Supernaturally charged with a heart that beats in both pure black metal and haunting ambience that accentuates the darkness, the clean melodies are conjured in an atmosphere created by both a passion for music and its organic manifestations. Both ominous and alluring Satanic Witch is the creation of Shaun Van Calster (Length of Time), Michel Kirby (Wolvennest), joined by both Isa and Selina from E-L-R. From its beginnings in 2022, the result is the superb debut album 4.44.
Kirby (Guitars): These last 2 years Shaun was regularly sending me demos and at the same time I was in need of something that would bring me back musically and artistically to a more DIY vibe. Something I was missing the last couple of years in the creative process. We started to work on some arrangements of the demo tracks we had and from that our debut album was born. The name Satanic Witch came later during the mixing of the album.
the connection to Antone Levay, And the power within?
Kirby: The name is connected to Anton Lavey’s book, but personally I have always been obsessed by what happened the year I was born and subsequently call the triangle of 1969: Charles Manson, The Process Church and Anton Lavey. Visually and lyrically, these have always been sources of inspiration.
Congratulations on your debut album! It has happened quite quickly!?
Shaun(guitars): We actually took our time to make this album without any pressure, artistic boundaries and especially focused on an overall contentment by everyone involved.
Was its creation and divine inspiration and long session just jamming?
Shaun: The ideas were flowing like wine, and we took our time to really transform all these rough but sometimes very concrete ideas into a cohesive whole.
It carries so many different musical ideas. Was it important to create something unique or was it just the natural order of each track’s creation?
Shaun: It was of utmost importance to have no limits and go with the flow on this. Nothing is prohibited. For me, this approach works flawlessly and gave me the opportunity to create freely: merging black metal with more doom elements but also manifesting my love for horror scores. Being the one recording, mixing, and producing the album gave me extra freedom to make something worthwhile as much as I could.
The idea for dual vocals and their juxtaposition with the tracks? And the colors Isa and Selina bring to the project especially between the seductive and the aggressive?
Kirby: since we started working on the album, we knew Isa and Selina would join us on our trip. It was the idea to create an interaction between all our voices which resulted sometimes in a pure traditional rough black metal way and sometimes more on a dark ritual ambient way. I am very happy with the final results, and everything took place in a very natural way.
4.44 is such an accomplished mature record, were you surprised by it when it was finished, and you played it back?
Shaun: Thank you for the compliment! I'm very happy with the result of our first effort, which will forever remain a special one.
Kirby: I’m not surprised because during the process of working on each song, we felt more and more that the result would be very cool. During the composition and recording process we worked in a very closed environment, no one apart from the four of us was aware of the existence of the project. It was our desire to keep a healthy atmosphere because we knew well that from the moment that too many people find themselves linked to the project, things become more complicated. It was crucial to keep the project secret for as long as possible, especially in the current state of society with social media and such.
The use of 4.44. Is it a reminder of your spiritual strength? It has lots of different references including some angelic ones. What does it mean to you and the ideology of the band?
Shaun: It has various meanings and interpretations which makes it accessible to anyone. In this case it might refer to a higher consciousness
The allure and power of So Below? What was the inspiration for its creation and its brilliant slow building? Is it the counterpoint of as above?
Shaun: So Below started off with the synth powered piece only, with inspiration as you indicate being the counterpart of the above. From there on we built further and created this long doomy and enchanting song with a strong hint to inversion, contradiction, and harmony at once.
Is Satanic Witch about self-empowerment and the spirit of the individual?
Kirby: It's a search for oneself both on an individual level but also as a group. You can have very different interpretations of the name but also of its universe: it could be a documentary based on real events or an occult b-film.
Has society lost its spiritual connection to nature? And the individual the connection within themselves?
Kirby: Society is globally losing all its values. All these movements and new trends try to influence thoughts but only create oppositions. Everyone wants to be right without listening to the other. Material consumption takes over and a feeling of end is near.
You love for all things music? What leads you to the heavier, more extreme side of it, and the freedom of self-expression within it?
Kirby: in 1979/1980 I was 10 years old, and I saw AC/DC, KISS and TRUST on television for the first time. I was impressed by the energy and the difference compared to the pop or disco offered at that period. Hard rock music was pure without artifice and in your face and that suited me very well. At a very young age I started to go to shows and subsequently discovered hardcore punk and more extreme metal, such as Hellhammmer/Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, Venom and so on. I created a fanzine with a friend, and we were writing articles during the day at school, we also did tape trading. I was fully into this thing and dedicated...and I still am. I have always worked in record shops and have my own record shop for 20 years now.
Plans for the future. Will the band continue?
Kirby: we have a few demos of new tracks, so we will start working on a new album at the beginning of 2024. If the opportunity comes, we will play shows for sure.
Tops 6 albums of all time
1) Metallica - ...And Justice for All
2) Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss
3) Marilyn Manson - Holy Wood
4) Nevermore - Enemies of Reality
5) Urfaust - Der Freiwillige Bettler
6) Kickback - No Surrender
1)CRO-MAGS - The Age Of Quarrel
2)CELTIC FROST - Morbid Tales
3)BLOOD AXIS - Gospel of inhumanity
4)DIO - Holy Diver
5)THE SISTERS OF MERCY - First and Last and Always
6)AC/DC - Back in Black