– Hello, thanks for taking your time. How are you holding up?
I’m pretty good actually – trying not to watch the news, focusing on music and keeping busy!
– First off, what was the goal behind forming WYTCH HAZEL?
Essentially it was just to start an ‘old school’ Heavy Metal Band with ‘Magical vibes’. I wanted it to be more of the White Magic side of things of course. It was to be a creative outlet and pretty self indulgent from day one!
-In your music there’s some WISHBONE ASH, and PAGAN ALTAR, some ASHBURY… What were the bands that inspired you the most when you were starting the band?
I hadn’t even Heard of Ashbury when I started the band so it was definitely more bands like Pagan Altar & WBA but also: early Maiden, Uriah Heep, UFO, Judas Priest and Jethro Tull was (and still is) a big influence.
-You are hailing from Lancaster, a city with several new and interesting bands, as England in general. Do you feel like you are part of something, a scene of sorts, there?
Lancaster has quite a nice music scene regardless of style, but it is nice to know that you’ve got Massive Wagons & Elminator close by! I wouldn’t say it was a specifically Rock Music scene, people seem to appreciate a wide variety of bands in Lancaster. Lancaster Music Festival is a testament to that!
-You worked on your newest album during the pandemic. Did the whole situation affect the process of making a new album in any way? Or the plans of the band?
Well most of it was written and recorded just before the pandemic hit, so we were lucky in that sense! It took a long time in post production but that was all done remotely so we managed to do everything we wanted to do with it.
-This album is “III: Pentecost”. Why did you choose this name?
I felt that the ‘Day Of Pentecost’ was the best title as it summarises the lyrical content of the album which is all in the ‘Spiritual Realm’. The song ‘Spirit and Fire’ sums up the title of the album the best as it is directly about the day of Pentecost.
-As always there’s a strong medieval vibe in your songwriting. Where was this born from? Did this come first and then the aesthetics or the other way around?
This came partially from a study of ‘Early Music’ (Medieval & Rennaisance) at high school. I remember vividly hearing the interpretations by David Munrows Early Music Consort of London and becoming fascinated immediately! The Aesthetics came mainly from Jethro Tull but in a way that I felt suited the band and the music. Music first, aesthetics second!
-In fact it seems like you put some effort on the whole visual part. On your whole imagery. Why is this also an important part of what WYTCH HAZEL is?
I really wanted to put on a good performance and show people that we had something to offer. I felt like it would have been an opportunity missed if we didn’t do something visual alongside the music. Rock n roll is a fashion show!
-I’d say this album is more diverse, for instance it has these forceful guitars that remind me a little bit to BLACK SABBATH. Why would you say this album turned out a tad more varied? Were you listening to any specific bands while writing the album?
Yes I think you’re right and I think it was because I was listening to more Sabbath and perhaps some heavier bands like Megadeth from time to time. I think Black Sabbath is what I hear most in those heavier sections. The variety was also intentional – I wanted it to be a good balance and a good mixture of different types of songs and sounds.
-You also released a charity Christmas single a few weeks ago. How did you come up with the idea and how did you work on this cover?
Well I just thought as we were approaching Christmas and how we always song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and inappropriate that would seem considering the year that we’ve had and I just felt inspired to release this more ‘Solemn’ version of the song. Between myself and our Producer Ed Turner, we got the recording together just in time for Christmas!
-The cover artwork for that single was done by Branca Studio. You have worked a lot with them for merch, etc. And we just love Branca so this question is mandatory; how your cooperation (that lasts to this day) with them begin?
We heard about them through our label: Bad Omen Records. They already had a good relationship with Branca and because Branca are Wytch Hazel fans, they are happy to continue working with us!
-Would you say your music has a message or it’s just personal lyrics? What do you want to transmit, not with your words, since you’re not preaching but with your body of work?
Honestly, the main intention is for this band to be a personal creative outlet. That said, I don’t mind how it ‘spills out’ beyond that point, particularly when it seems to be quite positive effect that it is having on fans. It’s like a happy bi-product of the output of the band.
-You’re often tagged as a “Christian band” and, leaving personal believes aside, I wouldn’t agree with that label. Anyone can enjoy your music and lyrics I think are open to interpretation. I see a lot of metaphors about spirituality in general. Would you rather say you’re a “Christian band” or a “spiritual band”?
Honestly, if it was up to me, it would just be a ‘Rock Band’ or ‘Hard Rock band’. Nice and simple! I don’t really mind what people call it – spiritual rock is ok, but the Christian label seems more accurate so as to not avoid confustion with ‘general spirituality’ I suppose!
-And how do you fit in a scene with a general resentment for Christianity? Even though is flooded with spirituality, but it seems to be some kind of stereotype to deny Christianism en Metal.
Well my expectation was that we would certainly not fit in. I couldn’t have been more wrong, it seems like we have no issue at all in the heavy metal community! A nice surprise I suppose! I think maybe because we’ve not set out to be a ‘Christian band’ – we’re not like Stryper for example (although they are quite well received come to think of it)
-Before we wrap this interview up; how would you describe “Pentecost” in just 3 words?
Balanced, Sing-along, rich-sounding (does that count as 3 or 5? Haha!)
-And finally, what are now your near-future plans in these uncertain times?
The main goal is to keep writing music. It feels like a good time to experiment, not just with the music but other things too. For example, one of the things I’ve been experimenting with is live-streaming (checkout ‘twytchhazel’ in twitch!)
– That’s all from our side, thanks again for your time. If you’d like to add some final words, feel free to do it.