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Akercocke - Renaissance in Extremis


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Witherfall have just re-released, worldwide, their debut album “Nocturnes and Requiems”. Still haven’t listened to it and don’t know much about the band? Here’s all you need to know, first hand, by band members, Jake Dreyer and Joseph Michael:


M.I.: Hello, guys! First of all, thank you for your time. I really want our readers to get to know Witherfall, so, even though you guys have been around since October/2013, I’d like to ask you, precisely: who are Witherfall?

Jake- Thank you for the interview! Witherfall is a progressive metal band from Los Angeles – California. It's myself on guitars and Joseph Michael on vocals and keyboards. Adam Sagan performed the drums/Percussion on our latest record “Nocturnes and Requiems”. Tragically he lost a battle with cancer late last year.  As far as who I am…? I don't even know the answer to that. 
Joseph- We are legion. No, really, we are a dark melodic metal band. We live and breathe music.


M.I.:  How do the fans react to this new project, since you guys are already known for playing in prominent bands? We all know Metal fans are very loyal to the bands they love, so that’s why I have to ask if you find that it is hard for Witherfall to arise (maybe because the fans see you guys as some sort of “competition” against your other projects) or if you feel like they cherish Witherfall exactly because most of the fans are already fans of your other projects?

 Joseph- Well, to be fair, most of the fans that like Witherfall hate the last band that Jake and I were in together...lol But yes, we have kept a ton of fans from past projects because we do not do anything that is unathentic!


M.I.: What are the main influences of this new project, which are the artists/bands that inspire you and contribute the most for the music you make as Witherfall?

 Jake- Our influences are all over the place, I actually don't listen to a lot of metal. I am more into bands from the 70’s, like Queen and Pink Floyd. For metal, off the top of my head, King Diamond, Nevermore, Death, Dream Theater, Type O Negative. Guitar wise, Yngwie J Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia. I also listen to a lot of the different eras of classical composers: Chopin, Mozart, Liszt, etc. 
Joseph- Mozart, wine, the curve of a woman’s thigh... I mean, Type O Negative, Nevermore, King Diamond and Savatage as far as metal goes.


M.I.: Tell us all about your debut album, “Nocturnes And Requiems”, which will be re-released – but now worldwide – this October.

 Jake - “Nocturnes and Requiems” is the record Joseph, our late drummer Adam and I wanted to write and make. It was our idea of a no boundaries metal band. Using Led Zeppelin as a model... We wanted contrasting sections, whether it's complex passages into very basic interludes, an array of emotions. 
Joseph- “Nocturnes and Requiems” is our debut album. I think the album stands completely on its own, unlike so many modern releases, where, if you’re not a fan of the band, then you won't like it.


M.I.: On a more delicate matter, what is the meaning of this title and how does it relate to your drummer, Adam Sagan, who, very sadly, passed away last December, the 7th, during the final stage of production?

Jake- Ironically, Adam actually named the record, nine months before he found out about his cancer. Honestly, it's just a very eerie coincidence. Perhaps, Adam saw the reaper behind me when we were at that Thai restaurant, having a meeting about the artwork and layout of the record and he just knew. 
Joseph- This was Adams' last recording. His Swan Song. The next record, we really delve deep into what it was like losing him... That will be his real tribute.


M.I.:  How did you manage to be on the road, promote Witherfall and still be able to record a full-length album? How did you combine all of these tasks?

 Jake- It was a lot of anxious, filled sleepless nights, filled with scheduling nightmares. It even killed one member of the band. Honestly, not getting what we wanted was not an option, so we did whatever we had to do. 
Joseph- I was back in my studio working while we were waiting on mixes. Let's just say, we had to fire more than a few people during the making of this record.


M.I.: “Nocturnes And Requiems” has eight tracks: why did you choose “End of Time” as the promotional single?

 Jake- “End of Time” was a good gateway track into Witherfall, it has hints of what we are all about. Soft passages, a catchy chorus, acoustic and electric guitar solos. It has a pretty common song structure compared to a song like “Sacrifice”.
Joseph- “End of Time” is the most memorable upon first listen. Plus, like Jake said, it goes in a bunch of places that are Witherfall turf.


M.I.: Who/which bands would you guys like to go on tour with and why?

Jake- Top 3: King Diamond, Dream Theater, Metallica. King Diamond, so I can hear/see King Diamond and Andy La Rouqe live every night. Preferably tracks from Them, The Eye or Conspiracy.  Dream Theater, because we have similarities, sound wise; good songs backed up by very interesting musical passages.  Metallica, because every band that opens for Metallica becomes successful.
Joseph- King Diamond, because it would never be boring watching their set. Savatage, because I want Zachary Stevens to reunite with them. Avenged Sevenfold, because I think the younger audiences will appreciate our brevity.


M.I.:  Last but not least: now that you have signed with Century Media, what are your main plans for the future – short and long-term –?

Jake- Getting our live show prepared for touring. We don't like to settle for anything so we have been doing some intense rehearsals to pull the album off and deliver a good show. Joseph and I have already begun writing the follow up to “Nocturnes”. Half the record has the working title of “The Sagan Suite” and as one can imagine it doesn't have a very joyous tone.   
Joseph- Jake and I have to finish up the second record. We have been working diligently tying up loose business ends and getting ready to let Century Media take the reins a little bit.

For portuguese version, click here.

Interview by Evie