Today, Manchester’s Witch Fever share new single ‘I Saw You Dancing’, another taste of their debut album Congregation out 21st October 2022 via Sony’s Music For Nations. Pre-order HERE.
‘I Saw You Dancing’ is a brutalist slab of IDLES-esque bass, as strings rattle the fretboard and trudge the track into life, whilst claustrophobic vocal lines and intense guitar melodies entwine an oppressive atmosphere throughout the duration. It’s a song about singer Amy Walpole’s experiences in the charismatic church she grew up in, and feeling watched by men as a teenage girl.
On the track she says, “This is a song on the album that we’re really excited about as really it’s the first time we’ve written and allowed a song to have space and time to breathe! We’ve been so used to writing quick thrashy tunes it was fun to experiment and write slower ones for the album. We really love the drone of the guitar, the rattle of the bass and the reverb on the snare drum, as well as the vocals being a little more relaxed and expressive”.
For the video they stripped everything back, working with director Sam O’Leary to create a found footage horror style mini-movie, using a handheld camera to play with the theme of voyeurism explored in the lyrics.
Speaking on the video Amy adds, “Horror has always been a genre that we’ve drawn inspiration from for lyrics and artwork because it’s such a potent and multi-layered genre. Horror has such a potential for holding a mirror up to society to reveal the oppression it continues to uphold. Typical elements of horror include violence, suspense, fear and the abject which are powerful fictional tools to expose the dark underbelly of society. Horror isn’t known for being the most progressive or inclusive genre, often centring straight white men, and portraying women and people of colour as either helpless victims, monstrous villains, or a side story to push the male characters plot line forward. Furthermore horror has also historically ignored the existence of marginalised genders and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Lyrically, Congregation draws largely on Walpole’s experience of growing up in a Charismatic Church – a form of Christianity that emphasises the work of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and modern-day miracles. She left the church when she was 16, and her parents followed suit two years later. Guitarist Alisha Yarwood also grew up in a church, though not to the same extent as Walpole, and all members agree that the themes of the album – control, abuse of power and patriarchal violence – resonate beyond a religious framework.
Walpole says on the album, “As our first album we’re really excited to just get it out there. We feel that it’s a step above what we’ve done before as we had a chance to experiment with sound and structure. It was our first opportunity to explore writing a body of work which was challenging but has been so rewarding!”
While the subject matter of their songs is often heavy, Witch Fever’s attitude certainly isn’t. Their videos have always been vivid and playful, showing the band having as much of a laugh on set as they do at their shows or in the studio, plus a wardrobe that’s very London Fashion Week meets Berlin club night.
She continues, “It pushed our creative process because we also had to think about the songs sitting side by side on an album! We tried to break out of what makes a typical ‘witch fever’ song whilst still being true to what makes our sound what it is.”
Refusing to be confined by gender or genre, Witch Fever have always defied expectations as individuals in society. Now, they’re defying expectations as a band. Congregation is the sound of punk without boundaries of any kind, and with it they are ushering in a new era of heavy music that’s accessible, confrontational and, most importantly of all, a huge pressure release.
Witch Fever are:
Amy Walpole: Lead vocals
Alex Thompson: Bass and backing vocals
Alisha Yarwood: Guitar
Annabelle Joyce: Drums
Congregation out 21st October 2022
26th August – Reading Festival
27th August – Leeds Festival
1st September – The Fleece, Bristol w/ Cancer Bats
3rd September – Joiners, Southampton w/ Cancer Bats
4th September – Forum, Tunbridge Wells w/ Cancer Bats
6th September – The Dome, London w/ Cancer Bats
7th September – New Cross Inn, London w/ Cancer Bats
8th September – o2 Academy2 , Oxford w/ Cancer Bats
9th September – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham w/ Cancer Bats
10th September – The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes w/ Cancer Bats
11th September – Mama Roux, Birmingham w/ Cancer Bats
12th September – Arts Club Loft, Liverpool w/ Cancer Bats
13th September – Rebellion, Manchester w/ Cancer Bats
14th September – Sin City, Swansea w/ Cancer Bats
15th September – Tower Ballroom, Hull w/ Cancer Bats
16th September – The Key Club, Leeds w/ Cancer Bats
17th September – Garage, Glasgow w/ Cancer Bats
21st September – Reeperbahn Festival