Thursday, October 25, 2012
Vanity Vania Interview with Munnin (by D)
1) When did you start Vanity Vania and why?
I began VanityVania back in 2010 from the ashes of a solo black metal project known as Ravenhelm, however most of the work for the project didn't start much later in the year, more towards 2011. I started VV while I was growing further disdain for the black metal underground. For a while I was heavily involved with the whatever you want to call it in appropriate terminology, but I found a lot of issues with that "scene". I actually began to listening to all kinds of music at that time and a lot of things became more and more of an influence to me and started to further more away from my black metal roots if you will. I got the idea though for the project after finding new love for the opera. I found several bands and projects that attempted to utilize a "metal opera" but always found them to either not be "metal" enough for my liking or severely lacking in good song writing. So originally VV was to be a splicing of my influences of bands like Saint Vitus and Candlemass with the likes of the prog rock band Ayreon. Can't say it has come out to sound like that per say, because I decided to go a route to sound strictly VV.
2) If you had to describe the sound of VV to my readers what would you tell them to expect?
VV a mix of sounds and genres ranging from my musical roots and new experimentations (at least for me, hahahaha). At its core, VanityVania is epic doom metal, much like the bands Solitude Aeternus and Candlemass. However, due to my black metal influences from years passed...there is a blackened element to it, either due to its production values I seem to have in my releases or the shrieks and wails in the vocal department. When I first started the project I wanted to utilize orchestral sections but felt my talents at the time were not to par to utilize them, however, I have become more confident in my abilities to craft orchestral passages. I am also a huge fan of movie scores done for horror films. So, in recent works for VV melds a lot of horror film style gothic orchestration along with this form of blackened doom metal. So to those out there who are about genre tagging, I would call it Symphonic Blackened Epic Gothic Doom Metal. The demo "Reflecting the Suffering" is very old school Candlemass in style and even Sabbathy to a lesser degree, but the newer material in the writing process is shaping up to be creepy, bleak, and gloomy stuff. When I first started improving for the newest song "Graveyard Dirge" I became tensed, goosebumps down my neck and had nightmares the night following, so I do hope it turns out that way for the listeners. In vocal department, I shift from death growls and black metal shrieks/rasps and gothic barritone operatic singing.
3) Is VV available on any merch format such as tape/cd/vinyl or digital medium and where can listeners find it?
As of now the only available release is the debut demo "Reflecting the Suffering" for digital release only, which can be located at http://vanityvania.bandcamp.com/album/reflecting-the-suffering .
I plan on releasing for limited pressing for promotional purposes and for close friends and allies that have followed my work since the beginning. I plan for shirts and patches very soon as well, but being a musician on such a small to non-existent budget impedes on that a lot.
4) If you had a choice of working with other artists who would they be and why? And any collabs lately?
To many to name to be honest. I'd still kill to have the opportunity to work with Rob Darken, Ihsahn and Tom G. Warrior though, which whom are my three all time musical influences or "idols" if you will. There are no current collabs itself going on with VV other than the guest appearances of session member that did collaborations and contributions to the demo. Count Draclecarde, known in the American BM underground for his project Dark Metamorphosis contributed some lead works as well as Scottish death metal drummer Mark Dubanowski of Desecrator and session drummer of Beltane has recorded drum tracks. I have been throwing ideas out there with close friends of mine and projects about collabs though. I do have a atmospheric black metal collaboration with my good friend Mike O'Brien of Melankolia, Gil Gilad, and James the Lesser that is currently in the works.
5) Do you have other projects people should check out?
A now defunct pagan folk black metal project, Ravenhelm. There is old material still around but the albums I released with it are no longer in print and what few copies still circulating I have possession of. I no longer promote this project, and choose not to. If fans want to check it out they can check it out reverbnation or even the old myspace. My musical talents are by far more superior now then what was in any of those releases and I'm kind of embarrassed by them now, hahahahahaha.
I also have an atmospheric black metal project with Mike as I mentioned called, Vesta. This project can be found at its official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/vestaatmosphere. Currently we recorded a very rough studio demo song titled "Pollux" but it not finished and polished.
I also have a punk band in the works, a name yet settled on with and having a hard time keeping members interested. It's an odd mix of black metal and pop punk.
6) How has the reaction been so far to your music?
All positive so far, if we are talking about VV of course. There have been suggestions on where there can be made some improvements to the material out now but so far those who have followed my music since the beginning of Ravenhelm has let it be know its my best work to date. It's still in its infancy and I don't promote very often, so I don't get as much as like due to the nature of a growing fan base.
7) What would you like done in 2013 in your life may it be musical or personal.
Get my damn debut full length finished for one and invest in my own studio, bringing it to he more professional. I need to get back to college, since I been out for a few semester now and want to finish my schooling in audio engineering. However, that won't be done in such a small time frame, 2013 approaches quick after all. Other things I want to accomplish or make reality are on a much more personal level to me that completely has nothin to do with my music, I will just leave it at that.
The band that single handedly that got to a point of picking up a guitar was, Metallica. My love for extreme forms of metal and playing the guitar is because of them. People can say what they will about them, I probably have said it too way too many times, though they inspired me and changed my life when I didn't even care about music or anything at all for that matter. At the same time I also was very big into Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, early Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. These were though to me more gateway acts and musicians to the underground which I am so fond of today. However, some of these acts (i would remove Rob Zombie though) are such a pinnacle to the underground that they helped really start it all.
By the time I started become more interested in the occult and just wanted something heavier and "evil" I discovered Cradle of Filth, became obsessed and then wanted something more obscure though. Cradle though was the band I will admit to still loving, but another gateway drug to the black metal underground. That's when I discovered Burzum, Immortal, and Emperor. They influenced me like never before, when I got into these legends of BM, I knew what I wanted to do musically. When I started with Ravenhelm, Burzum was contributing influence along with Bathory and my personal favorite project, Graveland.
However, I became tired of some of the rather idiocy and lack of intelligence displayed by a lot of the followers of these bands, and not in a political way, just the stupidity that I have found in other "social groups". Things I won't go into, but the "Ave Satan, Hailz!!" BS left me in a place of need for deeper intellectual stimuli and artistic merit. So I was able to find that more so in the doom circle of things, and why I have furthered in sludgier, heavier, slower paced, and darkly esoteric music rather than some one of my closer allies.
9) Vanity Vania has been featured on Metal Kulture Radio dot com a few times and do you enjoy the music played there so far? Good promo or bad promo?
I'm not too sure either way, I just recently just promoting the project myself after it being in existence for two years now. However, any promotion is good to me right now even if someone listens and then gives negative criticism. At least people are talking.
Do I have to? Lol answered it with another question ;)
11) If you had to describe the recording process of Vanity Vania, how does it work best for you and what instruments do you use???
It's usually long and arduous. As I mentioned before, I'm a musician with little money and most of it goes to my personal financial problems and debts. Though it usually starts with some form of improvisational works trying to cum with some riff idea that usually is the core of the song then I write riffs or melodies around that idea. When it comes coming up with riffs, I pull the guitar out for that but I'm not too great at coming up with intriguing or haunting melodies on the guitar so I use the keyboard for that and then later transpose it to guitar.
When in the studio, or whatever you want to call my home set up, I use Guitar Pro to aid in song writing and Notion on my mobile device when I'm away for any extended period of time. On the demo however, most of the material was through heavy use of improvisation so little of it was worked out prior so I really don't remember a bulk of it. Hahahahahaha
Lately I write and tab and notate all music first prior to recording and since I fuck a lot up while playing I want to make sure I know what the hell I'm doing first. And since my keyboard and orchestral tracks are all done via MIDI I can have further control of the final product.
If I'm in the right mood, just fill up on beer and rum, get drunk as fuck or what have you and go at. Something eventually comes to fruition.
12) If you had to recommend or let new artists know before they start making music, any advice, of this or any metal genre what would it be?
To me the genre is irrelevant as long as they are passionate about their craft and art. Genre faithfulls' and purists seem to be the most so. The advise I would give them is simply.....DON'T DO IT!!! Lol. As much as I love doing this, it's my life after all, but you need determination and perseverance to the craft. Much like a fine tuned ritual all parts need to be set into order to detail and takes time get all things right. Years and years go into this. It's not like you will be a wizard overnight. Sleepless nights and severe health issues follow. Lol
But there needs to be more people out there making music, good music, quality music. The likes that is only found in the underground, especially that in extreme forms of metal. Be it black, doom, or death metal....these genres have seen many unique forms of experimentation that comes from kids getting out there and deciding to enter the garage and just jam and have fun. In the end, it's all about the music and the joy (or sorrow and pain) from doing it.
The first full length album will be finished soon, I hope...but I do plan for a small single or EP to promote its release, but before they show light of day I need to get "Reflecting the Suffering" in a printed form. I want to look professional, despite it just being a three track demo.
The single/EP will titled "Graveyard Dirge" that promotes the first track if the upcoming album titled "Into the Fade".
Life has been hell these last few months, a lot has happened in my own personal life that has pushed me further take more interest in VV. the personal suffering I have undergone has though been a true inspiration for the dark art of VV....but I feel that at the end of a desolate road, shadows and the fog will only hold you in suffocating bondage for so long. A light is right down that road, and since I have found something in my life that makes me happy a terrible depression in my life seems like its coming to close. And no, that is not "god" or some other pathetic mindless Christian stupidity either. I'm pagan so I know what I am and stand for and no terrible period in my life will turn me to a desert god or 2000 some year old dead hobo magician.
14) If you have anyone you like to mention before we close up this interview or anything to say at all (shout outs to family, friends, bands, etc) you can do so now and thanks a ton for doing this interview with me I really like your music and see nothing but better results as time goes by! Ave! \m/
Thanks for taking the time for asking me some silly questions. Lol. I would like to think though Mike O'Brien, Melankolia, Marc Hoyland, Daniel Klyne, Appalachian Winter, Strings of Distorted Doom, Danny, Dark Metamorphosis and Count Draclecarde, and Mark Dubanowski for the support and friendship over the years. Though I need to put a big thanks to both Mark and the Count for the contributions they made to VV since the songs on Reflecting would have not been what they are now if it was not for their own artistic talents gracing the recording.
Spread the fucking doom, crack the skies and level the heavens. Wotan Mit Uns!!!
VV Doom Rituals mayba???