Hang Yourself: An Interview With WARMDÜSCHER

At the point where personal hygiene ends and Kraut-garage begins lie WARMDÜSCHER, a collaboration between members of Paranoid London and Fat White Family. They tell William Dickson about their raging live sets, debut LP Khaki Tears and why they want "to include everyone in the party"

Photograph courtesy of Lou Smith

The rise of WARMDÜSCHER has been touted by many as a siege against cleanliness, a campaign that was in full swing when they descended, cult-like, on the Brixton Windmill on July 30. Condensed sweat drips from the drab ceiling onto the dandruffed mops of their motley audience, the sticky pub floor wafting sweet scents of dried vomit. It’s not difficult to understand the fixation on hygiene that has dominated most of their press releases so far as the meandering live improv of their sets encourages a fair amount of ale-stained abandon.

WARMDÜSCHER are a collaborative effort, stitched together from ‘Lightnin” Jack Everett and Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family and singer-figurehead Clams Baker, aka Mutado Pintado, vocalist for clandestine acid house outfit Paranoid London. In the Windmill’s toilets, next to the jostling cubicles and cries for spare keys, the band’s name gets scrawled across the back of the communal urinal (see below), letters gradually eroding under the perpetual efforts of the final warm shower. In this atmosphere of festivity, Baker takes to the stage under the protective yet ridiculous shade of a pair of aviators, spewing forth a stream-of-consciousness flurry of plant food-inflected psych. Baker’s rhetoric is reminiscent of Mark E. Smith, and gets soundtracked by wandering, beat-driven and heavy Kraut-garage: the effect is infectious, frivolous and great fun. Khaki Tears, their debut album released on Trashmouth Records in April, clocks in at around half an hour for its ten tracks. Seemingly an act of reckless spontaneity, the 90-second songs sound as if invented in clear anticipation of the party they’d be played at, and tonight they bleed into each other, lines blurred by on-the-spot jams, cheap lager and an unruly crowd in increasing stages of undress.

After the show, and with a new mixtape in the offing for next month, Baker and Everett picked up the pieces with tQ, laying down their idols and aims, as well as giving us the low-down on releasing a colouring book alongside a record.

How did WARMDÜSCHER form?

Jack Everett: WARMDÜSCHER formed during the hot summer of ambivalence. Cold in the furnace of 2014, breathing slimy eggs over the greyhound track.

Clams Baker: Through a need of concrete amongst a whole world of Play-Doh, basically. The Fat Whites were throwing a party and wanted the resurrection of an old band that was not possible, so Saul and I took matters into our own hands and jumped on stage with a bunch of others, and the rest is history really. After the first gig we knew things were special, so soon after we were lucky to have Lightnin’ join, and The Witherer, and now Salt Fingers. The quest is complete. We could die and things would be just fine, basically.

"Warmdüscher" is a pejorative term for someone who takes warm showers, I believe. What stake do you hold in the battle against hygiene?

CB: I’ve always believed in keeping clean. My grandfather Dick Dennison was a junk man and one thing he always taught me was never to have dirty fingernails or smell like a shit tank. I also follow the James Brown rule of thumb, keep your hair and teeth good and always wear good shoes.

JE: Any battle worthy of fighting is worth losing.

What are the most formative influences for the band?

CB: It’s pushing the boundaries of being under them and open to anything for me. A movie, an uncle, a bad day at work. Closing your eyes and seeing what happens really.

JE: Mine are Meat Loaf, Royal Trux and Charles Bonnet syndrome.

What are "khaki tears"?

JE: The time it takes for you to pluck up the courage for something.

CB: The ability to cry while eating your cake no matter what it’s made of.

How do you guys find performing together?

JE: Effortless, which is why the band has existed for so many years… our focus is unshakable; in order for you to get naked in the first place, we must be totally focused.

CB: I know it’s always going to be good, regardless of what happens or where it comes from; it’s easy cheese every day for me. These guys are professionals and our sets are about 70% improvised, so I never have to worry about being bored. It’s too easy really. I live for them. Whatever happens is meant to happen and when you give someone that paid money to watch you perform everything you have, you get something more than a good time; you get respect and possibly an STD if you want it.

And I quote from ‘Uncle Sleepover’: "I won’t pay for their discos./ I’m not gonna buy their sandwiches./ I’m not gonna eat what they shove in my face./ I’m dressed for success./ Hair combed tight./ Dripping with sweat." Who’s Uncle Sleepover and how do you come up with this stuff?

CB: It started with a name Lightnin’ and I birthed on a spit back and forth, a title really. Then it became a scenario by describing a situation without having time to think about it. It then becomes a reality when we put visuals to it and my best friend and brother joins the party. Simple shit that means everything and nothing at all! Huge brass balls and the desire to include everyone in the party.

JE: Uncle Sleepover is an uncle we all have, you know him, I know him. It’s not really important. What’s important is, if Clams won’t pay for these sandwiches, who will?

Image courtesy of Clams Baker

What’s the deal with the WARMDÜSCHER & Friends Activity Book? All the proceeds are going to Bernie Sanders, right?

CB: The book started as something to do with all these wonderful drawings Lightnin’ was making, then it turned into a book by wanting to give Bernie as big a contribution as possible. Then it became a way to ask a bunch of people that we respect to be in a book together and also do something good at the same time. You can’t beat drawing a great pair of cock and balls, even now at 18.

JE: He is the only thing standing between the entire world and vacuous apocalypse.

Any other personal heroes? Who’d you like to take out for a drink?

CB: All the usuals: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Prince, Gibby Haynes, Steve Albini, Amy Sedaris, Bernie…

And what’d you be drinking, what’s your poison?

CB: The blood of the pigs that make up the strong arm of this planet hopefully.

Photograph courtesy of William Dickson

Do you have big plans for the future? Albums, tours?

JE: Tour coming, album coming.

CB: A new album just fell out a few weeks ago and slathered the walls of the Queens Anus as I like to call it, that’s all I know that is certain. A Paranoid London collaboration is not really anything that doesn’t already happen, it’s much the same. They don’t do interviews or talk much, but what we are doing in the electronic world right now is serious. These guys are the only electronic act I know of turning down Tel Aviv money to stay home broke! Our shows are as important as anything else happening, bringing conscious to the unconscious while smiling at least before the comedown commences.

Any parting words of advice, wisdom or affection for your fans?

CB: I’d like to throw some homage to my late uncle Thomas Dennison, he was a pure poet, a working class Shakespeare if you will: "Here I sit with a can in my hand, Carnation milk, the best in the land./ No tits to pull or shit to throw, just poke a hole and let it flow."

JE: Hang yourself.

Khaki Tears is out now on Trashmouth Records and available on the band’s Bandcamp, while the WARMDÜSCHER & Friends Activity Book is available to purchase from Rough Trade

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