Meet Brighton's creepiest story tellers...
David Renshaw
17:10 8th February 2010

Where some bands wear influence like a uniform and live in a world of chasing the zeitgeist others occupy a realm all of their own. Step forward Brighton’s Esben and The Witch. Ethereal might be a keyword amongst many new bands but Esben take the wistful but aimless dreamscapes and transform them into something much more majestic, something more menacing.

One of three, band member Daniel says: “We hope that our music can be enjoyed in various places and points. We try and draw upon all manner of environments and gain inspiration from different landscapes so we'd like to think that means that the music isn't tied to or overly associated with any particular location.”. Esben and The Witch formed just over a year ago and things have moved quickly for them. Daniel and Thomas worked together in the mornings and spent afternoons writing songs and working on some older material of Daniel's. This collaboration developed to a point where it seemed appropriate to seek out a singer. Rachel was an old acquaintance of Thomas' and was swiftly recruited, they haven't looked back since.

The first results of this union was last years freely distributed EP ‘33’. “The EP is five tracks which include songs from our previous two demos and a newer composition. Rachel designed the artwork and the physical copies were all handmade. I produced all the tracks and we recorded it all in my bedroom.” says Daniel. The result is a haunting and enchanted piece that conjures up thoughts of Portishead and Bat For Lashes but at the same time something that bit more twisted.

The band speak of a wish to work with Geoff Barrow and Scott Walker and are currently obsessing over their forthcoming single ‘Lucia, At The Precipice’ but it is the future which engages the band the most. Speaking of plans for an album Daniel says, “It’s important to us that an album works as a coherent piece rather than as an almost arbitrarily arranged collection of a band's work over a period of time. So whilst we continue to write songs we are doing so with vague album thoughts somewhere in our minds to ensure that, should we ever have the opportunity to release one, the result is more of a movement than a disparate mass.”

Before that though you have the chance to see them supporting either Wild Beasts or The xx on tour, two bands Daniel describes as “Totally enveloping”. Anyone going to catch the band libe will get the chance to see a unique take on Kylie Monogue’s ‘Confide In Me’ too, “There is something intriguing and subversive about the lyrics of the song that appealed to us. Somewhere within it lies a sense of uneasiness, and we felt this was something we could draw out and embellish. ”. This uneasiness is what lies at the root of all that is great about Esben and The Witch just don’t go expecting any warm, fuzzy feelings.

Esben and The Witch @Myspace


Photo: Lucy Johnston