April 29, 2013

GURU'S INTERVIEWS: Skeletonwitch


1. METAL GURU: With the speeding 4-wheeled Skeletonwitch metalli-can having just returned home to Athens, Ohio after the summoning rites for the latest ‘Witch opus -- which took place this past month in grim Salem, MA, America’s aorta and locus of American witchcraft, unnatural power, and all things evil -- aside from crushing the studio beyond dust, what can you tell us about the new album?

Can you give us the scoop on the vibe? Are we talking trad old-school and juicy Permafrost-style riffs & dual leads, or a specimen more along the lines of the darker plague-infested Abomination style & attitude? And what’s your rough estimate for the date when fans can pre-order the new platter?

CHANCE GARNETTE (VOCALS): As far as scoop or vibe of the new record... You're going to be getting that dual-guitar, old school riffage as well as some of the coldest most melodic stuff we've ever written with this new one. I know I'm fucking stoked on it. I can see where we may have taken it back to the Frost or even the Shadows on this part or that part, but at the same time we've taken the sound further than we ever have before. It's a definite progression without forgetting where it all came from.

Right now, we don't have a release date other than, as Skeletonwitch records seem to have a habit of doing, it'll be released in the Fall! I would imagine pre-sale packages will start up in Summer / late Summer. But what do I know really on this right?!

EVAN LINGER (BASS): The vibe is a little more open and free-flowing and dramatic. Sometimes you think the next riff is gonna rip your head off but instead its going to make you feel lonely and frosty. One of my favorite parts about Black Metal is that there is aggression, but also so much emotion and feeling in the chord choices and movements. It's not all about just being "brutal" and "the fastest". I think we tipped our hat to that spirit of BM [on this new record] more than on previous records. Sonically the record has more of a "live" Skeletonwitch vibe. We recorded with tube amps turned up loud, and Kurt Ballou was very instrumental in getting the warm, natural sound we wanted and which we sound like live.

2. METAL GURU: May 24, 2013 will be the hometown opening pitch of your next roadburner. Mostly Canadian dates are announced thus far, but do you imagine that you will experience “tour creep” and that this tour will again manifest itself into a continent-wide blockbuster?

CHANCE: No, I'm pretty sure this tour will stick to the start and finish dates already established. But, as soon as that new record comes out look for that Skeletonwitch never-ending road assault!

3. METAL GURU: On the topic of metal's past and future. To us it is simply a natural observable fact that there are a handful of heavier, nastier, but still brilliantly melodic, ace-level bands such as Skeletonwitch who could very fittingly be opening for Iron Maiden -- and impressing the hell out of their long-time fans. Listen closely and you'll see who is carrying the torch for what Maiden & Judas Priest ignited in the 80s! --and for what the Scandinavians revived in the 90s with the blazing spectacles of Dissection's Storm Of The Light’s Bane, Immortal's At The Heart Of Winter, and In Flames' The Jester Race.

What do you say to all of this, and hey, you wouldn’t turn down the chance to open for Iron Maiden, would you?

EVAN: Of course we would open up for Iron Maiden. We would probably be playing to festival-sized crowds or something like that. Not to mention we're all Maiden fans. There is a divide that happens in metal and its all based on vocals. I've know guys that love metal and worship bands like Helloween, Savatage, and Accept, but as soon as you let them hear something with "screamy" or death metal vocals, they check out. I guess it would be interesting to see how many Iron Maiden fans also own At the Gates, Amon Amarth, and Dissection records. If I played my mom an Iron Maiden record I think she would enjoy it, if I played her Heartwork I know she wouldn't.

There are a lot of stalwarts we'd love to open for. There is something very gratifying about loving a band growing up and then getting the chance to not only see them live on tour every night, but play for their fans. 

4. METAL GURU: How the fuck do you come up with so many insanely brilliant riffs and weave them all into the sweetest, thrashiest 3-minute songs? It seems impossible, but I like it.

EVAN: Who has the patience for an 8-minute song these days? We certainly don't. Also, live we gotta be able to sip some cold beers so having short songs really lends itself to that. Seriously though, Nate writes a large part of the material and he's always been no bullshit when it comes to songwriting. Hit 'em hard and hit 'em fast.

5. METAL GURU: We know that you released an underground DVD in 2004 called “Friday The 13th”, but do you know that your fans would kill for a professional, full-on, New, Live ‘Witch DVD?

CHANCE: I'd definitely like to put one out some day. We've talked about it before, and are into doing one. But, if we're not on tour, we're usually getting ready to go on tour, or maybe writing or recording. So just finding a chunk of time to get something like that done right hasn't really been there. But yeah, I'd like to think there is a cool DVD in our future.

6. METAL GURU: OK, it’s movie night and *none* of the band’s copies of Kindergarden Cop will even play anymore. But, Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead are on tonight…at the same time…WHICH WOULD THE WITCH WATCH?

CHANCE: Man, I can't say "which the 'Witch would watch" because honestly we're going to watch them both eventually. Oh, and Vikings too, I'm watching that.

EVAN: I'd watch both and then get shitty about how they strayed from said book(s). I've read the Song Of Ice And Fire books like 5 times at least. Books...check 'em out. 

7. METAL GURU: Would you guys rather spend a month hiking, kayaking, and drinking beer in chilly Bergen, Norway, or a month fishing, kitesurfing, and drinking rum in the sunny southern Caribbean?

CHANCE: No contest here...... Bergen. We did four days in Norway with Aura Noir so we got to play Bergen. It's one of my favorite places I've gotten to see. Just an awesome place. Plus, fuck the heat anyway!

EVAN: Bergen for sure. Its a beautiful city surrounded by awesome mountains and wilderness. The cold won't kill you there, the beer prices will though. I think I paid about $14 USD for a beer in a bar there.

8. METAL GURU: Skeletonwitch is a rapturous combination of wild-eyed rhythm, intensely jagged riffs, and dreamlike lead melodies and solos providing vivid color within a blackened aura that instantly envelops the listener who feels a sense of homecoming as he/she/it is overcome by Chance’s venom-dripping howl. We cannot get enough of it.

All of the 'Witch's back catalog is deservingly and devoutly subjected to constant worship by music fans in the know, but we want to single out Beyond The Permafrost. A pure unadulterated gem of the very highest order, REALLY LISTENING to Beyond The Permafrost for the first time (or for the 100th time...) is like hearing Exodus' Bonded By Blood or Death's The Sound Of Perseverance for the first time – you experience a ‘Eureka’ moment and know that you have found genius.

Are you OK with the fact that we are telling the world that Skeletonwitch is recording unrivalled metal masterpieces?

CHANCE: First off, thank you for saying all those things! I think that's awesome that you feel this way about the music we create! So, to answer your question if I'm OK with it: Absolutely, if you feel this strongly about the music and you want to tell the world, please do man. Spread the word! It means a lot to me and I appreciate it immensely. Thanks for your incredible support of what we do.

EVAN: We make music we love and we all love to make it. Thanks for the compliment, but the way we can really say thank you to people is to give them uncompromising music that we think is worthy of putting out there. We work really hard on everything that has to do with the band so we appreciate when people notice. Thanks again!

9. METAL GURU: Skeletonwitch has taken the podium among speeding, touring bands for (stage-) diving into the most grueling & compressed road trips. Fall 2012 saw the 'Witch fighting cross-Continental hand-to-hand combat to the tune of 62 shows in 64.66 days!! What are a couple of your secrets for survival on the road? Does no one have really bad gas?

CHANCE: You just have to love doing it really. I mean, a "bad" day on the road is still better than punching that time clock as far as I'm concerned. I would much rather be on the road, playing shows and being in a different place day after day then go back to that "stuck in a job I hate" feeling I've tried so hard to get away from. If you love it, it ain't hard!

Really bad gas? Well, we do spend enough time in a confined space together that you kinda "learn" whose brand is whose. That's not anything that I set out to learn, or wish I did learn in the first place. I do know that I don't love ass air in my fucking mouth.

EVAN: I'd be lying if I said that playing 62 shows in 64 days isn't tough on one's mind and body. Honestly though, this is the best job in the world. Like Chance said, I'd rather play a show in a shit hole than be working in an office or factory. You can be totally exhausted from load-ins and outs, ten hour drives, and lack of sleep, but that all melts away when you get onstage and that adrenaline starts flowing. It's a high, and that really keeps me going on the road. Skeletonwitch is a "live band" -- it's where we shine, and our bread and butter.

No comment on the fart thing.....sick, dude.


The 'Witch is:

Chance Garnette- Vocals
Nate "N8 Feet Under" Garnette- Guitar
Scott "Scunty D" Hedrick- Guitar
Evan "Loosh" Linger- Bass
Dustin Boltjes- Drums