May 06, 2014

The Wytches

The Wytches had some free time before their show in Aberdeen and were able to talk to us about touring, how they got into music and their plans for the rest of the year.

The Wytches are definitely very busy guys. They were just back from touring with Blood Red Shoes, shooting a video the day before, and had just driven up to Aberdeen from Brighton to start a new tour with Pulled Apart By Horses. Luckily they had some free time before their show in Aberdeen and were able to talk to us about touring, how they got into music and their plans for the rest of the year.

The Wytches are a three-piece surf-psych/garage band from Brighton who recently released an EP called Gravedweller, which you can download for free and get on cassette at any of their shows. They've also been signed to Heavenly Recordings and have a debut album on the way in the next couple of months.

When we arrived at the venue, The Wytches played one or two songs for sound check, which actually went on for quite a while. As soon as they had finished, we all sat down near the stage that they'd be performing on later.

Photos of The Wytches performing at The Tunnels, in Aberdeen, Scotland by Mollie Ruck.
View the full gallery here.

How did you guys meet each other?
Kristian Bell: We met in university, like two-three years ago. Gianni got into university and I applied for it as well just because he got in and then we met Dan at university.
Dan Rumsey: You came to start the band.
Gianni Honey: Yeah, me and him moved together, then we met Dan and started gigging. That was that really. Never looked back.
KB: We moved with the intention of starting a band. It wasn't just like a thing.
GH: We'd been in bands before, for years. Like 10 years each I guess nearly -- maybe a little less for Kristian. Me and Dan are pretty old.
KB: You're not old!
GH: I'm fucking old. I feel old.
KB: You're old (looking at Dan).
GH: He's old. You look the youngest though, I think. Who do you think looks the youngest?
Probably Kristian.
KB: Well, yeah.
GH: Yeah, well. How much is he paying you? I'll double it.

"Everybody had fucking arguments -- if you spent months together in like small spaces, people are gonna argue, aren't they?"

So, you guys have been quite busy touring. How is it going?
DR: I think it's gone pretty fast -- I mean it obviously hasn't, but it feels like it has. I was thinking back to when we still had three tours to do, I was thinking back to this one thinking 'aw, that's miles away but we're already here'.
GH: Ah, ups and downs, like everybody had fucking arguments -- if you spent months together in like small spaces, people are gonna argue, aren't they?
KB: We didn't really argue though. We always argue, but on this last tour we didn't really argue.

How was the US? Was that your first time there as a band?
DR: Yeah, first time playing.
GH: First time for any of us really, playing in bands.
KB: You'd been there before, hadn't you, Dan?
DR: Yeah.
GH: Dan went there on his honeymoon.
DR: It was good playing there though. I don't think we experienced it properly because it was just one festival. But we're going back in July for a proper tour.
GH: We're there for like a month. 22 shows or something. Should be good.
KB: Yeah. With Metz and Cloud Nothings. They're two of our favourites as well.
GH: I like Cloud Nothings, they're wicked. I like Metz, as well.
KB: Yeah. I like Metz and Cloud Nothings.
GH: Dan?
DR: I hate Metz. No, no, I love them (laughs).

Is there any news on the new album?
KB: Yeah, it's coming out in August. On Heavenly. It was going to be out a lot earlier, but something to do with the World Cup or something.
GH: Shit happens.
DR: It just kept getting pushed back.
KB: That's what our manager told us is that it couldn't go through because --
GH: Because England were playing against Paraguay. I don't think Paraguay even exists as a country anymore. Does it?
KB: Course it does.
Tim Hampson (The Wytches tour manager): Course it fucking does!
KB: Do you know they're making Peterborough a country now?
GH: Really? Oh god. Have you seen that Family Guy episode where he makes his own country? Petoria? It's really funny.
KB: Yeah, but the album, we recorded in October, so by the time its out it'll be just under a year.
GH: We'll all be dead.

"When you really like, like, grunge music and things like that, I think what the music that's going on now you're quite spoilt for choice, they're plenty of those bands now."

What were your main influences for it?
KB: We didn't particularly want it to sound like any other album in it's production quality or anything like that. Other than maybe like The Doors. I wanted it to have that flat sound of The Doors. But I don't know. There's a lot of like soft songs on it, so they're kind of like Elliot Smith inspired or something. A lot of the guitar playing is -- do you know The Birthday Party? You know Nick Cave? It was his first band and their guitar player Rowland S. Howard -- he has his solo stuff. I'm really into his kind of playing. Like the tremolo guitar and spy movie sounding stuff. So I guess it's like that, it sounds a bit like that.
DR: Yeah.
KB: You played bass on it, didn't you, Dan?
DR: I played bass on it.
GH: I played drums.
KB: Did you?
GH: Yeah, yeah, I did.
DR: I played a bit of tambourine on it as well. What was that fork? You did the fork thing.
KB: Oh, no, the spoons. You know when you play the spoons? We did that on it as well.
GH: We got really fucking hammered a couple of nights when we were recording, when we really shouldn't have. Like really fucking hammered.
KB: Yeah, we did a b-side on the last day and then we just deleted it -- well we just threw away the tape for it because...
GH: It was so bad.
KB: Well, we didn't actually throw away, but we never want to see it.
GH: After all my drumming today, I felt really bad. Because the studio we were in was quite small. When I get bored I'm a really bad person to be around because I'm really annoying.
DR: You just stop showing up.
GH: Yeah, I just stop showing up, I just stay at my mate's house.
KB: I was there from… What times did we do?
GH: We did 10 to like whenever, didn't we?
DR: Well, no, it was until like 7 in the end, wasn't it? Because Bill just --
GH: Everyday, and then he mixed it and then he mastered it, so Kris is the brainchild.
KB: Yeah, and Bill Ryder Jones co-produced it with us as well.
GH: He's a dickhead (laughter). You can put that in your magazine. Nah, he's not. But he is a bit... Nah, he's a good guy. He's funny.
KB: We're big old fans of The Coral, so we wanted to... You snapchatted him the other day, didn't you, Gianni?

Can you tell us more about the clothing company Hood Bats?
KB: Oh, yeah. It's my best friend. My whole life he's been my best buddy. From a little village called Yaxley.
GH: Called Paddington Bear.
KB: And one day he decided to start drawing these creepy things. Then he just put it onto t-shirts and gives me it all for free, so I just wear it. Mark [Christopher Breed] who runs it, he played in the The Wytches for a while as well.
GH: If you go online and search Witches with an i "Out of the Clouds", that was one of the first songs we all put together. He played bass, that was before we met Dan.

The EP?
GH: No, it was just a song on YouTube. It's just a live recording.
KB: He did play on that EP though, that first one we did.
DR: What songs did he play on?
KB: He played the guitar. Well, you know your bass line? He did that but on guitar. And he did that really long one.
GH: It's good vibes, creatively, Mark's got.
KB: Yeah, he's really good.
GH: He does some of the music videos as well.
KB: Yeah, he's done all of our music videos. Yeah, he's just a cool dude. He inspires me. I saw him yesterday.

The Wytches Mixtape
Artwork by Daniel Rumsey

What are some new bands you would recommend to Innerspeaker readers?
KB: Slipknot (laughter). I'm actually being 100% serious.
GH: This band called Claw Marks. Yeah, Claw Mark's good.
KB: They are so good.
GH: Forrest from Bristol. With two r's. Ultravox, but they're too new. Kill Moon.
KB: Yeah, and they're like Dinosaur Jr. Yeah, Claw Marks, they have this EP out, and it's really, really good. It's the first thing they've put out, but it's just incredible.
GH: Dying Fetus.
DR: Is that a real band?
GH: It's a grind-core band.
DR: Razor Eater as well.
GH: Spit Shake Sisters. Royal Blood. Oh, Fat White Family obviously. They killed it in America, they were really good. Traams as well. Two a's.
KB: When you really like, like, grunge music and things like that, I think what the music that's going on now you're quite spoilt for choice, they're plenty of those bands now. They're really good, Traams are sick.

What kind of drew you to music in the first place? Did you have one of those moments when you were like a teenager?
DR: Yeah.
KB: Yeah.
GH: I didn't, it was very personal (Gianni looks down).
KB: Can you put that he looked down when he said that? (Laughter)
GH: My old man died and I just needed something to get my mind off things, so I bought a drum kit and it probably saved my life. Not saved my life, but it stopped me from becoming a cunt.
DR: I think when I first heard punk music I just thought it was better than anything else. So I just wanted to play that music, so I just got a really shit guitar.
KB: My uncle plays a lot of classical instruments, like jazz guitar and everything like that. He bought me a drum kit, so I just started playing that. But when I heard Nirvana for the first time, I lost my shit. I didn't even consider it music, I just thought it was this whole big revolution thing, which had already happened, so I was a bit late for it. But that's why I like what's going on now, with everyone doing grunge bands and that 'cause like when I was listening to grunge, you weren't cool or anything, but now if you listen to grunge, then you're cool. Not that being cool matters anyway. But you know it's nice to be around people who are interested in the same thing.

"I haven't had a birthday for the past two years because we were playing shows."

So are all of you pretty much self-taught?
DR: Yeah.
KB: Yeah.
GH: Not really.
DR: Well, you've had a few drum lessons. I had a few drum lessons.
GH: I had lessons for like a year, and then I was moving, so. Well, I went to music college for about a year, but I never went in. That's when we started the band.
KB: I left uni because we were gonna tour and I missed a load of assignments and exams and things.
GH: They wouldn't toss off his exams. Weren't we getting to Paris, or something, I think?
KB: Yeah. We did a few shows in England and then one in Paris. I couldn't make my exams because of that.
GH: There's been a lot of sacrifices for The Wytches, like we didn't go to Dan's stag do. We had to get a stand in when we played a show with Iceage. Which turned out to be really shit, but hey.
KB: They're really good though, Iceage are really good.
GH: I haven't had a birthday for the past two years because we were playing shows. I'm not even kidding! Didn't see family and stuff, but hey, that's the way it goes. These are my family now (he put his arms around Kristian and Dan).
KB: Get off me.
DR: Don't touch me!

Finally what's next for The Wytches in the rest of 2014?
DR: After this tour, we... It's America isn't it? We got a few weeks off then we're going to America.
GH: We're doing like Field Day and shit first. We've got like a month off, which is rare. And then we go to America and then the album comes out I guess, then more touring. Just same old really. Same old, same old.

We then go back inside and it's time for The Wytches to play their set. Judging from the peoples' reactions around me they picked up a couple new fans in Aberdeen. The Wytches are definitely a new band to look out for and we look forward to hearing more about them in the future.

Download the Gravedweller EP here. The Wytches are currently on tour around England with Pulled Apart By Horses. They have a special date in London opening for Bo Ningen, and in July they’ll be in the US with Cloud Nothings and METZ. Be sure to catch them around. Find tour dates here.

Photos: Mollie Ruck

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