VULTURE (EN)

-Hello, thank you so much for answering to our interview. How’s everything going in the band’s camp? What’s keeping you busy?

Hey! Thank you for having us. Since the release of the new album draws near, we are very much occupied with a lot of promotional duties as well as finishing a last music video and we also use the time to write new material pretty much constantly.

-You are about to unleash your newest album, “Dealin’ Death”. You worked on it before the first covid measures took place and it sees the light of day during the pandemic (the “end” of it seems to be drawing nearer though). Has this record become some sort of haven for you? A form of escapism?

When the whole pandemic thing started our plan for 2020 was very much set and the first few months were entirely blocked for pre-productions and the recording of the album so it hit us at quite a fortunate point since we were able to work according to said plan, apart from some minor inconveniences. After the recordings it became apparent that our planned festival shows for 2020 were about to be cancelled so we took some time off and used the rest to work towards the release. So I wouldn’t necessarily call it an escape but it sure kept us busy and we had something to look forward to, a silver lining on the horizon. 

-I’ve read this was the first time since the EP that you worked without any pressure. Where did that previous pressure come from?

Photo by Lea Heindl

I think that was entirely on us. The demo was very well received so we of course felt urged to deliver on an album scale as well. But there is no book to tell you how to do so haha.
We wanted to stay true to ourselves without repeating the same thing over and over. Thoughts like that lead to discussions and well… pressure.
Then on “Ghastly Waves …” the time frame was very tight since we got a fixed studio date 7 months before the recording with only one finished song in hand.

-Would you say this “smoother” way of working is a result of these years of experience as a band playing and working together?

That might be a big part, yes. Creatively it just was a way more fluid process and since we had 3 songs already finished when “Ghastly Waves …” was released there was a lot more space and time to let everything and ourselves breathe. This helped us to schedule a much more efficient timeframe without choking off the creative process.

-I guess a debut album might be like a self-knowing experience, a second one a way to improve what you didn’t like from the first opus and a third album maybe a step closer to your actual sound. Is this your case? Is the quest for your own kind of sound a constant process?

I think the Vulture essentials were already there right from the beginning but of course we’re constantly adding concepts and ideas that come up. This time we really took a long and evaluating look back to find the right path. Everything between the demo and “Ghastly Waves…” happened so fast that I think we sometimes lost the view for what Vulture should really be about. So we worked towards a slight course correction with the new record and I think it worked out pretty well.

– VULTURE is a band that always provides a sense of wholeness. You seem to also focus on the menacing, dark aesthetic. What do you want to project with your aesthetics?

Photo by Lea Heindl

For all of us music is always paired with a certain aesthetic, be it album covers or band photos. So of course we have the aspiration to deliver on all those levels as well. We always take full control over anything related to layout or artworks so everything you hear, see or feel on our records is backed by one collective vision. 

-How is the process of building this big picture like? What does come first (themes, sound…)?

At first it’s just one big pile of hodgepodge haha, rough ideas, riffs, themes, fragments of song titles, everything someone came up with once. Then Stefan starts to work out the riffs a little more, we decide on a title to forge a chorus around it and so on. When a song is finished Stefan and I work on the lyrics and I think that’s also the part where we start to form visual concepts for artworks, designs and everything else. But of course it’s not always the same.
When the album is recorded, mixing starts, we are getting the commissioned artworks and start to design the layouts, that is really when everything falls into place and you start to see the whole picture.

-You have also always had that dark, menacing atmosphere rounded up with horror references. Where does this horror inspiration come from? Any favourite books or movies? Any other kind of art?

We’re all huge fans of horror literature, movies and art in general, especially from their respective classic eras. This is a sheer endless well of inspiration for us on every level. Some favorites would be Lovecraft, Hope Hodgson, pretty much every movie Vincent Price did, the Hammer Horror films and recently I grew very fond of the art by Zdzisław Beksiński.

-Anyway not everything on this album seems to deal with horror fiction. From what perspectives do you approach horror on “Dealin’ Death”? And what where some of the specific things that inspired some of the songs?

Some of the songs of course tell our own little stories like “Count your blessings” which is about a shady priest, killing people in a confessional. But most of the songs reference tales and stories or are very loose interpretations of those. “Gorgon” is based on the Medusa from Greek mythology, “Flee the Phantom” is based on the series “Belphegor” and “Court of Caligula” paints a very exaggerated picture of the living and dying of the infamous Roman emperor.
“Dealin’ Death” takes direct reference to the movie “The Pit and the Pendulum “ from 1961, initially we wanted the song to be opened by a quote from the movie but there was no way to get the copyright to do so sadly.

-Musically there are a few new elements, like some choirs. Were you consciously trying to experiment with new things?

There were already some hints of those choirs on “Ghastly Waves…” but this time we placed them more effectively and more pronounced I would say. It’s an element on which we all agreed would make a fitting addition to the overall Vulture soundscape.

-It seems like you’re trying to avoid self-repetition without straying from the path. What are the elements you need to keep to remain VULTURE-like?

That’s really hard to put in words, over the years we developed a feeling for what fits into Vulture and what doesn’t. Overall I think it’s the contrast of mean riffs that leave you hanging sometimes followed by a melodic, sometimes haunting, payoff in the second half. If it makes you feel slightly uneasy and restless, it’s Vulture-like haha

-There’s also a good equilibrium between more technical, complex elements and catchy choruses and an overall straight-forward approach. Was it a challenge to achieve this good balance? Was it one of your goals when writing this record?

Thank you! Yes, that was definitely the goal that was towering over the whole process. With “Ghastly Waves…” we felt that we kinda lost a few listeners in the over exaggerated bridge parts and arrangements, so we made sure to get right to the point this time and bury the songs into people’s minds with a catchy chorus or two. We also found out that writing a catchy song is just as hard as writing an overly complex one haha 

-In fact I’d say that’s a very old school approach to the songwriting, a little bit à la MERCYFUL FATE to name just one band. What motivates you to go for this kind of songwriting? What elements from this era in Metal do you take or push you forward with your music?

Photo by Lea Heindl

Mercyful Fate sure are a huge influence on us in a lot of ways. Not only the eerie riffs and overall atmosphere but also the theatrical, high pitched vocal style of King Diamond.
Apart from the obvious influences from 80’s Speed and Thrash Metal bands from all over the world we draw a lot of inspiration from 70’s bands especially Deep Purple, Diamond Head or early Judas Priest with their dual lead guitars that really laid the foundation for everything that followed after.

– All this about “Dealin’ Death” being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?

Dangerous – Precise – Deadly

-And finally what’s next for VULTURE in these uncertain times?

Hard to say, I just hope that we will all be vaxxed up soon so we will be able to see each other again more regularly and can celebrate the release of the new record.

– That’s all from our side, thanks again for your time. If you’d like to add some final words, feel free to do it.

Thank you too!
Stay safe, stay healthy and support your local record stores and venues!

Tania Giménez

Tania@queensofsteel.com

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