Icarus Witch

Icarus Witch moved on with bravery and they totally changed as a band by presenting a brand new & enthralling new face. That change caused much talking in the fans ranks about the band. Hence, I think no one could be more appropriate to speak for those changes and the band’s new musical direction than the original member, bassist & leader Jason Myers. The interview should have been published earlier but due to some problems it was left aside. I guess better late than ever…
Icarus Witch band pic

Hi Jason… It’s was a great surprise to see Icarus Witch back with a brand new line-up and a tremendous new album…
 
J: Thank you. We’re glad to be back and thrilled that the response to the new music has been overwhelmingly positive.
 
 
So, tell us, since you’re the only one original member left, what happened in the band’s ranks in the last years? How did you come up with these line-up changes?
 
J: This is a tough path we follow. It’s not for everyone and I’ve always felt that while we treat the band as a business ultimately it should be fun. If someone is no longer enjoying themselves within the band or are making it impossible for the others to enjoy it then tweaks need to be made to keep the project progressing. Look, the hardest thing about being in a band is simply being in a band.
 
I would prefer to be a bassist and focus only on creating and performing but there are often extremely tough personnel decisions that have to be made in order to keep the peace or more often to keep the entire entity from imploding. I’ve had to part ways with close friends and exemplary musicians along the way because ultimately there are five lives at stake and no one person is above the greater cause.
 
I fully acknowledge that one day I too might be removed from the line-up and should that occur for the betterment of the mission, then so be it. For now, we try to do the best with the hand we’re dealt on any given album/tour cycle and accentuate the positives each new imagination brings to the fold as well as respect those who have been a part of the band’s journey to this point.

 
 
Did you have in mind that those changes would lead to a new musical direction for Icarus Witch? Was it something you were looking forward to?
 
J: Every change in the course leads to a new direction but it was never an intentional move to force anyone out in order to create directional change. New sounds come from new players, this is natural.
 
 
Was it hard to choose who was going to be the new singer, the new guitarist and the new drummer?
 
J: The choice for new singer was not hard because we did not hold auditions. Christopher was a friend of the band, who had worked with Quinn in another band. He was interested, Quinn vouched for him. He came in and sang our songs and it sounded wonderful so we began writing with him and continued moving forth with our commitments.
 
 
Is this the way you always wanted Icarus Witch to be like/sound since the beginning?
 
J: No, each incarnation of the band sounded the way it was supposed to. If anything I personally have always had a love of melodic rock, classic rock, goth and modern alternative. Two of my favorite bands are The Cure and Journey. The new music is a balanced hybrid of those disparate sounds but still rooted primarily in the traditional metal we were founded on.
 
 
Thus, the change was significant for the old time fans of the band. From the traditional metal side you’ve added several modern, hard rock, AOR & metal elements to your music… How did that change of direction happen?
 
J: I think it is a natural progression considering the styles of the new members as well as certain restrictions being removed. The goal this time around was to lose the mentality of “this is” or “this is not” the Icarus Witch sound and let it evolve into what it can be vs. what it was. Everyone played to their strengths, uninhibited and that passion is evident.
 
 
What’s the reaction of your fans and the press for “Rise”? Many were taken by surprise I think, is that so?
 
J: There was an element of surprise by those who had not heard from us since “Draw Down The Moon”. Those who had been following us live had heard hints of the new songs working their way into the set and we had released the single “Tragedy” on our social networks a year prior to the release of “Rise”. So, while it may have been a bit surprising I would not say it came as a shock to those in the know.
 
 
I totally believe that “Rise” is your best release to date. That new exciting direction and reaction rises the bar for the future releases right?
 
J: Thank you again. Yes, we are all about raising the bar and the expectations. If you rest on your laurels in this business you are dead in the water. The trick is to always stay motivated enough to outdo yourself and improve with each new song and show. (i.n.: Yeap that the actual goal when you’re making music… spot on dude…)
 
 
Why did you name the album “Rise”? What does it proclaim?
 
J: It is a simple, powerful statement. We are rising above what we have done in our collective pasts and challenging the listeners to rise with us.
 
 
The sexy witch with the veil on broom… will she be uncovered in the future, huh?
 
J: Be careful what you wish for. The sexy Witch on the broom could actually be me under the veil, freshly waxed... and no one wants to see that. (i.n.: hahaha OK just I rest my case laugh)
 
 
Please give us a hint about the songs…
 
J: “The End”: ...is the beginning...
 
“(We Are) The New Revolution”: Every album needs an anthem, right?
 
“Rise”: A call to arms. Plus Zombies are way cool.
 
“Asylum Harbour”: A portent of things to come.
 
“Coming of the Storm”: Melodic with swing yet doomy, not an easy balance.
 
“Tragedy”: The first song the Witch wrote in the new era. An instant classic.
 
“Say When”: A personal favorite of mine and a fresh departure from our past.
 
“Break the Cycle”: I think we have with this song and album.
 
“Nothing Is Forever”: So true, isn’t it?
 
“Pray”: One of the heaviest of our catalog. Now get on your knees!
 
“In the Dark”: Be careful who you cross.
 
“Last Call for Living”: A mission statement: It’s all or nothing.
 
 
The new guitarist, Dave Watson, is also the new producer. Was it part of the general sound update of the band? He did a hell of a job actually… as well as Mark Richardson (The Black Keys, Baroness) on the mastering…
 
J: Yes, we had worked with Dave as a producer on the “Tragedy” single before he joined the band. The modern sounds and visions he brought to the project were right in line with the way the music was progressing. He’s got a great ear for what is happening now but a true appreciation for the classics. Mark’s mastering was simply the honey glaze on our donut holes.
 
 
You’re part of The North American Assault that begun on 09 of August and eneded on 29th August. How’s the tour?
 
J: Well, since it took me ages to finish this interview, that tour is history now. It had its ups and downs as all tours do but we had some fantastic shows, played in many new cities and made some great new friends along the journey.
 
 
What shall we wait form Icarus Witch in the future? It’s like a second era for the band huh? You could have gone under a different name… to make a brand new start… even if you didn’t choose to do so… right?
 
J: I actually proposed that very idea when we were in the thick of our second tour with Paul DiAnno. I brought it up to the guys that our new songs were really a departure from the past and that we might want to consider changing the name and starting fresh. I was voted down on that and fortunately so because the true fans of the band ended up embracing our development as well and we still balance most live sets with classic songs while promoting the new material.
 
 
I’ve written: “Retaining their fan base and gaining new fans will be their big bet here… even though I believe that “Rise” will bring new fans on board no matter what…”. What do you think?
 
J: It was a gamble for sure, but nothing ventured nothing gained, right? I’m glad we rolled the dice. I get bored easily and thrive on big changes and frightening challenges.
 
 
“Tragedy” is one of the best songs of the year… you did release it first in 2011 as a single… I’m sure you know that it was a very strong tune and needed to be released in a studio album?
 
J: Yes, that song paved the way for a new direction. We thought about tacking it on to the album but everyone felt we should re-record it with the current line-up so there are actually two studio versions of “Tragedy” floating around in cyberspace now.
 
 
Some people, that do not like seeing bands evolving… do not quite fancy your new style & sound. Personally, I think that Icarus Witch needed that change in order to go further… I like the band way more now than in the past… What do you believe?
 
J: There is always going to be a faction of fans that like only a certain element of a band and do not want their favorite artists to explore. Hell, I am guilty of it to a degree myself. However, once you play the same songs night after night, year after year you really start to grow tired of the repetition and need to move on to keep things fresh for yourself as an artist. Those old recordings are always there for the people who only like that era. As for the rest of us, we are more pumped about the future than the past. (i.n.: That’s so true…)

Icarus Witch band photo

Will you give some songs or probably the whole album to the fans for free in the near future as some bands did… or you are not so much into this downloading notion?
 
J: Those that want to get songs for free will do it anyway. We put so much of our blood sweat and tears into each song and recording that I don’t think asking for 99 cents a track is unfair. Every penny we make goes back into the band anyway so if you really want to support original music and keep the artists out there the best thing you can do is continue buying their music and merchandise. (i.n.: I totally believe that…)
 
 
What must an artist do in order to avoid losing time and money…while dealing with that downloading generation that only sees an album as a file on their pc? Will these magic old days ever come back?
 
J: The old days will never come back. The only thing an artist can do is to remind fans, especially the younger ones who are growing up in the smartphone generation that behind each song they hear is a story, a group of musicians who worked their asses off, probably saved every penny they could and starved to put forth their dream of producing quality music.
 
If I came into a chef’s kitchen and started eating the gourmet food they prepared or went to the office of an accountant and helped myself to the money they were counting I’d be arrested and considered a scumbag. Yet for some reason it is either acceptable or ignored when millions of people steal music, movies or games every day behind the anonymity of a computer screen.
 
It’s a losing battle but worth reminding people that this is how we try to make our living and when there is no compensation for the music, the musicians will often have to find other means to support themselves and there will be less music for everyone to enjoy, be it recordings or tours. Then you will have to go to Train concerts.

 
 
It’s time for our weird Questions now!!!? Why did you name the band Icarus Witch in the first place?
 
J: Because I am a Witch and wanted to create music that flew dangerously close to the heat of a metaphoric sun of ambition despite warnings of a figurative father of common sense.
 
 
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
 
J: Pink Floyd – “Dark Side of the Moon” so I could fly to shows in my private jet drinking Cristal instead of riding in a stinky van with five hairy dudes drinking O.J. from a truck stop.
 
 
If we have two options: one to go deep on earth and live down there (Hollow Earth theory) and the other to travel to new Stars and get started there… which one would you choose and why?
 
J: New Stars all the way. My pale skin burns easily.
 
 
Planet Earth is full of violence, death, wars, misbehavior, and battle for everyday life… just to extend your time of leaving… There’s has to be something more than that… which humans can’t see and comprehend right? Possibly, those who take care of our fate have only given us these ways out. What do you think?
 
J: I agree that there is more to it than that and that most people get caught in the whirling vortex of negativity and pessimism. However, I believe that we are in control of our own fate and create our own reality. Those who chose to dwell in darkness will forever be enslaved by its grip. Those who seek enlightenment and prosperity and realize that we are living in parallel dimensions simultaneously will embrace their angelic ancestry will reap the benefits of ascension beyond the constraints of this mortal coil. (i.n.: That’s probably the best answer I’ve read so far for that specific question… rock on!)
 
 
Which are the things that piss you off from today’s music industry?
 
J: The loss of mystique due to social media/reality TV mentality. Also I am very disappointed at who fractured the “metal” genre has become over the years. There was a time when the word metal was all encompassing and accepted sounds from all genres. Now it increasingly subdivided into so many genres, many with an elitist clique mentality that judge others on how “metal” they are. This is preposterous and goes against the original vibe of “use against the world” that the scene was originally founded on. (i.n.: Jason speaks some hard truths guys…)
 
 
Which is the most overrated band/musician today?
 
J: Country stars who write songs about trucks, tractors and swimming holes even though they probably grew up in the suburbs like the rest of us.
 
 
Which are those Stars that you’d like to travel to and why?
 
J: The ones that contain hospitable planets within their system which have not yet been strangled by consumerism, pollution waste, corruption and greed. The planet Eden, pre-apple. (i.n.: Who doesn’t want that huh?!)
 
 
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
 
J: As a musician, if you could travel back to the ‘70s with a pro-tools rig and record a classic album for the cost of what those rock stars spent on a days’ worth of cocaine, you might have an edge. On the other hand, if you could travel, say, ten years into the future and hear the trends and sounds that will be filling the cloud in 2023, then return with that insight and be ahead of the curve, it could offer a distinct advantage. My new goal, however, is to live in the moment. It’s the only thing that is real.
 
 
If you were the opposite sex for one day, what would you look like and what would you do?
 
J: I’d probably look pretty much the same but would be able to put on my eyeliner better before a show and hopefully have less facial stubble. (i.n.: hehehe…)
 
 
One night stands or long term relationships? Maybe it is better to have long term relationships with lots of one night stands…right?
 
J: A long term relationship where each night carries the thrill of that first caress. (i.n.: Swell…)
 
 
Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
 
J: Nietzsche, because although often feared and misunderstood ultimately believed in the affirmation of living one’s life to the fullest and not being enslaved by outmoded doctrine or made to feel inferior by self-righteous hypocritical moralism.
 
 
Supposing you could experience an adventure in an unreal-horror world of a fantasy writer (Poe, Lovecraft etc.)…which one would that be and why?
 
J: I would enjoy a three-part short story adventure where I first play the role of Roderick Usher in Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” but bring a bottle of prescription meds from the present day so that I could enjoy that kick-ass mansion without the constant headaches from people’s footsteps or siblings clawing their coffins to distract me. I’d strum that harp and drink Absinth in my velvet frock until the crows came home.
 
For the second act, I would become Wilbur Whateley in Lovecraft’s “Dunwich Horror” so that I could study spell casting at New England’s infamous Miskatonic University and conjure all sorts of chaos with my creepy grandfather and summon the Old Ones to do my bidding. Way cooler than watching another horrific season of American Idol on TV.
 
For the grand finale I would transport to 1997 and play the dual role of Fred Madison and Pete Dayton in David Lynch’s masterpiece, “Lost Highway”. Both Fred and Pete get to hook up with a young Patricia Arquette and drive fast cars through the desert at night while listening to David Bowie. How rad is that?
(i.n.: Absolutely cool!)
 
 
Imagine that your wife/girlfriend is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
 
J: It would never happen because: Firstly, I have already sold my entire album collection to buy musical equipment and fund my dream & secondly I do not allow materialistic women into my inner circle. (i.n.: If it is for a good cause then it’s OK)
 
 
Thx very much for this wonderful interview Jason. Thx for the music as well. The last words of this interview belong to you… Take care!
 
J: My pleasure. Last words? Watch out where the huskies go; and don’t you eat that yellow snow.