Interviews: VRYKOLAKAS

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Death Metal band, VRYKOLAKAS from Singapore. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

We were looking for a unique name and this was in 1991 where most bands only had one or two words in their names. We started between TOMB, WITCHERY and TUMULUS. We decided to go with TUMULUS because it was unused then. Eventually, we confirmed on our lyrical themes and musical direction, we discovered the name VRYKOLAKAS and stuck with it ever since.

2.Why did you want to play this genre?

Thanks to ABHORER, GRAVE, IMMOLATION, INCANTATION and SUFFOCATION. The musical inspiration came from the mentioned bands. And then, when death metal was disappearing behind black metal in the late 1990s, along came NILE. We were crawling in oblivion and suddenly felt the urge to rekindle the flame.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

I (Khairi) was the original member of the band. Together with Shafiee, VRYKOLAKAS was formed. Unfortunately, Shafiee became evasive when we were preparing for our 2 nd demo in 1993, and we went into a 6 year hiatus. I felt the need to continue and pulled Iman (guitars) into the picture and he got Zainal (drums) to help out. Zainal’s deal was to help us out with our recordings. He ended up playing 2 gigs with us before we recruited Edi and has been together ever since. Iman left after the recording of “Unleashing Vrykolakas Upon Mankind” album.

4. Each band member favourite band?

Back in 1999, we were all into NILE, INCANTATION and SUFFOCATION. Nothing else. Edi is crazy about MORBID ANGEL and DEICIDE. Andy flirts around with black death and black thrash bands.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

It’s cliché to say this, but we grew up with 90s death metal. So all those American and European death metal bands, they are the main inspiration. And since the beginning, we were greatly inspired by Singapore’s first wave of extreme metal bands – NUCTEMERON, DREAD and CRUCIFUCKTOR. Their demos of original compositions inspired us to write, record and release our own compositions, no matter how bad!

6. Where was your last gig?

We have stopped playing live shows and focused on recordings only. The last time we played a gig was opening for GRAVE when they played in Singapore in 2008. We were playing gigs 2-3 times a year before that show and realised that we were playing the same songs at every show. We didn’t experience many success in terms of sound quality and therefore didn’t enjoy ourselves on stage. Also, at that time, our songs were complicated and didn’t give the audience an enjoyable experience when we play live. So we decided to focus on being a studio band where we can rectify our performance and sound until we reach satisfaction and release the songs for listening.

7. Where would you like to act?

At this stage of our band existence, we hope for the opportunity to play in Europe, particularly Greece, France and Germany. In Greece because our band name is in Greek. It would be interesting to find connections with the natives who speak this language and learn more about their mythology directly from them. In France and Germany because those are the countries where we have a lot of correspondences since our beginning. We also hope to be able to play in Malaysia and Indonesia, these are 2 countries which helped spread our band name since the beginning.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Personally, for me, I would love to share the stage with bands with great drummers. Although I play the guitar, I enjoy watching drummers and I also aspire to play the drums well. For VRYKOLAKAS, definitely to share the stage with the bands we mentioned earlier.

9. Whom not?

We are very sure the organizers will be wise enough to roster a productive and entertaining list of bands. We respect and accept the ideologies of other bands and are well educated enough to collaborate with whoever rostered with us.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

We are fortunate to start our gigs with familiar bands and play for an audience with our friends among them. So we didn’t feel the pressure or stage fright. So a simple advice for “beginners” is to mingle with the audience and other performing bands so that it feels more like a mass jamming session rather than a show. Keep telling yourself that you are playing for friends who appreciate the same music you do. Look out for them in the crowd and aim to entertain them.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

As mentioned in the earlier questions. Just to add, nowadays I am personally inspired by this new wave of all-girl Japanese rock and heavy metal bands. I admire that fact that these bands persevere to contribute to the scene despite the general masculine audience and having to face sexist treatment. They improve their musicianship and seek to play live shows frequently without feeling the pressure to outdo their male counterparts. They are living out KREATOR’s “Love Us Or Hate Us” attitude!

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

We are fortunate so far. No weird requests. There were those who begged for freebies. Is that considered weird?

13. What do you think of your fans?

We have never believed or hoped for fans. For us, we believe in friends and the general and universal horde of metalheads. The listeners who enjoy our music, these are metalheads. They may eventually become our friends, either physically or online. I am personally uncomfortable with the term “fan”. We are a death metal band, so we have metalheads / listeners. “Fans” remind me of all those senseless screaming teenagers who beg for our sweaty undergarments for them to smell before they go to bed. I strongly believe metalheads are more intellectual and choose personal and intellectual engagement via discussions and common interest towards similar bands.

14. What do you think of our site?

We begin with our admiration for the effort in helping to spread the music and the entities that produce said music. It takes a lot of effort, passion and even money. Keep up the good work and never succumb to lethargy and mediocrity.

15. Something to add?

Thank you, Jon, for taking the effort to seek VRYKOLAKAS and the time to spread our name.

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