24 Nov 2020
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Hunt The Witch - Interview with Bevan & Jason from Hunt the Witch

23 Apr 2019 // An interview by Steve Shyu

Auckland rock quartet Hunt the Witch have been kicking around the Aotearoa stoner rock/metal scene since 2013, now with one EP down, and a heavy handful of riff-filled singles the guys have a debut LP ready to light on 17th May. Paul T Gheist from Muzic.net.nz had the honour of chatting to guitarist Bevan Carbines and drummer Jason Peters about songwriting, the Kings Arms, and of course, what to expect of their debut full-length release.

First round’s on me - What’ll you be having?

Bevan: Whisky or wine.

Jason: A quality Otago pinot noir or a cheeky lager.

Five words to sum up the sound and style of Hunt the Witch - Go!

Bevan: Sludgy, sonic, melodic, heavy and loud.

What are the key ingredients when it comes to writing a Hunt the Witch tune?

Bevan: Normally I would bring the guys some riffs or a mostly completed structure then Sam would come up with his melody and lyrics and Jason would play what he feels suits the song and offer some structure ideas, it then naturally turns into our sound with everyone doing their thing, we don’t over analyse it and we are all free to do what we feel is right.

What’s Hunt the Witch’s newest single Day Trip to Hell based on? What inspired you to write it?

Bevan: For me, I wrote the riffs and structure a number of years back and it finally found its place in Hunt the Witch, so to see some old ideas not be wasted is a nice thing.

Jason: For the verses the drum pattern is inspired by Shihad's Tom Larkin's Churn era beats, and the chorus has a fluid and open Deftones-vibe. It's a fun track to play on, grunty and straight to the point plus some sweet soaring vocals by Sam in the choruses.

Run us through the recording and mixing process of your debut album Strange Gods - Where was it recorded, how long did it take and who was involved?

Bevan: It was recorded and mixed at The Lab by Olly Harmer. It started a while back in March 2017, we recorded three songs; Afterburner, City of Lights and Thrown to the Wolves while Anthony was still in the band. Fast forward to July 2018 and we finished off the other songs with Jason Clarke on bass who has since also left the band (on great terms, may I say), so it's taken a while, but we have fully self-funded the Album and good, original things do take time. Olly was great to work with as he's really laid-back and knew exactly the sound we wanted.

Jason: We went in to the sessions making sure the tracks were very well rehearsed prior, we pretty much tracked the drums, bass and main guitars down live in one to two takes. We have great performances and wanted to retain a raw, live, vibe which is closer to our live sound and we didn't want to have it too processed or cut to shreds in the computer. Olly got what we were trying to achieve straight off and was very good at dialling in the sounds quickly and consistently. He’s laid-back like us, so everything flowed very nicely. It was a fun and productive process all round.

What’s your most memorable experience to date playing in Hunt the Witch?

Bevan: For me playing a show at The Kings Arms just before it closed for good with some cool bands and finishing off our album, which faced a number of obstacles and challenges to get it finished.

Jason: A gig we played at Whammy with Dead Favours and His Master's Voice was awesome, we all played a mean set and the crowd responded to our energy. It was always fun to play the Kings Arms as well. Mark would always give bands a killer mix no matter what their status was. Recording at Roundhead Studios for the Into The Black EP was very cool and getting our first self-funded full-length album finally completed was also a great achievement for us.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Bevan: Obviously this isn't personal advice, but it's always resonated with me. Kurt Cobain said “Punk rock should mean freedom, liking and excepting anything that you like. Playing whatever you want, as sloppy as you want, as long as it's good and it has passion.”

Jason: Never play what you think your audience wants. Write and play for yourselves first with passion and conviction and then it will always come across as real and authentic.

Which band or artist in the entirety of music history would you most like to open for?

Bevan: The Doors

Jason: Soundgarden or Alice In Chains

Care to comment on the current state of New Zealand hard rock/heavy metal? Where do you see it headed in the next five years?

Bevan: It’s a really hard road and takes a lot of resilience and determination to keep going and it helps to focus on the people who encourage you. There are some great new bands out there, but the lack of suitable venues is becoming - and will continue to be - a big problem.

Jason: It’s changed considerably since my first go at it in the 90’s with Pumpkinhead. Now social media and technology play a big part in building your audience which can be quite a challenge at times. Add to the mix streaming over physical products and it can be quite difficult to be heard amongst the plethora of bands now available in the digital universe. Nothing beats getting out there and playing live and networking with your peers to build a healthy music scene though, where it’s all about supporting one another to build a collective of great local rock bands for audiences here AND internationally to enjoy.

Who are your favourite New Zealand artists/bands right now?

Bevan: Beastwars and His Master's Voice - The Devil's Blues.

Jason: Arc of Ascent and City of Souls.

Past the release of your upcoming album, what else is on the horizon for Hunt the Witch?

Bevan: A mini North Island tour and the opportunity to get our music out there and for people to be able to see us live.

Jason: We are looking forward to playing in new centres here in New Zealand that haven’t yet experienced "The Witch" live, then we’d be keen to push our sound across the ditch to Australia and beyond.

Strange Gods by Hunt the Witch will be out 17 May 2019. Follow and Like their Facebook page, and keep an eye out for tour dates!

 

About Hunt The Witch

Auckland band Hunt The Witch began when Bevan Carbines (guitar) and Anthony Lakin (bass) started jamming on ideas in 2013 where a solid foundation of heavy sonic riffs were laid.

Jason Peters (drums and formally of Pumpkinhead) joined a while later and they continued to write songs as a three piece.

The last ingredient required was vocals and so Sam Whitley entered into the fray, whose vocal range, personality and writing abilities were the glue needed to complete the line up, from the first rehearsal it was crystal clear that the line up was going to work well together.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hunt The Witch

Releases

Strange Gods
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Into The Black
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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