Saturday 27 February 2016

Interview with Virginia from Psychedelic Witchcraft

Starting out as a promising solo project, Psychedelic Witchcraft turned to be an actual and active full time band. It was raised by Virginia Monti on the fertile soil of Italian Tuscany region, the land where mysterious work “Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches” was written. The band inspired by ancient occult traditions and classic psychedelic blues rock (or doom rock if you prefer) produced EP “Black Magic Man” about a year ago. 

This record demonstrates that Virginia and her crew are able to compose strong rocking tunes with lot of hooks and bloody impressive guitar work; and their first album “The Vision” soon will be released on Soulseller Records. Virginia, the one who writes the rules of Psychedelic Witchcraft, is here to shed some light on her creation.

Ciao Virginia! How are you? What's going on in the world of Psychedelic Witchcraft?

Hello there! What can I say, we’re trying to live the dream and have loads of fun.

And how it comes out?

It’s like a roller-coaster, sometimes it’s good and easy while other times you have to work constantly everyday. We do what we love and we hope that people like what we do!

The band is pretty young, so I wonder how long did its image develop in your mind and how do you see it now?

It’s pretty insane because everything is happening so fast. I remember last year when I posted “Angela” song on YouTube, I did it just for fun and I didn’t expect such a good reaction from the metal community. I feel really blessed by the gods ‘cause I found such amazing guys that share my vision and to play my music with. I think the image I had in my mind was always there but came out in the right time I guess.

Speaking about psychedelic component of your music I guess that we could find some influences in rock scene of '70s. But from where do you draw doom elements to enrich your songs? I know that Psychedelic Witchcraft doesn’t belong to original doom metal scene, but somehow people correlate it with your band.

That’s pretty strange to me because I never thought about doom music when I was writing the songs but I think that many people relate my music with doom because of the occult factor and my passion for horror movies.

I wouldn’t say I share the music with doom, I would rather say I share the vision of the music together with doom.

Psychedelic Witchcraft – Black Magic Man

Psychedelic Witchcraft often labeled as occult rock band, and this genre became a sort of revelation for last few years. But how do you see occult side of your music? It is a very broad term, so what is it for you? Is it about old school horror movies, Crowley occult teachings, just acid ‘70s parties or something else?

I think that actually it is everything from the ‘70s mixed together. The occult has been a major part of my life since I was a little girl. I’ve always been into esoteric stuff since the beginning my life (from Paganism to Crowley). I think that magic has always been my own path since I was born and of course I’ve always been a huge fan of Horror Movies for the same reasons basically. When I started to write my first song I just wanted to be honest with myself and Occult seems to be the most natural theme to me.

Italian horror and “giallo” movies are separated cinematographic genre; do you prefer it or American or British cinema?

British! I’m a big fan of Hammer Movies. I also like American movies but since I’m European I feel more connected to the British scene; I’ve been in England many, many times, it’s one of my favorite places to visit.

I really like British horror movies, especially the ones from the ‘60s - ’70s because of the classy taste you see on screen. I.e. one of my favorite is called “The Devil Rides Out” featuring Christopher Lee. As you can see when he talks about the devil in the movie, he talks about that in such a classy and subtle way. I really like the entire occult vibes that comes out the British movies.

What did form your interest to occultism? I heard it from few bands that religious environment during their childhood literally pushed them to rock music.

My passion for the occultism starts in my childhood, basically right after I open my eyes. Not because my parents were extremely religious but because my mom was very attracted by the occult as well and she bought me books about magic since I was a kid.

Then I kept reading‘em and those books became a part of me. I guess I’m part of a generation of witches lol.

Your songs are catchy and melodic, there are a lot of hooks and rocking vibes, so it is easy to explain Psychedelic Witchcraft success from this point. How do you think what does attract people in bands scenic image?

I really don’t know lol. I just made the music I would have liked to listen to and I’m still very overwhelmed by all the reactions of the people ; at the same time I don’t feel I’m having some kind of success, I feel rather like in a beginning of a journey and it’s a really long way.

Still we have a long way to prove that we’re here to stay and that our music has some kind of values and I’m sure time will tell.

The first full length album “The Vision” is to be released in spring by Soulseller Records. Do you already have the date of release? And will it be released both on CD and vinyl at time?

We don’t have a precise release date yet but we think it is going to be released in April both on CD and Vinyl, with an amazing artwork from Branca Studio.

Psychedelic Witchcraft – Witches Arise

Virginia, did you record it by yourself or this time you work together with other musicians?

I worked with my band-mates, they made this project real and they made me improve a lot as a musician. You’ll definitely hear from the album that the sound is grown so much from the EP. I couldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my band-mates.

How long did you work over the album? Can you share details of this record session?

Recordings were crazy. I wrote the album in a really short time (about 2 weeks) and I made my band-mates learn the songs and arrange them for the band and I pushed these guys so hard.

I made them record the album in only 2 days because I wanted to maintain the honesty and the genuinity of the sound, the feeling that You have when You play a song once and You actually feel it from the beginning to end.

I’d like to ask you about other members who practice Psychedelic Witchcraft with you – what’s band’s current lineup? And how do you share your responsibilities composing and recording songs? As I understand you are the author of all songs from “Black Magic Man” EP.

Yea that’s true. I’m the writer of most of the songs (new stuff too) and I’m the writer of lots of riffs and basically all the lyrics. What’s different now it’s my work with Riccardo, my bass player. I write the songs and he brings the songs to life taking out of my head all the sounds and vibes I’m looking for. Luckily he can always understand what I want to do and he always agrees lol.

After we build the song, we discuss it with the whole band, and I push them to put their style in everything they’re playing; I want them to be themselves and to be honest with the music they’re playing. I just put the basics.

This is the actual Line-up so far:

Virginia Monti - Vocals
Riccardo Giuffrè - Bass
Jacopo Fallai - Guitar
Mirko Buia - Drums

You already uploaded new song “Magic Hour Blues” on Psychedelic Witchcraft Facebook page, can we suppose that it give a general idea of how the new album sounds?

Actually no. “Magic Hour Blues” is a bonus track we added at last. It’s the last track of the album and might be more an introduction to the second album we’re going to record pretty soon.

“Magic Hour Blues” is one of the softest tracks of the album. “The Vision” is actually full of energy and fire because my vision was to make 4 albums, each one representing the four elements of the pentacle (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) and since Fire was the first element born after the Akasha, “The Vision” represents the fire : pure energy, passion and strong will.

Well, so you already have in mind concept of the next record, is it so detailed or you have a general vision connected with one of elements?

Of course, every album will reveal the different aspects of the elements. “The Vision”, as I told you before, is full of energy. It’s our first album and it contains all the energy we have as musicians and as a band. That’s the fire I’d say. With the second album, we’re digging into our souls.

It’s more intimate, it haves more bluesy sounds and heavy songs as well. It’s not a rush though, it’s an intimate conversation between us and the music. The second should represent Air as it is strictly bond to our mental and creative processes.

Psychedelic Witchcraft – Magic Hour Blues

Do you plan to support new album with tour in Italy or outside the country? What's your touring experience?

We’re doing loads of dates in Italy and we’re talking about a European tour with a doom band but I can’t reveal more now, we’ll see.

We could say that occult rock has its roots in UK and USA, as Italian scene always had its own features - famous progressive rock or so called Italian Dark Sound. Can you tell about local influences in your music?

Basically the only influences that I have from my country are progressive rock bands from the ‘70s. Bands like “Osanna”, “Circus 2000”, “Il Biglietto per l’Inferno”, “Il balletto di Bronzo” and so on. Don’t forget that I come from Tuscany, the land of Aradia, the first witch.

Are you talking about “Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches” book? I read that origin of this book is blurred and some researches have doubts about it. How did you firstly meet it?

I know! It’s a legend and it isn’t probably true, was just teasing yea! :)

Anyway I don’t remember if I bought it or if I just found it at home. She just represents the first witch, the feminine, the power you have inside and the strong will. For me it’s then a honor that the legend was based in my homeland! Music is magic, stories are magic and sometimes it’s not important whether they’re true or not; what really counts is what those stuff make you feel and if you want to believe in it.

I think that most of us believe that when the girl sings in the band, everything spins around her and she's general driver of the band. And it's known that the band started as your solo project. Did something change in your vision of Psychedelic Witchcraft as the band?

Well, it changed because I didn’t want to be alone and it was a solo project just because I didn’t find anyone that shared my vision. When I found my band-mates everything changed and I couldn’t see Psychedelic Witchcraft as a solo project anymore. You grow up both as a musician and as a person and I don’t want to do this journey alone and I want do make music for the rest of my life as long as we carry on together.

I read that you got few proposals from labels right after recording your very first song “Angela”, what's about fans? You’re showy lady in the best sense of the word, so how often do you get recognition from fans?

Most of the time they write me/us a lot. I’m always happy to answer anybody and to share when they send me their Art or Music. Most of our fans are musicians as well and I really think that we’re all equal so I’m very happy to listen and discover new music and of course to share it then I like it. In the end, I’m here talking to you because of the people so I’ll be forever grateful for what they are doing.

I know that you also took part in another musical project besides Psychedelic Witchcraft, what's it status?

What? I’m not aware of this lol. Who told you that? I could have a twin in another country ha-ha : )

Let me think… I read it some of your interviews about a year ago (in Sludgelord maybe) – you or your twin was telling that you plan to take part in another band, but there was nothing certain on that moment. So I don’t force you to give a positive answer : )

I’d like to see that! I really don’t remember lol. If I said that (which is kind of very improbable) I was probably drunk or something. Lol.

What are your ambitions consider spreading Psychedelic Witchcraft over the world?

I just want to have this album out, record the second one and go on tour, then make music for all my life. I know that’s a pretty big ambition though. :)

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Virginia Monti