INTERVIEW WITH ☩STELLA☩PERISH☩ // Women of Witch House

CONJVRE THE CIRCLE dedicates this article to all the female artists and musicians that have helped expand the Witch House genre over the years! Thank you!

Which House has separated itself from other music genres by one simple fact: the women are kicking ass all over the underground! Most lyrical content is written and performed by females, with singers, artists and song writers from all over the world contribute as headlining vixens such as Liz Sirin (King Plague), Amy Fireice (BΛNMΛSKIM), Nadia Giselle (morgve), Malice, aka Hurricane (†ENEBRÆ), Nastya (Ic3peak), Shannon Chiles (†rials), Ello (†LOΛΣΓS†) and Nancy Lutz  (∆AIMON), just to name a few. WH has definitely grown since its gloomy inception back in 2010, where vocals were often always distorted to the point of obscurity, and although some singers still choose to use filters and scream-style, clear vocals are making a comeback, bringing new and beautiful aspects to Witch House. 

Liz amy nadia mallice

natasha shannon ello real aiimon

One woman who has contributed to many different styles of WH exhibits a wide range of talents:

She’s 2wenty-4our, a spiritual warrior living in Brooklyn, and she loves Witch House!

STELLAPERISH

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Stella Perish is a guest vocalist who has collaborated with numerous artists such as EV OF ISIS, satanwave, DULC3, SEMICOLOŊ, pyramid†blast, volkanoS, †ě∆, and BΔLΞFIΓΞ. Stella grew up in Chula Vista, CA on the Tijuana/San Diego border. She is able to tap into various vocal pitches from lower altos to higher sopranos. She sang at her grandma’s church as a child and in her school choir as a teen. However, she didn’t begin focusing her talents until singing for her first band, Ghost Shores. Stella currently resides in Brooklyn with her fiancé, and has ambitions of studying film. She works many different jobs just to make it through the thick world of NYC; however, she dedicates much of her creative time to Witch House and other music scenes. I contacted Stella a couple of months ago after hearing her on “THORNS AND TEARS THAT GROW,” by SEMICOLOŊ. The song truly impressed me with its simplicity and clarity. Stella’s voice can be thought of as quite ghostly and intoxicating. CONJVRE THE CIRCLE is very proud to present the Wxtch of Brooklyn!

Thank you for being so patient with me, I know it took a while for me to get this interview rolling. Witches and Warlocks I give you, Stella Perish!

 

Selected Listening:

SEMICOLOŊ x ☩STELLA☩PERISH☩ /// THORNS AND TEARS THAT GROW

SOME EVIL // pyramid†blast ft. ☩STELLA☩PERISH☩

†ě∆ X ☩STELLA☩PERISH☩ – YØU

 

 

Jared: So, give us Stella Perish in three words?

Stella: I am God, I am sovereign, I am free; that’s part of a 12D Shield mantra. The name has three crosses in it for protection.

Jared: How did the name “Stella Perish” come to fruition?

Stella: My fiancé has a friend whose cat’s name is Stella. It’s a name I chose and liked because of its cosmic reference. “Perish” comes from the help of my extremely talented friend Violet Church, whose music has been circulating for a long time in the WH scene. At the end of 2015, she helped me with a very powerful Reiki healing session, and did some energetic realignment for me—especially in my heart. A death of my previous-self occurred; we expelled the part that was trapping me in a deep pain.  “Perish” is, in a way, the death of my old self; I put the bad to rest.

Jared: I’m glad it has a lot of meaning! How did you get into Witch House?

Stella: I think my interest stemmed from my love of electro. When I was 20 years old, I quit design school, and used all my grant money to get a warehouse space. From there, Cathedral X was born (myself, Jessica, Jeffrey and, later, co-composer Paul Remund).

2011-2012 was a special time for us. We worked normal jobs and threw all our money into living this lifestyle; we had no bathroom or shower, and we were making music by the train tracks in a metal & woodworking studio; we were sleeping in a place that probably wasn’t chemically safe for us, yet we were able to pump out a plethora of material and live performances. Each one was an interpretation of a different dream.

I went through a period of time where I wanted to renounce my post-punk identity, and delve into a more mystical field of music. My bandmate Josefin Hinders and I also began working long-distance on a lifelong project known as Ēv of Isis. From then on, I was hooked on the dark synths and the “fucked” attitude of the vocals.

Jared: What are your thoughts on the online WH community; is this a place where you get a strong sense of support?

Stella: A world for people to connect with the music-makers of their choice is a blessing and a curse in a way. It hurts to be away from the ones you love. I have traveled far to meet some of my SoundCloud friends in their home countries, and it’s literally forced me to give up everything. I use all of my money and possessions just to see who and what is on the other side.

The Internet is the only place I really feel support since leaving my hometown. I don’t think NY has a niche for WH, but maybe if the Hexx 9 crew wants to change that, we can work on it together. I find it sad that WH has such a negative stigma. I feel that everyone just assumes the people making it are fucked-up, crackheads with no future. They dismiss their talent because of Salem; that project is really talented and it’s their music that should be recognized, not their physical identity. But, if you combined all of the WH fans throughout the world, we could create our own country where we would have the music community of our dreams rather than have to live in a fake, digital world.

Jared: Personally, I have only experienced positivity with Witch House which, again, is why I feel it’s a little different for everyone. What does Witch House mean to you?

Stella: It means to me a cry for help.

Jared: Do you feel WH is primarily dominated by female vocals—why or why not—and how do you feel about this?

Stella: Lately, it may seem so.

However, I think the illusion of gender is soon to be diminished. A veil is soon to be lifted, and no one will be able to deny that we are all one. Right now, I think it’s hard to say if WH is dominated by just one, concrete thing. And I think WH is only one form of electronic music that has a lot of gateways to being other forms of sound.

Jared: Right on! Now, you’ve done a lot of guest vocals. Do artists reach out to you or vice versa; walk us through a normal collab…

Stella: Right now, I am really overwhelmed with how many songs I promised to do vocals for and haven’t been in the right state of mind to work on. My studio situation isn’t ideal right now because of construction going on outside my window. I tend to fall into waves of depression because it’s hard for me to take a break from doing music; music has been the only thing that has ever defined me in a way. I have dreams of becoming a director, but I’m really freaked out by school and institutionalism; It’s hard for me to commit to playing the game. I reach out to people online to ask if we can work together, and vice versa. Everyone’s so special. I get insecure a lot, but I realize I need to rise.

Jared: “Awake, arise or be forever fallen,” John Milton [Laughing]. Have you appeared on any live sets and, if not, would this be something you would like to do?

Stella: I have had about three shows so far since I moved to NY, but they were all kind of random, one-offs that didn’t lead to anything more. Something was wrong with the sound for two of the shows, and it was an uncomfortable struggle to make it through those sets; you just want it to be loud enough to feel something. I do have a show coming up on July 11th at Trans Pecos, thanks to Scorpion Warrior and BBY BANGZ. I’m hoping to make myself seem more available around here, but that takes time.

Jared: Does spirituality have a place in your life and music??

Stella: Hugely. I was raised Christian and was baptized at my family’s church when I was 12, but I think I’ve been just like every sinner: imperfect, going through life, and not knowing why but following my intuition. I was shaped by my parents’ religious upbringing, always using discernment in my choices in life (of course, I’ve faltered in my own ways from time to time, but who hasn’t). When I was 15, I rejected my religion, but I think that was just me being a punk. I respect people who subscribe to religion, it’s a personal choice. As I grow, I begin to see the transparency in labeling your religious affiliation, though. Never in my life have I felt so lost. But, I believe in good and evil, and my music helps me get out of this world of suffering and float somewhere higher—off the physical plane—where I’m free to interact and express without boundaries.

Jared: Do you have a favorite song that you have done guest vocals on?

Stella: “The Last Days of a Dying Breed,” by SEMICOLOŊ

Jared: What do you use to record vocals and what is the process for writing collaboration vocals?

Stella: Logic Pro, USB mic. I usually write lyrics after I’ve received the song; I keep the lyrics very simple.

Jared: Are there any vocalists out there in the WH scene that you look up to, who have inspired you?

Stella: ǝțâ ΛЮƂǪɃЬ (my favorite right now), Amy Fireice, Violet Church, IC3PEAK, CROSSPARTY.

Jared: Damn, I love ǝțâ ΛЮƂǪɃЬ! Is there any artist in particular you would like to work with? Why?

Stella: Me and HLFMSSED from Arizona have been working on something, and he’s  been pushing me to a new level . Nullse† from Atlanta have something in the works too. I also admire a lot of the stuff coming out of Siberia right now. My friends pyramid†blast and satanwave have stuff coming up as well; I hope they continue to be patient with me because their music is very meaningful to me. I hope to visit them someday if I get the chance to do some shows in Russia; it would be really great for me to meet my fiancé’s grandparents who live out there as well.

Jared: Who are some of your favorite bands, not necessarily WH?

Stella: Lena Platonos with her EP titled “Gallop;” huge inspiration. This song is personal to me: Λένα Πλάτωνος- Εμιγκρέδες της      

Ρουμανίας, and November Növelet.

Jared: What’s the next move for ☩STELLA☩PERISH☩:

Stella: Go to school or do music forever?!

 

I want to also add that Stella Perish just released an LP with Dulc3 Y Cru3l.

Thank you Stella for your wonderful words! 

 

CTC sends out their love to the amazing Amanda Peukert for her editorial expertise! 

 

INTERVIEW WITH OKKVLT KɅTT

 

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When discussing witch house, one artist belongs at the forefront with all the other major players: OKKVLT KɅTT. This prodigy began in 2012 by MiKe dA kAtt, in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. It was a solo project until September, 2015, when Emily Acid joined up to produce the split single Shiver Inside//Places. However, we gotta go back and take a brief look at some of MiKe’s seven solid digital releases, beginning with the first full length album )O( (Triple Goddess), September 2012, which set the groundwork for the cerebral machine KɅTT has become; noticeable tracks on )O(  are TRIPLE GODDESS” and “LOST”.

 

OKKVLT KɅTT has defiantly evolved from their debut release, albeit not without going through an onslaught of social barriers and self-realization. The second release by MiKe is uniquely entitled MMXII//ΞИDØF†HΞWØRLD (Dec. 2012); which builds upon notes presented in the “Triple Goddess” release – track “MMXII (Prophecy)” is a downright monster! Elixir arrives August 9, 2013, with a noticeable difference in the sound dynamic and vocal production, such as with “elixir” and “mask”. I have always been drawn to KɅTT because of their dualistic nature, mixing street-life grit with phrenic depth.

 

Homonym is one of KɅTT’s most solid releases, which came to the surface in November, 2014. Shine Brida, rap/witch artist from Seattle, along with the infamous SHINTAI,  from Russia, both guest collaborated with dA kAtt, contributing to Homonym’s overall dark ataxia. “Oceans” and “Severed Twin“ will permeate your mental experience, while “Life After Life” and “Urban Witch x $HiNE BRiDA” feeds the more distressed aspects of disunity.

 

I have had the chance to chat with MiKe and get to know him a bit through social networking. He is chill and humble and never asks for free handouts no matter how hard things get; definitely a street shaman. I recognize his personal struggle as a musical artist in todays mecca of digital recording and downloading (often times free or through torrents). Witch House is such a diverse genre, bringing together a generation of talented producers and musicians, often times underappreciated from all but the underground scene. I want to also add that every KɅTT release is FREE on bandcamp.com – the generosity is not overlooked.

 

With the inclusion of Emily Acid in their latest EP, SHIVER INSIDE//PLACES, OKKVLT KɅTT dominates new territories of sound. I am proud to have Mike and Emily on CTC – thank you both for joining me, now let’s peel the fucking skin back!

 

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Jared: First off, MiKe, how did OKKVLT KɅTTget started? And what led you down the path to witch house?

 

MiKe: OKKVLT KɅTT started pretty organically, really. I’ve always said ‘the witch found me’, not the other way round. I just randomly saw Salem’s King Night in the recommended list on YouTube and was drawn to it. 4-hours later and I was hooked on witch house. I decided a bit later to start making my own stuff.  

 

Jared: “The witch found me”, I like that.  When I think of KɅTT one word echoes through my head: ‘cerebral’. How would you explain your music, and why the overall sound is so different from other WH artists?

 

MiKe: The music itself has always been a reaction to my surroundings. I don’t know if the sound is that different to what other witch house producers make, I live in a very urban area on the outskirts of London where nothing happens. It’s like there’s no escape from the grey, just walls, drinking beer in parks till 4am, no real hope for the future, I guess that comes through in the music.

 

Jared: How did you two meet?

 

MiKe: We started talking in the witch house group on facebook first, realized we had shit loads in common and just instantly connected. Then, we met at a witch house night in London and everything just went crazy from there [laughs].

 

Jared: [Laughs] Nice! So, Emily, can you tell us a bit of your musical background? What position(s) do you play in OKKVLT KɅTT?

 

Emily: Musical background includes being in bands whilst being in relationships; 3rd time lucky eh? I’d say in OKKVLT KɅTT i’m involved in lyric writing, collaborating on the synth occasionally, improvising things with Mike e.g. “Hush Hush”, which came from an improvised jam.

 

Jared: Awesome! I would have to say that KɅTT is a successful group in terms of being known in the WH scene, wouldn’t you agree?

 

MiKe: I guess so, I don’t know. I just wanna make the music I love and see if people connect. It’s definitely not as big as some other projects in the witch crowd, sometimes that depresses me tbh, but I can only do what comes naturally to me and if people get it, that’s awesome. There’s a story behind everything I do, I don’t just churn shit out cuz I can.

 

Jared: Yeah, I get that. What have been the biggest struggles that have challenged OKKVLT KɅTT?

 

Emily: Struggling to pay bills let alone paying for gigs/equipment has challenged us. Also living far apart from each other can also be an issue, being that we don’t crack on with the music so much when we’re together, but on the other hand embracing the time we have with each other whilst we’re around.

 

MiKe: Yeeh, money really holds you back when you ain’t got a lot of it, people can say ‘get a job’ till they’re blue in the face, but it just ain’t that easy, especially when the only options are zero contract bullshit, minimum wage and all that…  It makes ya think whats the point? Distance between me and Emz is a big issue, personally as well as with the music, but we do our best. Over the years since starting OKKVLT KɅTT, there have been obstacles yeeh, but music is my release, so whatever happens, I’ll always be making music, probably some dark, depressing shit of some kind or another [laughs].

 

Jared: Money eats the world, artists of all kinds are a saving grace in my eyes. I Know that KɅTT has played a handful of live shows in the UK, unfortunately I haven’t been able to find much online videos. How has the experience been? And are there a lot of newcomers in the audience or do you come across fans?  

 

MiKe: So far, only two shows. My solo one back in 2012 and in Wales with †rials  last October.

 

Emily: Yeah we had one crazy couple come up to us in wales, I think their names were Zack & Shannon? [laughs] (( †rials )).

 

MiKe: I had a cool experience in London at an Eyeshadows gig one time. Saw a girl who I kinda knew about on facebook and introduced myself as MiKe from OKKVLT KɅTT, she was like “omfg its OKKVLT KɅTT’ [laughs], that’s about as crazy as it’s got as far as audience, fans or whatever so far.

Jared: Any plans on touring? I know WH isn’t big, and I am glad it’s underground – I presume this makes it more difficult to travel around, however.

 

MiKe: Yeeh, we would love to tour. We’ve got a few shows lined up hopefully, just gotta finalise stuff, so we’ll see where that takes us.

 

Jared: Cool, man, would love to see you guys out here (USA) one day.  I, personally, like when WH artists have female vocals – ranging from melodic to ghostly to skrewed and rapped, Emily, are their other female WH singers that inspire you, that you particularly like?

 

Emily: I think it was CRIM3S who got me started, the contrast between the bass heavy synths and Sadie’s vocals really got me hooked, after exploring more witch house though, i’d say most of it varies so much that it’s good to stand out after all it’s what the genre’s all about and in result to that, makes WH such a diverse genre.

 

Jared: Yeah, well said. And building on this, what sources of inspiration have you guys drawn from – music, psychology, film, art, porn [laughs] etc.?

 

Emily: My music taste varies from the likes of Bjork, Pixies, Modest Mouse, The Smiths, Warpaint, Yheti, Aphex Twin including various other genres such as Djent, Shoegaze and most up and coming new internet based electronic genres. A big inspiration for me would be when I was in my teen years, when I was going through a lot of mental ‘trouble’ but i’d be very philosophical in my writing at the time drawing from the ideas and imagery of Plato and converting that into song. For example, by singing about something basic with a hidden meaning..

 

MiKe: For me, life itself is always the main inspiration. Yeeh, you can categorize what I did and now what we do as ‘witch house’, but that’s only cuz all the ingredients in that style connect with me and I find that the clearest way of getting what I’m feeling out, much more than making other styles. A lot of what I do is born out of total disillusionment with what we’re supposed to aspire to be with this precious life we’ve been given, it all just seems a waste to aspire to be part of a soul destroying system where you exhaust yourself to the point of mental, emotional and physical breakdown, all just to eat and have a roof over your head. The only time anyone can chill and be ‘well off’ enough is when you’re too old to do anything with it. This planet is sacred and beautiful, but the way we’re expected to exist on it is just totally fuckin crazy to me.

 

Jared: Damn, thats good shit, and I can relate to both of you on your viewpoints —  

You guys just released a single with Phantasma Disques, contributing to the Succubus soundtrack, is this a prelude to an upcoming full length album with Emily Acid in the mix?

 

Emily: Me and MiKe have so many ideas and plans that sometimes we have so many  ‘practice run’ ideas that it detracts from the main goal, however I hope so!

 

MiKe: Yeeh, Emily’s the full-time vocalist now, so all future releases will feature Mz (Emily) Acid. We’re always fuckin around with new ideas, try’na get that majick out, but like Emz says, it’s difficult to get shit together cuz of the distance and it always gets majick when we write physically together, but an EP release is in the works for later this year definitely. Also, massive thanks to Cosmotropia De Xam for that one, we got there after the deadline, but he loved the track and decided to include it anyway, so hi-5’s for that!

 

Jared: That’s rad, man, I’m glad KɅTT made it on the list – such a great line -up! Succubus is such a wicked project!

I gotta ask, does occultism mean anything to either of you? I always feel WH is closely tied with dark metaphysics, and since there is an alternation of “occult” in the name, I thought I would ask. Where did the name come from?

 

MiKe: Personally, I don’t adhere to one strict rule. I think many people have ideas on how the world and the universe works, but I don’t think we’ll ever truly know and even if someone did, who would take that dood seriously? If Jesus really did come back, he’d be chucked in a mental asylum these days. But anyway, I definitely believe there’s shit out there we aren’t told about, I’ve always been interested in what would be defined as the ‘occult’, but it’s not something I think about constantly, maybe cuz for me that mentality is a way of life and ‘normality’ seems ignorant and pretty dull tbh. The name, for me, symbolizes the everyday struggles try’na get through life and the hollow expectancies of what society and the system tries it’s hardest to drill out of you. Literally, it means ‘hidden beast’, invoking that strength from within to continue getting through each day; the name OKKVLT KATT was a name for a folder on my facebook page, with all the old triangles, crosses and shit and I thought, yeeh, thats a cool name, so I started to use it.

 

Jared: Is there anything you two feel has been left unsaid, anything you guys would like to add? 

 

MiKe: Just that our generation is in desperate need of a voice. We can’t let them keep us down and filling us with fear all the time and it seems there’s no cultural movement happening, ya know like punk in the 70’s or whatever. No one’s got anything to say. Remember, we outnumber the governments who do this crazy shit and expect us to play along, so let’s start shouting.

 

Jared: I totally agree. from the 70’s to the late 90’s, Punk Rock, Goth and Metal as well as other genres challenged social, political and religious normalities. I can’t say that there is a music genre that challenges any kind of establishment in our status quo with the same affect. I feel WH is made up of so many genres that it is a bag of trix for artists to different elements into the cauldron, however I don’t feel WH challenges any one thing in particular, rather challenges all genres to unite – it’s the embrace of B-sides, all things trippy, witchy and forgotten. Perhaps it challenges the system by uniting an underground movement. 

 

MiKe: I think witch house challenges the system, like every other of internet based form of expression in art. We have the artistic freedom to do what we like and I think lots of people can take that for granted sometimes. It’s pretty much our equivalent of pirate radio in the 60’s.

 

Jared: Yeah, I feel you… I’d like to say thank you again, for all the music and for taking the time to chat with me. I look forward to more OKKVLTISM! This has been an honor!

 

OKKVLT KɅTT more listening:

 

 

OKKVLT KɅTT – Hush Hush

Faith Killed The Muse

Places

 

Interview with D/SIR

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To say Wilde’s Crown (February 2, 2016) is an experimental piece undermines the eclectic range of D/SIR. Emily Steigerwald and Hex Wolves reside in Los Angeles, and are known for producing streams of progressive, dark ambient sounds backed by clean drum machines. D/SIR’s music can be described as ghostly story-telling, especially with newer releases such as the split CD Wild Host (December 21, 2015) with UK’s WIK▲N (released by Death Camp Audio), and The Rook (February 8, 2015) from Phantasma Disques. However, D/SIR’s new release Wilde’s Crown, produced by record label Pale Noir, was acutely designed for progressive listening. Wild’s Crown is an LP, and D/SIR’s first major physical release. The experience I had listening to the LP on my record player was compelling: I spent an evening writing on my vintage Underwood Bank 4 while listening to Wild’s Crown, and I can’t describe how much I had to go back and reset the needle due to the vivid complexity and beauty that this LP offers. This release was made for record; it’s a very different experience listening via mp3. In this release, D/SIR produces sounds that recapture a vintage age, with slowed bass vocals on tracks like “Hair to the Peak” and grayed synths on “Mistakes.” The LP as a whole can be described as avant-garde jazz under a dark possession. D/SIR is the ghost in the attic of witch house music.

 

DISIR

Selected Tracks

Mistakes

Heir to the Peak

Gallows (I Hang)

Vivian’s Kiss of Death

 

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I’ve had the honor of meeting and hanging with both Hex and Emily, and I would like to say to both: thank you for always being kind and down to earth.

Jared: Is there a unique meaning or story behind the title Wilde’s Crown?

Hex – Yeah, the album is based on the story by Robert Chambers titled “Repairer of Reputations” which has a few wild characters that are a bit distorted by the narrator’s unreliable point of view. Basically he is lead to believe he’s heir to an empire and perceives a worthless costume crown as some kind of treasured object. This reality is further distorted by Wilde, a deformed repairer of reputations that feeds his madness and illusion of grandeur.

Emily – As Hex said, it is really part soundtrack form and commentary of “The King in Yellow” by Chambers. I’ve been obsessed with weird fiction for years now, but almost nothing has stuck the way “The King in Yellow” has (but I can go on a bit about Machen and Ligotti too!). In terms of the release, it’s the fundamental evil of the pursuit of power for it’s own sake that is both fascinating and repellant, that we wanted to explore.

Jared: That’s interesting! What was the source of inspiration for Wilde’s Crown? How did the creation process differ in making this LP (as opposed to others)?

Hex – The sound is inspired by southern blues, gospel and 60’s soul. This was to give a distinctly American sound, which might be a little pretentious. Nah, it’s super pretentious! We didn’t want to emulate or sound like other Witch House, Future Garage acts that are popping up in Europe. I think it’s important to have a cultural and regional identity. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of European music acts and their take on dark electronic music. I just think we didn’t want to be easily categorize as a just another American group trying to sound like a European act.

The process is the same as anything we write, we talk about the subject we want to write about in detail. Design a theme, build palates and compose several drafts that have their layers stripped to the most basic elements. We argue back and forth on what should be taken out, what should remain, what needs to change. Basically anything that’s shit to one of us gets thrown in the trash. We both have to like it before we put the stamp of approval on it. This leads to some hilarious fights over silly details such as placement of a hi hat, level of a bass line, how long or short a section should be. Emily definitely ensure quality control over the entire product before we move it to the mixing stage.

Jared: Yeah, this makes a lot of sense. You guys defiantly have your own sound. How did you guys begin working with record label Pale Noir, and will there be future releases with them?

Emily – We “met” on Soundcloud and a few messages back and forth later we were part of the Pale Noir family!

Hex – Mahr is great to work with. If things go well with this record, we’ll more than likely work with her again on a future release. If anything, we love submitting tracks to Pale Noir’s compilation seasonal compilations.

Jared: You guys have played a handful of times here in LA, and I have been fortunate enough to catch you guys on multiple occasions. Your sets are dynamic in the sense that the sound is gradual; you start off slow and with a melodic pace, but then gradually employ progressing synths and percussion. Is it possible a complete live set would be dedicated to performing Wild’s Crown?

Emily – Thank you! And we’re always happy to see you there by the way!

Hex – Anything is possible. This is a more difficult record to perform live due to its non-dance format. I think it’s important for the dance floor to have a good movement of energy, so we might do a more dance oriented version of the album live. Nothing worse than a bored crowd in a dark night club.

Jared: [Laughing] Is there a particular show that you guys have performed and particularly favored?

Emily – Hmm, well there hasn’t been a show yet that we didn’t enjoy playing at! We’re very lucky to be here in LA where there are so many amazing promoters and shows (Warlock, Wasteland, Club Berlin, Lil Death and Complex) and open-minded people who go out to see shows! I can’t think of any other city as supportive and diverse! But a specific favorite was at Complex when we finished our set with a “dark” cover of “Dayman” from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, because we love that show and well, it hit the crowd completely out of left field,  haha.

Hex – One of my favorites was performing with Subheim in LA. The turnout was not fantastic, but we had a great time and Subheim was just magical in his delivery of sound and atmosphere.

Jared: YOu guys always have great sets! Can you both explain your position in D/SIR, music writing, lyrics, recording and such?

Emily – Sure! We both write, but Hex writes at a pretty manic pace (he can sketch up a few tracks in the time it takes for me to start one!) But, Hex is passionate about music and sound, whereas I’m spread a bit thin in visual art/design projects. I think I can summarize it better by explaining our intentions: I see writing music as a means to an end in telling a story in the way that music can, while I think Hex has purer intentions and enjoys sound for it’s own sake.

Hex – The ongoing joke we have is that I’m the tech/roadie that has to make sure everything works in the studio and at the live shows. “Fumes a bit” – I’m the one that causes problems by introducing new software/hardware to “improve” our performances or studio setup. Basically I beta test everything before we incorporate it and then try to sell Emily on its value to the band. As far as the writing goes, we both take equal turns in that department. We have near identical setups, using Maschine, Bitwig, U-he, Waves, Reaper, Roland products to write/record with. This allows us to pass projects back and forth with some ease. When I’m stuck or at a stopping point, I send the project her way and visa-versa. I tend to cloud things up and she tends to keep things stripped down, so we have a good balance for the end result.

I love building synth patches from a basic saw/square/sine wave and then shape it into something wonderful. We use these patches in our songs to give a different type of flavor not heard in most electronic music. I tend to not make synth sounds that have no point, unless I’m just experimenting for the point of experimenting. When it comes to writing patches for a song, I make sure it will fit with the theme we are working with. Plus it’s nice to have a library of your own presets you can recall for other songs. It really helps for speed writing when you have these libraries available for use and you know it won’t sound like a bunch of crappy stock sounds found in any old synth. Except for romplers like the Yamaha M1, I love those shitty sounds because they are cliche and cheesy. You gotta have bread and butter sounds from the late 80’s/90’s for anything witchy or gothy.

Jared: Sounds like a good alchemic blend! I feel the witch house genre keeps growing, and new artist pop up almost weekly, how did D/SIR get started?

Hex – I was a solo artist for many years under the unsuccessful moniker Cursed Chimera. In 2010 Emily and I started working on music together as Cursed Chimera. This lasted for about 2-3 years before we realized that we wanted to start fresh with a different kind of sound. She came up with the idea/concept behind D/SIR and I happily went along. Cursed Chimera was pretty much done at that point and there was no more room to grow with that particular sound.

Jared: Now, Emily, the art for Wilde’s Crown is your original painting. What was the inspiration and vision behind the creative process?

Emily – I was just trying to give a visual to the sound without trying to draw something from “The King in Yellow” directly, but more like: this is us in this world. I guess the painting is pretty directly my belief that the lust for power will be destructive in the end (I’m not very subtle, Haha)

Jared: Is there anything you two would like to add (i.e. the future of D/SIR, a favorite vice or muse, bad habits you can’t resist [Laughs]?

Emily – We’re gonna be releasing a few things early this year that we’ve been polishing up most of last year, but we’re looking at our interests and changing tastes and may be taking D/SIR in a slightly different direction, but the core “vibe” won’t change! Aside from music, we both spend way too much time playing video games and I’ve been on a pretty obsessive “Read all the Glen Cook novels” kick the last couple of weeks, to the detriment of all my other projects!

Hex – I know we’ll be finishing up some exclusive mixes and remixes for various people/labels. D/SIR is by far my favorite project, partly because I get to work with my wonderful partner and I believe the music is pretty darn good. My bad habit involves writing terrible music under my solo moniker (Hexwolves). Right now I’m finishing up on EP with a producer named Prince of Space that is themed around 1980’s AIDS PSAs and Celebrities with AIDS. Next up will be the hot new genre of ISIS Trap. Yeah, I’m a bit fucked up to tackle such serious material with a glib approach. I guess that’s the prankster in me. *snorts*

 

Interview with CA†HEDRA

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CA†HEDRA

Featured songs:

SUDDEN DEATH

LOVESONG

CULT (CA†HEDRA RMX)

CA†HEDRA is a witch house group from Mexico—fronted by Eduardo Fabela—which has undergone a slow, but genuine evolution. It’s always something magical when a band can reshape their sound, ultimately creating a new and unique kind of craft. CA†HEDRA’s first EP 5U1C1D3 was released back in October of 2013; it was a musical mix of dubstep, witch house, and slow, aggravated synths. Though the EP possesses the aforementioned traits, I was impressed by the gentleness of “LOVESONG;” the addition of piano keys created a nostalgic feel. In addition, “DISEASE (interlude)” added rhythmic space to the EP. Now, almost exactly two years later, CA†HEDRA has released their second EP DOOMSDAY [Oct. 2k15]; it is here that we get into the nitty-gritty of what has been brewing in the witch’s cauldron. Songs like “NIGHTWALK” AND “SUDDEN DEATH” utilize a mix of trapped high hats and slow, backing synths that are carried by melodic piano chords; both songs that are great for taking a long walk alone in the night. CA†HEDRA produces music with many featured artists, and DOOMSDAY is a prime example of CA†HEDRA’s propensity to utilize guest collaborations; Seattle’s own Shine Brida is one of those guests. Luckily, I had the chance to catch up with Eduardo to uncover the story behind CA†HEDRA because, as we well know, all great witches gotta’ start somewhere!

Before we get started I would like to say thank you for taking the time to talk with me, Eduardo. I know things have been rough for you and your family; I read that you have been going through some difficult changes and challenges. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. Hang in there!

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Jared: Hey Ed, I hope the new year brings a kind of brightness into your days. Musically speaking, it’s the beginning of January and you already released the new single “Alone.” How do you feel about this release and what was your experience like while making it? The synths and beats are nice and dark, right on, man!

Eduardo: Hey thanks for the kind of words! Well, I made that track originally for an upcoming release, a split EP I will be releasing this year with my friend Aglaophotis, another witch house producer from my country. However, I’m not sure if I will use the track on the final track list; I’m working on a lot of new material at the moment, and have actually started working on my first full-length album. Hopefully it will be ready later this year.

Jared: Nice! Looks like you’re going to be busy writing music, that’s always a good thing. Now, Doomsday – what does this EP mean to you? I feel you pulled from deep emotions. Songs like “Sudden Death” and “Dead Inside” create a strong positive reaction from me. There is so much beauty here!

Eduardo: “Dead Inside” has become one of my favorite tracks, I play that track in all my live sets, and the new tracks I’m making have a similar vibe to my latest single “Alone”. About my EP, it was kind of a collection of my favorites tracks I made the last year, I started to work on this EP in December 2014; last year was a rough one for me, a lot of changes in my life lately are driving me to negativity, but at least I think my music is getting better and I’m happy about to still have time to make music.

Jared: I really hope things lighten up for you, ED. How did you come about making music? CA†HEDRA began in 2013, right, but did you have any projects before?

Eduardo: Actually I started this project in 2012 it wasn’t a serious project until my friends of †ENEBRÆ invited me to be part of their new label, Equilateral Records. I’ve been making music under this name since I was like 17, it was my first music project, I started this project making drag edits and some remixes just for fun, but people apparently liked the old tracks so I started producing my own original tracks. A common story between producers I guess.

Jared:  Awesome, you have connections with †ENEBRÆ, one of my favorite witch house groups. Have you guys worked on anything together? Who/what are some of your inspirations, musically or otherwise?

Eduardo: Just remixes, †ENEBRÆ is in a status of hiatus at the moment but probably we’ll be doing something together anytime. Musically producer like Grxgvr, Suicidewave or Blvck Ceiling are some of my favorite stuff to listen to and to get some inspiration, I just discovered a producer called Wtchcrft a few weeks ago and I really love his music style. Also, I will say that all my life experiences are part of my inspiration, music is just a way to express my feelings, a way to express the person who I really am.

Jared: What does witch house mean to you? It’s a growing sub-genre in the underground, but I feel it means something different for everyone?

Eduardo: Well the thing Is, what I liked when I discovered this genre years ago was the fact to see all kinds of mashed-up songs mixing from some of my favorite genres; songs mixed in a unique special way. Also, the aesthetic related to the genre with all the religious and occultist references was something that really got me into the witch house scene. I mean I always liked hip hop music, industrial, black metal, shoegaze, ambient, a lot of genres that mostly you can’t see together but when I discovered witch house it was like the music I was waiting for.
Jared: That’s very true, black metal, hip-hop, trap, industrial are all elements of witch house, that’s one thing I love about this music too! How is the reception in Mexico, for this kind of music?

Eduardo: To be honest people in my country aren’t really interested in this kind of music; I hardly can get support from people or events where I will play my music, there are producers, even some of my friends who make this kind of music but there is no witch house scene on any level.

Jared: Damn, that hard to hear. I know industrial has a scene down there, perhaps I thought WH would cross over. You’ve worked with Shine Brida a few times – “Suicide” and “Funeral Pyre”. I, personally, really like their music. How did you guys come together, since your two music styles are considerably different?

Eduardo: I really don’t think our music it is so different, one of my principal influences is the hip hop and trap music I constantly listened to when I was child, and to be honest it feels really natural to make those kind of beats. I discovered her music in tracks with this producer called Nullse†, then I just contacted her to do the vocals on my track “Suicide” and now is one of my most popular songs. Probably I will be releasing more music with Brida soon.

Jared: Do you like playing live shows? What are some experiences?

Eduardo: Yeah I had played some live sets but they have been really small shows, how I mentioned there is not much people interested in this genre where I live, so I just hope to start touring soon if I get the chance.

Jared: That would be cool if you toured, I know I can get you a spot in LA. Where are you headed? What would you like to see come out of your music?

Eduardo: People constantly told me to change my music style, they told me that the genre is dead, at least where I live, but I feel really comfortable making this kind of music. I just want to start producing better tracks and try to get recognition with this project, I don’t think it is necessary to change my music style to get that.

Jared: I agree, and WH is still very big in the underground music scene all over the world, so perhaps you my not find recognition in your country but definitely elsewhere! Thanks for sharing your voice, Ed! Keep on rockin’ it, your music definitely stands out! Is there anything you would like to add – any last words [laughs]?

Eduardo: I just want to thank you again for the interview and I hope I to play a show in L.A. soon with any luck!

SIDEWALKS AND SKELETONS

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SIDEWALKS AND SKELETONS

Featured songs:

DISAPPEAR

WHITE LIGHT

EXHUME

I remember the first time I came across the haunting rhythms of SIDEWALKS AND SKELETONS: I was at a night club called W▲RLOK, one of LA’s best places to hear dark underground. There I was, dancing to the chilling resonance of witch house, when I heard the spectral sounds of what I would soon come to know as SIDEWALKS AND SKELETONS. Since then, I’ve been hexed!

A little album rundown and refresher: Starting with ▲ Volume 1 ▲, which essentially serves as the foundation of S&S – It has the propensity to open minds, allowing bodies to move to uncharted soundscapes. Other albums, like This Is Your Escape, redefined my idea of what witch house was or could be. Songs like “Exhume,” “Forever,” and “Valley of Wolves,” highlight the album with unique sound pulling and hitched beats, essentials for witch house music. On March 5th of 2015, S&S released their 5th full length album, White Light. This was a highly anticipated publication following Future Ghosts, which was released almost exactly one year earlier. White Light beautifully meshes the horrorcult of witch house with slower, more romantic melodies. The album’s versatility makes it one of S&S’s best releases as a whole and one of the best albums in its genre altogether.

JN: First off, I would like to give a huge shout out to Jake Lee of SIDEWALKS AND SKELETONS for taking the time to chat with me all the way from the UK. So, Jake, I’ve always wanted to ask: why did you choose the name SIDEWALKS AND SKELETONS? Does it mean anything to you, personally?

JAKE: Thank you, it will be my pleasure!

‘SIDEWALKS AND SKELETONS’ is a metaphor for the things that remain after death. I chose this name to reflect the atmosphere of the music, and also the content. Even the tracks without lyrics still hold a strong dark atmosphere which conveys a message to the listener.

JN: That’s pretty cool! What got you into electronic music and, more specifically, witch house? Any musical background?

JAKE: I’ve always been drawn to darker music, across all genres, it’s just something I connect with. There’s a lot more to explore in darker things in general. I’ve played instruments my whole life, mainly guitar, playing in metal bands growing up. And I was also making electronic music at home which was like warped horror soundtracks full of obscure samples and reversed vocals. Then I got heavily into witch house, and the inspiration from that helped the natural progression of my music to take place, like I wasn’t sure where it was going, then it became clear – it needed to happen. I’ve loved the genre since I found it, and it still excites and inspires me. No matter what anyone says about how it came about or whether it’s “dead” or not – I don’t care, I love it.

JN: Do you have a favorite piece of musical hardware you prefer when producing beats and/or synths?

JAKE: At the moment I use an AKAI keyboard, which I just mess around with for hours, warping sounds and seeing what comes from experimentation – then when I feel I’ve found what I want, I start building up layers and melodies, and if I get that good feeling during this process – I know it’s gonna be my next new track. But if I don’t get that spark – it goes on the ‘unreleased’ pile!

JN: That’s a basic way of doing things but it definitely has worked out for you. S&S has a very distinct sound, what do you feel separates your music from other witch house groups?

JAKE: Well I’ve always created music based on how I feel at that time, the music is a constant reflection of my state of mind so it can differ a lot in atmosphere. But generally I guess it’s quite dark. I’m obsessed with most things that are, as well. I love horror films, especially David Lynch. Mulholland DriveLost Highway, films like that. Dark atmospheres can be very beautiful in a certain way.

JN: I love Lost Highway! What are some of your favorite samples you’ve used in your music? Anything outrageous or random samples?

JAKE: Ohhh I love this question. Whenever I use samples they’re always pretty strange. Like from films no one’s heard of. For example – most of the samples on my latest album White Light were taken from a 2003 low-budget horror called ‘Goth’. I watched it when I was around 14 years old and just instantly loved it, and I’ve felt the need to incorporate it into my music somehow for a long time, because it was the source of a lot of my inspiration. Not really the music in the film, but just the feelings it gave me. The fictional drug in the film which causes a near-death experience in users is called ‘White Light’, so that’s partially the reason for the album title.

In my track “Pure” I sampled a film called Martha Marcy May Marlene because I loved that quote about death. And in my latest collaboration with Blvck Ceiling, I have sampled Laura Palmer, in a scene from Twin Peaks.

JN: Cool stuff, samples always add extra vision to a song, so to speak. Now, you’ve obviously played a handful of live shows in the UK, such as your debut show at the Mother Bar in London back in 2013, so how do you feel your audience receives your music?

JAKE: So far the audiences have been quite small, maybe 50 people max, and most of them haven’t heard Sidewalks and Skeletons before the show (because I’ve only been a support act so far). So for the most part they just observe, but I’m hoping people will get more familiar and get into it a bit more. I love the experience, and meeting people there. You meet so many great people at shows.

JN: How has playing live shows changed you as a musician?

JAKE: It’s made me even more excited about the music I’m making. Because now when I make a new track I get that feeling of “I can’t wait to play this live”. And when I do for the first time I always get such a good vibe. It feels so right.

JN: Tell us the craziest thing that has happened to you as a performer?

JAKE: As it’s so early on (I’ve only done like 3 shows so far) – nothing too crazy has happened yet! But I’m very sure that will change. I have more shows coming up in November and December so let’s wait and see. I always have my mannequin head with me on stage. She just stares at everyone while I perform. She’s a little bit destroyed but that’s why she’s perfect.

JN: What else do you like to do besides write badass music? Any hobbies, interests, or dark little secrets?

JAKE: I do a lot of graphic design, that’s my full-time job at the moment. And when I’m not doing that I just love being out and doing whatever! Going to shows, skating, getting drunk with friends, etc!

JN: [Laughing] Cheers man! Who or what has inspired you?

JAKE: If I had to pick my top 3 biggest musical influences I would probably say… Marilyn Manson, Crystal Castles, and Slowdive. They’re 3 of my all-time favourites. Their music is timeless to me. And I’m a bit of an obsessive music lover so it has a big impact of me inspirationally.

JN: What bands are you listening to right now?

JAKE: EVERYTHING, there’s so many mind-blowingly amazing artists around right now. I can spend hours on Soundcloud most nights, just going through the streams, related tracks, artists I follow etc. Just a few of the ones I’m really enjoying at the moment are Fifty Grand, IC3PEAK, Sadwrist, and Lorn. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve nearly deafened myself with Sadwrist’s “I Can’t Feel My Face”. You just have to listen to that track at a ridiculous volume, with the bass on full, it’s perfect.

JN: Oh, man, I agree with you on that one, I also spend hours on Bandcamp and Soundcloud endlessly listening to new artists. You’re working on another full length album, right? Are you planning to take this one in a new direction?

JAKE: Yes! It’s in its VERY early stages so I can’t say too much for now, but I definitely feel like it’s going to be my darkest release yet. There’s a possibility you’ll hear a few familiar voices on there again, I’ll see what Emily Hall thinks about doing another face-melter of a track like ‘Unearth’. She’s amazing. We did ‘Unearth’ live in Leeds and she just totally went for it, no holding back, I love that.

JNWhite Light really shows your evolution as an artist—it’s a truly well-rounded release—but how do you plan on expanding your vision?

JAKE: Thank you! White Light was possibly my most sincere expression so far. I guess I don’t usually say too much about my personal life but I have to admit that a lot of the inspiration for the album came from trying to overcome depression and anxiety. It can feel literally suffocating. And only after the worst of it had passed was I able to start letting it out through music again. I’m a deep-thinker, I always have been. But it can be very self-destructive at times.

JN: Is there any artist you would like to work with in the future? One of my favorite witch house bands is †ENEBRÆ from Chile, so I’d personally love to see you mix with them. [Laughing] Just throwing it out there!

JAKE: The list is pretty much endless really man, I’m finding new artists all the time who I want to work with. Some which I’ve loved for ages I’m now working with, and that’s the best feeling ever.  Like Blvck Ceiling – I’ve been a massive fan of his music even since before S&S started, and now have a collab together. Hopefully there’ll be more from us too! And I’ll definite shoot †ENEBRÆ a message then! Just for you!

JN: Sweet, thank you!   If you could be any superhero or villain, which would you be? Why? Video games count!

JAKE: I’d be like a weird version of Spiderman, but instead of being any use to society I’d just swing around with that redhead all day and shoot webs at anyone I found annoying. Then I’d kill the green goblin just to wear his suit on Halloween.

JN: Well, damn!… [Laughing] Thanks so much, Jake! I hope to see you out here in LA one day. Is there anything you’d like to say to readers? Maybe some promotional info or some inspiring words… or even just some rubbish, it’s all good either way!

JAKE: Thank YOU. I appreciate you feeling I was worth interviewing. I’ll be out there in L.A one day if I’m lucky enough! Much love to anyone reading this. All keep in touch and don’t miss what’s coming up, because it’s gonna be crazy. – Jake