WYKKED WYTCH

WYKKED WYTCH is a name that everybody into extreme metal should be familiar with. This band has been at it for some time now and with a handful of albums to their name there is no better time than now for an interview. Anders Ekdahl © 2012

What was it that made you start Wykked Wytch in the first place? What’s up with the spelling?
Ipek- I’ve been doing music my whole life and originally started out as teenager singing pop & opera in Europe. Then when I came to the states I became fascinated with Hard Rock & Metal and eventually formed my own group which became Wykked Wytch. Originally inspired by Mercyful Fate & Testament those bands made me want to sing metal. The unique spelling was not to confuse the band it with anything else. Now it is recognizable as extreme metal band fronted by the wykked one herself IPEK.

Is there any greater concept behind the band? How would you like for the band to be portrayed?
Ipek – The concept behind this band is a feel like female warrior being in a many metal battles and surviving. Made me stronger therefore the concept is a metal band that never surrenders. I care less how you portray the band, other than make music the way I like it: heard, heavy and nasty yet could be angelic at times. Looks can be deceiving.

For somebody who has been recording albums since 2000 under this moniker do you feel that you’ve achieved what you set out to do?
Ipek- I been recording since 1996 with the band’s first album “Something Wykked This Way Comes” and have no intentions to quit any time soon, WW It’s basically my baby and solo project and have gained cult following since day one, I’ve achieved a lot of stuff that I wanted to do, but there’s a lot room to grow still and many more goals to obtain. I say yes I have made my mark and not getting confused with $$$ signs (because haven’t seen any yet). As a musician I satisfy my needs each time I create an art and that is my goal and agenda. Some highlights have been touring with some of my favorite bands, worked with top metal producers & directors that I admired. Also having ‘Howard Stern’ playing my music and talking with him on his show. You should always continue to evolve as if you are never satisfied with your project. Always new and fresh ideas flowing around my head and that keeps me going. A predator never stops hunting just because he catches his victims each time. You keep on going!

What would you say has been your hardest set back that has set the band back instead of taking it forward?
Ipek- Hardest setback has been always band members. Sometimes band is desperate for finding good loyal members and so you settle with what’s available to you at the time because you need to continue recording and touring. You find out later that they were bad choices and don’t work out. Then to regroup and find the right people, you lose a few months or a year. It takes time to get back on track again and not to make same mistake. This is not a money making business for us, so finding hard working, hungry, motivated musicians on the same page as yourself is hard, especially since its extreme metal. You can always release an album every year with people who are not skilled or inspired but that is not my way. I rather wait till the time is right come back strong with great product even if takes a few years. I will never compromise my music just to have an album out. . Yes many line-up changes delays your dreams. oh well i’m still here very much alive and ready to KILL!

To me it seems like Wykked Wytch don’t get the same kind of deserved attention that other extreme metal bands get. Why are you considered less interesting compared to other bands? What have you done wrong to not get the same amount of media interest?
Ipek- Many factors involved in that. For one there are a lot more bands and labels out there than ever. We’ve never had a big push and never on a large label. For example having a bigger label behind you pushing the band and promotion and your album being available to in every country and nonstop touring definitely would help. We’ve done the best we can do within our means. Our last 3 albums were on an European label with not US distribution, so we concentrated on touring Europe with little or no tour support with limited promotion. Not the mention we live in male dominated society in music world females being treated as a sex object and not being credited as a credible musicians. It’s not until recently that more females have been in the metal scene. When I started I couldn’t even name any. Also Media underestimates the power of females .Women Musicians work just as hard as men so I can’t change the world but I can try to keep infect my own disease. I have done nothing wrong and i’m not about to sell out like some bands to water down my music or showing tits and ass to get media to respect me. The true diehard fans appreciate m y art and I care less about corporate whores whether they like me or not! My goal was never about cashing out rather playing music with passion. I can honestly say our new album “The Ultimate Deception” on Goomba Music is getting the best push than any of my other albums have so hopefully we will get exposed to a large audience with this release.

How pleased are you with your new album? How does it fit in with the other albums you’ve released?
Ipek- I’m extremely happy and satisfied with our new baby, we worked very hard to make it so the result is obvious. As far as how is it to compare to my previous albums? I think this album is the natural continuation from the last one ‘Memories of A Dying Whore’. Each album we’ve done is different than the rest, has to do with where were at the time and the members in the band. On this album ‘The Ultimate Deception’ we bring in a new guitarist/songwriter Nate Poulson, who brought fresh, modern, and technical shit on the table and made this album to a totally new dimension for the band. But also keeping in mind our past to make sure this still fits in to what we do. We believe in evolving each album and do not like keep putting out same album each time. With that said nothing much changed I have always maintained the integrity, quality of my music we just got more mature this time and decided to leave our comfort zone and expand our horizons.

You’ve been through some labels by now. How does this new one compare to the old ones?
Ipek-yes , I have gone through few labels and I am not about the trash anyone here so what’s in past is past with that we are moving forward. So far Goomba Music has been doing a great job pushing the release. The label knows that we have a following but never had the right push. That’s and that’s one of the reason why they signed us, recognizing the great music but also hard work and integrity of the group. They are doing their best right now to spread the word and pushing the album. The label has a job and so does the band. Our job is never done and we have to work hard to make sure that this is a success and we move forward.

Is the recording industry in such a distress that we hear reports about? How bad is it really?
Ipek- We all know how the music industry right now. The expectation for sales is not very optimistic even for the big bands but there are still true fans out there willing to buy rather than steal. You cannot rely on album sales or touring to make a living. Even the show attendance is even declining. People rather sit in front of the TV or computer than go out and see live music. In the old days people camped out in front of record stores when a big release would come out, now people sit in front of the computer to see when the album will leak. Maybe free downloading helps new young bands needs an exposure but band like us been around needs support and that comes from cd sales and tours. If you cannot produce an income from sales how can you tour? .

How much of a DIY ethic is there behind Wykked Wytch?
Ipek -Wykked Wytch has been DIY since its inception and still is. I’ve never waited around for anyone to do something for us. Always financed and booked my own shows, tours, promotion, etc.
Fans think making an album it’s free have no fucking clue how much time and money is involved to release an album. Our last album we released under our own label practically bankrupted me, combined with all the years of doing this., paying studio time, engineering, mastering, merchandise, adds, videos, printing, etc. Even with our previous releases on a label and this release our albums have been self-financed. .The label only can do so much for you and if you want more need to take into your own hands. My advice to new bands is if you want to dedicate yourself to a band, be prepared to do everything for yourself and spend lots of time and money. No one is going to do it for you. Rockstar fantasy days are long gone.

With a new album out how do you take it from here to get the maximum from it?
Ipek- Well we already started getting very favorable and intelligent reviews this time it seems like media is now realizing WW is a not a gimmick band and won’t go away. We are talented musicians doing music for love and passion and we are here to stay like it or not. Haters always gonna hate. Next month we shoot a video and fews month will start tour campaign and promote the album the best way we can. It’s up to fans to pick up the ‘The Ultimate Deception’ and enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

AK-11“Legendary, Demonic & Invincible”

AK-11
“Legendary, Demonic & Invincible”
(-)
I don’t know why but for some reason Russian is a fitting language for extreme black metal. There is something to Russian that is so direct and harsh that it cuts like a hot knife through butter. You know that they mean business, no monkeying about here. AK-11 are black metal in the same way that Norwegian bands used to be black metal, a tad more primitive than f x Marduk or Dark Funeral but with the same attack as those bands. I like this kind of black metal that takes no prisoners and makes no excuses. It’s like being slapped in the face with a wet cloth over and over until you cave in to the pressure. As this is just a demo AK-11 are at the beginning of their journey but I for one will gladly join them on their future adventures. This is the kind of black metal I like to hear more often. Anders Ekdahl

DEAD “Thundaahhh”

DEAD
“Thundaahhh”
(WeEmptyRooms)
This is not the German Dead that has been going for aeons. This Dead originates from Australia. The first time I heard this album I thought that there was something wrong with my computer, like its speakers being torn or something. The second time I realised that it should sound that way. There is a punky noisecore/powerchord side to Dead that takes a while to get used to. It is like the band has a desire to not write songs in a traditional vein. That is until you dissect it thoroughly. Then you discover that this isn’t that unconventional noisecore act you thought at first. That it is noisy it is but underneath it you’ll discover a desire to actually write songs. Maybe not my first choice of music style but on a good day I too can enjoy music like this. Anders Ekdahl

DISEASE ILLUSION ““Backworld”

DISEASE ILLUSION
“Backworld”
(Ultimhate Records)
Disease Illusion are so new to me that I have no expectations whatsoever about what they’ll sound like. That it is death metal is clear from the first second, well it takes a short intro before it all breaks loose. There is a slight Swedish melodeath feel to the music but with a rawer edge to it. I like that edge. It makes them stand out from all the overly melodic death metal hopefuls we keep encountering. You might have noticed that I have a soft spot for Swedish melodeath and especially for bands that makes me think of early In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. Disease Illusion makes me think of earlier versions of these Swedish metal gods. I can’t help but not to like Disease Illusion. There is something so charming about their death metal that it is hard not to be positively surprised by it. Anders Ekdahl

HOPE DIES LAST “Trust No One”

HOPE DIES LAST
“Trust No One”
(Standby Records)
I might be getting older but I still love metal even if its shape has changed over the years. When I got into it back in the 80s NWOBHM was the thing of the day. Today it is so different with all these different genres to choose from. Italy’s Hope Dies Last sound anything but Italian. Thos could easily be mistaken for an American band. Or for Sweden’s Sonic Syndicate for that matter. This is melodic, modern metal with screamy contra clean vocals. I have no idea what to call this kind of metal but for some reason I like what Hope Dies Last has accomplished. There is something infectious to their metal that I find thoroughly entertaining. I guess that they have found the right balance between aggression and melody for me to dig in deep on their metal dish. Anders Ekdahl

MORDAX “Violence Fraud Treachery”

MORDAX
“Violence Fraud Treachery”
(Ultimhate Records)
Say Danish metal and I sit up and take extra notice. I have only good memories of Danish dynamite. From back in the days to present time. I have not come upon that many bad Danish acts over the years. Partly because I haven’t come upon that many Danish acts period but also because there seems to be a standard to which Danish bands are held that is high. Mordax are no exception. Their death/thrash is up there with the best. This is music with a drive and a soul. While not being the world’s fastest metal band Mordax still manages to work up a sweat. It is refreshing to hear a guitar solo after having heard so many modern metal bands that seems to think that guitar solos are heresy and an abomination. Call this old school if you like. Call it retro. Call it whatever you like. I will still call this good metal. Anders Ekdahl

NIGHTQUEEN “For Queen And Metal”

NIGHTQUEEN
“For Queen And Metal”
(Massacre Records)
I am of the persuasion that if a label is ready to spend money on your music/promotion then you can’t be that bad a band. There is no way that a label like Massacre signs a band with the intention of losing money on it. With than in mind and the fact that I’ve already interviewed Nightqueen I have pretty high expectation on finally getting to hear this album in its proper shape. Call this symphonic metal. Call it female fronted metal. All I know is that this is some pretty cool metal. I like the fact that Nightqueen doesn’t come off too cheesy. It could easily have been a cliché party but they manage to keep it true. There is an atmosphere to this album that keeps reminding me of stuff I like. I find this one hard to resist. Another Belgian band that gets my two thumps up. Anders Ekdahl

SHEAR “Breaking The Silence”

SHEAR
“Breaking The Silence”
(LifeForce Records)
I have nothing but respect for the Finnish metal scene. As with the Swedish I ravel over how many new acts that keeps popping up. It’s like there is a band behind every tree in the Finnish forests. Shear might not have the greatest and most eye-popping name but just by being Finnish you kinda know that this will be, if not great at least good. You gotta hand it to the Finns. They sure know how to play heavy metal. Shear is nothing but heavy metal. Kinda makes me think of Synergy (Kimberly Goss) but I also wander across the Baltic Sea to Sweden and bands like All Ends and One Without that tries to take metal to another level. This is so metal that you need an extra barrel to carry it all. This is just as good as I expected, perhaps a tad better than that too. All in all another top notch metal release from the land of the thousand lakes. Anders Ekdahl

THORNIUM “Dominions Of The Eclipse”

THORNIUM
“Dominions Of The Eclipse”
(Soulseller)
Thornium was one of the first second wave of Swedish black metal bands that I got into. I managed to track down their first album in a local record store and I was so pleased with myself for having found it. The music wasn’t perhaps what I had expected but at that time this whole aggressive black metal style was pretty new to me and it took some time getting used to it. Originally released in 1995 this proved to be a whole different beast to the stuff I was used to. I can’t say that it impressed me that much back then. There was something to it that didn’t strike a nerve in me. I thought it was a bit too primitive in sound. Today I can appreciate it better for what it is. There are some really good tracks on this disc and for most part it is a good black metal album. For a debut it was/is decent. As a testament to a black metal scene in being it serves as a fine document. Anders Ekdahl

Cannibal Corpse – “Torture”

Cannibal Corpse – “Torture” (Metal Blade)

Last of the great old school death metal bands, and still goin with OG’s Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz, this Buffalo crew have boldly gone where others have feared to tread – staying true to that classic death metal style and in doing so earned the respect and admiration of fans the world over as being at the forefront of death metal. Interestingly on “Torture” they have gone right back to their early albums, but befitting their years of experience, instead fine tuned that original style to make songs like ‘Followed Home Then Killed’, ‘Intestinal Crank’ and ‘As Deep As the Knife Will Go’ even more nasty and evil but in a sorta sophisticated way with better musicianship – check out those bone crunching bass runs from Webster and man, George now sounds even more guttural just like Barnes used to, but in his own kinda special way! A big shout must go out to Erik Rutan who has delivered A1 production as per his usual high standard, and really worked these guys to create an album that is uber death metal par excellence – I can’t wait to hear these ditties live cos they will be ripping apart mosh pits! If you wonder how after 24 years these veterans are still able to stand their ground against younger bands then look no further than “Torture”, cos it’s 12 amped up songs from the original so solid crew who still remain true to their hack n slash roots.