Crannk Interviews Woorms Guitarist/Vocalist Joey Carbo

Formed in 2017 in Louisiana and featuring guitarist/vocalist Joey Carbo, bassist John Robinson, and drummer Aaron Polk, WOORMS has been delivering a brutal mélange of riffs and noise-rock righteousness on the precipice of significance for some time. Following on from the critically acclaimed 2019 release of their debut album “Slake, Baton Rouge-based colossus, WOORMS, are not taking time to rest on their laurels having released the first cut from the album Silence and the Saints towards the end of 2019 and are set to drop the highly anticipated follow up Twitching, As Prey“, on 27th March 2020 through Hospital Records/Sludgelord Records.
Recently Jai caught up with Joey Carbo to learn more about these hard rockin merchants of sludge and riff WOORMS.

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Jai Q;First off who are Woorms and how would you describe your sound?

I’m Joey. I play guitar and sing. On the recordings, I play keys, find samples and generally molest the whole thing until it’s nice and greasy. John Robinson plays bass and sings and Aaron Polk beats drums. 

I’m told it’s sludge/noise rock and that works for me. 

Q; How did Woorms form?

I started with two different guys and developed the material that became the first full length. I had a chunk of songs written and wanted to develop the sound and the style I had in my head for it. Then I replaced those guys by getting John to come in and we did some auditions for a drummer and were super excited when we got Aaron because we knew he would be perfect. These guys are among the very best punk/underground musicians in our city and I think the fit is perfect! 

Q; How and when did you first get into heavy music and what was your first album?

So, the way I remember it I was waiting for the school bus and saw the video for either “Outshined” or “Slaves and Bulldozers”. I was like 11 years old. I had heard heavy music already for sure but it was my uncle’s Rush and Van Halen tapes and that stuff just never spoke to me. It still doesn’t. I was always drawn to really low end sounds, even in old Country music as a really young kid, I always liked the songs that were centered around bass lines. I wanted WOORMS to be heavily bass centric with near constant distortion and John brought that and fucking then some! Anyway, Soundgarden blew my mind and Badmotorfinger is still my favorite record. I have never gone more than a few weeks without listening to it straight through ever since. Sounds odd to say but it’s 100% true. 

Q; How and when did you first start playing guitar?

 Q: What was your first guitar?

I’ve always written. My earliest memories are of making up songs in my head. Before I could even write them down. It’s always been a really big distraction from anything else I was supposed to be doing. Haha! It’s almost all I ever think about, really. I think I had a bass first, actually. Just some piece of shit, I’m sure. And I had a cheap keyboard and a marching snare I stole from school. I got a little 4 track when I was 14 but before that I used to rig a bunch of those cheap Radio Shack tape decks in a string, sync them up and make terrible recordings or mic a jam box and play over the tape I had just recorded, then keep doing that until the first couple instruments on the tape just sounded like chewed up garbage. As an education, I made hundreds of demo tapes.

Q: What guitars are you using now?

EGC. (Electrical Guitar Company all aluminum custom jobs). I played strictly Les Paul for maybe the last 20 years but now I don’t plan to buy anything except EGC. I first got one because I read that Buzzo had one made to mimic the body style of his Les Paul. Then I figured out what changes I needed and went back.

Q; I’ve interviewed a few vocalists who said they were guitarists first and later took vocal duties on was this case for you?

No, I taught myself to do both at the same time. Out of necessity. I was trying to find kids to make a band with me and had a lot of songs so I just started with both jobs and figured it out as I went. 

Q; Who are some of the people you feel have helped inspire and influence you?

I was a 90’s kid so Nirvana was a big deal but not as big as the “Angel Dust” album. I’ve worn out so many copies of that. Swans, Helmet, The Jesus Lizard. Melvins, of course. I was fanatical about them growing up. Same with Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen. I was also really into Sonic Youth when I first started trying to be in a live band but I don’t really listen to them anymore. Still, the love of the chaos and noise elements around the stuff I write even outside of WOORMS probably started there, among other places. 

More recently (over the last decade or whatever), I’ve been really inspired by Harvey Milk (some of the best writing in this genre; I thought it was so good that I got depressed), The Body has a really unique and great way of writing, Gay Witch Abortion, Whores., Seawhores, John Frusciante, Old Man Gloom, Haan, Fight Amp. John got me into Inter Arma and they are excellent writers as well.

Q;The most recent album from Woorms “Slake” came out at the start of the year and is a great freaking album BTW and I have to say I fkn love the song names. If you had to pick a favourite track off the Slake album which one would you pick and why?

Thanks! I guess I think “Find a meal, find a bed, find a god” is the best representation of the band on that record, and maybe overall so far. It’s pretty well rounded and shows all the sides of what we do. It’s never been taken off our set list yet and may never be. I find that’s usually a good indicator. There’s always one or two like that with any band. 

Q; Woorms aren’t slowing down and are set to release “Twitching, as Prey” in march of 2020 through Hospital Records/Sludgelord Records and recently released the first cut off the album with “Silence and the Saints” which I have to say is the first track I heard from Woorms and was instantly like damn I gotta go listen to more from this band. So can I ask First what does the track “Silence And The Saints” mean for you?

I’ve said a lot about this song elsewhere and I’ll try not to repeat myself but it’s a commentary on religious dogma from an atheist or, more accurately, a nihilist/absurdist/humanist point of view. That old chestnut. No one is tending the light -that old song and dance! There’s a Christian teaching that silence is a pathway to god and I’m saying that I find this ironic in that their god is so consistently silent in general. It’s a fun song!

Q; How did you approach the song writing and song composition for”Twitching, as Prey”?

Well, like I said, this started out as a project where I thought I’d write all the material. It’s just how I’ve gotten used to working. When John and Aaron came in, the first record was pretty much done. For the new one, John had some riffs and I really loved them. We all wrote together around those riffs and those two songs, for me, ended up being the best on the record. We had intended to turn more toward collaboration anyway and the third record (which we’ve already done a good bit of writing for) will be 100% co-written, as a group. So, on “Twitching” you’ll still have a good chunk where maybe you can hear that the songs are sort of formulated the way the “Slake” songs were but I’m very happy that we’ll have transitioned out of that entirely by album three (which I probably shouldn’t even be talking about). Ha!

Q; Can you tell us about the recording and production process for this album?

We tracked a lot of this one at my own studio and that was great. I had a lot more time with the songs and that went a long way toward fattening up the arrangements. The result is more synth and much stronger vocals tracks because we were more comfortable and had a better work pace. John did a lot more singing and we even got a few guest musicians in there. The majority was done at the same studio as “Slake”, same production team, but we took twice as long on this one. We also recorded three other songs for release later and finished a “Slake” outtake. So, there will be no shortage of new music before the 2021 record. “Twitching” also has an acoustic song! So, maybe have a box of tissues ready. Don’t worry, it’s NOT a metal power ballad. We wouldn’t do y’all like that. 

Joey Carbo thank you again so much for taking some time and going through these questions and I really look forward to the forthcoming album “Twitching As Prey”cheers and keep that sludgy doom crannking loud. Kindest Regards and best wishes Jai Anderson & Crannk \m/

Thanks for the support!

Twitching, As Prey, is due for official release on 27th March 2020


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