The Wytches: Wytch craft
The Wytches are flying the flag for hard work, and doing things your own way.
Published: 9:45 am, September 29, 2016
"I think that pop is getting tired for people who are into that, there’s just so much of it, it’s everywhere. I can’t stand it, it’s all the same. You can just tell it’s being made in a lab or something,” starts The Wytches’ bassist Daniel Rumsey. “There’s a load of good bands coming out and because there’s no money anymore, maybe that’s the reason, they’re trying harder to be heard.”
The Wytches are certainly living by this idea. From low-key parties around London, touring the US and now recording with Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos - who Daniel describes as “kind of a headmaster”, and “really funny and quite scary” - their second album ‘All Your Happy Life’ sees the band honing their DIY ethos, and capitalising on their fondness for hard work.
“We were on the last song ‘Home’ ’til 3 am,” he continues. “We worked on it all day because Jim wouldn’t let us go to bed until it was done, but we’re really proud of that one now.” Their producer certainly kept the band on a tight leash. “He was really cool, but he put us in all our place, especially Gianni [Honey], our drummer. Because he’s a drummer as well, some of the things he came out with were quite funny.
“Once, Gianni was drumming in his socks and Jim said, ‘I don’t want to see that’. Gianni responded, ‘What is this, London Fashion Week or something?’” Jim, after all, is a man never far away from a tailored suit. “They were both going at the each other, it was really funny. Jim was just like, ‘London Fashion Week definitely aren’t coming to this session.’”
Split between Lincolnshire-based Chapel Studios and London-based Toe Rag Studios, where they also recorded their debut, the sessions gave birth to differing sounds which the band were aware may not have carried into the coherency that’s so easily heard on the final record. “We were worried if it would flow right and we had a guy called Mikey Young mix it for us, and he did a great job of making it sound similar. It’s not too jarring to hear one song, and then another one recorded in another studio.”
The band were wary however about involving more minds than just their own. “We had a producer come and do pre-production with us and he really helped. We were all quite nervous about it, knowing he might come and change the songs but what he did was really good. The single [‘C-List’], really wasn’t a single before he helped us arrange it, he made it into a proper song. Before it was just a couple of sections, different parts.”
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The band have been lucky with their chosen collaborators, that supportive environment something they also often experience while on tour. Daniel tells of a particularly memorable gig they played in Vancouver, Canada: “One of the shows we did in an abandoned building, it was the final night they were going to do. It was really a good atmosphere, it had this sort of family feeling to it, like a real DIY party.”
And then there were those Fluffer Records pit parties in the UK, too, which saw the band completely surrounded by their crowd. “The Fluffer things were really cool. It kind of reminded me of when I used to put on gigs when I was living in Bournemouth. That whole no pressure thing. Just hire a venue, put a gig on, flyer it a bit and see what happens. It just all felt DIY, it was really nice and it was packed out. It was great.”
“All we’ve ever known is doing it ourselves,” he ponders. “We’ve had managers and stuff, and a label, but ultimately everything we put out we want to come from us. If anything we put out wasn’t from us then we wouldn’t feel comfortable with that, and I think everyone we work with really respects that.”
The Wytches’ album ‘All Your Happy Life’ is out 30th September.