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Icarus Witch - Ready to Rise

By: Matt Coe

Blistering.com: Do you think there will ever be a possibility of a band in todayís generation to ever reach the arena headlining status hilt like groups of the 70ís/80ís such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Black Sabbath, and Metallica?

Well, absolutely thereís always a chance that bands can make it to that level, however if you are asking me if a band that is cut in that mold and sounds like those bands you mentioned will make it to those heights again, Iíd say probably not. Itís become more of a niche market for that extremely traditional metal. If you take a hybrid of those influences and combine it with certain aspects of upcoming generations and modern production, that might be a better recipe for success. You never know - when is the last time a metal band made it to that level? Iím hard-pressed to think of oneÖmaybe Slipknot is a band that comes to mind that sort of made it to the arena level on a smaller scale. They arenít close to traditional metal though.

Blistering.com: What are the two or three publicity/promotional aspects that bands like yourselves need to focus on most to combat the download driven marketplace?

One thing Iíve always believed in is producing quality artwork, liner notes, and packaging so there is an inherent value in owning the vinyl or compact disc recording. I also happen to be the graphic designer for the last few albums, and I fight through every detail and aspect of this to create interesting value in the packaging. Other things to combat downloadingÖ boy, itís hard to battle a monster thatís been taking on a more mainstream approach over the years. I was talking to a guy that is 70 years old a few days ago, he has retired five years ago and he told me he never buys music. So itís not like you can say it is just kids, this is the mindset that had permeated the music buying public.

I would like to think that you have to remind people that this is what you do and what you are trying to do for a living. We invest our hard-earned money into this, so you are seeing candid dialog through social media and bands are being a little more real about it to their fans. You get reactions through social media within seconds now. You can use this as a way to shape how you want to create your art, and get a better sense for how things are playing in the real world. Either you are real with your fans or they will smell it and kick you out of your tower. I am a moderator or frequent poster on our social media sites - we have ten different ones going. Iím fascinated by it - I learn a lot by it, but I have to remind myself to unplug from it every once in a while.

Blistering.com: How will you decide what older material Christopher [Shaner] will tackle in future live shows? Does he have the freedom to give some of these songs more of his own spin, given his voice and melody approach is different than Matthewís [Bizilia]?

Definitely. We have left that up to him since day one. When he came into the band he was concerned that he would have to remain faithful to these songs. The reality of it is heís a different kind of vocalist. We encourage him to play to his strengths as a vocalist. We really havenít heard any complaints about it- we have a good compromise to being faithful to the older material and still fit his style. We are five CDís into this now, and in order to keep ourselves interested we tend to play less and less older material as we go along. For us, we are always trying to keep writing better and better songs, and we get more excited about playing our new material.

Blistering.com: It seems to me you place an equal amount of importance on the visual aspect of Icarus Witch between artwork and band image as you do with the music. Is this accurate and you believe something that separates your work from other current metal artists?

Itís accurate, yes. Itís all sort of goes hand-in-hand, whether that is a throwback to the classic bands that paid more attention to image and presentation and things of that nature - thatís fine. Thatís a lost art, I donít pay too much attention to what other contemporary bands are doing. We do what we feel comfortable with; if that makes us unique thatís fine. We try to be true to ourselves, whether or not if itís fashionable. We have our own vision of what the ideal band looks and sounds like, and thatís how we function within our own little world.

Blistering.com: How important has been to assemble the right team of people not only within the band Icarus Witch but as far as booking agents, management, publicists, record label people, etc.?

Itís very important - the best laid plans can go to waste if you have one weak link in your team. Weíve felt very strongly about our working relationship with Cleopatra Records over the years. Thatís been very positive since day one, and has developed through the years. As far as management and agents go, itís tough because those are two professions that traditionally make a percentage off of what their clients earn. When you are talking about a small pie to begin with, thereís not as much incentive to stay enthusiastic and work really hard for you when there might not be as much financial gain in the immediate sense. You have to look for people that really believe in the long haul and share the vision to help take you to the next level. We have a new booking agent for this new tour in August with White Wizzard, our manager started out as our road manager for the DiíAnno tour. We became friends and he has an extremely strong business sense, he has a roster of bands and artists in Canada and has a well-rounded knowledge of the music industry.

Blistering.com: What is your opinion of music in 2012 these days? What changes do you foresee in the coming three-to-five years, either for the good or the bad of the movement?

I think itís easier now to find bands that you like. With all the search engines and bots out there making recommendations, you are being bombarded with suggestions from computers. Iíve discovered more bands now than I would through the traditional route - these are bands you arenít going to find through record stores or on the radio. In that regard itís great; itís easier to discover musicians that you really connect with. The opposite side of the coin is there is a glut of bands, so itís hard to get your voice heard when thereís so much noise and clamor. Itís harder to gain the attention of the people.

Blistering.com: Finally, whatís on the horizon for the next year or so for Icarus Witch?

After the album drops in July, we will be playing a few shows, then prepare for a U.S. tour in August with White Wizzard and Widow, that will be the first time we take the new material on the road. Once we get out on the road, we donít want to come back - this is where we really thrive.



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