Witch Casket - Colin ''Nylock'' Cameron

Witch Casket - Colin ''Nylock'' Cameron

WITCH CASKET added the second studio release in their back-catalogue titled “Punishment” that made quite an impression with the solid Symphonic Black Metal. METAL KAOZ grabbed the opportunity to submit a set of questions to Nylock who was the one to put together WITCH CASKET some three years ago. So, check the band’s latest EP and then, see Nylock’s answers to METAL KAOZ.

Witch Casket - Colin "Nylock" Cameron

Hails from Chicago, USA and welcome to METAL KAOZ, Colin. Can you please give us a brief story of how WITCH CASKET was formed?
Well, after the disintegration of my last band SOTHIS, I was looking for something else to do. I felt like we were trying to be to “in the box” of Symphonic Black Metal with that band. I wanted to remove the concerns regarding genre and just compose freely without those boundaries and let the songs do what they wanted. I decided I would just self-produce my own project in my spare time, at my own pace. One thing led to another and I picked up more people along the way.

Why did you decide to release two EPs instead of putting all the songs in one full-length record?
There are several reasons for that, but the biggest two are that: a) it was a lower risk choice, and b) the old paradigm is dead, and it is never coming back. People straight up just don’t buy albums anymore. Of course there are exceptions. Lots of dedicated audiophile types do. But I am already in an extremely small genre demographic, so I’m lucky anyone pays attention at all. What seems to matter most in the current climate is continually releasing content. I get more mileage out of digital EPs than an LP.

Are the songs in “Punishment” new ones or does it contain material that you have written during the “Hatred Index” sessions?
Both LPs were originally intended to be 1 LP until we changed our tactic. The songs on “Punishment” were actually written and recorded before the songs on “Hatred Index”, chronologically speaking. But again, it was all going to be one LP.

“Punishment” is listed as being as independent release; are you in search of a record deal?
In my experience, having a “label” is a great way to watch a bunch of people who have done nothing for you collect all your earnings and leave you in the dust. If we were offered a good solid deal from a great label, I may take them up on it, but we are not really looking anymore and when we were nobody cared. Again, the old Paradigm is dead, and labels are increasingly irrelevant, unless you were established before the shift. The only advantage labels have now for new acts is a little bit of “street cred” and as a loan shark for production money. We don’t need their production money, so they have no fish hook to hang us on. That makes them less interested in us when they can get some broke 24 year olds with big dreams on the hook instead.

Consider how the Metal market has become is it worth to pursue a deal with a record label? I mean, is it possible for a band to do everything independently?
This ties in with the previous question. In short, no. Not worth it. It is totally possible for a band with the knowledge, skills and equipment to handle everything on their own. Labels know this too, that’s why offers are increasingly aggressive towards the bands in the last five years.

How long have you being working on “Punishment”?
As I said earlier, all of the songs between the two EPs were done during the same era and intended to be one release. It took about two years to compose and record. Then, a lot of things happened in my life that forced me to shelve it for two years until I had the time to do the mix and master at the top of 2018. When you don’t have a label breathing down your neck, you can do whatever you want.

What the songwriting a collaborative effort? I mean, did all the band members contributed to the song-making?
Somewhat; Neal jumped in and did a fair amount of riff writing, some arrangement work and solos. Kaspars had final approval of the drum recording and production. Drogoth always does his own lyrics and vocal patterning. I just give him a thumbs up or thumbs down on it unless I have something very specific I am targeting. I usually just give him finished songs with no vocals and then he does his thing. So for us, I basically compose perform and record completed songs with no lyrics, hand them and the sheet music out to the guys, and then we decide how to finalize them.

Are there any plans to release “Punishment” in a physical format? I mean, on CD and/or on vinyl.
No. Unless we start getting requests by the hundreds. Not sure we will do physical media at all moving forward. It is a huge expense and people just don’t seem to want it. They want digital.

What are your plans in getting WITCH CASKET on the road? How easy is for an unsigned band to get into an active touring package?
Not easy, but it can be done. The larger issue is that people care less and less about going to shows as well. The major league guys are still doing okay but even their numbers a slipping. For minor league guys, it is nearly impossible to tour without it ultimately costing you and your band more money than it will generate, and venues are becoming increasingly hostile at taking huge merch cuts. So, unless we get some amazing tour package offer that will at least pay for itself, chances are low that we will want to light $10,000 worth of our own money on fire to do a tour just because. Honestly, when you look at it objectively, and analytically. The entire business model of labels and touring in the modern era is actually set up to capitalize on the hopes and dreams of the bands and musicians rather than the audiences and fans. It is quite predatory really.

Speaking of playing, I read in the “about” section at the band’s Facebook page that WITCH CASKET was meant to be a studio band so how did you change your mind about this?
Well, a lot of the factors in my preceding answer are in play here too. It is ideal for us to be a live band at our core, so we do play when and where it makes sense for us to do so, but given the current climate for the plight of the musician, it is really easy to financially wreck yourself for nothing. When I first started doing WC, I never thought it would go farther than me in my studio doing everything. I want to make Metal, but this time it will be on my terms.

Love what you did with the “Punishment” video; who had the concept for this TV show? That would have been cool to see in a ‘60s TV show with WITCH CASKET causing some THE BEATLES type-of frenzy.
%100 Drogoth. I know more about astrophysics than I do about what would make a good video, so our art, and visual has always been him. I just try to make cool Metal, that is all I really care about. I am a musician, he is an artist and we team up and play to our strengths. Without both of us it is nothing.

Seeing the TV host fleeing the scene after being scared by WITCH CASKET made me thing that this day and age it is extremely difficult for a band to scare an audience. Do you think that Metal in general has done everything it could? Or there is still room to be innovative?
Agreed. I feel like a lot of that has run its course. Trying to be a big scary Metal guy seems pretty “High-schooly” now. So, I don’t even bother with that any longer. The actions speak louder than the image. If you make great Metal, that will do more for you than trying to come up with a “scary” act. People were over that at the end of the ‘90s. People have seen it all now. Impress them with your music; that is the true way.

What are your plans about releasing a full length record?
Yeah, I’m working on it now. But again, I may split it into EPs or even release a string of singles. It doesn’t matter anymore. The old cycle of LP, tour, LP, tour, it’s all gone. Now we can create, distribute and release freely and at will. We will choose what ever we think suits us best. If that is a full LP, then that is what the call will be.

Well, these were my questions, Colin. Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. Please end this QA with anything you’d like to share.
We are moving forward, and there will be more. I just want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us. And everyone who likes what we do. Thank you all.