Monday 3 August 2015

Interview with WIHT

It was a sad day when UK Instrumental/Doom/Sludge/Stoner Rock collective – WIHT – called it a day back in 2012. They made quite a name for themselves within the UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene with their acclaimed records. WIHT created intelligent and emotionally driven instrumental rock music that even focuses on historical events such as the brilliant record – The Harrowing Of The North.

I last interviewed the guys back in 2012 when they released The Harrowing Of The North on Vinyl. I did ask the question – Would they ever get back together. And I suppose this is the answer as WIHT are back and it's damn good to have them back.

To celebrate their comeback, they've even managed to release a superb 17 minute single – Edgar The Atheling. And it's loud as hell!!! - Well I had to catch up with the guys and see what has happened to WIHT during their mini-hiatus and what their plans are for the future.

So here goes...

Last time we spoke was on the “Other” blog that I was involved with to discuss your vinyl release. Seems like we’ve both experienced new changes. Anyway. Good to have you back. What have you guys been upto the last few years or so.

Hello mate! Very nice to hear from you! Over the past few years a fair bit has changed! I have moved from Leeds down to near Brighton and since have added a bundle of joy to the brood (another baby, basically!) I’ve changed jobs and that has been a big driving factor in getting the band back together, giving me a more time to be able to play and write.

As for Joe, he has continued to play in bands up in Leeds and is currently playing with the awesome Groak! He also played for the now defunct and sadly missed Tree of Sores and Wizards Beard. Rick has been completing his studies in something I pretend to understand to seem intelligent but honestly have no idea what it means.

Why and when did you decide to reform?

It was on the cards for a while, probably the past year or so. Although we live 250 miles apart, since changing jobs I’ve had more time to get the wheels in motion to get the band moving again. We have never stopped writing riffs to be honest, we would always send each other riffs and ideas and inevitably the stuff we were writing sounded like Wiht.

Was it an easy decision to make?

Yeah. Once we started rehearsing and playing together as a band we knew it would eventually lead to releasing some new music and playing some gigs.

Are going to do things differently this time around. Or is it business as usual.

The biggest difference from last time is that we live a fair way apart so the dynamic and logistic of writing new music and rehearsing has changed a fair bit and to be honest I think it can be heard in new stuff. Instead of us 3 getting together and jamming out ideas, I guess there is more of a process or structure behind it. I’ll write some riffs and ideas then send it to up to the other 2. We’ll chat it out over the phone, probably humming various parts so it makes sense, then once we get into a rehearsal space we start jamming it. Essentially, the song is part written before we even get to jam it!

Has the response from your fans and the Doom/Stoner Metal community surprised you with you being back together? As quite a few people are very happy and excited that you’re back together.

The response has been great so far and the new track has been received very well. I think once we have the full LP ready, we will be able to gauge the response much better, but so far its been awesome. I don’t really know if people are surprised, but to be honest we are just happy there are still a few people that care!

You’ve released a new song. The brilliant 17 minute epic – Edgar The Atheling. It’s a stunning new track that offers some exciting new sounds that we haven’t heard from you. How did this song come about? And was it an easy song to create compared to your other songs.

This song has been on the cards for a while, probably a year. It is the result of this new way of writing songs we have had to adapt too. It seemed to come write naturally and once we got into the studio to record it, it opened our eyes to lots of things we felt needed changing and tweaking. It sounds great on record but it’s a different beats live!

Are you pleased on how well it’s been received by fans and critics alike.


So what are the future plans for the band? New record gigs and tours. Or is too early to tell.

Definitely new record in 2016, hopefully early part of 2016. We have our first gig back on October 10th in Leeds and then we have a few others lined up there after. Basically, we just want to have some fun with the band!

What’s your verdict on the UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene now? As it’s changed quite a bit since WIHT have been away. More bands starting to make a name for themselves and more promoters doing a great job promoting the scene.

From what we see, it is in a pretty good place. It seems in some ways the scene has exploded since we were last about. The whole stoner thing is massive and there are some quality bands out there right now. Being completely biased as they are sound Leeds lads but the chaps in Bong Cauldron are a great example of a band who have shot through the scene, absolutely killer live! What cool too see is bands like Undersmile and Desert Storm still going, but also making some serious waves in and out of the scene.

Bands involved with the Leeds DIY collective - CHUNK, are well worth a bit of time, bands like Pink Rick, Irk, Clenstch, Cattle, Famine, Super Luxury, Magnapinna, etc. Definitely keep an eye out for these guys.

I always classed you guys as a band that pushed the musical boundaries especially when you’re influenced by actual historical events with your music. Harrowing Of The North being a case in point. How hard is it to create music influenced by events of the past?

It is something that we feel plays quite well into our music. Long drawn out instrumentals, quite bits, loud bits, effects drenched bits, it is something that you can use as a backdrop to what ever epic story you want! Be it historical or not. I think they key thing with The Harrowing was that it was a piece of history that was native (roughly speaking) to where we grew up and we thought it would sit well against this music we were creating.

When it comes down to the whole ‘concept’ thing, we see it pretty simply. If you like it great, if not great! Some people like the fact they can set the music to a story or concept, others don’t and just like the music as it is, we are completely fine with that.

Would you consider making music based on more modern events?

Who knows mate! I guess if we continue down the historical route then we’ve got a lot of stuff to chose from!!

Harrowing Of The North has gathered some major acclaim since it was released. I know a few people consider it one of the finest instrumental records the UK has produced over the last few years. Does it make you proud you’ve created such a highly thought of album. Would you change anything about it? 

That’s very nice of them and we are well proud of that piece of music. And no. I’m not saying it is perfect but I love that record so wouldn’t change a thing!

Which bands/artists are you currently enjoying at the moment?

Bong Cauldron. They’re awesome. They need no introduction but those boys are killing it and they sound so tight live. In terms of records that I listen to, a lot…I’m a big Arboretum fan, Coming Out Of The Fog is a classic, Sky Burial by Inter Arma is an incredible album . Listening to Astra, The Black Chord a lot again and also Dax Riggs ‘Say Goodnight to the World’, I still can not stop listening to that album.

Any particular album that you would like to recommend to people.

Arboretum ‘Coming out of the Fog’

Inter Arma ‘Sky Burial’

Thanks for doing this guys, before we go, do you want anything to say to your fans?

Come to the No Fun Intended gig on October 10th at Eiger Studio’s in Leeds. It’s a daft line up. Tons of awesome bands and our first gig back!

I did ask the guys originally – could they choose 5 of their fave songs or albums. Unfortunately it was too hard to do but they did pick this classic track.

This is too difficult. But as a band, I guess this is our song…

Pink Floyd ‘One of these days’

Words by Steve Howe and WIHT

Thanks to WIHT for taking the time out to talk to me. Can't wait for the new record next year. Until then check out their excellent new single – Edgar The Atheling.