"some music was meant to stay underground..."


Interview with Vladr of Vanmakt

Sweden's VANMAKT are a black metal band that, that like so many coming up from the underground scene today around them, have found the newest form from the past decade or so now of this great metal sub-genre, to be wholly over-produced, synth'd out to the max and just plain watered down by the likes of big time acts such as Cradle of Filth. They have recently signed on with Singapore's Pulverised Records and are scheduled soon to release their debut album entitled: ”Vredskapta Mörkersagor”. And any black metal fan that is worth their salt needs to at least hear what these guys are up to, for I truly believe this band and many others off the greatly respected Pulverised label are going to set a new standard in the sound of pure evil for many years to come. I got some new Q&A in with their unholy menace on the four strings, Vladr.

Rocket: Are you a native of Sweden?

Vladr: Yes, I was born and raised in Sweden.

Rocket: When did you first start playing bass guitar?

Vladr: I began to play in my early teens, around sixteen, with a punk rock band.

Rocket: Very cool. That makes two of us!

Vladr: But I’m actually a guitarist in the first place.

Rocket: Okay. I see. Very interesting.

Vladr: But in this town there is a shortage of bass players...

Rocket: Haha. You won't get that in that here in the United States. Haha. That's for damn sure! Haha.

Vladr: So I picked up the bass and all the sudden I was invited to play in several bands. So I ended up in a death metal band called Deprived, And it was in that band I met Gorgoth for the first time, he was the lead singer. And we got along very well, so that was that, and from that on I´ve been a metal bass player.

Rocket: Do you play with your fingers, a pick, or both?

Vladr: Well I use a pick. I think it has to do with my punk rock background, back then you where just supposed to mangle your bass as hard as you could. So I never really got that nice touch with my fingers, and I do think you get a very “mean” sound using a pick, and that´s good considering that I´m playing black metal.

Rocket: That's a subject we could go back and forth on for sure. Who are some of your biggest playing incluences?

Vladr: Well I´m not a guy who has many influences at all, Rocket. Especially when it comes to bass players.

Rocket: Honestly, man. That's the most fascinating thing I've heard in a very long time. Please elaborate.

Vladr: I think it´s more interesting to find a unique way of playing your instrument, rather than using other musicians styles and ways of playing.

Rocket: Mind blowing shit. And having played bass for nearly twenty years now myself, brother... I thank you for dropping that nugget of hella wisdom on everyone. Though, my true metal warrior soul itself , compounded by the very fact that I am a demonseed finger plucker, I already knew this shit! Haha. It kind of forced me to look at things that way long ago. Though I have studied Cliff Burton and Geezer Butler like the own damn back of my hand. Getcha pull now! Haha. What kind of basses are you playing live and in the studio?

Vladr: I only use one bass in Vanmakt, an ESP Horizon, both in the studio, as well as live. So if the ESP management reads this, please send me some more basses, I promise to use them.

Rocket: Right on. What kind of amp rig?

Vladr: I don´t see how anyone could be interested in this but...

Rocket: No disrespect, but I don't see how you could possibly make that statement to be straight up, dude. Haha. Most of my worldwide readership, which mind you, numbers in the literal thousands upon thousands daily here, are made up of primarily young music students trying to find their way. They look to us for guidance and knoweldge, in an almost starved way, not just in how to deal with all the fucking bullshit that the business hands a struggling musician daily, but playing techniques, songwriting approach, equipment choices... etc.

Vladr: I use one Carlsbro 100w amp and/or a 100w Pevey amp, connected with a stack of 1x15” and a 2x10” custom made cabinets.

Rocket: Now we're talking. Haha. All I'm asking from anyone around this bitch is some 'truth', that's all. Now Gorgoth explains that your upcoming debut album “Vredskapta Mörkersagor” off the Pulverised Records label is a concept album. Metal fans certainly seem to embrace those types of offerings in a major way, for it seems to give the metal music listener more depth to the literal meaning of the content they hear, like Queensryche's seminal work of the 80's, Operation Mindcrime. Which centered ultimately on a character named Nikki, who was an anti-hero charged with murdering political and religious leaders. Briefly, what is the concept behind your album?

Vladr: First of all, I would like to agree with the fact that the metal fans love a sphere of mystiqe and dark contents in the lyrics.

Rocket: I didn't become a living legend at this shit without knowing what the hell I'm talking about. Though I certainly appreciate and honor your recognition on that... go ahead.

Vladr: Rocket, on our album we´ve decided to follow up the old scroll of the nine keys to the gate of hell, which will unleash all of Satans fury against the christian souls.

Rocket: Lovely. The kinda shit that marinates mine and so many others blackened souls. So, let's get a little more background on you and the band. I know we touched on it a bit earlier... but how exactly did you initially join up with Vanmakt?

Vladr: Well, as I said, I first met with Gorgoth when I joined the band “Deprived”, but after a while the band split, and we all went different ways, then in the summer of ‘06 me and Gorgoth decided to start a blackmetal band, and so we did. The result became a four song demo released in october. And ever since Gorgoth and me has been working on the full-length album called “Vredskapta Mörkersagor”.

Rocket: Last year was an explosive one for heavy metal worldwide as the most dedicated to
the genre are well aware. What one album was your personal favorite?

Vladr: My personal favorite album from last year is without doubt, Dark Funeral´s – Attera Totus Sanctus, It really blew my mind with their new and more melodic songs. Especially the song “God Hate” is just a fucking kick in the forehaed.

Rocket: That one and SATYRICON's "Now, Diabolical" are both incredible works that everyone should certainly check out. Let's talk more about Vanmakt's debut album. Many of us are very excited about what is to come from this. Gorgoth has been great to keep us well informed with updates as the process has furthered toward ultimate completion. But I'd like to get an understanding from your perspective of how you feel things are going? Anyone who has been in an actual music production studio and tried to actually even just cut a demo song, with all the endless takes and mental breakdowns, knows it's a very difficult process. To record a full-length, a concept album mind you, that's going to weigh on any person at some point. Tell me specificaly how the process has been for you looking at it from the outside perspective for a moment, in terms of the way you've played... or maybe how well you don't think you've played in certain parts.. even content issues that you feel aren't where you'd like them.. and still haven't been fixed possibly. Please understand that I'm not trying to stir an internal band fight up here to rival the bullshit going on with Van Halen here in the states...lol.. but I'm immensely fascinated - as are my readers - by the process. And I myself, a bassist as well, have been there... having recorded with my actual blood brother even... and let me clearly admit, while it's a totally liberating and enriching experience... it's one helluva bitch!

Vladr: Oh, fuck me! what a question!!!

Rocket: I told everyone I'm a bad muthafucker at this, didn't I? Haha.

Vladr: First of all I would like to say that it´s really great to hear that so many people are interested in the progress and forthgoing of this album. Of course it´s not always a bed of roses being in a studio for a long period, as you said with a lot´s of retakes and different opinions, you are constantly getting on eachothers nerves ( Gorgoth tried to kill me more than once, and I tried to kill him) and that could be very exhausting.

Rocket: Haha. I can only imagine what's gone down in Vanmakt's studio as of late, brother.

Vladr: But in the end at least I´m very satisfied with the result, both my bass playing and the final completion.

Rocket: And that's what it's all about, man.... the 'end result'. On a lighter note, Gorgoth explains that artist Juanjo Castellano has delivered an incredible cover for “Vredskapta Mörkersagor”. Have you seen it yourself and how do you like it? I would think this is a pretty critical area, this being a concept album and there needing to be a lot of 'layered symbolism' or 'hidden explanations' in its design.

Vladr: Yeah, I´ve seen it and I fucking love it. Juanjo is absolutly great, he has captured the perfect emotions and dark mystiqe for the “Vredskapta Mörkersagor” album. I don´t want to talk to much about the symbolism and hidden explanations, this is Gorgoths area, but I can tell you, that the cover is full of hidden symbols and explanations.

Rocket: That's so kick ass to hear. I knew there would be. Now I knowthere's a lot of great offers coming this band's way now, centering around the buzz on your debut album, What are some of the upcoming shows/festivals Vanmakt is going to be involved in?

Vladr: At this moment Vanmakt has been booked to headline a death/black metal festival in Linköping Sweden on the 12th of May, and at the Uterock Festival in Bräkne-Hoby the 26th of May, so we are very exited and looking forward to these gigs. And to the readers check out our website www.myspace.com/vanmakt for further information.

Rocket: Thank you very much for taking the time out to do this with me, Vladr. Best of
luck to Vanmakt in 2007. Go ahead and give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.

Vladr: No, Thank YOU, Rocket. It was a pleasure to answer these question and illuminate your readers and our fans about are fortcoming album “Vredskapta Mörkersagor” I hope you will enjoy the result and buy the record.

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