Nashville psych-rockers All Them Witches released their newest album Sleeping Through The War on February 24th (buy it here). Now, they’re back on tour to bring fans across North America and Europe night after night of electrifying heavy rock transmuted by prodigious, hypnotic energy. Drummer Robby Staebler was willing to take a break from the post-album release bedlam to answer a few questions with succinct flair—sharing the origins of the band, stories from the road, and what fans can expect from the tour.
How did you meet? Staebler: We met randomly working jobs and going to bars.
Can you take me through the moment when you thought of the name "All Them Witches," and describe how you all agreed on it as your band name? Staebler: Basically, Ben [guitarist] said "Let's call the band All Them Witches," and I said "That sounds cool" ...and that was it.
You have such a distinct sound, which we have described before as a "powerful and potent psychedelic sound that fuses bluesy soul, Southern swagger and thunderous hard rock." What would you say your key influences have been—both musical and otherwise? Staebler: Key influences would be proper guitar music like the Allman Brothers; and chilled-out weird stuff like Miles Davis, Bitches Brew, and Sun Ra.
What are some other artists and musical groups that you've been listening to a lot lately? Staebler: Tinariwen.
What does a typical songwriting process look like for you? Or is each song different? Staebler: Each song develops in its own way. No stones unturned. We write in all ways.
How do you think your musical style has changed album to album? Staebler: Our musical style has remained the same, the songs just change. It’s just like we are in the process of writing one gigantic album really.
What should we expect from your February 24 album release of Sleeping Through The War? Staebler: You should expect some new material that may or may not take you by surprise....
You've been touring for a few years now. Are there any nights that stand out to you in particular? Staebler: The last time we played Toronto we were detained at the border for weed, but somehow we made it to the show on mushrooms.
Check out the video for the song "Bruce Lee", off All Them Witches' latest album
You played Wayhome Music & Arts Festival in Oro-Medonte, Ontario in the summer of 2016. I was in that crowd, and I remember there was a lot of talk that you weren't going to go on, but nobody really knew why. Eventually, you came out on stage and briefed everyone that someone had broken into your van in Buffalo and stolen from you while you were sleeping, so you had to crowdfund an entirely new set of gear in under 48 hours to be able to play that Wayhome gig. Can you tell me how that played out, and how you overcame that? Staebler: It was funded in less than 6 hours actually. We were never considering not playing the set so that rumour wouldn’t have played out. We woke up and some sneaky fuck (probably someone who had insight into our day) popped a lock and snagged a bag inside a bag directly in front of someone’s face. We slept in the van that night and only fell asleep for an hour and a half—just enough time for some gigantic dick to jerk off on our faces in our sleep. We were upset. But we realized our only possibility to get the money back was to ask our fans. That was our airfare and rental money for our European festival run. The fans pulled through and we were reassured to the highest that our music meant something to people.
I've actually seen you perform twice now—once at Wayhome and once at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. Both shows were so unique, I really feel like you're the type of band where no two gigs are the same. Would you agree with this? How much of that do you think is dependent on the crowd? Staebler: Shows are always a bit different and the crowd has a lot to do with that. King Tut’s crowd was pretty rowdy and people were getting punched in the face moshing, so we ramped it up and played hard AF.
Do you have a favorite song to play live? Staebler: We have favorites from time to time, but it always changes with the vibes. "Death of Coyote Woman" and "Blood and Sand" are always a blast.
You're going to be playing The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on March 14. What are you hoping to see from Toronto this time? Staebler: We are expecting a great rowdy crowd!! See you there!