WITCH MOUNTAIN (Eng.)

– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything going right now with WITCH MOUNTAIN? What are you currently up to?

Things are fantastic. We are rehearsing and preparing for our first tour of 2015, in support of our brothers in YOB.

– You recently released your newest album, «Mobile of Angels». How is its feedback being thus far?

I lost count of the number of Year End Best Of lists that featured Mobile… Couldn’t be happier with the response, though I know there are still thousands and thousands of people who would enjoy it that haven’t even heard it yet.

 

– I personally think there are several elements that make a difference between «Mobile of Angels» and your previous album. For instance I could say this album is more guided by emotion. Would you agree on this?

Absolutely. It seems to me than on Cauldron of the Wild, Uta was in more of a storytelling mode. Mobile seems to be pure emotion. I think that’s fantastic because it’s a very honest and modern way to resonate with listeners. You can’t really feel all that deeply about demons and wizards anymore.

 

– And after 3 albums experimenting with a quite traditional kind of Doom Meal, on this 4th release it feels like you have solidified your essence and created something personal. What have you learned from doing your previous albums? Are you on «Mobile of Angels» closer to your ultimate personality or this is just a constant process?

Closer and closer, but certainly a constant process. If we didn’t feel certain that we could do even better on the 5th album, we’d give up now. The best is yet to come.

 

– «Mobile of Angels» is a really dynamic album, with lengthy tracks but really diverse and with tempo variety. How important is to keep things diverse an interesting, not just for your listener, but also for you both as musicians and songwriters?

We really try to satisfy ourselves. The listeners are the ones who like what we’re doing. If some fall away or new ones come on board, that’s great. To the average person, all doom sounds the same. To a doom fanatic, I think we stand out from the crowd quite nicely. But speaking for myself and Rob (we co-founded the band together in ’97), we love the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Pink Floyd. Being a little eclectic and experimental, without interrupting the flow of the album, is always a great trick.

 

– I also think is more Bluesy than your previous opus. Was there any reason behind this? Was this the idea you had in mind before starting to compose the album?

There’s always been that element to our music, however as we progressed with Uta in the band, we wanted to give her more space to showcase her voice and emotion. Blues seemed like a great way to handle that.

 

– And I could also say it’s even darker. Maybe this fits the lyrics?

Absolutely. But optimism has never been a popular topic in doom.

 

– Lyrics were built upon a dream Rob had. What dream was this?

If you read the lyrics to the title track, it describes the dream pretty well. He saw a mobile of demonic angels and heard that creepy melody. He immediately woke up and recorded a demo version. Our final track is very faithful to the demo, but has a lush recording quality and a lot more layers. Thanks go to Billy Anderson for helping us elevate a simple melody into an epic tune.

 

– As always, lyrics were written by Uta so, will you look for a new singer who will also handle the lyric writing?

Ideally yes. But Rob and I have both written lyrics in the past so we are here to help if it’s needed.

 

– And are you already auditioning new vocalists or have someone in mind?

We auditioned about a dozen singers. One was better than all the rest.

 

– On the other hand, I think the cover helps to depict the mood in the lyrics. As «Cauldron of the Wild», it was crafted by Sam Ford but, how did you work on it? What kind of guidelines did you give to Sam? I guess after having worked with him for an album communication may have been easier.

Sam and I are very good friends. I art directed and described what I wanted to see. I also took a photo of Uta while we were on tour in the UK, as a study for him to work from. He nailed it. It’s all the more impressive because he drew that cover while he was on his own tour with his band Wizard Rifle.

 

– Your popularity is always increasing, in fact when you started back in 1998 and Doom Metal wasn’t as popular as it is right now. I guess Internet has something to do with this, the easier access to music makes easier to know certain music styles. Has this recent bigger interest for Doom Metal has helped the band getting some more reconigtion?

Certainly. We never cared about popularity when we chose this style. It’s just something that speaks to us, something we relate to naturally. At this point, we’ve been around so long that we’ve enjoyed two cycles (so far) when this type of music was of interest to a lot of people. I kind of think it’s here to stay this time… but it doesn’t really matter. We have always done what we do because it’s honestly what we want to do. I am very thankful that it’s reaching more people than ever, though.

 

– In fact I think your success started to grow with «South of Salem», right after recruiting Uta. What do you think was the main reason behind this? Maybe after «putting the band on ice» for some time Doom Metal was already more popular?

We just needed that break of time to get our lives to a place where we could take the band more seriously again. It was fortunate timing that this all coincided with us meeting Uta, and with more people paying attention to doom. We had never been a very lucky band before, so that was a new experience.

 

– And what did «South of Salem» mean for the band?

SOS had been written for 8 years before it was finally recorded. It was a long gestation and needed to happen so that we could get it out of the way and move forward. Was a huge relief to get it in the can, and a pleasant surprise when the album, self released by the band on LP-only was awarded #4 album of the year by NPR in 2011.

 

– All this about «Mobile of Angels» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Blues metal doom.

 

– I read somewhere you have been asked to be part of a compilation album. Is there anything you could already comment on this?

We recorded «Sleeping Village» for an upcoming Black Sabbath tribute album being released later this year by Cleopatra Records. It was great to get back in the studio so soon and make more music with Billy.

 

– And finally, what are your near-future plans?

Practice, hit the road, write more music.

 

– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

We ended our last European tour in San Sebastian. Best food of the trip. Please send Pinchos!

Thanks for your time and interest!

 

Tania Giménez

tania@queensofsteel.com

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