The First Goth Wiccan Band

©2012 Holly Golightly

The First Goth Wiccan Band
by Jason Pitzl-Waters & Jacqueline Enstrom-Waters 

Fifteen years ago, Paganism was only hinted at by a few in the rock music world. Small whispers suggesting reverence for the moon or nature might slip into a lyric or a bit of myth might get wound into a line, but few would openly sing about being Pagan in a modern world. But the ground breaking work of Inkubus Sukkubus, comprised of Tony McKormack, Candia Ridley and Adam Henderson, have been giving us rock-and-roll that isn’t afraid of the Occult for well over a decade.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Candia, Tony and Adam to learn more about the band’s origins, how they feel about being labeled a “Goth” band and their plans for the future. For the purposes of this interview the band has chosen to respond as a single, collective voice with answers developed and agreed upon by all of their members.

newWitch: Inkubus Sukkubus has gone from being one of the only openly Pagan rock acts to being the role model for numerous Pagan bands. How do you feel about your band’s impact and long history?

Inkubus Sukkubus: We feel flattered and honored that other bands see us as an inspiration. We did not think when we started that we would still be playing for so long, so it comes as a bit of a surprise; we’ve kept going far longer than we had ever anticipated.

nW: Since the beginning of your existence as a band, the “Goth” tag has been used in reference to your music, and many of your fans are members of the Gothic movement. Today there is a great deal of overlap between the Gothic and Pagan cultures. How do you feel about the “Goth” tag? Do you feel that your band helped create the vibrant links we see today between the Gothic and Pagan cultures?

IS: We have always been a Goth band of sorts, although we draw inspiration from many other musical sources. We don’t mind being classified as “Goth” since, musically, this is possibly the closest description of us there is. But we are essentially a Pagan band, and we feel that this is the forefront of our musical direction. We tend to think of ourselves as a Pagan rock band, which is less specific musically and allows us to appeal to as many people as possible.

nW: Lyrically, you have never shied away from “darker” and edgier subject matter: themes such as vampires, persecution, and frank sexuality often appear in your songs. Was this a conscious decision, or did these things just naturally evolve as the years went by?

IS: We’ve never deliberately tried to be dark or sinister. Our lyrics are just a representation of the types of people we are; it seems perfectly natural to write about the darker side of humanity. Life is an interesting blend of the dark and the light and we like to show this in our songs.

nW: Many of your songs seem to be anthems. Is Inkubus Succubus a band on a mission?

IS: Our mission is to entertain people and to allow them to enjoy themselves and to be spiritually free. We are fundamentally entertainers. We have always been dedicated to giving people a release from the mundane.

nW: Do you feel that things are easier for modern Pagans than when you started out or are there just as many roadblocks for an openly Pagan band? How do you see yourselves as a part of modern Pagan culture?

IS: When we began there was a great deal of negative and untrue propaganda directed towards Paganism. In recent years, these have been seen for the lies they really were. Many established religions have a history of institutionalized abuse towards the vulnerable, but we look forward to an even more enlightened age.

nW: What is the creative process for the group: how are songs written and put together?

Tony: I find that the ideas for the songs, that is the say the tunes and the melodies, appear in my head with no real prompting, fully formed and complete. I then have to go about interpreting them with the material means available to me. Once I have produced a recording of the music I then present it to the rest of the band and we then complete the lyrics.

Candia: I tend to listen to the music to get a feel of it emotionally before writing the lyrics and vocal lines. I find that pictures and stories come to me after a few listens, and once I’ve written my parts, I work through it with the others, which is when it gets really interesting!

nW: What musicians that are working today inspire you? Do you feel that your band has many peers?

IS: Most of our inspiration realistically speaking comes from older sources, that is to say we are not really influenced by any current musicians. We draw inspiration from a wide spectrum of sources; from classical, folk and rock music. Collectively as a band we do enjoy a very wide variety of music, which includes some of the more current bands.

nW: I.S. seems to have fully embraced the Internet; how do you feel this has affected you as a band? Has it improved your situation? Has it affected how you run things?

IS: The Internet is obviously part of the modern world and there is no way we could have ignored it, nor would we have wanted to. It is a very valuable tool for not only musicians today, but also for anybody with opinions which differ from the mainstream and who want their voices to be heard. It enables barriers to be broken down which would not be possible by other means; the world is a much smaller place since just about everyone now has access to the Internet.

nW: What’s next for I.S.? New projects? Releases? Side-projects?

IS: We are currently writing a new album. Its working title is “The Beast with Two Backs” which is a rather lovely term from Shakespeare’s “Othello.” We are also now rehearsing with a new drummer, Dean Rhodes, whom we’re hoping to be out playing with later in the year. Tony shall also be out playing a few gigs later in the year with his first band, Screaming Dead, and we’ll all just generally be opening ourselves up to the creative muse.

For more on Inkubus Sukkubus: See the official website.

Pagan practitioners for over a dozen years and life partners for over eight years, Jacqueline Enstrom-Waters and Jason Pitzl-Waters discovered Paganism together in their teens. Jason is an artist and gothic DJ. Jacqueline is an artist, astrologer and tarot reader. Both feel that they experience and express the sacred through their passionate involvement in their work and community.


» Originally appeared in newWitch #04

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