Photography by Marco Hernandez
L.A. Witch are a three-piece group of rockers from the City of Angels. Their rollicking sound blends together a myriad of influences–garage rock, harsh punk, and the surf-rock of their hometown. The band–singer and guitarist Sade Sanchez, bassist Irita Pai, and drummer Ellie English–recently released their debut self-titled album after three years of touring. The album’s nine songs showcase the band’s compact and tight groove: “Brian” could play on the soundtrack of a mirage-hazy western, and “Baby In Blue Jeans” sounds like the Supremes after one too many drinks. The songs, fleeting as they may be (the album clocks in at just over 30 minutes), are all climax, rushing headlong into a cathartic and devilish end. AdHoc recently chatted with Sade and Irita ahead of their show on 11/3 at Saint Vitus with Camera and Ghost King.
AdHoc: You've been together for about 5 years. How did the band start originally? Where did the name come from?
Irita: Our friend Tony added us to a show he was doing at Little Joy and needed a name for the flyer. We originally wanted just Witch but the name was taken.
Sade: We were a four piece originally. I was introduced to Irita through a mutual friend and we started the band. We lost our first drummer to New York. I knew Ellie from a two-piece band we had in high school and I asked her to fill in on some shows, then she just kinda became part of the band.
Are there any L.A. groups that had an influence on the sound of L.A. Witch?
Irita: The Gun Club, X, Screamers, Love.
Sade: The Gun Club was a huge one for us when we first started. L.A. has so much music history which helped a lot. A lot of great rock and roll has come from L.A., along with garage and surf, and I guess you can say we’re a blend of all that. We’re lucky to have been in the middle of a cool music scene when we started.
Your band’s sound is often described as dark and fuzzy. When did you fall in love with reverb? Did you have any previous projects that sounded differently?
Sade: Probably when I started playing electric and discovering effects. It’s usually built in to the amp along with some sorta gain. So I guess that could have been it.
Congrats on the new self-titled album that was released in September. What's your favorite thing about the album?
Irita: The new clear vinyl pressing we just got in looks pretty sick.
Sade: The artwork.
You guys have been on tour for a couple months in support of the album. What should people expect at your show? What are some highlights?
Irita: It’s a lot different having an album out when you’re touring, unlike when we had only tees and 7”. More people seem familiar with the songs.
Sade: I guess the highlights are seeing places you’ve never been to. Trying new foods. Meeting good people. Europe was fun. We went to the Giger museum and saw the Eiffel Tower. Shopping at weird gas stations. People should expect nothing. We’re just gonna play our hearts out and they can take it or leave it.
Irita, in previous interviews, you mentioned your love for Nan Goldin—how do you think her work compares or is similar to your music, which often contains many darker undertones about love and lust?
Irita: To me Nan Goldin’s photos are amazing, she uses a lot of natural light so nothing feels staged or forced. They’re also incredibly intimate, full of raw emotion. I feel those things are definitely comparable to our music.
What’s next for LA Witch post-tour?
Irita: Working on the next record. It’s really inspiring to be out every night and seeing a bunch of music from different parts of the world, and I can’t wait to get back and jam.
What’s something that LA Witch wishes everyone to know about?
Sade: The band Omni. The new restaurant, Labsal in Dortmund, Germany. Andrew Allen's new video part for Hockey.
Irita: Weed is always welcome. Can I say that?