Vacivus was last interviewed here back in December 2015, since then the band has continued their rise to prominence within the underground, both in the U.K. and further afield.
They have enjoyed many highlights including sharing a stage with many of the underground's best bands and with their fantastic new 7" EP 'Nuclear Chaos' being released today via Goatprayer Records I felt we should catch up with the band for a second time to find out more about their continued ascent.
Interview by Trevor Proctor.
Hi, I hope all’s well with Vacivus and thank you for agreeing to a second interview with The Lair of Filth. We last spoke in December 2015 and 2016 seems to have been a hell of a year for the band. Obviously we’ll discuss your upcoming releases in a little more depth later, but what have been the highlights for you since we last spoke?
Hi, and thanks for the continued support! We have been very busy since we last caught up but a few highlights would definitely include our tour with Live Burial, playing with the mighty Angelcorpse in Glasgow and our recent show with Blood Incantation and Cruciamentum (not to mention our new 7" EP - Nuclear Chaos)
Vacivus’ first release was the Rehearsal Demo which was recorded live in a day, how different was the recording process for the Nuclear Chaos 7” EP?
Both the Rehearsal Demo, and Rite of Ascension were done live to capture the energy of our live performance. We decided to try something different with Nuclear Chaos, so recorded all the instruments separately over the course of two days. This allowed us to achieve a much greater depth within the music, as we could add more layers and bring to life our vision of the tracks.
Your next release was the Rite of Ascension EP which featured the three tracks from the Demo along with two new tracks – initially released by Goatprayer Records on cassette then on CD by Hellthrasher Productions, with the band sold out of the Rites of Ascension CD are there any plans for a reissue?
We recently received some more copies of the Rite of Ascension CD from Hellthrasher, so you can still get that directly from us or from the label. The cassette version sold out immediately and is a bit harder to find, so we wouldn't rule out the possibility of a reissue if the demand is there. We would also be interested in doing a 10" vinyl release if the possibility arose.
I understand you were recently signed to Profound Lore Records who will release your debut album, did you ever imagine signing to a label as prominent in the underground when you released your first demo, and are you surprised at the speed with which you’ve progressed from independently released demo to album with a major label?
It's a strange experience to be sure! We used to joke about getting signed to Profound Lore or Dark Descent in the rehearsal room but never expected it to happen. Then one day Chris (Bruni - Profound Lore Records) contacted us out of the blue so we jumped at the chance to work with him. It's humbling to be releasing our album via the same label as bands like Portal, Disma, Evoken and Cruciamentum who we have all been fans of for years. We're also really grateful to Terry (Goatprayer Records) and Pawel (Hellthrasher Productions) for supporting us and helping us get our music out into the world in the first place.
So we’ve a lot to look forward to this year from Vacivus with a 7” EP which has just been released, followed later in the year by the album, this was your plan the last time we spoke but were you ever tempted to release all of the music as a full length, or did you simply just have too much new material?
Both 'Unchaining the Winds of Uncreation' and 'Blind Idiot God' were originally intended for a 7" release, however it proved time-consuming finding a label to release it. As such, we were almost resigned to re-recording the tracks for the album when Terry agreed to release the 7" through Goatprayer Records. Don't worry, we have plenty of new material for the album too.
The 7” has just been released by Goatprayer Records, was it always planned that Goatprayer Records would release the 7”, or are you releasing ‘Nuclear Chaos’ via Goatprayer as a “thank you” for their support over the years before moving to pastures new? I take it you’ve been happy with how Goatprayer Records has treated you over the years; am I right in saying they have been very supportive of Vacivus?
We spoke to a few different labels regarding the release, but in the end it was great to be able to put it out through Goatprayer Records as Terry has been extremely supportive of the band.
The Nuclear Chaos 7” EP has received wide-spread praise, and deservedly so, as it features two lethal Death Metal tracks, do you have an album’s worth of material as good as this to hit us with later in the year?
Nah, the album is shit. We spunked all of our riffs on Rite of Ascension and Nuclear Chaos, expect disco...
...seriously though, we're really proud of the album. We've tried to allow our music to grow organically with every release, and the album represents where we are right now. We never wanted to limit ourselves when writing music for Vacivus and the album features a lot of diverse influences which demonstrate this well.
The Nuclear Chaos 7” was mastered by Dan Lowndes from Cruciamentum at Resonance Sound Studio are you happy with how the tracks turned out and is this the first time you’ve worked with Dan?
Dan mixed and mastered the release as we were unhappy with the initial mixes from the studio where we recorded. It was really a rescue job, but we couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. Dan has mastered music for some of our other bands in the past, so we were familiar with the quality of his work.
Brooke Johnson designed the cover for Nuclear Chaos, have you worked with him before and did you give him much guidance as to what you were looking for in terms of artwork for the cover of the EP?
Brooke has been a friend for years, and I've been a fan of his artwork for Hesper Payne, She'ol and Contaigeon, so we have wanted to work with him for a while. We gave him rough guidance as we wanted the cover to invoke HP Lovecraft's 'Azathoth', and provided him with lyrics for inspiration, but the cover is definitely his creation! He really captured the otherworldly atmosphere we wanted.
Can you reveal at this stage how many records you are signed to Profound Lore Records for and how does it feel to be signed to the same label as such esteemed acts as Portal, A.M.S.G., Mitochondrion, etc.?
At this stage we are not tied into any deal with Profound Lore, we are just happy to be working with such a respected label alongside their amazing roster of bands.
Speaking of the album, where’s the band in terms of preparation, are the tracks written/recorded and do you have a title for it yet? Are there any plans yet as to what formats the album will be released on and do you have a preference? Can you also reveal where it will be recorded and who will look after production, mixing, mastering etc.?
We will be entering Priory Studio in early April to begin recording. Everything is written, and all will be revealed in due time. Greg Chandler and Dan Lowndes will handle mixing and mastering respectively and you can expect at least a CD and LP release.
I’ve been impressed with your live performances and feel the band is getting better and tighter each time I see you – would you agree and are you usually happy with your gigs?
Thanks, Vacivus is very much a 'live' band. Most of us have played in bands together for years, so the musical chemistry we have developed is what allows us to throw ourselves into our live performances. We're very much focused on creating an atmosphere, as the music is so dark and sinister yet savagely powerful that it makes an intense experience live. It's great when we're all locked into the music, feeding off each other's energy and the crowd's reaction. It's why we play death metal; nothing is more powerful.
I watched your set at North of the Wall last year and it was another tight performance, do you agree and what other bands did you get to watch at the festival?
North of the Wall was a great show for us, the dark, dingy venue added to the vibe and it seemed to go down well with everyone there. We managed to catch some great sets from Cult of Fire, Malthusian and Aura Noir. Scotland seems to get all the best line-ups these days!
I also got to watch your set when you supported Angelcorpse along with She’ol in Glasgow, how did it feel supporting the legendary Angelcorpse?
Playing with Angelcorpse was a great experience as we have all been fans of the band for a long time. It was good to meet the band and be able to share the stage before they call it a day once again.
Your first gig in Bristol was in October last year at the Gathering of the Morbid IV festival – you played on a bill featuring Lepra, Funeral Throne, Belliciste and Deheubarth – quite a Black Metal line-up, how was the gig for you and was Vacivus well received by the crowd?
Although the turnout for this show was not huge, everyone seemed to react positively to our set, and we got invited back to Bristol shortly afterwards so we must have made a good impression. Belliciste absolutely slayed!
In November last year you went on a tour with Live Burial, across England on eight consecutive nights. How was the tour and was it well supported on all nights?
The tour was a huge success, which was in no small part thanks to the organisation of Lee Anderson (Live Burial) who made it all happen! Most of the venues were rammed and both ourselves and Live Burial absolutely killed it every night. Although there were ups and downs, such as having our money and some gear stolen in Manchester, we can't wait to get on the road again!
I see one of the venues I’ve watched the band in, The Northumberland Arms, is set to close – are you sad to see it go and do you feel other venues are under threat of closure?
Dan - The Northumberland Arms has served as a great hotspot for the local music scene for around 5 years now so it will be missed, however there are many other great music venues in Newcastle such as Trillians Rock bar, Head of Steam and The Cluny, so while there might not be as many gigs in one place anymore, the local scene is still very strong. I don't think other venues are under threat of closure, luckily.
Dan, congratulations on recently joining Cruciamentum, you’re also on the verge of releasing a solo album, you’re a member of Spartan Warrior and Bone Tomb is also your project – how the hell do you manage any sort of normal life with being so busy? Also, are you looking forward to going on tour with Cruciamentum and Blood Incantation in March? I see the tour consists of 18 consecutive dates, have you ever been on such an intense tour before?
Dan - Thanks! Yeah its a very busy year for me personally as there will be albums out by all of the above (except Cruciamentum) as well as the Vacivus full length, by the end of 2017.
To put it simply, my life isn't 'normal' haha, I'm a full time musician and basically just work 24/7, however its like that saying, 'choose a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life.'
Yeah I'm very excited for the tour, and no this will be my first tour with more than 8 consecutive dates, so yeah I'm looking forward to it.
Vacivus is set to play in Glasgow on the 11th of March with Cruciamentum – Dan it’ll be a busy night for you, have you ever had to play two sets before and can we hope to see more Vacivus/Cruciamentum dates, or possibly even a tour?
Dan - Quite often I play two sets with my function band, so I'm used to it, however with the level of intensity both bands bring in this instance, I imagine it'll be a challenge, though one I'm really looking forward to. Vacivus will be providing support, along with Offensive, on the Bristol date (21/03/17) of the Cruciamentum/Blood Incantation tour, which will be an amazing night. With both Vacivus and Cruciamentum sharing members and being labelmates, it would make sense to tour together, however nothing has been arranged as of yet.
Does Vacivus have many plans for the rest of the year, I expect with the debut album due for release you’ve a pretty hectic schedule?
Once the album is released, we're planning on doing another small tour of the UK, but that is all that we have lined up so far as we've been really busy with the album. We're also very keen to head overseas for some shows, so if any promoters are reading this, get in touch!
Last year was phenomenal in terms of releases, which did you enjoy the most and what forthcoming releases are you looking forward to the most in 2017?
Blood Incantation 'Starspawn', Ritual Chamber 'Obscurations (To Feast on the Seraphim)', A.M.S.G. 'Hostis Universi Generis' and Krypts 'Remnants of Expansion' were definite highlights but there are loads of other albums from last year which I'm sure I have forgotten. In terms of releases we're looking forward to, we're expecting good things from the new Disma, Portal and Evoken records but I'm also looking forward to hearing new albums by A Forest of Stars and Falls of Rauros.
Thanks again for the interview, it’s been great watching the band go from strength to strength and I wish you all the very best for the year ahead, any closing comments are all yours…..
Hail death eternal.