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Interviewed by
Craig Hayes
Monday 29th September, 2014 11:55AM

Richmond, Virginia, doom metal band Windhand are heading our way in early October, playing dates in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin with homegrown riff-worshippers Beastwars. Windhand’s sophomore album, Soma, was released by label Relapse Records late last year, and it drew rave reviews for its monolithic weight, uber-heady atmospherics, and the ethereal vocals of Dorthia Cottrell. Windhand formed back in 2008, released their self-titled debut in 2012, and issued an acclaimed split release with fellow Virginia natives Cough in 2013. The band is constantly touring, and currently on the road in the U.S and Canada. UnderTheRadar caught up with Windhand’s vocalist Cottrell, who found some time to answer a few questions between shows...

UTR: New Zealand-based fans of the band are obviously thrilled you’re heading our way, but for those unfamiliar with Windhand, can you give me a little history to the band?

We are thrilled to come to New Zealand too! As far as our history, Garrett (Morris, guitars) and Asechiah (Bogdan, guitars) have been playing together for years. I actually answered a Craigslist ad they put up searching for a vocalist about eight years ago. Ryan (Wolfe, drums) joined after our original drummer had a child and left the band, and then Parker (Chandler, bass) joined shortly after that.

The band’s been fortunate to play shows all over the world in recent years, with a lot of other highly respected bands. Did you ever imagine when you formed Windhand that you’d be able to take the band around the world?

I don't think we really thought about it, but we've always tried to stay busy and productive and pushing things forward. It's a bit strange realising we are in this position now and we are grateful for the opportunities that we've been given.

Your last album, Soma, received a lot of strong reviews, and there’s obviously still a lot of interest in the album today. Does the band have any core musical, visual, or literary references that you’re drawing from in shaping Windhand’s sound?

We all have such varied influences, so it'd be hard to nominate any as the "core". I think we are all nature lovers at heart, so maybe that plays a role.

There’s clear musical growth between your first demo, 2012’s self-titled debut, and Soma, which was a more diverse album. Was that all a very organic process? Or did the band have a set idea of where you were heading musically when you were writing Soma?

We never try to make the songs conform to any preconceived idea. When we write we mostly jam on riffs that someone has brought in until it either turns into a song or it doesn't. But I do think maybe the songwriting was more natural because we'd been together for longer.

The band’s recorded and mixed all your releases by yourself so far. Is retaining that control in the studio important to the band? Can only Windhand capture Windhand’s sound?

Garrett is a big part of that, he's really great at what he does and he definitely knows what he wants things to sound like as far as production goes. So far he's recorded everything we've ever done which can be insanely stressful and probably distracting, so when we record in February we are going to try something different and have someone else record us.

Windhand are tagged as a doom metal band, and you’ve recorded a 30-minute track like 'Boleskine', which brings all the finest attributes of that sub-genre to the fore. But there’s also a psychedelic undercurrent to the band, and sludge and stoner metal feature too. How does that play out when you’re writing?

I guess I sort of talked about this in a previous question but yes, we very much so just try to let things flow and unfold naturally.

Windhand have had a lot of critical praise over the past few years, and obviously a positive response from fans around the world too. But what have been some of the highlights for the band personally over the past few years?

Touring with High On Fire and playing with Sleep recently, and playing Roadburn and Maryland Deathfest were all unforgettable experiences. And of course we are all excited to come to New Zealand!

Aside from the band’s own albums, Windhand released a fantastic split with Cough back in 2013, but what does the future hold for Windhand? Is it back into the studio when this round of touring is done?

Yes! We are writing our third album and will be touring out to Seattle to record there with Jack Endino in February.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, anything you’d like to add?

Thanks for wanting to know more about us! See ya soon!


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