About Me

Interview with King Witch

The King Witch released a real masterpiece. The new album, speaks about Beira, queen of winter and mother of all gods and goddesses. This record was released on April 24th, through Listenable Records. If you like Scotland, its mythology and Celtic culture, this album is for you. Hear it !!! 

M.I. -  Hello. Thanks for doing this with us and hope you are safe. Do tell us a bit of the band’s history and yourself.

Laura: Hi! How you doing and thanks for taking the time to chat with us. I’m Laura and I’m the lead vocalist for King Witch. 
Jamie and I had been in a straighter up traditional metal band, called Firebrand Super Rock for around 10 years before King Witch was born. We had decided to stop for the day, as we felt we had taken the band as far as it was going to go. We started jamming with a couple of mates (Simon and Tam) and very quickly came up with three tracks and recorded them. We intended on just using them as demo material but they got such an amazing response, we self-released our EP late 2015, which was called “Shoulders Of Giants”. Tam left the band to pursue other avenues, so Lyle joined us on Drums and we pretty much immediately started the recording process of our 1st album: “Under the Mountain”. French label Listenable Records picked us up and “Under the Mountain” was released worldwide early 2018. Simon left the band shortly after to start a family and Rory joined on bass and we have been a solid team since.

M.I. -  “Body Of Light” was released on the 24th April, this year and this shows, once again, you were influenced by Trouble, Candlemass, Sabbath, Purple and Rainbow. What songs influenced you, while composing the lyrics and music? Have you discovered other bands that you like, that might “help” you in the future?

Laura: I don’t think we ever purposely set out to sound like any other band. I grew up with bands like Zeppelin, Sabbath, Hendix, Purple and Janis Joplin and I think they have definitely influenced me in different ways, but I would never try and emulate someone. I think that although King Witch may pay homage to the greats, we still have our own unique sound.

Jamie: I guess there are some songs that maybe have a specific influence - like “Return To Dust” was influenced by Ennio Morricone’s Western soundtracks, and then I guess a song like “Witches Mark” has a bit of a Motorhead vibe! Overall, I think it is hard to pinpoint influences, we just write the songs in a way that feels natural. I think as well as classic 70s bands, the 90s bands that I grew up listening to have an influence as well, bands like Soundgarden, Kyuss and Alice In Chains.

M.I. -  I dare say this work is beautiful and marvelous. Yet it would not be possible without the help of Kevin Hare and Jamie Gilchrist (producers) and Tom Dring who mastered this masterpiece. Tell us more about the work between both parts.

Laura: Jamie and Kevin did a fantastic job on the album. Jamie has always had a very clear idea on how he wanted the album to sound and I think they managed to achieve this wonderfully.

Jamie: I produced the first album (“Under The Mountain”) myself, so it was great to be able to work with Kevin on this one, it definitely took a bit of the pressure off! His studio is a great place to record as well, a great sounding room in a peaceful location. 

M.I. -  You have two new band members: drummer Lyle Brown and bassist Joe Turner. Did they bring a breath of fresh air to the band? How was it working with them?

Laura: As I mentioned earlier, Lyle joined the band just before we were going to start recording “Under the Mountain”. He worked hard to learn all the parts very quickly and he did a great job on getting them nailed. He is a fantastic drummer and one of the loudest hard-hitting drummers I’ve ever met. Rory joined the band just before we were set to go on tour in Europe. Again, he learned all his parts and brought his own flare to the table and we went on to play some cool shows. He’s a really talented bass player and both him and Lyle work well together. It has been awesome having a solid line up and I think this show in “Body of Light”.

M.I. -  This album has a wider range, with power vocal lines and amazing riffs. How difficult was it recording the tracks in a Doom way? How did you prepare yourselves?

Laura: I don’t think we try to sound “doomy”. I think our music just has darker overtones. Vocally I tried to be a bit more dynamic. I’m not a trained singer so I’ve always just sang full force on everything. For this album I wanted to try to have a bit more light and shade in my voice to help complement the music and to try to have a bit more soul/feeling in the execution. I’m really happy with the outcome.

Jamie: I think we just spent as much time as we could preparing the songs and planning how we wanted to record. We recorded some demos a few months before we went into the studio, so that helped focus us on what we wanted to achieve. When we started recording we already had a good idea of what we wanted and how we were going to get that sound.

M.I. -  This album has a huge influence of Celtic mythology and folklore and coming from a country that has a wide variety of culture this worked very well. Could you tell us which important episode from History influenced you the most?

Laura: I don’t think we were inspired by any one moment in time but I definitely think that where you live and come from will have an influence on you musically. Scotland is a beautiful place steeped in tales of war, magic, folklore, sadness, happiness and pride - It’s hard not to be inspired.

M.I. -  “Of Rock And Stone” was released on the 17th March. The main influence here is Beira, queen of winter and mother of all the gods and goddesses. Tell us more about this powerful character.

Laura: Beira is actually a more modern name given to the Cailleach Bheur, the personification of winter and the mother of all the gods and goddesses in Scottish mythology. She is associated with the Celtic creation myths. She built Scotland with her bare hands. She has been portrayed as a one-eyed giant with white hair, dark blue skin, and rust-colored teeth. She built the mountains of Scotland using a magic hammer, and Ben Nevis was her "mountain throne". When we were jamming “Of Rock and Stone”, and I was writing the lyrics, I knew it had to be about something powerful as the song felt so epic. I thought she was a very fitting choice and It was nice to incorporate a little bit of Scotland into the album.

M.I. -  Ryan Jon Amey Henderson and Laura Donnelly prepared the video. What ideas did you have for it?

Laura: Ryan is a fantastic filmmaker. He created the video for “Beneath the Waves” from our first album, “Under the Mountain”. For this one, he helped shoot the band footage as he was getting ready to move to the States and had limited time. We wanted the video to have elements of Beira in it, since that was what it was about and we came up with a basic idea. Ryan passed over the band footage to me and I added all the weird bits and pulled it together. It was fun to do. 

Jamie: I think the video came out really well, the band footage looked great, and the edits and psychedelic effects Laura put on look great.

M.I. -  Have you decided which single will be next and could you tell us more details about it?

Jamie: Well, we haven’t decided 100%, but we might do a video for “Return to Dust”, obviously because of lockdown and Covid19 we have limited options, but Laura and myself live in the country and we could probably film something quite cool out here.

M.I. -  “Call of the Hunter” is brilliant… The voice and the guitars are amazing. Who is the Hunter in this song? What is the meaning of the song?

Laura: It isn’t really about anyone or anything as such. I actually woke up after a few drinks one night and the lyrics sort of came to me. I imagined a lone woman walking into a great dark forest and within the forest there was presence. I suppose it could be about the loss of innocence, giving in to temptation and exploring your desires before you eventually age and wither.

M.I. -  Laura Donnelly has delivered an amazing artwork once again. Was it difficult to create this artwork?

Laura: Thanks so much! Many of the songs on “Body of Light” explore the unknown so images of space, magic, and the occult jumped to mind. The track Body of Light is VERY loosely based on Aleister Crowley’s book “Control of the Astral Body” so I thought an image based around Astral Projection would work really well as the cover art. I usually come up with ideas, then pass them to the boys to see what they think. Some ideas work - some don’t but the guys were happy with the concept so we took it from there. It was fun to create and I’m really happy with how it looks on the CDs and Vinyl.

Jamie: I think the artwork looks incredible, Laura did an amazing job. I think it’s important that the physical albums look great, and people who still go the extra mile to buy a record or CD get a really cool package.

M.I. -  What are the differences between “Under The Mountain” and this album? 

Laura: As I mentioned earlier, I tried to make my vocals a bit more dynamic in “Body of Light”. The music has a lot more light and shade and I tried to compliment that with my lyrics and singing. I also tried to have a bit more feeling and character in this album, which I think I achieved.

Jamie: I think apart from being able to record in a much better studio, the big difference was having a solid lineup all the way through the writing process. We were able to concentrate on the songs, rather than teaching new members the parts, which we had to do a bit on “Under The Mountain”, I think this album flows better and has a coherent feel throughout.

M.I. -  Do you already have songs prepared for the upcoming album?

Jamie: Well with the current lockdown, we have not been able to rehearse for a while, but I have had plenty of time to write riffs! There will be plenty of songs and ideas ready when we get back into the practice room!

M.I. -  Brexit has divided many people. You, being Scottish, what are your thoughts, as a band and person? Do you think this will affect the music industry? What restrictions will you have to face?

Laura: Brexit makes me pretty pissed off. The vast majority of Scotland voted to stay in the EU but the Scottish vote means piss all when it comes to UK politics as a whole due to our population. For that reason, I think an independent Scotland is the only way forward for us. The Westminster Tory government are only interested in themselves and unfortunately, the arts don’t come into it. I think it’ll make life really difficult for bands coming in and out of the UK and especially hard for smaller bands starting out and trying to make a name for themselves.

Jamie: Yeah, Brexit is bullshit. It was created by a bunch of liars and cheats. There is very little support for Brexit in Scotland. Hopefully we can become independent at some point in our lifetime.

M.I. -  Any final thoughts about this album or anything you would like to share with our readers?

Laura: It may be awhile before we can actually tour the album due to the pandemic but the album is available digitally and physically, so if you have a spare moment, dig out your battle jacket, grab a beer and go have a listen. Be sure to play it LOUD! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us.

Jamie: Glad you like the album - thanks for talking to us!

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Raquel Miranda