@SXSW: The Wytches
photos + story / Kathleen Tso
Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Kristian Bell, bassist Dan Rumsey, and drummer Gianni Honey, Brighton-based The Wytches brought their grunge-psych sound to the U.S. for the first time ever this South by South West. Formed in 2011, the band recently signed with Partisan Records and Heavenly Recordings. With a dark surf sound, often likened with bands The Horrors and Temples, this Brit-Goth band is going to pair perfectly with lazy summer days.We were lucky enough to catch a breath with them before their Austin Psych Fest showcase at Hotel Vegas, escaping to a nearby cemetery for a quiet conversation and some R&R.
We may have strayed off topic a little, joking about their alter-ego porn names and videos of dildos strapped on remote-control helicopters (don’t worry, in the least perverted way), but it’s hard not to get caught up in their infectious silliness. Through all the jokes, we managed to ask the guys a few serious questions.
What have you guys enjoyed about Austin so far?
Dan: Taco Bell
What are some of your favorite influencing bands?
Christian: Elliot Smith
Dan: Interpol and more recently Nick Cave
Gianni: The Walkmen
You guys have all been a part of a number of bands, what took you guys into the direction of The Wytches?
I think everything we were doing before was a bit heavy, and there wasn’t much middle ground, like dynamics or anything. So this is the first band where there’s a nice mixture of heavy and soft music. We were all in hardcore bands when there was a bit of a U.K. hardcore scene. We just got into different things, and this band is a big mixture of what we’ve done before.
Can you give us a brief summary of how you guys came together?
Gianni: Me and Kris knew of each other and I had heard some of his music. Then we moved to Brighton and we met Dan. In about the space of a month (we all came together) I made Kris draw a poster, advertising for a bassist, and we put it up. Dan was the only person to reply, and he looked like the guy (Kris) drew the picture of. Literally looked exactly like him.
Dan: We went to the same college together, we didn’t stay long. We started the band and that was that.
What were you guys going to school for?
Kristian: Music. BIMM in Brighton, it was really lame. You have to be a different kind of musician to enjoy it. It’s like School of Rock, you have to have different kind of intentions as a musician to enjoy a place like that. You have to be happy with just doing covers or being a session player, things like that, rather than trying to organically trying to make it in a more pure way.
Who are your style icons?
Dan: When I was a kid I used to like bands like AFI and The Misfits. I guess I started to try and dress like them when I was a kid, just a lot of black.
Kristian, has anyone ever told you kind of look like Patrick Fugit?
Kris: No, is he a handsome fellow? Oh the kid in Almost Famous! He’s in Wristcutters: A Love Story, that’s a really good movie.
Gianni: Dan looks like Gary Dildo, It’s Dan’s alter-ego.
Kristian: Mine’s Nathan Dryhump, our manager’s is Pete’s A-Strap-On
Gianni, How was it like being taught by Morrissey’s former drummer Spike T. Smith?
He taught me the basics; he lives in the same town where, we grew up in. He told me loads of good stories but I probably shouldn’t repeat them.
Dan, I heard you’re writing a novel; can you tell me a little bit about that?
It’s a labor of my whole life. It’s an adventure novel, and it’s got all of the elements of a Rom-Com. Charlie is an inventor, and he takes after his dad. He follows in his dad’s footsteps because his dad died when he was very young. He invents flying machines. I’m trying to finish it before the year’s out, but I say that every year. It’s called The Curious Adventures of Charlie Revel.
What have you noticed about the difference between the crowds here and in the UK?
They’re more appreciative here, in a way where they really watch you and take that instead of just being wild. They’re a lot more wild in the U.K.
Any plans to come back to the US?
We’re doing a tour in July, it’s not totally confirmed yet though, but we want to come back.
The three kick off on a European tour in April, and hope to return to the U.S. soon after. In the meantime, get your Wytches fix with their latest single “Gravedweller.”