Joseph Michael and Jake Dreyer Witherfall Interview

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.

 

FIN.

 

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