Friday 18 January 2013

Interview with WIHT

The Harrowing of the North cover art

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing WIHT - the amazing UK Psych Rock/Post-Rock/Stoner Rock/Ambient/Post-Metal collective who sadly split up in 2012.

I featured these guys back in Sept 2011 when they released their superb last release - The Harrowing Of The North.

Why am I interviewing a band that is sadly no longer with us. Well I saw these guys in Oct 2011 supporting YOB in Leeds. And they saved the fucking day as their was some serious equipment malfunction issues from the other bands. And WIHT lent the other bands their equipment. Even when the gig went on till 12:20am the following morning.

They even got praise and applause from the other 3 bands in attendance - Dark Castle, KONGH and the legendary YOB.

Their 2nd amazing album - The Harrowing Of The North is being released on Vinyl with an unreleased track in Feb 2012 via Devouter Records.

So I am really pleased the guys have said yes to this interview. So lets get down to business with WIHT.

Q1 - Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you Today.

Joe:Very good thanks; last day of work before the festive break!

This interview is a very good way to pass the time!

Chris: All good thank you boss, embracing this festive period!

Q2 - For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about. Can you tell us why the band sadly split

J: Well the three of us are long-time mates, all grew up in Kirkstall, Leeds and have been in bands together since we could play. (Although whether we could play back then is debatable, heh). We'd spent a few years apart, musically, until we jammed together. Something clicked when we did so, so we just we'd give it a go again… And Wiht was born.

The three years we were together were unbelievable! We played with some incredible bands, played some amazing cites and venues, and met some really wicked people in the process, who we will keep in touch with indefinitely.

The reason we disbanded was nothing more than family and work commitments really. But as you can see, it isn't easy keeping us quiet! With a brand new un-released track ready for all you lovely fans. We like to think of this time apart as a break.

Q3 - How would you describe your sound as you have packed a lot of genres in your music.

J: Not really sure how to describe our sound, so when I get asked I just say we're a psychedelic rock band, as it's easier than to note each genre we draw from. I think the reason we're so diverse is down to our own individual music taste. I tend to listen to a fair bit of a psychedelic music and doom. Chris tends to enjoy post rock and metal, and Rick sways towards early prog bands.

Q4 - Which bands and artists influenced you directly as musicians.

J: The bands that do things a little differently to most… heh. Bands such as King Crimson, Earth, Sleep, Alexander Tucker, Hawkwind, Black Sabbath Pink Floyd, Portishead. The list goes on and on…

Q5 - Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

J: We're very far from full time musicians to be honest. We just play as a hobby. I think it's quite difficult to make any real money from playing music nowadays. (Your own music anyway). Although it would be nice.

I work in print and design, Chris is in restaurant management, and Rick is studying for a landscape architecture degree, basically a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll debauchery!!

Q6 - Are your family and friends supportive of your choice of career.

J: They are all very supportive of us being in bands, yes. Certain family members used to attend the Wiht shows, they dig the records, wear the shirts etc… We can't thank them enough for their support. Especially our partners and kids.

Q7 - What was the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

J: Usually me and Chris would play on our own at home, get a few minutes of music down then meet up to try jam something out. We would usually write almost a full track's worth of music, and then take it into the rehearsal space. There we would show Rick, and together we would chop and change parts until we were happy with what we were hearing. Even after playing a certain track live a few times, if we were not 100% happy with it, we'd take it back into the studio and remove/add parts until we were satisfied. I remember we did this quite a lot. (Maybe we were just too eager in the studio the first time round).

Q8 - You released two brilliant releases - S/T EP and The Harrowing Of The North. Both critically acclaimed amongst the Sludge/Stoner Metal fraternity. Were you pleased with the acclaim your music received.

J: Absolutely!! We were so chuffed with the reviews and feedback for the first EP, and for THotN to gain an even better response really took us all by surprise. And from those reviews it got us some fantastic shows around the country with some of the UK's finest heavy bands. Our last Leeds show was just something else entirely; The Royal Park Cellars, absolutely packed to the rafters with folk coming from literally across England so send us off, was pretty emotional. We'll never forget that.

Q9 - The Harrowing Of The North is a brilliant album. A great concept album and brilliantly put together. Can you tell what the album is about, how it came about and was it a hard album to record for.

C: The Harrowing of the North is based on a series of raids executed by William the Conqueror, shortly after he came to the throne. The raids, also known as 'The Harrying of the North' we're aimed simply at subjugating the North of England, this area which stretched from the south of the Humber to the north of the tees was still run by the odd Viking war lord. William didn’t like this so his idea was to burn, rape and pillage his way through the North, wiping it clean of any economic or cultural value, not a nice chap really! The album was a bit of bitch to record, we didn't really anticipate what it'd be like recording 20 minute epics but it turned out great, Ross at Ghost town was amazing, the guy is a genuine legend!

Q10 - Now it's being re-released on Vinyl via the amazing Devouter Records. How did that come about. We are big fans of this label at Sludgelord. And with a new track as well. A fitting legacy to your great band. (Yes Folks - I have already bought my copy. Phil at Devouter Records can confirm this.)

C: We've been in touch with Phil for a while and liked our stuff. Phil is incredibly honest and straight down the line, said he liked us and wanted to put something out. We eventually agreed to release the album with an added bonus track on vinyl...winner! Devouter is an awesome label, no pretence just dedicated to putting out some wicked records, supported by a gent who knows what he's doing with no bullshit. Phil, take a stand!!

Q11 - Now I seen you guys performed with Yob at Leeds in Oct 2011. That must have been a personal highlight when you guys saved the fucking day. Without you lending them your equipment their would have been no gig. So I thank you for this. You did a killer set as well. Was cool meeting up with Chris as well. Who have been your fave band to perform for/with.

J: Haha, aye that was a fun night. I think all it was was a case of not having any UK AC plug adaptors. Such a small a thing can cause so much of a problem… But weren't about to have the gig cancelled because of an amp issue. They were pretty grateful for it. Which was nice.

It was always a laugh sharing the stage with the Undersmile lot from Oxford. Fantastic band, and also really good friends. Played with Conan a few times, who are also really nice blokes. Any time we played with Wizards Beard in Leeds was a top laugh as well, we all go back together. I guess we were always grateful to play with anyone to be honest; meet mew people and play to different crowds.

Q12 - You played at DesertFest 2012 as well. How did that go. A friend of mine interviewed your set for the website he writes for. He said you guys were awesome. He was a bit sad when I told him you guys were calling it a day. But he was pleased to see you guys in action before you went your separate ways.

C: Desertfest was awesome, what a way to bow out!!! I remember feeling pretty nervous; no one wants to fuck their last gig up!!

Q13 - When WIHT were still active, did you guys perform lots of gigs in your home town or did you have to travel further a field.

C: We tried to split our shows between Leeds and out of town. We didn't gig a great deal I guess so each gig we played was pretty special. Leeds has a pretty healthy heavy scene, Tree of Sores, Wizards Beard, Khuda and Humanfly to name a few, so we always had a blast playing with and watching these bands. Out of Leeds, London was always a laugh, always good crowds.

Q14 - The UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom Scene seems to be thriving at the moment. Was this the case when WIHT were still around.

C: Yeah definitly. I think now there are certain bands we played with who are getting some very deserved attention, Undersmile, Conan and Slabdragger most notably.

Q15 - How was the blogging community helpful in getting your music across. I believe Chris told me that Stonerobixxx was the first blog to feature you guys and it all took off from there.

C: If it wasn't for blogs we wouldn't have had any attention at all. They're an incredibly powerful forum in that they expose your music to those who want to hear it the most. They are massively helpful to any band starting up, we are incredibly grateful to all the blogs that helped push our music.

Q16 - What are your views of blogs such as StonerRobixxx/Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Did your music reach the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?

C: Like I just said we're massively grateful to these blogs for putting our music out there, they can be a fantastic resource ran by people dedicated to the cause! I think we got into a couple of mags but we didn't receive a great deal of mainstream exposure.

Self Titled EP - 2009 cover art

Q17 - What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.

C: I can only speak for myself. Out of the loop a bit at the moment but really dig new Hexvessel album. One of my personal favorites is a guy called Dax Riggs, sang for Acid Bath and since released some amazing material. His latest album 'Say Goodnight to the World' is a beautiful slice of bluesy, melancholic brilliance, highly recommended.

Q18 - What were the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band?

C: Playing in a band is a pleasure; any down sides are far outweighed by the good times. We had some of the best times in Wiht. 3 best mates, drinking and riffing, how cool?!

Q19 - What projects are you all involved with now. Any chances of a WIHT reunion in the future. (Sorry I had to ask these questions as a few fans of your band asked me to ask this question).

J: There is only myself that still plays in a band at the moment, a Leeds band called Tree of Sores; kind of melodic, crust doom. We have a new album out on CD and LP called A Cry of Despair.

And I would say there will most definitely be a Wiht reunion at some point. However, as to when that will be is very hard to say at the moment.

Q20 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

J: Just a massive thank you to everyone who has come to our shows, bought merch off us, come to chat to us, gave us lifts, gave us shows and put us up. You're all crackin'!!

Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best from Sludgelord. I will always be a fan of WIHT. A fucking great band that I will always be a fan of. 

Even though this great band is gone for time being. Please check them out from the links below:


Check out Joe's other band - the brilliant - Tree Of Sores - where you can download their music for free and buy physical copies from  BandCamp