All Them Witches Interview: “We Aren’t Very Savvy Businessmen”

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All Them Witches Interview

New Album Dying Surfer Meets His Maker Is Out Now Via New West.

You know, All Them Witches is the perfect name for this Nashville based quartet. There is something undeniable supernatural and otherwordly in their gloriously exploritory amalgamation of pysch, stoner, blues, and folk. Their latest album, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, sees the band creating their most coherent and ambitious collection yet. To celebrate they are heading on on their first tour of the UK and Europe. And it is sold out. But you know head down to gigs anyway. Sneak in the back door. Pretend to be with the band. Do whatever you can. See them live.

UK Tour Dates

February
28 London, The Lexington SOLD OUT
29 Manchester, Gullivers SOLD OUT

March
1 Glasgow, King Tuts
2 London, The Lexington SOLD OUT

Overblown:​ Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. The album was inspired by vocalist/bassist Charles Parks’ experiences while spending the winter in Elmgrove, Louisiana. What brought Charles to Elmgrove? What was inspiring about the locale?

All Them Witches: You can call him Parks. He’s from Louisiana so he went to his grandmother’s old house to watch over it for the winter. He brought his guitars and some tape recorders to pass the time, and Elmgrove is pretty small and isolated so naturally he spent a lot of time writing songs. We actually all visited that house later, and the vibe there was pretty unique to Louisiana. Pine trees and swamps and old chicken coops.

O: You have stated that you never play a song the same way twice. Has this approach ever fallen flat on its face?

ATW: Yes, plenty of times. Let’s not talk about it.

O:​ I imagine it can also lead to transcendent moments while playing live. Can you recall any?

ATW: We have transcendent moments during every show. But we just had an awesome show in Tel Aviv, and we played some old songs for the first time in 2 years. The crowd helped make it happen, and the two local bands (The Great Machine, Tiny Fingers) were some of the best bands we’ve ever played with, so the energy level was high.

O: The album artwork is pretty psychedelic. Who created the artwork? What is the inspiration behind it?

ATW: God created the artwork. God inspired it. Robby (Staebler, drums) was the vessel.

O: Robby Staebler’s brother Jason created the music video for ‘Open Passageways’. Was it rewarding to keep the project ‘in the family’?

ATW: Of course it was. That’s our favourite video now. Chad Van Gaalen’s is great but we’ve never met him, and we have been deeply connected with Jason for years. He even played guitar with us for a while, so he is practically part of the band. Everything Jason touches turns to gold.

O: ‘El Centro’, from the new album, is named for a “rowdy show performed in El Centro, California”. Can you tell us more about this show?

ATW: We played a show on Halloween in El Centro, which is in the California desert, near Mexico. There were a few dozen people crammed into a tiny bar, and we were the only band so we just played all night. From the very beginning, we started doing weird stuff, and making up entire songs on the fly. That was magic. Thankfully we recorded the set, maybe we’ll share it someday.

O: You self-release a lot of your music (Live at the Garage, A Sweet Release, Effervescent). Is it important for you to remain somewhat independent? Why?

ATW: Because we are impulsive and unprofessional. And we aren’t very savvy businessmen. Our music is about creating and sharing. It’s important to make the stuff available. Our label (New West) understands that not everything needs to be part of an album these days. They’re great.

O:​ From reading about you guys, I can see that you often get labelled as a ‘stoner’ band. However, I think the band is far more expansive than that. Do you find that you are sometimes pigeonholed? Is that frustrating?

ATW: We get that a lot but it’s OK. We haven’t really felt pigeonholed, because we still just make whatever we make, and play whatever we play. Some people think it’s stoner, some people think it’s psych, some people call it the blues. We aren’t really sure what it is, but it’s some sort of music. At some point you have to start using descriptors, and that’s part of the ride. And stoner rock fans appreciate whatever we’re doing, so it’s far from frustrating, it’s liberating.

O: You have a European tour on the horizon with UK dates at The Lexington, Gullivers, and King Tuts. Have you played those venues before? Should we expect any surprises in terms of material you plan to play?

ATW: We have never even left North America before, so this is a new and exciting time. We are pretty pumped, so yes there will be surprises all around. See you out there.

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