Text: Camilia Fateh

American singer/songwriter Banks gets a lesson in modern witchcraft in the newest episode of V Wanna Know, hosted by Mathias Rosenzweig. In this episode, she discusses the intersection between her craft, her own spirituality, and her interest in discovering what “modern witchcraft” really means. This episode also underscores her upcoming US tour, which will begin on Wednesday, May 25th. Serpentina, her newest album, was heralded by NME as “an innovative and resilient reintroduction, with bold new sounds.” It also features a gritty, spiritually-grounded undertone. 

Banks discusses her own personal interest in witchcraft and spirituality, and how she feels as though magic pervades her art. “It’s giving harry potter… it’s giving charmed (the original - not the revamp)”, says Rosenzweig introducing this episode’s topic of conversation, and the host Ethan Doyle White, PhD, who is an expert in Wicca - a modern Pagan religion.

Banks creates ethereal dark pop or brood pop music - which Rosenzweig describes as “pretty witchy music.” She begins the episode by discussing the religious and spiritual ideas that she has recently imbued in her music, such as her new song "The Devil", which is a narrative about the devil (who was tired of his job) and a girl (who was tired of being good all the time). In the song, the two decide to switch places - Banks says that this was one of the most fun songs for her to write. 

Banks draws parallels between religion and spirituality and her artistic process. For her, “Creation is somewhat spiritual. It’s not tangible, it’s not of this earth.” The idea for Alaska, one of her most popular songs, actually appeared to Banks in a dream. She woke up and wrote the lyrics instantly - an example of how her connection with her art is magic. When Rosenzweig asks her why she wants to learn more about witchcraft, she laughs at herself and says, “I just feel like I have magical powers and I always have! I just need to unlock them.”

Tune in to this episode of V Wanna Know to hear Dr. White answer Banks’s questions about what constitutes a witch, how he grew interested in witchcraft, and how modern witchcraft can underscore anything from second-wave feminism to eye of newt.

Credits: Cover image by Bethany Vargas.


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