Interview: Nuno Pereira from ‘A Wilhelm Scream’
Massachusetts rockers A Wilhelm Scream (formerly known as Smackin’ Isaiah) are bringing their 15-year back-catalogue and notoriously energetic live shows back to Australia for a national tour this May! Fans know them for their trademark fast-paced guitars and drums topped with frontman Nuno Pereira’s poetic lyrics. We had a chat to Pereira about the band’s musical transitions, drugs, and cupcakes.
You’re coming down under in May for a big Australian tour, are you excited to come back?
Yeah, I love Australia, I absolutely love it. You know, we are playing at the same venues again I think, [so it] should be nice to walk into the same place. Whenever you go travelling to these places you never have enough time to really hang out and relax and stop being serious, so the more chances you get to [go to] these places, the more chances you get to make new friends.
What can we expect from your live shows this time?
Well, I’ve lost a lot of weight so you can expect a slightly skinnier me – that’s a good thing, right? So yeah, I might be jumping a little bit higher and drinking a little bit less.
What’s your favourite of your six albums and favourite song from your catalogue and why?
I would say [our] favourite song to play live is probably Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks. Favourite record is always the latest one. So once you’ve been playing for a while you generally get closest to what you just put out. Other than ‘Career Suicide’, ‘Partycrasher’ is my favourite record so far.
Do you still play songs from your Smackin’ Isaiah days?
Oh yeah, now and then. When we are playing local shows in our own town we will take out one of those dusty ones out and give it a go, but you always have to keep things mixed up. You don’t want to go to a show and play all the new songs. You want to give your fans some time, but then again I don’t want to go to a show and play the same ones over again either. You gotta change things around and mix it up.
The lyrics are usually very metaphorical, how do you come up with them?
I say, metaphorically speaking, lyrics come around come from a sound or a note, something like that. Sometimes you might just get an idea and go right over it and over in again until it’s in your mind and done to death and forgotten about. Then you might come back to it with fresh ears and fresh eyes and start working on it again. That’s my method, anyway, everyone else is a little different. Trevor works on top of guitar and belts and jams on top of guitar, that’s his method. I typically wait until I hear a reference or something that someone has quoted. I’ll try to find a rhythm [or] a melody to it but, you know, lyrics come from different kind of things. You can’t get it from the same thing every single time. I try to keep it metaphorical but also a little bit creative so people can find their own meaning to it.
With each album the sound slightly changes, is this due to changing members or was it agreed upon as a band?
I don’t think we really ever actually agreed on anything as a band actually, but as people evolve, bands evolve, and as people change, the sound changes. Sometimes the sound’s not going to be the same, sometimes you’re pretty stoked, but sometimes it’s not like f**king rainbows all the time. So I think depending on what riff [we] have to begin that week, month, day, hour or whatever, we will dictate what kind of songs we put out. It’s not like we go out to achieve some sort of sound, it’s just trying to keep things fun and keep it fresh.
Being one of the original members, what keeps you going?
I mean, I never saw an end-game, I never did this for a pay check, I never did this because I thought it would get me anywhere. I did it because I was having a lot of fun doing it, like most people. [It’s like when I was a teenager], when we first discovered video games. You have a passion for it and you do it because it makes you happy and [you’re] happy to do it with the people you’re lucky enough to hang out with. That passion has never left me, I’ve always said that I’d walk away from this if it wasn’t fun. I’ve never tried to make a [commitment] to stay in the band or get out of the band. I just kinda felt like I was a part of something and it was a part of me. I just never felt the pressures. I guess I do what people do to try to [make it] or die trying.
What are your main influences for writing music?
Drugs and music, obviously. Nah, but there is tonnes of stuff. I mean, look, there [are] obviously tonnes of recordings. I get excited about writing when I hear of an old song or two and it’s kind of funny how it’s all set up. But there is a band, Men at Work, they have this song where [if I] hear it on a radio or someone plays it on a jukebox… it just blows me away… it’s just one of the most incredible songs ever written. I believe it’s called Overkill. Anyway, I’ll hear it and think, “Oh my God, I wish I could write something this amazing.” So sometimes I get to work and try to evoke something that [I] have heard, but I also say just hang around everyday life…sometimes a few beers and a little bit of weed and all of a sudden the creative juices start flowing.
What’s most important to you guys as a band?
I would say it’s our live shows with our fans, that’s the main reason we’ve been able to stay around doing what we do for as long as we have.. and the fact that we make decent music. Yeah, but the high has always been about that show, that pub show, that dark stinky pub show where people are shouting all over each other and laughing and spilling beer. You know, just getting together to cut loose and have a good time. I think that was at the heart when we started and it’s still at the heart now…that’s what keeps [us] going a lot of the time.
What are you plans after touring Australia?
We are going to go home and stomach some food as it’s the beginning of summer time here. So I don’t know, maybe do a little bit of surfing, do some swimming, hang out with my kid and do lots of fun sh*t. F**k you Australians, [having summer] all year round and taking it for granted!
If you were a cupcake, what flavour would you be?
That’s easy…wait, that’s not easy. Does carrot cake count? Everybody loves carrot cake. Yeah, carrot cake with that tasty frosting.
A Wilhelm Scream 2016 Tour Dates
THU 19 MAY
Rosemount Hotel, Perth
FRI 20 MAY
SAT 21 MAY
Factory Floor, Sydney
SUN 22 MAY
Rad Bar, Wollongong (AA)
WED 25 MAY
The Basement, Canberra
THU 26 MAY
The Reverence Hotel, Melbourne
FRI 27 MAY
Uni Bar, Adelaide (AA)
SAT 28 MAY
Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
Get Tickets HERE