Against Magazine










WITHANIA: A pollen and resin sculputure (Interview)

Still promoting the debut album “Blütenstaub und Weidenharz” that was digitally released in October 2014, we’ve got in touch with Withania’s mastermind and got a chat about the artist’s metamorphoses and about the album itself.

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“Dynamics and variety are an important element of Withania, each song tells its own story and kind of undergoes a development.”

 

Already with two albums released under the name Weidenbaum, what made you change it to Withania?
It was time for a change, I’ve thought for years about changing the name, as I’ve never been really happy with it. The name change was definitely overdue and allowed me to leave behind some of the mess that I had gone through previously.

What’s the meaning behind the word Withania?
Withania is a genus of the nightshade family; I’ve dreamt a few times of one particular member and have used it as medicine. I really like the name, it just feels and sounds right to me.

Also, you’re no longer working by yourself since you are a duo now, am I right? What made you call up a partner to sing along?
I’ve already worked with a session singer, Eldron from Autumnblaze, on four songs of the second Weidenbaum album, so it isn’t something entirely new. While writing the songs I realized that there is even more space for clean vocals. As basically every song except the orchestral medley features clean vocals and Xceno has enriched the album with his interpretations, it is just fair to credit him as a member. When he joined Withania the album was pretty much finished and I had recorded all my vocals, but we found a way to include his pretty impressive growls in a few songs as well.

Withania’s sound wanders between harsh soundscapes from Germany and melodic, and sometimes soft, ones from Scandinavia. Could you share some words about the band’s sound concerning what I’ve said?
While I agree that the duality of aggression and melody is an essential part of Withania, I don’t think that the sound can be connected to certain region or country. I don’t think that the music sounds particularly German (well, except for the German lyrics) or Scandinavian, let alone that I don’t know what kind of music would fit this kind of labeling. But dynamics and variety are an important element of Withania, each song tells its own story and kind of undergoes a development.

Do you think that the using of clean vocals is an added-value to your sound? Sometimes, people want more than growling, right?
I don’t know if it is an added value to Withania’s sound and I certainly don’t care what people want while making music, but I can’t image the album without clean vocals, in my opinion they are at least as important as the growls. The human voice is the instrument to which we can relate in a very special way, as it is innate to almost every human being and is able to express a wide range of emotions. Growls only work for a certain range of them, so it is quite logical to use clean vocals. When it comes to the music and the lyrics it is clear that both depend on each other and as you’ve mentioned before there are quite a few softer moments that just call for clean vocals. And I think that Xceno did a great job and understood what kind of atmosphere I was looking for and his voice just fits with the music of the album.

Would you say that Nature is Withania’s core?
To call nature Withania’s core would be an overstatement and I’m not sure if you can narrow down the core of an evolving entity like a musical project or a band to one single word. Nature definitely has a huge influence on me and I obviously like the recurrent use of words that are somehow connected to nature, but they are used in a metaphorical way. The advantage of nature as a lyrical theme is that it is timeless and ambiguous, which makes it perfect to express thoughts and feelings.  In conclusion I’d say that nature is a part of me and thus of Withania as well. To which extend is up to everyone’s own interpretation of course, if anyone really spends time thinking about it.

The album is out there since October 2014. After these months, could you advance something regarding new compositions?
There are some ideas but it is too soon to talk about it, as it is pretty different from what I’ve done before and I don’t know in which direction it will take Withania. What has been written so far are some rough song sketches, a few riffs and some lyrics (all of them in English). Right now we’re working on an acoustic song that was written a few years ago and that might be released in the not so far future.