Witch Taint: ARE YOU READY?

(Photo credit: Scott Eric Johnson)

Audio & Words by Valerie Lopez 

 

 

Are you ready?
Are you ready?
Are you ready to have your faces melted?!

This isn’t just an idle threat when it comes to watching a Witch Taint show.  

It’s hard to describe the experience of attending one, but we’ll try mightily here.  Witch Taint is composed of long-time friends Dave Hill and Phil Costello. Dave Hill is a long-time metalhead and in 2004, posing as Lance, a basement-dwelling (his mom’s) teen and self-professed King of Black Metal of Gary, Indiana, Hill contacted Mathias, head of a Norwegian black metal record label imploring him to sign Lance’s band, Witch Taint to Mathias’ label. A hilarious set of email exchanges ensued. 

Hill decided in late 2016 to bring the email exchanges to the stage, but he needed a partner for the stage show, and Costello, while mostly a musician, apparently has been on call to Hill as “some kind of weirdo”, which is exactly what the stage show needed.

“Most of what I do has an initial repellent effect; then if people give it time, it’ll be oooooo it’s the best, isn’t it? It’s like heroin.” – Dave Hill
Natural chemistry of a long-time friendship, and Costello’s 3 minutes of YouTube research on Norwegian accents, resulted in a fantastical and multimedia experience.  There’s music, there’s dialogue, there’s costumes, and, necessary to the success of any black metal show, there are goats. Hill says “most of what I do has an initial repellent effect; then if people give it time, it’ll be oooooo it’s the best, isn’t it? It’s like heroin.” I’ve been blessed to see not only one of the early Witch Taint shows at the 2017 SXSW Festival but then once more when Hill and Costello brought it to Out of Bounds Comedy Festival.  The show keeps evolving, and seeing it at the 2018 SXSW Festival, it’s clear that this odd mix of email reading, live music, videos, and more are a formula for success for the dark duo.

Beyond Witch Taint, though, this duo has performed together a number of times.  You can thank Hulu and iTunes for giving you a chance to watch the sole season of King of Miami where Hill travels the mean streets of Miami with his silent bodyguard Costello in tow.  Costello will stop at nothing to protect Hill in his quest to take over Miami and their chemistry is obvious.

As it was when I sat down with them.  While Hill often takes the limelight in his endeavors, he and Costello have a natural rapport that comes through in this interview recorded just hours before the Witch Taint SXSW show.  You can tell that their long friendship and musical collaborations allow them to almost nearly finish each other’s sentences. 

You’ll want to take a listen to the interview to hear about the musical collaborations before King of Miami and Witch Taint. From Valley Lodge to Diamondsnake to Tragedy to Satanicide to Children of the Unicorn, their musical collaborations run just as deeply as their friendship.  With every opportunity to work together, it’s clear this duo doesn’t take themselves too seriously. That’s a useful lesson for all of us.

Hill and Costello are headed to London for 2 nights and then Germany for the Wacken Open Air (the world’s largest heavy metal festival) over the next few months, but you can bet your black metal eyeliner that they’ll be bringing the show to even more dark venues in the future.

Be sure to check out Dave Hill’s new album by his latest band, Painted Doll.

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Dave Hill

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham