Aural Music Artist- Gospel of the Witches Interview Up ..
- Karyn 1st I wanted to ask how does the themes and sounds differ from Salem wounds to Covenant in your eyes?
Davide: The music of Gospel Of The Witches comes from a supernatural source which I can tap in and out
whenever an album is due. This has absolutely nothing to do with me as a musician or composer: this is solely
happening because of my connection with Karyn and the presences within herself. Being my ego out of the equation,
I don’t doubt the process, I let go and I let the channelling begin. The music comes furiously, I just need to keep up
with it. All the similarities between the two albums comes from that.
Karyn: Conceptually, this time my focus was on channeling the divine feminine, which is a conscious energy that can be
terrifying at times and also soothing and healing at other times. One major difference is that on this album I sing all
my own backing vocals and layers. There are songs with many layers of vocals..and some that feel quite naked.
Davide's signature atmospheres on guitar are pushing the limits of emotional journeying as they always do,
but they venture into different territories for sure, reminding me of the higher skies, timeless stars, the realm of divinities.
Fabian Vestod's work on the drums offer a more primal feel, harnessing an ancient and raw power.
There are aspects to this album that do feel like something ancient came forth from underground, from the
caves and from the molten earth long ago....but also from deep in the expansive universe, expressing a
power that is hard to describe...but then, this is also a concept of the record: the largely ignored divine
feminine force. There is a tremendous expansive energy coming through in some songs, and in others a tremendous grief.
I think listeners will find threads of connection to Salem's Wounds but also some new and surprising
territory. As always, our music is focused on charged sounds and vibrations and emotions and intentions, so
what you think is not as important as what you might feel in response to these songs.
2. With Covenant I hear so much more melody and powerful clean sung vocals . Karyn did you want more vocal diversity on this album?
Karyn: I don't set forth working on an album with ideas about what its ingredients should be. I'm not a musician, I'm a
a channeler. As I listen to Davide's compositions, I let the songs show and tell me how I should sing them and tell me
what they should be about.
Usually this happens to me as visions, like little movies where I see a story unfolding as I listen to the guitars. Then I see
shapes and hear colors when it's time to write my vocal parts. I love Davide's guitars..probably too much, because it takes
me quite a long time to stop listening to them and feeling the journeys they take me on so I can then start listening to
what my parts should be. For me it's a receptive process, where I listen.
3. With Davide its this a musical partnership or do you write the ideas and he brings them to musical vision?
Karyn: Davide is the instigator of the albums always and the driving force behind the albums.
We are both connected energetically, and we are both channelers. While we have
an unspoken agreement about the magical realm the songs express, he is the one who taps
into the energy and channels it out into songs. He builds the stories and I try to verbalize them..but
our ideas come from the same places in slightly different way: the spirit world of feminine divinities.
GOTW is really the union of Davide's process and mine which work together to tell about
ancient ways and express their energy.
4. Fabian of Skinlab is the drummer correct. What has been his input? As this seems very vastly different styles but he fits like a glove to over all sound.
Karyn: Fabian is an Italian drummer who now also plays with Skinlab. I am very particular about drums
because they set the trance, the heartbeat. I felt Fabian would be the perfect drummer for this album which required
a different rhythmic landscape than our previous one.
Fabian: When I got asked to do the drums for the album Covenant, just layers of guitars were sent to me, no vocals,
no scratch drums. And since it’s Davide Tiso, you can’t get away playing a straight beat. I tried to tune with his vibe first then
tried to picturing an image I could transformed into a percussive sound. I saw roots twisting underneath the earth then
heard very ancient and organic drums so I thought was a good idea to try to sound like the guitars through the drums
instead of being the drummer who keeps the tempo for everybody else to seat on. A bit like a big orchestra works,
the bolero or a couple that dance tango, lots of dynamics that follow each other ending up matching together.
Listen to the song “ Dea Iside" and you’ll be surprised of what’s going on there.
5. Going from Century Media to a very impressive but very fringe label like Aural music, why the move and has a weight been lifted to find a home for Covenant?
Karyn: Century Media singed GOTW's but when CM was bought by Sony, GOTW was dropped. For this album, I was not convinced I
wanted to work with another label for many reasons. Davide knows the label Aural Music from his Ephel Duath days, and mostly because of Davide's
musical legacy they expressed interest in working with GOTW and offered us a deal with some freedoms that were appealing. Also appealing is the label's
reputation for working with interesting musicians, so we didn't have to worry about them telling us how weird my vocals were and the other kind of
negative comments that other labels make.
6. Crisis, Ephel Duath to Gospel of the Witches how has your musical ideals changed and who do all intertwine for you?
Karyn: In GOTW I am guided to use words and notes and tones that are charged with a specific vibration and frequency.
The voice has long been used to transmit otherworldly energy, and so the GOTW songs, in both
guitar compositions and vocals, are used in this way, as channels for energy. These are not radio pop
songs or metal hits following someone else's footsteps.
This is not far from the way I used words in Crisis. My intention with Crisis was to use the most simple words that
had the most impact for expressing my inner world. The words were really symbolic representations of energy. The
effort was towards catharsis.
As with both bands though, the guitarists generated all the music. With Davide's compositions I don't think I've ever
made a single compositional suggestion. He's just so good at what he does and I feel honored to be able to sing over
his extraordinary atmospheres. With GOTW I have been much more of a director in terms of drums, but I've always
had strong opinions about drums.
I'm the traveler into the worlds of atmospheres created by the musicians: they are really the ones you should be
asking this question to.
7. I know you have a strong Pagan and Spritual side. You do lectures, working on book of witches and witchcraft and well hep with spiritual healing and cleaning. Is this world just forgetting the old ways and just youre part to get mothernature back into view again?
Karyn: I don't think the old ways have ever been completely forgotten but have survived "on the fringe" rather than being a way for society to function.
My personal path is reclaiming the spiritual validity of non-conquerors and non-noble peoples (so validating practices based on a matrilineal expression of the universe) and this includes women, men, people of all genders including non-binary ones, especially people living outside of the wealthy, privileged and historically documented spiritual cults of the world.
8. Tell us about the artwork for Covenant. How does it play to themes on albums and are you making sure there is deeper meaning to all things Gospel of the Witches?
Karyn: The external artwork by my favorite contemporary designer Maison Cou Cou is in contrast to the inner artwork by Neapolitan master of inks Roberto Toderico. Being that the album is about the divine feminine, aka the womb of the universe, the artwork uses traditional ideas to reflect the universal void from which all things come and flowers which represent the vagina; the place they are birthed through. Since every person who has ever lived on the planet came through a vagina, I thought it made sense to honor the womb and its doorway to life this way.
9. Live vs Studio which do you enjoy more or what is the difference you get out of both differently?
Karyn: They both offer challenges, and it's really the challenges that make life interesting. For example, you can't hide anything in studio.
If you haven't been rehearsing or working on the album in a dedicated way, it shows. It's a process that, Daivde, Fabian and I, requires a lot
of training, as an athlete would. It's about using the excellence you've managed to achieve in the late night hours when no one else is watching you.
Studio is also an event with a deadline and other people's involvement towards something bigger than our individual selves, so it's also an opportunity to work towards personal excellence as a contribution to the whole.
Live shows offer other challenges, not only technology/gear related challenges, but they can also reveal if band members are united in their devotion to the music or not.
Working with Jamie King of The Basement Recording (Winston-Salem, NC) for these past two albums has been the best studio experience of my life because his vocal booth is so well conceived. I can hear my own voice without having to overpower the room, and he understands just enough effects to add a little sustain to my natural voice. Touring for 13 years with Crisis meant that in studio I usually was only given scraps of time at the end of our recording session to record my vocals..and live shows mean that I almost never heard myself, so those aspects were not enjoyable at all. On the other hand, our tours
were absolutely amazing and quite special. I liked pushing myself to limits on the road: mentally, physically, creatively.
10.. San Fran and Oakland have always seems a hotbed on expressive and impressive music what bands are impressing you outside of Your projects in 2019 there?
Davide: I’d say that the Bay Area has some of the best underground metal bands in the country. The first name that comes to mind is Dispirit. Their DIY approach is outstanding and the devotion to their craft is very inspiring to me. This is a band that never released a proper album but has a cult following around here. Musically we are talking about a mix of the finest funeral doom I’ve heard with some hints of black metal. Their live shows are amazing, the word ritualistic is definitely not out of contest here.
Another band I’d love to mention is Deathgrave. A mix of punk, death metal and grind featuring Andre Cornejo, my favorite extreme metal singer and live performer in the area. Deathgrave’s live shows are so very powerful, entertaining to watch and put a smile on my face.
Fabian: Luckily what you get from Oakland is real. We have a strong underground scene, between black metal, death metal, doom, punk or 70s rock, bands are true to them selves, no one really is pretending to be some one else. There's no overacting, no replica no need to fake it over here. Necrot is one band I go see live: they rage and they put up great shows. Other bands that come to mind are: Charger, Ails , Ulthar, and Hellfire.
11.. How has the digital age change extreme underground music from the early days of Crisis to 2019? Has Bandcamp, Youtube, Podcast, Streaming/Social media etc made it too easy for anyone to release sub par music or does the cream really rise these days?
I don't worry about what other people are doing. But the digital age has added a saturation that, along with greed in the music business side that already existed, seems to have killed off the music scene for small and midsized bands most definitely. Couple that with spotify and itunes and other online music sources that make money off music but are questionable when it comes to paying bands..music has in general become the thing no one wants to pay for and yet everyone wants to listen to. As far as the "cream", the music industry has always been into commerce, not talent, and they focus on what they can sell. I think the digital age made it easy for the industry because technology made it easier for bands to cookie-cutter copy each other and to fake it in studio.
12. Thank you for the time any closing thoughts here.
Karyn: Thank you for listening!