Death metal has kept a small, dedicated cult throughout the decades. What made that possible?
First of all, we need to start with the definition of death metal, as this is actually changing during the years. You know for me the reason why I started to play metal was extremity. To express myself playing death metal, playing extreme metal you know. When Possessed released music -which of course that was not the real beginning- but they just gave this definition you know, of the very extreme music and very aggressive vocals, and actually this became pretty trendy soon after, and Vader came out and everybody started to call us a death metal band and I think it fits well with the style we play.
And it’s a pretty good thing you know, that this style became a standard. It wasn’t seasonal or trending.
Of course today it’s slightly different but that’s normal you know, after so many years. Between the beginning and now, it had to change, the generations are different, the needs are different end the business is absolutely different. When we started in the nineties with death metal, there were just a couple of record companies. They didn’t care about any problems that came with the extreme genre, they just did what they loved. The same with the bands. So the beginning was very natural, and over the years it became a business. And you know what they say business kills art at least that was said in the past, in some cases, it might be true, some people turned into businessmen trying to make easy money.
But anyway, I’m just happy that metal just became a standard, and became a part of music in general, and it’s absolutely great that we can be part of that.
And to be active for that many years and see the new generation of metal fans looking for the same elements that the older generations were looking for, in the extreme metal music, it’s just great.
Death metal people seem to be fearless. Except for one thing: The ongoing fear of ‘going mainstream’. How do you feel about that?
This is pretty much connected to what I said before about business, you know business means expectations to sell more albums, and people are afraid they will be asked to follow trends not follow their heart. Fortunately, Vader never had problems with that, because we are not following trends you know we would not change who we are to become a little bit more popular. We surely follow just the same path, and some people, of course, love us for that, and we have respect because we just do what we love.
If you found a way and you feel good in that and you got enough response from the audience just to survive, you should do that.
Death Metal is an extreme form of art but has been under the fire for the so-called glamorization of mindless violence. What’s your input?
I don’t understand what this means. From what I remember, there were a few situations on that path you know, and sometimes I was just shocked, sometimes I just adapted to the situation, it just depends on the situation. The music we play, it’s pretty aggressive and sounds violent, so the genre got blamed for everything. But what can I say, it is just like blaming a director of some horror movie for violence and crimes.
It is just a language we use to communicate, it’s the anger we release this way, which is much better than going out on the street and beat somebody. I think this is where music helps. Music can help people escape and feel good.
Don’t take me wrong, like, I’m not gonna try to say that we should run away from any problems you know, some problems we have to face and deal with, but music is helpful when it comes to curing the little things, it’s like medicine.
There’s a strong rivalry between Norwegian black metal and the entire death metal scene. Don’t you think it’s time to overcome this thing once and forever?
You know, to me, heavy metal is heavy metal. If you decide to play heavy metal, that’s it. I never understood the war between the ‘true’ metalheads and false metalheads. And that fire that came from Norway, is the reason why so many problems occurred in the metal scene. I don’t know why, because we already had enough enemies around, who hated metalheads and hated metal music, and we did not ask for another one, inside our community.
The only way to deal with that is by ignoring it. Sometimes you have to just slap somebody in the face just to say wake up, but that’s a very, very rare occasion. So we don’t really like to fight or explain ourselves. This is just for those who are bored and want to stir things up.
“For me, metal should be strong because of the brotherhood of the metal community”
Vader went through several lineup changes over the years, with you being the only constant member. Does that come with a sense of responsibility? Do you feel that the present and the future of the band relies entirely on you?
I started the band with my friend and that was in ’82. To me, it was also the beginning of being a guitarist. I joined a band as a bass player but soon after I just became the guitarist, took the name Vader, started jamming mostly doing covers, and then composed our own songs. Then we wanted to play stronger and faster, more brutal and we split and I started to be a leader. I’m passionate about that, it takes a lot of commitment. Since the first tour in ’93 we play an average of 100 shows in a year, for some people this is just too much, you have to sacrifice a lot of things. And I understand because I also have a family, I’m happy because I’ve met the perfect partner, who understands the situation and we can live together for so many years and be the proud parents of our kids, you know, but maybe not everybody is up to it. Some people had to give up because they were missing their friends, family, and girlfriends. Others I had to give up because they were not as professional as they should be. So after so many changes, I became strong and I know how to deal with any problems. Fortunately, now the band is stable for years and work is much better despite the age differences. You see us play on stage or in the studio and you’ll feel it.
If you could change one thing about the band’s history so far what would that be?
Oh, I don’t know. You know that butterfly effect right? Even minimal change could have an effect. I like to look in the future, not in the past.
It’s hard to plan anything at the moment due to the global situation. Of course, we are preparing for a tour eventually, the optimistic version in September, we will follow what the future brings but we want to be ready and prepared to hit the road again. At the moment there’s a promotional time. I might be grounded at home but I’m using the internet, I’m not against technology like that, I’m pretty glad that we can have the technology that instead of stealing our lives could save our lives, this is fantastic in this very situation. So I’m trying to talk about the album, sign and prepare, setlists and so on. In the meantime, we are preparing to re-release De Profundis, which is one of the people’s favorite albums which was never properly released in vinyl so Nuclear Blast was interested in that and that’s great. It’s been 25 years since it was released. I will put much attention to that.
Solitude in madness is a very relatable concept at the moment. Do solitude and madness go hand in hand and does one feed the other?
I know that scary scenarios are going around but people always get over things like that. You know if you look back in history, there have been similar situations. We had the Spanish flu, and comparing the Spanish flu to this is like comparing the Black Death to a runny nose. And then we didn’t even have the technology, cell phones, and computers and so on. The problem with this virus is that we have to stay isolated you know? The virus can’t stay alive forever. Sooner or later we will have vaccinations and you know to me those apocalyptic visions don’t make sense. We do not need the crazy scary scenarios. Sit down, think, and slow down for a bit. When I was writing this song I had in mind the solitude that we all go through. WE are all separated, together but separated. I remember when I was travelling with my grandparents to visit family, by train, just 5 minutes after we sat in the wagon the chat started, and one hour later everyone was friends. Today everyone is staring at a cell phone, being somewhere but not here. And this is the solitude I’m talking about. But the interpretations vary. If you hate the world and you feel that you don’t fit in, it’s the same, you’ll feel alone, in solitude. And this is what I like to do with my music, create and tell stories, in different ways. Imagination is one of the best things given to us.
This is how we can create our own world.
Never one to rest or relax, VADER have done it all over the course of their 37-year history. From playing super-aggressive thrash under the watchful eye of Communist Poland to touring the globe and enjoying a near-maniacal fanbase, there’s no stopping the Piotr ‘Peter’ Wiwczarek-led outfit. Speed and power are back as the driving factors in VADER‘s fiendish yet proficient death metal!
Peter discusses new single ‘Bones’ and how it all came together.
For “Solitude In Madness”, VADER went outside their comfort zone to Grindstone Studios in Suffolk, England, where the band teamed up with one-stop-shop Scott Atkins to engineer, produce, mix, and master for four weeks in summer 2019. Peter has discussed the time in the studio and how the album came together on this album trailer: youtu.be/ZvIiSrr7LT8
“Solitude In Madness” tracklisting:
1. Shock And Awe
2. Into Oblivion
4. Incineration Of The Gods
5. Sanctification Denied
6. And Satan Wept
8. Final Declaration
9. Dancing In The Slaughterhouse
10. Stigma Of Divinity
Watch and listen to ‘Shock And Awe’: youtu.be/C1_SREPVPT0
Watch and listen to ‘Into Oblivion’: youtu.be/jVtC6a_YJV0
Until the next one,