Bent on Reviving Forgotten Horrors:
An Interview with Psychedelic Witchcraft
Kelly M. Hudson
“Witchcraft is dead…and discredited…” is the phrase that starts the first EP by Psychedelic Witchcraft. But this band is indeed bent on reviving forgotten horrors, because with a stroke of the guitar, the bang of a drum, the throb of the bass, and the crooning of that siren voice, rock and roll has returned in the oldest form of all: wielding wild magic.
Album opener “Angela” is a tune that you cannot get out of your head. It serves as an earworm, informing your every thought as it weaves its way into your soul. All rock, part psych and part doom, “Angela” will stay with you for days. “Lying on Iron” is next and brings with it a fluid, Floydian sound, a ballad but not in the traditional sense. It is both moody and moving, with the voice of lead vocalist Virginia Monti carrying the tune to its mystical destination. “Black Magic Man” is a pure rocker and must scorch in a live setting. And finally “Slave of Grief” finishes this all-too brief outing, with plenty of psych and a nice Black Sabbath-inspired, freak-out ending.
All of this excellence from a band that is very new and fresh in a scene clogged with dozens of similar, Occult Rock-style groups. But Psychedelic Witchcraft sets themselves apart from the pack, mostly due to the force and power of their founder and leader, vocalist Virginia Monti. She is charming, intelligent, and funny. When I asked her the obligatory question about if she practiced the Occult at all, given the content of the lyrics and the name of the band, she responded with a hearty laugh. “Ahahahhahahah…a real Witch would never tell the truth about magic…so I will pass on that one…” This being an answer at once provocative, inspired, funny, and deep, all of which are trademarks of this talented young lady.
Kelly M. Hudson: What is your bio? Where is the band from, when did you start, and who are all the members?
Virginia Monti: Well my Bio is not that interesting, I guess. I was just a normal Italian girl that used to write songs for herself and that was it. I never expected to make a band and actually record my stuff for real. The band is from Italy, mainly Florence. The drummer, Daniele Parrella, and the guitarist Samuel Giuntinelli, are from L’isola D’Elba. The bass player, Marco Passaretti, is not from Florence; he is from the south of Italy. The band actually started 1 month ago; I think less than a month, because I recorded the EP with other guys, friends of mine from Florence that left my project after the recordings. So Psychedelic Witchcraft started as a solo project in the first place and then it evolved into being a real band.
KMH: What inspired you to start a band?
VM: Oh, I was in such a bad period for me some months ago and I was so confused. I needed to do something to prove to myself that I wasn’t that bad. Yeah, or something close to that, so I decided to record just a song in my home, just for fun, and then posted it for fun on Instagram. And boom! I had so many comments and reactions from people, I was amazed. And so I decided to try to write a few more songs and record it for real. So yeah, I didn’t plan to do this and even now that the EP is out, I wonder sometimes why am I doing this? But I keep doing it anyway…
KMH: Who would you say is your biggest influence, as a singer and as a guitar player?
VM: Uh…I am not a real guitarist seriously. I just use the guitar to write songs and melodies and riffs and that’s it; I don’t even use the guitar on stage. But if I have to pick a model for the guitar…well, Jimi Hendrix, for sure. And then for the vocals, I have so many role models because I am pretty divided into Blues and Rock, so I can’t just pick one. I can try to pick my favorites: Grace Slick, Ozzy, Dinah Washington, and Paul Rodgers. And of course Robert Plant.
VM: Another difficult question! I’ve loved horror movies since I was a kid, so it’s hard just to choose one. But if I have to choose, I will probably go to a classic one like “Rosemary’s Baby.” I love Polanski. Then another one that I really love is “The Devil Rides Out”… a wicked one as well.
KMH: What do you think of the concept of an afterlife? What will it be like, if there is one?
VM: I will love to “live” or better not exist in a place where there is no space and time. Lol! It’s pretty hard, actually. I don’t know anything about life or afterlife …but since things always change and always move…the merry go round never stops…and I don’t think that in the afterlife it will stop. Maybe we live again. Yeah, that’s probably what I am closest to believing.
KMH: What is your biggest goal for your band?
VM: Oh, well, I don’t know. For me it’s already a dream come true to actually be out there and having people listening to my songs and my music. I was joking with a friend of mine that’s in a band and I was saying to him: “I am NO ONE, so I am already lucky.” And he said “You are SOMEONE ..you are a person.” So I guess that’s what I feel now; I feel very lucky. And I don’t know what the future will bring us. We are just working very hard, walking the road, but we don’t know where it is going to bring us.
KMH: Do you have a favorite horror author? Also, what’s your favorite horror novel?
VM: Yeah, a lot like the movies…I guess apart from Dennis Wheatley, my favorite horror novel is Dracula by Bram Stoker. It was the first novel I ever read when I was, I guess 10 or 11 years old and it still remains my favorite one.
KMH: If you could be in any band, past or present, who would it be and what instrument would you play (or if you’d just sing)?
VM: FREE! I AM IN LOVE WITH FREE. SO YEAH! FREE ALL MY LIFE! Hahahahahha! And I would love to be the singer Paul Rodgers!! Yeah I love them so much!!!
VM: It’s very strange; I don’t plan anything, sometimes I have days when I write 3 songs in 1 hour and then I have months without writing anything. When I feel that I have things to say that are haunting my mind, I just grab the guitar and start to play. Usually I find a riff then move ahead with a melody and fit the words in it. That’s usually what I do. The hardest part is to actually write what I feel …because sometimes it’s hard and you feel a little bit of shame because you are actually putting yourself in the song. So yeah that’s the hardest part.
KMH: Who would be your Mt. Rushmore of Rock? You get to pick one singer, one guitarist, one bassist, and one drummer, all who you think are the greatest of all time. The only restriction is they can’t be from the same band. You can choose from just rock, from metal, or from any kind of combination.
VM: Yeah, I will do a combo because I love metal but I am not that huge of a metal follower; I am more into the hard rock, 70’s style. So I will do a combo.
Vocals: Paul Rodgers
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Geezer Butler
Drums: John Bonham
KMH: My favorite band of all time is Led Zeppelin. You seem to love them, too.
VM: They are actually one of my favorite bands of all time. I remember clearly the day when I was 8 years old, I picked from my father’s library Led Zeppelin II. I listened to it entirely…and when I woke up (because I felt like I was in a weird, powerful dream), my life changed forever.
KMH: Who would you love for your band to open for?
VM: Orchid, for sure…
KMH: Is there a particular country you haven’t visited that you would love to play in as a band?
VM: Yeah, the USA…California. It’s my dream since I was a young kid. I would love to visit San Francisco. I hope I will be able to do so one day; I hope soon…and with the band would be RAD!!!
VM: I am the singer, the songwriter, the manager, the stylist…ahahhahahahha, fuck! I think they will hate me one day. Ahahhaha!
And there it is, a glimpse into the life of the brainchild behind Psychedelic Witchcraft. Do yourself a favor and go support this amazing band. You can find their stuff via the links below.
Long Live Rock!