Warbly Jets – Propaganda
In our globalized, algorithm-ruled, data-based society, where the lines between public and private, what’s real and artificial, are blurred beyond recognition—where the hive mind masquerades as marketable individualism and Big Brother is welcomed with open arms in the name of convenience— some alarming questions present themselves. What is human connection? How easily are we bought and sold? Is there any way to cut through all the noise? Is it too late? Do we even care? And how does music—real music—fit into it all?
These are the ideas that motivated Warbly Jets’ new EP, Propaganda—which has the Los Angeles trio examining the idea of life-commodified, with a genre-wrecking sample-based set of rock songs that highlight their studio dexterity as well as their disinterest in doing what anyone expects of them. Upon release, the EP entered the FMBQ Album Chart at #1, along with the title track which entered the Singles Chart at #5. Just like their self-titled debut, released in 2017, Propaganda pulls no punches, articulately and acidicly riffing on the seedy state of things, over an arena-ready, anthemic sound and massive beats.
“ ‘Propaganda’ is a term as much as it’s a cultural ethos that’s been widely accepted. Anything from advertisement to self-aggrandizement qualifies,” explains multi-instrumentalist Julien O’neill. “It’s everywhere at all times, consistently infiltrating. From social media, push notifications, targeted ads—we’ve openly elected to carry around miniature billboards, playing our part under the promising guise of a sense of ‘connection.’ We feel empty without it.”
Coming from three opposite points of the USA, Samuel Shea (vox and guitar), O’neill, and Dan Gerbang (bass) ultimately converged on the star-lined streets of Los Angeles. The gold-flaked promises and industry buzz that the band’s impressive sound and striking persona were swiftly met with, often left a sour taste—resulting in the quiet determination and staunchly independent approach that still remains at the core of the band. After a non-stop year spent on the road opening for Liam Gallagher, The Dandy Warhols, Mystery Lights, and Night Beats—as well as headlining international tours of their own in China and the UK—Propaganda served as a welcome return to Ultrasound Studios, the band’s home-base in downtown Los Angeles, and a chance to use their newfound experience, stamina, and perspective to take things to the next level.
“Experience breeds knowledge,” explains O’neill, “By producing a handful of other projects, we’ve discovered how each of us collaborate most efficiently. Music speaks volumes if you shed ego and embrace it at the core.” Adds Shea, “We were getting burnt out and really wanted to shake up our writing process, so we’ve been working much more with samplers and keyboards.” And while Propaganda does provide a distinct shift in the band’s sound, the juiced-up, souped-up prowling attitude they do so well remains right at the core—the undeniable thread linking Warbly Jets to a storied legacy of American rock bands, and the heart of their noble resolution to usher that concept into the modern era.
And while praise from Flaunt, Brooklyn Vegan, Earmilk, DNA, Indie Shuffle, LA Record, and Rolling Stone France, as well as a swift climb up the Spotify charts, plays on Sirius XMU and Beats1, and the recent viral success of their single, “Alive” after its use in Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4), would look a lot like validation to most bands, Warbly Jets are already back in the studio after a successful headlining tour of North America which included dates with Night Beats, Collapsing Scenery, and Moonwalks, plus a stop at the Paste studio in New York City for a live session—and gearing up for their upcoming dates in China, and the UK and Europe. “Proving something should always be a motivator,” explains O’neill. “I think that just stems from being creatives striving to make noise in an over-populated music world.”