Radar Band Of The Week – The Wytches

The seaside town of Brighton conjures up many images. Picturesque summer days spent frolicking on rocky beaches. Candy floss and pier-side japes. All very lovely; all very safe. Which is why The Wytches hate living there and are about to move away. “It feels deceiving,” muses singer Kris Bell. “It’s like a holiday resort and it doesn’t feel like the real world. I write better songs when I’m a bit uncomfortable. Here, I just sit and chainsmoke. I lost the deposit on my flat because the walls were brown when I left.”

But, while The Wytches’ caustic, heavy surf-psych is a world away from the place it was birthed, Brighton has been good to the band. It’s where Bell and drummer Gianni Honey moved to when their previous group The Crooked Canes (“really adolescent and embarrassing”, according to Bell) ran out of steam, and the place where fate – and some uncanny artistic skills – completed their line-up. “I forced Kris to do a poster looking for a bassist,” Gianni elaborates. “He drew a picture of this skinny guy wearing one of those one-piece swimming costumes. We got one reply and it was Dan [Rumsey, bassist]. He looked like the picture, exactly.” Bell continues: “We had one rehearsal and then played a battle of the bands as our first gig in Brighton. We just trashed everything after two songs. We don’t know if we won or not…”

From then on the trio haven’t looked back (save for a brief return to Bell’s rickety garage-cum-studio in his parents’ Peterborough garden to record a one-off cassette release of gnarly, sludgy doom tracks). Gigs supporting Temples, Palma Violets and Drenge have proven they’re a fearsome live proposition, while early singles ‘Digsaw’ and ‘Beehive Queen’ ring with a twisted, Pixies-esque squall. Next stop is an album, which they’re recording next month; and a follow-up, which the band have conceptualised and half-written already. And then? Who knows, but chances are you won’t catch them on the dodgems any time soon.

Need To Know

Based: Brighton (for now)
For fans of: Pixies, early Horrors
Buy It Now: Next single ‘Robe For Juda’ is released on November 4 on Hate Hate Hate
See them live: Throughout the UK over the next month
Believe it or not: Kris was once asked to mime guitar for someone on The X Factor. He politely declined