The Warning is a pop culture-inspired rock band from Monterrey, Mexico, featuring sisters Daniela (Dany), Paulina (Pau), and Alejandra (Ale) Villarreal. They first gained fame in 2014 for their cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” on their YouTube page, even winning praise from Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, as well as attention from the likes of Muse, Def Leppard, and Coldplay.
In 2015, The Warning released an EP of six original songs, titled Escape the Mind, in 2017 they released their debut studio album, XXI Century Blood, and their third album, Queen Of The Murder Scene, has just been released. They have performed as an opening act for Def Leppard and The Killers and performed at numerous rock festivals as well as The Ellen Show. They recently completed their first tour. In this interview with Overstreet Advisor Art Cloos, the band and their dad, Luis, talk about their pop culture interests and inspirations.
Scoop: Ladies and Luis, thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedules for this interview.
The Warning: Thank you. The honor is ours.
Scoop: Pau, you are having a very busy autumn season. Would you care to fill us in on what is going on with The Warning?
Pau Villarreal (PV): There’s a lot of things going on with the band right now. We are very busy with a lot of work to do because we are currently in the process of releasing our second album and working on our new live show.
Scoop: So, tell us about this new album. What’s it all about?
PV: We are super excited about this particular album because it is our first concept album. We are telling a story with this album. It is a very dark story. As you know the album is called “Queen of the Murder Scene” and we really wanted to focus on the different emotions of the main character as the story evolves so that’s why the overall mood of the songs change a lot.
Scoop: How did you come up with the idea of a concept album, Pau?
PV: I became inspired by reading and watching different stories from movies and books, and we wanted to do something that could tell a story in a similar way. I started coming up with this story about two years ago and over those two years it changed a lot from where it first began. It became something more developed and special as the three of us worked on it.
Scoop: Let’s talk about some of your outside interests that were used to write the album lyrics, Pau. What are some of those interests?
PV: I like to read a lot, mostly fantasy books. Of course, I also like to watch movies, mostly action ones, and recently I have really liked watching anime. I also spend a lot of time discovering new music and arranging my playlists on Spotify.
Scoop: You like anime? What are some of your favorites that you watch?
PV: Oh, I’ve watched a lot, so that is a very tough question but if I have to choose I would say Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Naruto, Erased, Death Parade, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Mekakucity Actors.
Scoop: Do you have any interest in Manga? And by the way, I created an anime club for the high school where I taught.
PV: That’s so cool. Yes, I am really into the whole aspect of it, from manga, to the different animation styles, to the music, and to the language and culture.
Scoop: Luis, would you care to tell me a little bit about your toy collection?
LV: I have always really liked toys and video games, but when I was a kid I didn’t really have that many. So when I grew up, I started buying toys from movies and shows that I really liked as a kid, like Star Wars, Mazinger Z, ThunderCats, Voltron, Transformers, Lego figurines, and a few other toys that I’ve had to sell to support my girls and the band.
Scoop: You are a good dad for doing that Luis, all The Warning fans know that. But you still have some of your collection, I believe?
LV: Yes, most of it.
Scoop: Now do you have a favorite character or toy?
LV: I would have to say Mazinger Z.
LV: Because it was what I grew up watching on TV and I always dreamed that one day I would have a real one in my backyard coming out of a pool.
Scoop: Okay, now that is just very cool. Any other favorites you would like to tell us about?
LV: I am very fond of the ThunderCats, especially Mumm-Ra.
Scoop: Oh, I love the ThunderCats. I watched every episode after work every day.
LV: I love them too.
Scoop: Did you read comics as a kid?
LV: Yes, I read Superman, Spider-Man, some Batman and Archie, to name a few.
Scoop: Did you have a favorite company or character?
LV: Ah yes, Superman was my favorite character in the comics, but for the movies I prefer Marvel ones.
Scoop: Do you still have any of your comics today?
LV: I remember that I bought The Death of Superman back in ’94 with the special black bag and everything and then I lost it, I couldn’t find it. No, sadly, I don’t have any of my old comics.
Scoop: Ale, a little birdie told me that you like your dad’s toys. Is there any truth to that rumor?
AV: Yes, I really like them, I even asked my dad to leave them to me in his will because I am the only one who truly cares about them. [laughs]
Scoop: So, do you have any favorites from his collection?
AV: Um, my dad has a really cool Skeletor statue that I really, really love.
Scoop: Ale, when we were doing the pre-interview conference you mentioned that the Joker was a favorite character of yours? I happen to be a Batman collector so hearing that was very cool. What is it about the Joker you like?
AV: I’ve always had a thing for villains [laughs] and when I saw the Joker I thought, wow this is the best villain I have ever seen, he is crazy. I have a little Funko Pop collection, and I have one Batman one, but I am still missing a Joker one.
Scoop: Ale, do you read U.S. comics at all or manga?
AV: Yes, I have read manga – same as my sisters.
Scoop: What are your favorite hobbies? Things you do when you are not the killer bass player for The Warning?
AV: Like my sisters I watch a lot of anime and like to read a lot, I also like to do a lot of origami because I like to always do something with my hands so even if I am watching TV, I will have some paper to fold or something to fidget with.
Scoop: Origami is so cool. Here in New York City, The American Museum of Natural History has an origami Christmas tree every year. My wife and I are members, so we try to go see it.
AV: That’s so cool. I also like to play video games.
Scoop: Really? Which ones?
AV: Well, some of my favorites are Final Fantasy, XVI, Attack on Titan, Octopath, Mario Kart, and Mario Party.
Scoop: Dany, tell me are you a comic book fan?
DV: Yay, my turn. Well I haven’t really read comic books, but I have read manga, I have read Attack on Titan for one, but in general I love to read a lot. I am a total bookworm, and when I am reading something, I really get super into it.
Scoop: Well manga actually is a comic book, just a different kind. So, tell us what some of your favorite manga books are.
DV: Yes, that’s right. Well Attack on Titan, Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Haikyu, and I can keep naming many more.
Scoop: Now, I think you told me the other day that you are into superhero movies. Is that true?
DV: Yes. I really like superhero movies. I think they are the kind of movies that I watch the most, especially Marvel ones.
Scoop: And which ones especially grab you and why?
DV: I really like Ant-Man. I think that the action in the movie is really cool especially the scenes where he changes size while fighting and everything. Plus, it is a really funny movie. I love to have a good laugh while watching a movie. But I really like all of them. And I am anxious to see the new Avengers movie after that huge cliffhanger in the last one.
Scoop: That cliffhanger drove me crazy.
DV: Me too. And I am really looking forward to seeing Captain Marvel in all of this.
Scoop: I am guessing based on what Ale said that both you and Pau are not big toy people?
DV: Um, not necessarily. We really like them and we think they are really cool, but it’s not something that we would start collecting unlike Ale, who is really into it.
Scoop: Dany, I can’t do an interview with The Warning about comics and toys and not talk about Rock Band. That game has been a very big deal for you hasn’t it?
DV: Yes, of course. Rock Band has been a huge part of our journey. It is where we started actually. We have always been super involved with music because of our parents love for it, but that game gave us inspiration and lead the way to what we do now. And today we are super honored to actually be inside the game. It is a dream come true for us. We have two original songs in Rock Band 4 and we couldn’t be happier.
Scoop: Tell us how those songs came to be chosen and what they are.
DV: Well, when we were studying at Berklee College of Music in the summer of 2015, we got invited to tour the Harmonix offices and, of course, we were ecstatic. When we got there, we were able to meet the CEO Alex Rigopulos and have a chat with him. He said that he really liked our story about the Rock Band’s influence on us and that he wanted to show us a preview of the game because it wasn’t out yet and, oh, what a surprise. One of our songs was there. At that time, we only had our first EP out called Escape The Mind and were just starting work on our first album XXI Century Blood. So, he chose the song “Free Falling” and later on he included our song from our first album released in March 2017 and that was “Survive.”
Scoop: Can you guess which is my favorite?
Scoop: Ah, you got me.
DV: [Laughs] We thought so.
Scoop: Now this one is for all of you do you recommend Rock Band for young bands coming up and why?
DV: Yes. Mainly because it is such a fun game to play. I remember spending hours with my sisters playing song after song and it gives you a taste of what it is like to be rocking out to a song with an instrument and on a stage and doing the real thing is that same feeling but 1,000 times more so. It is totally worth it. I am really thankful for that game and where it has led me.
Scoop: In our preconference I mentioned how a lot of rock bands have been influenced by comics and popular culture. From Donovan to the Kinks (two amazing songs from them) to Wings to Megadeth, Anthrax and a whole lot more. Has any of the anime, toys (from your dad) or superhero movies you like influenced your work?
DV: Yes, they have, especially anime. We got into Japanese rock a lot too. It really blew our minds and I think it became an influence to when we write our own songs. We have a whole playlist of J-rock and one of anime openings. And also, the storylines and plots of most of the things we’ve seen have inspired us in this new album and in our writing in general.
Scoop: Pau, I want to ask you since you start the writing of so many of the songs, if you would be willing to explain a bit how you incorporated the Japanese influence into them.
PV: Oh, I’m so glad that you’re asking about this because I have been really excited to talk about this. Basically since the three of us started watching a lot of anime, we also started listening to a lot of J-rock, so some of the songs in our new album are heavily influenced by it. We had never heard something like J-rock, but we instantly fell in love with the way that there were so many elements in every song and how they worked together so well without it becoming too saturated. We instantly knew we wanted to do something like that. And lyric-wise, in one song we even threw in a little bit of Japanese in there. It was really fun to do and I think we would definitely do it again.
Scoop: Did the idea of a concept album come from Japanese anime?
PV: Yeah kind of, I remember that when I first started watching anime, I really loved how the plot was always really interesting and the way of telling stories was very different from anything I had seen before, so I became really interested in how I could tell a story in an interesting way through my music. It was difficult to make a concept album and actually make it work but it was one of the funniest and most satisfying experiences I’ve ever had.
Scoop: Would you mind explaining to our readers a little bit of what J-rock is all about?
PV: J-rock is basically just rock but in Japanese. But even though it is the same genre it is still very different from western rock. J-rock usually always has a lot of elements in their songs, the guitars are usually very saturated and so are the bass lines and the drums and the vocals, but somehow it does not feel overwhelming it just feels new and different.
Scoop: So, I am guessing that you ladies are going to want to play a show in Japan one day, huh?
PV: Oh my God, you have no idea how much we want to have a show in Japan, it would be a dream come true.
Scoop: You will get there and sell out the theater too. Now, I have to ask as an American comic book guy, do you see any U.S. comic book influence creeping into your future work someday?
PV: I do, I usually get inspired from what I read and what I see and I’m actually really interested in reading comics, so maybe I’ll read a few in the near future and who knows, maybe another concept album will come out of it.
Scoop: Luis, Pau, Dany, and Ale, thank you so very much for taking the time to do this interview. We are so pleased to have had this chance to talk to you
The Warning: Thank you. We had a wonderful time talking about all of these things, especially since we like them so much and also having an interview with our dad. It was fun. Thank you for having us.