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Von Bewitcher of Bewitcher: Interview

Bewitcher have just released their latest album, Cursed Be Thy Kingdom. It is their first album on Century Media Records, and it is a brilliant step up. You can read our review of the new album from Cursed Be Thy Kingdom, here.

We caught up with Von Bewitcher, lead singer and guitarist with Bewitcher, to talk about the new album, artwork and vinyl.

Bewitcher

Congratulations on the new album. The album has a Wild West feel to me; like a group of satanic outlaws…how does it feel to be riding in with the third album?

Everything is levelling up a notch. That’s why it sounds the way it does, and why it’s structured the way its. We wanted to top what we did last time around.

In terms of the label – the band is growing and we need someone that will grow with us.

You mention the sound of the record. Were things a lot different this time in terms of how you recorded?

We had more time, and more money to just play around with production. We had a big idea with where we wanted to go with it. Once you get in the studio you can really play around with things; we can experiment with guitar overdubs and adding things here and there…subtleties’ and atmospheres here and there.

Whilst you have the studio wizardry and techniques to employ, have the songs been written in a different way or have they been written with the live arena in mind?

Oh we always write with the live stage in mind. We try not to make anything so complex that it can’t be reproduced as a three piece. When I say that we’re layering the guitar parts, it’s more about the subtleties’, rather than having three part harmonies for the guitar that I can’t play on stage. We just add a little depth in the studio. The icing on the cake, so to speak!

I know you’ll be really excited to play the new songs live. Are there any of the new songs that you are really looking forward to playing?

I really think the whole album is meant to be done live. When we rehearse, and we play through the songs, I’m thinking; ‘Man, this is gonna be kick ass on stage…’ then we’ll play another one and the same thoughts come out! I don’t think any of them work better or worse.

Would you ever consider playing the album in full?

Back to back? Maybe…but that would be further down the line I think. We have so much other material that I know other people would want to hear. We’d have to give this album a little more time to breathe.

There is a lot to do with the occult, and witchcraft on the album. Do you look anywhere in particular for your inspiration for the songs?

It kind of comes from lots of different places and life experience. I love history and things like that. I watch a lot of documentaries and do a lot of reading, so a lot of inspiration comes from that.

Musically, we don’t rely too much on outside influences at this point; we look at where we were, look at ourselves and use that as a barometer of where we are going to go next.

A few years back, I saw Bewitcher in Manchester with Visigoth and you finished your set with Motorhead’s The Chase Is Better Than The Catch. I know you are huge fans. There is also plenty of early Iron Maiden sounds in the new album too; like their self-titled and Killers era…I love that about the album.

You have quite a few vinyl variants available for the new album. How much of a say do you have in the finished product on that front?

How much of a say…probably as much as we need to! The good thing about the bigger label is that we can have all different kinds of variants, and having different sub-labels and distributors means that they can do their own variants of the album, which is really cool. We’re all into it and the other guys in the band are really geeky about it…they love it…a lot!

bewitcher

The front cover is amazing. Having art by Paolo Girardi must be a trip?

We’ve followed Paolo’s stuff since before the first album. He was on the shortlist for that album, and the last one. This time, we just had to bring him in. After a little bit of discussion about how things were going to look and with what we had in mind, he was really into it. He delivered this crazy artwork. We’re stoked.

Is the album being released in gatefold format to show any more of the artwork?

The first run is just standard and hopefully we can get something like that going on later runs. The label was a little hesitant because they’re expensive to produce and they wanted to see how sales went.

Were there any covers that were rejected at all?

No. There is nothing on the cutting room floor. He was adamant about getting as much direction as possible. We’ve worked with artists who don’t want any direction; for example, Mariusz (Lewandowski) wanted a bit more freedom on the last record to do his thing. Paolo wanted specifics; he doesn’t do drafts. He knocked it out of the park.

Tell me more about the pseudonyms for the members…I guess that is just a bit of fun for you guys?

Yeah…we had really long ones at the start. We liked to mess with journalists! It’s kind of come back round and bit us in the ass as people don’t know what to call us! But it’s all rock and roll.

The last year has been pretty awful. What kind of albums have you been listening to? Lots of people find comfort and solace in music.

To be honest…the last year was really bad in terms of me discovering new bands. I seem to have just headed back to the older stuff. I think that’s the comfort that you mentioned, and going back to the older stuff gives me that. ZZ Top, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden…the classics…and revisiting stuff that I haven’t listened to in a while.

The feeling of revisiting an old record is great. Like greeting an old friend.

Definitely…it just comes rushing back.

So just how much are you looking forward to getting back out on the road?

Well, you mentioned the Manchester show and how much it blew you away…you guys blew us away. It was one of the most memorable shows we’ve ever played. It was our first time in the UK; we had done London and Newcastle, but the response in Manchester was amazing, so thank you for that! We can’t wait.

Manchester has a great metal community. They always support a bill when bands roll through.

Do you have tours planned or anything lined up?

The US is probably going to be first in line for us, it just depends when it’s allowed in different countries. We don’t have anything planned at all overseas.

You could spend all your time touring America!

You could.

Do you feel that coming out of lockdown, and with shows gradually being put on, it benefits smaller bands in a way…because crowds would be smaller?

When you see shows happening in the States now its bars and small venues. They’re having limited capacity and stuff. I think it will be tougher for bigger bands to get everything together as it is far more complex.

How helpful have you found Bandcamp throughout lockdown? They have helped artists a lot with their Bandcamp Friday’s.

Bandcamp has been a foundational thing for us since the beginning. We sold our demo tapes on Bandcamp and stuff. It brought publicity to that site and raised the profile of supporting artists directly. We benefitted from that in the beginning of the pandemic. There has never really been anything like it in terms of being able to get things out. Bandcamp take their cut, but it’s been a vital platform for many bands.

Is it better, financially, going through Bandcamp compared to streaming services?

In a direct sense, probably; it’s a little bit of a double edged sword as Apple and Spotify help you get your music shared around the world but you don’t get much money from it. It’s more for the exposure and publicity.

Many thanks to Bewitcher for their time in talking to us. You can read our review of the quite brilliant Cursed By Thy Kingdom here.

Check out the bands’ latest video to Electric Phantoms and immerse yourself in ‘music at the speed of Satan.’

Bewitcher: Website / Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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