A Conversation With and About Witchcraft

Witchcraft is a band borne from obscurity that has worked diligently to popularize the musical principles they idolize. Always evolving and forever toiling, Witchcraft has put their nose to the grindstone to bring to the world a nearly lost art; atmospheric, doom-influenced rock in the style of the late seventies and early eighties. We sat down bassist Ola Henriksson to talk about the band, where they've been and how they got there.
M.DREW: As you release “Legend,” how do you feel about it?
OLA HENRIKSSON, BASS: It feels great. I'm very satisfied and it feels like a new beginning for Witchcraft. It's the best we have created in my opinion.
M.D: What’s different about this new record and what can fans expect that they’ve never heard before?
OLA: This has got a heavier sound but they will recognize the solid songwriting of Magnus. They can expect to hear the best songs that Witchcraft has ever produced.
M.D: How do you feel your music has evolved over the course of your career, and how has that led to the album you just released?
OLA: All the albums have felt like they have followed a path of natural progression and so does “Legend.” There might be some new elements to the music nowadays. To me it feels more mature and more interesting.
M.D: Your band is part of a growing trend that is returning to the roots of traditional metal and rock and roll. Why do you think that sound is coming back into popularity again?
OLA: I don't know. My guess is that there is an appellation in the purity of that old sound and songwriting. Also, when times are bad people tend to look back to the “good old times” and the music scene was heading towards more business than art and it might be a reaction to that.
M.D: What is it about the warm, almost analog sound that feels so comfortable for you and your band?
OLA: It's a good sound for us and it suits Magnus vocals really good. It comes naturally to us because of the decades of listening to vintage rock.
M.D: As you look around you at the wider metal and rock landscape, how would you compare your sound to your contemporaries’?
OLA: We are more oak than metal in the metal world. [laughs] More organic and honest.
M.D: As an old-school analog-friendly band, how you feel about the trend toward digitally perfect production and drum triggering?
OLA: If bands feel like that sound is what they want it's good for them. I think it gets boring when you can't hear if it is played by musicians.
M.D: What’s it like being a Swedish band who doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the Gothenburg sound? Does that make it harder to get noticed?
OLA: The Gothenburg scene? You realize that it all originates from Örebro were we are based? Witchcraft, Norrsken, Dead Man, Troubled Horse, The Strollers, Burning Saviours, Asteroid, Blowback, Graveyard (3 members), Spiders (2 members). We will correct this misunderstanding and restore the Örebro scene to its glory.
M.D: Your songs feature an excellent balance of elements that are constrained and free-form. How do you balance those elements when writing your pieces?
OLA: Witchcraft has always been about dynamic songs where heavy riffs are combined with softer mellow parts. We try to create that feeling when we arrange the songs. It makes them more interesting and to me much better than most other bands that just base their songs on heavy riffs.
M.D: Pentagram is a band that often gets overlooked in American music discussions, despite being American. What was (is) it about them and Bobby Liebling that helped inspire the band to make music?
OLA: Bobby Liebling is an excellent songwriter with an extraordinary feeling for melodies. His way of expressing himself in the songs - accentuation, et cetera - is unique and that is what made me a fan.
M.D: Metal Blade records re-released much of your early catalog earlier this year. As you look back at those records, is there anything you would change about them? Do you feel like you’re the same band now as you were then?
OLA: I wouldn't change anything. They are a part of the history. Of course we have changed as a band and as persons but that doesn't mean that I want the old records to sound any different.
M.D: Are you and your bands fans of horror movies? If so, which ones?
OLA: I know I am anyway! I try to watch as much horror as possible. Some of the better ones I have seen recently is “The Triangle” and “Pandorum.”
M.D: What are the themes you look for and enjoy in horror movies?
OLA: I like the ones that aren't the obvious ghost, demon, religious stories. If there is a twist to the story and something that could almost happen to you I can enjoy it more because I find it so hard to get scared when it is about something that I absolutely don't believe in.

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