Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vesperian Sorrow Interview


Answers by Guitarist Will: and Keyboardist: Subverseraph
 
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days? 

Will: "Well, we have just released our latest album "Stormwinds of Ages". Right now, we are just trying to get the word spread about the album and the band. This has been a mutual release between us and "The Path Less Traveled Records". Basically, we have a distribution deal through them, but we are basically handling all the work involved with the process, in return we are keeping the rights to our music and having better leverage with what we can do with our album. The distribution is great though, we have RED/Sony distribution here in the states and Code7/Plastichead in Europe. So you can surely pick up our album almost anywhere. Next step for us is getting on the road and hitting the festivals." 
 

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from the older recordings? 
 
Subverseraph:  "Our progression is a willful but natural one.  Compared to our back catalogue, it's heavier, darker, more technical, more grandiose, and the recording itself is infinitely more mature and professional.  We've become equally more complex and barbaric without compromising those signature elements that make us who we've always been and will be."

 
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release? 
 
Subverseraph:  "They all stem from visions had by our frontman Don Donni, upon which he elaborates and poetically creates worlds behind, most of which are blighted by decay in one form or another.  The flagship title track, though, heralds a metamorphosis into territory darker than anything we'd yet been known for, and its lyrical content is a reflection of that within the context of the Nephilim's call to arms, if you will." 
 

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
 
Subverseraph:  "Derived from the latin 'vesper,' the word 'vesperian' indicates that which pertains to the evening or duskfall.  Therefore, VESPERIAN SORROW is open to connotation; it can mean anything along the lines of the following examples:  mass grievance at the extinguishing of the light, plague of (eternal) night, profound bereavement for endless death marked by the falling sun and rising moon (i.e. the Grendel-Beowulf dynamic), etc.  You decide."
 

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance? 
 
Subverseraph:  "Four weeks after I moved to Austin in September of 2006 to join VS, we toured Canada/Quebec for damn' near a month, playing festivals with the likes of KATAKLYSM and QUO VADIS in front of hundreds upon hundreds of rabid fans.  Those were some of the most memorable for me.  As far as my stage performance is concerned, whenever I'm not voraciously headbanging whilst tinkling the ivories, I'm either doing back-up vocals or doing back-up vocals whilst tinkling the ivories, so yeah,...you get the picture.  (I throw the fuck down.)"

Will: "I agree with what Subverseraph says about the Canadian shows we played back in 2006, they were awesome. We are hoping to get out on the road here very soon, as we are a new creature now, and I would say that our stage performances are 100% better than what they were." 
 

6. Do you have any touring plans for the new release?

Will: "Absolutely! We have already starting playing shows around Texas. Hopefully, later this year we will be venturing out of our home state and into the U.S. and then abroad. We are almost a complete D.I.Y. band so obviously we will have to make sure the opportunities are the right ones for us. We are going to be trying to hook up with a booking agency this year, so that we can get things really moving in that department." 
 

7. There are some special guests on the new album, how did you get in contact with them and were you satisfied with the results? 
 
Subverseraph:  "Jon Zig (featured on 'Legacies Befallen' and 'An Empire to Mourn') is an Austin-based tattoo artist and vocalist who fronts the bad-ass brutal death metal bands IMAGES OF VIOLENCE and SARCOLYTIC, both of which have been recorded by Kristoph out of our very own Amplitude Media Studios.  He's extremely talented and known for his album artworks for SUFFOCATION, AVERSE SEFIRA, PSYPHERIA, and a slew of others.  The art donning Stormwinds of Ages is his work as well.  Jason McMaster (featured on 'Relics of the Impure' and 'Eye of the Clocktower'), the hardest-working man in metal, is known for fronting WATCHTOWER, DANGEROUS TOYS, IGNITOR, BROKEN TEETH, and (more recently) EVIL UNITED.  His vocal prowess goes without saying, and we are humbled by his presence on the album.  The female vocals throughout 'Casting Dawn into Shadow,' 'Eye of the Clocktower,' and 'Death She Cried' were performed by the emminent Erika Tandy, previously of IGNITOR and AUTUMN TEARS, who now fronts MORGENGRAU, for which she growls and grinds the axe just as masterfully as she sings operatically.  We honestly couldn't be more satisfied with the three aforementioned guest musicians' performances, and being friends with them prior to and past their contributions honors us greatly." 
 
 
8. The new album came out on The Path Less Travelled, how did you get in contact with them and how does it differ from the previous labels you have been on?

Will: "I was sending promos out to all the labels, we were getting quite a few offers from small labels, but they all involved signing our rights over to them. We completely financed and recorded this album on our own, it's our baby, the last thing we wanted to do is just give it away just for the sake of being "signed." Plus, the labels that were making the offers did not even advertise in any print or online magazines/webzines and had no intention when asked. So I guess they thought they could peddle our record out of the back of their van or something haha. So "Metalblade" or "Nuclear Blast" never came calling, and Sean from "The Path Less Traveled" emailed me up one day saying that he could offer a distribution deal to us with RED Distribution. We would keep the majority of the profits but would have to do all the work. The deal made sense to us considering that's what we have always been about, D.I.Y. The deal differs from previous deals in that it's really more of a partnership than us being "signed" to his label. Plus, I've never met a more "Down to Earth" and honest label owner! I know that the metal business has been a struggle for him, I truly hope he can keep the machine going because many bands would benefit by what he offers. I think it's a model of what the future Band/Label partnership should be like."
 

9. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer album by fans of symphonic black metal?

Will: "I would say that it has been almost 100% positive. Of course there is always a few people that don't like the style and might snicker because it has keyboards or something, or because it's melodic. Other than that, we have received so much positive feedback that we are really excited about the direction we are headed and getting the next Vesperian Sorrow album done by next year."
 

10. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

Will: "It's always going to have that signature "VS" sound to it. However, with the minds involved with this band, it will always be evolving into what interests us at that point in time. Lately, we have been concentrating on making the guitars heavier and filling out the sound more. We've become faster and more technical, but we are ALWAYS keeping the song and the structure of the song as priority #1. We want to create songs that are catchy, so that the technicality of it doesn't really take away from the song, and so that we create songs that stick in people's mind."
 

11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
 
Subverseraph:  "We continue to cull major inspiration from Northern European black, death, and gothic metal from the mid-late 90s and early 2000s.  Some of our mutually favorite bands include EMPEROR, ABIGOR, DISSECTION, ARCTURUS, UNLEASHED, SATYRICON, OLD MAN'S CHILD, ROTTING CHRIST, BORKNAGAR, NAGLFAR, ENTOMBED, GOD DETHRONED,...and I'm gonna stop there because the list could go on for quite a while longer, and you get my drift.  Personally, however, I've lately been obssessed with "nastier" bands like MARDUK, WATAIN, DESTROYER 666, and VALKYRJA; to me they just invoke these worlds overthrown by rust and flooded with blood and ruled by wolves and fire, and these worlds are those in which the jaded, wandering misanthropist in me thrives in most comfortably these days."

Will: "I honestly really don't listen to anything considered modern lately. All of my influences really were from the mid-90's when it comes to this style of music. Our drummer Kris who also composes a lot of the music, is pretty much the same, I would say that the same influences we had when we first started are still inspiring us even now. Now days though, we just try to put a modern slant on it and keep the music evolving always." 
 

12. What role does Occultism play in your music?
 
Subverseraph:  "I, for one, am deeply fascinated by things occultic and occult-related/inspired mythologies, but we as a band hold neither a pagan nor Satanic stance.  The extent of the occult's influence on our music is no more than say, that gained by compositions written after looking at Gustave Dore paintings, or after reading some Lovecraft, Swinburne, or Wheatley, or after watching Pumpkinhead, Bram Stoker's Dracula, or The Thirteenth Warrior for the billionth time."
 

13. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
 
Subverseraph:  "Training martial arts (Tukong Moosul and Ip Sun), keeping up-to-date on the latest findings within the field of paleontology, doing stuntwork/fight choreography for movies every now and then, playing oldschool 2D fighting games, and vegging out to cheesedick European horror cinema from the 60s, 70s, and 80s." 
 
Will: "I love to read books on Quantum Physics, Metaphysics, The Out of Body Experience, Ancient Civilizations, and fantasy authors like Robert Jordan, Tolkien, George RR Martin. Raising a family takes up a lot of my time!  Love to get outdoors, hiking, camping, been finding a lot of arrowheads on my place out here, so that has been interesting!"
14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Will: "Thanks for the interview! We really appreciate you helping support VS and hope to see VS fans new and old out of the road soon!"

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