Drugs, religion, and metalcore in the modern world: Cane Hill’s Elijah Witt explains how anger resulted in adaptation

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Mosh Talks on March 4, 2021

The brilliantly candid conversation with the metalcore frontman shifts from spirituality to psychedelics to music industry politics in one of the best episodes of Mosh Talks yet.

Among the artists to successfully navigate the rough terrain of 2020, alternative aggressors Cane Hill managed to bait the appetite of a consuming base starved for something equally pissed and provocative.

Moving away from the band’s more melodically-driven 2019 release, Kill the Sun, Cane Hill tapped into the underbelly and occult of New Orleans’ lore to craft a sinister reintroduction of sorts with their latest iteration in Krewe De La Mort.

The most recent chapter for Cane Hill presents ominous outlook in the dynamic dread of a brutal three-track collection in “Power of the High“, “Kill Me“, and the emphatic punctuation of “God Is the Enemy.” Packaged as the Krewe De La Mort-era for the band with plans to evolve over the course of multiple EPs, the hellish revelry of Cane Hill is far more than just clever spectacle.

Frontman Elijah Witt explained the intent behind his outfit’s dark directional shift.

1:15 – A return to heavy terrain

Witt shared that even while the band was pushing their more palatable 2019 LP Kill The Sun, the intent was always to follow up with some thing heavier. A combination of a fallout with their former label, the loss of their entire team, and the start of a life-alternating global pandemic, only served to amp the band’s volatility. The result made for songs drastically heavier than the band had ever anticipated.

3:05 – With a song like “God If the Enemy” of course there is going to be religion talk

Few frontmen are as candid as Elijah Witt. When asked if he was religious, he explained that he struggled with his religious identity until he scrapped all of it, only to try drugs and develop the disposition that, ‘sure, there probably is something out there’. What is conclusive about Witt’s spirituality is that any higher power that does exist, is a certainly fucked up.

4:20 What kinda drugs though?

Witt rattled off a list of various psychedelics he’s dabbled in ranging from LSD to lab-generated synthetics. Confiding that DMT scares the shit out of him, the frontman then revisited how the band collectively was hitting a trip every other week regularly while working on music at their guitarists house. The result of varied from crying in a corner to repeating the same phase ad nauseam.

7:10 – “Bad mental health… maybe that’s just my type”

When hit with the questions as to the relationship between mental angst and compelling art, Witt, pulled The Fray out of left field and ran with a very plausible analogy. The Fray landed tons of hits about unrequited love, then got married and couldn’t score a single win. Witt also explained that when Metallica got sober, their music, subjectively, became less pissed off. Does an artist need to be fucked up to make art with an edge… Witt seems to think so.

8:45 – From extrovert to introvert

The frontman stood on topic of the relationship between mental health and interesting art. Confiding that while he is happy now, he’s aware that his consciousness has a thorn of instability there. It’s something that Witt taps into to create, explaining that art and pain go hand in hand, but it needs to be genuine. Writing about someone else’s pain misses the mark for the musician. His process now with regards to songwriting is more introspective than it has ever been before.

11:00 Religion in America

This portion of the conversation can be summarized by the following from Witt, “It is a plague on society and blight I hate to look at.” If there was any questions as to how Witt views religion and the way it has permeated throughout all aspects of society – there you have it.

However, Witt would go on to say that he does not hate religion, he just take massive issue with the people are especially zealous and yet do not adhere to any of the tenets that the book actually lays out.

16:30 – Bad at playing the game

Given his very candid quality, Witt understands that part of the formula for success involves playing politics and though he isn’t above playing the game, he admits, he and his band are just bad at it. The inability to be another else other than honest positions Cane Hill as a quality band that just isn’t concerned with doing much else outside of refining their craft.

19:00 – The pandemic era of metalcore

Quick to adapt, Cane Hill had to deal with not only losing their record label but then had to try and find a new one during a global pandemic. Tough sell. Instead, the band opted to go their own and skipped on the traditional two year album cycle. Focusing on three-song EPs, complete with videos for each song, the band is thinking progressively and well in tune with the climate now immediacy that exists in all genres of music – its only now that metalcore is catching on.

Rather than bury half an album in obscurity, keeping fans waiting and not giving each track it’s own needed emphasis, this approach allows the band to release music with the kind of frequency that ensures people care, plus they can package each track with a video to ensure it gets seen and heard.

If there is any silver lining to the pandemic, it’s progressive thinking.


Knotfest