The Warning talks new music, working with David Bendeth, and the importance of communication

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Photo by Jeff Shreiner/Spector Pictured L to R: Dany, Ale, Pau
       

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 15 – Spring 2021 – Electrified!

Daniela, Paulina, and Alejandra Villarreal are three sisters from Monterrey, Mexico, who make up the heavy-hitting rock band, The Warning. Formed in 2012, these young siblings have figured it out—their skills, their songwriting, and their communication. All under the age of twenty-one, older sibling Dany is the lead singer and guitarist, Pau plays drums, and the youngest sibling Ale rounds out the trio on bass.

The Warning released their debut album XXI Century Blood in 2017, followed by Queen of the Murder Scene in 2018. They recently finished their third album due to drop soon via their new label LAVA Records. While it’s the band’s third album, it’s their first working with producer David Bendeth. Because of lockdowns during the pandemic, studio access was limited, so the sisters recorded in several different studios in New Jersey for three months. They visited iiwii Studios for drums, Magic Door for bass, Sound on Sound for guitars and lead vocals, and their friend Mike Ferretti’s “Self Titled Studio” for the final overdub guitars and backup vocals.

It was The Warning’s cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman on YouTube in 2014 that went viral, launching their career and landing them a spot on The Ellen Show in 2015. To date, the video has over twenty-two million views! They have had the opportunity to open for Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, and more bands in major rock festivals through Mexico and Latin America.

Growing up in a household playing video game games and watching concerts by Queen, Pink Floyd, AD/DC, and other hard rock bands, Pau said, “We would watch them all the time, but I think one of the reasons why we really fell in love with rock especially was through the video game, Rock Band. We got that game at a very young age, and we just fell in love with all the music that was there, with the energy that we could feel while playing a video game.” Dany chimed in, adding, “And it was the visuals. You could see the character just killing it on stage.” Coincidentally, their love of the video game translated into them having two songs featured on the game.

The pandemic brought about the cancellation of live music performances. The trio “had a North American tour planned and a couple of shows in Europe, and we had to postpone them indefinitely,” Pau tells us. “That’s the first thing that we would do when we are able to perform, I don’t think that’s going to be any time soon, honestly, but when it’s all safe and everyone is healthy, it’s the first thing that we’ll do. We miss it so much.” Dany adds, “So, they’re the first on the list” when live performances return.

To stay connected with fans during this difficult time, Pau said, “We’ve been constantly doing activities and keeping in touch with everyone on all of our socials, all the time, like every week. And we’re always trying to be very innovative with it because we know that people really can’t go outside either right now. To be that comfort place and that place of solace that they can fall into.”

Outside of music, the sisters like to read, draw, watch anime, listen to music, and play video games. Pau says it best, “We’re normal teenagers—we’re on Tik Tok and Instagram. Almost all of our free time kind of revolves around music. I have an obsession with making Spotify playlists. My Spotify is always so organized, and I’m so proud of it.”
We spoke with the sisters while they were in New Jersey putting the final touches on their new album due out soon.

So this was your first time working with David Bendeth. How was that experience?

Dany: He is an amazing producer, and he has worked with a lot of successful bands. He’s so, so, so, so amazing at what he does. It’s been an honor working with him. And he was very open to hearing us out as artists, as people, and we got to know each other before starting to work together. So it was incredibly amazing. And the way that he looks and interprets music, in general, is very unique. And we like his way of thinking that each song is a world of its own, and it has to really express that feeling in each and every one of the elements.

Jack Lue Photography Performance at Whisky A Go Go on January 15, 2020

Pau: He’s incredible. It was our first time working outside of our team. We were really nervous about working with him because not only is he David Bendeth, but it was our first time working with someone else. And the experience was just so good. We instantly connected. We had really good chemistry, and I think that will really reflect on the album. Like we had the same vision and the same type of sound that we wanted, and I think that we had really good chemistry because David has this old-school vibe to his rock and roll sound. And we have a newer way to look at rock music. The blend that we brought together is just perfect. And once again, he was very open. Like everything that was said was always an opinion; it was something that was brought to the table, and we would all discuss and decide upon on these opinions. It was never demanded or forced upon us, so we just had a really good chemistry with David.

How does the new album differ from your previous work?

Pau: Our first album, we made it when we were really young. I was fourteen. You were sixteen [to Dany].
Ale: I was nine.
Dany: So, it was a long time ago. From that point on to where we are now, we have changed a lot.
Pau: And I think the biggest difference between our past albums and the one that we’re about to release right now is, I think we really grew as people, and we grew as songwriters, as performers, and as musicians. And I think that really reflects in the songwriting itself and also in the performance. And another thing that I really think is going to make a difference in this new album is David Bendeth. The mix that we’re hearing right now is insane.
Dany: It turned out incredibly good.
Ale: It’s so good.
Pau: I have never been more proud of something that we’ve made. It’s really good. It’s us upgraded!
Dany: And even though it changed, it changed for the better. There’s still that “The Warning” essence at its core. It’s very much us still.

Tell us about your songwriting process.

Dany: The way we write is very—it may change from song to song, but it usually starts with Pau on the piano. And she’s our main creative mind. It’s crazy how she does this, but she starts on a piano and with an idea for the lyrics and an overall theme for the song. And when she gets all excited about it, she will come to us, “I have this song,” and we would just work on it together to get the bass lines, the guitar parts, the drum parts, and just literally match everything together. We like to do our own demos of our work and really get picky about how they sound, even though it’s just a demo.
Pau: We get so picky! For us, it’s not just laying an idea of what it should be, but a replica of what it should be. We really produce—over-produce our demos. So, when we step into the studio, you have a really clear idea of what we want. In this case, working with David Bendeth on the third album, we went into the process with really well-done demos, but they were six months old. We had lived with these songs for a really long time. Going into the process and starting over again with those songs that we already had, really thought out and planned out, it was kind of hard to force yourself from that marriage that you had with these songs.

Jack Lue Photography Performance at Whisky A Go Go on January 15, 2020

Now, as far as the instruments, what instruments do each of you play? What brand, and why?

Pau: I play DW drums. The hardware, the pedals, everything is just so comfortable for me when I play live. And I really love my drum set. I’m a Sabian artist. I’ve been using Sabian since I started playing when I was six years old, so I’m really proud to be part of the Sabian family. And I also use Vic Firth.
Dany: As for me, I’m the guitar player, and I am an Orange Amplifiers artist as well. They have been really supportive and really cool throughout the whole journey. And, same, I started out with Orange since I was tiny, tiny, tiny. As for guitars, I love all types of guitars, but right now, my main guitar is from a luthier called Rick Toone. It’s a crazy, crazy guitar that he’s made, and he generously gifted it to me when he saw one of our videos. So, yeah, it’s super, super cool. I’ve also been exploring different guitars in the continuous search for my sound, so I’m currently trying PRS and Fender guitars but continue to use my Rick Toone.
Ale: I’m the bass player. And as Dany said, we’re both Orange artists, and they’re great amps. And for my bass, I am a Spector artist, and I use my new, custom-made, five-string US Bass, which is amazing. Spector basses are just—the way they sound—amazing.

How about tone?

Pau: It’s more than individual tone. We search for harmony between the three of us.
Ale: Yeah, it’s the band tone. So, when we practice individually, I look for a different sound, but we all look for a specific sound from each instrument when we play together.
Dany: It has to complement each other.
Pau: Yeah, and usually it’s something very heavy and deep, and it has depth in it because again, we’re a trio, so we need to pack some punch with what we’re doing. But yeah, it’s usually like a deep, heavy sound.
Dany: And we go all out.

Jack Lue Photography Performance at Whisky A Go Go on January 15, 2020

What does a normal practice session look like for you?

Dany: We definitely know that we have to rehearse as much as we can to be better. And that’s something we strive for every day, to become better musicians and better within ourselves. And actually, this recording process of the new album has helped us grow immensely.
Pau: Every day, we practice individually. We practice technique, and then we practice, sometimes, reading. I practice independence, that type of thing. And we all do that individually so we can be better at our technique individually. When we practice together, we practice our show, our songs, and have different group rehearsals.
One of them is for the actual technicality of it, musically, being very in sync, in the pocket, being very tight with each other. And the other one is performance because it’s a very big part of what we do. Our shows are very energetic, so we also practice our performance a lot and our moves and what type of things we could do. That’s kind of like a normal day, practice-wise.
It’s been a while since live performances due to the pandemic; what do you miss most about performing?
Pau: The people.
Ale: The energy.
Dany: Yeah, what’s not to miss? Every single thing, but mostly just sharing that energy with the people who come to see us.
Pau: We still have our instruments. We can still play, but I really miss getting that energy and seeing people. I think there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing someone who clearly doesn’t know you, and then at the end, you can clearly see that they’ve become a fan. I miss doing that.
Dany: And it’s also a very big sense of community and that moment where you’re all doing the same activity together. It’s just out of this world.

You all started out in this business very young. What’s been the most important thing that you all have learned so far?

Pau: Well, I think the most important, well, I’m going to speak for myself. I don’t know what’s the most important thing you’ve learned [to sisters], but since we work as a family, I think that one of the most important things that we’ve learned with work, in general, is that work is not personal in a sort of way.
Like when we say things about our music, when we’re working, we’re not attacking each other personally, as people, as sisters. And I think that really helped us, working with other people, because sometimes people—every person is different. So, people communicate in different ways. People think in different ways, and sometimes their way of thinking or speaking is not the same as ours.
Also, communication—communication is key! That’s our motto.
Dany: Communication is really important, really important. Say what’s on your mind.
Ale: When we were working with David, we were always like “communication.” Let’s communicate.

What would you like to tell your fans?

Pau: That we miss them. They’re the ones that got us here to a certain degree. And just that we miss them, but we wish them a lot of health and that they should keep rocking, and that the new album is coming soon and that we’re very excited for it. And we really, really, really do hope they like it.
Dany: Yes, and also that we’re super grateful for them. I think that’s something that we’ll never get tired of saying since all this is happening because they listen to our music, and something as simple as hitting a like button or a share button, that’s still amazing to me. Keep rocking!