands at various shows across the country I’d feel rude just picking one, to mention a few of my personal favorites, in no particular order: Avarus, Soldato, Twisted Obsession, Brockley Forest, Cobolt Collision, Equinox and Emperor Phunk.
Opening for this band would be ideal?
Von Stottenstein: Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper or Evil Scarecrow.
Place you’d most like to tour?
Von Stottenstein: Scandinavia/ Germany would enjoy our music I think. I also love their musical heritage so it would be an honour to play there
Lex: I’ve always wanted to go to Canada, but I guess going abroad anywhere to play or tour would be awesome.
Quote that you’d like to pass on to our readers?
Dr Von Stottenstein:
Frank: It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl
finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a
tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Frank: No, the worst.
Reason for the title of your forthcoming release?
Lex: From all the song titles on our first album, we felt that The Art Of Manipulation best described the overall theme for the story that’s being told throughout the album.
Psychoberrie: The album is a tale of how Psychoberrie uses her female charm to manipulate a man into killing for her own twisted pleasure so that song title really summed it up.
See us live at?
On tour from now to October.
The old days of music were better than the current, do you agree?
Lex: Depends on what band you’re listening to as well as overall musical preference I think, off the top of my head, with someone like Arch Enemy, I’m way more into their older albums than say their 3 most recent ones, however with someone like The Black Dahlia Murder or Mastodon, I think their most recent albums (Nightbringers and Emperor Of Sand) were easily some of their best, and for me were two of the best albums I heard last year.
Von Stottenstein: nah.
Psychoberrie: I agree because a lot of new stuff is either just exactly the same as the old stuff or they just focus on trying to be as heavy as possible. I wanna hear something different that still has rock n roll at the root and that’s why I chose to grab the bull by the horns and go out and create something new. I knew in order to do this we’d need musicians from totally different backgrounds. I’m not interested in working with musicians with the same musical taste as me.
Psychoberrie: We were once in talks about getting some accordion tea bags but for some reason they never went into production.
Von Stottenstein: we do sell clown noses.
Variations you’d like to do on one of your songs?
Von Stottenstein: I have converted the set into acoustic versions, some of them are awesome in a different context.
What do your fans mean to you?
Psychoberrie: The fans are the reason I do this. I set this project up because I was sick of hearing the same sounds being reproduced. I wanted to give people something new. When I hear the audience singing my songs back at me it’s the greatest feeling in the world. I’m just a shy girl from Preston, it’s overwhelming to see we have so much support. I’ve thought of quitting when times have been hard but the fans are the reason I won’t, they’re waiting for the next chapter and I’ll do whatever it takes to deliver it. They are the sole reason we are where we are and continue to grow and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Von Stottenstein: it hits me when we have kids writing us letters… that’s mental. We’re a pub band!! Really makes me feel the responsibility of playing well, appreciating the opportunity, and also making sure I spend as much time as possible talking to people, giving them free merch… hey.. money is hard for everyone at the moment!
X-rays or any other treatments needed for band injuries?
Von Stottenstein: I have a rare lung disease that requires me to have metal wires passed through my heart every now and again. Psychoberrie is also a little over zealous when it comes to waving her chainsaw around. Me and lex both have scars to prove it.
Lex: Psychoberrie went a little crazier than usual in Liverpool one time and cut my shoulder with a live chainsaw during our set, it must have looked great from the crowd’s perspective.
Psychoberrie: Dr Von Stottenstein did go to have his knee X-Rayed after he fell on it a bit too hard when Beardy McStumble shot him but he was just being a wuss. I think he’d chipped the bone or something, but it wasn’t half the pain that I had to suffer listening to him moan about it.
You’re late for a show, whose fault is it?
Von Stottenstein: Psychoberrie’s
Zoo animal that best describes the personality of your band?
Psychoberrie– Zebra, it’s stripey init? Or maybe a Racoon, it has a stripey tail, dark eyes and they’re mischievous.