Interview With Gorgoth Of Vanmakt
Karlskrona, Sweden's VANMAKT at this moment have recorded and released their first demo called: “Diaboli Iubeo, Para Vindicta”. Four songs that represent their very own interpretation of how Black metal really should sound. They are now starting to record their debut album after having just been signed to Singapore's respected Black metal label PULVERISED RECORDS. I think this is a band that is important because of the brilliant execution they demonstrate by delivering all the best elements of what this sub-genre should be about: demonic as all hell vocals, challenging lyrical content and a heavy chaotic sound that isn't over produced. I conducted some Q&A with their frontman, Gorgoth.
Rocket: So when exactly did you first start playing in metal bands?
Gorgoth: Well, it all started when I was 14 years young and a friend of mine Andreas from (Kaptain Sun) asked me to handle the vocals in their trash/death band. I sucked ha-ha, but it was fun and you have to start somewhere. I was 18 when I joined my first real death metal band and since then it has just gone wild.
Rocket: Have you always been devoted to only Black metal?
Gorgoth: There’s something really special with black metal and when I started to listen to this aggressive and malevolent music I didn’t understand what it all stood for, it was more like a cool thing. I mean band members that burnt churches, killed each other and so forth. Today I have a totally different vision on black metal. Black metal is the music that supports the underdogs of life, the maligned people. I don’t know how it is in other countries but here in Sweden and where I grew up you got beaten up and ganged up on if you wore black clothes or listened to really hard music. I guess that time in life made me to whom I am today. And to answer your question ha-ha, I listen to all kinds of metal, but black metal is the one that gives me peace in mind and helps me to release all the anger inside my head.
Rocket: That is awesome. On vocals, who are some of your biggest influences? Past or present.
Gorgoth: In the past I loved Fernando Ribeiro in Moonspell, Jon Nödtveidt in Dissection and Satyr in Satyricon. But today I'm more influenced by myself and my life I guess. But of course I really love Attila Csihar, Mortuus, Caligula and Peter Tägtgren. But I don’t know, I believe that you can be influenced to a level where you try to sound like someone else. But when you grow older and find yourself, you also find your own voice and how it’s best for you to sing.
Rocket: Jon was such a talent and will be greatly missed. Besides singing, you also handle half of the guitar attack for Vanmakt. How long have you been playing?
Gorgoth: On the demo I’m playing all the guitars! He he, just so everybody knows ha-ha. I have played the guitar seriously since I was like 17 I guess, but I think that I started to fondle the strings already when I was 14, but I didn’t have the patience to learn how play at that age. Today I can’t let the guitar go, it’s my precious, my beloved and my life.
Rocket: What kind of guitar are you playing live and in the studio?
Gorgoth: Isn’t it wrong of me to answer this question?
Rocket: Absolutely not. Haha. I love talking about instruments. I think that is something that lacks in most metal interviews is the fact that all that's talked about is the trivial bullshit, you know? Like what did you do to your groupies on last tour kind of mindless questions. We know what they do to the groupies, man. Haha. But let's talk about the music and the incredibly made instruments that create that music. Plus, I think I have many younger guitar students that look up to most my interview subjects as a teacher. Someone that can perhaps act in some way shape or form as a mentor or guide. Music is a cold world. You're mainly studying all alone when you begin and all you have is whatever you can find for study guides. Which isn't much, most notably on the subject of hard rock or metal. So that's certainly always been my driving intent with the work that I do here. Well, besides being a general pain in the ass. Haha. But I do think that talking about your instrument helps others learn. Because usually actual technique tips emerge that can help them get a better insight as to what quality in design is all about. This is a very big deal I feel if we are going to also break these stupid myths that metalers are not intellectuals or artists. This is a chance for my subject to show that there is more to just this apparent 'devil worshiper' music. That is indeed an art form. Like Jazz or Opera.
Gorgoth: Well, I’m using my ESP Eclipse for both purposes and the choice is simple; an awesome guitar with the best microphones in the market for this kind of music, and it feels totally awesome to play! I love every moment I must say! But, well… If anyone wants to endorse Vanmakt or me I can have this interview deleted! Ha-ha.
Rocket: And what kind of amp rig?
Gorgoth The one and only ENGL Fireball! But on the demo I’m using Amplitube, it’s easier to mix when I can change the sound exactly how I want it. But live it’s an ENGL Fireball, and maybe for the record, I haven’t decided yet. Got to do the record and listen before I can choose.
Rocket: I see.
Gorgoth: I'm totally available for Endorsement here as well!
Rocket: Vanmakt recently signed to Pulverised Records label. “Diaboli Iubeo, Para Vindicta” is the 4 songs demo that made it all happen. What exactly does “Diaboli Iubeo, Para Vindicta” mean?
Gorgoth: "The Devil commands you, arm for vengeance”.
Rocket: Alrighty then. That'll whip your average metaler into a frenzy! I love that!: "The Devil commands you, arm for vengeance".
Actually it's pretty damn frightening if you think about it. Imagine waking up in the morning and going to brush your teeth you see the immediate reflecton of a demon looking back at you from the mirror upon your first gaze and it hisses at you in a low raspy voice: "The Devil commands you, arm for vengeance". Man, I think just about anyone would shit themselves! Haha. And now how excited are you guys to be on Pulverised? This is clearly one of the top black metal labels around.
Gorgoth: We are very excited to be working with Pulverised Records. It was the first label to contact us, and well if I’m going to be honest they were the only label we wanted to work with! We had a couple of offers, and we were offered more money by other labels than we got from Pulverised, but Pulverised just felt perfect for us. I mean, look and listen to their roster! Damn there are a lot of good bands! Roy has been really cool to work with and if I have a question, I get an answer. I’m just glad that we have a label that believes in us and that wants to show Vanmakt to the rest of the world!
Rocket: Vanmakt is currently working on its debut full length set to release in the first half of 2007. Now you have made it clear that this band plans to bring Black metal back to the approach that was originally intended for it. What do you mean by that? Are you speaking of keeping it more along the traditional lines of Dissection and not a more synth/pop'd out Cradle Of Filth sound? By the way, I never could figure how Cradle made it so big. I guess they have a good live show or something. All I know is they're music on recording sounds like a really bad horror film soundtrack. Dissection on the other other hand, totally genius in their art form and simply brilliant writers... and I look forward to hearing new material from them since Jon left us.
Gorgoth: I just want to start with saying that Cradle Of Filth sucks!
Rocket: Brother, finally someone else that supports me on this! Thank you!!
Gorgoth: Sure I listened to them when, Dusk and her embrace, Vempire and Midian surfaced and I like those records but damn, its not black metal.
Rocket: That's what I say! It's more like Rob Zombie doing black metal!! Too much synth and those over produced vocals. Every time hear newer Rob Zombie stuff it really makes me cringe. And that's not a good thing.
Gorgoth: The new Cradle Of Filth records sucks and I can’t understand what kind of people that buys that shit!
Rocket: Well, obviously not Rocket and Gorgoth, that's who! Haha.
Gorgoth: Well, were going to bring back the original approach and not to some fucked up pop shit.
Rocket: Yeah, I think it's time we make this stand for black metal right now. Is everyone with me and Gorgoth on this?
Gorgoth: I’m the only songwriter in Vanmakt and its pretty much up to me how the songs will sound.
I listen to Black/Death/Goth/Trash/Doom/Metal and well, the foundation of Vanmakt is always going to be Blackmetal, pure hatred and disgust but I want to pick the good sides of every single genre I listen to. Sure, a melodic trash riff wouldn’t work but Doom and Death will. I don’t want to be a “true” blackmetal dude that has to write songs that sounds like everyone else or that must be “true”. For me blackmetal stands for hatred, anti theology and to be whom you are. I am who I am and therefore I’m writing blackmetal in my own way, mixing Doom, death and other mixtures of metal on a big foundation of blackmetal. I would like to say that Vanmakt is starting a new wave of Satanic music based on hatred and shattered feelings. Were writing music to all those people out there that suffers to the Christian and religious delusion. All the people that feel that they are outside the world called civilisation. The sons and daughters that don’t know where to turn when their lives get messed up. Vanmakt is writing music with a message about solidarity between us the dark people and us the outsiders! We want to stand tall and support the true left hand path! This was a tricky question but I hope you're going to understand what I mean.
Rocket: Oh, I follow you. You just mentioned the true 'left hand path'. What is your definition of a Satanist?
Gorgoth: Strong, pure, enlightened, peaceful and a true believer of their own nature. I don’t mean pure as in a racist aspect. I mean pure as in a strong and pure mind. A Satanist doesn’t go around smashing gravestones, spitting on priest or burn churches. A Satanist could be anyone. It doesn’t matter if you wear black or white. You don’t have to listen to blackmetal or have black hair. A Satanist is a person that is strong enough to believe in themselves as their own God and by that don’t care about what other people think or say about him/her.
Rocket: Well, I guess that makes Rocket about as Satanic as they come! Hail yeah!! Very cool definition. Listen, my friend, It was a very good year for metal in 2006. What was your personal favorite album?
Gorgoth: Whoa, this is a hard question. Haha.
Rocket: Hey, if metal were easy. We'd have long haired, ripped pants wearing metal heads walking all around the malls and streets of America instead of the mindless mascara toting, 'I hate my parents and want to die' emo trendsters that are there now. Oh, how we can dream though, right? Haha.
Gorgoth: It has been a really great year and a lot of bands have released great albums. Dissection, Katatonia, Vader, Zarathustra, Daylight Dies, Belphegor and so forth. But I guess that Dissections – Reinkaos and Katatonias – The Great Cold Distance is one of the absolute best albums this year!
Rocket: You know I've been doing a lot of scouting overseas as of late, and I must say that I am flatout astonished at how many good metal bands there are say in Europe and other countries out there. I do believe American metal from an underground standpoint is in pretty good shape, but it doesn't stand up to what I'm hearing from France, Sweden, Australia, Finland.. to name a few. It's like you guys 'do' take the tradition part of it much more literal. Where as here, in America we try to gimmick it up, water it down to be more accepted by having a more commercial pop sensibility blended into the metal, whereas you guys I find could care less about radio play or making MTV. Can you please expand on that?
Gorgoth: Well, I guess that as you say, we don’t care about hitting the radio or MTV. Metal in Europe is an underground thing and I guess everyone wants to keep it that way. There are some bands like In Flames and so forth that are taking it to the next level. But the underground scene is totally amazing! Bands like Zarathustra from Germany, Blodsrit from Sweden and so on are fuckin amazing. If I’m going to be honest again I don’t believe that the metal bands from America has found their own style yet. Their just trying to sound like European bands but with this commercial shit involved. I hate that, a good band doesn’t have to have a hit on the radio, a good band doesn’t care about making money, that’s just a good side of the business. I guess there are a lot of good bands in America too, but they don’t reach out to us on this side of the ocean. One new band from America that I believe in I Daath, I’m really looking forward to hear their debut album!
Rocket: Yeah, a lot of people want to hear that one. Man, they have some kind of a PR team. I hear and read about Daath all over the place. So, I know as you said that you guys are working on the new album but are there absolutely any upcoming gigs for Vanmakt in your homeland between now and end of January 2007?
Gorgoth: No, we're gonna get there. Bit now w'e're just going to focus all on the recording of “Vredskapta Mörkersagor” and after that were going to rehearse the songs like hell, and after that were hoping on doing some gigs! We have talked to some other great Swedish bands about doing some gigs together, we just have to wait and see what happens!
Rocket: Well, forgive me if I keep hitting a dead horse here but that leads me to ask about possibly touring the United States after the album drops. IN AETERNUM is going to be back here for the first time in six years. Does Vanmakt have any of these like plans?
Gorgoth: Well, we are totally available after the release of our album! We would love to tour the states! I guess our biggest fans are from America so that would be great!
Rocket: Then it's settled. Vanmakt will do America! Now we'll just figure out a way to make it happen! Thanks very much for your time on this, Gorgoth. I wish you nothing but good luck on it all. Please give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Gorgoth: Thanks for that my friend! Stay true to yourselves and believe in yourselves! Keep supporting Vanmakt, we're no better than you guys let us be! Satanic Hails!
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