Tuesday 1 March 2016

An Interview with Ricky Dal Pane from WITCHWOOD

Italian Band Witchwood was formed by the traditions of local rock scene and world history of rock, it raised from ashes of the Buttered Bacon Biscuits band and come to life full of fresh energy. These six musicians mix in their songs elements of hard rock, psychedelic, southern and progressive rock serving all of it with the best vintage attitude and modern sound. Witchwood debut album “Litanies from the Woods” shows a professional approach, bloody good strong song writing and true passion to this music!

Witchwood rocks and they do it with highly artistry. The album was released by Jolly Roger Records on May 2015 and it’s time to take a look and find that’s going on in Witchwood. Ricky Dal Pane (vocals, guitars) is ready to reveal some secrets of his outfit.

Hail Ricky! How are you? What's going on in Witchwood?

Hi to you all, everything's alright. The band is working hard at the moment... a lot of gigs and we are already back in the studio recording new material.

Witchwood was born from the ashes of Buttered Bacon Biscuits; what was this band? And why did you decide to disband it?

Buttered Bacon Biscuits were the first incarnation of what eventually became Witchwood. As Buttered Bacon Biscuits in 2009 we released an album "From the solitary woods" distributed by Black widow records. The adventure with the BBB ended for various issues but most of all for different view about the future of the band concerning the will to take the project to a higher level.

Witchwood first album “Litanies From the Witchwood” sounds as a really matured, professional work. What are the musical backgrounds of Witchwood crew besides Buttered Bacon Biscuits? And what drive you to write such music with passion and fill your sense of taste?

Thank you very much for the beautiful words on our music! So, other experience except for the BBB.... I recorded an album with a band called EXCRUCIOR in 1996, then for years I sang with a lot of line-ups until 2007 when I come to BBB. I also recorded “supersonicspeedfreaks” of Witche' Brew with artists such as Nik Turner, Martin Grice and Steve Sylvester published by Black Widow records.

Our drummer Andrea Palli has recorded two wonderful albums with the band Bad Ambition, an AOR band.

Antonino Stella, the new guitarist, usually works as session man and has recorded for various artists Italian and international. He is also in another project called Miss Patty miss and the magic circle with whom he has recorded “The Octopus Tree”.

The other guys of the band are active on the local scene since the early 2000s. The music we write is created in a very free way, without forcing the process.... Basically we do not sit around a table and start to write deciding what and how and the way we want to appear, for us it doesn't work like this. We spend a lot of time trying to refine the songs at the best, what we try to get is writing songs that remain in the memory and the people continue to listen also after time. We don t write just fill the space in the album.

Yes, I'd like to ask you about Witche's Brew - are you constant member of the band? And what's your plans considering the new album?

No, Witche's Brew are going on with a new line up, I just recorded four songs on Supersonicspeedfreaks.

“Litanies From the Witchwood” was released on CD by Jolly Roger Records on May 2015 and now you have it also as vinyl edition. How many gigs did you play to support this release? How often do you play at all?

This year we had very cool shows around Italy, opening act for great artists at the FIM such as Ken Hensley and at the Acciaio Italiano Festival with Domine, Dark Quarterer, Insidia, Graal and a lot of other great bands. Now we are trying to find a way to gig outside Italy but it is very hard  these days even if there is a lot of interest on the band. We have not played the full track list of Litanies yet we are working on that.

Witchwood – A Place for the Sun

“Litanies From the Witchwood” sounds as really qualitative, enthusiastic and thoughtful work. How long did it take you to compose it?

Calculating the time of composition and recording “Litanies from the woods” we needed three years, also because we couldn't work full time on it and we wanted to have a product at the highest level possible for us.

And how do you collaborate between each other in the band? Do all Witchwood members have some certain roles during composing and recording process?

Quite, all the tracks of the album have been written by me. I always work at home building the first structure of the song then with the guys we work on the arrangements. Luckily the musical proficiency of the musicians involved in the Witchwood finish the job and they are the people to share this adventure.

In the album there is also a song called “Golden King” and the music of the song has been written by the old  guitarist, I only have re arranged it with his permission. Is one of the songs I love the most.

What about the flute? Was it played by a Witchwood member or by a guest musician?

The flute is played by Samuele Tesori who is former member of the band. the flute is very important in the sound of the band giving a more dreamy and complex texture.

You also have a proper video for a beautiful song “A Place For The Sun”, it seems that video does play a strange role today when you barely could see it on TV yet people could find it in internet. Do you feel that it’s worth of efforts you put into it?

Absolutely, the videos on the net could help the band for its promotion, I can easily say that now are the most fast method that a band has to be known.

How do you search plots for your songs? Simply to say how do you write songs’ lyrics?

About the inspiration ...I don’t know, sometimes I woke up with a melody on my ears and then I work on I For the lyrics I take from the actuality, what I see everyday, from books. I often talk about freedom and the will to keep strong the differences of our individuality against who tries to make us all under control with the same thoughts and of course about. The frustration when you can't do it.

Also nature is a very strong inspiration with the spirituality inside its beauty.

Witchwood songs titles are bright and expressive as your music is, what's your main message?

Song titles always reflect the mood of the song, to catch the attention I always try to choose titles with a strong and evocative impact.

The lyrics are about a lot of different things, but most of all are about freedom in its different aspects. I can write in a more direct way like Liar song and other more sad like Shade of grey or absolute abstract like Golden King.

Okay, and a global question - how do you see the modern role of progressive rock music?

It depends on what you mean for progressive... I personally don t like to categorize music per genre. In my opinion progressive is a music in constant evolution and research of melody and expressive forms.

I don't reduce progressive to playing intricate parts with virtuosi. Even trying to define what progressive is it's difficult because it should be free from definition. I want to say also that I dont think that we are a prog band in the very sense of the word, we are a Rock band.

Can you tell a story of your favorite song from the album?

I can tell you about my favourite one, I think it is “Handful of Stars”. It comes from a delirium I had on a open eye nightmare. I imagined my mind had been sucked out from my body and had started a trip in vertical fall through the stars and space a sort of reverse vertigo. Scaring but at the same time it gives me a strange and peaceful sensation. I think I had a very heavy dinner and a lot of wine that evening.

And a kind of standard question… What was most influential book for you in school?

The most influential book I have read at school? ”Flash Katmandu e il grande viaggio” (Flash ou le Grand Voyage) of Charles Duchaussois but it wasn’t in the school program even if I red it at school ah ah ah.

What are your plans for nearby future for Witchwood?

We entered the studio to record an EP that will be out in the early months of 2016 and that will have contain two new songs, a cover and an alternative version of “Handful of Stars”. So after an album of 80 mins in length we thought we could make an EP of only 30 mins. Just to balance things out. HA HA HA.

We will also realize a video with the artist Dimitri Corradini, we are also looking for a promoter to play outside Italy, would be great to play a the festivals but we know it is very hard enter that kind of bill. But the important thing is that we. Are working hard on it!

Will this EP be released by Jolly Roger again?

Well, I hope so!! The new EP will be out for Jolly roger and I hope that this collaboration will last for a long time because we have worked very well together

How does the new material sound? Do you have new instruments on this record?

The new material recorded for the EP is a bit more aggressive maybe also because we have faced difficult moments even in personal life during the last year. But dont worry! Our sound will be always recognisable and there will be place for flute, mandolin, acoustic guitar too because they are a strong component in our compositions.

Thank you Ricky, I'm out of questions... so haven't we missed anything? What would you like to add in the end of this interview?

I think this is all ahahahaha… Thank you very much for the interview and please keep on following the band.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Ricky Dal Pane