Interview: Q+A with L.A. Witch

Los Angeles-based trio L.A. Witch release their self-titled debut L.P today via Suicide Squeeze. Read our Q&A with bassist Irita Pai.
Posted: 8 September 2017 Words: Bianca Eddleston

California drone-rocker's L.A. Witch drop self-titled debut LP - stream it here and read our Q+A with bassist, Irita Pai.

Los Angeles-based trio L.A. Witch release their self-titled debut L.P today via Suicide Squeeze. It has been a few years since the group first burst onto the scene in 2014 with their reverb drenched garage-psych-rock self-titled E.P. Since then the band have spent three years incessantly touring and writing. Finally conjuring the right vibe and recordings of their music with Jon Berry at Hurley Studios in Costa Mesa, Sade Sanchez (guitar/vocals), Irita Pai (bass) and Ellie English (drums) have revealed a tantalising debut. Read what they have to say about recording and tour life below. GL: LA Magazine described your sound as "Imagine Kim Deal influenced by Nirvana (rather than the other way around).” How would you describe it yourselves? IRITA: Dark, droney, heavy at times, lots of reverb. GL: We loved your 2014 EP, it’s been a while since your last release. What have you guys been up to? IRITA: A lot of touring. We've logged a lot of mileage so far - I think we've criss-crossed the US at least 6 times now, and Europe twice - we're about to make it a third with or Europe/UK tour this September. GL: You went on tour with The Kills, any good stories? IRITA: The Kills are a great band, and are especially bad ass live. We love them and their whole crew, we were really lucky to have our first big tour experience with people who we genuinely consider as a tour family. GL: So, tell us about your debut LP. We heard you re recorded it a couple of times, are you perfectionists or was the recording just part of the writing and developing process? IRITA: I think we've tried recording a handful of times with different people at different studios, but it never felt quite right. For me, I found the songs we had recorded to be really lacking in vibe, or feel. I think it's very difficult to capture the kind of chemistry that we have when we play together live. Coupled with the amount of touring we had been doing, we were never home and the songs were continually evolving to the point that they sounded even more flat when we listened back to them. GL: Cool, where was it recorded and with whom? IRITA: It was recorded at Hurley Studios in Costa Mesa, by Jon Berry. They have a really beautiful studio. We had a few days off between 2 tours, so we were not exactly fresh faced but the music performance was definitely tour tight. GL: How much are you involved in the studio work and production of the music? Or are you happy to thrash it out on your instruments and let the person behind the desk do all that? IRITA: We produced this album ourselves and were really involved in the mixing process. We spent days just sitting with Victor Salinas (who mixed the album) in his basement in Highland Park, adding overdubs when needed or getting little nuances to pop out at the perfect times. It's easy to get really involved and start nitpicking at every little detail, it's much harder to step back and let things flow without overthinking things. In the end, I think we were all happy with what we came up with. GL: A lot of female artist’s talk of how male dominated the recording process and studio environment can be. Any thoughts on it? IRITA: Seeing as I've never actually worked with a non-male in that kind of environment, I would say that it could be true. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter to me if a studio engineer is male or female. The most important thing to me is that they are open minded and willing to help us make our music, and help us make it sound the way we want it to without any of their ego getting in the way. GL: What music are you guys listening to at the moment? IRITA: Wipers (always), Roxy Music, CAN, The KVB, Alien Sex Fiend, John Peel Sessions. GL: Are there any bands around your scene or otherwise you think we should be keepin’ our peepers on at the moment? IRITA: We're always on the road, so we don't get to see as many local bands as we used to. Death Valley Girls, Drab Majesty, CG Roxanne & the Nightmares, and Zig Zags are some of my local faves. GL: L.A. Witch are coming to the UK in September for a tour with dates in Brighton, Bristol, London, Glasgow and Liverpool. What do you do to pass the ‘down’ time on tour? IRITA: Read books or watch movies. I recently got an iRig, which plugs your instrument into your phone so you can use it with Garage Band. The future is pretty chill. GL: What’s the most memorable/fave place you visited on Tour in the UK? IRITA: Bristol, because that's where our van got broken into last time ;) All in all though, it was really humbling to see all the support we got from friends and fans. We had to skip the next stop in Glasgow and we just stayed with Alex from Bristol Psych Fest/Stolen Body Records. They were so helpful and really helped us get through a difficult time. Also we found out that his baby son loves to head bang to Black Sabbath. GL: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened on Tour? IRITA: There's so many things that have happened that it's difficult to remember them all. One time we swam with manatees in Florida for Ellie's birthday. We also got stuck between 2 big tornadoes when we were driving from Oklahoma to Amarillo, Texas - one of them actually touched down in the city we were in, it felt like we were in 'Twister'. Also one time a driver for another band was hanging out with us on the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk, and when we rushed down to our respective vans, his had disappeared - I guess it had been blocking traffic, and the band just drove it off without him. We never saw him or the van again (but we did find out he was ok later via Instagram!). GL: Being ‘Witches’ an’ all.. Are you into spells and magic? Metaphysics etc etc? IRITA: No, but I like to watch movies about witches. Rosemary's Baby, Suspiria, Hocus Pocus, and The Craft are some of my favorites. Purchase the new L.A. Witch LP here,

L.A. Witch Tour Dates

31/8 - Levitt Pavillion (MacArthur Park), LA 4/9 - Vera, Groningen 5/9 - Paradiso, Amsterdam 6/9 - Kinky Star, Ghent 7/9 - Kantime am Berghain, Berlin 8/9 - Burger Invasion: Cologne, Köln 9/9 - Burger Invasion: Molotow, Hamburg 11/9 - Le Cog D'Or, Olten 13/9 - Gonzo Club, Zurich 14/9 - Le Baraka, Clermont-Ferrand 15/9 - Festival TBC @ 013, Tilburg 16/9 - Le Batofar, Paris 17/9 - DIY Cafe, Lille 18/9 - The Crofters Right, Bristol UK 19/9 - Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton UK 20/9 - Moth Club, London UK 21/9 - Mono, Glasgow UK 22/9 - Psych Festival, Liverpool UK 23/9 - Rotown, Rotterdam

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