top of page

Rider:The Witching Hour!


Rider has been a band that has been together for three years, the band has gone through multiple line up changes, but the two constant member are drummer, vocalist Nick Varnas and lead guitarist and vocalist Will Bertram.  The band put their heart and soul into this album,recording took 6 months, five days a week. Recording engineer Jaden Erhegiamen contributed so much to the album, that he was practically part of the band. Will Bertram would like to thank his former guitar partner Travis Hilliard for his contributions to the album. "He wrote parts of the songs, on at least half the album. He helped make it what it is, it's a shame he decided to leave before recording. Regardless I love him and respect him, he'll always be a brother to me".

The Story


Recording the album only turned out great due to the friend and partnership between Will Bertram and Jaden Erhegiamen. Bertram came from the rock n roll and heavy metal background, whereas Erhegiamen came from a soul, rap and hip hop background. The result of this was that the album sounded more progressive and elegant instead of straight forward rock n roll.

Some songs took weeks or months to record, Will and Jaden did not stop until they got the sound they wanted. They used everything they had at their disposal to try and create something new and different. They would stay and record for hours. "There were definitely a few times when we would stay and record late, we had a great and understanding teacher, who was so supportive of what we wanted to do, I'm so glad that now I can call him a friend" Will Bertram said.

These boys loved recording even though there were times when the process would drive them insane. "Honestly it felt like there was a problem with recording at least once a day(laughs), sometimes I got frustrated but at the end of the day you're making huge progress and there's something fulfilling in that, it's a wonderful feeling" Will Bertram told us.

The Art

"The album cover is basically what I wanted and what I had in my head. The hooded figure is Jimmy Rider at the end of the story, walking out of the City of Eternal Night. The city on fire and in shambles, with lightning crackling over him, lighting his hoodie from behind. I wanted the album cover to look frightening, to help bring the setting of the story to life. If you read the book that I've written to go along with the album, The Witching Hour is written in the streets drenched in blood. I desperately wanted the album to show this, I found it to be an important detail, showing the horror and hysteria of this story.

The back side of the album cover turned out great as well, Jaden and my dear friend Samantha Warren did the artwork for it, as well as the main cover in Photoshop. I am extremely grateful to Samantha and Jaden, they put their heart and soul into this, but even more importantly, they invested their time. Jaden did the lettering on the back and the blending of the lightning, deciding to make it blue (before it was red). Sam helped with sizing and blending as well.  The burning building in the background is supposed to be the Alliance's headquarters, which the Renegades burn to the ground as a declaration for war.

The sketches you see are drawn by Lexi Smalling, a fan who offered to help come up with logo ideas. I believe she did a fantastic job and again I am grateful to her for that contribution, she is just another one of the many great people who helped this album come from a small idea in my head, to be turned into a reality. That in itself is completely incredible. The photographs of the band performing were taken by the very talented Annabelle Vetro, she did a great job and offered to do a photo shoot for the band, but unfortunately the band could never commit and make time for it".

-Will Bertram


 Host- Liam Blake

Vocalist and Guitarist

- Will Bertram

The Witching Hour is essentially a rock opera in the eyes of Will Bertram. Every song connects to the next through the lyrics in his point of view.  The story revolves around the character Jimmy Rider, an immortal man in the midst of a revolutionary war between the Renegades (rebels) and the Alliance (the upper class and government). Jimmy Rider sides with the Renegades and falls for one of their generals, Holly Rose. The story describes the freedom the Renegades are fighting for and the love story between Jimmy and Holly. 

The second half of the album takes a dark turn, featuring an appearance of the Devil, a tragic death, an uprising, bloody war and a chilling ending. Will Bertram describes his creation as a tragic love story, he believes it is a wonderful piece of art and combines influences of  English literature as much as musical inspirations.

The Music

The majority of the album was written in the summer of 2018, by Will Bertram with contributions from Nick Varnas and Travis Hilliard. Will Bertram wanted the album to sound very melodic with a very heavy sound to contrast the light and darkness of the lyrics. Bertram wanted a very fine balance between the music and the lyrics, hoping that the message of the lyrics would not be lost this way.


"some of the guitar parts came very easily to me, others took time and weeks until the right part would come to me. Lyrics were easier, I had time to think about what I wanted to say. Nick's drumming was solid for the whole album, the only drumming I told him to do was the main fills on Deadman's Dare. As for all of the guitar solos(laughs) I mostly improvised the solos as we were recording, same with the bass. I wanted everything to sound raw and rough. All my favorite albums are band's first albums because they sound new rough and raw, this is how I wanted The Witching Hour to sound. It kind of worked(laughs)"guitarist and lead singer Will Bertram said. Will thought the album was solid and he was very proud and thankful to everyone involved in this project, he stated that "A part of me thinks that with help from the right people, the album could become something huge, perhaps even making an impact on the music industry... well that's the hope anyway(laughs)".

Fun Facts!

-City of Eternal Night's guitar solo was improvised through recording and different jam sessions with bands, the funny thing is that  Will Bertram considers it to be one of his best solos.

-Will Bertram sang all the lead vocals, played all the guitar and bass parts himself.

-Almost half of Will Bertram's guitar and bass parts only took one take.

-All the guitar solos in The Witching Hour (track) were originally all put together until Bertram decided to take the solos apart and split them up, giving the intro a more demonic and Satanic presence.

-The main vocal on Holly Hope was recorded in four takes, but Bertram made up the vocal line when he stepped into the recording booth.

-"We were asked to stop recording one day because students hadn't finished writing the literacy test... this was the day Nick recorded the drum for Holly Hope (laughs), it's kinda funny if you think about it."

-Will Bertram

-Will and Jaden took so long to finish the album because they kept wanting to raise the bass, they wanted it to stand out. By almost destroying the levels of the tracks. they did achieve it.

-"What do you mean, what do I mean? I mean you know what i mean.. do you know what I mean"? This phrase Will often used when he was challenged by Jaden on a recording issue.

-The song Running Through The Darkness was written in the recording studio, while Will was on break waiting for Jaden to finish some editing. Will asked "Hey do you think that's any good"? Jaden then replied "It's alright". Will then made it his mission to make it one of the best songs on the album, not for creative purposes but to prove Jaden wrong.

-The bass line for the verse of Shadows was written by Shane Hardy, a bass player who was in the band in the fall of 2018, Bertram called it the last piece of the puzzle, thus completing the song.

Recording Engineer

-Jaden Erhegiamen

About The Band And Album Part 1 - Jaden Erhegiamen
Song By Song Podcast Part 1 - Will Bertram

Drummer and Vocalist

- Nick Varnas

About The Band And Album Part 2 - Jaden Erhegiamen
Song By Song Podcast Part 2 - Will Bertram
bottom of page