LA’s dark melodic metal outfit Witherfall are no strangers to facing their demons through morbid times. 2018’s A Prelude To Sorrow was an homage to their late drummer, Adam Sagan, who lost his battle with cancer shortly after the group recorded their debut album, 2017’s Nocturnes and Requiems. Now, with record number three, Curse of Autumn, scheduled to arrive on March 5th via Century Media Records (pre-order here), the group faced a different obstacle: COVID-19. The entire music industry went to an abrupt halt having all touring plans scrapped in 2020, and things remain a mystery for what 2021 has in store. While spending time on the road looked impossible, the band moved forward with recording their new full-length album. We asked vocalist Joseph Michael and guitarist Jake Dreyer to give us five things they learned about creating Curse of Autumn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joseph Michael: Nothing in life is certain. The band has been taught this lesson multiple times. After the recording of “Nocturnes and Requiems,” Adam Sagan was diagnosed with Cancer and passed away. It put our touring plans on hold for quite a while. Of course gearing up for “Curse Of Autumn” our most ambitious project to date, the world (or micro-world) pulled the rug out from under us.
Jake: Yeah, do not count on any of your plans staying the same. During the initial planning stages of the recording of “Curse of Autumn” back in January, we had made all of the flight arrangements, hotels, studio dates, you name it. Once everything went upside down in March so did our schedule. Needless to say it was not a cheap or painless way to reschedule the band and production team. We ultimately had to push our recording dates a month back while everyone in the world was figuring out what the hell was going on. In the end it worked out. The constant anxiety though was subconsciously recorded in the final takes.
Joseph Michael: Society is a fragile construct. Normally polite and intelligent people fall prey to the most absurd ideas. Q? Seriously? Q is probably a 12 year old boy in his mom’s basement. Everyone is complaining about the pandemic and “there’s no concerts” or “the government shut down my business” and then they spread conspiracy theories about the vaccine. Give me a break. Put on your adult pants and take the vaccine so we can all get on with our lives. The only thing that can hold back the world at this point is the collective ignorance of the populace.
Jake: Do not stand in the sunlight when getting your temperature taken. During the video shoot of “As I Lie Awake,” our director Zev Deans had to by Pandemic protocol take everyone’s temperature before entering the set. One of the extras in the shoot was standing right in the Brooklyn sun when the gun went off revealing a temperature of 104!!! We thought we and the entire shoot were totally screwed. Luckily it was just the sunlight and everything on set went back to normal.
Joseph Michael: Seriously, the biggest lesson in all of this is: doing things right has a price. Being cautious has a price. Following the rules has a price. But the cost of not doing those things is much higher. RIP to all those lost this last year. Maybe 2021 will usher in bluer skies.