Witchrider. If you haven’t heard of them yet, then it’s about time you tuned in. They released their first, self titled EP back in April 2013 with 6 songs in total, then teamed up with Fuzzorama label mates Truckfighters to create the incredible ‘The Return of the Fuzzsplit, Vol. 1‘ in 2014 and that same year, released their first full length album ‘Unmountable Stairs’ on Fuzzorama Records again. In a short period of time, these guys have built up quite the back catalogue and it’s truly worth a listen. We caught up with the guys to talk The Force, vinyl and where to tour next…
Broken Arrow: First of all guys, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. How is everything in the Witchrider camp?
Witchrider: Camp Witchrider is still open for young and old to enjoy. Our prices range from 10€ to around 300, depends on how hard you wanna‘ party. Right now we’re in the middle of recording our second album, once that’s finished it will the new attraction for everyone to enjoy.
Broken Arrow: How’s the recording process going so far?
Witchrider: Currently we’re about “half way done” I’d say. We’re gonna let the recording process rest while we’re on tour with the Truckfighters and We Hunt Buffalo obviously and then pick it up once we’re back home and see how the songs feel after letting them sleep for a while.We’re hoping that we can, to some extend at least, look at the songs objectively for a while before getting sucked in again.
Broken Arrow: Has Dan been wearing the same Star Wars shirt throughout the entire recording process? Does channeling The Force help to create great riffs?
Dan: It’s a little more complicated than that really. You have to know, the force is strong in my family. My father has it … I have it … and my sister has it. As the force always surrounds me I don’t necessarily have to wear the shirt, but it makes me look pretty damn hot.
Broken Arrow: How do you guys approach writing? Does somebody come in with riffs in mind and you work on it, or do you create music together in the jam room?
Witchrider: Yes, we usually have riffs and song ideas to work with and expand from there but it’s the combination of influences and input from each band member that make a song whole in the end.
Broken Arrow: Tell us about some of the equipment you’re using for the guitar and bass and what kind of tones you’re looking to create.
Witchrider: Well, for the guitar recordings we’ve used a combination of Orange, Fender and Mesa (The Mesa amp is actually one of Rammstein’s old guitar amps). Combine that with nice Fuzz pedals, octavers and delays and voila. We’ve also been using quite a few Synthesizer sounds on the new record to make it more dark and generate a little more depth. Concerning the bass, Bernhard’s been experimenting a little with distortions, cabs and so on and even though a lot of combinations work great it seems to be a necessity to use his Fender jazz bass. It’s something about how the pickups process the sound that bring just a little brightness to let you see in the dark.
Broken Arrow: Being part of Fuzzorama records you have a strong pedigree of bands on the label, namely Truckfighters who you released a split EP with “The Return of the Fuzzsplit Vol. 1”. How did this come about, did you approach Truckfighters or vice-a-versa or was it organised through the label?
Witchrider: To be honest, I don’t remember who asked whom but it definitely was a nice experience to work with them on the Split EP. Especially as this was a very good way to promote our first album ‘Unmountable Stairs’ with the single ‘Far From You’ on the split.
Broken Arrow: For bands surrounding this genre and fans alike, vinyl has made a comeback in a big bad way. People are investing in records again in a way that hasn’t been seen for decades. Has the return of vinyl helped sell your music as opposed to giving it away via streaming? Also, does it sell as well as T-shirts and other merchandise you would sell on tour, and take the strain off of the large cost it takes to go on tour?
Witchrider: Oh yes definitely! Especially in the stoner rock scene vinyls are highly appreciated and I totally understand that because listening to a vinyl is a completely different experience than internet streaming. Other than the quality differences, listening to a vinyl is something you do actively, in comparison to streaming for example. You have to get it out of the sleeve, turn it around once side A is done etc. It’s way more personal that way.
About your second question: Merchandise in total, yes. It’s a small bands’ most important income when on tour. It’s hard to generalize which items sell best, in some countries people prefer shirts, bags and caps for example and in some cd’s and vinyls are more popular.
Broken Arrow: Are there a lot of fans of the Stoner/Desert rock genre in Austria?
Witchrider: There has been an uprising of stoner bands only few years back in Austria, which has introduced more and more people enjoying stoner rock and coming to live shows. I think the stoner rock community isn’t as strong as it is in other countries, but it’s definitely growing.
Broken Arrow: Where would you like to take a tour in support of your next record? Are there any Countries or Cities specifically you’d like to play where you think your music would go down well?
Witchrider: We’ve never played in Greece for starters! We heard that especially in Athens, the stoner rock community is supposed to be pretty awesome. So that’s something we will aim for when planning the release tour for the 2nd album.We’re pretty stoked that we’re going to be able to play new countries this tour. Spain, Protugal or the Netherlands just to name a few.
However, there are numerous countries we haven’t visited yet and really want to play in the future. South America and USA are also pretty high up on our “to play” list.
Broken Arrow: Lastly, if you were to describe your band to somebody who’d never heard your music, who would say are your biggest influences that shaped your sound?
Witchrider: I think with the new album, the influences that went into it musically expanded quite broadly. Especially introducing Synthesizers with serious delays make the sound a little more mystic and dark. It sometimes feels like… If a song were a boat, the Synthesizers would be the black sea it’s floating on. Of course you can’t make an album where there’s a rocking boat floating on black goo the entire time. Sometimes you need to go to land and kick someone right in the face! Haha.
However, when we released the first album and especially the EP before that, people reacted differently to it. A lot of people liked it, some people criticized the fact that it had a ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ touch to it. At the time we started, we were just 3 dudes making music and having a good time, all of us were vastly influenced by the QOTSA at that time and especially the songwriting style where you just try out chords that don’t necessarily fit together, but you find a way to make it work.
What can I say… we fell in love with that and just wanted more of that shit to listen too, even if it was just for us to enjoy.
We want to thank Witchrider for taking the time to answer our questions. You can keep up with what the guys are doing in the studio by following their Facebook page @ www.facebook.com/witchriderband/
You can also stream their music on Spotify, or purchase it via their website.
We featured Witchrider as our ‘Have You Heard’ band this week – so check out the feature here!