Interview with Czech black/thrash metal band VIRTUAL VOID.
translated by Markéta, thank you!Recenze/review - VIRTUAL VOID - Rest In Piss (2016)
Ave VIRTUAL VOID! I am currently in my cottage in the Jizerské Mountains under a chestnut tree. My speakers are directed out the window. There is beer, happiness and summer and to this your new album “Rest in Piss” is playing. I mix it with old albums of Venom, Motorhead, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer and I cannot help to think to myself that your album should have been released 20 years ago, when I was young and full of energy. You album feels like it has a “rejuvenating effect”! And I want to thank you for that! However, I always wonder how is your album taken by the new young generation of fans? Do you even have any of those young fans? I have to ask this question because some of my older friends told me things like: “Dude, this music is for the olders” and after that they updated their Facebook profile.
SEKERSSON: If our album seems to have a “rejuvenating effect” for you, that is great and we are happy about it. And if you are mixing our albums with the old mentioned icons that is even better for us and it is an honour. Those bands are our absolute idols who we will always worship.
The 20 years ago you mentioned – that was the time we released first demo by VIRTUAL VOID called “Kill Your Memories”. So technically, you could have enjoyed it at that time. From the original band members there is only Milan “Moloch”. He is the founding and only original member.
And now about the young generation. If you meant today´s teenagers, our music is probably nothing they would be interested in. The problem with the teenage kids is that not a lot of them are looking for something. Most of them just listen all of the useless shit which is given to them through all the social medias. They don´t even realize there are other kinds of music. After all, trends dictates that now the hit XY is on the top and all of them just listen to the XY shit, just because it is in right now. But it is the same with fashion, movies and basically with everything connected with their lifestyle. But I think it is the unobtrusive purpose of the current system. They want to make us consumerist idiots who don´t think about anything and are easy to control. But yet, this is not really working for the “hidden rulers” thankfully. The percentage of people who see through it and go against the stream is still big enough. :)) But for how long?
Nevertheless, I believe that there are some young people who would enjoy our music. There is not thousands of them, but there are some. I was a weirdo in primary school with a few of my friends when we had Iron Maiden T-Shirts and listen to metal.
However, we don´t do music somehow specifically or directly aimed to people to love us. We don´t personalize our music to trends or popular waves. The fact that now we have the retro wave is just a coincidence and no one can accuse us of being on the wave. As Milan said, VIRTUAL VOID did and do the same music with the same attitude since 20 years ago. We compose our music as we want it to be and how we like it. If other people enjoy our music, that is great. But if they say it is a piece of shit and it is not interesting, there is nothing we can do:))
Your last album “Ride to Hell on Fucking Whores” was a great album and I was so excited and your new album “Rest in Piss” just totally ripped me off. Normally, I am not against any music which cuts and burns but this time I feel like this album was made “just for me”. I am literally fascinated by the sound. Where did you recorded and how? The new album is even more like “mould and rust” than the last one. Did you talked a lot about the sound?
SEKERSSON: We recorded in GM studio in Jablunkov with Martin Roženek. It is basically our home studio and we have never even thought about recording in other place. We always have a great collaboration with Martin and everything is always very smooth. All the results of our collaborations are great so far so there is basically no reason to switch to someone else. We recorded the basics in 2 days and during weekends we did vocals, second guitar, etc. We don´t put that much time into recording. We usually do it in first take and then we just correct some small mistakes. Our music is straightforward and simple so we can do that. And sound speaking it was our aim to do more raw and dirty album than the last time. Jirka have recently bought a full guitar amps Mesa Boogie from the end of the 80s which is noticeable in the final sound of our album. My own amp is also a little bit older so it is also something which fits the retro feeling. Additionally, for years I had been playing only on my Jolan D-bass which is getting a cult statute. :)) A few years ago some sound engineers made fun of me at events by saying: “Man, what bass do you have? Does it even play?” and now they mostly just shut up. :)) With drums we like to have the most natural sound we can. We don´t like those extra clean and embellished records. Nowadays I really like the sound of the British Conan band that is amazing.
Of course the whole sound of our album is thanks to Martin Roženek. But he did everything according to our wishes and requirements, so we can calmly say that we have something to do with the final sound. Milan wanted to record live and it was technically possible in the GM studio. But we chickened out. However, we want to do it with our next album. So the future album will be more mouldy, raw and rusty. :))
GEORGE: As Sekersson said Martin´s studio is our home. He is a great sound engineer who hits the sound how we want. We are not too demanding but we know what we want. I recorded the last album on guitar amp ENGL. So I would like to thank Martin from GM studio for lending it to me. At that time I didn´t have my “real” guitar amp. I have always dream about having Mesa and after going to the Slovakian Gothoom fest I bought it. I turned it on and played my first concert with it that night. I was blown away by the sound and I still am. It is cruel and raw. It fits our sound. Like a month after I bought it the guy which sold it to me called. He wanted it back, too late:)).
Your typical hallmark is a wild boar sign which has been there since our second album. The drawing is nice but I am just wondering if it is a little bit misleading for you. I still think that cover should show what is happening on the album. I don´t mean it in wrong way but have you ever thought about something more “retro”? When I listen to the new album I would say that there should be a cover more lie DARKTHRONE have.
MOLOCH: The pig was just a momentary ideas which was supposed to evoke those 80s. Iron Maiden which we loved at that moment had their Eddie, Halloween had a pumpkin, German trash bands had their mascots and others had something. And mostly the first album by Bathory, Venom and of course Motorhead! These were the clear inspiration for the “Ride to Hell…” album. We even had T-Shirts which looked like Motorhead T-Shirts but below the pig there was “ENGLAND” “FREELAND” (because we are from the Frýdlant Nad Ostravicí).
SEKERSSON: Wild boar was our mascot and that is why it is on the cover again. With the last records it was more like a paraphrase of the famous covers by Motorhead, Venom and Bathory. Some people like it, some criticise it. However, we wanted to continue with this tradition and Pavel Ulrych drawn another picture for us. I personally really like it and it is just a metal record cover as fuck (or as pig)! :)) The next time there will be the wild boar again. Maybe more underground.
As a band you seem so relaxed. Again, it seems like the good old days when people were going for a beer to pubs, they drunk something and they were founding new bands every night. And after months no one except title (which was the most important) didn´t know anything about it. And the next Friday it was the same thing again. You are like veterans. You have been playing since 1995 and I would love to hear your recipe for such a long time playing band. How did you manage to hold this band together for that long? Is there such thing as a recipe for that?
MOLOCH: Well I just wanted this so much, but it doesn´t mean that it was easy. After the first two or three demo records was the band basically always broke. There was someone leaving all the time and I was just looking for new people. The choices were not always the best. The interesting thing is that the band settle down after I started to take it easy. When you are trying to lead a band by yourself you just loose energy in one point. That was why we basically broke the band 10 years ago, because there was no point in holding it together. I thought it was the end but in half a year my hands started to itch and I contacted Petr Sekersson who I had known since Skoričmass. I asked him to play my favourite Venoms and others with me, just for fun. And when we didn´t give a shit anymore, it started to work so well. Basically with only one small change the band is going on till today. Maybe that is why you think we are “cool” and OK about everything. Sometimes we pissed each other but it is not that bad.
Yesterday I went jogging in the evening. I met like 25 people and all of them were staring on their phones, although they were in groups. I felt so sad and I told to myself that I don´t fit in this world. From one of the interviews with you I found out that you feel almost the same. What VIRTUAL VOID think about today´s world? And I don´t mean just teenagers in virtual world, but also music. The world has changed, the relationships, promoters, fans, etc. A lot has changed, don´t you think?
SEKERSSON: I am the same as you are. I have been “out” for a few years now. I don´t have a smart phone, fuckingbook and when I am in the mountains I orient myself by paper map. So I am basically out in everything J. But I don´t really care, it would be worse if I would try to hop on this modern period train now. That would be a fail.:))
Looking at this world I have to say I am a pessimist. I think everything leads to its end and I just hope that I would be here to see just the peace and quietness. But considering today´s fast life I don´t believe that I would not see the end of the world. You can hear what I think about today´s world in my lyrics. So if you read them, you know.
GEORGE: Speaking about people staring at their phones, I always remember a sign in cottage by Poprad´s Tarn in the Tatras: “We don´t have WI-FI. Talk to each other!”. That is so poignant. I hate when you sit in a pub and all of you just put phones on the table, interesting. I know it is important to follow the world but not like this. I am also a pessimist when speaking about the world. The world leads itself into a bag of shits. As someone already said: “Peace is when the shooting is happening somewhere else”. I hope this situation will last with us as long as possible.
I keep wondering about one thing. I released a second album by Pařát. I understand that it is good because it can get to a relatively large number of readers. But I believe that having some classic label would be better for you. Pařát is focused on Czech fans and that is it. It is a paper magazine and you play music which deserves more publicity, even abroad. Nowadays there is probably is not a big problem to find and reach a label because today there are a lot of “retro waves”. Have you ever thought about working with a foreign company? You might get a vinyl which would suit your music a lot. How about you and setting rights and obligations by Pařát?
MOLOCH: You can thing about foreign collaboration as much as you want, but there must be someone who would do that. I have the least language practice from our band and the other don´t really want to do that or they don´t have time for it. So we are happy in our small Czech sty.
SEKERSSON: We are happy about our Pařát collaboration. It is the same with everything today. You have to serve yourself right in front of people´s faces. And then it is up to them – either they notice you or not. About the abroad invasion, we have some albums in foreign countries. But the other thing is who has them in hands there. If it is someone who loves metal core, we know how it ended. :)) Having a vinyl is our big dream and I believe it will eventually come true. We have freedom in our records so we can work and dispose them as we want to. So if there is some label who is interested, we can work something out.
When we did our last interview you said that you would like to have more concerts, or having them outside our country. It was the year 2013. Did you fulfilled this dream? And anyway, I believe that people´s knowledge about band always rise thanks to concerts. It is probably hard today and there are times when a band plays just for few people, but those people then have a great experience, buy CDs, takes pictures with the band, etc. How about VIRTUAL VOID and concerts? Do you still desire to go outside our country?
MOLOCH: You need a big label´s support and important friends to play on big festivals. Or maybe I am wrong and we are just not good enough. J And about small concerts – I was always angry about guys not wanting to go on concerts and having other activities. But today, I am actually glad. Rather nothing than play at 2 in the afternoon somewhere for no one. We rather play only two times a year but on a good event. And my back hurts a lot so I have to be careful. I am not 40 anymore. :))
I made myself a copy of your CD to put it in my car – just in case someone steals my car. And I put it in my MP3 player so I can listen to it walking the streets. I just have it with me all the time and when I want to, I play it. How about you and other formats, downloading music and today´s digital production? Have you ever thought about putting your album on bandcamp where people could download it in a good MP3 quality for a little bit of money?
SEKERSSON: I am not against any sufficiently listenable format. But the truth is that I always want to have music I like in physical form. Unlike Milan, who love vinyl I always buy CDs. I just like when I can take out the cover and read it. I would never buy MP3 song for money. I would be afraid of my HDD dying and everything would be gone. J Additionally, it is a pleasant and almost festive ceremony to sit in a chair, play a CD, enjoy the cover, read the lyrics and look on the pictures. A physical medium is just very important for me.
Of course, I also download music, but I don´t feel like a thief. I listen to the album and when it is good, I buy it. When I don´t like it, I just delete it and that´s it. I don´t think it is a bad thing to do.
All of your older albums are available for free in MP3 format online. Except for “Ride to hell…” and “Rest In Piss” – at least not by us:)). But you can listen to the album “Ride to hell…” on our bandzone profile and “Rest in Piss” is going to be there as soon as possible. But you can buy both of these albums plus the album “Dictatorship” as a physical CD for a really good price.
I just finished another beer and another book. And still I can hear your album in my head and my cottage is shaken. A minute ago some old neighbour complained on me to “Turn the mess off!”. So I added some volume and I told to myself that this is rock´n´roll! How do you feel about today´s music? Are you interested about music scene, do you read magazines, watch metal shows (like Rebel)? Or you are just conservatives and go by your instinct?
MOLOCH: Haha, Rebel is cool right?? Especially those pseudo-funny trailers. Do you know the feeling when you feel embarrassed for someone else and you have no reason for it? And the Czechparade. I just feel like Pařízek puts just the biggest agro shits ever so the new Citron looked like a star.
SEKERSSON: I don´t really care about the musical scene, so for me I follow my instinct. There are a lot of bands which is find just by an accident or someone recommended them to me. I don´t watch any metal programs, because I don´t have any TV. J I give up this “convenience” a few years ago and I don´t miss it. Of course I sometimes read articles because I probably like the written form the most.
GEORGE: Tele…what? :-D I also don´t have a TV. Nowadays music scene is not very exciting for me also. Of course, there are some exceptions. The most amazing music I know was recommended by Moloch and Sekersson. I like to go back to the old records by my favourite bands.
How about today´s Ostrava/Northmoravian underground? Does it go well? Do people go on concerts? From Pilsen it is far away but when I can I always like to go to Morava because your people seem more “honest” and they enjoy everything more than us, even music. What do you think about this?
MOLOCH: There is one problem. In our FM and around there is mainly grindcore which we don´t play. Our friends always support us and we have to thank them for that, but there is not a lot of people who would absolutely love our old school black metal. Sometimes, there is some crazy guy like you, but not enough. But I don´t really follow the scene. I will tell you one funny story. A while ago I met Rostič (the Dobytčí Mor drummer) on one concert. The concert was Marie Rotrová´s (old famous Czech pop singer). Our conversation went like this: “Heeeey, I would not expect you here!” Rostič: “I have enough of the noise in our concerts” Me: “Well, same. I was just on Neckář´s (famous Czech pop singer) concert.” Rostič: “Well, I was on Nohavica´s concert (famous Czech folk singer) :)))
But don´t panic we are not too soft. We are going on Venom Inc to OV. Are we going to meet you, like in Brno?
GEORGE: I play with the band and sometimes I go on concerts just as a listener and I do the sound engineering. So I can see it from a lot of point of views. I think that there are more and more festivals but less people. At least the small events (I am not talking about the big festivals where they paly mainstream, there will always be a lot of people). And when people come they are cold. A while ago I did the sound for motorcycle event and I felt like there were people who went there to chat and the music was distracting for them. The best of ours concerts for me was the one in Huslenky on Wallachia. The fans were so great there, this is how it should look all the time. Perfect atmosphere, it is just so great for the musicians to play in such atmosphere.
I´ve finished all the beer and your album finished for the fiftieth time. There is alpenglow over Ještěd and all over my body are mosquito’s bites. I have to finish all of this. I would like to thank you for your time and I wish you personally and to the whole band as much success as possible, peace and quiet and a lot of halls full of fans. Thank you so much for this interview!
SEKERSSON: Thank YOU for this interview and for the interest. We are really glad to have some positive response to our music. But who wouldn´t, right?:))
We wish you luck and hope to meet you soon and get a beer together. Without any phones, internet and TV:)).