[Music] All Them Witches: A chat with Robby Staebler
From Nashville, Tennessee - we present to you the kings of 'Psych-Rock'.
In 2015 in our first year of art school in London we came across an album called 'Our Mother Electricity' deep in a rabbit hole of Youtube suggested videos. Around that time we had our first infamous psychedelic baptism into Pink Floyd and had been re-discovering Black Sabbath, but the sensation of hearing All Them Witches for the first time was equally monumental to blowing our minds. We thought it was genius then, even more so now.
At first we were caught by their spellbinding album artwork, but as soon as we pressed play we realised we had discovered greatness. Now 6 albums in - the band are regarded amongst the best rock bands of our generation.
Whether it's the blend of folk, blues, grunge, psych-rock and psychedelia, the immense voice and mystical lyrics of lead singer Charles Michael Parks Jr., the instrumental wizardy on drums by Robby Staebler & guitar by Ben McLeod - this band consistently blows our minds, every single time.
For our generation it feels like a new All Them Witches album is as close to how we imagine it was hearing a new Beatles album for the first time, so it's fitting that they recently recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
We spoke to Robby Staebler about some of the ideas behind their music and how life's been since the release of their 2020 album, Nothing As The Ideal:
Where did the idea come from to create All Them Witches and how did you meet ?
The idea of All Them Witches came from me selling a lot of my possessions and moving out west while living in my car. It didn’t work out where I was living in Oregon. I ended up losing all my money and getting involved in things my parents wouldn’t be proud of. Regardless of good or bad decisions made I jumped over to Nashville with the promise of playing for someone else’s band. When that person turned out to be of the unstable and difficult kind I left. Furthering my car living days. I had made an 8 song “album” where I played everything. In a very bizarre unprofessional manner. But I was in love with the sound. I figured I could take this album and make a band with it.
Eventually finding my own place I ran into Ben at a show where he was playing slide guitar. I asked him if he was into jazz and if he wanted to jam. We quickly got bored with jazz attempts and just got heavy. I met Parks a few months later after we had demoed a bunch of songs. I presented it to Parks and he took the bait.....All Them Witches was made.
What is your personal relationship with spirituality and how did this formulate in your music ?
My personal relationship with spirituality is a combination of growing up in a crazy Pentecostal global tv church and finding myself after that experience through music and art and relationships. My biggest inspirations were Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Sun RA, Santana, Neil Young, Nick Drake.
Music was a way that I could let go of everything and just float in the moment. It was the exciting way to battle my demons. In front of people and alone in front of microphones. That summoning is just walking into a head and heart space willing to hang it all it.
Tell us about your project UVWAYS ?
I put out an album under my name UVWAYS called Moses lynx which started as experiments when I was setting up my studio. Demos that didn’t make ATW I thought were too cool to not see the light of day. The singer is Evan Smith. One of the biggest pro skaters in the world. He’s insane. Working on the second album now, in the mix stages.
How has it been for you guys since the last release and what are your plans for 2021 ?
Since the last release we’ve been in far away places from each other all working on our own things. We have a big tour in Europe Sept and October but leading up to that I'll be working on a new uvways album and hoping to get some crazy new All Them Witches stuff going.
Do you enjoy being able to execute a range of styles and do you set the tempo and feeling with certain songs and the others follow ?
As the drummer it’s a challenge to execute multiple style sometimes but it works with these guys. A lot of times they follow my lead and other times I follow them. We go back and forth. The music dictates itself.
Do psychedelics guide your inspiration in any ways ?
Psychedelics have played a big part in my own understanding of who I am and what’s going on. Mushrooms especially are favourable. You can see through the illusion or get stuck in it. Gotta be careful !
If this wasn't enough, you can watch a 35 minute live set from their performance on radio station KEXP's youtube channel below ~
You can follow All Them Witches & UVWAYS to keep up to date and discover more about them via the links below. Thank us later !
- PSYCHIC GARDEN