Wednesday, June 17, 2015

VHS Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Mike (guitar/vocals): Hey man! Thanks for doing this interview first and foremost. Basically VHS came together through three guys who have known each other for years but have never played music together. I've known Andy (drums) and Jimmy (bass) for a long time and while our bands have played shows together, this is the first project we have all played together in. When the idea for VHS came up, I demoed a few songs and sent them to the guys and everything just kind of fell into place. VHS is a lot of fun and playing music with these two dudes is super relaxed. The music has been turning out even better than we could have ever anticipated.   

2.Recently you have released a demo, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

Rewind or Die essentially started out as a rehearsal demo but actually turned out I think much better than the three of us anticipated. We recorded the tracks live off the floor and then I added vocals and we managed to capture a lot of energy and the feel of the band came together really quickly. If I had to describe the demo I'd say it's definitely a throwback to the 80's and early 90's. I wouldn't say we consciously tried to leave out modern influences, but at the end of the day I've always loved the early days of death metal that still had a lot of thrash in the mix. Actually you said something in your review which I think really nails the band on the head. You said we could have existed 25 years ago and that really speaks to what we are trying to accomplish with this band. In a nutshell I'd say the music on the demo is fast, catchy and bloody.

3.Your lyrics cover a lot of horror movie subjects and you also refer to your musical style as 'horror metal', can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in horror.

Horror is pretty much an integral part of my being! I've been a fan of horror since I was probably 8 or 9 and still am a diehard fan to this day. I've been playing music for a long time as well and have always wanted to have a band that was solely about horror movies thematically. Basically the lyrics are homage's to all of my favorite movies or movies that fit the overall feel of the band. We tend to stick to 80's horror for VHS but I'm a huge fan of horror from every decade. I've always been a big Italian horror fan. There's just something about the way the gore, the music and the atmosphere of the movies came together that made them special. That said, if the movie has practical effects, a cool villain and the right atmosphere, I'll enjoy it regardless of when it was made.     

4.I know that the band name refers to the VHS's of the 80's and 90's and the band also shows an interest in the 80's, do you feel metal or horror has changed a lot since those days?

Horror has definitely changed a lot since the 80's. I definitely would say that my favorite decade for horror was the 80's, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy anything modern. I wouldn't say that I really keep up with all of the newer horror films but there are a few that have surprised me. It Follows was really well done. There is a smaller independent movie called Circus of the Dead which is really well done and very nihilistic. I also really liked High Tension which isn't new by any stretch of the imagination but I thought it captured the gore and dread of classic horror perfectly. And while remakes are usually not really all that well done, I really thought the remake for Evil Dead was super well done. I'm a giant fan of the original films, so I was a little apprehensive but they took it in a more nightmarish direction and the gore was just sick and unsettling. I also really liked the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. I thought it was depressing, dark and just bloody as all hell! Slither, The Descent, and Ginger Snaps I also enjoyed.

One thing I don't like about the direction horror is heading or has been since Grindhouse came out is the fake retro grindhouse feel that directors are tacking on to their movies. Grindhouse was excellent and seeing the double feature in the theater was a really cool cinematic experience. But people are throwing in 70's music, making the film look old and adding in poor attempts at humor. It just drives me nuts and it is just directors trying to cash in on the type of film and feel that Rob Zombie was going for. That said I thought The Devil's Rejects was surprisingly good and much better than his other films.

I think CGI and remakes have really taken horror down a different path than I would have liked. I also really have no interest in the current glut of PG-13 released horror flicks. I need more than a throwaway story and jump scares to keep my interest. 

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We actually haven't played a show yet. The town we are from is a little bit hit or miss as far as metal shows goes. If a well known band comes through town, maybe people will show up, but unknown bands are pretty much just playing to the bar staff. One thing I'd like to point out is that we are definitely a full fledged band. I know there is a stigma that bands that only have recordings and don't play live aren't a real band.  We are most definitely a "band". Like I mentioned before, our demo was recorded live off the floor and we are really firm believers in feel. This is what we sound like and what we would sound like live, it's that simple.

6. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

I don't really foresee VHS becoming a touring band. We all have families and jobs, and to be honest I don't think this band is looking to be a touring band. Bands that tour really end up becoming a product and the overall musical output usually suffers. Right now we are looking at doing some select shows throughout the year I guess. We are looking at something around Halloween probably, but this band exists more because of the love of playing music as opposed to playing shows. I don't feel like we need to try to play for people to win them over. If people like us, that's awesome, but I don't think playing in front of 15 disinterested people will get our music out to the right people that would appreciate it.  

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for label or have received any interest?

We haven't received any label interest as of yet, but we are a really new band so that isn't all that surprising. Would we be interested in working with a smaller label? Absolutely. I think once we get the ball rolling and the demo circulates we will see what happens. I'd love to do a split with a like minded horror influenced metal band or bands. That said, we aren't doing this to try to get signed and we will continue to put out music in the future.   

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of death metal and grindcore?

People seem to be really digging what we are doing with VHS. There are a lot of maniacs out there that prefer a more old school sound and while it isn't really conscious on our part, we seem to have a sound that people enjoy due to it. It's rewarding that people understand what we are going for. We could have tuned down our guitars, played to a click and done what was fashionable these days, but that's not what are all about. We just want to strip things down to their barest and people seem to be responding to that. Surprisingly no hate mail as of yet, but the demo just came out so maybe once it spreads a bit more the trolls will come out from their holes. But overall the response to the band has been excellent and much better than I think the three of us anticipated.

9.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We are definitely planning on having a full length done at some point this year. Before that though, we are going to spread around our current demo and work on the follow up demo which is tentatively called Rewind or Die 2: VHS' Revenge. We have a lot more material to demo want to get everything recorded and set in stone before we hit the studio to do a more full blown recording. I think we have 6 or 7 songs that will be on the second demo. A sneak peak of some of the movies, we will have songs about A Nightmare of Elm St, Halloween, The Beyond, Nightmare Beach, Burial Ground and while it is a stretch there is even a song about Robocop. That's sort of a horror movie, isn't it?  

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

It's hard to say who specifically influenced VHS. I never really sat down and thought about what we wanted the band to sound like, I just picked up my guitar and these are the riffs that came out of me. I think the stuff that influenced me the most were probably old death metal and thrash. I'm a huge fan of bands like Impetigo, Necrophagia, and Rigor Mortis as far as horror influenced metal is concerned. I'm also a really big fan of Autopsy and old Swedish death metal. The earlier releases from Razorback Records were also a big influence I would say. Ghoul, Engorged, Splatterhouse and pretty much everything the label released during that time was amazing and really inspires me. I think a lot of the older bands are what made us decide to play in a higher tuning. We really liked the razor sharp feel of thrash and wanted to heaviness to come from the riffs themselves and not from using a ridiculously low tuning.

I'm also a big fan of punk and power violence and I think some of the simplicity and energy comes across in VHS.

As far as current metal, I really don't have much interest in the hyper technical super polished death metal style happening right now. Surprise, surprise, I'm more of an old school guy. That said, I do really enjoy Cropsy Maniac, Boneyard, The Grotesquery, Cardiac Arrest, and the latest Death Curse album is pretty awesome as well! 

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Besides watching too many movies, my time is pretty much devoted to my family. I have a very supportive wife and two awesome kids. I'm lucky to be in a relationship with a person who understands my love for horror and metal and is very encouraging. I also play far too many video games, but that addiction has subsided a little bit lately as I've been using my spare time to watch "inspiration" for VHS. I've also just recently started writing again. I used to have a few 'zines that I ran, Engulfed in Gore, and Unbound Zine, but haven't been writing in a while. I started a horror blog called Hairspray and Bloodspray, that is going to focus on interviews and reviews of horror flicks. Check it out!

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Just want to say thanks for the interview once again. It is truly appreciated that you are helping to spread the word about VHS. And to everyone out there that still enjoys death metal without the bells and whistles of the modern era, check us out!

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