When Nashville-based psychedelic rockers All Them Witches set out to record their first album, Our Mother Electricity
, they did so with little in terms of funding. Even by indie rock standards, the sessions were a low budget affair.
“We tracked ten songs the first day,” says singer-bassist Charles Michael Parks Jr. in a phone interview from his Nashville home. “We tracked it in a day, and it took a week to put it together. We mastered it for a case of beer. My buddy who lives in Florida is an awesome engineer. He mastered our stuff on the cheap.”
Along with sophomore effort Lightning at the Door
, the album created enough of a buzz that the group inked a deal with New West Records, a prominent indie imprint. Both albums feature sludgy guitars and Southern rock undertones. The group, which plays at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 22, at the Grog Shop
, doesn’t tone things down on its latest effort, last year’s Dying Surfer Makes his Maker
“It’s the only time we ever had a
budget,” says Parks when asked about the recording process. “The first two albums were independently funded. We had a bigger budget, but the records never cost a ton of money. We don’t spend a lot of time on recording. It’s all about the moment and the experience of playing those songs. We practice for about six days and then will go into the studio and record.”
The album commences with the somber “Call Me Star,” a tune that with its whispered vocals and tempered guitars sounds like the quieter side of Led Zeppelin. Many of the tunes have a melancholy vibe to them.
“Some of the songs are three or four years old at this point,” explains Parks. “I wrote the ‘Open Passageways,’ ‘Talisman’ and ‘Call Me Star’ when I was living in Louisiana over the winter. I had nothing to do. I had no money and was stuck in my grandmother’s old house. There was no TV and internet. I just went crazy and started writing songs.”
With their distorted guitars and trippy lyrics, tunes such as “Dirt Preachers” and "Open Passageways" come off as stoner rock anthems. The songs ultimately show more range than the group’s previous releases.
“We’re just big fans of bands who can do everything,” says Parks. “We like Pink Floyd, and we like the Dead and early Fleetwood Mac. That’s why we all came together a couple of years ago. We thought, ‘What if the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac kept going? Or if Sabbath were a jam band?' It sucks getting stuck in one thing. I don’t play metal, but it’s fun being loud and then singing softly. I just think it’s better to do something other than scream and throw devil horns in the air.”
Parks says the band has already begun to write tracks for its next album. He says it’ll be heavier than Dying Surfer Meets His Maker
“We’re all really excited,” he says. “It’s a little bit faster. I’m excited to be loud and fast for a while and see how that goes.”