“…a little bit of satanic stuff here and there never hurts”
Interview by Jason Guest
Hi Andreas. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. To begin, can you give a brief history of the band, how you formed, and what drew you together to form Purple Hill Witch?
We started jamming together in 2010, I think. Originally we were actually trying to play some thrash tunes that I wrote a long time ago, but our fingers didn’t move quite fast enough I guess, so we started doomin’ instead, hehe!
Where does the band name come from? What inspired it? Does it have a particular meaning?
One of the first songs we ever wrote was ‘Purple Hill Witch’, we thought it had a good vibe to it, I guess it just felt natural for us. Listen to the song and maybe you’ll see what it’s all about.
Who are the band’s main influences? And how have they informed the band’s sound?
Besides obvious influences such as Black Sabbath and Pentagram, we take a lot of inspiration from the early NWOBHM bands (Witchfinder General, Angel Witch and Diamond Head to name a few). But we all really listen to all kinds of different music, so I guess everything from Creedence to Sarcofago could be on this list, hehe. Soundwise we wanted it to be raw and dirty, yet somehow groovy and “charming”. The best way to make this happen was obviously to record it live!
Are there any influences outside of music for Purple Hill Witch (literature, art, etc.)? And how do they inform the lyrics and music?
Of course all the old horror stuff, HP Lovecraft is a great inspiration. All kinds of weird, trippy, horror, drug-fueled movies, stories and art. And space, of course, haha.
Is there a theme, a concept, or a philosophy that underpins Purple Hill Witch’s music?
No, not really. We’re just jammin’ out sinister doom tunes, that’s all! It’s not like we’re fronting any obscure religious or political views or anything like that, but a little bit of satanic stuff here and there never hurts, hehe. All jokes aside though, having stupid lyrics about bad break up’s, fast cars or how Jesus loves us all just wouldn’t fit in with the music, you know.
Does the album (reviewed here) mark a progression for the band since your 2013 Alchemy EP?
When we did the Alchemy EP, we basically picked the two newest that we had back then. In other words, the album contains both older and newer songs (mostly newer, though) than the ones on the EP. With that being said, I think the album does mark a huge progression both performance and soundwise. Like I said, the album was recorded live which makes it sound way more dynamic and groovy!
What are the lyrical themes on the album, and where does inspiration come from?
We write about all kinds of different stuff, really. Mostly weird, fictional stories that fits in with the atmosphere of the music somehow. ‘Karmanjaka’ is actually based upon a children’s book (written by swedish author Astrid Lindgren) called The Brothers Lionheart, while both ‘Queen of the Hill’ and the title track is about the aforementioned witch.
When you were writing for this album, did you have an idea of what you wanted it to sound like or did this take shape as it was being developed?
Definitely the latter. We didn’t set out to play a certain type of doom, nor did we try to sound like any particular band. When we first started writing songs, I don’t think that we even had an album in mind. Through a four year period, we just wrote all kinds of different songs, and like I said, the album contains both «old» and new ones. This is quite cool though, since the album kinda shows how we have changed over the (not so many) years.
How does the band write? Is there one main writer or do you jam ideas out in rehearsal?
Usually one of us has an initial idea (or riff), and then we jam it out together. When we first get started, it usually happens really fast! I think it’s important to keep that spontaneous vibe to it all, too much nitpicking is often bad, as it tends to ruin much of the good charm and groove.
The tracks feature a lot of jams. Are these completely improvised or do you have a loose structure that you stick to? And when you’re jamming, what are you listening for from each other?
Absolutely! Many of the longer instrumental parts are pure jams. Andreas (our bass player) is like an unstoppable train of groove when it comes to these things, and the other two of us are just trying to tag along the best we can, hehe.
The album’s artwork is very intriguing. Who designed it? And what drew you to them for the artwork? How much direction did you give them in the design?
The cover painting is made by Kristian Valbo (drummer of Obliteration and Spectral Haze). He’s a good friend of ours, and he knew exactly what kind of thing we were going for, so that’s why we asked him. As for directions, we basically sent him the lyrics for ‘The Final Procession’ and said “paint this!”
What does the act of creating music mean to Purple Hill Witch?
It’s all about having fun, really! That’s about all there is to it, I guess.
Which format do you prefer, vinyl, CD, or digital download? And why?
I think we all prefer vinyls because of their great sound and cool, big covers! I also find the act of physically putting on a record (whether it’s a vinyl or CD) and play it in its entirety pretty cool for some reason. I never download music, but I spend a lot of time checking out new bands on YouTube.
Any touring plans for the support of the album? And will we be seeing you in the UK?
We are working on a Iberic tour this November (Portugal, Spain and maybe France). And we are hoping to sort out something in rest of Europe too. We would love to play in the UK, though! Book us, and we’ll be there with bells on!
What does the future hold for Purple Hill Witch? Early days I know as the album is set to be released on 27 June, but is there more music in the works?
Absolutely! We already have three or four songs ready for our next album! We’re not rushing anything though, so we won’t start recording until we have enough übercool songs! First we’re gonna do some shows and festivals here in Norway, then we’ll see what happens.
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Rock hard, ride free!