One-Eyed Doll are gearing up for the release of the much anticipated concept album Witches, coming out March 24th through Standby Records, and getting ready for their spring tour to support the latest release. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Kimberly and Junior are on their way to Salem to shoot the first music video for the album, and before they left we had a quick chat with them about the new album, its inspirations and what it was like to write and record a concept album, while I also tried to get some sneaky hints as to what the new live show would entail, the possibility of a live DVD and more.
First of all I would like to congratulate you on the new album Witches; it is amazing! I loved hearing violin on some of the tracks, I have a soft spot for when classical instruments are mixed in on rock songs. I’m not even part of the band, but I’m excited for it to hurry up and get in the hands of the fans. I can’t wait to see what they think, so I can only imagine how you must be feeling!
Kimberly: Thank you so much, Christine!!! I’m glad you dig it. We’re just anxious to get it out there to the fans. This is definitely our best work to date. We’re so proud of it.
And so you should be proud! I’m sure the fans will love it. Have you always wanted to do a concept album, and was it always going to be about the Salem Witch Trials, or did you brainstorm other ideas? Or did the fact that Kimberly has a keen interest in the Salem Witch Trials win all arguments? [Laughs]
Kimberly: I didn’t know much about the Salem Witch Hysteria before all this. I just happened to stumble upon some research and was inspired to write the song, “A Rope For Mary” for a woman who was executed for witchcraft. After that, I read more and more – and all these songs poured right out. It was natural and easy. The next thing I knew, there was an entire album. It wasn’t planned that way at all. I thought I was just writing one song.
Oh fair enough. I thought an already established interest and knowledge in the witch trials inspired the album. What was it like writing a concept album?
Junior: Coming from the producer’s side, it was super fun. Since the whole album was written at once over just a few days, we were able to write themes and melodies that flow throughout the album. It feels a bit like a movie soundtrack.
Last time we spoke I asked if there was any reason behind the striking differences between tracks on an album as they often go from rather manic and happy straight into a somewhat sullen track, but Kimberly said that’s just what felt natural for her. Witches, being a concept album, doesn’t have those stark variations between songs and maintains a more consistent mood (bar the necessary hyper/manic tracks) across the record. Was it hard to write this way considering how you wrote other records?
Kimberly: It was how the songs wanted to come out. It just felt right.
Junior: Usually when we’re working on an album it’s a collection of 11 or 12 songs that were written at different times about different subjects. So a fun song like “Be My Friend” can end up on an album along side with a super heavy song like “Monster”, because they were written at different times with completely different motivations. Witches is more like a single song with several movements, so it has a more coherent vibe.
I wouldn’t say that Witches doesn’t sound like One-Eyed Doll, but (and I kind of don’t like saying your sound has “matured”) I suppose it is definitely a more serious album, do you think the fans will miss the humour found in your previous records? And will the humour return?
Kimberly: Actually, I feel like the albums are sort of split down the middle in moods. Hole and Monster are really bright with some very low points, Break is more of a story book, and Dirty is very serious and dark, not funny at all. I guess this one’s got a vibe more like Dirty. We don’t really plan on the mood of the album. It really just reflects what’s inspiring us at the time.
The press release mentioned that most of the album was written on banjo and mandolin in a forest. Did that just happen to be where you were at the time inspiration hit, or was it a conscious decision to write the album there, that way?
Kimberly: We spent some time camping out in The Redwoods with our acoustic instruments right before this album was written. It definitely had a ton of influence. Most of the music you hear throughout Witches came from those acoustic melodies written in the woods. As we began making the songs, those tunes came back and became the backbone of the piece. It was a seamless transition.
Witches is being brought out through Standby Records, the first time one of your albums is released through a label. What made you decide to go with Standby? Did it change the process much? Did it give you guys more time to work on the album, as this one wasn’t all DIY? Are you signed with them for a number of records, or just Witches for the moment?
Junior: The album was actually finished by the time we signed with Standby. It’s actually a “licensing deal” rather than a “recording contract” which just means that we delivered a finished product for them to release. We’re just signed up for this one album. Hopefully things go well and there will be many more to come!
Oh ok, I thought the deal came first then the album. Hopefully things go well indeed!
A lot of bands these days, established or otherwise, are doing Kickstarter and PledgeMusic campaigns to release albums. Would you ever consider crowdfunding for an album?
Kimberly: So far, we’ve released several albums by doing our own pre-sales and loads of touring. We haven’t done the Kickstarter-style crowdfunding thing yet, but never say never.
So, with the release of the new album will there be any changes to your live show?
Junior: That’s for us to know and you to find out 😉
Not going to lie, I was hoping you would share something there [laughs]. How excited are you to play the new songs live?
Junior: If “OMG WE’RE SO FRICKING EXCITED!!!!!!!!” were a grain of sand, we’d be Daytona Beach.
I bet the fans are just as excited to hear them live! One-Eyed Doll has been hard at work since 2006, and there may have been times where you weren’t too sure what the future held for the band, but you have built a large and very loyal fan base, which seems to be spreading across the globe and in far off lands. Is it now that you are really feeling all that hard work start to pay off?
Kimberly: It’s been a long journey, and we’re still just working very hard. Every day brings a new challenge, and somehow even more work. That said, we’re still loving it and having fun. 🙂
Junior: Being in a band is like rolling a boulder up a hill. If you relax for a second it just rolls back and crushes you. I gotta think at some point it will start rolling down hill, but we’re not there yet.
Definitely not there yet, and hopefully not any time soon! I asked this last time, but I think I’ll just keep asking until it finally happens – when are you going to play in Australia? You guys could tour with The Red Paintings, they’re going to do a second tour with The Birthday Massacre just jump on that bill and bring it over to Australia! [laughs}. Maybe I should just jet on over to the US and follow you guys on tour.
Junior: We’d love to jump on that bill! Call up TBM and let them know we’re down! [Laughs]
Not sure how much sway I would have, but sure I’ll let them know [laughs]. Speaking of live shows, would you ever consider releasing a live DVD for fans who can’t actually see you live? Or do you think there isn’t much point with live footage going up on YouTube?
Kimberly: That’s an excellent idea. We’ve discussed that, yes! We’ll try to get something out for you.
Junior: It’s a definite maybe… if we get good enough footage and sound. Otherwise yes, there’s hundreds of shows on YouTube… Albeit mostly very badly distorted.
I do watch a lot of your live YouTube videos, but a good quality DVD would be awesome!
I heard you are shooting a new music video in Salem, nice and appropriate. Are you able to share any details on that, in particular what song?
Kimberly: Yes, we are! I don’t think I can say which song it is yet.. but I will tell you that it’s the longest one.
Damn, missed on getting you to share secrets again! [laughs] But with that little hint I know which one it is 😉 That’s it for me, do you have any final words to share?
Thanks a lot guys! Have an awesome album tour and I shall keep my fingers crossed to see you here in Australia one day!