Wytch Hazel on their first ever show in Greece at Into Battle Festival, on 22-23 September at Kyttaro Club - Athens promise a special night to be remembered for sure!
Read bellow our kind chat with Colin Hendra, singer, guitarist and main songwriter who introduces the band and prepare for a unique experience!
RockOverdose: First of all my sincere congratulations for your fourth album. I honestly believe it’s the best work you have offered so far, without underestimating the worth of the previous ones. How do you see it after being completed and which are your thoughts?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): Thanks very much! Yes, I’m pretty pleased with it and it’s had a lot of really positive feedback which is really nice. I feel like the sound is very reflective of where we’ve been the past few years in terms of the overall feel of the album.
RockOverdose: Your albums take about two to two and a half years to be released. Is it something you have in mind beforehand so you can give space to each release or just a coincidence? How is a Wytch Hazel song born most of the times?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): I’m always writing to be honest – some of the delay just comes down to practicalities. For example we tend to only record during the school summer holidays in August, so the material has to be ready before we book a recording session! I would personally like to be releasing more often however, I think it’s possible to release too often, I don’t think it benefits bands in our genre to release more than one album a year.
RockOverdose:Needless to say, you have quickly been considered as one of the best band of the latest years from your early days and we see that growing on people as years pass by. Is there a “secret” on what you do or do you just let it loose without thinking about it too much?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): Well that’s very kind of you to say. I think the only ‘secret’ or perhaps the most overlooked thing about Wytch Hazel is how close we work with our producer Ed Turner. He really brings a lot to the table and he has very high standards – we like it that way! He’s very involved in the process right from the first demos through heavy pre-production, engineering and of course mixing and producing the whole record. In terms of songwriting, I try my best not to over think it!
RockOverdose: I believe that despite the songs being great already, your voice matures in each release even more and especially on “IV: Sacrament” we listen to your best version so far. Do you have a way to protect it or practice specially to achieve the final result?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): To be honest – it was really hard doing vocals this time round! I remember Sojourn and Pentecost being a much easier vocal recording process. I’m working a lot more on my vocals at the moment – I don’t know if it’s me getting older or something but I don’t have the stamina I used to! I think some of the harmonies were a bit closer in volume to the main the vocal this time round so you can sort of ‘hear the harmonising’ a bit more which I like. Ed did a really good job on vocal editing because I did a lot of let’s say ‘below average’ vocal takes for this album!
RockOverdose: While the first two albums are special on their own, do you consider what most say, that “III: Pentecost” took the band to the next level and “IV: Sacrament” continues in its path? How easy can it be to evolve while staying loyal to your roots?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): Yes I would agree – Pentecost really was a step up for us in many ways. I think that the evolving happens on its own; staying loyal to my roots is something I’ve definitely decided on! It’s nice when the sound evolves, I don’t really feel like I have a lot of control of what the next song is going to sound like!
RockOverdose: With Andrew Shackleton in his second album with the band, you all sound more tied and with a special chemistry between you. Is it a result of getting to know each other better? Do you believe a bond between members can raise the final result in the end?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): I do actually yes – I think that’s one of the special things about bands, we grow together as musicians and learn to communicate musically together. It’s special because you wouldn’t get that same opportunity if you were playing solo all the time. Andy is a really solid player and probably practices the most out of all of us! We all work pretty hard but Andy rarely makes a mistake - not many that I notice at least! It was interesting this time because I was drumming along to Andy and Alex in the studio, which is a very different experience than playing Guitar.
RockOverdose: It would be really interesting to know how you got to love music in general and what was your motive in creating your own band. Also, having a band being praised as special nowadays, which newer bands would you recommend to people that might prove special to them as Wytch Hazel did?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): I grew up surrounded by music to be honest. My family is musical and I’ve pretty much always been involved in music at church so I think that has had a big impact on me. Learning the drums at age 6 definitely helped to introduce me to rock music early on. I remember my drum teacher making a cassette mix tape for me which included Golden Earring, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins and Queen. My mum also introduced me to her music and encouraged me to explore listening to different styles. I remember her taking me to buy some CDs to try out. Newer bands-wise I would recommend: Phantom Spell, Seven Sisters, Spell, Hallas, Night Flight Orchestra. All those are really worth checking out if you haven’t already!
RockOverdose: Allow me to consider the band and its albums as something spiritual and uplifting for the mood in general. It’s not about religion, though I’m a Christian myself too, but a very positive aura pouring from what you do. How do you see it as a composer yourself?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): The way I see it is pretty simple: it’s my musical expression. I don’t really like to think of it as manufacturing in any way but more of an outpouring of myself. The music just ends up sounding ‘uplifting’ a lot of the time – not always though! I think that’s the influence of listening to other music, coming through the songwriting in a natural way. The Christian aspect to the music is more of a natural one too. I write about what’s important to me. It’s as simple as that in my mind. The stage outfits are more explicit though, but that’s just a lot of fun really – I like to play with the theme and I want us to look unique. I do prefer music that uplifts than laments in general but I think there’s and time and place for lamenting music, even in the Wytch Hazel story.
RockOverdose: Sometimes people tend to overreact but in the case of Greece, I can assure you the band was welcomed rather warmly from the first album straight. How do you feel you’re going to visit us and what should the fans expect from your show? Any chance to bring your albums on the merch, as they can’t be found that easily?
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): We’re really excited to be there and that’s great to hear that we’ve had a good reception in the Greek scene already! We will most definitely be bringing our records yes, along with some other merch items including some new patches! We have prepared a nice long headline set for the show, including some songs we haven’t played since February!
RockOverdose: I would like to thank you for your time and for your amazing albums so far. What does the future hold for Wytch Hazel, which are some of your dreams that you would like them to come true and which are your incoming future plans? Take care and stay safe.
Colin Hendra (Wytch Hazel): It’s a pleasure. Our plans are to release music in a similar way that we have been but a little more often. We’ve got plans for collaborating and single releases and a special surprise this year. Also 2024 is looking really exciting in terms of shows and festivals and we’re growing our fan club!