Thursday, March 21, 2019

interview: Witchrite

Witchrite is DIY thrash from Poland. In this interview they answer in depth a whole series of questions about the band’s music and also their lyrics, which cover a broad range of topics on life in Poland. The band has been very gracious in answering the questions, and as a result, you will get a very good idea about Witchrite.
Hello, friends in Witchrite. How is life in Poland for your band in 2019? Where in Poland do you live? Is it a time of political tension or violence there)?
Mlody: Hello, I guess life for our band is completely ok – lazy and with his own natural tempo as always. Nothing changed in this matter. Right now I live in Gorzow Wlkp in western Poland, near the German border. It is my hometown and also place when we formed a band and still have rehearsal space. The town is not the most neat place I ever been for sure but region is truly beautiful! Full of forests, lakes and wild nature.
On my everyday life I didn't see and didn't experience so much violence. But I guess I know what you mean and there are some acts of politically background violence that you can get to know via media and of course it is depressing. But it's not only a Polish thing. I guess it is a climate of whole this sick planet in 2019. Just take a look at Brazil and whole the horrible ideas of new, completely insane president. I'm just worried where it all can lead. Human is not the best learner of creature.
Pewex: Hi. Even though political changes are still visible in our country, I think that it does not affect us much. Nobody boycotts our concerts, it does not affect DIY publishing, etc.
I also live in our hometown - Gorzow Wlkp.,(western Poland). There was a period where I seriously thought to live in a larger city (ours has about 120,000 inhabitants), I even moved to UK for few weeks, but too many things pulled me back and right now I do not think about moving.
In everyday life I do not see any aggression on the streets or some extreme situations. Hate is seen mainly in the media and on internet. I am more afraid that the politics in our country are even more hatred, they are focused on differences and not on what can possibly connect us despite different beliefs or faith.
Overall, how do you feel about your life in Poland in 2019? Where do you see your life and the life of your friends going in the future? Is there hope for good jobs or do you see lots corruption, the capitalists getting richer and the working class not really having a better life?
Mlody: I have a quiet, unhurried life and I feel good about it. I have non-stressful job and I earn money that is covering my needs, so basically politics that drives me mad in general did not affect my existence that much as you can expect. Of course, this whole 8-hour work, monetary system based on the alarm clock is unnatural madness and I think that people responsible for that “they owe us a living” (of course they fucking do...). It is a part of much wider and more complicated problem and answering to that need to spread our reality out into prime factors. You know, people are writing books for trying to find the point. But just as you said in the question – rich are getting richer, poor are getting poorer and the end cannot be seen. People’s mentality is also the problem, but not the only one. In my future life I see myself on the countryside with girlfriend, animals and records in my surroundings. And less senseless actions for someone's income. Did you read “Tortilla Flat” or watch “Trailer Park Boys”? That's where I see myself. Sitting with a bottle near shop with toothless friends and playing mixture of crust and country on one-string guitar.
Pewex: Well, I'm a little disappointed. 15-20 years ago I thought that in 2019 Poland will be in a better shape. I grew up in the years of transformation, mainly after the communist regime which ruined the country, but entry of capitalism showed us that greed, intolerance and not counting with an average people can be a feature of any system.
What may disturb is the growing difference between the rich and the working class. The medium class seems to slowly disappear.
As you can see, it's hard to determine what will happen next. In what direction it will go. I just hope that I will not have to leave Poland one day, because I will not see the sense of living there anymore.
Did your band really begin in 2007? That is more than ten years ago! Do you remember what motivated/inspired you to form a political thrash band? Did you have lyrics about politics back then, too? Or, did you have lyrics about alcohol and zombies (always a popular theme in thrash metal)?
Mlody: Yes, we did start the band in 2007. Rest of the guys play together in different band and when it split-up they invited me to join to form a new band, so I did. We did not have an idea to form political thrash band and I'm not describing our band in this way. I had and have an idea to describe reality and there are my thoughts about it. Many of them concerns about politics, ‘cause it's the big part of reality, so the lyrics also. I totally run away from Messiahnism and telling truths, it's just my views. They are little bit aggressive, but in my life I try to be peaceful and non-violent. When I'm talking with people about the same thoughts I use completely different, balanced words. I'm pretty sure about that character of these lyrics and music are much helpful with that. I can express myself and spit out my anger in this way. I guess it was like that from beginning of the band, but when band started I was 17 so lyrics probably were a little bit more stupid because I was dumber back then. And I never sing about zombies and alcohol. But I will not have a problem with drinking alcohol with a zombie.
Basically, the idea of founding another boring, the same band as thousand others is not an idea at all. And musically we also have never decided to keep on strictly to one genre. Thrash metal is basis, the spine of it all, but in my opinion you can hear some influences in there also from death metal, doom metal, 80's ushc, crust punk. I heard many different opinions what someone's heard in our stuff. Once I read even that some guy heard grindcore in this! I don't hear that, but that's cool if someone's do because we love Napalm Death, Terrorizer or Mass Grave. And by the way, socio-political lyrics are nothing new in thrash metal. Everyone who ever listens to for example Nuclear Assault or Kreator knows that.
Pewex: Yes, Witchrite was created in 2007, but it was a consequence of suspension of activities of the previous band that I founded with the current guitarist around year 2000. There was no intension to play political thrash at the beginning. We wanted to play like Slayer and Sepultura and that's it. Although there were never any lyrics about alcohol and zombies. The previous vocalist’s lyrics were about war, apocalypse, and Antichrist.
Do you have the same members nowadays in 2019 as in 2007? Are any of you married nowadays? Do any of you have children? Who is answering this interview?
Mlody: Yes, we play with the same line-up today that we were playing on first rehearsal. I'm not married and I don't have kids. But I live with my girlfriend and we have a dog, so I guess it is some kind of family life. My name is Rafal and I do vocals.
Pewex: The line-up has not changed and I'm very happy about it. You can see that music evolves in us and is not the result of new members. None of us have ever married or have children. Although none of us is living alone. What you can observe these days that is not so important to get married so quickly. People called me Pewex and I play drums.
Your most recent recording is the self-titled album from 2018. How many recordings have you published in total?
Mlody: We are lazy as fuck when it comes to the recordings. Our first release is just CD-r with concert from Gdansk recorded on it – we put out 80 pieces and all gave to friends, it was in 2012. We put out a s/t demo cd with 5 tracks in 2013, it was recorded in studio and have nice audio quality. We have live split tape with grindcore Necrosodomistical Slaughter – it was recorded at our joint concert in Poznan and it was released in 2016. And yes, in 2018 we put out s/t full length album. It came out on vinyl with two versions – regular on black vinyl and limited on white vinyl and additional cover art. It is also available on CD and there are two editions of tape. And we are really grateful to all of the co-editors! You can listen to all of these stuff at Bandcamp.
Your 2018 self-titled album is very much a thrash music album, and with political lyrics. The first song is “to wina rządu (“it's the governments fault”). What are your criticisms of the government in your country?
Mlody: We choose this as a first song because of the music things – it's just good opener, straight into the face. The lyrics were written during the previous government was in power. The party with most seats in parliament back then was pro-capitalistic, taking care only about business and they had a tone of contempt to lower classes and poor people. And that's the main reason in my opinion why they lose in another elections – cause propaganda of current ruling party was directed to those which the previous one despised. And the differences between them looks like this – previous party were robbers. Current are robbers and psychopaths. The robber robs you, but psychopath robs you, violates your mind and told you that's your fault. I used to hate previous government, but current I hate even more.
The second song is called “odraza” (disgust). You say that you do not like the “national conservative party.” Why is this part in particular one that you do not support?
Mlody: I do not support any political party. Everything of it is what is the political party, so there's no magic and flowers in this. Currently ruling party besides keeping receipts, cheating and robbing is try to teach the society using abstracts like “god”, “nation” and other bullshit. It is using to divide society and wake the anger and hatred in society directed to political opponents and to those who doesn't match to stereotypical Polish Catholic image. This all besides that it distracts attention of government frauds and scams, it is waking in people very bad, hateful, ignorant instincts. And that's very much backward trend.
The third song continues the social criticism by your band. The song is called “Atak na kościół katolicki (“Attack on the Catholic Church”). Is it true that the majority of Polish people are Catholic? What in particular is it that you do not like about the Catholic Church and why? What do the Catholic Church authorities do in your country that you do not like? Is it their involvement in politics?
Mlody: At least officially it is true that majority of Polish people are Catholics. No one is asking permission or opinion the newborns, they aren't able even to speak when they are baptizing. And then they become official Catholics, and they stay in register until they'll be apostate themselves.
The Catholic Church is having very strong position in Poland and their involvement in politics – it was always like this, right now is even stronger due to current political climate. On countryside still there is no more important citizen than the priest. Even in cases of pedophilia there's no surprise when whole village is standing for the accused priest. Even in my closest family was a case of harassment done by the priest and when the molested person said it to his mother she was shouting at him how he can say rubbish like this about the priest. About the holy priest. You know, we had this Polish Pope back then and to this day he's most holy figure ever – more even than Jesus. He wasn't that saint that people believe – he was an actor pretending to be a saint. And the same time this scumbag personally covered up cases of pedophilia in the Catholic Church or sacrificed the births by raped women in South America.
The Catholic Church is what it always has been and what every organised religion always been. People made it for power, authority and money. They take advantage from people lowest instincts – naivety. Their mode of actions is being a legal mafia which crimes are covered up, because they have canonic law which is hundred levels more important in their circles than civil law. Everything is staying in church and in many cases of pedophilia and other crimes accused priest are transferred to other parishes and that's their “punishment”. There's really nothing to like there.
Pewex: I grew up in a Catholic home where no one asked me if I wanted to be a Catholic. And up to certain age I was religious. With age I separated the concept of god and Catholicism. Catholicism is made up of people, not God. And it really doesn’t matter if he exists, the question is what people do "on his behalf". And that where I do not like a lot of things. From hypocrisy, hatred to other nationalities to political influence that should serve everyone, not only Catholics.
Do you consider yourselves a band of atheists? In your opinion, what is an atheist? Do you feel like you know for sure that there is no God? Are you against all religion in Poland?
Mlody: I'm not consider our band as an atheist band. In band there are four different people and I can only speak for myself. Years ago I think about myself that I'm agnostic. Right now I can declare myself as an atheist. I do not believe in God on the same level that I don't believe in Pikachu or flat Earth and I do believe in science. I remember talking with my dad in my childhood – he always commented all of the science which excludes the existence of God than it didn't. He was trying to found argumentation that it even confirms and all of this sounds totally senseless. I realize back then that this way of thinking is not modeling views based on reality, but opposite – that he's modeling reality based on predetermined views. I remember it totally rejected me. I believe and experience some kind of spirituality, but gods are made up by human. Why? You can go back to my answer on previous question. That's the same reasons why their invented religion. And yes, I'm against all religion in general and not only in Poland. I mean – organised religion.
Pewex: Between us we do not discuss who believes in God and who doesn’t. Friendship and music -that’s what unites us right now, not the belief. At the moment none of us practice any religion so you could say that we are atheists.
If most people in Poland believe in God or are Catholic, do you feel like you are in a minority? Have you met some people who believe in God but who are not arrogant and that do not act like they know everything? Have you ever met Christians who are nice, sympathetic, loving and generous people?
Mlody: Of course, I do, man! In my family, work etc. And of course, I have friends that declare themselves as Catholics. Why would I dislike them? Acceptance is also very big part of my beliefs. Until they are not racist or violent people that harasses different people. I have a funny situation when my friend who is Catholic and have definitely much much more conservative views than me told me after listening to our album - “you offended me on it at least twenty times but I still love you and I think that album crushes”. How sweet, isn't it?
Pewex: I do not judge people based on place of birth, skin color and whether they listen to metal or disco. That's why I do not see the point of judging someone's faith. For me faith in general can be dangerous. In wrong hands can lead to terrible things and worst of all it can justify it. These people can explain themselves that according to their faith they doing good things there is nothing wrong with their attitude.
Have you met some atheists who act like they have the truth, and who are really arrogant?
Mlody: Knowing one and final version of truth and being enlightened is one of the worst things that can happen to men. Regardless of options, views or doctrines. I always escape from that and don't want to have anything to do with that. Most of all terrorism starts from enlightenment, being sure about knowing everything, talking about highest form of consciousness and other bullshit like that. No gods, no masters!
Pewex: I do not approve that kind of approach. Generally, people they do like to believe in the existence of a higher being. They feel safer. It gives meaning to their lives and if they are better because of it, why negate it? As I said to me the most important is what people do, not conviction.
Are we here with no purpose and we die and it’s the end? Is it possible God does exist and gave you understanding of what is good and evil, compassion and hatred?
Mlody: Like I said before – I do believe in some kind of spirituality. I'm not saying that on world exists only material things. Pagan beliefs and their spirituality were created as a results of nature observation. They made romantic mythology and formed gods that were just a symbols of nature forces. It was honest and real. In line with their instincts, emotions, needs and free will. And then religion, like for example Christianity stole it, kill it and made depraved version for despicable benefits and told that human needs are sin burdened with nightmarish consequences. To take control on people. That's all they can do.
Pewex: All my life I think about it. And it seems to me more and more often that after death there is only a black spot, just like before birth.
How do Polish metal people react to your music when they hear it live? Do Polish metal fans like thrash a lot?
Mlody: We are playing concerts for a very diverse type of public. We do gigs on squats and on DIY punk events, but of course on metal gigs, too. And reaction I guess always are good. I do not remember bad reactions. I really don't know and probably don't care what is musical taste of typical polish metal fan. I guess there is no person like this, cause saying about someone that he is like that is generalization.
Pewex: Last few years mainly we did play on the punk scene. Fortunately, it is open to different types of music. On one stage you can hear punk, crust, metal or black metal bands. For me it's ok, because I listen to different genres. No one ever threw a bottle on stage during our show, so it's good. People are receiving us positively. Maybe sometimes the younger generation wonder why we do not dress like the typical thrash metalheads from the 80s, but for me the answer is simple: because we are not typical 80s metal heads!
Do you play live a lot? Do you play in Poland and the neighboring countries?
Mlody: We do something like 15, maximum 20 gigs a year so we definitely aren't record holders. We try to go to at least two or three short tours and rest of it are single gigs. We have never been in Russia, Ukraine and Serbia and also never did play in Scandinavia. But for sure that would be total cool! Outside Poland we play few times in Germany, Czech and Netherlands. And every time was lovely. We definitely want and plan to visit countries that we weren't before, but it's little bit difficult for us to organize more than 4 gigs in a row due to life and time questions. Every one of us has a shitload of things to do instead of band and we're not living in the same towns. But for example in May we are going to visit Switzerland for the first time.
In your music you also talk about racist groups in Poland. Are there immigrants from other countries arriving in Poland seeking a better life?
Mlody: There are in Poland immigrants from other countries – in our sides are many people from Ukraine. We do even have rehearsal space in building that is hotel for Ukrainian workers. And I have two Ukrainian guys in my work. One of them bring me from his family house 4 кино LP's. I guess there is more people from Africa and Asia in biggest towns than in my area. There's of course nothing bad in it. Every man should have inviolable law to look for happiness wherever he want to. I do not believe in borders – borders are made by politicians. Of course I'm not that ignorant to not know that surroundings and culture is having one of the hugest impact in growing up, but I'm completely far away from patriotism and I'm disgusted with nationalism. I didn't choose the place where my mother was 9 months after having sex with my father, so for me being proud from the things which are not dependent from me is total absurd. Racism is stupid and for stupid people that have no real reasons for being proud of something. I used to talk with guy from Africa whose living in Poznan and he said to me that verbal attacks and violence aimed at him and his family are frequent. And in huge part that's the reason of current political climate and some of right-wing politicians have blood on their hands. Even the most important figure in polish politics said that refugees are bringing to Europe exotic unknown diseases. The biggest disease is stupidity and ignorance. And the duty of decent people is to help other people in need so that's my answer for the last part of question.
Pewex: As I mentioned earlier, I don’t like to generalize. Tell me how anyone can have the right to decide whether this or that nation can find shelter or not? Any refugees should be helped. I think the biggest problem is how to organize it right.
In history, the Polish people also have been immigrants and refugees.
Mlody: Yes, you can meet in past and also in present Polish people everywhere in the world. My opinion is exactly the same like on immigrants from any different countries. I also have few episodes of working or live some time abroad.
Have you ever played in or visited the United States?
Mlody: Nope, never. I love travelling, but I have never been outside Europe.
You are an independent, do-it-yourself thrash band. Can you tell us how the die-hard thrash fans can support your band?
Mlody: Listen to music, buying records, going to gigs and doing booking. But I don't promise that I'll still write political lyrics. We have some new tracks and lyrics in there concerns more on personal, closer stuff. But if someone call it political, for sure I'm not going to arguing.
Pewex: Don’t wait until Metallica will record another good thrash album. Check out the internet, you can find a lot of good bands out there. And keep checking your local venues, maybe we'll see each other one day!
Good luck in the future. Stay in contact!
Mlody: Thanks for everything!
Pewex: Thanks!!

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