January 27, 2015

SeaWitches

"Dark dirty pop tones collide with sublime haunting melodies" is how Liverpool quartet SeaWitches describe themselves, and that's a perfect description of how they sound.




They've recently released the beautiful 80s-esque single "Stars". I asked them about their origins musically, Liverpool and its music scene, and their future plans.



So, what are SeaWitches' main influences on their music, particularly on your new single "Stars"? And how did the name 'SeaWitches' come about?
Every member of the band are really into a lot of different music but I’d say some of the biggest influences on us have been Joy Division, The Fall and The Velvet Underground, they were particular influences for "Stars".  But our sound and influences have been much evolving lately. The producer for "Stars" really loves The Cure which I think you can hear. When we write songs though we don’t think about who we’d like to sound like, but I guess the music you love stays with you and comes out.

And how did the name 'SeaWitches' come about?
It’s hard to explain where our name came from, when we first started playing we had a kind of dark-folk sound and briefly called ourselves The Woods, we sounded like the soundtrack to the Wicker Man.  But then we wrote a few songs inspired by sea-shanties and wanted a name that captured the sea and the woods, and came up with SeaWitches.  We also love the Hans Christian Andersen story of the Little Mermaid, it’s very dark and beautiful, although the seawitch in that story is not someone we feel an affinity with!  We wanted to change the idea of what a seawitch could be.

So, would you think of doing stuff similar to The Woods in SeaWitches? 
We actually still play quite a few songs that came out of The Woods days, some have been fully formed songs since then and some have been reworked and evolved into something totally different.  Often these songs will just lie dormant for ages and then when the moment’s right they find a way out and are given a whole new lease of life. Because it took us a while to start gigging in our early days, literally all we did was play and write so we have an extensive back catalogue of material to plunge into, which is actually really nice as I don’t think we could write now like we did in those days, we had a quite charming naivety back then which we don’t have anymore. "Stars" is a perfect example of that.  But as much as it’s nice to have that back catalogue the music we’re making now is definitely much more exciting for us and we’re really focusing on the future than looking to what we did in the past.

You all hail from Liverpool and play regularly, at festivals like Sound City. Would you say the music scene in Liverpool is growing? 
Liverpool has always had an amazing music scene; I guess it’s just when the media casts its attention it might seem to have grown but Music is at the heart of Liverpool. I’d like to think it was growing but I think it’s becoming increasing hard to make music organically and to keep great Music venues alive. I know we’re all still mourning the loss of a great venue called Mello Mello that fought a hard battle to say open but eventually the building had to be sold. Also four of our practice spaces have been sold and turned into student flats so it can be a struggle, but the passions are high for music here and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. 

Which upcoming acts from the Liverpool scene would you say are ones to watch? 
We’re big fans of Tear Talk, also The Probes and The Floormen are really cool.  A big inspiration for us is Esa Shields, we were fortunate enough to have him play with us for a while and so we know first hand what incredible musician he is.  He’s just released an album called Ovum Caper which is brilliant and we really hope it does well.

Where is the best venue you've played in Liverpool and since SeaWitches formed?
The Kazimier is probably the best live music venue in the city and we’ve been lucky to play there a fair bit.  One of our favourites was the recently deceased  Mello Mello, it was like our second home.  We did more gigs there than anywhere else and we rehearsed there and recorded our first EP there.  It’s closure has left a huge void for us, we miss it very much.  We’re really looking forward to playing at District in March, it’ll be our first time there and we’re playing Alan McGee’s Creation Session, which is really exciting.  We can’t wait!

You also played at the Green Party conference. What was that like?
It was great to play The Green Party Conference, we would do it again, we played in a beautiful room with a great sound in The Adelphi Hotel. Unfortunately the free bar was in a different room so our audience could have been bigger but apparently they were still enjoying the Music. 

Having a female front-woman, what would your advice be to fellow girls and women wanting to start a band?
I think my advice would be to be confident and persevere. The only problems we have ever had really stemmed from us not being confident enough with what we were doing; fortunately after playing for a while we don’t have that problem any more. I don’t have any regrets but in retrospect we should have been more confident earlier. So don’t be intimidated, be confident, be yourself and keep doing it, all the clichés really but they’re true.

Finally, what do SeaWitches have planned for the future? 
We’re hoping to record our debut album this year and to play more gigs both in the UK and internationally. We are ready. 

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