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Witch house trio SALEM are returning with new music

Photographer and musician Wolfgang Tillmans reveals that the Michigan band are working on their first album in five years

SALEM, the Michigan electronic trio who represented the short-lived ‘witch house’ scene, are gearing up to release their first album in five years, according to photographer and musician Wolfgang Tillmans.

Tillmans recently released an album, 2016/1986, and asked Salem to remix its track “Make It Up As You Go Along”. Writing on Instagram, he revealed that the remix – created by the band’s Jack Donoghue and John Holland in Montegut, Louisiana, where they’d been living for the past year – would precede the first Salem album since their debut King Knight in 2010. 

“As expected the mix is super dense, highly abstracted from the original, and has an irresistible magic and pull,” Tillmans writes, “John and Jack were working on a new album there, and are completing it in Los Angeles, where they live now. SALEM are back.”

SALEM – who, alongside Donoghue and Holland, includes Heather Pineda – have been mostly quiet since the release of King Knight, though Donoghue was credited as a producer on Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead”.

‘Witch house’ – sometimes known as ‘drag’ or ‘screwgaze’ – was a musical movement that emerged in the early 2010s mixing gothic sounds and imagery with elements of hip hop and drone. Some of the musicians grouped in with the scene early on included oOoOO, Balam Acab, and Holy Other, while other witch house-affiliated artists – such as Purity Ring, Zola Jesus, and Clams Casino – went on to have wider success outside of it.

Wolfgang Tillmans’ Make It Up As You Go Along EP is out on September 16 with additional remixes.