[Interview] She Wants Revenge Unites for a Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration

On the night of the last Thursday show to be hosted at the iconic Masquerade building at 695 North Avenue, She Wants Revenge graced the stage of Heaven for their ten-year anniversary tour. It's no secret "old Atlanta" is on it's way out of Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park. The neighborhood residents used to be nothing but hipsters and outcasts, but these days it appears as if Buckhead has relocated to 30308.

She Wants Revenge is a band that knows something about new beginnings. After Lady Gaga brought their music to the attention of the American Horror Story producers, it sparked them to do some pop up shows in L.A. and then fueled the ten-year anniversary tour. We had a chance to chat with them briefly in the green room upstairs before their show last week. 

It must have been a surprise to have American Horror Story reach out about using “Tear You Apart." Do you have any interesting stories that came out of working with the show?

Justin: Scott, who is our drummer and tour manager, called me one day and said the music supervisor of American Horror Story is going to be using "Tear You Apart" in the next season and needs the multitrack of the song. I asked if it was for sure happening and he said yeah, so I had to go find the multitrack and called Adam and let him know I found it and sent it off. We didn't know how much of the song they were going to use, a snippet, half the song, or 30 seconds. Traditionally it's 15-30 seconds used and up until we saw it air we didn't know it was in its entirety with no dialogue. Lady Gaga didn't reach out personally but she is the reason why it happened. She made a playlist on her iPad and gave it to the sound mixer on the show and said something like, "Hey, this is my first big scene I need new mood music to rehearse." He put on She Wants Revenge and she was acting to it and then Ryan Murphy came in and was like, "Oh my god what is this?" He had never heard of us and Lady Gaga said, "She Wants Revenge. You should use it in the show."

What’s “normal life” like, when you’re not being called back for a ten-year anniversary tour? How does it compare to the rock star life on the road?

Adam: I wouldn't say rockstar life on the road, I would just say "on the road." Normal life is pretty close to what other people would consider normal life. Justin has a family and writes and produces music. I am constantly working on music and writing. Justin and I see each other a lot because we've known each other for a long time and we're best friends. I'll ask him to come in and listen to the music I'm working and vice versa. Our studios are right next to each other. We have our own lives just like everybody else. It's interesting being back on the road because we weren't ever planning to be back on the road. Or if we were going to end up back on the road we didn't think it would be this soon. Fueled by the initial momentum of the American Horror Story feature, which led to a couple shows in Los Angeles that went really well. We decided to take it on the road. The way that we're touring we only tour three or four days a week when we do shows. We're still living our lives half the week and the other half of the week we're just going from city to city playing ten-year anniversary shows. 

Is it weird being so well-known, but not actually being a touring band most of the time? Do you ever stop people you in a gas station to say hey?

Adam: I very rarely get stopped, even in Los Angeles where we're from. It's usually like if I'm at a goth club or something where those kind of fans would congregate or under those circumstances. I think Justin's probably more familiar than I am. I'm more recognized for being a DJ than for playing with She Wants Revenge. If we're in a city and people know we're playing there with a little more heightened exposure then maybe somebody will recognize us around the venue or something.

Justin: I am from L.A., and L.A. is a small town and because I've been going to clubs and parties for over 20 years, and because I have always been in the entertainment industry, I see friends and get recognized by friends. As far as fans of the music or people that recognize me, it used to be a lot and now it's more like when I'm at the mall with my family someone will come up and say something. It's not like we're getting mobbed or anything so if someone comes up and wants to take a picture it's cool.

You guys have toured with Placebo and Depeche Mode, and have obviously been very influenced by the sound of bands like that who came before you. What drew you toward that darker sound?

Justin: I played in bands that have done quite a few different types of rock 'n' roll and never played in one that was this kind of darkness. I had a band before that was a different kind of dark music but it wasn't really so dark, more like dark in a more rock 'n' roll way. When Adam and I got together to talk about music when we first decided to make music together, we talked a lot about the things that we both liked, bands that we grew up on or were influenced by. We were like that's almost a style of music let's make music in the style of the late 70s early 80s that we grew up on. Whether it was Suicide, Giorgio Moroder, New Order, The Cure, The Smiths, Bauhaus, Joy Division Siouxsie and the Banshees - this project was created because of the type of track Adam first did, and because of a project that I worked on right before that had a lot of The Cure influence. I think I was coming from a certain place and he was coming from a certain place and it just worked. Other music that I do isn't this dark, but I honestly don't think we're that dark of a band. There is always so much melody in it, there are definitely dark songs we've made and I suppose compared to a lot of other music there is a darkness. Real simple, we were like Depeche Mode is almost a genre of music, like Prince is almost a genre of music, we just drew from the things that influenced us and then did our own version.

Do you have any news or upcoming projects you want to let your fans know about?

Adam: A lot of people that have been coming to our shows have been asking the same question. Do we have any plans to make an album? Will we make new music? Are we going to continue to tour? Really the only thing that we can say at this point is we really don't see an album happening anytime soon. We do throw around the idea of making new music, maybe a song or two. We made a new song in December and it was fun but to make a whole album is a huge time commitment. Justin has a new band called Dream Club that he's working on and produces music. I have my solo project - Love, Ecstasy and Terror - as well as other things we need to focus on in 2017. We do plan on continuing to tour at some capacity. At the end of 2016 the ten year anniversary will have ended but it will just be up to us and the demand to see what happens in the future. We're definitely going to continue to play shows. 

Photos by Sarah Htun for Bullet Music

Liz Peña

Liz is an Atlanta-native and lover of music. She is a freelance marketer who has been creatively writing since she was a child. As the publisher of Bullet Music, she thrives on creating a space for Atlanta artists to showcase their work. Liz enjoys nature, cooking and hanging out with her family. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @pocketsizedpeach