Interview By Alison Booth
Since their incarnation in 1988, the Lovecraftian inspired pioneer of blackened death metal, NECRONOMICON, has certainly established itself as one of the hardest working bands in the industry. Founded by composer, guitarist and frontman Rob The Witch in Quebec Province, Canada and following an early demo and EP, the band released its first full length album “Pharaoh Of Gods” in 1999.
A steady release of five further albums and a high level of commitment to touring and performing on stage has been a constant in the life of NECRONOMICON, all the while establishing an ever growing fan base around the globe. Changes in line up and other issues haven’t been a deterrent for the charismatic Witch King, resulting in the sixth brutally dark album “Unus” being unleashed in October 2019, via Season Of Mist Records.
Alison recently caught up with Rob The Witch for her Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem radio show on UK station TotalRock. The whole show can be heard on Mixcloud at this location, but the audio interview (split into two parts for radio) can be listened to below. Many topics were discussed with the eloquent frontman, from the worldwide pandemic to Dean guitars and more in between! Check out a few excerpts from the chat, followed by the audio:
Discussing touring, Rob stated:
“Touring is what I like the most, it’s being on the road – I don’t get enough of that. I did like around twelve hundred shows in my career, I lost count, I know it’s over a thousand. It’s just doing my music you know – recording albums, going on tour and just rocking the stage you know. That’s just what I want to do. When I started Necronomicon, I was seventeen, now I’m almost fifty, I never stop. As long as I play my music, I’m happy, I’m satisfied with that.”
Regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and getting back to touring in 2021, Rob expressed:
“Really, really not easy, that’s one thing. I think that pretty much any artist that does this mostly for a living will feel the impact pretty well. When you’re going on full tours like months at a time and spend many, many, many, many hours you know practice by yourself, but I mean like many hours per week – days per week literally practising with your band, you have situations like that coming out of nowhere in a way, it’s pretty challenging actually. For example, our drummer is stuck in California, can’t come to practice and it’s been months, so it’s really not easy.
Of course we’re trying to see what we can do now. Nothing is certain at this point how it’s going, it’s totally out of control, especially in the U.S. I mean in Canada we’re doing really good, they responded really quick, I don’t know how it is in Europe. I really don’t know how we’re going to do that, because when we finished the U.S. tour we were already planning to go in Europe and something happened and we had to pull out. And that tour started without us and the tour went to hell because Covid started. So, at first I wasn’t really happy because we had to pull out of the tour, then I realised after it was almost a blessing. These bands that were on tour in Europe were in a really shitty situation because of that. They’re having some major financial problems due to what happened there. If we’d been on that tour it would’ve really fucked us, really in a bad way. So, the fact that we’d been forced to pull out of that tour and not going, saved our ass in a way. That’s the irony of that.”
On videos and being creative, Rob had lots to say:
“I don’t wanna bash any of my friends or other bands – there’s a lot of bands I respect musically and stuff like that. But if you have to shoot your band in an abandoned warehouse, stay home come on, I mean be more creative. It’s supposed to be art.
I don’t get the people going on stage with their flip flops and Cannibal Corpse shirts, even their glasses. Even fucking Judas Priest, they go on stage with outfits and stage clothes. Even Metallica, ok they don’t have armour and stuff like that – but if you see James Hetfield or Kirk Hammett in the street, they’re not dressed like they’re dressed on stage, it’s totally different. Music is art, so why don’t you do it properly you know?
When you go to see a show, you need to see something, you need to have a visual of it. I’m going to take a band that’s really shitty music to me right now – that’s Ghost, I really don’t like what they’re doing. The first album was really good, I really liked it, the rest – ugh! But they would never have succeeded if they didn’t have the image. The same for Slipknot and the same for Dimmu Borgir or any bands that had success with that, it’s a part of the game. You sell a product and the image of a band is fifty percent of the job, if not more.”
If you’re lucky, you can see the uncensored video of ‘The Thousand Masks’ – unfortunately some countries have blocked it:
Some live NECRONOMICON with ‘The Time Is Now’: