Interview with Andreas Cadaver of Dread Witch and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
AC: Dread Witch is a really heavy, really doomy and really sludgy five piece band. Dread Witch is all about atmosphere, gloom, apathy, crushing walls of guitar, bass, vocals and drums, blissful, serene moments and the juxtaposition of these elements within the structures of the individual songs to create Boschian sonic landscapes using all the colors of the dark.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
AC: I was born in a town called Skanderborg in the Eastern part of Jutland, Denmark. I started learning guitar when I was 14 and played in a band called Poe’s Raven in high school with Mikael, our lead singer, who’s also from Skanderborg. Poe’s Raven was a weird 90s mix of grunge, metal, pop and easy listening.
In my early 20s, I moved to Copenhagen. I wasn’t really playing guitar at that point. Then, in 2019, my wife and I moved back to Jutland, to Aarhus, and I joined a band that would later evolve to become Stone Cadaver, my previous band, this time handling bass duties. Stone Cadaver has released two albums of 70s inspired stoner metal, “Reject Remove Replace” and “Memento Mori, Motherfucker”. Definitely worth checking out!
In 2021, I started writing the songs that would eventually turn into “Tower of the Severed Serpent” and now it’s 2023, I’m 42 and life’s pretty good!
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
AC: I’ve been interested in music ever since I started thinking for myself, really, which was when I was about 14, I think. Before that I just listened to whatever, but from around 13-14 I discovered bands and artists like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and later, in high school, I got into metal and was blown away by bands like Strapping Young Lad and Devin Townsend, Sepultura, Morbid Angel, Fear Factory to name but a few.
As I grew older, I started feeling a pull towards a slower, heavier kind of music and started listening to Electric Wizard a lot, Black Sabbath, and later Conan, With the Dead and so forth. All these bands have influenced me immensely on various levels.
I’m also a huge horror and cult movie freak with a particular penchant for Italian exploitation movies from the 70s and 80s. The soundtracks and aesthetics of many of these movies by directors such as Lucio Fulci, Umberto Lenzi and other mainstays have also influenced me quite a bit.
I don’t write about horror stuff, though. I was in a somewhat dark place when I wrote “Tower of the Severed Serpent”, and most of the lyrics, I realize now, are attempts at describing how I felt back then. Many of the lyrics I wrote for Stone Cadaver’s “Reject Remove Replace” and, especially, “Memento Mori, Motherfucker” deal with anti-consumerism and mental enslavement, I guess you could say, which are two subjects I keep coming back to for some reason. However, I always have to post-rationalize my lyrics as I rarely have any idea what the hell I’m actually writing about. Luckily, I’m quite happy with how the lyrics for “Tower of the Severed Serpent” turned out in the end.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
AC: I’m on a quest to create something that I can look back on when I’m an old fart and say “well, you may not have made a dent in the world, but at least I married a beautiful woman, had a beautiful son and made some decent music (or tried to at least)”. That’s really it, I think.
Maybe I’m just trying to prove to myself that I’m not completely hopeless.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
DW: I would say that “Tower of the Severed Serpent” is the proudest moment so far. I’ve spent a lot of time on those songs and being able to listen to the album in its entirety with that awesome mix by Tue Madsen, those awesome drums by Dennis, those insane, wicked vocals by Mikael and that amazing, occult artwork by Branca Studio, well, it’s a really weird and really wonderful thing. The album sort of lives outside myself, I’ve externalized it in some strange way, and sometimes I have to remind myself that I wrote those songs. It no longer feels like a part of me. Don’t know if that makes any sense. In any case, “Tower of the Severed Serpent” is the crowning achievement of my “career” so far.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
AC: I’ll be honest and say that promoting, booking, networking etc. is not really my cup of tea,which is putting it mildly. It’s a necessary evil, though. Without promotion you will drown in the cataclysm of bands and releases flooding the internet these days.
With Stone Cadaver we did everything ourselves, never paid anyone a dime to promote us. This time, however, I decided to pour some money into it. Not a huge amount, just a bit, to see what would happen. It has definitely made things easier, so it’s something I recommend doing if you can spare the expense!
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
AC: Currently, we handle booking and gig promotion ourselves. We are planning to play some shows in Denmark this year. Everything is still in the works, though, and I haven’t really got a lot to tell, I’m afraid.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
AC: I am kind of torn, to be honest. I don’t have a problem with streaming sites like Spotify, we only stream at home, and I like to listen to albums, which I can do all day thanks to streaming. I love albums, “Dark Side of the Moon”, “Houses of the Holy”, “Sabotage”, “A Passion Play”, “Atom Heart Mother”, all those great masterpieces that you never grow tired of. That’s what I grew up on. However, this age is an age of singles and playlists comprised of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of singles by a gazillion different artists and kids today aren’t really too bothered with who made what when. They use music in a completely different way than me and my friends did as teenagers. Music seems less important to kids these days. It’s readily available everywhere at all hours at the click of a button. Saving up to buy one record a month is ancient history. I know I might be wrong and I know that, yet again, I sound like an old, old man, but streaming and downloading has definitely changed the way we consume music and not always for the better, I think. It has made music less of a personal experience in a way.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
AC: The first song that comes to mind is “Roots Bloody Roots” by mighty Sepultura. I’ve always been in love with that song on account of its extreme simplicity. Hell, the iconic main riff is only two notes, god dammit, but it’s easily one of the catchiest, most enjoyable riffs in the history of metal! It’s a very pure and honest song because it doesn’t try to be anything other than catchy and fucking groovy. Sepultura didn’t give a damn about being technical on that album. They just wanted to be low tuned, dirty, groovy and killer and “Roots Bloody Roots” is the perfect amalgamation of all of those things and one of the best metal songs ever.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
AC: I’m not exactly pleased with the money grabbing mentality fueling a lot of mainstream labels. Extreme amounts of mass produced mindless crap are spewed onto the market every day and many people lap it up without ever questioning its artistic merits (or lack thereof). That bothers me. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t listen to mainstream music or anything, I’m just saying that it seems like a lot of people today don’t really question the stuff they consume. I might be prejudiced, I don’t know, but that’s how it seems to me. So, yeah, if I were the head of a large music company I’d work actively to cultivate a demand for less superficial kinds of mainstream music. I mean, in the 70s, jazz fusion bands like Return to Forever and Weather Report toured the world and played stadiums and sold thousands of albums to a hungry audience! Being a nostalgic geezer, I’d love to help bring times like that back!
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
AC: I’m busy promoting “Tower of the Severed Serpent”, networking, writing emails and stuff like that. It’s not really something I love doing, but it has to be done. In between, when not spending time with my wife and son, I work on new material for what might, hopefully, turn into a follow up to “Tower of the Severed Serpent”.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
AC: We have profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp etc. and you can check out those places for news and other stuff. Also, don’t hesitate to drop us an email if you have any questions!
With regard to merch there’s not yet a whole lot available. We have a few t-shirts we might put up for sale via Bandcamp, but right now there’s no other merchandise available anywhere. I’ve been funding everything out of my own pocket so far, and additional merchandise is not currently an option, I’m afraid
Dread Witch links:
Band/Artist location – Aarhus, Denmark
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