WINDHAND "Gale Force Winds"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Arising from the dark hollers of rural Virginia, Windhand has taken the doom world by storm in the last few years with their uncanny combination of crushing ultra-heavy doom and ethereal, witch-like atmosphere courtesy of their unique female vocalist Dorthia Cottrell. I was immediately knocked off my feet by their debut self-titled album and their split LP with Cough. Now their first record for Relapse Records entitled "Soma" takes things to another level. This could be one of the most game-changing doom releases ever. I was lucky enough to grab a brief chat with guitarist Asechiah Bogdan about the rise of these enigmatic warlocks...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:  First, I’m curious about the band’s name. What is its origin and significance, if there is any?

ASECHIAH BOGDAN: It's a reference to "The Soft Machine" by William Burroughs. 

WC:  Was the distinctive Windhand sound something that you had to work hard to achieve or did it just arrive naturally?

AB:  I think we knew initially what we were shooting for, but the sound has definitely matured over the years as has the song writing. Parker's bass playing has added a whole new dimension sonically.

WC: “Soma” is a drug or an elixir leading to sleep and dreams. Do you consider the music on your new album to be a drug or having drug-like qualities? Or is there another meaning to it?

AB: There are multiple meanings of what the record means to us individually but that said, we want the listeners to formulate their own opinion of what the songs mean to them without spoon feeding everyone the lyrics, titles, etc..

WC: The cover art on “Soma” is very restrained and haunting. Is this an actual location you know of or is the image manipulated?

AB: The photos were taken by the talented Krist Mort, we were immediately drawn to the stark reclusive quality of her work. Her work was also used for the split with Cough.

WC:  I’ve always gotten an overwhelming rural, spooky feel from Windhand’s music. How important to you is the country….forests, fields, small towns, old buildings, mountains?

AB: It is definitely part of who we are. Most of us come from rural areas and we have an affinity for the duality of nature. 

WC:  The song “Evergreen” is a departure…very stripped down and bleak acoustic music. Is this a sound you will be exploring more in the future?

AB: We don't want to limit ourselves as a band. Contextually, we want to make records we ourselves would enjoy listening to. We felt the song was perfect for this particular project.

WC: A lot of the song titles are related to plant life…”Orchard”, “Woodbine”, “Evergreen”.  How strong is the band’s connection to the plant world?

AB: Nature definitely plays a strong role, but without getting into the song meanings they stand as metaphors for other aspects of our lives.
WC:  “Boleskine” is a monster song. What are some of the challenges of doing a single track that’s more than a half hour long? Was there a lot of debate about its inclusion?

AB: Garrett wrote the song in four sections and we knew immediately we wanted to include it on the record. Initially it was between 15-17 minutes in length but we tend to extend and jam parts when we practice so the decision came naturally to record it that way.

WC: You have established a very strong and identifiable sound. Do you see yourselves changing or experimenting much in the future?

AB: We're not going to drastically change our sound or anything but we will continue to explore everyone's ideas as we all play a role in song writing.

WC: If you could ask any 3 people from history to dinner, who would it be?

AB: Hunter S. Thompson, Tony Iommi, Stanley Kubrick
WC:  Have you ever had any “Spinal Tap” moment where things went haywire that you could share with the band?

AB: We played a show in Tallahassee and afterwards we were invited to stay with a guy who was at the show. He was really excited about making us food. When we got to his house he literally opened his front door and all you saw and smelled was dog shit, it was everywhere. We all started laughing and screaming and we immediately ran back to the van and left. It was by far one of the grossest places we have ever encountered.