ARKHAM WITCH are the archtype of British to me. Listen to them and tell me otherwise. Simon Iff (vocals) answered my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
When you stand at the brink of releasing a new album how nervous is it not knowing how people will react?
-It’s always a bit nerve racking, because, being so close to the material yourself, it is hard to judge it critically. It’s only a few months afterwards you can reckon up whether or not the band has done a good job! Luckily for us, people have seemed to like what we have done so far…
When I saw the first part of your band name I came to think of Batman but I guess that there’s a different meaning to your choice?
-Arkham is a fictional city created by the horror/sci-fi writer Howard Philips Lovecraft whose work we all admire terribly. But if it conjures up images of Batman, that is because they nicked the name for the Gotham City asylum!
When you come from a country that pretty much formed the music we love does that make you humble in your creativeness?
-It makes us humble in the sense that we want to live up to our country’s musical legacy by honouring the traditions and bands that we love, but our influences come from bands all over the world. England seems to have largely moved on from this legacy of great kick arse metal and rock bands in terms of the metal scene at large, whilst Europe and the rest of the world seem to recognise it a bit more. Oh the irony!
When you release a debut album what kind of expectations do you have on that first album?
-Probably none at all – at the least we hope that someone somewhere will like it and get the same kicks out of it that we had recording it. That’s the good thing about writing heavy metal songs – you get to connect and meet with people who dig the same things as you. If it was not for the internet and the worldwide tradition, metal scene we would be quite isolated here in England – as we were a few years ago before the web became available to oinks like us!
When you then release a second album how much have you moved the expectations? What would be a failure and what would be a success?
-There is no money in this business – this is really just an expensive hobby for us, so there are no expectations about failure or success in that respect. I would be content if we released an album and it was slagged off and criticized as much as if it was praised. It’s being completely ignored that is the worst!
Something I often wonder about is how you go about finding the right kind of people to work with? How do you know whom to trust?
-I still don’t trust anyone in the band – even myself! Not sure what you mean with this question!
The right people to work with are the ones who you get along with – luckily everyone in this band are old friends and we have all been in other bands together before! If we were a big rock band and did not get on I would probably put up with it for the money, but if I were in a band with some twat or twats I didn’t get on with – I wouldn’t bother – not worth the hassle!
How vital is the live scene for more underground bands? How easy is it to arrange a tour both nationally as well as internationally?
-It’s vital in the sense it is the reason a band like us gets attention at all. Underground heavy metal fans are the most unpretentious, knowledgeable and passionate fans around. That is not to say there aren’t any cunts who spoil things and act like arses from time to time, but overall and compared to other more popular pastimes and forms of music – the tradition and doom metal fans are as sound as a pound. They know what they like and look through the bullshit of image and trend. I think if you are honest with your music and honour the traditions you will be accepted.
It is hard work to arrange a tour both nationally and internationally, and hats off to all the underground heroes who get off their arses and do this – because 90 percent of the time it is for the love of the music and they operate at a loss!
How much has the promotion of a band’s name changed in the last 5 – 10 years?
-I suppose a lot of the promotion is done on the Internet these days and the days of fly posting any available space in town have long since disappeared. Quite ironic really, seeing as now there is loads of space to put them up what with all the empty high street shops our internet consumption is busy killing off!
Is digital/download the death knell of metal or the saviour? How can you affect people’s way of consuming music the best/most?
-I think it is both. More people hear your music but less people pay for it.
What would the ideal future bring for Arkham Witch?
-The means to continue making heavy metal music without fear of finance or deafness!