One month away from their short live trek with epic metal/hardcore act HOLLOW EARTH, who just wrapped up their 1,5 month long North American trek with several different legs featuring many inlfuential artists like Greg Bennick, GREAT REVERSALS, OUTLET, HEIRESS and IDIOTEQ-featured vegan hardcore act WAKE OF HUMANITY, we are pleased to give you a full interview with the Canadian uncompromising metallic hardcore band WITHDRAWAL. It’s been almost 5 months since the release of their acclaimed debut 12” LP on Escapist Records and we’re still quite moved by its sheer power, creepy maze of smart sonic tunnels and a rich, somber atmosphere. We caught up with the band to find out more about their entity, learn more about their influences and uncover their plans for new recordings in 2017.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered with Brent McCrea at Private Ear Studios (COMEBACK KID, PROPAGANDHI) and Posi-Tracks Studios, “Never” by WITHDRAWAL is out now via Escapist Records on digital and vinyl formats. The record features a haunting artwork by Irish artist Sarah Sheil.
Hi guys! Congratulation on the release of your new record! How does it feel to have it finally out? What feedback have you received so far?
Thank you for the kind words. To be honest, it’s a relief to have it out. To have been sitting on these songs for so long, you start going a little stir-crazy with them. You start second guessing everything. So to have it released at least you can say “it’s out of our hands now, it is what it is”. So there is a sense of closure. The feedback has been tremendous. I don’t think anyone has had anything negative to say about it and a lot of the reviews I’ve seen totally “get it”. To me it’s totally justified the work and sacrifice put into this band and this record.
Great! The first teaser was released in September and it introduced an amazing, epic track “The 6th Psalms”. Dividing it into 2 parts and having the amazing Steve Muczynski (HOLLOW EARTH) on board already suggested a well-thought concept. Please explain how does this first offering link to the general idea of the record and its lyrical sphere.
That song, and it’s two parts, really serve as an anchor for the album. It was the last song we finished up for the record, it was really down to the last minute whether it was going on there or a different song. Structurally and lyrically, it felt like something we could have had on our first demo, which made it feel a bit poetic in that sense and in a naive way it felt right to have it on there. Lyrically it’s in reference to our band mantra of “live in the shadows; die by the sword”. To be a shadowy clandestine project, where the stakes are high when we play shows or put out a release.
What were some of the inspirations for that?
If we’re being honest, I just thought it would be arrogant and pretentious to have a two part song. So… that.
Ha! Fair enough.
Musically, how do you feel, about dubbing WITHDRAWAL a ‘Holy Terror influenced hardcore’ band?
People can call us whatever they want. Metallic Hardcore, Metalcore, Hardcore, whatever. When someone calls us Holy Terror, me personally I love it. We’ve been affiliated with Holy Terror since 2008 and it seems to cause confusion or anger or fear as a reaction from people. It affords a global group of like minded allies, and their influence is something that I treasure. Holy Terror covers such a broad spectrum of bands with different styles and visuals, and that’s something I’ve always set out for WITHDRAWAL.
Ok, so what are your next steps? Will there be a lot of touring in support of this record?
For now, we intend on writing and recording 2 splits to be released later this year with some great friends of ours. We’re also intending on playing as many shows in as many places as life affords us the opportunity to do. I’m hoping to play some places we’ve never played before or haven’t played in a while.
Looking back, how do you guys have evolved since 2008? Would you have liked to know before starting this band?
As far as evolving, I think we’re able to bring out more evocative sounds in our songs than just “angry” and “sad”. We’re better at songwriting, though maybe we aren’t as prolific as we were when we started. We’re more comfortable writing what we want and getting what we want out of a studio. I wish I hadn’t stressed out over the little things when the band was around in 2009 to 2012. Those were rough times for the band. I also wish I had known how much energy releasing the LP would put back into the band, my sense of purpose is totally renewed, so I wish we had done that earlier.
So how would you define the sense of purpose and identity of this band?
As for the sense of purpose and identity of the band, since we started I think the purpose has just been to create extreme representations of the art that we enjoy. So to that effect, we do our best to take what we enjoy about music and push it to it’s limits. If it’s fast, it must be faster. If it’s slow, it must be slower. Just trying to push it as far in those directions as we can.
As for an identity, that’s kind of tough to define. I think whomever contributes to those songs or the lyrics or the imagery of the band contributes to it’s identity so it’s hard to identify as one person. So many things contribute to the identity. We try to be ourselves though, that’s all I want. I don’t want this band to be a carbon copy of anything else going on. If everyone else goes right, we go left.
Alright, so lastly, let’s wrap up the past fruitful year of music with your ‘best of 2016’ recommendation list.
As far as 2016 goes for music… I would highly suggest the newest LP from HOLLOW EARTH – Dead Planet, YEAR OF THE KNIFE – Overgrowth, TOURNIQUET (The HC band from New Jersey, not the Christian Metal poo from California), GATECREEPER’s LP was great. BURN YOUR WORLD’s EP “A Burden For All Your Days”. That new FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM song was okay, a little tooooo rockin’ for me, but I’m excited for the new album.
Great, thanks! Cheers for your time! The last words sare yours!
Thanks for the interview, incredibly sorry for the delay in answering. Thank you to anyone who has followed the band for so long. There is a renewed sense of purpose with the band, and we plan on releasing more records and playing more shows this year.
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