Hey guys, how are you doing? I haven’t read other reviews of your album but mine, so, how the response been until now towards it? How much satisfied are you with this second album?
Hey! The response has been mostly positive to the record, which is great. Of course there are negative opinions of it out there too but most of what we hear is good stuff. People seem to appreciate it being something different than the overwhelming amount of “retro-thrash” that has been popping up these days, and that's exactly what we strive for. We are very happy with how it turned out.
Before going deeper into “Black Future” I'd like to dig the past of the band, as I discovered you had a first album entitled “Demolition” from 2006, as well as two demos from 2003 and 2007. How was the music of Vektor on those recordings? Was it already heading for the same sound we find on the second album or was it still developing?
We basically consider Demolition a demo, and Black Future as our debut album. The problem with past demos had been bad production, some fine tuning and tempo problems. The songs themselves are good, we even re-recorded some of them for Black Future (and have a few more being reworked for the next album), the old recordings were just different members and too slow/noisy. It was pretty much heading for the same place, we just needed some time to refine it I guess.
Could you explain us a bit about the past of your members and your previous musical efforts? Is Vektor your first Metal band? It would be surprising, as you seem pretty skilled playing this kind of music.
We'd all been in some other small bands before Vektor, none as serious or as metal though. The average age in the band sits around 22-23, so it pretty much is our first experience doing this sort of thing. Thanks for thinking we are skilled, haha.
Let's get totally into that black future, and start speaking about the music, for sure. That recording has all the necessary elements to please every Thrash Metal addict of the planet, especially those digging for something fresh and not just the usual stuff. What were the main ideas when you started writing stuff for “Black Future” and how would you sum up the results when it comes to your personal satisfaction towards it?
Our goal when writing is always to write stuff we would want to hear. We listen to a lot of musical styles, so those leak their way in to our take on thrash metal as well. We get bored easily so we pretty much have to make it interesting. There's no need for us to start a band that sounds exactly like Exodus, because Exodus already exists. It's a solution to a non-existent problem. So we take elements from lots of thrash and other types of metal/prog-rock and try to create our own sound with it. Personally we are satisfied with it for sure, but we are more excited for the future albums than anything else.
Around the same subject I was telling on the previous question, I'd like to know your opinion about the health of this style, as the most of bands don’t sound so interesting nowadays as they’re only playing the same stuff of the eighties, and that sound is not so extreme today comparing it with other styles. What do you think about that? In my opinion this is exactly what your music doesn’t lack of, extremism and a modern composition sound.
I think you're right about the copy-cat bands, and as I said in the last question it's too bad so many bands are re-hashing old things because that only leads to the fad bubble bursting a few years from now. We just try to stand out from it as much as we can so that when the trend passes we are still pushing ourselves to do new things and keep it fresh. We were around before the trend started, and hopefully we survive once it dies down.
You’re obviously big fans of technique and experimentation, which is always welcome in extreme music if it helps creating something, maybe not original, but with fresh and new ideas. But there is some kind of obsession in the most of “modern” Metal bands which I see only as an urge for demonstration or competition. What's your opinion about this? Are you technique freaks or you can enjoy simple stuff too? What's more important in your point of view when it comes to a song?
Well I guess we are both. Obviously our music is fairly technical, not to the extreme that some tech-death bands are going to, but it has a decent amount of technicality involved in it. But personally we all enjoy simple stuff a lot as well. It depends on the mood I guess. From a songwriting viewpoint, the song always comes first and we try and make sure that every part has a purpose. Avoiding filler is important, especially when some of our songs are 13 minutes long... If we create a technical part with odd-times or fast soloing or whatever it is, it's because of the feeling it creates for the listener and not to show what new arpeggio we learned how to play this week.
Going to other related things around the album, I'd like to focus on the artwork now. It's not at all the usual kind of artwork we find nowadays, with a lot of Photoshop effects and a really digital result. It really looks like the old days demos and EP's stuff. Do you feel more attached to that feeling and visuals, even if your music is still pretty modern? Which are your favorite covers from Thrash history?
The visual style was pretty much dictated by the artist, Kian Ahmad. We love a lot of the old school artwork. We gave Kian (who actually was the drummer from the 2007 demo) an idea of what concept we wanted, and the major building blocks of the front and back cover (which combine into one big image, if you purchase the CD). From there he took it and just applied his own style. We didn't even know if it was going to be in color or not when he gave it to us. We are extremely happy with how it turned out though. It fit our descriptions to him perfectly and it has a great amount of minor detail and complexity, which fits us well. Thematically and musically it turned out great.
Still about the cover, I must admit the first time I saw it, as well as your logo, before I first listened to your music, I thought you where some kind of Voivod worshiping band or something. Do you feel close to them from the musical and lyrical side? Don't you think they were really underrated in the eighties, even if a lot of underground freaks still remember them nowadays? Wouldn't it be great to have a lot more bands digging their brains to create such interesting music as theirs instead of only repeating other's stuff?
Yes, we get compared to Voivod in almost every single review and interview we do. We didn't mean to generate all the talk about them, and even though our logo is unintentionally similar, I don't think we sound too much like them. They are certainly a big influence, but I don't think you could mistake us for them or vice versa musically. I guess they were a bit underrated, but they seem to have done very well for themselves regardless, and now they are basically legends. By the way, I think a Voivod / Vektor tour would be really fun for fans too, but we're way too small right now to imagine that happening! Maybe someday. Call me, Away. Haha.
When it comes up to your lyrics, you seem totally obsessed by Sci-Fi, space and time. How would you sum up the lyrical contents of “Black Future”? Is there any place for personal thoughts or any other kind of stuff inside them? Which would be your biggest influences (movies, series, books...) when it comes to that?
The lyrics are all deeply rooted in sci-fi, which is pretty obvious from reading them, but a lot of them are personal experiences and philosophies under the guise of sci-fi. I'll give an example: Dark Nebula, when read at face value, sounds like some sort of journey through space with a lot of random things thrown in. In reality, that story is based on something that happened to David in real life. If you know the actual story, then re-read the lyrics, it takes on a whole new meaning and makes a lot more sense. Other songs like Hunger for Violence or more like fictional stories like Terminator or Space Hunter, but again it's pointing out the idea of humanity's violent nature throughout history. It's written as a story, but David's personal ideas are buried in there.
As you’re from Arizona, I can’t forget asking you about the recent facts with the immigration laws and lots of arrested people brought to “concentration camps” by your governor, Jan Brewer. What's your opinion about these happenings? Is that a way to solve problems in our 21st century? Isn't that a “Black Future”? Do you know close people affected by those laws?
There has a been a LOT of talk about this lately, not just in Arizona but all around the US. I have not heard anything about “concentration camps” in relation to the new law, and I'm not sure how true that is, but overall it's a pretty bullshit system they are trying to start. It sucks especially bad because, yes, we do know close friends who are Mexican (but legitimate American citizens), and now they are going to start getting pulled over just for being brown. That, to me, is what really sucks. They are just going about the whole problem in the complete wrong way. I think there definitely should be some more regulation on the border, but targeting people who have been here for years and are hard working members of the community just isn't the right way of doing it. There are illegal workers everywhere in AZ, everyone knows that. But what people don't realize is that if you were to suddenly make them all vanish, the whole economy in AZ would completely fall apart. You probably couldn't get a meal at any restaurant within 150 miles.
Also, the people who should be punished are the huge corporations who have been knowingly hiring illegals for 30, 40, 50 years. But of course, that won't happen because the whole system is a fucking game that's been bought and sold a long time ago. We try to avoid getting political. Excuse the rant, haha.
Could you resume in some words what you think about these bands and their evolution?:
- Watchtower: A truly awesome band, that hasn't released nearly enough material. I know they have a new one out now, but as of this writing I haven't had the chance to listen to it. I've heard good things though.
- Coroner: We really, really love Coroner, especially Punishment for Decadence. To me, that was when they really hit their stride. The later stuff had some cool moments, but never quite lived up to PFD.
- Megadeth: At least they're pretty consistent.
- Voivod: One of our major influences. Especially Killing Technology, War and Pain, etc. Unfortunately they took some strange turns later on, but they still kick quite a bit of ass.
- Kreator: Kreator is one of our other big influences. Terrible Certainty and Extreme Aggression are where it's at. Really solid, awesome overall band. Haven't heard the newer album yet, actually.
- Destruction: Another one of our favorites. Eternal Devastation was an important album for Vektor's genesis, and they have a lot of other great stuff.
- Atheist: Three incredible albums, I am still wishing they would put together some more material. Piece of Time is the standout of the three, but I love them all.
- Emperor: One of the best bands of all time, metal or otherwise. A lot of people seemed to lose interest in their later stuff, but we all pretty much agree they actually got better and better as time went on. Another one we're hoping for a new album from... maybe Immortal can talk them into following a similar revival path.
Your label, Heavy Artillery Records, is totally focusing its activities on bands with an eighties orientation, from you to Enforcer, Merciless Death or At War (which are not newcomers). How do you feel with them and how has promotion been until now? What's your opinion about your label mates? Any favorite one?
We get along really well with our label. They are small, and we are small. So we don't have to deal with a lot of people, or send things up through corporate ranks or any of that stuff. We like a lot of our labelmates, but our favorite is probably Exmortus. Those guys rip shit up pretty hard, and they are personally very close friends of ours. We got to do our first tour (Winter Mayhem 2009/2010) with them, and it was a blast. There aren't a lot of other bands I would happily share a van for a month with.
Ok, so just let us know the upcoming news about Vektor, what's planned about future releases, touring and all that, and we can close this interview. Tell me the last album, last movie and last book you liked too, if you don't mind.
We just finished a 6 week trek across the United States as of this writing, touching on a lot of places we hadn't been to before. It was a blast. This fall, 2 of us have some school to finish up, but during that time we'll be finishing up work on our next album. We have a lot of it written already. We want to try and get the album out by summer of next year, but we're not sure if that will pan out or not. After that we have the Keep it True XIV festival in Germany in late April 2011, which we're going to try and follow up with 2-3 weeks of our first ever European dates. After that we'll be all clear to tour around as much as we can, in the US and the rest of the world! Hopefully we can jump on bigger and better tours as time goes on and we'll just take it as far as we can.
Thanks a lot for your time guys and I hope to see your name on some tour or fest soon over here, good luck. If you forgot something, just add it now.
Sci-fi or DIE!!
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.