Polish death metallers, VADER, are very few bands that have managed to weave a web of mystery around them. Very few have survived and kept going strong until today. Theirs is the cult of musical brutality and the urge to succeed. Few may remember that VADER were the first band ever from behind “the Iron Curtain” to sign to a Western label while their 1990 demo “Morbid Reich” is still considered to be the best selling demo tape in the history of death metal. Only a few days ago was released their 9th studio album “Welcome to the Morbid Reich” via Nuclear Blast… I had a chance to talked about it, among many other things, with Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek, please join our conversation…
Hi Peter, welcome to Metal Shock Finland! How’s your day been so far?
Thanks Tarja, I’m fine! and as we’ve started the promotion, so I’m sitting here at home, doing some mailers and interviews by phone, as now with you 🙂 …so we have a little break in performances, we’ll have some festivals next week, then on august we’ll start to do also other shows besides the festivals. But everything will start after the album comes out, in Europe 12th of August.
Yes, it was. You know, I’m still a Star Wars fan, and when the first movie (which was actually the 4th episode) came out, that was a shock for everybody, especially in Poland, because my country was in those years so far from the western world, so such kind of movie was even more strong, especially for young guys, like I was. At the same time we started the band, and we were sure it’s gonna be very brutal and dark music. Vader was one of the first bands in Poland that started the underground and extreme scenes in the country, so we needed a good name for the band that describes us and our music, we wanted it to recall the warriors of agent time. So, Vader was the perfect name to describe the dark knights as we are.
We can say that since your debut album “The Ultimate Incantation” (1993), you’ve kept your worldwide status. To your opinion, what is the winning weapon of Vader?
I really don’t know what to say, you know, when we started to play the success wasn’t really the thing we were thinking about. Of course we had dreams, but they were more about the possibility to play on big stages, like Iron Maiden and Slayer. When we started, everything was a problem, so every next step, every instrument, every show we could play and arrange, finally after nearly 10 years after our first album, was so big success for us, so we never thought anything more. I think the biggest success of Vader is that we’re still here after almost 2 decades, lol, and we still have a new generation of fans coming up, which means that the music we create is not something just for one season or for one generation, we broke that border of time and territory… but what’s the reason for this success, it’s really hard to say. We’re just following something what we wanted to do from the beginning. And as I said the success came later and was never the main point for us. Music for us is the expression and the language that we are talking through it. Sometimes we hear people asking why we keep up this style? But since we’ve found the way for Vader, it’s the strong point of the band, not a weak point. Like we were then and like we are today, it’s the best way we can show and express ourselves by our music.
How Lovecraft’s Chuthlu has inspired your music?
You know, my big love for Lovecraft has always influenced me a lot, as a writer and for his imagination. Because the imagination, for me as an artist and musician, is the best weapon I’ve ever had. And even it sounds maybe funny, I cannot imagine metal without imagination. And Lovecraft with his view of fear… you know, he actually created a totally modern and totally unknown style, and he has infected many composers, musicians and artists, as me, with this kind of thinking. And this fantastic imagination world which he doesn’t even describe in details like modern writers do… but his way of talking about it and describe it, gives YOU the way to create a picture of everything, which is even more scary. Because everything depends on you.. and this is normally what we follow in Vader’s music, we create stories, but always the interpretation can be taken in a individual way. And these stories always have another button, another background, you know, you can take the lyrics and have your own idea of songs, but if I’d explain what was the reason why I wrote the lyrics, you could see the real picture which is sometimes even more cruel and horrible than in many fiction stories and fairytales.
You know, we kept the same style, but Necropolis is more solid than Welcome to The Morbid Reich, which has more space in music, and there’s more variety of songs. Emotions are always a very important pact in our music, but this album has it with a stronger portion. And that’s why the variety of songs, different tempo, dynamics and all, symbolize the different emotions that we feel every day. The sound is closer to the natural sound of Vader, because we’re always a live band, and metal for me personally is always to play live on stage. That’s why we wanted to keep the same spirit on this album. Of course it’s always different when you see the band playing on stage, but we wanted the album sound as near as we play live. That’s why we didn’t add too many thinks that we wouldn’t be able to do on stage.
How it is connected to your 3rd demo Morbid Reich, in 1990?
…just by the title, lol. Let’s say that there’s only the spiritual connection between the demo and today. In these years there have happened so many things, that it would be impossible to connect them to our 3rd demo.
Is it a concept album? I mean can there be found a common plot or a red line in this album?
Yes, it is a concept album. Of course I could talk about each song separately, but it wouldn’t be the right way, because it would be only a given picture… I really want to leave something for listeners, to leave something to create in their minds. Well I could tell about one of the songs as an example: “I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul”… if you take this song directly, it’s kind of horror story of demons who try to scare somebody… but this story is even more cruel, it’s about molesting young people by priests, which has lately come out loudly in reality. When you know this and you read the lyrics, then you see the picture, and it becomes really scary. This is real life, and it’s sometimes more scary than fairytales… So this is just one example, and each song has the deeper background and a story behind it. And here we are talking about me and my experiences in my life. I’m like a story-writer, I write stories that are very metal, and they are close to horror-stories, like Lovecraft does, lol, BUT it always has something very close to reality.
Any details you’d like to tell me about the studio sessions?
In all, we spent about 4 weeks in the studio between March and June. We worked a bit differently as in previous sessions, because we made breaks between each part of recordings. I mean for the drums we took about 10 days, and then we made a week’s break, so we could think and work the guitar lines for the drums. And after the guitars we had a break to think about the vocal lines and all we had already done. And then a break before mixing, so we wanted to give a little bit of a rest for ears and mind, and to take the song recordings with the fresh ears. So this way of working gave us a feeling to work more in a natural way. And that’s what I love in metal that it’s more spontaneous way of doing music. And as there’s no perfection, so this way the album sounds more real. And in our career has happened often that a song we made in minutes, has have a bigger success than another song we spent days for doing it.
This new album will be promoted during various summer festivals … are you going to play more songs from it, or is it limited to one or two premier songs?
Exactly, it’s limited to these 2 songs, lol, the real promotion starts at the end of October, with 2 months’ long tour, when we will play for the first time the whole album. The album comes out on the 12th august, and of course we’ll play after that, but we won’t play more that 2 songs from this album. But we want to prepare and focus them to the tour, not now. This summer we’ll play in festivals and some other venues, and there we wanna play the best songs from our history and as said, only these 1-2 songs from the new album.
You’ve recently premiered “Come And See My Sacrifice”, so what has been the reaction so far?
After we played the song for the first time, it’s hard to expect a real reaction, because the people don’t know the song yet, so they usually try to listen to the song and try to get some new riffs, to be able to follow the song. But after a few days the people had found the song on youtube, so they already knew some riffs, and they were ready for this song. And now that “Come and See…” is officially out via Nuclear Blast, as a trailer for the album, the song’s pretty much welcomed. So I really expect that all the songs from this album will receive this kind of good reaction.
What can you tell me about the cover art? how it’s connected to the album theme, and from where came the idea for it?
After I got in touch with the author of the cover art, Zbigniew Bielak, we spent together hours talking about the old days, and music from vinyls and the kind of magic in them, and I knew that he already had drawn some fantastic works, for the bands like Watain, Absu, Behemoth and Destroyer 666, and to many others. I wanted to make the new cover in a totally different way that would fit totally to the album. This time the cover art has been created in parallel to the music… you know, while we were recording it in the studio, I was in touch with Zbigniew talking about our music, and its symbols, and we were sending to each other files, so in that way we were like infecting the spirit of each other, and this was something I really wanted. Normally he’s drawing in black and white, but this time he added some red and other colors, so he was actually painting the cover art, and not just drawing it. The feeling is “old-fashion”, but it fits perfectly to the combination of how I think about music.
It’s hard to say, because to be honest, I’ve had no good experiences about Italian audience. Of course we have a lot of fans there that we know for years, but we don’t play too often in Italy in last few years. But about this Armageddon I’m really glad, because I want to show the real potential of Vader, and for now the only chance to do it, is to take part of these summer festivals. … but talking about the extreme metal situation in Italy, and how I see it, it has been a sort of “weak point” in the last years.
Talking about your shows in these past years, which one comes out as the most significant one?
I will never forget the shows we played in Turin (Italy), because they were the shows with very honest and underground feeling. Even if there wasn’t so many people there, maybe 200-300 persons, but shows had a real metal-feeling. And I really wish to have the same kind of shows in Italy again.
And what do you remember when you, in 2004 at the Silesian Stadium in Chorzów, opened for Metallica in front of 50.000 people?
It was probably one of those biggest chances to show up with a really famous name, who’s a symbol of metal, not just by name but also for the music they create. It’s always a big deal. But the nicest part of that show, was not the sound or that we played 30 minutes, but it was the reaction of people, they welcomed us like a regular band playing in the team, and not just like a local supporter, you know, to hear the whole stadium shouting out loud “Vader, Vader, Vader…”. That was really nice, the best respect that can happen for a band.
Uuuh, the time has flied, we just got to take the last question now… the word is yours… how would you like to greet your fans and our readers?
Yeah, the time flies always when you have a great time 🙂 …To our fans and your readers I’d like to say: “If you’ve read through this interview, it’s already a good support for us… and I would like to welcome you to see our shows, and to meet us live, because I’m sure that we can satisfied everybody!”
Thank you Piotr, I do wish to see you soon on one of your shows. It has been very pleasant taking to you, and I’m sure we will have another chat in the future. Have all the good winds for this new album!
Thank-you Tarja for this interview, and see you on the road! Bye-bye…
Interview by Tarja Virmakari – Photos by Konrad Adam Mickiewicz, Aga Krysiuk
Vader – Come And See My Sacrifice