Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Witchburn Share Their Family Values Of The Hunted
with Tracey Shug

Witchburn at Tracey's feast
Let’s face it. None of us chose to love heavy metal music because we are a part of the “norm.” In fact, if you think about it, most of us metalheads would probably agree that metal chose us. It’s because we don’t fit in or feel right pretending to be a part of the Top 40 hit maker machine. We push back against social standards, forge our own way and don’t give a flying eff about what anyone else thinks. We’ve always chosen our own family of freaks who are tattooed, pierced, hair farmed, leather bound, tight crotched, adorned, and stomping all over you with big black boots. The metal family unit is tight knit, rebellious, defiant and carefree, but at it’s sacred core it’s always been about the music.

Witchburn is one of those bands who take rock n roll persecution seriously. Their name stems from a people who were punished by society for having beliefs that were different from their own. (See Witchburn’s video interview we posted in this issue for an in depth explanation) They are thoughtful and passionate about these beliefs and it’s slathered all over the music they write and perform.

The creative vision of the band was masterminded by porcelain skinned dread-locked beauty, Mischa Kianne. In the mid 2000’s, she was in the band Drop Six but had an idea brewing in her head about the concept of Witchburn. She had riffs, song ideas, lyrics, and heard a specific voice singing those lyrics. One fateful night, Drop Six performed with Hell’s Belles, an all female AC/DC tribute band. The minute Mischa heard front woman Jamie Nova sing, she recognized that voice from her vision. After the show they met and Mischa shared the Witchburn band concept with Jamie. The two clicked immediately and started writing music together.

It’s no wonder Mischa was drawn to her new vocalist and writing partner. Jamie Nova is one hot life force on center stage. She’s got a strong set of iron lungs that drive her pipes soaring and snarling. Torn up t shirt, Marlies Dekkers bra and tight jeans make it hard to take your eyes off her as she wails through their live sets, hair flying and fists pumping. When Drop Six broke up, Witchburn became Mischa’s main focus and she was able to put all of her energy into finding players to join her and Jamie.

When it was decided to have the photo shoot inspired by the bands love of food, wine and all things Spanish, Greenwood’s Gainsbourg came to mind. Its dark, littered with European d├ęcor and is actually quite gorgeous. Newly remodeled after a recent fire, it proved to be a perfect setting for dark hallways, a backroom ensconced in red velvet and a feast fit for heavy metal kings and queens.

The table was filled with fresh meats, including beautiful lush pig hearts, cheeses, bread, fruits, wine and fire. Bassist Jacy Peckham, regal and dreadlocked with a paternal Lion King aura crowned him at the head of the table. Jacy was also a member of Drop Six and when the band broke up, Mischa approached him about playing second guitar. Jacy said he’d sell all of his bass gear to join Witchburn because he’d heard the material they were working on and dug it. When Witchburn’s original bassist left the band, he switched over to his natural instrument where he remains today. The blood force of the band, Jacy’s low end riff’s blend magically with Mischa’s guitar lines. His entire vibe brings a grounding and stable energy to the band, both musically and personally.

Rounding out the table, Dana Sims, busiest drummer in town (he also plays drums for several other rock bands including Plaster, Jet City Fix, Off the Rails – an Ozzy Tribute Band and the Triple Sixes) is the latest arriving member who joined in March of 2009. He met Mischa, Jacy and Jamie well before Witchburn formed and thought them to be talented and amazing people. When he caught wind they were looking for yet another drummer he immediately asked to join the band. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skill to the group as he picked up the drumsticks when he was barely five years old. Hailing from Chicago, he grew up in a family of drummers and was lucky enough to have a mentor who had taken him to clubs at an early age and showed him the ins and outs of the music industry. This influenced him to the point to where he played clubs as a teen and has not stopped since.

I've had the pleasure of spending a significant chunk of time with the band over the last few weeks. I find them to be as thick as thieves and actually enjoy each other’s company. They interact like a functional, creative metal family. It’s very clear upon working with them they have a significant amount of experience with the music business, press and interacting with their fans. In this day and age of social networking and an overabundance of media at everyone’s fingertips, the way they handle themselves is a sparkling example of Band PR 101. One of many reasons for their professionalism is the long and winding rock n roll highway. With four US tours under their belts and last fall’s jaunt to Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, they’ve toured with bands such as Fu Manchu, Steel Panther, Valient Thorr, Zeke and Red Fang.

Jamie, Tracey & Mischa
Their last album, “How We Slay Our Demons” was released in 2010 and produced by Seattle’s legendary “Godfather of Grunge” Jack Endino. The album is filled with song titles you’d expect from a metal band that has swords, skulls, crosses and snakes on it’s schwag like “Bleed the Stone” and “Blood Soaked Banner” and their theme song “The Hunted.” It’s heavy, driving and droning. They’ve been playing a new song live recently that has a bit more of a chunky locomotive feel to it than material on the record. Sounds like a natural progression of a band that clearly works hard and pushes the limits of their musical vision and talents.

Witchburn has many aspirations for the coming year which include recording their second full length album this spring. They plan on hitting the SXSW music festival as well as a US tour and a jaunt back to Europe. I’d imagine their longevity as a band will last for years to come because a family that plays together, stays together!

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