-Interview- Saves the Witch (7/4/21)

Saves the Witch talks about their diverse Instrumental Rock sound, upcoming plans and much more.


Official website
Sounds like: Instrumental Post Rock/Shoegaze
From: North Carolina

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Saves The Witch" and is there any meaning behind it?

My great grandmother bought me a Peavy Predator guitar when I was about 7 years old. It spent most of it's life sitting in my closet. When I was a teen I picked up drumming, and started playing drums in a local band. At some point I brought the Peavy out and learned some basic chords on it. I found guitar incredibly difficult to learn as a person who really wanted to understand music theory, but writing has always come fairly natural to me. I wrote a few singer songwriter type things and started doing that when my local band broke up. Eventually I started a new band where I played guitar and sung. I played with those guys for years, and we toured and did alright. As we became adults I moved to a different state. I went solo for awhile but never got too serious with it. In around 2018 my life went through a total hell, and I got fairly close to death. I had blood clots in both my lungs and was in the hospital. A lot of life events occurred that caused me to prioritize things. Music for me is paramount, and I started treating it as such. I really just started obsessing with music theory, and guitar in particular. I also went through a shift in genres I was drawing inspiration from and it effected my sound a lot.

How did I develop my current sound? That's a good question. I draw a lot of inspiration from progressive rock, post rock, and blues. I really like blending blues elements into melodies with a dreamy shoegaze back drop. That's probably more prominent in newer stuff I'm writing. I'm also a huge fan of dynamics in music. I love really soft emotional music, and hard hitting heavy rock. I like blending the two. I can't discount the inspiration that's come from pedal makers either. The most expensive part of this project has been putting together my pedalboard. A huge part of the STW sound is in subtle turns of the knob. That coupled with my personal habits in writing and mixing and somehow I arrived here I guess.

The name “Saves the Witch” was born out of an idea that we should celebrate our differences, rather than criticize them.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

The beautiful thing about having so many instrumentals is that people can take away whatever they want to. I certainly was inspired by things from my life when I was playing, but it can mean to the listener anything they feel at the time, and that is totally valid.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Perhaps, something to listen to while you meditate... Or while you're trying to kill an evil villain.

4. Who are three bands you'd like to tour with?

Coheed and Cambria, Covet, and Wye Oak.

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

The project was actually kind of born out of Covid. As of right now it's just me. I play everything, produce everything, mix everything. Live shows will be scarce, so if anything Id say the Covid hardship kind of spurred this project along.

6. What's your take on the current state of Instrumental Rock?

I mean, in the days of Mozart instrumental music was pretty popular! I think it's gotten pretty popular thanks to Youtube, and acts like Polyphia, Covet, ect. But if you think about it, it's always present. Anytime you watch a movie or play a game music is helping to dictate the mood for you. It doesn't always need words to speak to you. When you hear people talk about Hendrix it's nothing to do with his voice. This project kind of accidentally became instrumental. I'm a decent singer, but I struggled to put the emotions I was feeling with these songs into words. One day I was listening to This Will Destroy You and I just thought hey, I don't need words. These guys didn't. I'm not opposed to having them in the future, but if I do I imagine they will be scarce. I'm not looking to go into a “verse chorus verse chorus bridge” structure for everything.

7. What's the current music scene like there in North Carolina?

I love where I live, and it has a very healthy music scene. A lot of it is cover bands at bars, a lot of it is great fantastic local original talent. In both cases it centers a lot around live shows for genres I don't fit neatly into. I'm very proud of where I live, but the support I'm receiving isn't dependent on location. I'm very thankful that a lot of streams are coming from local areas as well as far off, but I'm limited for live shows currently.

8. What's your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

Wait you guys are getting paid? (laughs) A lot of my favorite bands have day jobs. I'm no different right now. The business part of music has evolved so much since when I toured Nashville with old bands. It's incredibly difficult and rare to make decent money, that hasn't changed. My main goal is just making music, as it's my greatest therapy. Along the way I'm working hard to find willing ears who can take something away from it. That's happening to a degree greater than I had imagined so far and for that I'm endlessly thankful. I work hard marketing the project, but my realistic goal is just to fund future albums. I know hating streaming services is popular right now as an artist, but I've discovered so much wonderful music from them; not to mention people are also finding this project on there. I'm thankful for any platform that is helping music reach an audience.

9. What's next for Saves The Witch?

I don't even know what the next hour holds, but the plan is to just keep going. I have a remix of a current song that I'm working on releasing, and I have about half of a new album completely done. The original plan was an EP this fall, but it may actually turn into another full album. Right now the material is writing itself in ways that humble me and scare the hell out of me honestly. If you were to ask me how any particular song was written, I would have a very hard time answering. It's like a subconscious part of my soul is just screaming constantly, and it comes out in these melodies that I try to rein in on the production table. I'm just doing the best I can to keep up. Right now there are these super high moments of bliss, and super low moments of imposter syndrome. I see how well received the project has been so far, and I read wonderful notes from people hearing it; those are the blissful moments. Then I see some of the playlists these songs are making, and I listen to the amazing artists and songs on them and wonder “what the f**k am I doing here?”. I mean right now I'm writing, recording, and producing everything in a spare bedroom that's been turned into a make shift studio. I don't understand anything that's happening right now, and I can't comprehend what may happen in the future. All I know is that I love music, and for my mental health if nothing else I'll keep making it.

10. Any shoutouts?

When I was younger and playing in bands, my father worked as our manager. He unexpectedly diedsome years ago. I think he would be proud of this project. I also had a good friend of mine who alsodied unexpectedly. For a long time he was the driving force behind encouraging me to write. I wish hewas still around. Ricky and Matt, miss you guys.

My wife Annah I can't thank enough. The first song I finished for this project was “Voices”. I showedit to her, and her reaction served as the single most inspirational thing that kept me going. I'mconstantly bothering her with new stuff and her opinion helps guide me and push me beyond what Ithought I could do. “When the Goddess Smiles” is about her. She is my Goddess, and her smile fills my soul.

Riley and Nicole, great friends of ours that are always there for us. There is a mutual blind support that I think we all have for each other, and sometimes you have to lean on that to get through life.

My Cousin Lance, who supports me even if he doesn't understand why there are no words (laughs).

Blake Wyland over at the Tone Mob podcast. We sponsored an episode of his show early on. He took a big chance in letting us do that, and has been very gracious with his time. He has kept in contact and helped give some very valuable feedback. All guitarists should listen to that show, it's great.

Every...Single...Person.. Anyone who has listened, messaged, or otherwise show support. This is why I often say “We” when referring to the project. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.