Tuesday 27 June 2017

An Interview with SPACE WITCH

Space Witch have returned with their epic new album – Arcanum. Another spaced out Doom/Stoner journey from these talented rockers. Though this time the band have added vocals to the mix for a more psychedelic experience. The album is already becoming a firm favourite within the Doom/Stoner Metal community and it's not hard to see why.

You can read our review here.

I was given the chance to interview Space Witch recently and this is what we discussed.

Hi guys, Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today. You excited for the release of your new album.

Hi there, good of you to ask. We’re fine. Yes, we’re humbled by the reception that the album has received and appreciate everyone who has supported its release.

Can you give a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

The band started as a way for Daz (Rowlands) to get some cathartic release after a particular troubling time in his life. Over the years, we’ve gone multiple line-up changes, playing with some great musicians, and since 2013, we’ve had the same members for the past four years.

What can people expect with your new album – Arcanum.

We’ve really experimented with what we can do with the sound this time. After the self-titled, we spoke about what we want to do and we agreed we wanted to try passages that focus on certain instruments and try out a new additions. So you can expect proggy rhythms, bigger riffs, synthy passages and some new additions.

What are the underlying themes of the album.

I don’t know if there are any preconceived themes that appear in the songs. We wrote the album with the musical decisions in mind but, for the most part, any themes that are apparent worked their way in there by osmosis. I suppose if you look at the artwork, created by Adam Burke, there is a definite theme of Rebirth that’s in there.

What influenced you when recording the album.

There was a lot of excitement and nerves before we went into recording. It was the first time we had used a professional studio and we had limited time to get everything down. If I think about it now Universal Thrift Club, where we recorded, had a positive effect on the individual tracks. We could try things on the fly and see if they worked, drop them if they didn’t and make those new additions if they did. That freedom definitively helped shape the final output.

It’s very different to the other records you’ve released so far. It’s a more cosmic sound plus you’ve added vocals for this album. Was that a hard decision to make by including vocals for the album.

As stated, we all agreed we wanted to experiment more with the sound but keep true to what we’ve built in the past. The synthesiser being more at the forefront, which adds that cosmic sound, was intentional and the vocals is something we’ve tried in the past but just seemed right on this one. It wasn’t difficult, vocals are like any other instrument, they shouldn’t be included if they don’t work with what you’re doing.

How did you decide who would deliver the vocals.

For Cvlt Nation, the online counter-culture blog, we recorded a version Sleep’s ”From Beyond” for their tribute to “Holy Mountain”. We knew someone would have to sing the vocals so we tried a couple of different people and settled on my (Peter JF Callaghan) delivery. It was fun to do and we thank Cvlt Nation for the opportunity.

Even then the vocals aren’t your standard style. With them changing from heavy shouting style to them becoming more chant like. Is that a fair assumption to make.

For “Hex Solaris”, Tomas brought a riff that we all really liked and the addition of vocals was added as we jammed it out. At the beginning, there was no lyrics and I just yelled incoherently to the rhythm but, over time, it evolved into the heavy shouting style. We used a similar way of writing the words to “Astro Genocide”, finding the rhythm first and then added the lyrics later.

What inspired you when recording the actual vocals and did you feel any pressure when recording the album because of this.

Other than the previously mentioned pressure of time constraints, I remember going into the studio and finding it strange that the yelling and bellowing that I did on that day would be the permanent sound of the track. I took a few items with me for sentimental reassurance but it turned out I enjoyed shouting those words out and relaxed into it pretty quickly.

What’s the song-writing dynamic within the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.

A little of both really, someone might come into practice with a riff or an idea and we’ll collectively jam to flesh it out. Alternatively, ideas might come through improvised jams and we’ll try to recapture those moments, transforming them into songs.

HeviSike Records are releasing the album. They released your last album on vinyl. Did you have any other record label offers to release the album.

I believe, in the past, we’ve had offers on the digital downloads and CD digipacks but we worked with three labels to release the self-titled vinyl; HeviSike, Fear Me Music and Orchestrated Dystopia. Out of those, we’ve continued to work with HeviSike but appreciate the support and hard work that Fear Me and Orchestrated Dystopia put into our first big release.

Will you be touring this record heavily or will it just be individual, one-off shows such as festival appearances.

We had ambitions to tour the album but its turning out to be individual shows like all-dayers and headlining shows. It’s partly due to the current status of the band, members live in different parts of the Country and there are day job commitments. For every show we’ve played this year we’ve had astounding feedback and people are really enjoying our material. It’s an absolute pleasure to do this and thank every promoter who has put us on.

Is Space Witch your main band. Are you involved with any other bands/projects you like to tell us about.

At present, Space Witch is main project for all current members. We’ve had side projects in the past and there is opportunities on the horizon which I’m sure we’ll keep everyone updated on.

What have your been high points and low points being with Space Witch or your musical career in general.

The high point has to be playing over in Norway for Subculture; wonderful people and an incredible experience. I think the low point of any creative endeavour has to be the gaps in projects. The points of low inspiration where things might get in the way of progressing a song, where there’s a great deal frustration and interest sometimes wanes. It’s all part of the ebb and flow but those low points always herald break through moments which are the best.

Looking back on your musical career so far, is there anything that you would change.

There are ideas I wish I followed up on sooner and there are future possibilities to do so. Mostly I am glad to had opportunities that I’ve been involved. There are plenty of stories for as long as we’ve been together that end in pitfalls, broken strings and logistic nightmares. Better told in person I feel.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thank you for your continued support, we’re amazed at the response to our new material and we will continue to smash out gigs where ever we’re playing live.

Words by Steve Howe and Space Witch

Thanks to Curtis at Dewar PR for arranging this interview. Thanks to Space Witch for doing this interview. Arcanum is now be available to buy via HeviSike Records now.


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