Immersing into the cinematic universe of WITNESSES, their next chapter, IV, takes the listener on an ambiguous and mysterious journey through Nordic-inspired landscapes. While IV is heavily story-based it is primarily instrumental, opening up a realm of interpretative possibilities for the listener.
“Releasing IV on vinyl is a milestone for WITNESSES and something of a dream come true. It was hard to select an album for this treatment, but the overall mood and dynamics of IV were the right choice. The mastering by Joe Lambert brings out the depth and range in a way that only vinyl can create.”
WITNESS came into being in 2015 through a desire from founder Greg to delve into something with a multi-genre approach through a non-traditional band structure. The accompanying visual artwork sees the project deliver a multisensory experience. An otherworldly atmosphere emerges from the bows of lush strings in IV. Ethereal pads, sparse guitar arrangements, and the orchestration combine beautifully to produce a vast and, in places eerie, sound. The opening prelude “the first snow” offers a tantalising taste through a sparse soundscape which flows and grows as the album progresses to the haunting conclusion “the healthy and optimistic among us will doom…”. WITNESSES elevate their music by introducing the soulful texture of saxophone melodies and occasional vocal passages containing Danish lyrics. The unexpected materialisation and evanescent nature of these elements makes the album all the more intriguing.
IV ventures through a boundless space of escapism. Each track brings a new twist or turn in the musical progression, enticing further into the sense of vastness. WITNESSES conjure spectacular moods through the composition depicting emotions and ideas with an impressionistic edge.
Musicwebzine – Hi there, first of all, tell us something about the band
Greg – Well, I guess one thing is that it’s not a band in a traditional sense. Witnesses is my project where I collaborate with session musicians across genres as I see fit. The only full-time member is me. The session players are super important and contribute tremendously; they’re not cogs or anything like that. But again, not a band. No band practice, no shows, no nothing.
Musicwebzine – Which is the main theme of your album ?
Greg – For IV, I want to mostly leave that up to the listener. The sounds, song titles, and lyrics all create imagery and hint at, sometimes very directly, certain events. But I don’t want to impose the interpretation of those events onto the listener. That said, as you follow the way the lyrics and titles work with everything from the chord progressions to the instrumentation, it’s a story that skews darker. But I’d prefer not to say more.
Musicwebzine – What about the cover and the title of your album ?
Greg – IV just means that it’s the fourth in this style. It’s the sixth full-length overall, though. The cover art was done by Andreas Levers for me. He took advantage of a snowy day around Berlin in 2021 and made the series happen. It’s really tremendous work, and is a great “establishing shot” for what is to come, musically. I’ve worked with Andreas many times, going all the way back to the first release.
Musicwebzine – Which bands has influenced your sound ?
Greg – Too many to mention. But I’ll give an honest and list a few. Ulver, Timber Timbre, Dead Can Dance, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Steve Roach, Jóhann Jóhannsson. You wouldn’t hear all these in a single song, but across the whole body of work you might find them. There are tons more, but this is off the top of my head. I also draw a lot of influence from movies and books.
Musicwebzine – Do you think you can still live only on music?
Greg – I don’t know anyone who does music for a living, so I don’t know that I’m the right person to ask. I just don’t have any insight into the financials and how those bands make it work. It seems extraordinarily difficult to me.
Musicwebzine – That’s all!! greeted our readers with a message
Greg – Thanks for the interview! For readers, thanks for checking out Witnesses if you choose to do so. Tons of great music out these days!