Despite only being three albums into their career. Windhand has already proven to be pretty influential in the stoner/doom scene. Their own influences are easy to guess and there are plenty of groups similar in style, but I think they’re the most responsible for the current wave of occult bands whose singers sound like a swamp witch recording her vocals in a cave. Windhand’s singer, Dorthia Cottrell, was courteous enough to answer some questions we had in anticipation of their upcoming return to Indy on with Satan’s Satyrs and Wretch.
IMV: How would you describe the evolution that Windhand has undergone since your debut album? What elements of your style do you think have changed or stayed the same?
DC: I have no idea, I think we’ve pretty much kept the same philosophy since the beginning, we just want to play music that we like.
IMV: As a listener, I’ve noticed that the vocals have become increasingly prominent in the mix with each album that you have put out, especially on Grief’s Infernal Flower. Was this a stylistic choice or do you feel the vocals may have become more confident?
DC: Well I think we’ve always preferred the vocals to be more like an instrument, blending into the music. I think it just makes everything sound heavier that way. The vocals on Grief’s Infernal Flower were a little more up front than our other albums but maybe that has more to do with Jack Endino and his input. Also, in the beginning we were playing smaller bars and house shows with P.A.’s that were not as loud, so I think having the vocals a little deeper in the mix was more true to the way we sounded live.
IMV: Your acoustic solo album was one of my favorite releases that came out in 2015. Seeing how Windhand has included the odd acoustic song on albums, how did you decide which songs were appropriate for your solo output and which were appropriate for Windhand?
DC: The acoustic songs on the Windhand albums were all written specifically with Windhand in mind. Most of the songs on my solo album were written before I ever joined Windhand.
IMV: What is your songwriting process like as a band?
DC: Usually one person will bring in a riff or part of a song and then we’ll all try to arrange, add or subtract. Everyone has a hand at some point but I’d say the majority of the time Garrett will think about it for a few days and then come in with a rough arrangement and then we’ll just play a hundred thousand times to see if it feels right and I’ll write the vocal stuff.
IMV: How do you see Windhand’s style evolving on future efforts? Are there any influences that you would like to expand on or tap into that you haven’t yet?
DC: It’s hard to try to predict how we will “evolve” because that’s just not something we think about when we are writing. We never purposely try to push the songs in any certain direction, we just try to write songs that we like to play and hope people will like to listen to them. The music that we all listen to is so varied but I don’t think any of us have ever thought, “Ok I want to write a song that is 43% Black Sabbath, 12% Deep Purple, 45% Nirvana.” It just doesn’t work like that.
IMV: What song do you think best describes Windhand as a band?
DC: I think “Forest Clouds” is a good example of our sound. It has a little bit of everything that we like to do on it.
IMV: What sort of music are you guys listening to lately? Are any particular bands that you would recommend?
DC: Danava always blows my mind when I see them play. We did a tour with them a couple years ago and hadn’t seen them play again until we played together in Portland for Stumpfest in April and they are just amazing musicians and performers and great people. It is kind of jarring how good they are when you’re watching them live.
IMV: What’s next for Windhand? When can fans expect a new album?
DC: We will be doing Psycho Las Vegas this summer as well as a European tour in the fall and then we’re going to be making time to sit down and write the next album.