Willow Wisp the Act that Never Faded Away

Back in 2008, Willow Wisp had come across the metal scene at a festival of all things, since witnessing their performance back then, the band has been keeping themselves busy, playing more shows, touring, releasing music etc. Then they decided to come back, to do it all over again, with a few new additions, including further plans for all new creations! The following members took the time to give us a rundown on the band's past, present, and future activity.

M6D6M6A (Vocals)
Wendigo (Guitar)
Toe Knee (Drums)

1. First of all, who are you, and what do you do in the band?

Toe Knee: I am Toe Knee F. Corpse-Reverse Percussion, Acidic throat torment, Edgar Allan Poetry. I also compose the majority of the psychologically menacing music and lyrics tempered with lies and lye.

Wendigo: I am Wendigo and I play guitar.

M6D6M6A: I am M6D6M6A, I do vocals for Willow Wisp as well as some song and lyric writing.

2. Can you give those of us who aren't familiar with Willow Wisp a brief history of the band and can you please describe your sound for those who have yet to hear your music?

Toe Knee: I formed the band in 1987 with co founder Air Ick. The group began initially under the influences of early Shock Rock, Glam, Thrash and Black Metal. Our dream was to meld a  cohesive union of all those vastly different styles and thus form a new Crossbreed. Our blessing and our curse has always been our diversity.

M6D6M6A: Since 2007 when I joined the band, Willow Wisp has taken a sharp turn towards extreme blackened death metal while still retaining the originality and balls to play softer and mellower songs aimed more at unsettling and disturbing listeners rather than completely tearing their faces off.  We're sort of like a true metal lover's wet dream, with some songs being extremely technical, some sounding more like traditional black metal, some almost pretty enough for radio play, and everything in between.

3. How did a name like Willow Wisp come into the picture? What does this name represent or mean if anything at all?

Toe Knee: There truly is no mystery to the moniker. I innocently stumbled across two words that I thought had a nice cohesion and put them together. Later I discovered the folkloric legend of Wil o' the wisp which is basically a mythical fire fleck that you follow trance like into the deepest bowels of the forest and  eventually die unable to find your way out.Our compositions as well as lyrical content and the theatrical nature of our stage performance often has that affect on various humans.

4. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Toe Knee: We are based out of Hardlyweird, California. The music scene is good if you search properly. Some of my personal favorite local bands include Sadistic Intent, Rebel Rebel, Chelsea Wolfe, Untoward Children, Harlequin, Nokturne, Salems Lott and Black Heroin Gallery.

5. Why did you want to go and do the whole costume aspect and make-up appeal, what is it about these things that work so well for Willow Wisp?

Toe Knee: Truth be told it all stems from Kiss. As a child I was utterly perplexed and possessed by them. This sickness carried over into my adulthood. Mind you I later got into more extreme music but modeled the Willow Wisp stage antics after Kiss. As the years passed into eternity we morphed into a more deranged hydra. The music became harsher thus the performance followed suite. Nowadays we are more like Watain meets G.G. Allin by way of Alice Cooper. It works well because if you practice magic properly you get optimal results.

M6D6M6A: What works well is that we simply bring out the monsters inside us and use that as inspiration for our look.  We shun the traditional corpse paint in favor of colors and a more theatrical demonic take on our makeup.  I put our look up against pretty much anyone in the genre.

6. How long does it take for you to get all dolled up for one of your showcases?

Toe Knee: I have honed it down to a science. My face is the blank canvas brought to life by Cosmetic voodoo.The makeup is a blanket and shield as well as a statement of separation from the herd of the normal and mundane.

M6D6M6A: Not long at this point.  It's like slipping on a second skin.

7. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

Toe Knee: My musical influences range from Voi Vod, KISS and Iron Maiden to Cradle Of Filth, Behemoth, Triptykon and Cannibal Corpse to Chelsea Wolfe, The Doors and Janis Joplin. Diversity is key. Non musical likes include Horror movies, exercise, coffee, occultism, drawing/painting, writing poetry and reading.

Wendigo: My musical influences: Neurosis, Suffocation, Om, Slayer, 1349, Electric Wizard, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, The Melvins, Defeated Sanity, Insect Warfare, Acid King, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Today is the Day, Incantation, Toxic Holocaust, Dying Fetus, Boris.
Non Musical Influences: Aldous Huxley, Philip K. Dick, Carlos Castañeda, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., David Lynch, Takashi Miike.

M6D6M6A: Musical influences include Belphegor, Opeth, Dark Funeral, Dying Fetus, Dimmu Borgir etc. Biggest non-musical influence is the occult of course as while as MDMA, otherwise known as the drug Ecstasy. It allowed me early on to tap into the most depraved, twisted, disturbing parts of my mind and ever since then I can do it at will, and anyone that has seen me on stage with the Wisp know that as a performer I am bringing to life those parts of my mind.

8. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Toe Knee: Our dire and drear decomposition's consist of a heady mix of variously divergent subject matters including-Death and it's processes, suicide, love, hate, tolerance, intolerance, solitude, overpopulation, nature, the ineptitude and prowess of different gods, social conformity and rebellion, occult empowerment, self belief, self doubt, lust, depravity, sexual taboos,  etc. Currently we are aiming to push the buttons of the world by attacking the Islamic nation and their worthless Lord Muhammed and championing lawless, underage, perverted sex with minors. In the context of lyrics of course.

Wendigo: The human psyche and how deep one can plunge into the abyss of hell.

M6D6M6A: Our themes have always been eclectic, ranging from the occult to vanity to murder to technology and so on.  I am happy to say that currently we are pushing the envelope with our themes more than ever, focusing on two very taboo subjects; Islam and pedophilia.

9. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Toe Knee: I create 85 percent of every Wisp manifesto, musically as well as lyrically. I prefer to construct homages to life's follies whilst defecating. It is also inspiring to write in cemeteries, closets, attics and cellars.

M6D6M6A: Toeknee has always been the main song writing force within the band, but as time goes on and more capable members are added, the onus of song writing is being spread around more than ever, which helps us create and even more eclectic sound then we are use to.

10. What image do you think your music conveys?

Toe Knee: Images that relate to every emotion mankind is able to experience.

Wendigo: Depravity.

11. Are you guys currently signed or unsigned?

Toe Knee: Currently not shackled to any labels incredulous goal to siphon us of our lifeblood by feeding their greed with the spoils of our creativity. We will be recording and shopping new tunes in due haste though.

12. You have released four full-length albums, would you consider performing any in their entirety front to back?

Toe Knee: Good question but that is definitely years down the line. We need to establish a broader future corpse fan base first. Get the people more familiar with our vast and decades long catalog.

M6D6M6A: That would certainly be interesting for me to step into Air-ick's shoes for a while and sing some of the Willow Wisp oldies.  Maybe he can make a guest appearance and we can do an old school/new school willow wisp set......?

13. Would you ever consider releasing any of your material as a acoustic release?

Toe Knee: That thought has been germinating in our rotting craniums for years. Some of our songs are extremely melodic and beautiful which lends credence to them being reinterpreted acoustically. "Suicide In The Swamp" being an exemplary example.

Wendigo: Going acoustic would provide a great contrast to the subject matter and presentation. I am all for it, if only to dumbfound our audience that much further.

M6D6M6A: We have an acoustic song or two and yes the idea has been batted around.  Anything weird or original we have considered.

14. You guys have yet to release a live album or live DVD, when can we expect to see one of these from you guys?

Toe Knee: The future is the only answer that shall suffice.

M6D6M6A: I'm confident in saying that Willow Wisp is one of the best live bands around, so when that DVD does come out you're gonna wanna pick that shit up ASAP.

15. What's new in the making of your music?

Toe Knee: So far some of our newest psychological grenades include- "Beheading Muhammed", "A Dark Soul Staring Into Black Mirrors", "Rues Of A Pedophile", "Suicide In The Swamp", "Spectre In A Ghost Town", "Cataclysmic Orgasm", "We Are Just Another Breed Of Alien",etc.  Good wholesome fun for the whole family.

Wendigo: Morbid, soothing, venomous, divine, gargantuan, dissonant, are my words to convey the new material.

M6D6M6A: Our technical songs are more technical, our beautiful songs are even more beautiful, and in general everyone has stepped up their game to truly make a push for greatness and get this band the recognition it deserves.

16. First and only time seeing you was at the Appease The Beast 2 Festival  in 2008 at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, California. For those who may have not seen you live before could you describe your show visually and musically for us?

Toe Knee: Visually-Scary, funny, offensive, confounding, evil, overbearing, outmoded yet futuristic, filthy but clean, ridiculous, over the top, sexy yet ugly. Lots of blood (real and staged), puke and odor combined with our legendary antics such as "Reverse, tribal, double bass drumming, "The Upside down Puking Crab" and the infamous "Trash Can Murder Ritual".  My personal agenda is to appear like a cross between a zombie, a cheap 42nd street hooker and a holocaust survivor.
Musically-Somber, devastating, melodic, discordant, ethereal, hectic, bombastic, ponderous, brutal.

M6D6M6A: If you like bands who stand there and play their music will little emotion or gusto, then you're gonna wanna stay as far away from a Wisp show as you can.

17. During that show's performance that vocalist, wasn't drenched but covered in a red liquid, was this really the obvious?

Toe Knee: M6D6M6A is covered in a slew of decrepit moss, dust and dirt encrusted stage gear and a mix of blood (real and stage).

M6D6M6A: To be honest the blood you see on stage is always a mix of real and fake.  I try not cut myself and bleed all over the place but it's hard not to when you lose control of your senses.

18. If it was indeed blood, did this vocalist, inflict live pain  to embrace that live look and feel or was it all previously placed on to assume that effect?

Toe Knee: Willow Wisp is an obscure mix of DNA. Some is stage blood and some is the real life force. The beauty and mystery is trying to figure out which is which.

M6D6M6A: Again, it's all just so maddening and crazy on stage that things happen, but I do not purposefully make cuts or wounds before or after a show to induce bleeding.

19. At this same performance there was a keyboardist in your band Eyajo Joseph, who's also involved in other projects and bands, but was he a legit member of Willow Wisp? Him and I have chatted about his other acts and he had told me he was filling in for that performance?

Toe Knee: 19. Eyajo was a temporary fill in. He was only in the band a few months. One thing that our temporary union reaped was the collaboration we did on "The Deadman's Ballad" which appears on our Antihuman Manifesto album. A very esoteric and ethereal nightmare of a song.

M6D6M6A: Ejayo is a great guy and everyone should check out Black Heroin Gallery, also with Toeknee on the drums, but his membership with the Wisp was very short lived.  He's more of a deathrock guy.

20. Do you have any plans for playing any shows or doing any tours for this year?

Toe Knee: The Hub in Colton, California. on Saturday May 16, The Whisky on May 28 in Hollywood, California and few dates in San Francisco, California in July (TBA).

M6D6M6A: For me the primary goal this year is recording, which we will be doing in February.  After that I would love to get back on stage.

21. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Toe Knee: To perform as many shows as possible and begin recording a new full length album. We shall continue to titillate, confound and entertain with Satan at our side.

22. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Toe Knee: They should know that Willow Wisp has a rich history and is assuredly one of the most intensely driven and possessed bands that ever traversed the dirty streets of Los Angeles. We are a special group. Mentally challenging and diverse. We can cater to many people while still maintaining our own ethics and codes. An anomaly to be sure.

Wendigo: We are one of the strangest, most eerily at home, paradoxical acts in the world.

23. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Toe Knee: We are on a plethora of media sites (Reverb Nation, CD Baby, Spotify, YouTube, etc.) You can also contact us directly at 818-749-2058!

Wendigo: Spotify, bandcamp, Facebook, YouTube.

24. What is it you'd like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Toe Knee: How unique we were in our crafting of musical arrangements and how literate the words were. In essence a quartet you could learn from. Defy The Mundane!

Wendigo: To keep an open mind/ear and let the fangs of our frequencies sink deep into your subconscious.

M6D6M6A: Simply that Willow Wisp really is a great and original band that doesn't adhere to traditional metal tropes.

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