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A Dirty Dozen with WITCH TAINT – March 2020

| 31 March 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “From the mean streets of Gary, Indiana by way of Oslo, Norway (or maybe the other way around- we’re not sure) comes Witch Taint, the most extremely extreme and Satanic Norwegian Black Metal band from Indiana ever probably and you can ask anyone. The band’s full-length debut Sons of Midwestern Darkness, recorded entirely in darkness in a damp room that was also annoyingly cold even if you wore a coat and a hat and stuff the whole time, will be released by New York City’s Tee Pee Records on April 10th.” We get the duo to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: This album is actually the culmination of sixteen years of Witch Taint extremely extreme extremity, the vast majority of which involved us doing absolutely nothing, like the trve underground kvlt act we are. Also, we were saving up for ProTools, so that dragged things out a bit too because I was only working part-time at Subway except for a couple weeks where my friend Todd kept calling in sick for some bullshit reason.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: I thought he said his name is Christfucker.

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: That was just his name for LARPing – at Subway we always just called him Todd. Anyway, Witch Taint started with just me in my basement, emailing a Norwegian Black Metal record label in Oslo and asking them for a record contract while borrowing my mom’s computer.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: When he says “them” he really means just me.  Though as both CEO of label, as well as Managing Director, in this sense, I suppose I am a them.

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: You can see how that went by going to Three years ago, Witch Taint began performing live as a duo comprised me, Lance the King of Black Metal, and Matthias Backwards, my Norwegian arch nemesis who I honestly only let in the band because he can drive and almost never gets carded.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: I will soon be at the age of 30!

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: You’d never know it to look at you, Matthias. Anyway, we would read the emails and perform a few songs in between. We did four shows (more than anybody else! Take that, Judas Priest and Mr. Big!) at the Wacken Open Air festival in 2018 and the look of awe-masquerading-as-confusion on people’s faces let us know it was time to make our full-length debut album Sons of Midwestern Darkness a reality so we could spread the sickness far and wide.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: I do not like where this is going, Lance.

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: Don’t worry – when I say the sickness, I am not referring to the “sickness” as sung about by the band Disturbed in secondary and tertiary markets.


LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: Disturbed are a band only small children with a lack of options and horrible parents should listen to. However, if the members of Disturbed are reading this, we will need roadies soon. Please get in touch- while your music is weak, you appear strong and capable of lifting heavy things. Please stay away from catering though. As for our new album, it is the best album. While Norwegian Black Metal is the jumping off point in terms of the sonic assault and also the T-shirts we wore while recording it, I think even the casual listener and even your mother will recognize it as an extremely brutal release that is also very catchy and danceable and perfect to sing along to while getting super hammered on beer your dad will never notice is missing so fuck him. In addition to various metal genres, subgenres, and sub-subgenres, we also included elements of punk, rock, punk rock, and- most importantly- soul and R&B. We also let guys like Chris Reifert from Autopsy, Malphas from Carpathian Forest, and Mykus from Venom make guest appearances on the album because we honestly felt sorry for them and wanted to give them a chance to play some trve heavy metal music for a change, which was pretty cool of us. When we win a Grammy for this album, we will probably just ship the trophies to them because we have no time for shiny things. There are also handclaps, a barking dog, and a song about Canada on the album, so there is that too. Honestly, the first time I listened back to the whole thing, I almost puked. It’s that good.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: We have also lyrics in Latin… well they consist of the entire two words of Latin we know, and admittedly the phrase is also incorporated into English and accounts for only 3/10 of one second of one song.  But any chicks who can spot these Latin lyrics wins a date with the Taint… which might be awkward because when we take out ladies we prefer to forgo idle chit chat and focus entirely upon the grimness of death, which requires silence and heavy thought for most of the evening.  Don’t get us wrong most chicks totally dig it and say they will definitely call us again sometime. This record took us a year to make, mainly because my old laptop is very very slow.  It is from 1996 which is very kvlt and adds special tone to musics like some people say with the analog tape, except this is vintage laptop and much more extreme and depressive than any tapes can be.  But aside from drums everything is recorded in this laptop, and many of the vocals are recorded into the laptop mic, which in part gives this record its extremely brvtal, kvlt and extreme vocal sounds.  We also used only the most vintage, kvlt amplifiers that are so obscure you can barely see them as … well fine, we use only plug-ins but good luck finding out which ones.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: I got into music because it was the only way to express my dark world view. Also, there was a Guitar Center by my house. As for the moment I realized I wanted to be a musician, that had to be after my cousin Terry told me he got a handjob from a waitress at Bennigan’s after he told her he was learning saxophone. I call bullshit that it ever actually happened cuz that fucker took like two lessons tops. But it still got me thinking.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: I first get into musics from business, marketing and promotions side.  I have only scream and play instruments for maybe, well somewhere between 3 and 17 years now  it’s hard to say but I rarely practiced nonetheless or tried at all.  … No, it really is true as hard as it is to believe when you listen to the Taint.  Live I never play instruments because this I feel takes away from the integrity of my recorded performances in bass, guitar, pianos, harpsichord et cetera, where I can spend much time crafting every single measure, every note, piece by piece, sometimes even I punch in pauses.  But live I focus entirely in my screams.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: For me, it all begins with Black Sabbath, who are the best at heavy metal besides us. The early, mid-career, and later work of Lou Rawls was also greatly inspiring. I maintain, however, that while his performance on the Baywatch spinoff series Baywatch Nights was excellent, the show itself was deeply flawed. It is simply not believable that David Hasselhoff could work all day as a lifeguard and then have the energy for detective work at night. Sorry, but you are human like the rest of us, David Hasselhoff. You are only lying to yourself!!! I am also greatly influenced by my dungeon synth side project Summer’s Eve. It is very different from Witch Taint but also eerily similar.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: I only listen to and am influenced only by Witch Taint.  This I feel is very important as an artist to not be influenced at all by outside world. I am in my own, unique musical island or more like musical cave. Only pussies listen to bands other than their own band.  As for specific song that has influenced me I should say any of the selections on the debut Witch Taint album have been highly influential to me. My favorite performer is Matthias Backwards, distant second perhaps Lance the King of Black Metal, but that’s it. Extremely influential of a live show to me was Witch Taint at Wacken, as this is what spawned the recording of what for me is the most influential album ever to influence me as a performer… Witch Taint’s Sons of Midwestern Darkness.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: Evil, despair, the bubonic plague, Black Sabbath, and some reggaeton. Please note italics. If someone reading thinks they can send us just any reggaeton albums to listen to in our downtime they can fuck right off. We only listen to the good shit.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: Witch Taint, Witch Taint, Witch Taint, Witch Taint and Witch Taint… was that 5?

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: Honestly, it would be Matthias Backwards but he is already in the band so that seems like a waste because he would probably be there anyway unless his van breaks down, which is like a 50/50 probability because he refuses to take my advice on starting it regularly in winter months. So I would have to say the late, great Ronnie James Dio. The first minute and nineteen seconds of “Holy Diver” is the greatest piece of music ever recorded in my completely accurate opinion. It would also have been nice to hear what the late Nina Simone might have done with some of our tracks.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: The answer to this question is simple.  Lance the King of Black Metal, and all the people of our live band, La Sinistra, and… Lance, remind me of their names?

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: I would describe it as the best music you can listen to. Or the worst music but in the best possible way. Honestly though, when Fenriz from Darkthrone came to see us in Oslo a couple years ago (true and also trve story!), he compared our music to the legendary Italian metal band Bulldozer and the legendary Canadian metal band Piledriver. Fenriz could have compared us to AXE body spray and the Chernobyl disaster though and we would have been deeply honored. He is the best guy and really the only person on earth whose opinion we have any respect for.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: Many friends all the time has often described our musics as Death Metal, which I find to be totally insulting and ignorant.  Of course by many friends I mean mostly just one or two cousins who actually come to Witch Taint shows and they listen mostly to Broadway show tunes such as Green Day and Alanis Morisette and this kind of bullshit.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: I would have to say the best thing about being a musician is it exposes you to a larger variety of salsas and other backstage dips than most professions unless you work at a Mexican restaurant maybe. And armed with years of salsa experience at this point, I can honestly say salsa with corn, mango, or even black beans in it can suck it. Just stick to the basics with me when it comes to salsa and you will live to see another day. Also, some people make a deal about those blue corn chips but I honestly can’t taste the difference. Fuck you, blue corn chips- you’ve had it too good for too long!

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: I can attest that Lance is very much into salsas, very hot ones, and also Wax Peppers.  The best thing about being a musician is that I no longer have to be CEO and Managing Director of my record label which all things considered, did not sell many, or should I say any, records.  We might or might not be selling records now with Witch Taint but one thing is for sure… we are making them, well at least one, and hopefully a next one in the near future as well.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: Witch Taint does not cook because that would require shopping for groceries. It is hard to be truly black when shopping for groceries, which is why we rarely eat unless we absolutely have to. As for drinking, we often drink mead together by torch light. Or it might be diet Monster Energy Drink. I forget. As for acoustic guitars, my cousin Terry once broke out an acoustic guitar in front of the rest of the band. This is why he is no longer in the band. Fuck you, Terry! And if you ever take the last shrimp again I will kill you!

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: Acoustic guitars are not allowed in our vicinity much like synthesizers. I drink many diet Monsters this is true though my wife… wait can I keep off record that I have two kids and a wife?  Well, my wife no longer lets me drink the diet Monsters.  I also tend to not drink alcoholic beverages as this one time, I don’t know how exactly this happened, but I get into the hospitality rider backstage, over-consume a little, then during the show I guess I tried to get chicks in the crowd to take their tops off and come up on stage, at least so I’ve been told as none of this I remember mind you… suffice it to say, when I eventually woke up the next day and saw photos of the show, there was nothing but a whole bunch of guys stripped down in boxers all over the stage!!How did this happen???  I do not know, but since then, I have been “cut off” as you say in America.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: I am 99% sure I saw Phylicia Rashad, who played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, from behind at Bennigan’s once. Please note, however, that is was not the same Bennigan’s where my cousin Terry claimed to have gotten the handjob. It was a different one where my friend Todd claimed he once drank fifteen Jack and Cokes in a row but I also think this is bullshit. I saw him drink six once and he tried to blow a dog after.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: I would say, and I do not like to get political or anything, but Jimmy McMillan, founder of The Rent is Too Damn High party, was on the street near Mercury Lounge in New York City once, and I basically lost my shit. I took photo with him, and I would show it, but I was not wearing corpse paint that day… sorry.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: Warlord probably. But, like, a seriously long time ago when the outfits and swords were cooler.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: Maybe a blacksmith, or a bailiff or money counter perhaps, or some other Viking job that is one of the unsung Viking jobs, because not all Vikings were warriors you know.  We often forget about the everyday working Viking men and women who put in a hard days work so all of our lives could be easier.  They were really the bread and butter of Viking society and we should honor them especially during these times of Coronavirus.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: One time, while recording our album, Matthias Backwards and I took a break from the session to get wings because they are infernal and you can usually get good deals on them where you get two side orders or whatever at no additional cost. Because we are extreme, we thought the only option was to get the Blazin’ wings at BW3 (This stands for Buffalo Wild Wings!), which are pretty hot but honestly not as hot as the “insanity wings” they had for a while at the same Bennigan’s where my cousin Terry claimed to have gotten the handjob. Anyway, at one point, I went to take a leak and forgot to wash my hands first and almost had to go the the ER. The best part is that Matthias Backwards did the exact same thing like five minutes later. We still laugh about this. Also, I would have never agreed to putting down the deposit on the Knights of Columbus hall we were going to rent for a gig once if I knew they were going to be so uptight about livestock. Fuck you and your hidden fees, Knights of Columbus! Witch Taint can play anywhere and you really fucked up this time!!!

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: Ditto Lance on the wings.  This was a very brvtal day for the Taint.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

LANCE THE KING OF BLACK METAL: Personally, I would go back in time and be there for recording of the first Mercyful Fate record Melissa. Not only is it one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all-time, but you know King Diamond made sure there were awesome candles and torches and shit everywhere during the recording sessions too. Also, there were probably decent snacks and hot chicks there too, I bet. It would have also been awesome to be there for some of the early Beethoven or Mozart sessions and see what kind of bullshit version of ProTools there were forced to deal with in olden times. Also, cool wigs.

MATTHIAS BACKWARDS: This is an easy question to answer:  Witch Taint, Sons of Midwestern Darkness.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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