PURPLE HILL WITCH is what you could describe as a heavy metal band deeply rooted in the classics. Answered by Andreas Schafferer. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
A band sets the tone for the band. With the right name you don’t really need any sort of declaration of intent. Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you?
-The name is from the Purple Hill Witch song, one of the first tracks we ever wrote. The lyrics is by the late great Silas Skonnord. We think both the sound and lyrical theme is a fine match for what we are all about, therefore we took the name after this song.
Who would say are the founding stones of the kind of sound you have? Who are your house Gods and how have they coloured your music?
-Of course all the old school doom heroes are a big inspiration. I learned most of my bass playing by covering Black Sabbath songs when I was young, so Geezer and Sabbath is really important to our playing. But also a lot of 80’s heavy metal, plus some weirder psychedelica.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-When playing slow music, I think repetition is more in place than in faster music. A good slow riff can be repeated almost forever, creating a heavy atmosphere that drags the listener into a timeless soundscape.
Playing live is a totally different beast to studio work. How does your music work in a live environment?
-We record all our records live in studio. When we are recording, we try to capture the live-feeling. Playing together, and not laying separate tracks recreates the energy we have when we are jamming and writing songs. I think modern metal often sounds way to generic, with tons of layers, and every drumbeat perfectly in time. I like music to sound organic, where you can hear that there is actual people playing the music, not a some perfect pitched computer correcting all the noise and variations of the musicians.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
-We are all fans of music on physical mediums, especially vinyl. Having a label to help with the distro and pressing of the records is essential, it can be a total overload of work. This of course means that it takes a lot more time to get the music out to the people, but I honestly believe it’s worth the wait.
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
-With modern music platforms you get an incredible amount of good music right to your phone, and I think this is a good thing. I don’t think the loss of the “true fan” is that big of a deal, I am just glad people (myself included) has access to an incredible amount of killer music.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-A great cover should reflect the music and the feeling the listener has after spinning the record. With both of records, we just sent the lyrics to some of our songs to our friend Rolf Kristian Valbo, and said “paint this”, and I think he has hit perfectly on both. The covers really resembles what the music “looks like” to us.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for metal in your country?
-In Oslo, our hometown, there is a really good scene for underground music. Lots of cool venues booking shows, and killer festivals. Most of our friends are in a band, and play in each others bands, it being doom, metal, thrash or psychedelic music.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as complement to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-I am not worried about the death of physical records. As long as there is people, there will be fans and people passionate about music, and people making music. For us, buying a physical record is something special and seeing the vinyl revival the last years means we are not the only ones.