Interview: Matt from Witchclan

Posted: February 1, 2015 in Interviews
Tags: , , , ,

Hey Matt, thanks for finding time to talk with us here at the Killchain. First of all, what is the overriding message behind Witchclan and their music?

Hey Sandy. Thanks for having me. Okay so the main message behind Witchclan is basically to think for yourself and not to fall into the trap of following an organised religion. Religion is the root of all evil, a world without it would be a far better world. All the lyrics are really just anti-religion.

What’s your background in metal, either listening to or playing?

I got into the heavier side of music at a young age in 1987 when I discovered Guns n’ Roses. That was a life changer for me as a young lad, and it quickly led onto discovering Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden… I then got into Thrash, bands like Nuclear Assault and Metallica but it wasn’t until I bought Hell Awaits in 1989 that the whole game changed for me. From that point it was always about what I could find next that was heavier and faster. In 1991 I discovered Bolt Thrower and got really into death metal. That was my thing for quite some time until I came across Samael’s ‘Worship Him’ and Darkthrone’s ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’. Black metal felt so much colder and atmospheric, a totally different ball game to the more pollished death metal I’d been used to.

I joined Witchclan in 1993 on vocals and we released two demo tapes that year. There were a load of line up changes and lots happened over the next couple of years and the band split in 1995.

That same year I formed a Punk band called Meg doing vocals and guitar but the band split up the following year. I didn’t play in any other bands for the next 15 or so years until I reformed Witchclan in 2009 as a solo project. I released a demo tape in 2010 called ‘Descend Into Darkness’ and then another demo tape the following year which led onto the debut album ‘Misanthropist’ which was released through Darkness Shade Records here in the UK.

In 2012 I formed a new solo band called Deadman’s Blood which is more of a death metal band, in the style of the late 80’s and early 90’s Swedish scene. I released a demo CD called ‘Tales From The Darkside’. This CD got the attention of Kam Lee (Bone Gnawer, ex-Massacre etc) and he played both the bands regularly on his radio show. He ended up doing guest vocals along with Mike Browning (After Death, ex-Morbid Angel etc) on the 2012 CD release ‘Product of a Deranged Mind’.

Last year saw the release of the new Witchclan album ‘The Dark Binding’ which was released on Darkness Shade Records here in the UK and Elvester Records in the U.S That ‘s pretty much my musical history to date.

Which bands provide the main influences for Witchclan’s style? I sense some classic metal underneath the blackness.

Well you’d be right about the classic metal influence, but it’s not actually intentional. I listen to loads of different stuff, and subconsciously I suppose a lot of that rubs of on the style of writing. There’s a lot of galloping style riffs on both albums, which nod in the direction of traditional heavy metal and some early thrash.
I suppose the main bands that are an obvious influence on my writing style would be early Bathory, old Burzum, old Darkthrone and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult.

What are your main lyrical themes on ‘The Dark Binding’?

This time around I actually wrote a lot of lyrics heavily based on the Necronomicon. Although I wouldn’t consider it a concept album as such, it does kind of tell the story of a young female Occultist who goes deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole until she is ultmately consumed by the darkness and she goes insane. It’s an interesting story – she begins well but it goes down hill fast.

What are the best and worst parts of being a solo artist behind a project like Witchclan?

There are no worst parts. Being the only member means that I have full control over everything – even down to the art and logo design, the whole lot is my own creation. I can record when I want, I can practice when I want and there’s nobody to argue with. It’s a long process but the end result is worth it. I make the music I would want to listen to as well – so for me it’s the perfect set up.
I have two children, a wife and a full time job as well as a few other responsibilites so I have the fit the bands around my personal life, not the other way around.

Are there any future plans to make Witchclan more of a band capable of touring, or is it likely to remain a studio based project for the foreseeable future?

It will alwasy be a one man studio band. That will never change, for the reasons I mentioned a moment ago and also the fact that I don’t work well with other people. I’m a control freak and I have to have everything done my way. It’s my way or not at all. I’m selfish about the band, but it’s my creation so I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone.

How hard is it for a one man metal band to stand out in the modern underground scene? Have you experienced problems with being noticed and/or being respected?

Not really, if anything I think I’ve got more respect because of the fact that I do everything on the album – even the mixing and production. It’s a long hard process and I think people recognise and appreciate that.
As far as standing out goes – the metal scene of today is so saturated with bands everywhere that it’s always going to be hard not to miss something good. I dare say there are loads of good bands out there that I’ve never heard of, just like loads of people will never have heard about Witchclan or Deadman’s Blood.

When can we expect the next release from Witchclan, and what is it likely to be?

Well I think there’s going to be an exclusive song on a split release with a couple of other UK bands like Heaven Abhorred and Hex Morbidity – that will be out sometime this year. Then as far as a new album goes, I will be concentrating on something new from Deadman’s Blood this year and then Witchclan will come the following year. I try to do one band one year, and the other one the year after so that I keep everything consistant and relevant.

Finally, thanks for talking to us and do you have any recommendations for bands for us to check out here at the Killchain?

Thanks Sandy. I suppose that some of the newer bands worth checking out would be Heaven Abhorred, Hex Morbidity, Old Corpse Road and also a great Thrash band from Norway called Tonic Breed.
Thanks again for the interview. The Dark Binding is available now via http://www.witchclan.co.uk

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