w/Elijah Witt of Cane Hill

Lisa Sanchez

Cane Hill, a four-piece metal outfit from New Orleans, have been very busy over the last year. The nu-metal band released their first full-length album, Smile, played on Van's Warped Tour, and are gearing up for a tour with ICP. I got the chance to speak with lead singer Elijah Witt via e-mail about Cane Hill's progress as a band, their influences, and why it's still awkward to talk about personal issues in 2016.

You guys just released Smile in July, what's the feedback been like so far?
Witt: It's been great. I don't think we expected it to go over as well as it has so it's nice to see it's doing well worldwide.  

Smile is your first full-length release, how do you feel about the recording/song writing process?
​Witt: Honestly I don't think we've ever been stressed as much as we were writing Smile. You're given a certain amount of days to produce your debut full length and it feels like it's not going to get done in time. But it was a great experience and the stress helped us make something we're really proud of.  

Is there anything you plan to do with your next release?
​​Witt: Yes we plan to do anything and everything.  

I've read a few reviews that call the lyrical content on Smile "controversial" because of its political and personal content. In 2016, why do you think these topics are still taboo?
​​Witt: Because people are afraid of anything that challenges their status quo. When you're raised to believe one thing and someone is speaking against it, you put up walls of defense. The goal of the "controversial" lyrics is to make people think.  

What inspires your lyrics the most?
​​Witt: Everyday strife in a world that needs changing.  

Autumn is here, but over the summer Cane Hill played your first Van's Warped Tour. What was the experience like for you?
​​Witt: Incredibly eye opening. It's the most difficult tour we've ever done (physically and mentally). We got to play for a different demographic than we've been playing to recently so we got to see how well we can hold our own in that scene.  

Was Warped Tour the first big festival the band has ever played?
​​Witt: Nope! We've played the American rock festivals and some pretty cool European ones.  

What unique elements do you think Cane Hill offered on to the lineup that no other band had?
​​Witt: Honest, heavy music.  

When I hear Cane Hill, your sound evokes a lot of my favorite nu-metal bands from the early 2000s like Slipknot and Marilyn Manson. Is that era of music some of your main influencers?
​​Witt: Our adolescence was during the 90's and 2000's so of course a lot of our influences are the metal bands of that generation. But having said that, we honestly take more influence from Pantera and Metallica it's probably just more difficult to peg. 

There aren't a lot of main stream bands doing what you all are doing right now, as far as your overall sound and lyrical content, why do  you think that is?
​​​Witt: Probably because mainstream outlets don't care for it.  

Cane Hill uses a lot of in-your-face imagery, both in your videos and album art,  that I associate with an older style of metal, do you think old and new metal fans alike will gravitate toward that?
​​Witt: I'd like to hope that with older metal fans it brings around a sense of nostalgia. With new fans of metal it SHOULD be a completely new concept to them. I can only name a hand full of bands in our scene that have any interest in being graphic in their imagery which is sad. Metal used to exclusively to be in your face, now it's just weak. 

You guys are about to kick off a tour with ICP on September 22nd at the Agora in Cleveland, are you excited to hit the road again?
​​Witt: Beyond. Being at home is pretty boring.  

ICP have arguably one of the most dedicated fan bases in the country, how does it feel to perform with that caliber of musician?
​​Witt: This tour is one of the most exciting we've set out on. We're pumped to see the fans and their entire culture because it's something we've never been immersed in.  

What can we expect from Cane Hill after the ICP tour and in the future?
​​Witt: More, more, more, more. We don't stop.  

Cane Hill will perform at The Agora in Cleveland on September 22. Tickets are still available.