Witchbones - Interview
In just under a year the project Witchbones has managed to release a super-storm of EP's and demos showcasing the talent and more-so, the darkness living within the figure behind the entity. Having managed to catch the ears of Iron Bonehead Productions, Witchbones now brings to you an aquatic experience of horrors through the latest work of evil, "The Seas of Draugen". MetalBite are fortunate to have been given the time for brief dialogue with the one man black/death metal project Witchbones; the voyage beneath this unforgiving ocean home to beast begins.
What is the idea behind Witchbones?
Witchbones is a reflection of something that I lost a couple of years ago. The only thing that could help these feelings was to release them through music. I swore at the beginning of this project that I would create the evilest album of the year. I think I did a good job at keeping that promise.
What spawned the relationship with Iron Bonehead Records?
I emailed Iron Bonehead as a fluke. I didn't think that Patrick would respond or would even listen to be honest, which I would've totally understood because he is a very busy man. He said that he liked the one song that I sent him and asked to hear more before he made a decision. I only had one song written at that time. So... long story short, I wrote the entire album in 2 weeks, sent it in, and it was a go. Thanks Patrick!
What did you set out to accomplish with "The Seas of Draugen" (which by the way is a stupendous album for its length) as opposed to other releases?
To write the evilest album I could at this point in my life.
Will the new full-length album be a part of some trilogy? Is "The Seas of Draugen" theoretically related to any of your past material all put out in 2019?
"The Seas Of Draugen" was spawned from an idea that my uncle gave me, actually. I'm not sure if it will be a continuation or not, but I did do that with my Akasha demos. So, it's possible.
Were you given any assistance by other musicians as far as instrumental duties are concerned or was it too risky in obtaining outside help that may not share the same drive, dedication and vision as yourself?
No, Witchbones is all me and will always remain all my ideas. I have a few other projects though that other musicians are in.
Did the recording of the album prove to be tedious at any point in time?
The recording process and time frame was really fast and easy because of how excited I was to potentially be released on one of my favorite labels. We will see what's to come with my next full length though.
What is the meaning behind having so many releases under Witchbones in the span of just 11 months?
It was a release for me. I had to get out my demons. And this was the best way for me to do it. Next year you will see fewer releases, but a more thought out process and better sound quality.
Thus said, how often do you write/compose music?
I've wrote so much music this year. Witchbones being the main focus, but also writing everything (except the drums) for NEXWOMB's return album, Sangre De La Luna with my buddy LASH, and vocals for Dionysian Rites. It's really helped me mentally progress being this busy, but I'm ready for a break. I just write when I feel inspiration or anger.
Were there events both external and personal that may have directly impacted "The Seas of Draugen"?
Yes. Witchbones formed from me watching my mother die from cancer. I know a lot of people go through this in life, but it was a really hard thing to deal with. She was very religious and because of her faith she chose to suffer. There were many dark nights that I had to go through (with my at the time fiancé) taking care of her. Which I wouldn't trade for anything because it was the last bit of time I got to spend with her. Witchbones is her. My mother (even though she was catholic) practiced witchcraft in certain ways. She is the Witch and her death symbolizes bones for me. WITCHBONES.
I'm very interested as to what the next chapter for Witchbones will bring and hope to see a continuation of this concept explored but with more happening instrumentally; thus, will you at least consider broadening the sound by adding keyboards, organs, tribal drums, narration, etc., to create a more theatrical experience on future releases, or are you content?
The Next Chapter is to focus on recording a split and then hopefully another album to be released on Iron Bonehead. Most of my recordings are short, so I may focus on more riffs and composing things a little better with more length. I do use keyboards for atmosphere but not often and just to add small touches. I personally don't like when bands overdo the synth. I'm very straightforward plug in and play kinda dude. But who knows, I might spawn a new interest and add something new.
Are there any plans to release all of Witchbones' music as a vinyl set? It would be an excellent feat. "The Seas of Draugen" compelled me to visit "We Haunt Ourselves" and "The Mirror Effect"; I was pleased I did.
Thank you! Yea, I would love to put everything out on vinyl since I'm big on it myself. I've been building my tape and vinyl collection for a while now. It's just a matter of funds or if a label wants to do that or not. Death Kvlt productions has been kind to me with this so far, so maybe he will in the future. "The Mirror Effect" has a lot of confusion within it. It was released many months ago and was soon taken off line because I was not happy with the outcome of it. Metal Archives has it placed that its being released on Halloween this year, but that is another recording. However, "The Mirror Effect" will be my next full-length release in 2020... with what I really want to achieve with the album.
Would you agree that your environmental surroundings (nature-wise) had an impact on the recording and final result of your latest piece?
Ya, I'm originally from Long Beach CA. So, moving out to Portland, Oregon a couple years ago really helped spark motivation and inspiration with the landscape out here.
Your debut "Akasha" is more at the core of black metal, what encouraged your move from the traditional snarl to dungeon-esque death metal vocals, hence prompting the incorporation of the genre?
I would say just listening to bands like Hellvetron, Void Meditation Cult, Cryptopsy (Non So Vile), Death Worship, Blasphemy. Those bands sound the evilest to me and the first demo I put out wasn't about being evil or revenge. It was about a lot of emotion. But now that I'm past that it's all about revenge on humanity.
I'm guessing the Pacific Northwest underground death/black metal scene must have contributed in some way to that transition, with bands such as Cerebral Rot, Fetid and Blasphemy among many others sharing space within the vast region.
I'm not a fan of Fetid or Cerebral Rot. No offense to them. They're doing what they do and that's great. Blasphemy 100 percent though.
Do you intend on keeping the death metal aspects as part of Witchbones' musical cosmetic?
Yes. If I could turn Witchbones into early Deicide I would. I want people to headbang, I want to leave an impression. A lot of standard black metal nowadays bores the shit out of me. I find more in black/death.
I think "The Seas of Draugen" is an excellent album that manages to steer the listener into a sonic void of sorts; thus said, was it an intention to develop this lo-fi/clouded-distorted sound?
My recording equipment. I recorded my first "Akasha" demo on my iPhone. All of it, because it's all I had. I'm using a minimal music program, a mini practice amp, and drums to record everything now with one mic and interface. My laptop is old as shit too. I scream into my cell phone for vocals LOL. I don't have a lot of money, but I can make music with the bare minimum. I know good tone and that's what matters. You don't have to have all this Big Gear to make a good record. However, my next record will be mixed by someone else and I will be using better equipment to gain a better sound overall. But the atmosphere will not be lost.
Who created the artwork for "The Seas of Draugen" (fascinating illustration by the way)?
This awesome dude named Gilbert Miranda. He also designed the newest Witchbones logo.
Assuming imagery is usually very representative of an individuals'/s music (though not to be judged by) either as a guide or a portrait of the completed work, was the cover art created before, during or after the recording of "The Seas of Draugen"?
It was designed after. I gave Gilbert the music and the name of the album and that's what he gave me. It's incredible.
Hence, apart from being a depicted expression of "The Seas of Draugen", are the art and music in anyway connected to your Satanic philosophy?
Yes. "The Seas of Draugen" is written in my brain as a horror film. But all of my other music has a lot to do with Satanic beliefs. But I wouldn't call myself a Satanist. I think at the end of the day I'm a realist that practices different aspects of Satanism. I also am big on learning things of Pagan beliefs and what not. I like to read anything I get my hands on. Even if it's something I don't believe in... I like to Know about it... even if it's my enemy.
Please elaborate on your core belief where the subject of Satanism is concerned.
Satanism to me is just believing that you are in control of everything around you. There's no magic man dictating what you're doing. It's you, and you control your actions. If you're weak... then you will live a weak life. If you're strong and can overcome hardships in life, then you'll live a strong life. That is satanism to me. The dark imagery comes with it. But when all of that is stripped... it's just you. And that's what matters to me aside from my family.
Are you an outsider looking-in when it comes to the occult or are you among the daring participants?
I read a lot of books on different Occult beliefs. I read a lot of books in general. It's amazing to me. And I believe in what these people write about, but I don't actively practice anything I'm not 100 % on. So, you can say that I study a lot of it. And when I'm 100% on it then I will act upon it. But I do my own rituals and things my mother and grandmother taught me. That works best for me.
In being a one-man project what is your take on this uncontrollable trend of solo black/death metal?
I think it's great. It's hard being in a band with other people. I think that if someone thinks they can do it on their own.. why not? You're in control of everything.... what's more Satanic than that ;)?
Thus, of what significance is Witchbones to you and more-so the sub-genre of black/death metal?
Witchbones is always my main project and the way that I express art for now. Black/Death is just the most appealing genre to me. Death metal came before black metal for me. Having the two intertwine with each other is more interesting and powerful to me.
Thank you for doing the interview with MetalBite, we hope all turns out well with Seas of Draugen. Last words are yours…
Thank you, MetalBite, for taking the time to do this. Hail The VVitch!
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