Having been one of the most malicious and instinctive acts of Melbourne’s metal scene, 21st century industrialists Witchgrinder will be embarking out on a national tour as the main support for Peter Tägtgren’s Pain. Soon after, the band will be performing their final show for 2018 at our very own Forge @ Max Watts in Melbourne, playing alongside Valhalore, Triple Kill and Trigger in July. We spoke with frontman Travis Everett about what will be going on after the shows, as well as the latest opportunities that have occurred to them involving Forge and the upcoming Pain tour.
“It was weird how it all come about” he says. “The previous bookers had approached me for another tour that they were doing, but it was only a local spot and we refused it. We just played a show in Melbourne and we were a little bit busy, and then he said ‘I’ve got another band in mind that I could put you on the full tour, and I’ll be in touch when there’s more details about it’. Then, he rang me on the day and I was actually in my car, my phone was ringing and I was listening to Pain on my stereo as I pulled over. I turned it down and picked up the phone and we got offered the spot. Obviously, I lost it and I said yes without even asking the other boys. I was like ‘Yep! We’re doing it!’ I’ve been waiting so long and was just so excited, so I just said yes to the whole tour, and then I told the other boys in the band. I don’t think we’re playing any new stuff, but we’ve got a mixed set of the best of both albums and off the first EP.”
With the Pain tour later being saved, Everett was contacted by Overdrive owner Bailey Graham once again, offering Witchgrinder an open slot for Forge @ Max Watts, to which Everett accepted, after the Pain tour was announced that it was still going ahead. Everett spoke highly of the event and his gratefulness towards Graham and co. for the big opportunities given to them.
“When we were approached by Bailey and the crew from Overdrive, because they just took on the Pain tour and people may or may not know it didn’t work out for the old touring company and it all went down, so it was almost cancelled. But, Hardline Media and Overdrive Touring stepped in, so Bailey then approached me straight after they told us we were on that tour, he said ‘We’ve got the first birthday for the magazine coming up and we really want you guys to play’. And I was in a position where I couldn’t say no to him. Not that we didn’t want to, but they were helping us out heaps, and I love his magazine and lots of people are into it. He’s got a good crew, he’s got good photographers that I’ve worked with before, he’s young and the magazine is new. He’s doing really well, so we were really happy to jump on the bill and we didn’t even know what other bands were on the lineup, yet. The lineup is very mixed, too. The headliner (Valhalore) from Queensland is like Viking Metal, then you’ve got us doing Industrial Metal and then you’ve got Triple Kill and Trigger which are kind of punky thrash metal, and it’s a good mix, I think.”
With Forge taking place at Max Watts, Everett recalls all the historic moments that took place there in his life. Having seen many of his favourite bands at that exact same venue, he still remains overwhelmed by the fact that he has accomplished his dreams of performing on that stage, whether it be supporting an international act or headlining a show. So, with Forge @ Max Watts coming up, this will undoubtedly be a significant night for not just Everett and Witchgrinder, but for all of the other bands taking part and Overdrive as well.
“That venue is fantastic and I’ve been going to it ever since I moved up to Melbourne to start making music here, which was nearly twelve years ago, maybe even more. I remember going to the bar which was named The HiFi Bar and watching heaps of great bands. I watched Strapping Young Lad and Static-X there and all of these other bands and I remember standing in the crowd like ‘I wanna be on that stage, one day. I’m gonna have lights, pyros and all this kinda stuff’ and we ended up doing that not long after. It was a lot of work, but once we done that, I was pretty happy and it was like ‘Okay, where do you go next?’ that kinda thing. That’s just a big thing when your band is first starting out and you start getting those kinda gigs. We’ve supported Drowning Pool and Saliva there, and I think the first show we did might’ve been on the Ghost tour at Max Watts, and that was a life changing opportunity. That venue in general, I’ve always loved it and always had a good time there. So, I’m really looking forward to it being a metal night once a month, and that’s pretty special and really cool for Overdrive to do it. I’m sure it will be successful, and I wish them all the best because it’d nice to have another metal club to go to, regularly.”
So, with Pain and Forge being the last chances for Australia to see Witchgrinder onstage, what does this mean for the band? Well, it just so happens that the band have been hard at work for the next record. After all of the shows are said and done, it’ll be back to the pages and instruments to finish up the album. Everett feels that the next LP will still sound like Witchgrinder, but it’s going to be a very experimental approach for him and the rest of the group. But to be reassuring, this will be a whole new side of Witchgrinder that we have yet to witness.
“I’m not sure if I would go to say it’s going to get bigger for Witchgrinder, but it’s definitely going to be in a different direction. We leave our albums a bit apart, we don’t rush them and we spend a lot of time and really think them over. We put out the “Through the Eyes of the Dead” EP two years before “The Demon Calling” and from that, you could hear the change. Obviously, there were some lineup changes between then and “Haunted”, which changed a lot when we had Shane Turville on drums. Now, with the writing, we’ve released a new single that kind of gave a little taste of what the album might be or might not, called They Walk Among Us and that was with some new members that I took on-board. I have millions of guitar riffs here, it’s just that I haven’t wanted to piece it together until I was feeling comfortable and had some time off from gigging live, band rehearsal and all of that. The ideas that I’ve got now, compared to what I had before “The Demon Calling” and “Haunted” are very experimental. The riffs will be loud, groovy, stompy and all of that, but they’ll still have the same kinda feel that Witchgrinder always does. So far, from what I’ve written, there’s a lot more scene. Not necessarily that I meant to do that, it still has a lot of roars and screams, but I think the lyrics go a little deeper in this and I am experimenting with voice a lot more to see what I can get out of it.”