Saturday 9 May 2015

The Witching Hour - An Interview with Virginia from Psychedelic Witchcraft

Today's guest is currently riding the crest of a wave within the Doom/Stoner Metal scene with their brilliant and acclaimed new EP – Black Magic Man. I originally thought that this EP was recorded by an actual band, hence my surprise when I found out it was the work of one highly talented individual.

I said this about Black Magic Man:

I've been listening to Psychedelic Witchcraft's debut EP – Black Magic Man – for some time now. It's a 70s style Classic, Hard Rock. Retro Rock. Doom Metal and Occult Rock kind of thing.

This EP is kicking up a real buzz within the Doom/Stoner Metal community and it's not hard to see why. It's a stunning release from a band/solo artist that I want to hear more from. Virginia/Mia has proven she has the talent and drive to go a long way with Psychedelic Witchcraft. Check it out. Excellent and Highly Recommended.”

Psychedelic Witchcraft even made it onto the May 2015 Monthly Doom Charts List coming in at No 20. A real surprise to even Psychedelic Witchcraft themselves. Though that's how highly thought the band are within the Doom/Stoner Metal community.

I had to get an interview with the hugely talented lady behind Psychedelic Witchcraft. And I'm happy to present my interview with Virginia Monti aka – the genius behind Psychedelic Witchcraft.

Hi Virginia, How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this interview.

Thanks to you guys for making this I am honoured.

Black Magic Man cover art

We are mainly here to talk about your new musical project – Psychedelic Witchcraft. Can you tell our readers how this project came about?

Yes. Well it was manly a joke at first. I was alone and it was a pretty bad period for me because I had to move from Milan to Florence, it was also the end of a long relationship with my X boyfriend. I felt I needed something that was only mine and that made me feel better about the all situation and myself.

So one day I had this song ready called "Angela"I called some friends of mine and I said "Guys I want to record this song can you help me?".They did and we played in my living room Angela and post it online. I was pretty shocked when I saw all the feedbacks that I had. So yeah that's how it started basically 3 months ago now.

You’ve released your debut EP – Black Magic Man. Can you tell people what to expect from this album.

Uh well I don't know ahahaaha . Yesterday I was with some friends and I was seeing them playing, they are in a doom metal band called "Fangs of the Molossus" and I really love their stuff and I asked my myself... Well this is doom metal - it's Heavy and cool I am not like this ahahahhaah and it's so cool to have the metal community supporting me even thought I am not very heavy.

So I don't know I just wrote what I feel and I don't know if people can expect me to be doom or heavy or metal ...I think they can definitely expect a 70' sound and some occult experience and behind all this just myself .I have put everything that I like and all myself in this EP so I hope that people feel this too.

Why did you choose the name for – Black Magic Man – for the EP? Any specific meaning.

Ahhahaha - Well I decide to call the EP like the song "Black Magic Man" because it's about the man that inspired me to make the EP for real. I wrote that song very quickly because I was so angry. I remember I was sitting in my chair with the guitar playing the main riff and didn't know exactly what I was looking for this song. Then I said to myself...Why don't you talk about the man that you loved and left you all alone?

So I did it hahahaah. Black Magic Man it's my X boyfriend it was pretty an evil guy he was so negative about everything and about the world. He thought I had no talent at all and didn't want me to do this thing... So maybe it's not the answer that many want to read but this is the truth.. I wrote the song for him and for all the people that try to push you down and think you are not capable of anything.

For me those people are Black Magic people in that sense … so yeah... and they also do black magic stuff trust me hahahaha. But again at the same time he inspired me so much so I dedicate the EP to him, a really black magic man.

Was this a hard EP to write and record for?

No it was magic really... when everything started and people reacted to the song Angela , I had only that song so I didn't know what to do. I took like a week just for myself all alone and I wrote all the EP in a week. I dedicate myself to it it was an intense week of me, songs and guitars, it was pretty fun. Then I recorded in Rome in a studio of a friend of mine, I didn't have so much money so we recorded in 2 days and we played from 6 o'clock in the morning till late at night it was very intense and then it was done. It was magical like if someone was guiding me towards this thing.

Has the overall response to the EP surprised you at all. As it seems the Doom/Stoner Metal community has taken to Psychedelic Witchcraft in a big way.

It surprised me and I am STILL in shocked!!! - Really I told you before I don't know if I fit or not in the metal scene because my songs are not so heavy but I am so glad that the metal community supported me like this because metal and hard rock are my favorite genres since I was a young kid.

So for me was really amazing. Especially because this is happening so fast... I told you I am still in shocked and feel blessed by the Gods everyday - ahahahaaha

Did you write all the music and lyrics yourself or did you have help from your friends and colleagues.

I wrote everything by myself. All the riffs and all the melody and of course the lyrics. I like writing I am not a very good guitar player but I use the guitar to write it's just a lot easier and I love to do it. All my life I have been writing and reading a lot, not only songs but in general I like to write and express myself, especially when I am stoked in a situation and my mind it's exploding for too much thinking I feel that writing down stuff makes you feel better and makes something good out of a bad situation...if this make any sense.

Did you record and play the instruments yourself. Or did you have help with certain instruments.

I needed help of course because even if I wrote everything I needed someone that played the main guitar and the drums, and I was trying to make a real band as well, I have never planned to be a solo artist and I did suffered for this if I have to be honest. I asked some friends or at least I thought they were friends to help me recording the songs and if they wanted to make the band with me.

I had help for the main guitar and the drums, bass was played by the guy that played the main guitar in the EP I played the guitar as well. It was cool they are good musicians they just played my songs did it right and it was it. I try to convince them to make the band with me but they didn't want to ... they said that my music was not interesting at all and they didn't want to play in a band that put Satan and Witches in their songs. So I said OK that's fine I will be alone.

Which bands and artists influenced you a musician. Any specific band or album that stands out.

YES A LOT. OK - First one that changed my life was when I listened at 8 years old to Led Zeppelin II my father gave it to me and that was it!!! I was into rock music. Then growing up I loved Jefferson Airplane and Black Sabbath,Shocking Blue .Lots of Blues like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. and so many others...

But OK let's talk about record that I like more a part from this artists because about them I like everything, but I can say definitely Coven "witchcraft destroys minds and reaps souls" then Leaf Hound "Growers of Mushrooms", Free "Fire and Water", Buffalo "Volcanic Rock", and "Cheap Thrills" by Janis. Yeah, those for me are big inspirations too.

What is your musical setup when recording in the studio or playing live. Is it an advanced or basic setup?

Well I have been singing since I was a kid and I learned to play the guitar 2 years ago because I had problem with my voice and I couldn't sing for months so I decided to learn guitar. I am 24 years old so I don't have so much experience. I played live many times in jam sessions and with other projects that I had in the past and also as a songwriter by myself with the acoustic guitar. But it was my first time recording a real record. never done before and I am still learning so much stuff along this way I will say it's a basic setup, yeah …

Black Magic Man is being released on 10inch Vinyl by Taxi Driver Records later in the year. How did you become involved with Taxi Driver Records.

It was pretty fun ....I didn't know them and I didn't know they were following me on Instagram. They were the First one that contacted me and did a proposal for the EP even if anything was out they just only listened to Angela and believed in me since the beginning. I wasn't sure about it because I didn't know anything about labels and 3 months ago I didn't even wanted a label I was not searching for it.

After months I had a few records label proposals in my mail but I was all alone and didn't have a band so I decide it was too big for me to handle. So I wrote back to Taxi Driver, they are Italian and really nice guys and they offered me a nice deal that I could handle so I decide for the moment was the best option for me.

Italy has a well deserved reputation within the Sludge/Stoner Metal world for providing us with great bands to check out. Ufomammut, Zippo and Doomraiser amongst others. How is the Sludge/Stoner Metal scene perceived in Italy?

Uh, well I think it's growing a lot really Italy is rising again and I think this it's so cool. But at the same time it's very difficult to play because there isn't really a heavy psych stoner movement and there aren't so much clubs to play in. So I think it's growing and I am hoping that it will get bigger and easier to play soon.

I am hoping this because there are A LOT of good musicians out there and good bands that need to stand out. But again I am a Loner honestly ahahaa - I am always alone in my home playing and singing and I am new to all this stuff so.I am not good for answering this question ahahahaah

Which bands/albums are you currently enjoying at the moment? Any you like to recommend to our readers.

Oh yeah a lot !!! I am really enjoying new ones like there is a band called Rifflord - fucking awesome record - love them,

Mothership - new record - love them as well and some really new and emerging one like White Coven demo they are very cool, Sara, she has got a wonderful voice, better then mine honestly ahahahha and Wucan - EP pretty cool love her voice too.

I honestly I am stocked in the 70's I listen to new stuff but then I return back to my roots. I am listening to Deep Purple right now if you want to know ahahahahah uh you know another band that I am listening to, but you know them of course ...stoner version of Deep Demon Eye Record ...another awesome one of this month.

Can you tell us what the long term plans for Psychedelic WItchcraft, Future tours or albums? Can you see Psychedelic WItchcraft becoming a full time band with actual band members? Or do you see it as a studio project at the moment.

I am trying to make a real band since the beginning I want to go out and play be on tour and make this thing grow and happen. I have musicians right now, I didn't post it officially because they are learning my songs and I already wrote the full length so they are learning also the new songs. I am really hoping this line up could work so I can go out and play and be a real band.

I don't care if I have to wrote all the material or other stuff I want just to play that's it. So plans for Psychedelic Witchcraft ? record the full Length and playing live as much as possible. Those are my main goals...

What other musical projects are you currently involved with.

I have another band I wrote material also for this other project but I don't know it's anything official yet so we will see what the future will bring .For the moment I have Psychedelic Witchcraft and it's my baby I want Psychedelic Witchcraft to work honestly...

Finally do you have anything to say to your fans and our readers?

Well yes.. THANK YOU GUYS I know I said this a lot but is the truth!! - You make it real for me and if I am here answering this questions and if I had some attention it's only because OF YOU. Because you supported me and shared online my music since the beginning.... Thank you and I will be never thankful enough!!

May the Gods blessed you all and the ancients spirits guides you through the journey of Life !hope to meet you all one day on the road!! Cheers :)

Words by Steve Howe and Virginia Monti

I want to thank Virginia for taking the time out to talk to us at Sludgelord HQ. Check out Psychedelic Witchcraft from the links below.

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