Stephen Bradley of iwrestledabearonce on the Warped tour, switching singers and the band's new full length horror movie...

Warning - NSFW - Contains swears...

When I introduce myself as Al from Metal as Fuck, Stephen Bradley’s initial response is charming: “That’s a beautiful fucking name right there.” And when I ask where he's at right now, the guitarist and programmer for iwrestledabearonce explains “We just got home a couple of hours ago from Colorado so we’re hanging out at the house and we leave for Europe in the next couple of days.”

You’ve just finished the Warped tour across America, what has the band been up to since then? “We did the Warped tour then we flew straight to Montreal to do that Heavy MTL festival with Slipknot, the Deftones and bunch of other fucking crazy bands then we came home and drove to Colorado for a festival and now we play Europe in a couple of days because we’re goddamn insane!”

When I ask how the Warped tour went, Stephen is enthusiastic, “Yeah, it was good – it was really, really fucking hot – I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t but other than that, we had a shit ton of friends down there; a bunch of people every day so it was OK”

So with these huge tours with loads of bands, does everyone hang out like good mates or do they keep to themselves? “I think it’s like anything in life; there’s always gonna be cliques of friends or whatever but we went into that tour already friends with like 15 of the fucking bands so from day one it was heavy drinking and listening to Slipknot and doing ignorant shit with our friends.”

As you mentioned, you’re off to Europe throughout September, then in October you’re back in US, touring some more – wasn’t there enough dates on the Warped tour? “No! I’ll be honest with you, we’re a band that thrives on being inside with lights and crazy shit where we can have beers and dive off shit and have fun whereas the Warped tour was more like ‘You’re not allowed to touch that!’ and ‘By the way, you’re playing at fucking noon and it’ll be a 110 degrees’ so we felt like a ‘real tour’ to follow up with…we have some pretty insane shit planned for the production. We’re definitely doing some wild shit that a band at our level can’t afford and shouldn’t have so it’s gonna be fun…”

Speaking of which, the November tour will be your first time in Australia, what are you expecting? “A lot of drinking, a lot of using the word ‘cunt’, a lot of koalas, I don’t know…drinking, I think. We’ve only ever toured with one Australian band; Closure of Moscow, so I’m just gonna go ahead and judge an entire country on a small group of people and say that everyone in Australia is an alcoholic who uses the word ‘cunt’ every three words.” Sounds like a fair call to me.

So at the moment the band is still touring on the Ruining It For Everybody (2011) album. Will you keep going with that or start on the next album soon? “After all the festivals, starting in December, we’re gonna start working on the new record.” And do you have any ideas how that’s going to take shape? “I think I’m just gonna record it and produce it again, like I did with the last one, it’s easier that way, hanging out at the house and doing what we want; make our own schedule, make our own record without anyone fucking with it, we can repeat riffs more often and write dumb shit – D.I.Y that’s the way we’ve always been - I think we’re getting heavier and softer?! That’s our goal. We want the heavy parts to continue to get heavier and we’ll keep writing weird funk, R ‘n’ B jazz shit. This one will be the third full length we’ve done and I’ve tried to talk about them in advance two other times now and I’ve always been way off, trying to guess what we’re gonna do so who fuckin’ knows?! To be honest I have no fucking idea…it won’t be a drastic departure from what we’ve been doin’ so far but obviously our whole goal is to keep pushing the envelope so I guess we’ll see…it gets harder and harder every time because we’re starting to run out of dumb shit ideas. We’ll have to start doin’ real drugs – not that any of us has a problem or anything! We were talking about that earlier; someone needs to start doin’ heroin or something…album three is like the drug album; every band’s third record is like when they were on drugs and hated each other so we’ve gotta get there, I guess.”

So are there any styles that you haven’t explored that you fancy having a go at? “I don’t even know – I think we legitimately have some styles that we obviously touch on a lot more than others but I think we’ve got at least one riff that we can do from every goddamn genre at this point; I just don’t know which ones will end up getting expanded on – I do think everything we’ve written so far is a little more ‘riffier’ [is that even a word?  – grammar obsessed Albert], more Deftones-ish, a little more ‘head-bobby’. It’s more metal but I don’t know. We could write another six songs like straight fucking grindcore with random jazz breaks, you know? Or we could have two pop songs – we might have two pop songs on the record, just to really, really piss everybody off. Do the heaviest songs we’ve ever done, surrounded by the softest songs we’ve ever done, just to alienate ourselves even further.” I ask whether the band gets more cash from the label for their third album and Stephen is surprisingly open about the ins and outs of their financial arrangements; essentially they’re doing alright. I suggest maybe spending the cash advance on drugs to make the third album and Stephen agrees (the band lives in sunny California where there’s weed aplenty, though as he points out “It’s not a real drug but it helps!”).

So vocalist Krysta Cameron has stepped down due to her becoming pregnant and you’ve got Courtney Plante (Unicron, now on hiatus, presumably due to Plante standing in) on vocals; how’s it working out for you? Stephen is obviously happy with the transition: “If it wasn’t awesome then we’d have quit touring – we’re not idiots; we’d know when it’s time to pull the plug on something and say ‘Well, fuck everybody - we’re done’ and get our jobs back in McDonalds and continue to write weird music in our free time but no, she kills it! I’d be lying if I said her screams aren’t even more fucking powerful and insane, though her singing is different…Krysta’s singing was amazing, obviously – I won’t say that about me – her singing was very different and unique but so is Courtney’s; it’s her own thing. I guess it’s less Bjork-ish and more ‘on point’…maybe more Deftones-ish? She’s good at writing hooks, she’s good at coming up with melodies and hooks; live, she’s killing it.” So it’s a huge thumbs up for Courtney and as far as Stephen is aware, there haven’t been any complaints so far.
I read that Mike Martin (bass) had suggested that Krysta probably wouldn’t return; was that bullshit, joke or serious? “I guess you probably know as much as we do at this point – she’s still got quite a number of months ahead so I know that’s a terrible fuckin’ answer but we don’t really have a solid answer for anyone, including ourselves…”

The band got the name from Gary Busey, a legend in his own right. Did you get to hang out with him? You can tell that Stephen is still impressed by the encounter and he enthuses “We got to hang out with him; his son Jake Busey, we made a horror film; like a feature length horror movie, and Jake Busey is in it and Clown from Slipknot is in it for a while – it’s pretty crazy.” Which leads nicely onto my next question; what the fuck is A Beary Scary Movie all about? Even Stephen sounds like he doesn’t how it came together; “It’s a straight up homage/rip-off of the films we grew up on; Nightmare on Elm Street type shit…I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s ridiculous because we did it but the goriness and the CGI… it’s a real movie – we shot it on the same cameras that Michael Bay did Transformers with so it’s a real movie. We built real sets and turned them upside down and we had a whole crew there doin’ shit except you have to take into account that we were acting in it as real people.” Horror movies - something else that iwrestledabearonce have ruined for everybody…
So where the hell  did you get resources for that? “We made it on basically no money; it was done on less money than we’d make a fuckin’ record with but the guys who do all our music videos are out of their minds and they also work in the film industry working on real shows so they just kind of pulled every favour that they had and got us a lot of shit for free and got people to work on it for free because they were like ‘Hey! I love weird shit, that band’s cool, I’ll work on that movie, why not?!’ so we set up a couple of sponsors and Century Media gave us a little bit of extra money and we fuckin’ put a movie together! We came up with an idea for a video and there was way too much shit so we made a movie.” Apparently the movie will be released around the end of October but will also be available at the band’s merch stand.
Your music is pretty freakish but what do you listen to? “I never listen to iwrestledabearonce, if possible, fuck that! We still like a lot of metal but honestly, we listen to a lot of not heavy music because although we love it , we write it and we fuckin’ live it but when you’re on tour and you’re hearing a million different bands screaming and playing metal riffs, you just want to put on your headphones and float away on an island of happiness – or some dumb shit. We all have the worst taste in music, ever, which I think is evidenced by the way our band sounds. I probably listen to a lot of lame indie and electronic music; I’m more into the weird, minimalist electronic shit. As for heavy stuff, I was never really into death, I was more into grind and weird shit like Cephalic Carnage or Cryptopsy.” He gives it some more thought before adding “Nu metal! We all fuckin’ love our nu metal – I’d be lying if I said we weren’t into Korn and Chimaira…but literally everything…everything from Radiohead to Cephalic Carnage…”

And finally, I saw there are quite a few all ages gigs on the Australian tour; is there a reason for this? “We pretty much do all ages shows…I don’t know why…maybe ‘cos we’re weird and kids are young and impressionable and like weird shit and then they get older and become more serious and lame; who knows? The main thing is we don’t wanna exclude anybody – our band, and the entire reason for its existence, is to try and encourage people not to be closed minded dipshits, and it would be unfair to say that and then say ‘Oh, by the way; you’re 16? You can’t come to the show’. But we’re just glad to be coming to Australia; if they said the shows were aged 40 and up, we’d still come!”
Iwrestledabearonce in Australia in November. Supported by In Hearts Wake and Storm The Sky.
Go see the band live. Blow your mind.