INTERVIEW: Sam Bean – Werewolves

Interview by Dan Catania


Dan talked with Sam from Australian death metal trio WEREWOLVES about their new album “My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me” their latest music video ‘DESTROYER OF WORLDS’ past tours with MAYHEM and EXHUMED and more…


Metal-Roos: Congratulations on your 4th album, “My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me” It has been over a week since it was released. Tell us how the feedback and reaction has been?

SAM: Fucking sick! Look, we make it super-obvious what you’re getting when you listen to a Werewolves album – a half-hour belting – so nobody’s coming at us with buyer’s remorse. We feel like we’ve made the ultimate caveman death metal album with this one. It’s good to see everyone is agreeing so far. I’m sure one or two trendy little fuckwits will pop up and call it shit just for the sake of being all special and different. I’ll use this interview to proactively tell them to go fuck themselves.

Metal-Roos: The music video “DESTROYER OF WORLDS” was one of the first songs released in the lead to the album along with “UNDER THE GROUND” and the “self title track” lyric video. Were you guys excited with the reaction you had known in the lead up to the album release or were you still nervous with how the fans will react once they hear the whole album in full?

SAM: We were too busy to stop and think about how people would react to the album. Shit, we’re too busy to stop and think, full-stop. We weren’t really paying a huge amount of attention to the reception of the videos. We were locked in the twin tidal forces of prepping to release the album and prepping to record and mix the next one. Speaking for myself, I think the album is a banger so I was keen for people to hear the entire thing. You learn early on in this game not to put too much stock into what other people think. You know if you’ve made a good album or not, trust me.

Metal-Roos: What was the inspiration and the main objective with the new album compared to WEREWOLVES’s previous albums?

SAM: Same as always: to make another step on the road to ten Werewolves albums, and to sand the listener’s face off while doing it. I gotta be honest, we don’t mix it up too much. I think there’s something to be said for the Japanese craftsman approach. Some restaurants don’t let the apprentice chef handle anything other than rice for the first few years. Things can always be driven to another level, no matter how basic. When I worked there years back, I was drilled on making filter coffee for three months before I was allowed to make it for a customer! When it comes to music, I find people generally have this tiny attention span even with their own stuff, and feel they must rush on to the next thing instead of exploring their sound. People confuse exploring with changing.

Metal-Roos: Personally, I got a chance to listen to your new album and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. What captivated me in this record was the dynamics within the song. The riffs have hooks, it CHUGS, the drums are wicked and the vocals were well suited for the tone of the record. Each song had a character to them. Is that something you guys think ahead and plan in the creativity process once a riff is written and does it evolve over time during the production stages?

SAM: Nah, it’s not planned. I’m not sure character can exactly be planned! But we do what we can to swing things in our favour and make everything distinct. Matt’s pretty good at writing and arranging with something in mind, and if a drummer is a conductor, then Dave concentrates anything Matt’s songs conjure up. I make sure I record vocals once a year instead of kicking straight into the next album after recording the last, so things marinate a bit. I make notes on what the song sounds like to me and try and match the right mood from the lyrics sheet to it. And we’re lucky that we’ve got heaps of vocal styles to call on – plus Matt doing some grunting now too! – so we can match that to the songs as well. If you take ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ as an example, the first half of that sounded toxic, vengeful, and black metal, so that’s the kind of vocals it got. When the instrumentation becomes a bit more drawn out then I start layering vocals, confident in the knowledge there’s two of us at the microphone if we ever take that one live. And Joe Haley’s mixing is another bit of secret sauce, plus the fact we’ve used him on each album…we trust him, and he knows what he’s doing with us.

Metal-Roos: From this new record, is there a particular song (songs) that you look back on and can be proud of how it evolved over time?

SAM: Nothing really evolved. Maybe devolved? Haha. It was weird, everything was like a three-pointer no-net kind of deal, it wrote itself, everything we tried out worked out on the first shot. I’m doing album 5 right now and that’s definitely not the case! I like listening to ‘Do Not Hold Me Back’. When it was instrumental, it felt kind of plain but with a mammoth post-chorus kind of riff as well as a sick breakdown, and I knew the vocals would have to keep the violence ticking along til they came in. I came up with that extra-rude end section on the fly in the studio because I had no idea what to do. I’m still surprised it works.

Metal-Roos: WEREWOLVES was formed back in 2019 and you guys have now released four albums and an EP since then. Was being the main ingredient with the consistency of the workflow of this band?

SAM: Was consistency the main ingredient? Nah, that’s a by-product. From the start, we’ve tried not to take things too seriously and if any of us get stuck at any point, we remind each other that it’s supposed to be neolithic idiotic death metal. We’ve found that getting some material down and working it with a bit of experience to hand beats hanging around, waiting for divine inspiration to strike. It can take years to strike, and you can still absolutely fuck things up when it does.

Metal-Roos: With the album now out and released and a support gig with ARCHSPIRE for their “Tech Trek Australia” Tour in October. Are there any future shows in the pipeline local or overseas in the next 12 months for WEREWOLVES?

SAM: We haven’t got anything planned after Archspire. We tend to take things one step at a time. We’ll probably have a band meeting on the plane between Melbourne and Adelaide during the tour where we work out what’s next and have it all sorted before take-off. That’s how we roll.

Metal-Roos: WEREWOLVES has been busy in 2023. You guys supported MAYHEM and EXHUMED in their Australian tours. What’s been the highlights from those shows this year that stand out?

SAM: That entire Mayhem tour was unexpectedly good fun. We’re all used to horrible touring nightmares where everything goes wrong and it’s like a week-long panic-attack, but it was smooth as hell. Mayhem were unexpectedly amazing…I wasn’t a fan before the tour and wasn’t looking forward to their gig, but they blew me away and I think Australia got a really good version of them this time around. And getting to hang out with Ulcerate, and finding that they’re totally cool in person, was great. One last highlight would be the Exhumed show at The Bendigo Hotel where we played a track off the new album, and the crowd smashed each other to it. Any show where the foldback gets relocated by the pit banging into the stage is a good one.

Metal-Roos:. Looking back to where WEREWOLVES was formed in 2019 and seen how it has grown now with a promising future ahead. Personally for you what are you most proud of?

SAM: Our ludicrous t-shirts. Heh, I dunno, pride is the wrong word. Astonishment would be a better one? I’m constantly astonished at how well it’s being received. I’ve been in plenty of bands that had to battle for every speck of success and wade through a river of haters, and suddenly after loudly announcing to everyone that I was quitting music back in 2014, I’m releasing albums and touring and it’s going better than ever. How the hell does that work?!

Metal-Roos: Finally for our readers who are reading this interview and hearing WEREWOLVES for the first time and have not heard any of the material. What can they expect once they press play on your music?

SAM: Great vengeance and furious blast beats. The angriest album you’ve heard this year. You know how you keep getting told that this album or that album is extra, then you hear it and it’s a load of PR bullshit? Fucking listen to ours. 100% rage.