V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Anaal Nathrakh) – Screaming my balls off
En britisk herre som normalt aldri gjør verken telefon eller face 2 face intervjuer, er en kar som går under artistnavnet V.I.T.R.I.O.L. Han er vokalist i et av verdens mest extreme band kalt Anaal Nathrakh og nå skulle de komme til Norge. Jeg ville prøve meg allikevel med et face 2 face intervju og fikk mer eller mindre klarsignal fra plateselskapet allerede 2 måneder før påsken. Derfor hadde jeg gledet meg litt til dette eksklusive møtet under Inferno med denne sinte mannen som hater mennesker over alt på jord. Han forsøkte selvsagt å vri seg unna ved å tilby gitarist Mick Kenney i sitt sted, men etter å ha hørt hva intervjuet handlet om, lo han godt og kunne fortelle at Mick synger verre enn ei kråke. Vi ble etter hvert enige om å ta praten på presseområdet slik at vi kunne sitte der uforstyrret og prate dritt oss imellom, mens Sodom underholdt resten av festivaldeltagerne.
Etter å ha gjort unna høflighetsfrasene med både Mick og V.I.T.R.I.O.L. og de nødvendige bildene var tatt, jaget vi ut både Mick Kenney og fotografen slik at vi kunne starte samtalen.
ET – When did you start doing extreme vocals?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – It had to be when I was around 14 or 15 years old. Just singing along to music I was listening to, Entombed and old death metal bands. But, hehe, I have made weird noises since I was a little kid. I used to growl back at dogs if they growled at me and people was looking at me like I was mad, haha. But to me it was natural, a little kid doesn’t think about that, so you could say 14 – 15 or you could say 4 – 5, hehe.
ET – What made you start doing extreme vocals?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – In terms of making weird noises as I said; it was something natural for me; the same as speaking. Why don’t other people make noises like that? In terms of actual singing, it was singing along to music I was listening to. It’s a pretty simple answer really, hehe, I was just singing along to stuff.
ET – Can you describe the technique or techniques you are using?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – No, hehehe but I can tell you something about it though. There is a certain form of singing that is known in places like Tibet. They have different styles and one of the styles they use sounds a lot like one of the voices I use. It’s the one that sounds like Attila from Mayhem, but the important thing is; the reason I mention it is that they say that it is impossible to teach someone to do it; you just have to know how to do it, so it’s pretty difficult to describe in technical terms how I do what I do in the same way as that. You just do it. Other than that it is screaming my balls off, haha. I think it’s important, not necessary for everyone, but I think it’s important for me to use variation and use what’s fitting the music that you do. I use a lot of different techniques technically speaking and I have never trained or anything like that; I just do it.
ET – You told me in an earlier interview that you try at least one new type of vocals for each record you make. Considering that, has your techniques change during your career?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Yes and no. I’ve tried to do things in a way that is less dangerous, because singing like this can be very very bad for your voice. You can try to do it in a certain way that is a bit less dangerous to your voice, but my problem is, no matter how much I am trying it, as soon as I am halfway through the first song during a gig, I forget that, hehe. I can’t think those terms and technique because of something called Dionysian; you just get lost in what you are doing. To try and concentrate on technique and how to do things properly, is sort of taking me a step back. I can’t step back; I am too intense with what I am doing. I’ve tried to change technique, but I failed basically, hehe.
ET – Have you ever hurt your self by using the wrong technique?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Yes, especially if it’s a long tour. The first ever tour I did had 27 shows, and by the end of that I still could make the right noise on stage but I actually couldn’t speak, hehe. You have to be careful with things like that because you can recover and I have never done anything if I after resting a bit and didn’t get better. You are gambling really and you never know if it’s gonna heal. But yes, I have hurt myself. Never done anything too bad, but I have heard of singers who has been told by their doctors to stop immediately. Don’t sing anymore; you have permanently destroyed part of your voice. A part from that, I have really never heard of anyone been in trouble in that way, but you can certainty hurt your self.
ET – Is there something you do on a regular basis to keep your voice in shape?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – I’ve tried it but I didn’t get much out of it. To be honest I just got a sore throat, hehe. Have you ever heard of Nitro? An American thrash power band from the eighties with Jim Gillette on vocals. He did a vocal power video and you could buy it. I watched it cuz Mick got a copy of it. Not that he wanted to learn how to sing; he just likes Jim Gillette and thinks he is funny, hehe. But I thought: Fuck it, why not. So I tried a couple of exercises and it did absolutely nothing to me.
ET – You mentioned it a little earlier that you think that doing extreme vocals can be very dangerous. I have a question here that says: Do you think it can be dangerous to do extreme vocals?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Yes, I do hehe.
ET – Fast and furious, hehe. Next one is: What is most important to you; to make cool sounds and interesting rhythms or is it to have a clear diction?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Neither; the two most important things is first, to make the most appropriate sound to go with the music you singing and I do bits where you can’t hear the words so obviously I don’t sing very clearly, and that’s just because that what I think suits at the time. Secondly, is to have something inside you that you want to express and that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with diction or even the particular sound you are making sometimes. It’s having something to say in the first place, and to…do it, hehe. That’s the most important things, doing it to get something out of doing it. If I didn’t sing, I’d be in trouble. Our music allows you to empty your head with the shit that builds up in there. That is to me the most important parts of singing so I don’t end up in a fucking mental hospital, hehe. I had times when I didn’t sing for a long time, and I ended up where I had to see a psychologist; I went loony, basically. So, fuck diction, haha. That’s an optional thing depending on what you doing at any given time, and the most important thing is to have your heart into it.
ET – Do you think that extreme vocals can be made into a science, like "this is how it works for everyone, to make this sound you have to do this etc"? Or is it more intuitive and individual how to do it?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – I think it’s the last, individual. Do you remember the Tree Tenors? They sang different but were using very similar techniques. If you think of let’s say your tree favorite extreme metal vocalists; they sing absolutely nothing like each other. Even if they do a very similar sort of thing; Chris Barnes doesn’t sound like Corpsegrinder Fischer. They are singing the same song and even the same sort of notes, but it is completely different, it’s individual. I think that if it could have been a science it probably would have been by now. The fact that it is so individual and different is proof that it is an intuitive thing. I don’t think I sound like nobody else, and that’s the same for other singers. I think that the individual approach is the way it has to be. That makes it more genuine, that makes it personally and it makes it more true.
ET – Do you have any advice to people who wants to start doing extreme vocals?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – I don’t know because that puts me in a position of being some how superior or something. If you make a funny noise, you are the same as me. I am no expert, but if I were to give any advice, I would say to do it because it means something to you, not because you have to. Do it because it’s important to you and when it’s not important for you anymore, just stop and do something else. And I don’t want anyone to pay any attention to what I said, because it’s up to them what they do. But if I were to give an advice, I think that is what it would be.
ET – Mention three extreme vocalists whose style you admire, and explain your choice. What specifically do you like about the styles of those three? Also mention three vocalists (not necessarily extreme vocalists) which you have been influence by, and explain in which way you have been influenced by each of them.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Singers I like is…….The first that comes to my mind is Attila. His vocal style isn’t actually all that extreme; it’s just very different and it’s that individuality that I think is really cool. It’s no one else quite like it, hehe. In terms of his personality, there’s no one else quite like him eighter, hehe. The next one is Barney Greenway. If talk to singers you probably won’t get many of them who will say him, but he has the commitment; he is going for it, he is dependable and solid and he means what he is saying. So I kind of look up to Barney, which is weird, cuz this isn’t something you normally say about your friends, hahaha. Early Grishnackh from Burzum is the last one; I don’t necessary agreed with the guys politics or anything like that, but I remember just the noise he makes, hehe. Which is perfect because it’s what it should be, and to me that is quite early in my personal history.
People I have been influenced by….I don’t know really. Approximately a little bit of Garm from Ulver, early albums like Nattens Madrigal; that sort of stuff just because it so fucking hash and the stuff he did in early Arcturus. But I have read in some reviews that I have been compared to Ihsahn from Emperor, and I have no idea why. I haven’s even heard Emperor since their second album, hehe. It’s no insult to Emperor, they are a great band, but I can’t really copy anyone who I have no idea how they sound like. Besides that, I don’t really know. I just try to do what feels right; I’m not trying to copy anyone or anything.
ET – In this series you can choose the next one, so what I want to know right now is who do you pick?
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – I think Joe Horvath from Circle of Dead Children, because I have never heard anyone making noises like that before. Since I heard him the first time, I have heard a few guys that sound a bit like that, but he’s just fucking incredible. I don’t know how he does what he does, but I like him to be next.