THE DEMO CORNER
This interview was conducted by Philip A. Wickstrand with vocalist/guitarist David Disanto and drummer Blake Anderson at Backspace in Portland, OR on February 15, 2012.
Has Heavy Artillery ever released anything less than good? So far the answer has been no. Plenty of great bands have found their way to what is one of the best labels of the last few years and one of HA’s best acts is VEKTOR. Having released two albums for the label thus far, VEKTOR has made a name for itself quickly with some awe inspiring technical thrash. Further, if they’re this good after only two albums, who knows how much better they can be in a few years time?
Phil: First off, how’s the tour been so far?
David: Excellent. We had some really good shows so far, like Denver’s fucking awesome. All the shows have been great so far.
Blake: Everything’s been really smooth; can’t complain.
David: Yeah, we just got our new booking agent, Nathan at Nanotear.
Blake: Everything’s much smoother now compared to the past.
David: So much better, so much smoother than when we were taking care of it on our own.
Blake: Now we’re smooth sailing and everything’s going well.
Phil: Yeah, Nate’s a pro; he always does good work.
David: Nate’s the man; we love Nate. It’s cool - we finally got to hang out with him in Portland two days ago, it’s the first we actually got to sit down and kick it. Really good dude; we’re really glad we can have him on our team. He’s awesome.
Phil: Tell our readers a little bit about your new album, Outer Isolation.
David: Hmmm… where to begin? [laughs] It’s definitely a step up from Black Future.
Blake: The teenage version!
David: The what? [laughs] Production is phenomenal; we really spent a lot of time just nailing our parts. In Black Future I can kinda hear some tempo fluctuations, but the new album is just precise.
Blake: There’s a lot more perfectionism compared to the last one.
David: It was kind of a growing and learning experience.
Phil: How did you approach writing this time versus Black Future?
David: Well, with this album I kind of wanted to add more aggressive elements into the music, kinda just expand on the fast playing and the things we experimented a lot with in Black Future, but just taking it to the next level as far as speed and precision. I think I’ve kind of evolved as a song writer and we’ve all evolved as musicians. We’re finding our style and exploring our own realm. The songs are just more focused; they have more of a purpose now, the lyrics within the songs flow very well with the riffs. I guess this album, I went into it writing, I just wanted a more cohesive album and then these guys have obviously all progressed light years since Black Future, so it’s easy to hear, after they add all their elements into the sound, it just became this really cool… it just became the VEKTOR sound, I guess. I write all the songs, but it’s not a VEKTOR song until these guys all add their bits.
Blake: What’s kind of cool too is that, as you probably already know, there’s a couple of older songs, but kind of reworked, tweaked up, changed and tightened up and put on the new album. So that was a lot of fun. It’s sort of a different thing than we usually do as far as writing songs ‘cause we got to take something old and kind of reevaluate and take our current ability level and playing style and add it to some older stuff and change it up. It was a lot of fun doing those too.
Phil: What do you think are the strongest points of the album overall?
Blake: I really am fond especially of the first and last tracks personally. I think those two; they’re sort of the longs ones, which is sort of where we shine, I think, sometimes when we have a lot of time and room to really explore something. You can kind of explore a lot of styles within one song and that’s why I like playing the long ones. Those two, the title track Outer Isolation is definitely a favorite of mine - it’s really fun to play; it’s just interesting to listen to. It’s hard to say.
David: I like the first track and the last track probably too.
Blake: I’m not sick of it yet. [laughter]
David: I like them all, but definitely the first one is just fucking pure adrenaline, like non-stop, unrelenting the whole way through.
Blake: I think using that as the opener made it strong.
David: A lot of people were like “Oh, it’s pretty ballsy opening with a ten minute song” and then they hear it and they’re like “Oh, okay - I get it.”
Blake: Not only that, but the thing with the clean arpeggio and all these weird sounds… I guess it’s not that weird but the other one people seem to be latching onto is “Tetrastructural Minds;” that one seems to be a fan favorite lately. I suppose that’s a strong point of the album.
Phil: As far as the reception of the album goes, just overall, have you had many people get caught up on the VOIVOD influences and say “Eh, there’s too much of this,” even though you’re not derivative?
David: Well, it’s getting better actually. We had more flak for it back in Black Future and then people… it’s like they see the logo, they’re like “Aaaah, VOIVOD ripoff!” and if they don’t check us out, that’s what they’re gonna think. But as soon as they listen to our music, they’re like, “Okay, these guys are way different.”
Blake: Part of that will probably just be time passing, you know? It’s like, you see the logo, “Oh, looks like VOIVOD, F that!” But after a while you start to hear ‘em and see ‘em more and more and obviously we’ll start sounding less and less like VOIVOD as we progress as well, even though we don’t much anyways. That’s probably something that’ll probably die out over time. Hopefully. [laughter] As we develop our own kind of identity.
David: We’d hate to change the logo.
Blake: It’s kind of a shame that it gets talked about as much as it does; we’d rather it was just about the music, you know? But what can you do?
Phil: I understand you guys are going to be relocating from Arizona; where are you going to be headed?
David: Philadelphia. East Coast. A lot of good friends and fans over there. We’re just sick of living out in the middle of nowhere in the desert. It was really hard to get started in Phoenix and I think we could have really exploded into the Thrash Metal scene a lot quicker than we did. But we’re just ready for a change of scenery. A little bit faster pace of life, I guess, and we’re ready to do a lot more touring. It’s hard to get a tour going from Phoenix ‘cause the closest town is L.A. and that’s like a six, seven hour drive, so the East Coast, we’ll be able to do a lot more mini-tours, just up and down the coast, kind of heading into the Mid-West and we’ve toured the West pretty well by now but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop or anything.
Blake: Obviously we’ll still be around. I think we just need a change. I feel like the band will pretty much be fine wherever we go; it’s kind of a personal… tired of things.
Phil: Will you miss the saguaro cactus?
David & Blake: No. [laughter]
David: We’ve been looking at those since birth, so. The thing I really won’t miss is the jumping cholla cactus.
Blake: The hundred and twenty degree summers. There are plenty of things we won’t miss about Arizona. [laughs]
David: The jumping cholla cactuses… you’ll just be walking around and all of a sudden you’ll think you get bit by a rattlesnake or something, you look on your leg and it’s just this ball of cactus sticking out from your leg. Don’t even know where it came from. [laughs]
Phil: Recommend a book for our readers and then explain why you recommend that particular work.
Blake: I was just reading one… [pause] I seriously can’t remember the name. Do you have one?
David: I’m actually not a reader of books. [laughs] I like magazines, I like scientific journals. I kind of like to make up my own fantasy imagery in my own head. I’m kind of big on movies, like sci-fi movies like Blade Runner, all the ‘80s apocalyptic movies. But I’ve never been a big fan of reading fiction; I just don’t like spending that much time… I’d rather be playing my guitar and writing songs, basically.
Blake: If I’m reading, generally I read stuff like non-fiction. I remember reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins four or five years ago. That was a really awesome book. It’s probably old news by now but it was really cool. I read some comic type stuff; I just picked up a couple called Irredeemable, which is about this super hero who becomes a super villain and it looks really fascinating. I haven’t really started it yet but it looks really cool and I’ve heard good things, so I’m stoked to check that one out.
Phil: Okay, is there anything else you guys would like to add?
David: Sci-fi or die!!!
Interviewer: Philip A. Wickstrand
March 31, 2012
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Nucleus Demo (2003)
Demolition Demo (2006)
Hunger for Violence Demo (2007)
Black Future (2009)
Outer Isolation (2011)
David Disanto: Vocals & Guitars
Erik Nelson: Guitars
Frank Chin: Bass
Blake Anderson: Drums
Philadelphia, PA USA
Label: Heavy Artillery Records
Genre: Progressive Thrash Metal
PHOTO BY PHIL A. WICKSTRAND
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