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Attention Witherfall fans in Germany...
DEAF FOREVER Magazine has printed a tell all Interview with Jake Dreyer and Joseph Michael... More news to come! www.deaf-forever.de Haven't purchased yet? Here is a discount code for 10% just enter THANKYOU10 at checkout: http://www.witherfall.com/merch
For those of you that cannot read German, here is the original transcript:
1. Has Jon Schaffer already heard your debut? I'm asking because the new Iced Earth will come out in a few weeks and you share the same guitar player...
Jake: I actually just sent out a vinyl of Nocturnes and Requiems to Jon a few days ago. Schaffer and I are both big vinyl fans and we bond over vinyl hunting and listening. That's how we would end a night of tracking when I was doing the Iced Earth record "Incorruptible". Spinning one of his copies of "Powerage" by AC/DC or "Animals" by Pink Floyd. As part of my audition for Iced Earth I sent him over "End of Time" and "What we are Dying for".
2. I know it's a tough question – but how do you see your record in the light of all the metalstuff that is flooding the scene?
Joseph- To me Witherfall is it's own genre. We really don't try to fit any mold when we write. I think the best bands over the course of Rock/Metal/Pop history have done something similar. There are a choice few bands that we respect.
Why should someone check out WITHERFALL?
Joseph – Because they owe it to themselves to listen to something that isn't pandering to them. That's just prostitution. Art isn't figuring out what will get someone off and creating that, it's about fucking someone (musically speaking)until you get off and hopefully they also get off with you.
Jake- Witherfall tries to write not just songs but albums in the sense that a film or a novel are presented. It's all about the sum of all the parts. In my opinion, not a lot of records recently are written this way. To me Witherfall is something original, it's a giant melting pot of different genres and ideas put into one all under the camouflage of a metal band.
4. Witherfall is a relatively new band whose first record has just been released earlier this year. Not a very original question, but how did it all begin for you?
Jake- Joseph and I worked together in a band and we both discovered our love for the same music and influences and the idea of forming a band that had the freedom of what Led Zeppelin was able to do. We were in Europe when the idea to form Witherfall came together. A few weeks later we got together in Los Angeles and started the writing of what became "Nocturnes and Requiems". I had worked with Adam in the past and always loved the way he would compose drum patterns and he had the perfect feel and technical ability to handle the written material. Anthony came into the picture during the production. We saw a video of him playing with Allan Holdsworth and Virgil Donati and the idea of having a fusion influenced bassist that understood and could hear classical harmony made it a very interesting thing.
5. How old are the songs on „Nocturnes...“? Who wrote them?
Jake - Joseph and I both wrote all the songs but a lot of the riffs trace back between 2012 and 2013. For example most of the guitar parts in Sacrifice were written throughout 2012. We arranged them together during our first writing session. Part 1 of End of Time was an alternate picking etude but I always knew it would lead into the arpeggiated acoustic verses that begin the second half. The song was written in 2013 but the beginning and ideas trace back a year before. All songs were complete though from November 2013-May or June of 2014
Joseph – Yeah Jake and I knew we shared the same vision but for proof we decided to sit down together and actually do some writing. He showed me some ideas he had and I immediately knew we had something. We basically wrote the main part of the arrangements and worked out chord progressions and harmonies within the first 5-6 weeks.
6. The record is dedicated to Adam Sagan, who sadly passed away in late 2016. What happened? What can you tell us about Adam, what kind of guy, what kind of musician was he?
Jake-When we were doing the original photos for Nocturnes and Requiems we had initially scheduled a photoshoot in November of 2015 the exact day Adam was scheduled to fly into Los Angeles he was sent to the hospital where they first told him he had the cancer. That night and the following day Joseph and I pulled a ridiculous red wine fueled bender (I still have the bottle of Roja that started it off, it is named (Adam)) this involved Joseph waking up in my bathtub and me in my closet... Adam was an extremely positive guy who could lead anyone through almost anything. He had me convinced he would beat the cancer. Joseph, not so much. The night I found out about his death I was on tour in the Netherlands with Iced Earth. Stu who played with Adam in Into Eternity had received a text and as he was getting that Joseph called me up and broke the news that he was being pulled from life support. I was very upset and emotional about it and it is even hard now to think that Adam cannot be apart of these interviews. Adam was the perfect musician for Witherfall Joseph and I had worked out and composed all the songs on the record and within my first pre-pro session with Adam him and I had went through "Portrait", "End of Time Pt II" and "Sacrifice" and I knew he was the guy. Joseph and I flew back to Minneapolis and finished off the rest of The Album. He is a tremendous loss. I wish he was around to be apart of the success of this album. Adam would have been proud. One Eerie coincidence is that Adam named the album "Nocturnes and Requiems" about nine months before he found out about his cancer.
Joseph- Yeah man, Jake basically summed it up. I have an eerie recollection of some weird lump above his collar bone all the way back to when he was road tech for Cannibal Corpse. I happened to notice it when he was on the floor doing his weird yoga warmup thing he used to do. It's freaky to think about it after the fact.
Can you tell us a bit more about the lyrical side of the band? Is there a concept that keeps all tracks together? Or are they more or less linked by general ideas?
Joseph - There is no concept. It is one non-linear dreamscape. Like when you wake up in a cold sweat from one dream and fall back asleep to a different theme. I got the idea from the early Stephen King Collections.
8. When you first see the artwork, one could easily put into the Death Metal genre. Who had the idea of the cover? Were there more concepts that you gave out to Kristian Wahlin?
Jake- We love Kristian's work and he was the first guy we thought of and asked to do the cover art. We sent him some Pre-production demos we had made so that he could get an idea of how the band sounded and then we pretty much left him alone for the two months it took him to hand paint it. He has such a great track record that he was probably the only guy we gave up total control too. Besides the fact we wanted the art to have a certain color scheme. To me it is the perfect cover for "Nocturnes and Requiems" for so many reasons.
Joseph- I really take issue with that. It's like how did bands with non-melodic vocals get a monopoly on dark imagery?
9. Jake, you were a part of Jag Panzer – how long have you been into the band? Did you work on some songs with Mark?
Jake- I was literally in the band for a few hours. My good friend and guitar instructor was Chris Broderick who played in jag panzer and in 2011 he had asked if I would be interested in replacing their current guitarist who had just left I learned a couple of solos and songs then auditioned and got the gig but they went on a hiatus a few days later so I never performed or have met them. Mark is a very nice guy from the emails that I corresponded with and I know him and Chris are still fairly close to this day.
What is your opinion on them – and why are you not in the band anymore as they reunited once again?
Jake- I really like Jag Panzer, I believe Joey Tafolla came back who was their original guitar player.
10. Another one for Jake: Your guitar-playing is breathtaking and there are glimpses of Michael Romeo, Malmsteen and even R. Blackmore in your playing. Who really are your idols?
Jake- I really like Romeo's playing but wouldn't necessarily call him an influence. Yngwie and Blackmore are two big influences though along with most of the Shrapnel artist Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Paul Gilbert. For acoustic I like Al Di Meola and Paco De Lucia. I am also into guys like Brian May from Queen and Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac two extremely melodic players that I find very underrated. David Gilmour has to be in there as well.
A bit of gossip: Some people might know that Joseph Michael is Ronnie J. Dio's cousin – how close were you? What kind of guy was he in private? Was he really the rainbow in the dark? :)
Joseph – I only spoke a couple of times with Him. He was a picture on my Uncles wall. Great singer obviously. He died before I could really get to know him or connect.
It's amazing that you released the record all by yourself – and even the beautiful vinyl issues were pressed without a record company behind. Did you get any offers after the release? What must happen to sign a record deal?
Joseph- We received a few offers, but I am glad we went independent at the start. We have received so much support from real music and metal fans. I think that a band like us that doesn't sound like anyone else benefits from having the people judge the record on it's own merit and not how another company wants to market it.
13. How possible is it to have a second Witherfall-record soon? Is it possible to have it by 2018? How are chances for a band to release records every one and a half or every two years?
Jake-Joseph and I are writing the next record now so it is very likely it will have a 2018 release date. Witherfall is all about quality so that's our number one priority.
Joseph- I think every year is possible. Jake and I work very well together. We already have a number of compositions in the works. I can say this much. They are very dark and topical.
We have partnered with quite a few record shops all over the world including ZIA Records (Las Vegas,Phoenix & Tucson), Amoeba Music (Los Angeles,San Fransisco & Berkley) Underground Power Records (Germany), Cash4Chaos (Las Vegas), Steel Gallery Records (Greece) and many more.
If you are in these locations please help out the scene by purchasing "Nocturnes and Requiems" in shop. If not we are doing a special promotion; today only enter code RECORDSTOREDAY15 and take 15% off your entire order. Just visit our Store here:
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Witherfall guitarist Jake Dreyer recently completed guitar solos for the lates Iced Earth album #Incorruptible! Read more here:
For a taste of #JakeDreyers blistering #ShredGuitar work head over to:
Original Article HERE:
1. Your debut-record came out last month. How were the reactions from your
fans so far?
Joseph- The response has been unbelievable! Jake and I knew going into this that we had created something very special, but we didn't know whether or not it would be well received. Jake was especially cynical... The Industry “Experts” who got advance copies told us that it wouldn't sell, but the numbers have been very good. Who knew Metal fans actually want to hear well crafted compositions with Vocals that actually have melodic attributes.
2. Joseph and Jake: you played together in White Wizzard, before you
started Witherfall. How was it to focus on the new project?
Joseph – With Witherfall we actually could exercise some quality control when it comes to production, songwriting and performances. Also, we are running the operation as opposed to watching someone else with less aptitude try and do it.
JAKE-Witherfall was our project together from the beginning so it meant that we were the ones responsible for everything. The focus is a lot more demanding but at the same time it's the way I prefer because it can be done exactly the way Joseph and I envision. Which could not be said about other projects where you are just a hired gun. It is very refreshing to be able to write songs in a context and boundary that you create and set.
3. You recorded the album in Phoenix, Arizona together with Ralph Patlan,
who already worked with acts like Megadeth or Michael Schenker Group. How
was your collaboration with him and Chris „Zeuss“ Harris, who mastered it?
Joseph – Jake and I had the album arranged and recorded in Demo form in my studio in Los Angeles. We flew Adam down to Phoenix for final tracking. Ralph was hired on to Record,Mix and Master but only ended up performing Tracking Engineer duties. After much strife we found Zeuss and he absolutely nailed what it is we had set out to create.
JAKE-Working with Zeuss who also mixed the record was very easy he is a real pro and knew exactly what we wanted. It took him about a month to deliver everything which is a real accomplishment when you look at the size of the songs and the record as a whole. Ralph Is a very good tracking engineer with a great ear who knows how to get good takes.
4. The record contains many neoclassical parts, especially Jake uses
classical scales in his playing. To me, it sounds like a modern version of
Yngwie Malmsteen. Do you agree?
JAKE-This record was very much influenced by various classical composers and eras. A lot of classical music uses the Harmonic minor scale/Phrygian dominant or the melodic minor scales. So that's where that Yngwie sound comes from since he uses those same things. I am a huge fan of early Yngwie. Witherfall have gotten that comparison quite a bit because it's the neoclassical guitar playing with clean or melodic vocals. Our songs in my opinion sound totally different than Yngwie songs but I think there are very much similarities in certain arenas. I take that as a huge compliment because I really love and respect Yngwie's playing.
Joseph: Jake and I are deep into Classical music. If you listen to
“Nocturnes and Requiems” you will hear many parallels to that early era of composition. I think in the metal community it is really easy to pick out Guitarists that are classically influenced due to the success of the “Shrapnel” style players. Yngwie, Becker, Gilbert etc. But the real “Classical” influence has nothing and I mean absolutely nothing to do with the Technique displayed during the busy “shred” sections. The real essence of the influence is in the Harmonic Movement and Counterpoint that weaves its way through the compositions. Listen to the Chorus section of Portrait. A very simple Vocal Melody harmonized at various points then on the big cadence doubled in octaves... All the while A string part plays a counterpoint melody against the accents in the percussion. Meanwhile another Synth pad pulses in the middle register adding suspensions to Jakes Part.
5. Beside the neoclassical stuff, there are some spanish-influenced parts
for example in 'What We Are Dying For', that remind me of Paco De Lucia.
Who inspired you to do this?
JAKE- Paco de Lucia and Al Di Meola are both some of my biggest influences. I love flamenco music and Latin/Spanish influenced guitar playing and it all pretty much shares a lot of the same harmony so it was very easy to relate. Making two genres blend together seamlessly was always something that was interesting and in "What We Are Dying For" it provided a cool contrast to the song. "Romantic Warrior" by Return to Forever which featured Al Di Meola was a big influence.
6. Are there other important influences you want to mention?
JAKE- besides the ones mentioned above for other guitarists it would be Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Brian May. For bands Queen, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Nevermore, Death, Opeth.
Joseph- King Diamond, Dream Theater and Nevermore for sure. I am a huge fan of big records. Jake loves Pink Floyd, we both love Queen. As far as vocally? I really love singers that don't just sit there in autopilot mode. How many songs in a genre can you listen to with the same vocal delivery? I mean once you have heard a certain style of vocal and yes I am talking about extreme vocals, how much of that do you really want to hear. There are a ton of metal bands out there that I would love to hear just instrumentally because I cannot stand a vocalist who shits on compositions with lazy vocal parts.
7. Joseph, I read that you're the cousin of Ronnie James Dio. Have you ever
sung together or did he even teach you?
Joseph- I never got to meet Ronnie. My family had photos on the walls and I have heard stories. I spoke with him on the phone a couple of times and was an absolute gentleman, not to mention a true vocal artist. Jake and I really bonded early on when we talked about DIO and we both have the same favorite DIO vocal moment.
8. Let's switch to the visual part of the album. What was the idea behind
the Cover-Artwork of your album?
JAKE-That was all done by Kristian Wahlin. Who has worked with King Diamond, Dissection, Wintersun the list goes on. Joseph and I admired his work so much that once he agreed to do our album art we sent him over some pre-production demos we recorded and Joseph sent him over lyrics and Kristian just took it from there.
Joseph- I sent Kristian the demos we had done in my studio and the lyrics. He sent us a sketch with the basic ideas. Looking back that cover gives me chills because of Adam. I wish we had the painting it's like 4' by 4' and hanging in a museum somewhere in Sweden.
10. Both your logo and the album-cover have a dark touch and are linked to
nature. What is your concept regarding this?
Joseph- Jake and I have very similar tastes in Art,Music,Food Inebriants. When we first met up after the shit show that was our previous band it was obvious. Once the first few songs were written we made it a mission to produce a piece of art; “Nocturnes and Requiems” that would be the audio equivalent of reading an amazing piece of literature while drinking the finest wine while semi-nude nymphs frolic in the backround and are sluaghtered. But, you still keep drinking and reading.
JAKE- I believe the darkness just comes naturally with how we write music. So that crossed over into all the visual aspects. Like the music there needed to be some sort of contrast so although it is dark there is beauty in it as well. There is nothing that symbolizes that more than nature.
11. After the tragic loss of your drummer Adam Sagan, you dedicated the
record to his life. Are there already any plans to continue with the band
or is it too early to think about it?
Jake -We definitely will be continuing on as a fully working band as that is how Adam would have wanted his legacy to be carried on. It has been a challenge trying to find someone who can do Adams parts justice but we have auditioned a couple of guys who we will use for touring purposes. Joseph and I have already begun writing a follow up record but it is still at the very beginning stages. Regardless there will for sure be more records from Witherfall.
Joseph – Adam and I became very close after I went out to visit him during his Chemo treatments. He played in some big bands but this was his baby. It is beyond tragic that his life ended the way it did and even more so the timing of it. The album is doing better than we could ever have imagined and he never got to take part in the celebration. His family has been very Adamant(sic) that we need to take Witherfall as far as it will go, to spread the music that Adam Sagan helped create as far as we can. We also have a Translucent Vinyl Edition of the record that we only produced 100 copies of for Fans of Adams that were there from the start.
12. You started with the recordings in 2014, but it has been released this
february. Was the delay coherent to Adams illness?
Joseph - The delay of the record had nothing to do with Adam. He finished his drum parts before he was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Ralph Patlan was fired after not delivering mixes for close to a year. That is why “Zeuss” was brought in and he fucking saved the day.
13. Adam also came up with „Nocturnes And Requimes“. Is there a special
message in the title?
JAKE- Adam Joseph and I were at a Thai restaurant during the NAMM show in Anaheim, California during the beginning of 2015 when we were discussing album titles. We were talking about the different classical elements of the record when Adam just blurted out "Nocturnes and Requiems" none of us second guessed it and all came to the conclusion at that moment that that was going to be the name of the record. It's very ironic that Adam came up with that title. As for the message, well he took took that to the grave.
Joseph- Jake and I had been toying with the word Nocturnes for about an hour and by then we were really um, three sheets to the wind. Adam did not really drink very often, but on this occasion he was completely wasted and in celebration mode. Finally he blurted out “Nocturnes and Requiems”. I immediately noticed that it sounded like a Stephen King book title which was fine with Jake and I.
14 What are your plans for the future?
Joseph- We are talking with a few people now to set up the first Witherfall performances and hopefully we can find a band that wants to bring us out on tour that we respect.
15 Anything you want to say?
JAKE- Thank you for the great questions as well as to everyone who read this and supports Witherfall and Nocturnes and Requiems. Very much looking forward to sharing this music with Germany
Joseph- Thanks to everyone that has bought or will buy the record. I cannot wait to see you all out on the road. Anyone reading this can get the album or anything on our site for 15% off using code : rockhard17
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Power metal needs a savior. Unfortunately, in recent years, power metal has become a notoriously bland genre. New bands who fail to experiment, veteran bands who are content to release the same album every 2 years, and lots of loud, overproduced albums have plagued the genre for years. If something doesn’t change, the genre will fade away into obscurity...
...If American power metal came back to save the genre as a whole, this would be the band to do it. In King Arthur and Tolkien’s Middle Earth, two frequent sources of power metal inspiration, the saviors of the world are always the offspring of a former great king. Power metal should have a similar hero, then. What better band to do it than one fronted by the cousin of one of the greatest American metal singers of all time? YES: JOSEPH MICHAEL IS FUCKING DIO’S COUSIN....Read More at HEAVY BLOG IS HEAVY.
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How did your work with Witherfall come about?
I got an email from their engineer. He knew of my work from Allan Holdsworth and Virgil Donati. Ralph told me about the band and asked me if I would be willing to record for their album. I agreed, and when I got the music, I was digging the tracks from the start. There were no vocals, just guitar, and drums. I used my ears, and I approached the recording as if I were a part of the creative process of making the album. I did not want to record a simple bass track, but I wanted to get involved with the music, rhythm-wise, melodically, harmonically and lyrically. So I recorded a lot of intricate bass parts, and the band loved it.
How do you approach a project like this?
The way I approached this project was to just be myself. I have listened to a lot of metal and rock albums throughout my life to understand the dynamic, feel and approach that comes with recording this type of project. I did notice that the guitar player (Jake Dreyer) sounded a lot like Yngwie Malmsteen. I’m very familiar with Yngwie’s music, so I captured a lot of his elements in the Witherfall recordings.
Read the whole interview:
Witherfall is the passion project of current Iced Earth guitarist Jake Dreyer and singer Joseph Michael. The pair met while playing together in White Wizzard before deciding to collaborate on Witherfall – along with drummer Adam Sagan – in 2013. Their first EP even had a track featured in Rock Band. Not bad for a first release, eh?
“What We Are Dying For” is a straight-up banger off the band’s debut full-length, Nocturnes and Requiems. It’s a doozy, clocking in around 7 minutes and including plenty of dynamics shifts to keep attentive listeners on their toes. The album itself’s been out since February 10th, so it’d be wise to check it out.
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