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Writer Aaron Barlow interviews guitarist Patrick Jensen of WITCHERY. Talking about their new album IN HIS INFERNAL MAJESTY'S SERVICE which will be released November 25th on Century Media Records.


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THE METAL PIT:   The new album has a less polished, more “live” feel to it, was it recorded live or intentionally produced for that effect?

Patrick Jensen:       We do record live yes. I personally think that metal fans get cheated out of getting albums subpar to what they really could have been had they only been recorded live. There is a reason to why the “old classics” sound so enthusiastic, engaging and captivating. Those albums were recorded live. Music is meant to be created and enjoyed with musicians playing their different parts together. It’s a symbiosis that pays off. Having your only goal being writing a great song and getting everything in line with a computers clock misses out on the most important part of what makes music great: the people that play the songs. I honestly don’t see a reason to why almost every album should sound like it was the same bunch of studio musicians that recorded it. I want to be able to hear that its “this” drummer or its “that” guitar player” playing a song. Back in the day AC/DC couldn’t play a Black Sabbath song and sound like Black Sabbath, or Judas Priest play a Motorhead song and sound like Lemmy&co. But today a good band could step into the studio right after another band has finished their album and, with the help of some beat detective on the drums and enough retakes on the other instruments, recreate what the band before them just did. Eating a slice of cheese, then a teaspoon of butter and then a slice of bread might fill you up exactly the same as a sandwich would, but it still wasnt a “sandwich” you just ate. I believe it is important for band to play and record all at once so we get bands that are more individualized and recordings that are more organic and interesting to listen to.

In addition to this, I think that producer Daniel Bergstrand was really able to create an honest reproduction of what we sound like as a band. We sound raw when we play together, so that is also what we should sound like.

 

Would you consider this album something of a return to form?

We don’t do much planning when we start writing and rehearsing for an album. We more just roll with what happens right there and then, but we did try to keep the song structures simple and to the point. This might be more in the vein of our earlier albums, so I guess it is a return to form in that aspect.

 

Did the newest additions to the band have an influence on the writing or direction of the album?

Chris (Barkensjö, drummer) was a part of the writing process so his style of playing (which resembles our first drummer, Mique’s, style of playing more than Martin Axenrot’s style) did influence the songs. However, we weren’t aware of that Caligula wouldn’t be able to be part of the band and album until we actually were in the studio. He had had some problems with his hearing and balance during a reunion tour he did with Dark Funeral a few months prior to us entering the studio. He thought the problems were just temporary and waiting for them to go away, but they persisted. He sought a doctor for these issues and the doctor told him he had a sudden hearing loss on one ear and some problems with the inner ear as well. The doctor told him he wasn’t able to be in any loud environments anymore, which forced him to quit music altogether. So, we were in the studio when we found out we had to find a new singer. We were very lucky to come across Angus (Norder) fairly quickly so we could proceed with the album, but this also means that Angus didn’t have any impact on the writing of the album itself.

 

The guitar sound in particular has an element of pure gut punch to it, did you change your set up?

We actually left that part up to Daniel. We trusted him to find the right sound for us from scratch, so we stayed out of his way when he dialed the settings. We wanted to see what he could do when given complete free rein, and we are very happy with what he accomplished.

 

Will you be doing any touring in the US?

We certainly hope so, We haven’t been to the US in a long time and I know there are a lot of people that would like to see us come back for a string of shows.

 

What do you see in the future for the band?

The band has in the past been hindered by the activity of our other bands (The Haunted, Arch Enemy and Opeth), but now, with one band less to have to take in consideration, we will hopefully be able to release albums more regularly and play live more often than in the recent past. Also, since the last album was released six years ago and the album before that another six ago, this is a sort of “second coming” for the band. Its almost like a restart for us. so I hope this new album will also generate new fans for us as well.

 

Was the album a labor of love or was it a relatively easy and quick recording?

Definitely a labor of love. We always have a great time when we get together, and we think that what we are able to produce as a band has quality and has its own sound. That’s why we have never been close to calling it quits, despite the seemingly endless struggle of finding time to get together to write and rehearse. So, yes, there are logistic problems we have had to overcome, but when we do manage to get together, then everything is just fun and passionate from thereon.

 

Is the black and white album artwork a reflection of the more stripped down overall feel of the album?

We’ve worked with Andreas Pettersson on many albums now. In fact, he even designed The Haunted logo and that first album cover back in the day, so we’ve known each other for a long time. He is a very accomplished designer, but works mainly with big companies (carmakers etc). He loves when he gets to do things that he wouldn’t normally get to do with his other clients. Andreas forte is creating visuals that stand out (I cant think of any better example than the aforementioned The Haunted logo: clean, easy recognizable even from at a distance and is legible to anyone between 8 to 80). Him and I talked about creating some kind of symbol to represent this “service” that Witchery is a part or (In His Infernal Majesty’s Service). Kind of like an Illuminati or Freemason symbol. It was Andreas’ choice to make it black and white so that it would stand out more. I really really respect his input and his craftsmanship and we are very happy with the outcome of the album artwork for this album too, just like we always are with Andreas work.

 

Thank you for taking the time out to talk to us. Good luck with the new album.

Thank you very much for your support!  

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