After leaving behind the bright lights of Los Angeles, Roger Cyrkeil returned to Detroit, Michigan in 1985. That decision to leave the city angels would end up resulting in the formation of Coven 13. Fast forward to 2013, Coven 13 is still making a large impression on the Michigan music industry today.
Brian McGuckin, drummer for Coven 13, joined the band at the age of seventeen. Since the release of the band's first album, things have changed in the industry. Including the adaptation of social media for bands to reach new fans.
"When we released Worship New Gods in 1987, we were pretty much a do it yourself band. So all promotion was up to us. We had come into contact with a distributor for Europe and we sent about half of our vinyl overseas. We never seen a penny from that nor did we ever know what ever became of them. Until the internet. We started a Myspace and immediately received feedback from fans, mainly overseas. Then we started a Facebook page and that’s when things really moved forward for us. Social media is pretty much responsible for our record deal with Shadow Kingdom and most recently, High Roller Records," said McGuckin.
Fans of Coven 13 have been faithful through the bands entire journey and are looking forward to future plans from the band, which including the release of a new album that is set to come out in spring.
I had the chance to interview Brian McGuckin from Coven 13. We discussed everything from how social media is being incorporated into the music industry and what the future plans of the bands are.
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C: When did Coven 13 come together?
C13: The band was formed in 1985 in Detroit, Mi. Roger Cyrkeil returned from Los Angeles back to Detroit to start a new project after the break up of his former band "Trial". He contacted Todd Kreda for the job of guitarist. The two went through video tapes and live gigs of local bands to find a vocalist for the project. They came across a video from a band called
"Danse Macabre" from Detroit, and found out that the band had broken up and decided to track down their former vocalist, David Landrum, for an audition. They decided that he was exactly what they were looking for in a vocalist. Finally, after several auditions with drummers, the band hired me (Brian McGuckin) as the drummer. I was only 17 years old at the time.
Originally we went under the moniker of just Coven, but after the release of our first album, Worship New Gods, the Coven from the late 60's from the Chicago area requested (politely) that we change our name. We were already known as Coven throughout the Detroit area and abroad, so we simply decided to add "13" after Coven. Hence, 13 witches in a Coven.
C: What would you consider to be some of your most notable music influences at a younger age?
C13: Well this is a very interesting question. At 17, I was really big into Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, as well as the new Thrash Metal movement when it came out in the early to mid 80's. Bands like Slayer, Metallica, Kreator... etc. Todd was into the same music as I was and was and still is a huge fan of Motorhead. So now, here is where it gets a little different. Roger, who is the oldest member, was influenced by much of the progressive rock sound from the 80's. Bands like Yes, Zeppelin, King Crimson were what he was into a lot. But he was very much into much of the modern bands at that time like, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cult and what not. David came from a completely different background. Much influenced by David Bowie, Zeppelin, Bauhaus and Sex Pistols. I think that it is apparent in his vocal style, and which I believe where we somehow created our "dark" sound and eerie tone to our music.
C: Coven 13 in a few words, how would you describe the band's musical sound?
C13: Metal. Doom Metal. Viking Metal. Goth. Dark.
C: What musical influences do you pull from when you are performing or writing music?
C13: Well, we play off each other when we write. Occasionally, someone will show up at rehearsal with a new riff of what not. When we write, our music styles come from how our moods are at the time. And I think that it is apparent in some of our songs. We’re not that kind of band that says, hey let’s do a song that sounds like this band or like this song. We just do
our own thing really. But I think that it is safe to say that we are all big fans of and are influenced by Sabbath. They are the masters.
C: Coven 13 has gained quite a large following in the Midwest, what was the process of coming up in the industry like?
C13: Well, we’ve been around for some time now. We’ve had our ups and downs just like everyone else, and it is never an easy ride. We are a lot more mature and some of us sober. I believe that timing is everything. Right now is a good period for us. We have a lot going on for us and we want to keep moving forward. We are planning some more gigs in the near future. We have a new album coming out called “Destiny of the Gods”. And we are currently writing for the next album. We acknowledge our success through the internet. Metal websites and forums have been really the key to our current success. Whatever, it’s pretty cool finally, coming up.
C: How would you guys as a band describe the Midwest music scene?
C13: Well, it currently has to be better than Detroit’s! We know that there are a lot of cities in the Midwest that have a huge Metal scene. In Michigan, we have Flint, Grand Rapids and Lansing. Then you have Chicago and Milwaukee. We are currently looking into doing some shows in the Midwest and hopefully we will head out that way this summer. Right now we
are putting the finishing touches of our new album. This is our main focus at the moment. We will have a release date for it this spring.
C: How do you all as a band feel social media has helped and will continue to help your career?
C13: It has helped tremendously! When we released Worship New Gods in 1987, we
were pretty much a do it yourself band. So all promotion was up to us. We had come into contact with a distributor for Europe and we sent about half of our vinyl overseas. We never seen a penny from that nor did we ever know what ever became of them. Until the internet. We started a Myspace and immediately received feedback from fans, mainly overseas. Then we started a Facebook page and that’s when things really moved forward for us. Social media is pretty much responsible for our record deal with Shadow Kingdom and most recently, High Roller Records. It prompted us to start our own website. And, helped us land the gig for Hammer of Doom 7 in Germany. So yes, The internet is a huge tool for bands in comparison from what is was like back in the 80’s.