W.E.R.M. exists at the crossroads between hard rock and electronic music.
The Daytona Beach, Florida trio—Clayton Sturgeon [vocals/guitar], Nate Mullins [drums], and Joey Parkes [keyboards/electronics]—sets off a sonic shockwave with their debut EP for Republic Records, Medication Generation. It's intoxicating, invasive, and infectious. It's like a bash at the world's end, and everyone's invited.
That bash kicked off in 2011. One night, Clayton and Nate attended an underground dance party. Amidst the flashing lights and sweaty, scantily clad bodies writhing in unison, Joey caught their attention as he pumped booming electronic music through the speakers. Immediately, they approached him to collaborate.
"We thought it would be awesome to mix what Joey was doing with the direction Nate and I were going in musically," says Clayton. "So, we rented a studio in Daytona for four days. We ended up having this crazy Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas-style experience. We didn't record a note of music, but we bonded. After sleeping that off, we got together, and we wrote forty songs. That was the beginning."
Together, they zeroed in on a sound that seamlessly merged sexy, slick synths, grinding guitars, and bombastic drums. "We call it electronic grunge," the frontman adds. "As far as songwriting goes, we were really influenced by Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Stabbing Westward, and Nine Inch Nails. We mix that with these more modern elements."
Their style immediately turned heads as they impressed crowds across the state. In 2013, Republic Records took notice and signed the group. Now, Medication Generation signals the dawn of W.E.R.M. The first single "This Is The End" rises from ominous synths into an arena-ready hook.
"It's the perfect introduction to us," insists Nate. "The song is about the fact that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, it's easy to lose drive and ambition, but you can get through it. We want people to see this from two angles. The world is fucked, and we need to do something about it—whether it's join in on the fuckery or not."
Clayton elaborates, "Lyrically, it lists all of the things we don't believe in. Our message is very anti-political and anti-religious. People take those things way too fucking seriously and use them as crutches—as opposed to making their own opinions. We want to provoke thought."
Equally provocative is the EP's title. It's an a propos description of the fact that "everybody is on something". Elsewhere, "Higher", "Strange", and "Not Getting Clean" slip from a wall of distortion into warm, wild soundscapes punctuated by synthetic bass and keyboards. Then, there's "Pin My Wings", which thrives on propulsive riffing and as Clay puts it, "is about knowing you shouldn't do something and doing it anyway".
In many ways, the group's name encapsulates their philosophy and overarching message. "It stands for When Everything Really Matters," says Nate. "After a show in Miami, we went out and partied pretty hard. At 4:30 in the morning, we were walking on the beach, and a homeless woman came up to us. She said, 'I've seen the future and I've seen the past. Right now is When Everything Really Matters'. She just disappeared after that, but her words resonated. This time and this band are When Everything Really Matters".
Ultimately though, this is about letting loose and living. "It's supposed to be a good time," concludes Clayton." When you come see us, there are a lot of bright colors and it's as loud as possible. What's the point of going to a show if it's not a fucking party?"