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Esben and the Witch Interview February 2017 Brighton Hope And Ruin

  • brighton

  • 17 Feb 2017

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Esben and the Witch Interview February 2017 Brighton Hope And Ruin

Formed in Brighton around 2008, Esben and the Witch are an energetic and dramatic 3-piece. Last year they moved their base camp to Berlin. We caught up with Thomas from the band before their show at Brighton's Hope & Ruin on Wednesday 22nd February to find out what they've been up to recently, including the release of their latest record, Older Terrors

There are still just a few tickets available for the Brighton show so snap one up fast before it sells out! - BUY ESBEN AND THE WITCH TICKETS

Can you tell us a little bit about your musical journey so far?

Well we started out in Brighton about eight or nine years ago. Musically speaking we began more electronically and have gradually stripped away a lot of these elements, replacing drum machines with live drums, looped synths with loud guitars and generally peeling away the layers. Inspiration has always come from books, nature, films and travel. We have always been interested in setting harshness and intensity alongside more fragile, gentle moments, working with these extremes. I'd describe it as dark, heavy rock music shot through with elements of hope and light.

I believe you moved to Berlin in 2015. Are you still based there? What is the music scene like there?

Yes, indeed. I think it's fair to say we have found a certain kinship here in the metal community. We don't play metal of course but there seems to be a certain affinity, certain qualities our music contains that resonate with this crowd. There is a great scene of DIY promoters and venues all over Germany, like Wir Sind Die Toten, who we've collaborated with and great bands like Sun Worship and Ultha who we've shared stages and recorded music with. 

You're about to begin a UK and European Tour. How do you plan which cities and venues to play?

Generally we are guided by where we get offers to play and cities where we know people. We booked this tour ourselves so it was a combination of these two things really. We want to try and play as far and wide as we can, at least as much as we can figure out around the day jobs that is. Touring is a real pleasure for us and we do as much as we can.

Tell us about your latest record, Older Terrors. Are you pleased with it?

Yes, I think we achieved what we set out to do with it. It consists of four long tracks, each designed to be able to stand alone and tell its own story. We had decided before we started writing that we wanted to explore this idea. We also wanted to track it live like we did with A New Nature to keep the looseness that comes with that whilst reintroducing a bit of the atmosphere and reverb that we've used in the past. As we've been preparing the live show for tour I've started to see it as a partner piece to A New Nature and a summation of how far we've come. 

What effect have streaming services such as Spotify had on the distribution of your music?

Well lots of people listen to our music online now! I'm fine with that, I think it's amazing how many people in far flung places the internet allows you to reach. We also spend a lot of time designing the physical releases. It's important to us to make these artifacts feel special, that are worth owning even when the music can be heard for free. That's why we spend so much time on the imagery that they contain and the design itself. To try and put a bit of ourselves into each of them, whether that be physically hand-assembling them as is the case with the acoustic EP we made recently or Rachel making some drawings for the sleeve, things like that.

What was your favourite album from 2016?

Probably Rheia by Oathbreaker.

What are your plans for 2017 - any festival appearances set for the summer?

Touring! We have two tours already organised and are planning another for the Autumn. We will be playing festivals over the summer as well. Roadburn is first in April, which we are very honoured to have been invited to. Also, Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipzig for a second time, which is a wonderful festival. Many others still to be announced too. 

As you formed in Brighton, do you have any plans when you're back during the tour?

Well, we were going to go to The Evening Star but Daniel tells me it'll be closed while we're there. Wherever we end up it'll be nice to see some old faces and some familiar haunts. Brighton will always be a special place to us.

Finally, it's coming up to 10 years since you first got together. Is there anything special to mark the occasion in the pipeline?

There really isn't! I feel lucky to have spent this long making music and seeing the world with these two people and it feels like we still have so much to explore. I'm sure we'll raise a glass or two in honour of that... It doesn't take much for us to crack out the beers, we've raised our glasses in honour of far less!

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