by the partae

What is your name and role within the band?

My name is Mollie and I just run around shouting while playing with my three pals. It’s great and so therapeutic.

Cory Peak. I play bass guitar.

Alex Crist. I play guitar

I’m Royce and I play drums in the band.

How did you start?

Mollie: I was doing vocals in a band called The Peaks and Alex Crist filled in on bass with us while we did a baby-sized tour, through shouting in the Peaks and filling in/doing vocals for Muldoon’s Clever Girls, I slowly turned into focusing energy into shouting like a banshee in the new heavier style we all wanted to jam in at practices at Cory and I’s home.

Alex: Royce and I (Alex) met while I was running a venue in my home town that our bands played together frequently. He eventually joined a punk band I was in that in time Mollie and Cory also joined up as well. We just started Closet Witch as a side project to vent some frustration and play heavier material for fun. Things kinda just took over from there and we were all original members, truly our project – it felt right to pursue.

Royce: Alex and I used to play in a band called Muldoon’s Clever Girls together, and when our vocalist had to leave the band, we asked Mollie and cory if they would want to fill in. After that they became permanent member of that project, and not long after that Alex and I decided to start a heavier project more along the lines of our own personal tastes, and Closet Witch was born.

Where are you based? 

Alex: Midwest – USA. Alex lives in Keokuk, Iowa. Royce lives in Burlington, Iowa. Mollie and Cory live in Muscatine, Iowa. We practice at Mollie and Cory’s house in Muscatine. Most of our shows are based out of the Quad Cities.

Royce: Mollie and Cory live in Muscatine, IA, which is where we practice and write. So I would consider that where we’re based. However I live in Burlington, which is about an hour away from Muscatine, and Alex lives in Keokuk, which another hour further yet.

Please give an example of your music writing process.

Mollie: Most of the time Alex comes on over and shreds an idea on the guitar and from there we all work to fill in the rest.

My lyric writing process varies…sometimes the guys work on the song and I can just write the thoughts that come then. Other times I have taken journal writings. When writing the lyrics for the Anti-Trump compilation tracks I mostly just fueled myself with political history and current depressing and frustrating news article upon news article.

Alex: Normally, I start some riffs at home to get a general idea of where we might go with the song. Royce lays a lot of groundwork by presenting what kind of beats and parts can go towards each riff and we sort through what we prefer. Then the rest of us keep meeting up at rehearsal and really just hammer them out until we’re pleased.

Royce: Usually Alex will come to us with most of a song written, or all of a song. Then basically he shows it to us, and I try to figure out what I want to do for it while cory learns the parts from Alex. Then once the three of us have the song pretty much the way we want it, Mollie will come in with the vocals.

Photo Credit: Rick Beaulieu

What are you working on right now? 

Mollie: Currently we are working on getting down tracks as best as we can for a full length we are planning to record at Flat Black Studio at the end of the summer with Luke Tweedy. Very exciting. I think we are hoping to come up with at least one or two more new songs before that point, also.

Alex: We have a couple of splits coming out this June/July along with recording a full length at the end of September. Trying to do as many shows as possible in-between all that but sadly with full time jobs and family, it’s hard to always be on the road.

Royce: Right now we’re working on writing our first full length record, which we’re recording later this year at Flat Black Studios, and will be released on vinyl through Halo Of Flies Records. Other than that, we’re always trying to play as many shows as we can and do as many tours as we can.

What is your gear setup? 

Mollie: Microphone

Cory: Peavey Musician 400 Head – Acoustic 8×10 cabinet (borowed from Alex) & Squire jazz bass (borrowed from Mollie).

Alex: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster combo with a Mesa 4×12. ESP Ltd Viper 400 and an Agile 2800 series loaded with EMGs as a back-up.

Royce: I use a Sonor 3001 shell set that I’ve had since I began playing when I was 9 years old. I’m currently using mostly Meinl cymbals (hi hat, china, ride, and two crashes) and a DW 2001 double bass pedal. I use Remo heads and Pro Mark drumsticks.

What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?

Mollie: I really enjoy running/jogging and I think it does affect music in a few ways. I truly think it helps as far as aiding in ease of running around & shouting at the same time. Secondly, the time spent healthily in my own head while running through and taking in the outside proves to be inspiring more often then not. I enjoy going to shows when I can, too, which is always inspiring when you’re surrounded by a good scene.

Cory: I draw a lot and work a lot. Band stuff is pretty much what I live for. I live a pretty passive life and bury my anger and frustration with the world most of the time – while playing music is one of the occasions that I am not thinking about that sort of crap so I guess you could say my life outside of music affects my playing or whatever.

Alex: I do a lot of design work for other bands so sadly it does kind of interfere with the work I can contribute towards shirts and whatever layouts we need. I often don’t find myself playing guitar and writing as much as I would like but it’s been working out fairly well.

Royce: Outside of music I spend most of my time either working or with my 2 year old daughter. I don’t know if I would say that those things directly affect my music, but I’m sure in some way they do. Other than that, I used to be a professional wrestler before I was in this band, and that definitely had a profound impact on my playing and particularly my live performance.

How would you describe your music genre? 

Mollie: Chaotic, Emotional, LOUD.

Alex: Blasty and Mathy

Royce: Oh jeez… hah. I always try to tell people that we get called grindcore a lot, but really we incorporate element from almost all heavy music genres at some points.. so I usually call it something like “loud, fast, noisey, screaming, crying chaos. Hahah

Do you know any music theory? 

Mollie: Nope

Cory: Nope

Alex: None

Royce: Despite how hard my parents tried to push me into “formal” learning and schooling and shit, I always rebelled against that. I always knew that was not what I wanted to do with my drumming, so I ended up taking independent lessons and learning how to a play on an actual kit instead a practice pad, and from there pretty much everything I learned was just from watching other people play and listening to what they have to say. So my music theory knowledge is pretty slim. Haha

What are your plans for the future?

Mollie: I think our biggest plan is to record and release a full length. Hopefully touch further grounds, too, as a playing band.

Cory: I’m going to start working on a new animated video for one of our LP tracks soon.

Alex: More EPs and road time. Hopefully Europe, that would be lovely.

Royce: Later this year we’re recording our first full length at Flat Black Studios, we have a few little tours coming up this year with some of our really good friends, and we’re going to try to make it to as many new places as we possibly can. We were all talking the other day about the possibility of doing a European tour sometime next year or the year after that if we could manage it. That would be pretty huge.

How did you get into music?

Mollie: I have always liked music… my parents always did so it was never an unknown as a child. As a young teen I went from attending battle of the bands at the high school, to live DIY shows in church basements and house shows to eventually playing shows when I moved to Iowa as an adult. I was lucky enough to have made the right friends, I guess!

Cory: Pretty much through my sisters/neighborhood friends. Started going to shows and getting into more DIY stuff in early high school.

Alex: My brother had a Fender Strat that he gave up on and I ended up finding, flipping and slowly learning how to play. I never had a teacher until years later and that didn’t last very long. I can’t really remember what made me do it other than the obsession to create. Ever since my first real lefty guitar, I’ve always been playing in shitty garage bands –  originals only.

Royce: Music in general, it’s hard to say for me. But I remember the way I got into playing music was because my older sister played percussion in the school band and took lessons from the same person I ended up getting lessons from. I would always sit in on her lessons and play on her kit when she wasn’t around. So eventually I begged my parents into letting me take lessons too, but they insisted I had to learn piano first. Luckily for me, my piano teacher was the same guy teaching my sister lessons, and he eventually talked my parents into letting me switch. I would have been 9 years old at the time, so that was pretty much the beginning of my musical life, so to speak.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Mollie: Raze by Dakhma, s/t by CHEW, Demo by MACE, Everything IS Because of YOU by Sisko Diq, Lung, Fabulous Terrible World by 20XX, In Pursuit of the Nasty Boot by Jailbus, Mike Smith & Jonathan Adjemian’s album called Transcombobulation, and Rumours by Fleetwood Mac are all things I listened to today.

Cory: Xiu Xiu, Pulsing, Starry Nights, Classical radio.

Alex: Parenthesis, Dahkma, Waking Robots, Condor & Jaybird, Gaelynn Lea

Royce: Honestly, I rarely listen to heavy music these days. I listen to mostly hip-hop and pop punk. Pouya, $uicideboys$, Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers, Pyrex Pirates, and Robb Bank$ are some of my current favorite hip-hop artists to listen to. Such Gold, Neck Deep, Story So Far, Four Year Strong, and New Found Glory have been on my pop punk playlist a lot lately too.

Who are your top 5 influences and icons?

Mollie: I’m not sure how to answer this because I feel like I am always inspired by any high-energy, great vocalist I see. Really I feel like the Quad City DIY scene has influenced us a lot as a band, though.

Cory: There are too many people that have influenced or inspired me in some way regarding music/art.. can’t really narrow it down or think of anyone specific worth noting at the moment. No icons. Maybe Nardwuar.

Alex: To be blunt, our scene is this biggest push for us. We’d be fucking nothing if it weren’t for the Quad Cities and the friends we’ve made through that scene. All of them are so beautifully talented and accepting individuals, it is nothing but a positive influence since our first show there. I doubt we’d even have the goals in mind that we do if it weren’t for them. Every door that has ever been opened was with their help and the constant push of encouragement they provide is overwhelming. I love those cities, I love those friends. They influence me the most.

Royce: This is actually kinda tough for me to answer, but these are the names that jump out at me immediately: Josh Scogin (’68, The Chariot, Norma Jean), The Rev (A7X), Zach Hill (Deathgrips, Wavves, Hella), Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls, Violent Femmes), and Dillinger Eacape Plan. The whole band.

When are you playing next?

Royce: This weekend we’re doing Thursday and Friday with Dakhma and Dawn Ray’d as part of their tour, then Saturday we’re playing an unbelievably stacked show in Rockford, IL. All of our upcoming dates are available in list form on all of our social media accounts to. There’s even an adorable flyer for it too.

Mollie: We are playing June 8th at the Island in Moline, IL. I am totally amped for that show because I will get to see a few bands for the first time, one of them being Boner Kill from the Cedar Valley area. I have heart eyes as I type this and think about how great that show will be.


Featured Photo Credit: Rick Beaulieu

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