Exclusive Interview: Ryan Fitzgerald of WITCH OF THE WASTE

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Witch of the Waste are a long standing leader in the Western Canadian aggressive music community.  Their beginnings were that of a fairly straightforward metal/hardcore hybrid; albeit one that clearly hinted at the potential for greatness.  In 2015, it’s a fair bet to say that Witch of The Waste have realized that potential.  The current band Ryan Fitzgerald (vocals), Peter Sacco (guitar), Phil Jones (guitar), Jeremy Gilmartin (Drums), and Michael Holme (bass) have refined their sound tremendously after playing any stage/basement/hall that would have them.  Their current stylistic approach features angular, shape shifting hardcore not unlike Gaza, or Yautja, and atmospheric yet skull crushing patterns and rhythms that wouldn’t sound out of place alongside Ulcerate or Deathspell Omega.  The band’s latest release “Made of Teeth” is 6 of the finest heavy songs that any band from Canada has ever produced.  I spoke to vocalist and band founder Ryan Fitzgerald about the release amongst other things.

AA: Your last ep “Made of Teeth” sounds “mathier” and increasingly angular from your previous release.  What caused this shift in sound?

It’s funny that you should say that. Our goal was actually to step away from writing flashier, more technical music with the intention of focusing on song writing, atmosphere and energy. Any technical or mathy aspects were a result of our focus on song writing.

You pen lyrics that are equal parts literary and dense, where does this aesthetic originate from? 

All the lyrics are written as a response to the music and as a stream of consciousness. Maybe I will begin with an idea, a hook I like, or a phrasing I like, but I will start from the opening line and write till the song is finished. If I don’t like a line the whole thing is scrapped and I start over. I don’t like discussing specific meanings because I feel a listener should be offered a chance to create their own relationship with the song rather than be forced to view it from my perspective.

Witch of the Waste recently became endorsed by WB Gear, how did that come together?  What does this endorsement mean for your band moving forward?

I have been checking them out for quite a while. Looked into the requirements they need from the bands they worth with and what players use them and really why they use them. Once I felt we were ready for them… I contacted them. They help a great deal because now the cost of some of the gear and equipment we need is not a problem now. Which is huge because those funds could be for other things. We will have more to show for the dimes we spend because of that reason. They have quality stuff that everyone I have asked about says the same thing I have come to believe too. They rule.

You have played with some legendary bands (Gojira, Cloudkicker, many others) do you have any particular favorite shows in your band’s history? 

As cool as it was opening for some of our favorite bands in those larger shows I can honestly say I have never had more fun playing a tiny house show in an unfinished basement. If every show I ever play were as cool as that one, I would consider myself successful.

The Witch of The Waste “Made of Teeth” tour begins July 17, what areas are you guys going to be playing?  We know that Vancouver is a great community for heavy music, how has your reception been outside of the city?  

We are covering the better part of Western Canada. We are pretty spoiled being from Vancouver. The aggressive music scene is extremely open and willing to consume music that is challenging artistically. Genre is less important than quality and sincerity. But we have also had a chance to play for many different crowds here and we have managed to find an audience. It’s a bit harder for us outside of BC because expectations are different. Metalheads will expect a metal band and hardcore kids will expect a hardcore band and we exist in a strange grey area. We acknowledge this as music fans. We all listen to everything and it all goes in one end and comes out as something new on the other end. We are a band for fans of both genres or for persons who are looking for something different. I’m trying very hard not to sound like a snob. Is it working? We want everyone to give us a chance and we promise we can grow on you. But we are a technical death metal band playing black metal inspired hardcore songs that are equal parts fast and emotional. If you are looking for deathmetal or blackmetal or hardcore you can hear that. Or you might not. We are just grateful that you took the time to give us a chance.

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