Brighton — known for producing hipster acts such as Bat for Lashes and the Kooks — gave birth to a surprise in 2011 when the Wytches came into being. The trio, made up of Kristian Bell (vocals, guitar), Dan Rumsey (bass, vocals) and Gianni Honey (drums) were friends at their university. But they dreamed up the Wytches after Rumsey answered a wanted poster from Honey and Bell. They pulled together a pastiche of punk melodies, laden with goth overtones and surf-guitar influences. The result? The summer debut, Annabel Dream Reader. It's what you would've gotten if The Blair Witch Project's makers decided to produce an album instead of a movie.
We caught up with singer Kristian Bell before they head out to the Observatory tonight where they open a sold out show for Cloud Nothings.
OC Weekly (Lilledeshan Bose): You're always described as playing doom rock. Did you make up that genre name?
Kristian Bell: No way! Google doom rock. We are not worthy.
Who were your influences when you formed the band?
We all have different ones. When the band started I was heavy into the Arctic Monkeys' Humbug album — we all were. But we've definitely got a broad range. We found it through rock & roll music, it's like an extension of that.
What is the appeal of the horror genre to you?
Well there's something fun and not serious about it when it comes to music. The Misfits started it off for us. Dan was in a horror punk band called Fall Victim when he was younger. I think we don't take ourselves too seriously either. Everyday is funny to us.
You've been written up as “ones to watch” by NME, Spin and other music tastemakers. How did it feel when your music was first getting critical acclaim?
Obviously it felt good to hear people speaking highly of us. It wasn't something we were aiming for we just wanted to play shows and record our songs. But it's flattering.
Is this your first time in the U.S.? What's the first thing you did on American soil?
No we played at SXSW in March, but when we landed this time around the first thing we did was go to Portland and hung out there for a while. It's a great place. Powell's Book Store is awesome.
What are you most excited to do in the US?
Play good shows and hang out with METZ guys again. Hopefully see some of the sights in each city too.
What's the weirdest thing that's happened to you stateside?
People shooting up in Vancouver. In the street. That was weird to see.