Interview with Jason Myers of Icarus Witch
Remember those classic metal days when clean vocals and production that was just right ruled the metal industry? Whatever happened to the classic sounds like that of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabboth, WASP, and other of the essentials? Fortunately, this particular sound has gained some uprising again. Icarus Witch is a classical metal/rock band from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I sat down with Bassist Jason Myers, who is also the tour manager as well. Icarus Witch continues to tour with Paul Di'Anno the original vocalist for Iron Maiden.
Daniel Becker: You sound a lot like classic 70’s and 80’s metal and don't really follow the trends of metalcore or deathcore. What made you decide to go against the status quo?
Jason Myers: Basically, because I don't really like that style of music. We all grew up listening to classic metal and hard rock so we play the kind of music that we like rather than what's popular at the time. Right now, I see the trends changing a bit and it's coming around. People are paying more attention to that classic style and we're one of the bands that have been doing it for a while. We just play what we like.
Becker: If you had to compare the sound of your band to another band, how would you describe it?
Myers: I don't like to compare ourselves directly that way, but I think that the comparisons that we get from other writers and things like that are: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensryche and Black Sabbath.
Becker: Do you have a preference for Di'Anne, Dickenson or Bailey?
Myers: I like all eras of Iron Maiden but the first two Iron Maiden albums were the ones that really got me into them in the first place; I guess that I'd say that I'm a fan of the first five or six Maiden albums but my heart really lies with the self-titled and Killers album. Those were the two that got me into the band in the first place.
Becker: When and how did your band start? I read that your band started sometime in 2004, so you are still pretty new…
Myers: 2003 was when I met Matt, the singer we decided that we were going to start this band. 2004 was when we officially recorded and released our first music album.
Becker: A lot of band take about 10-12 years before being noticed. Are you surprised by the popular reception that your band got rather quickly?
Myers: We're five years into it, so it's not overnight. However, I think that we've been progressing very quickly. We work really hard at it and devote one hundred percent to our music. It's all we can do. We can't call it overnight success. We've worked pretty hard for it, but right now we're at our highest point that we've been at yet, so it's been kind of a steady ride.
Becker: Does the name Icarus Witch bear any significance to this band as of today? How did that name come up anways?
Myers: I came up with the name before the band even existed when I was living in Los Angeles. I'm a practicing pagan and witch. I was sort of doing a clairvoyance or a séance ritual and the name appeared to me. I immediately wrote it down since I knew it had some sort of significance at the time, since I was searching for some sort of idea or direction, so I wrote it down and put it aside and knew that one day it was going to be something important. Then a year later I left Los Angeles and moved to Pittsburgh and formed this band and that was the name we chose.
Becker: I'm not all that familiar with paganism. What really constitutes a ritual?
Myers: It's more of a meditation. At any point in my life when I'm at a major crossroads and looking for some sort of guidance, I conduct different forms of meditation and visualizations. I knew that I needed to do something else. I needed to form a band that would encapsulate both the traditional styles of metal as well as being able to incorporate some of the pagan ideals into it.
Becker: So similar to Sabbath or Behemoth?
Myers: Yeah, both of those bands are a different genre, but there is sincerity behind it. We're not a religious band per se, but there are aspects behind that in our lyrics. We don't do things just for shock value or look cool to sell records. We write lyrics about where we are- naturally and spiritually as well.
Becker: Is the name Icarus Witch significant to anyone else in the band?
Myers: I think there is an undercurrent of pagan spirituality throughout the band. I mean I'm a practicing witch and there are others in the band who have similar religious and spiritual beliefs. It's significant to us in that way, but at the end of the day, it's just our brand name and the music we create.
Becker: For the people who've never heard Icarus Witch, what genre do you think your band belongs to.
Myers: I just call it heavy metal, since when we were growing up, heavy metal meant something different. I could have encapsulated bands like Dio, Scorpions, and Accept, or anything as far reaching as Van Halen, Venom and WASP. I just consider it heavy metal, but by today's standards, when people hear metal, they think of something a little more modern. I guess if I had to pick a sub genre based on what writers put us into, I'd guess either traditional metal, classic metal- true metal some would call it. Even power metal is a term that's been bastardized over the years. Originally that term was used to describe bands like Metallica or Iron Maiden. Now when people hear it they think of more progressive bands like DragonForce or Epica who are considered power metal. I don't think we fall into that category, but I know a lot of people who listen to that and appreciate what we do.
Becker: You just came out with a new album a couple weeks ago. Your plans are to finish off this tour and continue through 2001 or…?
Myers: We're just taking a short break. We've already started working on material for the next album. However, the plan is to keep the momentum from this and get on another tour before we head home.
Becker: What bands are you personally listening to?
Myers: I personally like a lot of the stuff that's coming out of Sweden. For example, there’s a band called Eclipse that sounds traditional like old Whitesnake or TNT. There’s another band that we brought over called Black Bonzo that sounds like old classic Yes an Pink Floyd with a heavier edge- also Witchcraft also from Sweden- you know sort of an old fashioned traditional stoner sound. I also like bands that go into the roots of heavy metal and older heard rock.
Becker: Anything else that you want to add or any breaking news about your band?
Myers: We haven't even had any time to catch our breath. We came out of the studio and went into touring mode. We went from rehearsing to going out on the road and our album came out while we were on the road, so things have kind of been sort of a whirlwind for us. If you're not familiar with Icarus Witch, check out our Myspace page and our website; check out our music if you like it pick up the new CD and come out to our shows. We hope to see you there.
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