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A Dirty Dozen with MARCUS and JOEL from WITCHSKULL – April 2020

| 18 April 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “The skies are dark. The atmosphere is thick with dread. The future looks bleak. Only pure, red-blooded heavy fucking metal can save us now. Belching effortlessly classic and crushing anthems from the riffian depths, with all the power and panache of Black Sabbath at their peak, Witchskull return in 2020 to stir our souls once again.  Witchskull will release their new album A Driftwood Cross April 24th via Rise Above Records. Eight neck-threatening explosions from the pitch-black Sabbathian hearts of three diehard artisan riff-makers, A Driftwood Cross places Witchskull firmly at the forefront of the amorphous scene they emerged from. With burgeoning mortal threats looming over us all, the only path to salvation is through the sound of distorted guitars and tectonic rumble. Heavy music for heavy times. Suddenly, the future looks a little brighter.” We get Marcus and Joel 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?

Marcus: Our new album is a natural continuation of our previous ones. Always just trying to explore different grooves, within the framework of our down tuned stripped back approach. On this new album we started adding textures and took some chances, always very subtly though. An amazing vocalist we know (Maggie Rachel Lockhart) helped out on a couple of songs, and having her voice really enabled us to take it to the next level. On some of the solo’s there is a lap slide supporting underneath some of the bends, which gives the note a lot more weight.

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

Marcus: I always knew I wanted to be a musician from 5, but I messed around with sport until 12. But then hearing Sabbath was like a light bulb going off just turned 13.

Joel: I knew from a young age I wanted to play in a band, but age 13 was my turning point too after hearing Motörhead. They changed my life.

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

Marcus: Well hearing the song “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and how that had such a huge effect on me. I love 70’s Judas Priest, Unleashed In The East was a massive album for me.

Joel: I heard No Sleep til Hammersmith blasting from my brother’s room age 13. It stopped me dead in my tracks, it was the best thing I had ever heard in my life and set me on a path I never got off.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Marcus: I’m very influenced by Sabbath, They’re the pioneers. Also Jimmy Page, Hendrix and St Vitus. And Wino is a big influence on me.

Joel: I probably need that for each decade, but my all-time faves would probably be Motörhead, AC/DC, Sabbath, Priest, Venom?

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

Marcus: Tony Iommi of course. To have him play on a song would be the ultimate.

Joel: Hard to go past Iommi… We did try and get Fast Eddie to produce the last album, but he respectfully declined. Would have been amazing to have him on an album.

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?

Marcus: We like to describe ourselves as the glue sniffing bastard child of Sabbath and Motörhead. I can’t think of anything negative, everybody has been cool to us.

Joel: I think there is an element of mongrel and feralness in most Australian heavy bands. We have been called heaps of different things genre wise but we haven’t been fully pigeon holed yet.

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

Marcus: Best thing about being a musician is the satisfaction that you get from writing songs. And you can’t buy it with money.

Joel: Meeting people and hanging with friends we’ve met through playing all these years. I never get sick of playing interstate shows and catching up with friends and bands.

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?

Marcus: We usually just hang out at the rehearsal room and work on tunes.

Joel: During the last recording Tony did the cooking of an evening which was good. He also supplied the whiskey.

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

Marcus: I don’t really get star struck. I probably would though if I seen Kate Bush.

Joel: I was amazed when Fast Eddie replied to my message about producing our last album. He was apologetic that he couldn’t do it and very humble. He said to let him know if there was anything he could do, to just ask. He is my favourite musician of all time so the fact he even replied to our request was incredible for me. May he rest in peace.

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

Marcus: My dream job would be to work with animals.

Joel: Maybe run a small vintage guitar store?

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?

Marcus: I can’t think of anything, Obviously that’s half the things in my life. I always been very committed to what I do and just stuck to the same thing.

Joel: Nothing for me. I am completely happy with everything I have done musically.

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?

Marcus: Hanging with Sabbath on their Paranoid album. Watching Iommi play “Iron Man.”

Joel: Overkill or Powerage… Both albums are everything real deal music is supposed to be.





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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