We pick the hottest new live acts so you can tell your friends you heard them first. Meet Melbourne candy goth electropop artist Witching Hour
If you like your pop music with a hint of candy-goth witchcraft, look no further than Melbourne artist Witching Hour.
The true magic of Witching Hour – AKA Claire Quartz – is her expert balance between empowering, candy bright pop and darker, rock-infused elements. With only a handful of tracks under her hat, there is already a lot to get wrapped up in – mixing cheeky, playful lyrics with devastatingly raw, and oftentimes cathartic, dives into human emotion, sprinkling glittering synths, infectious hooks, juicy bass lines, and cinematic, dreamy melodies for good measure.
Not matter the mood she is crafting – be it heartbreak, joy, self-love, or a deep dive into the occult – it is Witching Hour’s vocal that holds it all together. Whether she is creeping or soaring over her addictive melodies, it is hard to turn away.
With influences including everyone from Paramore, to Billie Eilish and Beach House, listeners can hear the alt-pop and pop-punk inspiration threading throughout, but make no mistake – Witching Hour exists in her own distinct lane.
This is most evident on her bold, third single ‘Hell Hath No Fury Like’.
This song embodies glorious self-reclamation. It’s about firing back at an ex who is quietly raging at the liberated choices you’ve made after ending the relationship. It celebrates blossoming into a state of empowered ferocity, while they sulk and seethe that you’ve moved on in a way they don’t approve of.Claire Quartz, Witching Hour
To celebrate her new single, we sat down with Witching Hour to get to know here better.
Check out ‘Hell Hath No Fury Like’ by Witching Hour:
The Witching Hour Story
From the beginning
Witching Hour: “I wrote my first song when I was 5 or 6, and have been writing ever since. I always knew I wanted to be a musician, and it was the discovery of bands like Paramore when I was 12 that really activated the fire within me, and turned my childhood dream into a real, actionable goal.
“I always wanted to front a band, and spent years looking for the right group of people but it never came to fruition. In 2019, I assumed the identity of Witching Hour, which also started as an attempt to form a band, but it was through the development of this project that I realised I’m really a solo artist.”
What you’ll hear
“I describe my sound as bubblegum witch emopop, or candy goth dark electropop. I grew up on punk, pop punk, and emo music, but when I started Witching Hour I was really into minimal electropop.
“The first year of Witching Hour was a year of growing pains, as I navigated how to blend my diverse and sometimes disparate influences into a cohesive sound, and this resulted in me really committing to that liminal space between pop and punk.”
Influences & inspirations
“My biggest musical influences are Hayley Williams and Paramore, Billie Eilish, Kali Uchis, Poppy, Princess Nokia, Grimes, Vulfpeck, Beach House, the list goes on.
“Outside of music, I’m deeply inspired by witchcraft and occult themes. I’ve always had an interest in those areas – I briefly ran a metaphysical supply shop in Fitzroy when I was 21, and I’m currently doing a Master of Arts looking at magic and the occult (at the moment I’m writing a paper on witchcraft in Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I’m also a super visual person, in part due to my synaesthesia, so I’m mega inspired by colour, especially pinks and pastels. Imagery and aesthetic is a huge part of my music.”
Inside her new single ‘Hell Hath No Fury Like’
“‘Hell Hath No Fury Like’ was written in February of 2020, with my producers (and now live bandmates) Ezekiel Fenn and Michael Best, in our first ever session, on the first day we ever met.
“The creative process was new and exciting – I was so used to writing on my own, so writing collaboratively and witnessing their genius creative processes with the production was so wonderful.
“We wrote the song only a few weeks before Covid though, which of course had an impact on the creative process, as we did a lot of the later production stages via distance, with me recording backup vocals and bridge ideas at home, sending it to Zeke and Michael, them sending their versions back. Lots of back and forth amongst the chaos of everything that was 2020!
“The song itself embodies glorious self-reclamation. It’s about firing back at an ex who is quietly raging at the liberated choices you’ve made after ending the relationship. It celebrates blossoming into a state of empowered ferocity, while they sulk and seethe that you’ve moved on in a way they don’t approve of. I wrote this song shortly after ending a toxic relationship with a boy who, when I re-partnered, stirred up trouble in my life without ever having the courage to express his feelings directly to me. This song was my way of addressing the situation with delicious sass.”
For the love of music
“I love the intense, attuned, ‘on a roll’ feeling you get when you crack open a creative idea and find a flow where it’s all channeling out of you, and the satisfaction when the different parts fall into place and it all comes together. When you’re writing and some lyrics sit together just perfectly, or when you add the perfect drop to the production of a track.
“I love singing more than anything else, the physical sensation of vocalising, and I adore the separate world you step into when performing a song, either in the studio or on stage.”
“Meeting my wonderful producers and live bandmates has been a total blessing and allowed me to evolve so much as an artist. I’ve also been super lucky to collaborate with heaps of incredible creatives such as Giulia McGauran, Mickey Mason, Michelle Pitiris, Emerson Zandegu, and Casey Schuurman on photoshoots and cover art, music videos and lyric videos, typography and more, and those creative experiences and personal exchanges have been so inspiring and I’m so proud of the work we’ve all created.
“The first Witching Hour gig (which was only very recent due to Covid) was also a huge highlight, as I’d spent so long as an online presence because I couldn’t play shows. Taking the stage for the first time was such a wonderful feeling, I felt like Witching Hour had finally taken full form and I could at last reveal this whole other part of the project – like I could finally say ‘hello I’m a real person, this is me, and I physically play songs in real life!'”
Overcoming struggle town
“Growing through the first year of Witching Hour in 2019 was definitely quite a challenge, as it was quite a difficult process to navigate exactly what the project was, who else might be in it, what it looked like, what it sounded like, and how to turn this vision into a reality. It often felt like I was trudging through molasses and couldn’t get things moving.
“It all started coming together though and I released my first single ‘The Spell’ and began preparing for a super busy 2020 full of live shows, more singles, and an EP release, but then of course, 2020 happened. That complete slow down was really difficult, as it felt like things had finally started moving and then I had to bring everything to a grinding halt. I kept writing during the first lockdown, and went ahead with the release of my second single ‘Colourblind’ which I had already prepared, but the second half of the year was really hard and I barely touched music at all until the end of the year when things started opening back up. “
The year ahead
“Things are going to be busy for Witching Hour!.After the release of ‘Hell Hath No Fury Like’, I’ll be dropping another single in late May, and then an EP about a month after that. Then there’ll be lots of music videos to release and shows to play.
” Once the EP release campaign winds up, I’m going to be sitting down to write some new material for my debut album, which I’m super excited about as I’ve been sitting on the songs I’m about to release for quite a while (some of them I wrote as a teen), so I’m really looking forward to starting some fresh new tracks with shiny new concepts.”
Witching Hour – The Spell
“This was my first single, and I designed it as a literal spell. It’s written in the format of a witchcraft spell, around the themes of self-empowerment and self-love, and it can be practised either by simply listening to the track to release its good vibes and affirmations, or by actually physically following the directions as outlined in the lyrics.
Witching Hour – Colourblind
“This was my second single, and it references each colour of the rainbow in the lyrics.”
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