John Meharey & Steve Batky (Witchkiller)
Interview with John Meharey & Steve Batky from Witchkiller
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 28 May 2012, 8:51 PM
After 27 years it happened. Though their plan to head on to the top didn't quite go well as they expected, the Canadian WITCHKILLER decided that it was time to get back to the Metal business under their own moniker. The creators of the hit EP "Day Of The Saxons" return and they are working on a new album. Steinmetal talked with John (Bass) and Steve (Drums) about the new band, history, plans and their views of the current Metal scene.
Hello there John and Steven, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple, how have you been?
Things are well, thanks for searching us out.
After WITCHKILLER brought the big news of its return to the Metal scene after 27 years, since the last demo "Who Are We", what is the plan?
Steven: To make up for 27 years of silence! We want to deliver blistering and highly melodic old school style Metal, re-forged into a pantheon of modern Metal bliss. What we can tell you, is this material will pick up where WITCHKILLERleft off and transition into the 21st century with all the latest technological advancements and most modern production tools available. Our goal is to deliver as much earth shattering high quality Metal in the shortest period of time. We wish to make your ears bleed faster, longer, and harder and keep everyone screaming along the entire way… This is our humble goal.
Is there a debut album on the works? Can you provide a few details?
Steven: Yes there is a new WITCHKILLER album currently being recorded in Florida. After twenty some long years hiatus you can only imagine all the pent up creativity waiting to burst forth, sort of like that little beast that burst out of Sigourney Weaver’s belly in "Alien", a lean, mean Metal fighting machine, lol! The music has already been recorded for the first 5 songs with the next 7 songs ready to start. Domenic will be adding vocals in July and August.
John: Steven has been extremely prolific and using all his skills in engineering, production, and song writing to create something very new and fresh. He is also playing much of the guitar, contributing to vocals and keyboards, as well as the percussion tracks. For some strange reason Steven has been insanely driven to point where he can barely sleep, staying a wake for what seems like days just writing. I receive bits and pieces 24/7.
Steven: Our new sound is very complex. “My goal for a guitar is to have it sound like a chainsaw cutting through a wasps nest x 100”. “If Spartacus wielded a guitar instead of a Gladius the music we will be releasing is what we imagine would have been put forth”. When the complete album will be mixed in Los Angeles and mastered in New York and released in late 2012. The album has a working title of “Red, White and Screwed”. An ode to “La Canada”.
Why did you guys break up in the first place, especially after the success of the EP "Day Of The Saxons"?
John: The truth is we did not break up after the EP, we continued on for 15 months. We were in the studio three times and did the show with SLAYERin Montreal. A week or so after the show we were asked to sign a personal services contract. We were to show up at the rehearsal space to sign the contract, only to discover Kevin B., as well as all his gear, were gone. To this day we still have no idea what happened.
What happened to you guys after the break up? Any great musical achievements?
Steven: I NAPOLEON (Geffen Records). Collaborated with many other artists and songwriters.
John: Dove into business (grinding Metal for 27 years), played with friends but nothing of consequence
What made you to make a comeback?
John: Stevenand I were contacted by someone who lit a match under us, what he did not understand was he put a match to a can of gasoline, and it kind of blew up in his face. We both decided (Stevenand I) that there was more to do, more to say, more to accomplish, and way more fun to have.
Steven: I want to leave behind a catalogue of great music, after all that truly is the only way of immortality.
Through the last nearly three decades, have you been monitoring on what has been going on in the Metal scene? Did you like what you heard and saw?
John: I think when you step away from something you tend to distance yourself a bit, but when I did stick my head in I liked a lot of what I heard.
Steven: I love many of the Metal bands out there. I feel now is a renaissance, and the market is slowly sifting out the generic rubbish and replacing it with great music, not at all different from what happened in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. So many new genres and styles like how modern industrial and even electronic and dub step, influence Metal.
With all the modern Metal shebang going on in US and Canada, how do you think that you guys will fit in? Will you continue the old school Metal prowess or do small modifications in order to fit it?
John: I think we will fit in just fine. What we have done is taken our roots and let it develop into something more than what it was. There is not a band out there that does not evolve, with time and maturity…. But we are true to where we came from. You might say that “Killing Death and Destruction has made way for Vindictiveness, Spite and Revenge!” much more mature emotions, I think, and tempered with humor that makes life worth living.
Steven: I think people will be shocked how seemingly effortless what we are doing will blend in with the future.
Back to your history. After a series of demos, before the well-known EP, why it wasn't decided to head on for a full length? Maybe it could have been the lifesaving pill for your band's existence?
John: I was with the band until about a month before the EP was to be recorded and rejoined about 3months after. To be fair, the EP was to be a full-length album, but it became a Stevenfinanced project and when the money ran out, an EP was born.
What about the lineup? Were you in touch with the old members about the reunion? How did you come up with the rest of the guys?
John: Steven, Dominicand I were the lineup as of the last tour, and as I said Kevinwas nowhere to be found. John Dwas asked to join, as he was the guitarist that Stevetook from Ottawa to Los Angeles for the I NAPOLEONproject.
When it comes to live shows, have you been broadly active nowadays?
John: Not as much as we would like, all of the current effort has been put into the new album.
John and Steven, I would like to thank you for this interview. I hope that your comeback with a new album will be a good one. I wish you the best of luck. Any last words?
Thanks to Lior "Steinmetal" Steinfor taking time to search us out and becoming the first interview of our return.Thanks to everyone over the years that has taken their time to listen to and enjoy our material and let it be known to all that care to listen again.
“WE ARE NOT DEAD YET”.
Please visit WITCHKILLER Band Page and like us on Facebook.