Interview with Matt of BEWITCHER

Interview with Matt of BEWITCHER

- in Written interviews

Courtney Brook @Light_Witch

Hi! Reflecting on your journey from the early demo tapes to the upcoming release of “Deep Cuts & Shallow Graves,” how has your sound evolved, and what key elements have remained consistent in your music over the years?
We’ve always had the same set of influences that we draw from. A little first wave black metal/speed, a little NWOBHM, some 70’s / 80’s hard rock, and a bit of punk. The only evolution involved is the amount of each of those elements that gets used in any given song or record. So in a way, it’s how we’ve evolved and remained consistent at the same time.

This compilation album includes rare and unreleased material. Can you share any interesting anecdotes or stories behind some of these tracks that fans might not be aware of?
The main thing I (barely) remember is just being drunk the whole time haha. We would be up until 5 or 6 in the morning sometimes, drinking beers and recording those demos. We always recorded vocals on a full moon in our practice space and by the end of the sessions we’d be pretty shitfaced, which I think actually contributed a lot to the spontaneity and maniacal nature of that early stuff.

With a decade of experience, how do you approach the remastering process for your older recordings? Are there specific challenges you faced in preserving the raw energy while enhancing the quality?
Not really. We just hired a really good mastering engineer who understood what we were going for. Shoutout to Brad Boatright, he did a great job.

“Black Magick Metal” is a unique genre you’ve coined. How do you define this genre, and how has it allowed you to explore musical boundaries that traditional metal genres might not offer?
Taglines don’t allow you to explore musical boundaries. You explore them and let the description be what you want it to be. Black Magick Metal is Bewitcher, period. Whatever we do is what that is. It’s as simple as that.

Being known as one of the hardest working touring acts, how has the experience of touring shaped your music and your approach to connecting with your audience?
It’s meant everything. Playing that many shows makes you a better player, which in turn helps you make better music, which brings you closer to an audience, which puts you back on the road for a longer time. And so the cycle continues…

The compilation album not only showcases your music but also marks a milestone in your career. Looking back, what are some of the most memorable moments or achievements that stand out to you from the past ten years?
We’ve had the opportunity to make some well-received records that were released on legit, respectable labels and tour with so many bands that we have looked up to for years and in some cases, since we were kids. It’s hard for me to think of anything that can top that.

The album title, “Deep Cuts & Shallow Graves,” suggests a mix of hidden gems and well-known tracks. How did you curate the selection for this compilation, and what criteria did you consider while choosing the tracks to include?
It all started off as an attempt to reissue our “Grand Rites of the Wicked” compilation tape from 2015, which we’ve talked about doing before. It had all three of our original demo tape recordings plus a couple of bonus tracks. But as time went on, we accrued quite a few more songs that just never really got out there. Plus we had stuff from that early era that never saw the light of day to begin with for various reasons. So we took what we thought was all the best stuff and it became “Deep Cuts and Shallow Graves”.

The album includes two new studio tracks. Can you provide some insights into the creative process behind these new songs? How do they fit into the overarching narrative of the compilation album?
They were the first two songs I started writing as part of the material for our upcoming 4th album. Once the idea of doing the comp came back around, we wanted to get some fresh material on there as well. They were both pretty aggressive tracks that fit in well with the older material. But I also feel there’s a bit more sophistication in the songwriting that you don’t necessarily hear on the old stuff. So you get that “then & now” dynamic, which is cool for a retrospective piece such as this.

How important is visual representation to your music, and how does it complement the sonic experience you create?
We’ve always put major emphasis into artwork and aesthetics, because it enhances the total experience. It helps you paint a picture in your mind about what you’re hearing. A great album with dogshit artwork is still a great album, but it’s even better when the visuals are kick ass, too.

With the rise of streaming platforms, the way people consume music has changed. How do you think this shift has influenced the way you approach creating albums and the overall listening experience you want to offer your fans?
It hasn’t at all. We make music one way and that’s it. Technology and changing trends in the industry is all about marketing, but that doesn’t influence how we create albums.

Your music often delves into themes of the occult and mysticism. How do these themes influence your songwriting, and what kind of atmosphere or emotions do you aim to evoke in your listeners through these lyrical themes?
That’s hard to say, because I really don’t think about it that much. All I know is that if it makes the hairs on my arm stand on end, we’re probably onto something. That type of energy is contagious, so you tend to know when it’s working.

How has your relationship as bandmates evolved over the years, and how do you navigate creative differences to maintain a cohesive sound?
At this stage in the game, everybody recognizes each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we all know how to stay out of each other’s way. When everyone stays in their lane and focuses on what they’re good at, that’s when maximum cohesion can be achieved.

The compilation album celebrates your earliest days as a band. Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger selves, knowing what you know now about the music industry and the creative process?
Advice? Get a real job!

As you embark on this new chapter with “Deep Cuts & Shallow Graves,” what do you hope your fans take away from this compilation album, and what can they expect from Bewitcher in the coming years? Thank you for your time!
I think this release will be a good introduction for newer fans who aren’t as familiar with the older stuff yet. For long-time fans, it’s an opportunity to get a hold of some obscure gems that haven’t been available in a long time. Hopefully it will tide everyone over until our next full-length album, and then we’ll hit the road for the next two years haha. CHEERS!

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