Witch Orders and Everyday Occult – An Interview with Mat from Castle …   Leave a comment

Castle is a relatively young band on the scene, but not a very young band in-and-of-itself. From it’s humble beginnings in 2007 with Mat Davis and a drum machine, to having three members and an actual album in a space of three years, theirs was not an easy path, but in the end, being simultaneously endorsed by the internet-based music ‘zines, as well as others, they have managed to generate buzz and have a full-length (tentatively titled “In Witch Order”) out. Sporting an interesting and unique blend of heavy metal, doom and occult rock, they are a sight (or sound, more accurately) to behold.

I was lucky enough to be given an opportunity to ask a very kind Mat Davis some questions.

Sarp Esin (Doommantia): Thank you for the opportunity. So, tell us a bit about Castle’s early days. What was it like when it was just you and the drum machine?

-Mat Davis (Castle): Well, not much to tell. It was just a way of keeping ideas going without a band… I had scratched together enough equipment to have a decent home studio and I just went into this sound I had in my head. A lot of multi tracking and layering parts. And I became quite proficient in drum programming, but I don’t think I ever want to see another drum machine!

SE(D): Did you intend to be a band when you first started out, or was this a solo project that evolved?

-MD(C): My intention was always to play Castle music with a band, but the search for a drummer went on for so long that I just kept on writing and recording. By the time I had a band in place, I had a considerable amount of music. About a record and a half.

SE(D): How did Castle’s members go from drum machine to actual flesh and blood?

-MD(C): It was a very complicated conjuring…. Nah, I was just waiting for the right combination. The songs were written with Al’s drumming in mind. The template was there, and we had played together for so long in other projects that it was natural to write to and I think for him to come in and play it as well. Liz was really the catalyst to begin recording. When she came along, we started putting ideas down for vocals and it all came together pretty quickly.

SE(D): Elizabeth sounds just like a witch sometimes, or rather, the most common idea of a witch’s voice, which, by the way, is a compliment. Was this intentional?

-MD(C): I don’t know if it was intentional… it started with the lyrics and the sound came from there. Also, the music somewhat dictates what’s going to fit stylistically. Elizabeth does some really witchy stuff to bring out the mood of the lyrics but there are definitely some other flavors in there as well.

SE(D): What are your influences and what inspired you?

-MD(C): Black Sabbath. They were the originators and that was the source for me. Rather than ape the riffs, I wanted to deconstruct the sound a little more. That was the start, but obviously, by the time it all comes around, it’s filtered through a lot of other things. There’s some older doom influence – Nemesis, Witchfinder General, Pentagram, but I think there’s a lot more of a classic heavy metal feel and attitude to Castle.

SE(D): What do you think about the state of doom these days?

-MD(C): I really had no idea who would listen to Castle when we released this record. It definitely doesn’t fit the “new metal” scene, it’s not crazy technical or fast. And I don’t think we’re considered doom either, I mean, we don’t sound like Saint Vitus, you know? I’ve been checking out some of the bands we get compared to, ‘cause a lot of the newer ones, I haven’t heard, and I don’t totally see the connection. But it doesn’t matter, they’re good bands. It’s more song/melody based than riff based and there might be a difference in there somewhere. We like to rock out and thrash a bit.

SE(D): I see that. So, there is no escaping the occult when it comes to doom. Tell us all your deep, dark secrets: do you consort with daemons to bring forth the apocalypse?

-MD(C): Ha! Maybe a little… you know, being from California and all. Maybe the rest of it is people being so far removed from nature and the natural elements, it seems occultist to write about and be aware of such things. At least with Castle, because what we’re writing about tends to have some basis in our reality, maybe a little more poetic and archetypal than the everyday but, you know, it’s rock music and larger than life seems a better fit.

SE(D): What’s up ahead for Castle?

-MD(C): Liz and I are in Toronto, writing and rehearsing with Al, who lives nearby. We’re making plans to tour Europe soon and talking with labels about releasing “In Witch Order” here in North America. Currently it’s only available as an import.

SE(D): Which we’ll be looking forward to. So, in closing, any messages for the fans out there?

-MD(C): Thanks for the support and keep an eye out for the upcoming tour.

Interview By Sarp Esin

Castle Official
Castle @ Myspace

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Posted June 15, 2011 by doommantia in Castle

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