Exclusive interview – Vattnet Viskar: ”We’re not trying to convince anyone that we’re the next Mayhem”

I kommande Sky Swallower har Vattnet Viskar visat att EP:n från 2012 bara var början för New Hampshire-bandet. Bara Metal har redan uppmärksammat amerikanarna för deras schyssta namnval – här kommer en pinfärsk längre intervju med Chris Alfieri (gitarr).

Bandet ligger numer på Century Media, och deras debutalbum släpps i början av september 2013.

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How did you and Century Media come in touch with each other?

– In 2012 we put out a self-titled EP on a small label. We had no clue that it would become something the metal press really loved. We never were a band that sent our music to labels, we were really just doing our own thing for us.

– From some great reviews and exposure we never even dreamed of, we ended up on Century Media’s radar. We got an email one day from Steve Joh, their head of A&R, and from there it came together pretty quickly. A few months later, we were announcing the signing. Looking back now, it seems so far-fetched still. It still hasn’t hit me.

Then I must ask, what was it like going from ”doing our own thing” and putting music out on the internet to suddenly work with a major metal label and leave the decsions about things like releases to them?

– For a group of guys who have never relied on anyone else, it was a bit of a learning experience. Definitely a much different and eye-opening process. The whole Century Media family is behind us right now, and have been from the start. We never felt pressure from them as far as music direction, the only pressure is from ourselves. To go from independently releasing your own music, to suddenly having a team of 100 people working behind you can be nerve-wracking; you want to succeed, and work hard for them in return.

Where were you when Century Media contacted Vattnet Viskar? Did you have a whole new album ready for an independent release, or did you sort of start over from scratch?

– I was driving to work when we got the first contact from Steve. I had to pull over on the highway and let it sink in. We were really shocked on all fronts. They hit us up about a month after the EP came out.

– We had been touring on the EP so much, that we hadn’t written anything. We wrote Sky Swallower in two weeks in April. Handed it in in May, and now here we are!

– We’re not a band that continuously writes music, it’s just not how we work. Writing takes a lot out of us, it helps and hurts us. We don’t want to regurgitate the usual American black metal staples. We always want to push the limits more and more. But I think that hardship makes us who we are musically. We fear becoming stale. Vattnet will end long before that happens.

And were you nervous sending your newly created music to Century Media? Nervous that they would not like it when they heard Sky Swallower?

– To hand something over, and sit on it for 3-4 months makes you question a lot. Did you write the best you could? Is the album good enough? It can drive you insane! But you gotta have some faith, and let things run their course.

Things seems to have moved on pretty fast for Vattnet Viskar – but I suppose you as individual musicians had a history before this band?

– We’ve all been in touring bands since our teens. I’ve been in this 14 years now. At this point, it’s all we know how to do. The struggle is there, but yes, since forming this band, it has moved extremely fast.

– For us, who have been trying and trying in other musical ventures, for it to come this easy was very weird. But looking back, you do realize you’ve been working hard the whole time, but it just doesn’t feel like work. Eight and ten week tours are rough, but it’s better than letting the 40 hour work week suck the life out of you.

The more calm parts of Sky Swallower (Monarch, As I stared… and the intro to Fog…) – tell us about them!

– The intro of Fog came together in the studio. We take huge issue with the amount of stimulation our society is pounded with hourly, minute-by-minute. I’ve found that most bands don’t exercise patience anymore. That transfers over to the listener over time. The concept that the quiet parts make the loud parts better is something we firmly believe in.

– We wanted to make an album for the people who would get it. If someone thinks it’s boring or too long, then they really don’t get what we’re trying to do. And that’s ok with us. We’d rather know from the start so neither of us waste our time.

– This album has a concept, not in lyrical content, but a feel, a mood. We’re all fans of albums, not songs. We included the separate segues to tie together the ideas put forth in the individual songs. To create one complete idea, one complete listening experience. An album is supposed to make you feel something inside, an emotion, or range of emotions. That was our goal.

Which song is the cornerstone of the album – or your personal favourite?

Breath of the Almighty is my personal favorite currently. It is the one song which encompasses the entire album in my opinion. Live, it’s such a great song to play. We also just produced a video for it with Josh Graham of Neurosis fame. Very excited to release that!

old_logoThat ”unreadable logo” of Vattnet Viskar which appear on the demo – is that gone or still being used? You seem to have a new one judging by Facebook. Tell us your ”logo-story”!

– Our old bassist Alan created our original logo. We got a lot of mileage out of it and it fit us at the time very well. We backed away from that logo only because we wanted something different, more legible, and more general.

– Our sound has changed to the point where black metal only makes up for a small amount. We didn’t want to be pigeonholed as black metal, due to the fact that we all take large issue with the term in regards to us.

– Not because we’re not fans of the genre, but the stigma that is associated with the term is not something that fits us. We’re not satanists, or cvlt or whatever. We’re not a traditional black metal band, so we don’t deserve to have a traditional logo. We’re an American band, and we’re not trying to convince anyone that we’re the next Mayhem. We’re very much ok with doing our own thing.

Name one or two bands in your area or that you’ve played live with that we should know about!

Yellow Eyes from NYC just put out a great new album. Definitely should check that out! Also look out for Black Table. Very cool stuff that has never been done before!!

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