Austria’s WITHERS just announced their new record. “Lightmares” will be released on May 12th via three amazing labels: Adagio830, Per Koro Records and Life and Death Records. The band is about to hit the road with their pals in MNMNTS and share stages with GOLDUST, DEATHRITE, PATSY O´ HARA, AXES and a few more decent bands.
I spent some time with the band’s very own Bernd Himsl and asked him a bunch of questions regarding their new work and various stuff around the band. Check out the full log of our chat below.
Two out of six new songs are up to stream and free to download – don’t miss ’em out (check out the player below).
Hey guys! Great to have you here. Big news is bringing you, huh? You’ve just announced your new record!
The 2 new tracks are beyond amazing! Tell me more about the whole “Lightmares” project.
Hi Karol, first of all thanks for the interest in our music and this opportunity.
Yeah, finally the follow up to our debut record will be out in May via Adagio830, Per Koro and Life and Death.
Thank you so much, really appreciate that.
“Lightmares” will include 6 new songs, recorded by Jürgsn/Bazoka Recordings in our hometown Linz, who also did our debut.
We played some shows with THE LONG HAUL in November last year and had a good time together – there was this plan to track this one with Lewis / THE LONG HAUL but in the end we hadn’t the time and money to come over to England to record so we did it with Jürgsn one more time and are more than happy.
Really a step forward in comparison to our first three songs in every aspect.
Lyrically the 6 songs deal with 6 different characters which meet in the end or something like that… Dominik writes all our lyrics so I am not THE person to talk about this in detail to be honest.
Basically the title “Lightmares” combines all the topics he is dealing with lyric wise – on one hand life can be struggling and kind of a nightmare at times but most of the time there is a light at the end of the day or you’re really doing well and you’re thinking your life runs according to your self-imposed plan but suddenly something bad happens, doesn’t even matter what but it may throw you off course.
After all the whole message is a positive one and that’s the most important thing I would like to underline.
There’s a light that never goes out… [laughs].
It’s your second release to date, huh? There’s been only one 7’’ WITHERS record so far, am I right?
Exactly, we are a band for just a year now this March.
We released the debut 7″ in September 2012 via Life and Death and Enjoyment Records, played our first shows ever at the tour with our friends in GOLDUST last October and some shows with THE LONG HAUL in November and then focused on songwriting.
Really looking forward to the upcoming tour with MNMNTS at the end of the month.
Truth be told, we’re not in our early twenties anymore… all of us are +/- thirty and have a full time job and/or finishing university at this point, some kind of a family and a life apart this romantic imagination of hardcore/punk/whatever you wanna call it.
First of all we’re doing it for the passion for music, traveling and most of all meeting fascinating people and new friends.
We really choose tours and shows wisely as we haven’t got so much time to spend in our band as we maybe would like to sometimes.
25/03/13 – DE – Stuttgart, Juha West w/ MNMNTS
26/03/13 – DE – Köln, Aetherblissment w/ MNMNTS
27/03/13 – DE – Hamburg, Rote Flora w/ MNMNTS
28/03/13 – DE – Berlin, Tiefgr cesty w/ MNMNTS
29/03/13 – CZ – Prag, Café Na pul cesty w/ MNMNTS
30/03/13 – DE – Leipzig, Schuppen – Stö16 w/ MNMNTS
31/03/13 – DE – Kassel, Karoshi w/ MNMNTS
01/04/13 – DE – Sulzbach Rosenberg, Juz Hängematte w/ GOLDUST + DEATHRITE
02/04/13 – AT – Wien, Shelter w/ GOLDUST + DEATHRITE
Oh yeah, tell me more about this upcoming trek. My first association with you being on the road is… GOLDUST and DEATHRITE [laughs]. You’ve played a few tours with them last year, right? How did you form a relationship with these guys?
We’re going on the road with our new label mates in MNMNTS for 7 days/shows and then play 2 more shows with our friends in GOLDUST and DEATHRITE.
It will be mainly in Germany where we hit some major cities except for one show in Prague and one in Vienna.
Also AXES and PATSY O’HARA will join one or two shows what we are looking forward too.
Yeah, as I mentioned our first tour and shows ever where last October with our friends in GOLDUST and we are truly thankful that they took us out on this one.
We know our brothers in GOLDUST for quite some years now from older and former bands and always stayed in contact somehow.
On this GOLDUST/WITHERS tour we got to know the amazing boys in DEATHRITE and learned to love them as well… [laughs].
This is not just blank friends/friends talk – all these before mentioned bands are A.W.E.S.O.M.E. personally and musically and will release a new record as we speak.
Don’t dare to miss a single one of them.
Alright. And what about those 3 labels you mentioned? How did you choose Adagio, per Koro and Life And Death for this release?
There are a lot of amazing labels around which could fit to us and our music but having the chance working with such great labels is just immense.
They put loads in every single release, have numerous great bands and artists in their rosters and they’re also working with friends of ours and are just becoming new ones.
Are you putting it out on vinyl only?
Yes it will be released on 12″ vinyl only with a download code. It’s possible that there will be some cassettes as well at some point.
Tell me more about the artwork. I’m scared of it! [laughs]
[laughs] Please don’t but I am too… kind of.
Benny / Druckwelle Design did an amazing job on it and we can’t wait to hold the finished 12″ in our hands with this artwork.
The only guidelines we had was that we would love to have a black/white picture on it in some way but we didn’t want a hip blackened / crust / hardcore artwork which are cool but there are sooo many around these days.
We wanted some colours in there in the end and he embedded this coloured woodpile in the photo instead of her face and it looked sick.
This woodpile which is not on fire at the front cover will be re-picked in the whole artwork package, maybe in the inlay card or somewhere shown as a burning woodpile and also as an already burnt one.
It symbolizes the different stages of fire and light.
Fire and light?
Fire as metaphor for light.
Light connected to the title “Lightmares”, you know!?
[laughs] Oh yeah, just wanted to make sure [smiles].
Do you have any songs left after the recording? Some material for a split perhaps? [smiles]
Sure, no prob!
Unfortunately not, originally this record should have been a split but all potential split partners where working on a full length at the moment so we decided to write some more songs and do a record on our own… it’s kind of a longer EP now I guess.
If it was only up to me the next record should be a split, we’ll see.
Writing a full album is hard to imagine to be honest – our songs take a lot of time to write as we really work them out as good as possible… I heard from other bands they’re writing the base frame of a song in one rehearsal – that’s unthinkable for us… we’re just really slow songwriters as it is.
Alright, back to your family / job / school duties, please tell me, is it hard to make ends meet and realize your potential in a band?
I got the luck to get a real fulfilling job – luckily in every way – some months ago and I am just at finishing university at the same time.
I am working in a relatively big venue in my hometown Linz in the booking/production management and it’s amazing earning my money with music.
It’s not uncommon that I have a 50-60 hour workweek so my lovely wife isn’t that happy from time to time but she knows it’s my passion too.
I will also re-enter a private university in autumn for music management doing a Master of Arts.
To be honest the band is more or less a pure hobby and I am trying to make my way with my family, job and life.
As you can see I need to be fully stretched at all times and I truly like it.
Great! Would you mind telling me more about the booking/production management project? Who will you be working with?
Hm, why not… the venue where I work for is supported by the city and runs more like a not so formal company.
We do all kinds of stuff like music and contemporary art in our house like dance, cabaret and theatre although I am just co-responsible for the music programme.
It’s a really diverse schedule as we have bands/artists from all genres – one day pop/indie or singer/songwriter and the other day hardcore/punk and from 100 to 1.500 guests.
I’m really glad you’re doing it, man.
Tell me, where do you see WITHERS in 3 years from today?
Tough question… with this constellation of members it’s quite possible that we still release records and play one/two tours and a handful of shows per year.
I would love to do this… what’s better to go on a road trip with your friends, meet some people you love but don’t see that frequently and everybody has an unforgettable time including getting to know new friends and places?
I would love to do a split record next and maybe play some shows in the UK in the foreseeable future, that would be real nice.
I just need to stop buying/trading guitar stuff… I am such a desperate gear nerd when it comes down to that.
So what’s the secret to sound really huge and powerful at a punk gig?
[laughs] another tough issue.
I am not technically gifted at all nor do I know much about sound engineering.
But when we break it down to drums, bass, guitar and vocals – maybe just the kick and the vocals mike up I think the individual sound of the guitar and bass is really important to work as an unity in the end.
Guitars should not cut and interfere the low end and frequencies of the bass guitar and vice versa. I really like a lot of mids in my guitar sound and amps with a lower wattage to crank them up.
Also the tightness and interaction between the band members is vital of course.
Mike our drummer and I play together for almost 10 years now, we understand each other blindly on and off stage.
Do you rehearse a lot in order not to lose your touch?
Unfortunately not really, no. We try to meet each other in the rehearsal room once a week but not even this is always possible.
It’s our fault at all cause when we finally make it in this room together we’re just wibbling and joking and stuff as we are very good friends and everybody wants to catch up on what’s going on with everyone.
Other than that there are also some band related issues to discuss too.
As we have a tour coming up in two weeks we really try to rehearse about twice a week and more often before studio time.
It’s a stiff subject… [laughs].
What’s the farthest you’ve traveled with this band? Any amazing places or crazy stories from the road you’d like to recall? [smiles]
We just played about 15 shows now, most of them in Germany and several dates in Austria and the Czech Republic.
I guess Berlin was the farthest one so far and on the upcoming tour we’ll visit Hamburg which sure will be great.
So far every show was really intense and lots of fun, we always felt very welcome and the feedback is overwhelming.
On our tour with GOLDUST there were some crazy nights for example in Mühlheim, Berchtesgaden and in Dresden with DEATHRITE too.
In Mühlheim we literally took over the venue and the bar and partied far into the smallest hours.
We love to have a good talk and a beer with everyone who’s interested afterwards.
Ok, before we finish off, guys. Are there any albums that you have been digging that are getting a good play on your player at the moment?
For sure but I just can speak for my own.
On heavy rotation at the moment:
CHELSEA WOLFE, PALMA VIOLETS, THE VESTALS, THE BLACK HEART REBELLION, SWANS, BIFFY CLYRO, PALLBEARER, NAILS, CHVRCHES, COLD CAVE, KEN MODE, BAPTISTS,…
Of course I am really looking forward to the new GOLDUST and DEATHRITE record and what I’ve heard so far is sick.
The new PATSY O’HARA and MNMNTS are really intense as well.
Are you nostalgic for any particular eras of music? Or are you a modern rock / metal hardcore lover? [smiles]
Maybe kind of… I really adore new wave and post-punk/indie stuff like THE SMITHS, MORRISSEY, JOY DIVISION, THE REPLACEMENTS, THE CURE, THE STONE ROSES, DEPECHE MODE, PULP, NEW ORDER, …
Basically I don’t really listen to much metal/hardcore stuff especially just a few current bands.
Sure I love classics like BLACK SABBATH, DISSECTION, FUGAZI, SLAYER, ZEPPELIN, ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER, CARCASS, SONIC YOUTH, DINOSAUR JR., JAWBREAKER, …
So, I think that’s about it, huh? Anything you’d like to add?
Just a big thanks to you Karol for giving us a platform and for the support.
Please give us a listen and catch us on tour when possible, we really appreciate it:
Only love can win!
Oh yeah, support love! Go love go! [smiles]
Thanks so much for your time.