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Witch Hats, Interview with Kris Buscombe

Interview Conducted Summer 2010

by Nick Schwab

Witch HatsThese wicked witches will burn down Oz, blitzkrieg Wonderland, and will turn your happy thoughts aflame. They will also put a smile on your face.

The feverish, discordant Witch Hats are an Aussie band that will cause delirium followed by insomnia. Their music, akin to opium, will first go down harshly, as if chased with whiskey, but ingestion will get you gleefully grinning from their caustic and morbid humor.

Stark and corrosive, if lucid and intricate, the sounds in their latest album, Solarium Down The Causeway, will pull you into their tales of wicked embrace. The entire time one will tap your heels together saying, "There may be no place like home... but why not stay in Oz forever?"

Despite what seems like an ominous, dark, and even cathartic expulsion of demons from the music these lads create, there is a healthy dose of humor too, says Buscombe.

"I think they're really funny most of the time," he explains. "Absurdist humor gets me up in the morning and keeps me from going to sleep at night."

This is actually true. As at first they sound both scary and chaotic, there lyrics are often hilarious, while the instruments have an organization even if they are chaotic in structure. Take the third song on the album, Pleasure Syndrome, with Buscombe's gothic, venomous yell sinking into the music that oddly feels messy if uniform and systematic, as well as dense, albeit sporadic and contingent.

The lyrics in the song start: "You're starting to make me think, about the bloodstains in ma kitchen sink/ Now you're starting to make us feel, like the broken spoke inside your wheel." Although it starts out with some lines that seem both baroque and hinting at murderous misdeeds, the song actually takes a path later on that talks about the subject needing and "enema" and "Pulling out their catheter."

Check the Center is a "zombie love song of sorts," and its chorus lyric was inspired by Buscombe's, concern for his mother's love of sunbathing. While Buscombe describes another track's conception in an anecdotal way. That song called, Fucking With The Atmosphere, he says is based on having to travel "around the USA for 3 months with an aggressive, retarded 500 year old women."

When all is said and done, Buscombe does not feel they are too out of line all the time. "It depends on who you are stacking us up against.," he said. " We used to be far more juvenile and irresponsible. We still drink like crazed loons, but act with far more respect as a whole than in past times. I've always been a good boy apart form a couple of nights here and there."

After hearing a Witch Hats album, the listener will now know that being a nice, good boy won't make one finish last.