Kayla Dixon, Nathan Carson & Rob Wrong – Witch Mountain


Interview by Miriam C.

Oregon’s finest doom metal band Witch Mountain every time they release a new full-length, they never miss a beat. Check out their short but meaningful discography which is composed of 5 LPs, 2 EPs and 3 singles and you won’t find in any way fillers. Each album released is a so-called modern masterpiece and the last self-titled LP surely keeps up with the expectation. No matter the fact that the band faced an important change in its ranks by adding the new singer Kayla Dixon, the equation’s outcome is the same: a divine musical treat for your ears. We’ve already covered their last album “Witch Mountain” with our review here but now, it’s really time to let them speak and know more in-depth about it.

First of all, welcome (back) to Femme Metal Webzine. How’s life is treating you nowadays?

Kayla: Thank you so much! Life is really good right now. It can always be better, but I have no complaints right now!

Let’s start with an order, I’m here to inquire about your new self-titled album which was released back in May via Svart Records. So, considering that the previous album dates back to 2014, how was the initial and creative approach towards this new release?

Nathan: We purposely took our time issuing a follow-up to “Mobile of Angels” (review here). With the important additions of Kayla on vocals and Justin Brown on bass, we wanted to really hone the new lineup on stage and on the road before entering the studio. This lineup has now done more gigs than any other lineup we’ve had in the past, and I think our chemistry really shows on the album.

On top of all, “Witch Mountain” marks your debut as a vocalist. Although you have joined Witch Mountain in 2015, do your mind to refresh my almost dead brain (XD) and our readers how you did you manage to side with them?

Kayla: I was familiar with the band for a while before I auditioned. I actually saw a post that was made on Facebook that they were looking for a new singer. I requested an audition. They then sent me a track to sing over and I sent them back the same track with my vocals over it. They liked it and asked me to join a little while later.

Also, “Witch Mountain” might represent a second debut for the band since it indicates a change of label: from US‘s Southern Lord Records to Finland‘s Svart Records. What led to this choice?

Nathan: We were never on Southern Lord, although our friendship with Greg Anderson goes back to a few shows we played with Goatsnake in 1999. Profound Lore released three albums for us—for several of those, Svart handled the European editions. At this point, Svart now has really good distribution worldwide. We like them and they like us. So it was a natural choice to continue working with our Finnish friends.

Running down the special article that Noisey dedicated to the new album, I’ve discovered that you are credited for 4 out of 5 songs (besides all, girl, it’s a hell of a debut). Would you like to dig into the album’s thematics and more in general, how your previous artistic background did aid/influenced you?

Kayla: That’s right, one of the songs on the album is a cover of a song by the band Spirit. I’m not sure if the album has a specific theme, but If I had to choose, I think it would be ‘painful growth’. A lot of my lyrics on the album are about experiencing painful emotions and challenging relationships in life and coming out of that pain with a new perspective on life and new information about yourself and how the universe works. My artistic background is mainly in musical theatre and jazz, I think that plays a large role in my vocal approach with this band in particular. Also having come from a background in acting, I was able to approach some of the songs from a monologue-type point of view. Stopping time and highlighting a specific moment in life while simultaneously working through the heavy emotions present.

Instead, what you can tell me about your personal artistic training and past experiences? When did you understand that music was literally the love of your life? I mean you’re a Judas Priest hardcore fan with a past in musicals and theatrical production. For me, this says everything hahaha

Kayla: I think I’ve known from a very young age that I was just supposed to do this. I’ve been in and out of vocals lessons and doing theatre ever since I can remember. I went to a high school for the arts, which was a really amazing experience and actually had to drop out my senior year and complete my studies online because I had started booking professional theatre work and rehearsals were during school hours haha. It’s been really fun for me and the theatre will always play a part in my life to some extent.

“Mechanical World” was previously released by the Los Angeles-based psychedelic band Spirit back in 1968. First and foremost, who’s up to the task of gift us with a decent introduction about them and secondly, since the peculiar choice, what prompted you to this decision?

Rob: Spirit is a band that I had only heard of previously through the Jimi Hendrix connection. Randy California, guitarist for Spirit was once attempted to be recruited by Hendrix as part of his band. Spirit is a great band, but also still relatively unknown to the mainstream classic rock audience. Nathan approached me with Spirit‘s first album that he had gotten from his parents which had the song “Mechanical World”. When he played it for me as an idea for a cover tune, I quickly recognized the main musical riff, which was sampled by a hip-hop artist by the name of Brother Ali on a song called “Sleepwalker”. We talked it over as a band and decided it was something we all liked and felt like we could add our own signature to, and perhaps make it our own.

I would like to remember to our readers which are your next live appointments. Also, are you planning next any European tour/gigs?

Kayla: We don’t have anything scheduled right now, as we’ve just completed an extensive North American tour in support of the new album, but we’re hoping to be out again soon. Europe is definitely on our list of places to go!

We’re almost at the end and with this please be free to say hi to your fans and our readers. Thank you so much for this interview!

Kayla: Thank you all so much for your continued support! We love you.


Photos by Whitey McConaughy




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