Long Beach, Southern California. Whilst nearby Los Angeles is where dreams are shattered, in Long Beach people are getting on with their lives.
Wignall has been living there for years, runs a studio, seeks out old equipment to repair and prides himself in making it sound better than it ever did before. He produces bands, such as Cold War Kids. With them, Wignall has recorded tracks such as “Hang Me Out to Dry” and “Hospital Beds” with a sound that is to die for. So the interesting question is: Why does a musician who has such an understanding of sound and such awesome equipment not have his own band? Now he has got one: WARGIRL.
“I knew I was capable of recording and writing good music. But the idea of being in some band where there’s four guys playing and one of them singing lead just seemed incredibly boring to me,” Wignall says. He likes listening to Santana’s early records, afrobeat recordings by Fela Kuti, the psychedelic masterpiece “Forever Changes” by Love, the 70s psych funk masters War (who happen to also be from Long Beach!), as well as reggae, disco, garage rock and post-punk. “One day the thought occurred to me that really what I should do was to get to know people and set up a band with them that would combine all of these aspects.” So he went out, into town, down to the beach – and realised: Actually, I already know all of these people, I just need to ask them.
Looking at the band one immediately notices: The make-up of this band also makes a socio-political statement. There are three women and three men, each with colourful biographies, and they are playing music that is from all over the world, yet could only have been invented in California. “We stand for Long Beach,” Wignall says. “If you walk through this town, you will meet a hundred people who could also have played in this band.” WARGIRL knows that the situation elsewhere in the US is totally different. “That’s why we want to take a stand, want to show: There are still people who are different, who are open and not interested in commerce. We’re still here!” WARGIRL’s music doesn’t carry clear messages. “First and foremost, the songs should be fun and make you dance,” Wignall says. But there is another layer hiding behind this. “It’s like The Clash. They could be consumed as a party band – but also as a source of information for revolutionary thoughts.”
With WARGIRL the party is getting political – the music’s sounding both old and new at the same time; it’s enticing you out into the sun whilst warning you not to take any of that for granted. Enjoy!