Vargher (vocals, guitar)
When we made an interview appointment with Vargher of Bewitched (also member of Naglfar, Havayoth and many more bands) he spontaniously agreed to bringing additional people to the interview, so we made a raffle for winning a Bewitched meeting. With the winner Guust, his girlfriend and some more people we met up with Vargher at Party San festival area and really enjoyed all the beer that Vargher paid for all of us while talking. So thanks again to Vargher for the great cooperation and for the beer, of course...
Vargher with the meeting winner+girlfriend/both from Belgium:
Twi > Were you surprised about the reaction of the fans at your Party San gig yesterday?
Vargher > Yeah, I really kind of was surprised because Bewitched hasn’t been the most active band over the years. The last gig we did was actually at Party San in 2002, so it’s actually been 5 years without any live activity whatsoever. And you know we got a new drummer as well. We didn’t know what to expect really, since we’ve been away for such a long time. But the people were into it, you know, even though the weather wasn’t perfect, there were still a couple of moshpits. Because I personally with this weather I wouldn’t go to see anything. So the people are really dedicated. And that’s perfect.
Twi > As you said you have a new drummer (Robert Sundelin). Is he a permament member of Bewitched now?
Vargher > This was his first gig and he did pretty well, so, yeah, I think he will stay with us for some time. We’ll see what happens. It depends if he wants to continue, but it seems like he had a good time yesterday.
Twi > Marc Malice, your former drummer, what about him?
Vargher > He wasn’t able to do it live, to travel. And Robert from Satariel I know him for so many years, he was the perfect choice for us.
Twi > Are you aware that you had the best playing time yesterday?
Vargher > The BEST playing time?
Twi > Yeah. At the latest around 8 p.m. everyone comes from the campground to the festival area to see the bands.
Vargher > Oh yeah, and people aren’t too drunk yet and they are not sleeping yet, yeah. It’s a good playing time. But it’s the spot they offered us. We’ve been here many times, you know. For me and Kris, we’ve been here three times with Naglfar, two times with Bewitched. I heared actually that we are the only ones that played here 5 times. So, we deserve no special treatment.
Twi > A huge Naglfar tour is coming up. Did you get time problems with rehearsing for Bewitched between all the Naglfar activities?
Vargher > No, not really. Because, the good thing was that everybody had like vacation. And when not on vacation, like me, I work at night, so I can rehearse at day. Sleep is overrated, you know. No, it wasn’t really a problem. And with Naglfar we’ve done so many gigs and everything, and on the festivals we pretty much play the same set.
Twi > This time on stage I saw that the other guitarist played the faster parts. I thought normally YOU play them?
Vargher > Hey, I’m getting old. I don’t have the speed anymore. No, it’s just… we never thought about it. I like being able not to play, but just to scream, when there is a break. I don’t have to focus on the playing. I just wanna scream, damnit!
Twi > Is there a Bewitched tour coming up, or was it just this one gig?
Vargher > At the moment is was just this gig that was planned. You know, the last tour we did was back in 1997. It’s 10 years ago that we did a real tour with Bewitched. Because, the previous albums were released on Osmose Productions. And we did one tour for the first album, one tour for the second one, after that nothing really happened. We produced albums, didn’t get any opportunity to go on tour, nothing really happened. So when the deal went out and Regain was really interested, because they were lizensing the first Naglfar albums as well, so both me and Kris knew the guy really well. He was interested in Bewitched, so in a way this was kind of like a new beginning for us to have someone who really wanted to work with us. So then, when we released the new album, we got a lot of tour offers. Unfortunately they were to take place at the same time as we recorded the Harvest album for Naglfar. So for all these reasons we can’t do anything. But there are people interested, and we are definitely interested. As I said, it’s been 10 years since the last tour and it’s about time to do another one.
Twi > When I turned on the new album at the beginning my first thought was “Motörhead”. Are you sick of getting compared to them, or does it rather make you proud?
Vargher > It was just yesterday that someone said: “Oh, such a great gig! It sounded like Motörhead. It’s so many other great bands in one band.” I don’t care, you know. If people enjoy it, they can compare us to whatever they want. Compare isn’t anything.
Twi > “Fucked by fire” appeared on many samplers. Was it your decision to pick exactly that song?
Vargher > We don’t have to do anything with it. It’s the opening track on the album. It’s kind of common to have the opening track as the promo track. It’s our hit-single! ;-)
Twi > The lyrics for “Fucked by fire” are rather serious. But the title anyway sounds a bit sarcastic, even funny maybe. Are you aware of this?
Vargher > Yeah. When I wrote that, I wrote it in a hotel room in Milwaukee when we were doing the Milwaukee Metal Fest with Naglfar. And being hungover, didn’t have anything to do but playing the guitar, so I started out. I knew that people might not take it that serious, but hey, that’s what Bewitched are all about. We don’t care what people think. We do what we want. People said that it’s kind of an offencing title, but hey, that’s what we are all about, we’re not here to please anyone.
Twi > Isn’t it unusual to put lyrics like that (or satanic lyrics) on music like this (thrashy, or sounding like Motörhead, as we said before)?
Vargher > No, I don’t think so. You want to get your opinion out to as many people as possible. So, for me it’s: you write what you wanna write, what you believe in. You want as many people as possible to hear what you think. But hey, we don’t try to push anything down anyone’s throath. People can do whatever the fuck they want. We don’t care.
Twi > Let’s say it like this: it’s just not in your heart to write harmless lyrics.
Vargher > No. We’re a bunch of angry motherfuckers.
Twi > There are some other bands called Bewitched, and even a movie is called Bewitched. Did you ever regret chosing this name for the band?
Vargher > No. You know, the band from Chile they are so different from us musicwise, a really good band I must say, they kind of sound like old Mercyful Fate, I really enjoyed it when I listened to them. The band from England, the girls, they don’t even spell in the same way, but they are not around anymore. We would have liked to tour with them, but hey, that’s not gonna happen.
Twi > On the back of the new album cover you can be seen with horns. Just for fun, or do you want to present yourself as Satan?
Vargher > You know, especially within this kind of music the visual approach is really important. Okay, you can make good music, but we want everything surrounding the album as well to be connected to the music, the cover artwork, the photos, the layout. I’m a perfectionist. Okay, I can make music that I’m proud of but everything else is just as important. We want everything to be presented in a good way, to be a unity.
Twi > Who chose Nikdesign for the layout?
Vargher > You know, he’s also a long time friend of ours from our hometown. He’s done a lot of commercials, like with photo models and that kind of stuff. And since we are just as fucking pretty as the photo models we thought “Yeah, he’s the guy!”.
Twi > Furthermore you are all wearing sunglasses on some of the promotion photos. Just wanting to be different?
Vargher > That’s the thing with Bewitched. We do what we feel at that time. For instance I’ve never worn a cowboy hat in my life, and now I wore it for the gig. That’s just what we do. We don’t care. If people dislike anything, let them do it.
Twi > The building you posed in front for the promotion photos, is it just a random building, or does it have any meaning?
Vargher > It’s actually a very old prison in our hometown. The most important thing is, it’s a very beautiful building. And yeah, some sick motherfuckers have been in there.
Twi > I’m missing the first Bewitched record “Hellspell” in my collection. Is it still available?
Vargher > We printed that one ourselves. I think we did 40 copies of it, so it’s really rare. I was so surprised when we went to Japan with Naglfar, there was one guy there who wanted it signed. So he had the original one. But I have 200 copies of the cover. So maybe I’ll start selling it on Ebay really really expensive. Not that anyone would pay for it, but hey…
Twi > In some older Bewitched songs like for instance in “Sacrificed in flames” from the “Rise of the Antichrist” album I hear themes that are repeated in Naglfar songs. Did it happen with intention? Or just as an accident?
Vargher > Oh, I don’t know. I just play guitars and write music in a way I enjoy it. So of course when I write something for Bewitched or Ancient Wisdom or for Naglfar, of course there will be similarities I guess. The bands are completely different, but I guess the personal touch will always be there. I never thought about it myself.
Twi > On your older records there were some drastic special effects like an “Amen” sung by a church choir. I don’t hear such drastic effects on the new album unfortunately.
Vargher > No, but I think the new album has some theatrical moments as well especially with the ending song, where it flows out with the organ and everything. We don’t wanna repeat ourselves either. We wanna do something new with each album. We don’t want to repeat what we’ve done in the past. It wasn’t too drastic!? We can be even more drastic!
Twi > When can we hear the more drastic things?
Vargher > Oh, we are working on songs with fucked up shit like that. Because we have started working on a new album already. We wanna do a new album before the end of this year. There are some really weird things happening in the “creative department”. I will see. I think with the new album people won’t be that surprised, it will be Bewitched, but those people who will listen to that album they won’t feel that good anymore. That’s what we’re aiming for. It will have a kind of a disturbing approach. It’s a fucked up album. Put it as simple as that.
Twi > The last question is a bit mean. I lately saw a description of your band (don’t wanna mention the source here) wherein they called you killer musicians with no hair. Do you take it with humour?
Vargher > The guitarist and the drummer have SOME hair! ;-) I wouldn’t consider myself to be a good musician. I’m a good songwriter, but not a good musician.
Twi > But you play all those fast and difficult stuff in Naglfar.
Vargher > No no, we are cheating, you know. It sounds difficult, but it’s not. ;-)
Vargher, Party San 2007:
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