Published on September 28th, 2021 | by Stacey McLaughlin0
TFS Music Pick of the Week – Raven Witch
Stacey sits down for a chat with Saskatoon metal outfit, Raven Witch, to talk about inspiration, their differences from Untimely Demise, and playing live again.
After 18 months of very little in the way of live music, bands are starting to play shows again. The additional safety precautions and regulations are a new and welcome addition to the live performance experience. Local heavy metal band Raven Witch are preparing for their first live shows ever as a group, the first of which will be at the Black Cat Tavern in Saskatoon, on October 15, 2021.
The musical creation of guitarist Matt Cuthbertson (of Saskatoon thrash mainstays Untimely Demise) and singer Erin Lindsay, Raven Witch have just released their debut single ‘Roll of the Dice,’ a catchy mix of vintage metal and 70s heavy rock. I caught up with them to learn more about this emerging band and their plans for the future.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
Raven Witch is a traditional heavy metal band featuring twin guitars and clean powerful vocals.
What are some of your influences, musical or otherwise?
Raven Witch is heavily inspired by Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions, Ozzy, Judas Priest worship, with a little Thin Lizzy thrown in for good measure.
Erin, how did you get into singing and what prompted the creation of Raven Witch?
I’ve honestly been singing my entire life and can remember making melodies, likely before I could form sentences. I’ve been obsessed with and inspired by music my entire life. As a kid I would watch musicals every weekend that my mom introduced me to and listen to tapes in my room. As a teen that graduated to watching MTV and going to all-ages punk and metal shows. I would walk downtown every weekend to buy new vinyl and CDs from the local record shop that unfortunately no longer exists. I of course still do the same thing to this day with Matt at the Vinyl Exchange or Vinyl Diner (or whenever we’re travelling). I’ve really always been inspired by and enjoy most genres of music and think that comes across in my vocal style.
In terms of forming Raven Witch, both Matt and I wanted to start a project together that allowed us to create music that was in line with the kind of music we love listening to; Scorps, Priest, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy, the list goes on! Lucky for us, Noel Wilcox (who Matt has known for 20 plus years and with whom he has been getting together with weekly for most of that time to play guitar with/share new guitar knowledge) was available and interested, along with Tristan Mathiason and Jordon Lees who are also crazy talented players. The band started in late October 2019 and then well…
Matt, how does playing with Raven Witch compare with playing with other groups you are in, such as Untimely Demise?
It’s definitely nice to have the opportunity to play without being tied to the mic. It’s also really nice to ring out some chords. The progressive nature of Untimely Demise and Into Eternity naturally has me a bit more locked in so it’s nice with Raven Witch to have a bit more room, I mean it’s not that much room to be honest, but a bit more room to ring out those chords.
What can you tell us about the creation of ‘Roll of the Dice?’
Matt: Roll of the Dice was a true band collaboration. When Noel and I were writing the main riffs, I said to him, “let’s give it a real Jake E. Lee ‘Bark At the Moon’ vibe.” Then Noel started playing what is now the main intro riff and it was perfect. Then with one of my riffs, which has more of that Megadeth influence, you start to hear Raven Witch.
Erin: When I wrote the vocal melodies and lyrics for ‘Roll of the Dice’ I was trying to capture the idea and that energy of musicians taking the chance of starting bands, getting out on the road, getting on stage and then getting caught up in the dizzying magic and craziness of it all. The vocal line where I sing In magic…, I was really channeling Ronnie James Dio in my head.
Matt: With everything we’re doing, we really want our music and melodies stuck in peoples’ heads. We’ve been getting really good feedback so far for “Roll of the Dice” which is great. Justin Bender from Divergent Sounds in Moose Jaw did just an incredible job with mixing and mastering.
What can people expect at your first show on the 15th at Black Cat?
Hot licks, tight pants and for Ryan from the Black Cat to have the same winning personality as ever!
What would you say the future has in store for the band, and are there any plans for an album or EP?
Right now, our plan is to keep releasing singles, with the next one currently in production. A full-length album will be released in 2022. Tristan actually tracked all of the drums for the album in November 2020 at The Sweat Shoppe with Mike Lefebvre but with Covid of course we are just rolling with the proverbial punches like everyone else. Once we play our upcoming shows in Saskatoon and Regina we’re going to be getting back in the woodshed writing some new material as well.
Where can people find you online (social media, websites, etc.)?