Witch: Amping Up the Stoner Rock Formula on Paralyzed

Although the foursome’s collective taste in music is expansive, the style that the band would play was obvious. Speaking for himself and buddy Mascis, Sweetapple notes, “We are such big fans of rock. We come from a classic rock background, then punk, then hardcore around 1980. Other things come in and out of your life as far as esoteric stuff and electronic music, but you’re still rooted in what you were first into, which was heavy rock stuff.”

Though Witch love their contemporaries like Swedish Tee Pee label-mates Graveyard, a lot of their inspiration has come from “digging through the vaults.” Sweetapple speaks of “going back and finding bands like Sir Lord Baltimore and Leaf Hound that were going on at the same time as Zeppelin, but were just as heavy and kind of unknown. It’s like the whole punk thing in that so many things were just regional, esoteric, and underground. We expanded on that and came up with our record.”

The other day Kyle was trying to sum up the new record, and came up with “less weed, more speed.”

Paralyzed, like their previous album, was recorded at Mascis’ Bisquiteen studios in Amhurst. Although they enjoyed working with Agnello on Witch, scheduling constraints led them to record with budding producer Justin Pitzzoferato. According to Sweetapple at the time of production, this was a great turn of events. “This way we can record with Justin, produce it, and make a collective mix and see how it turned out.” Mixing proved to be a little complicated due to Mascis’ touring commitments with the newly reunited Dinosaur Jr., but in the end, the sessions resulted in something amazing. Tracks such as the dreamy and heavy “Sweet Sue” and punky “Eye” depict a band that has grown considerably more inventive and self-assured.

Sweetapple believes that Paralyzed will have a broader spectrum of sound than the first record, which many critics and fans relegated to the “stoner rock” category. “The other day Kyle was trying to sum up the new record, and came up with ‘less weed, more speed.’ It’s definitely a lot faster than the last record, and a little more diversified, but it all still sounds like Witch.”

Despite their classic roots, or quite possibly because of them, the group is gaining listeners from places Sweetapple says he never imagined. In early 2006, Volcom Entertainment licensed “Seer,” the hard-hitting opening track from their first record, for their Escramble snowboarding DVD. “When we started this band,” Sweetapple says, “I hoped it would appeal to fifteen-year-olds starting bands in their basements.”

Although Witch wasn’t designed with any grand scheme in mind, the members are unified in thought. “Now that we’ve gone this far, why don’t we keep going with it?” Sweetapple asks. Friends, good times, and good music are the crux of this band. As Sweetapple says, “That’s the reason to keep doing this stuff. It’s fun and it sounds great.”