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dimanche 2 novembre 2014

Album de la Semaine : The Wytches - Annabel Dream Reader

The Wytches
Annabel Dream Reader

Interview de The Wytches, par Gold Music Magazine


Like a Pendulum - An Interview with The Wytches

The sky is clear and the air is calm. Grey clouds are floating across the sky. The bunker on the Heiligengeistfeld in Hamburg is majestically huge. My thoughts are running in circles. Everything seems to be everlasting. This building has outlasted decades of history, of war and peace and music. In the midst of my thoughts about this intangible eternity, there are these stairs made of grey stone which lead into the Uebel & Gefährlich, the infamous club high above the city. In this evening The Wytches are going to gig here. As the support band of Blood Red Shoes. I have the chance to interview singer Kristian Bell and drummer Gianni Honey of The Wytches.
They sit in the backstage area on black leather sofas around a small round table. White light illuminates the scenery. Together we go downstairs. We sit down in the grey staircase. The Wytches paint pictures with words into the silence around. We talk about beauty, creativity, inspirations, secret childhood dreams and the release of their forthcoming début album Annabel Dream Reader. The conversation suits to their music which is unique in its very own way. When I look around during the concert I realise that their music can cause quite different associations but the same reactions. The crowd is spellbound by dark guitar riffs, energetic bass lines, a captivating drum rhythm and these wise lyrics which create this particular mood. Their surf doom’s irresistible psychedelic grunge sound is wicked. Burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.
The Wytches tell stories about gravedwellers and crying clowns in their songs. Already the song titles wake up the imagination. The red stage floodlight illumines the dark club. Everything fits into this mysterious context. The Wytches’ appearance is intensive like the pictures Kristian and Gianni have painted. A hurricane, a blazing inferno. And in the middle there’s a band in the circus of life which is not as dark as it seems. Curtain up for The Wytches!
Hi, would you introduce yourselves?
Kristian: Hi, I’m Kristian and this is Gianni. Dan isn’t here, but we’re The Wytches.
Would you tell me a brief history of your band?
Gianni: We started in Peterborough about two and a half years ago and then we moved to Brighton from Peterborough. Then we met Dan in Brighton and then we just started gigging in December 2011.
Your music as a picture.
What’s the story behind the band’s name and what’s the significance behind it?
Kristian: I just liked how simple it was. It was quite obvious that there would be a million bands called The Witches, so I thought it would be quite funny. I guess the significance behind it is that we didn’t think that we had any significance because it is a high used name, you know. We just liked that it is so common.
Have you watched the film Control about Ian Curtis by Anton Corbijn? I’d like to go for the Annik Honoré question. What is the most beautiful you have ever seen?
Gianni: Fuck… that’s a question!
Kristian: Yes, that’s a very  big one.
Gianni: Fuck… give us a minute. That’s a question. We really have to think about it(laughs). There are a couple of things that brought me to tears. I can’t think of any. Wow, what a question.
Kristian: I couldn’t think of anything specifically (laughs).
Gianni: Probably when the plane landed when we got to SXSW Festival. I’m so scared of flying, so relieved. Yeah, that’s what I can think about now; I probably will have a better answer later. I really have to think about it, I’ll let you know! But you, Kris, I know, you’ve got something, but you don’t want to tell it!
Kristian: No, I can’t think of anything specific to say, but it’s a really good question though. I’d be too general.
Ok, then this question first. How do you get into your creative zone?
Christian: I write a lot alone, I just need to be alone normally, but if we’re writing all together we just need to be all a bit angry or pissed off. We also play better, when we’re pissed off, I guess. Like a lack of comfort or something, not feeling all great about ourselves. Usually when I’m not very well.
Gianni: Try not to force yourself into something, that’s the main thing.
Kristian: Yeah, that’s it.
Some of your lyrics sound like they’re taken from your favourite worst nightmares, what are your non-musical influences?
Kristian: Non-musical influences… What are yours, Gianni?
Gianni: Reading and my friends, the people around me, my uncle, my brother, my little brother. Yeah, lots of things. Football. That doesn’t really influence me but yeah, I just like it (laughs). Poker!
Kristian: I have an uncle who just generally influences me and inspires me. He’s into everything really, plays every instrument, so I guess, that comes on our music. He’s like an antique salesman. He lives in a little cottage. His house is full of the coolest things and I think he just generally inspires me. And then reading and stuff like that. Yeah and skateboarding.
Well, I skate too. On a pink skateboard.
Kristian: Oh, cool.
Gianni: Kristian fucked his arm up so badly from skateboarding.
Kristian: Yeah, I broke it three times.
Oh no, three times?
Christian: Yeah, I have this big scar here (shows scar on his arm). I had a metal plate in it.
Gianni: The third time he did it, they said, if he do it again they might cut off his arm, haven’t they?
Kristian: No, the third time I broke it, I didn’t tell anyone about it, because I was too scared that they would like amputee it, so I didn’t tell anyone.
Gianni: He ignored his plates.
That’s too bad. As a distraction, here’s the next question: Can you name three albums that you think are essential inspirations of The Wytches sound and spirit and why?
Kristian: I mean, definitely the Arctic Monkeys’ Humbug. When I first listened to that album I wasn’t that big on the Arctic Monkeys but after listening to that album I thought it was genius, it really moved me. Just the sound, the guitar sounds, the overall feel of it. That’s definitely a big one. What about you, Gianni?
Gianni: Well, for The Wytches. I don’t know. We’ve got really varied music tastes.
Kristian: Yeah, we don’t really listen to the same things.
Gianni: Like totally! Kristian’s really into Conor Oberst and I’m not really into it. I listen to Ghost Feet, like chill music for the van. For us, I guess, it’s quite a lot of hardcore.
Christian: Yeah, that’s right. And Abbey Road is a big one for me as well. This thing is very creative. The end is just like a big montage, like the second side of it. And then… was it three albums?
Three albums, yes.
Kristian: Three albums…
Gianni: Let’s go for a hardcore one. AFI? The All Hallows EP.
Kristian: All Hallows EP is sick.
Gianni: Yeah, we listen to that a lot. Fall Children is a very good song.
Kristian: I think if we’re talking about hardcore albums, there’s a band called Blacklisted, if you heard of them. They’re a big hardcore band and they have an album called Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God and it’s just like the biggest hardcore album ever.
Ok, well, you two grew up in Peterborough. How do you think, growing up in a small town has affected the way you write?
Kristian: When we were first got into it, it was a very cultureless city. There wasn’t much culture about it. I guess, in fact, that we didn’t know what was cool in music at the moment and what was popular in music, it just allowed us to get on with our thing. It’s all about isolation, I guess.
Gianni: Yeah, the city really made me want to get fucking out of it.
Your music is surrounded by dark symbolism and even the song titles reveal an entrance into a darker and deeper world of meaning. I think what makes your music differ a lot from other modern music is that you use the power of imagination to create pictures and images with sounds. Do you think it’s important for a band to create a particular image?
Kristian: I think, musically yes. I don’t think it is important to physically have an image as people. I don’t think it’s important to dress the same. But I do think, projecting an image in the music is what we want to do. It’s just another thing which gets people excited about music. What they see, what they interpret by themselves.
What type of atmosphere do you want to create with your music?
Kristian: It’s changed now. I used to just wanted to be like this big dark thing. But these days I just want to play music and that people just like the songs rather than what’s going on. Yeah, and I really like the darkness in our music, it’s all very funny. It supposed to be funny. I don’t know if we’ve achieved that, being like a laugh, but you know, that they can see, that we’re a bit over the top sometimes. That’s funny to us.
I think this perception is kind of unique nowadays.
Kristian: Yeah, I guess so. We don’t really know anyone else who does it.
Gianni: Probably The Horrors’ first album.
What were your dreams when you were children?
Kristian: I don’t know. I didn’t really have any (laughs).
Gianni: (laughs) I wanted to be a dancer. I always liked dancing but I never had the balls to say. Honestly!
Kristian: I think I just wanted to be a drummer in a band, because I play drums and that’s what I wanted to do really. And then I had this dream of stacking shelves in Tesco. When I was young, I thought it seemed so cool, because they were driving around on their forklifts. They look so sick, I wanted to do that. Or to be a space explorer.
Gianni: I wanted to be an UFOlogist when I got to like ten or eleven. I like UFOs, flying saucers. I wanted to study that. And then I realised that it’s just a fake really.
I hope all your dreams will come true one day. Next question: which one of your songs does affect you the most?Gianni: Playing wise probably Gravedweller. I really like the bass line. It feels like you’re in a Ghostbusters movie.
Kristian: I don’t know. They’re all so old to me now. I don’t really get affected by any of them. Well, none of the ones we play live anyway. There are a few on the album which I like. There’s one called Summer Again on our album. 

I’m very curious about the answer of my next question. Who does the amazing artwork for your EPs and tour posters?
Kristian: Our Friend Sam Gull. He’s a good friend of mine. He’s a very talented guy. And an interesting thing about him is that he never uses black in his work. He never ever uses black. Even if he sees something which looks black, it would be a dark blue or a dark green or something.

That’s pretty deep.
Gianni: Why doesn’t he use black, man?
Kristian: He prefers not to. I think it’s quite interesting. The thing is that his work is like an interpretation of our work, rather than just something that would suit it, like factually an interpretation. It’s just like a take on psychedelic compilations where there was so much going on on one sleeve. We don’t really like the thought of having a picture of yourself on an album.
Gianni: We’ve never been that good on photos.
Kristian: Yeah, we don’t think that highly about ourselves in that way (both laugh). Dan could be on the cover of one of our EPs. Yeah, but Sam Gull, he’s got a blog and everything.
Gianni: If you look closely, he’s in the Robe For Juda video. He’s the witch! The one with the green hair.

I’ll look closely next time. I think he does some of the greatest artwork I’ve ever seen. If you could choose any decade to grow up in, which one would you choose? Or are you fine with the present?
Kristian: No (laughs). I mean it’s such an obvious one but it would just be the 60s. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that. Most of the music I listen to is from the 60s or inspired by the 60s. I mean, I don’t really know what went down then but some of my friends’ parents say that it was the best time of their lives. Some people could definitely say that it was the worst time of their lives but I don’t know. What about you, Gianni?
Gianni: I just realise all the time how fucking painfully British I am (laughs). So probably like the 40s to see the war end, to see this optimism, like values start to change. Yes, 40s or 50s maybe.

What does 2014 look like for you?
Kristian: Well, we are releasing our album this year, so I guess a lot of touring and things like that.
Gianni: And festivals.

What festivals for instance?
Kristian: Probably the big ones. Not just in England, but we’re not really sure yet. I think, we’re doing Glastonbury.
Gianni: And we’re doing Bestival on the Isle of Wight which I’ve heard good things about. And we’re going to America in July with our friends METZ and Cloud Nothings, that’d be pretty sick.

How was SXSW by the way?
Kristian: It was fun, it seemed a bit too much at times.
Gianni: We lost our minds on a few occasions.
Kristian: Yeah, I’m not really into that like going out all day every day.
Gianni: See, that happened! (shows a tattoo of a pint glass of beer on his arm) So you can imagine what happened there. As we said, it was good, but it was fucking intense. Especially for Kris, because he had all the band shows and then he had all the acoustic shows, press stuff.
Kristian: Yeah, it was a great experience because me or Gianni hadn’t ever been to America before, so it was very fun to go there because everything there is so surreal for an English person. The sky looks bigger in America.
Gianni: When you fly in you’re just like “Is this fucking for real? This is huge!”. 
Kristian: I guess the best thing you can do is like have fun and make sure that you have fun. Because it is a festival where the majority of people watching you are industry members who are thinking about other things than just having a great time watching a band. But it was quite fun. Fat White Family, you know them?

Yeah, they’re cool.
Kristian: They killed it, that show was so good.
Gianni: And they’re really funny as well.
Kristian: Yeah, they’re very nice people. They absolutely smashed it. It was mad.
Gianni: You know, there wasn’t that many English bands over there, I expected there to be a lot more. You should really go there and see! It’s fucking surreal, I don’t think I have the energy to do it again. Even the water tastes like it got sugar in it. But it was cool. We appreciate it.

On April 19th is Record Store Day. Have you got plans to buy any records?
Kristian: I know that Conor Oberst is doing something on Record Store Day. I’ll probably buy that one. Definitely. We won’t be here though on Record Store Day. Is it just one day?

Yeah, just April 19th, I think.
Gianni: We will be in Belgium or Amsterdam this day. We haven’t really had a place to live since last year, so I don’t even own a fucking record player. When I get something to live, I will get a record player. It’s the first thing on my list, to buy some records.
Kristian: We don’t have any big possessions anymore.
Gianni: We just live of duffle bags. When I moved out of my house, all I had was just a duffle bag and my drum kit and some books. I’ve got a box, one box, a drum box with some books and small clothes in, some letters and shit likThat’s it.

Talking about books, what are your favourite ones?
Kristian: I’m reading The Big Nothing, the Elliott Smith book at the moment. That’s really good, that’s really, really good. It’s a bit depressing but very insightful. I was readingBeautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen as well, but that was very hard to follow. And I don’t think I’m clever enough to follow that kind of book (both laugh).

I have to admit that I didn’t even know that Leonard Cohen has written books.
Kristian: Oh, Leonard Cohen was an author before he was a musician. A big novelist.
Gianni: I read a lot by George Orwell. I like Dystopian novels and as well the Beat Generation stuff, like Bukowsky. Bukowsky’s probably my favourite. And probably George Orwell is also one of my favourites.
Kristian: We had a big conversation about Allen Ginsberg lately.
Gianni: We went back to the hotel and we couldn’t be silent.
Kristian: We were having this big debate…
Gianni: …dancing around in our underwear. And you were playing guitar in the hotel room! (both laugh) It was in Poland, I think. Poland’s very cool. Oh wait, I want to go back to the question from the beginning! Really strange things make me feel sad. Like people missing their train, running to it, but missing it. Shit like that. That moves me quite well.
Kristian: You cry when someone’s missing their train?
Gianni: I do! (Kristian laughs) I do and I don’t know why, I just do.

You said, you’re releasing an album this year.
Kristian: In August. It was going to be a lot sooner.

Has it got a title already?
Kristian: Yeah, it has got a title and it’s called Annabel Dream Reader and it’s out on August 15th. Is it August 15th? I just wanted to be really precise there. I don’t know when it’s out exactly and why it’s called that either. And I don’t know why we did it (laughs), we just did. Now I just feel very weird about our album, because we’ve been dangling a bit for ages now. You know, we had so much time to think about it, because it’s been recorded since October. It all must be a year by time it’s actually out, which is sad. All my confidence in it kind of disappeared.
Gianni: I haven’t listened to it fully yet.
Kristian: No, same. It’s just weird because I’m writing a lot more now, getting into new things. So now we’re still sitting on this album and the kind of new approach is a lot different.

I’m sure it will be smashing.
Kristian: Yeah, I’m sure.

My last question: What does nobody know about The Wytches until now?
Kristian: That’s it’s not as dark as it seems. I think people probably think that we love how dark it all is but it’s not as dark as it seems. It is a bit fun.

Line Up :
Kristian Bell
Gianni Honey
Daniel Rumsey

Label :
Partisan Records

Tracklist :
01 – Digsaw
02 – Wide at Midnight
03 – Gravedweller
04 – Fragile Male
05 – Burn Out The Bruise
06 – Wire Frame Mattress
07 – Beehive Queen
08 – Weights and Ties
09 – Part Time Model
10 – Summer Again
11 – Robe For Juda
12 – Crying Clown
13 – Track 13

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