The Wars are a New Wave band from Berlin, Germany. The lead singer and driving force behind the band, Chris, is a talented music and video producer. They incorporate indie, minimal-wave and post-punk elements into their dynamic sound. Their music videos are equally as impressive as their music. They shared the stage with PhxGoth band Bella Lune in Berlin in 2012. They were so good that Bella Lune asked them to join the PhxGoth festival this year! They will be opening the show right at 1pm PDT/4pm EDT/10pm CEST (UTC +2). They just released a four song EP, ‘We Are One’, in 2020. We interviewed Chris recently, and here is what he had to say…
How did The Wars begin?
Thanks for having us. It is an honor. After a long period of searching and experimenting I had seriously lost my way. I had too many visions but no clear path to follow. So, in late 2007 I realized I had to go back to my roots. At my very beginnings as a musician I was a religious The Cure fan. In a way they helped me to survive an extremely dark phase in my life and they opened up new worlds for me: Siouxsie, Sisters, Lorries etc. Darkness became a space to hide and breathe and recover. And still is. Back then all I had was a 4 track machine, a cheap guitar and a very early loop pedal. I was in a very dark mood but also very excited. The thing is, songs came very fast and the music felt so fucking real and
relieving. This is where I wanted to go back to. So I invited this bass player and asked my dust covered drum machine to forgive all my questionable experiments with groovy drummers and to join my band and record some songs on a virtual 8 track machine. Restrictions…what a blessing in disguise. Carried by these superior electronic beings we recorded an awful sounding first EP that is still surprisingly popular amongst The Wars fans. Good old MySpace times.
What was the inspiration behind the name?
I never had a “The” band but always loved the idea. So that was a fast and clear choice. About the “Wars” part: maybe it is only my crazy way of seeing things but it feels to me like war is everywhere all the time. In relationships of all kinds. We are even fighting ourselves as hard as we can. Maybe it is our nature. Maybe it is our only way to change things. The lines of “Nature” come to my mind: ‘I can’t close my eyes. There is no friend inside.’ The name The Wars reflects the way I see the world.
Your line up has changed over the years, as with most bands. Has that affected the bands sound at all or have you always been the primary driving force behind The Wars?
I think the only true other band member with a certain amount of influential gravity was our original bass player Gernot Pohle. Although I might add gravity sometimes sucks.
Your videos are really impressive. When we [Bella Lune] played with your band in Berlin, you mentioned you make them all yourself. How did you learn to do that and where does your inspiration come from, in terms of the visual side of The Wars?
Thank you for being that kind. I think I still have a lot to learn, especially on the technical side but since you like our videos I might not be a hopeless case. It was all learning by doing and making horrible mistakes. Destroying a week’s worth of filming having dozens of people involved by not making backups? I am your man! Happened with the Rift video. Resulted in me patchworking outtakes and leftovers. Fun stuff. Inspiration? Always starts with the lyrics. Is there a story to be told? Are there pictures in my head? Sometimes it works that way. Sometimes it is just a location that comes to my mind that represents the feeling of a song. Sometimes it is just a little unrelated idea. Once we just handed out hundreds of flyers that read “Is thinking okay?”. Filming people’s reaction was priceless. It was a substantial part of the Jet Stream video.
What have you been listening to lately? Are there any new bands that have caught your attention?
Old stuff I recently rediscovered: Wipers, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, The Police. My standard rotation: Gary Numan, Joy Division, Bloc Party, Cypress Hill, Deadmau5, Bauhau5 (<- I am trying to be funny here). New stuff I love: SAULT, Chvrches, Lucy Rose, Chvrches, Chvrches
Other than the PhxGoth festival what have you been working on and up to creatively in the last year or two?
Last three years were all about loss and grief for me. Many people that were very important to me are no longer a part of my life. My kids suffered a lot and this made me literally sick. I spent an insane amount of time rewriting the songs of our We Are One EP over and over again. The whole code of my inner demise was interwoven in these lyrics. I couldn’t imagine anything more emotional and authentic I’ve ever done. Most of the stuff I sing there is simply what I experienced or found out after a long and painful process. It sounds like a joke spending years and years for only creating and recording four songs but in my inner world these are giants roaming a dark and shattered soulscape trying to find fitting parts and reassemble them. I really had a hard time wanting to stay alive. And even though it is hard for me listening to these songs to this day I am still working on remixes. I will release one before PhxGoth and am planning on releasing a complete version of We Are One including all versions of all songs when it is done in 2056.
How has the pandemic affected the music scene in Berlin?
It feels like Dresden in 1945. Once the dust settles we will see what is left.
If you could tour with any band, past or present, who would it be?
What is next for The Wars?
The Wars are currently working on a new full length album to be released in Spring 2022. We’re gonna release “No One Wants An Alien” as a free download in April. The Wars will be playing PhxGoth Virtual Festival 2021, April 24th alongside Bella Lune, definitely a highlight this year for us!