Death Metal band Vampire Interviewed by YDBCN "Our music is ugly, sexy and dark"

When and why did you start playing?

- I started my first band, which was a Kiss cover band, at age 13, singing and playing guitar. I’m sure it sounded absolutely terrible but we were innocent enough not to notice. Then I joined my first proper band at age 16, playing drums. After that I switched to bass in another band, then to guitar, then to playing drums and singing in Vampire, and then to only singing. My “problem” as a musician is that I never practised very much or trained to get better, which means I have always pulled it off but never been able to excel in any way, shape or form on any instrument. Singing death metal is probably what I do best and where I have something reminiscent of a style of my own, but then again I have no voice whatsoever when it comes to actual singing.

How did you become involved in the type of music you play now?

- Around the same time I lost serious interest in Kiss I discovered bands that were darker, more mystic and more atmospheric and didn’t seem to do all the paint, blood and fire thing just for show: Emperor, Dark Funeral, Satyricon etc. Then I was on a serious black metal roll throughout my teens. During this time I slowly but surely got my eyes on German thrash metal, oldschool death metal, and other close genres. My key experience as a fan and listener that tuned me in on the sort of music we play in Vampire was probably discovering Possessed, Necrophagia, Sarcófago and Autopsy in the span of a few months.

Describe your music in 3 or 4 words

- Ugly, sexy, dark.

Who are your musical and non-musical influnces?

- Vampire is a very well organized mess of everything we like and hold dearly in the last 30 years or so of metal. Some band names that we tend to bring up in the rehearsal room when writing music: Morbid Angel, Sarcófago, Possessed, Blasphemy, Sodom, Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Autopsy, Master’s Hammer, Nifelheim and Slayer. Mix it all together and add a splash of heroic NWOBHM and you’ll get... well, probably something not very far off from Vampire.

- Both me and Black String have our background and musical roots in the 90’s black metal scene, so that is probably the musical backbone of Vampire in a way, which is audible at times. When we started writing songs for Vampire, we said we wanted to stay on the right side of 1990 at all times, but we sort of gave that ambition up at some point, I guess right after the demo… There is lots of good stuff that has made a big and important impression on our music recorded and released after that date.

- As the main lyricist of Vampire, I obviously draw lots of inspiration from horror fiction, not least contemporary horror literature from Sweden (I can recommend Andreas Marklund and Anders Fager). I am a fan since childhood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the other members in the band share that interest. I would say most of the horror flavor present on the album comes from me, being an avid follower of anything horror for the last 20 years or so and a big fan of that sort of inclusions in metal. But things wouldn’t appear on the album if not everyone in the band liked them.

There’s a lot of Old School Death Metal bands, why we have to listen to Vampire?

- Well, you don’t have to listen to us if you don’t want to. I like to think we have another kind of mournful atmosphere to our songs and a genuin, eerie vibe that I miss in much death metal that have aspirations of coming across as oldschool. There certainly is a general idea to strive for a certain uneasy, uncanny or ghastly atmosphere in the music of Vampire, and where that impulse comes from I really don’t know. We all like spooky, dark and unsettling moods in music, be it the weird noise of The Birthday Party or the grimness of Burzum, and combining that passion with the energy and attitude of 80’s death metal is definitely an ambition we mean to make the most of in the future.

You have one of coolest band logo I ever seen, who made it?

- Cool you like it, so do we. The artist’s name is Martin Gustafsson and he used to be in a band called Darkified from the same part of Sweden that Edge of Sanity and Ophthalamia are from (I think...). Check out the logos he did for his own bands; these are absolutely brilliant and what turned us on to working with him. He works as a tattoo artist for a living as far as I know.

If you can, Tell us something about your deal with Century Media Records, a big success for a young band like you

- It hasn’t been a big deal really. We are in our thirties and have been in and out of bands since our teens, which means we have a rather clear picture of what we expect from a band and from a label that band works with. Being on Century Media basically means that we get a proper budget to record, and can rest assure that the people we work with don’t tell lies but actually try their best to make it happen for us. However, it does not mean any economical success what so ever, and we are still basically limited to our own funds within the band to go out there and do stuff. It’s like dealing with any record label; only these guys are actually serious and experienced enough to not mean a lot of trouble and disappointments.

If there weren't pirate music, death metal would be alive today? Most of cds now would be lost in the memories of times past and young people would never listened to the beauty of the first underground Death Metal cds

- I think one good reason that many young and inexperienced bands these days get it right pretty much at first try is they have a massive treasury on the web where everything from any time is available to listen to. But even more important is that you can as easily learn what is hot and what is not from the know-mores, which was much more difficult just so recently as when I was in my teens. I had to make friends with people older than me to get to know about cool music, and to get an idea of where I could learn more, picking up fanzines and stuff on the way. Today you just have to google “true black metal cult” and then you’re good to go.

- I guess trends would have worked in basically the same way as before and in similar cycles regardless of the web, but the web has probaby meant the level of insight of newcomers has increased consideraly. All in all, I suppose that is a good thing, even though some of the magic of digging out obscure bands and releases is lost on the young generation of players. When I was ten, 70’s Kiss was dark and mysterious in a way I cannot relate to at all these days, because there was simly no information about them anywhere and you had to make an effort to get some of that obscurity in you. A band like Vlad Tepes is far more accessible today than “Dressed to kill” era Kiss were to me at that time.

What's your opinion about the “reunions”?

- I don’t know what reunions you refer to, but reunions are basically disappointing and a waste of time. I saw to brilliant reunions in 2006 – Morbid Angel and Emperor – but since, nothing of that sort has interested me very much. Playing gigs with old memebers might be cool, but I am generally very skeptical towards new album releases from bands that probably split up for a good reason in the first place. I would like to say I’m more interested in new bands, but honestly I’m not, at least not generally speaking. That is why I have mentioned Kiss one thousand times already in this interview.

Who’s better, Metallica or Megadeth?

- I think both are equally irrelevant today, and I haven’t paid any attention to anything any of the bands have done for the last twenty years. I have definitely listened more to Metallica, but Megadeth took more drugs so they were obviously the cooler band. Good thing Dave Mustaine got kicked out of Metallica in 1983, because that means we have two brilliant early Bay Area thrash metal bands with superb musicianship instead of only one.

- “Good mourning/black Friday” with Megadeth was one of the earliest lyrical inspirations for me, which there never came anything out of, but that song has stayed with me for the last twenty years and I listened to it as recently as yesterday. The beginning of that song is an example of a type of paranoid heroin darkness that Metallica were never able to express.

5 bands you want to advice to us

- Arkha Sva, Abigor, Devil Doll, Museo Rosenbach, Frost (UK). That last band is absolutely no favourite of mine, but if you grieve the fact there is only one “De mysteriis dom Sathanas” in existence, you might be cheered up learning there is a band that has actually released two more.

I’m not sure but maybe you’re the first Swedish Death Metal band not obsessed by the “Boss HM2” heavy metal pedal sound, is it right?

- Yes, we are not much for imitating templates but rather try and find our own sounds. That is why we recorded the album in a pop studio with a guy who has never produced metal before, instead of going where everybody else go. The lack of individually sounding albums is probably the biggest disappointment today compared to the death metal scene of the 80’s.

Tell us about your next gigs and why we should be there!

- Our next gig is at Hell’s Pleassure in Germany, and you should be there because we will do our best to outshine all other bands on the line-up. Come see us fail or succeed... cheer us on.

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YDBCN è un collettivo di persone disagiate che odia la musica
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