One of the earliest Death Metal names- VADER has been a prominent name in the Polish Extreme Metal scene alongside names like Behemoth and Decapitated. Post their last Asia tour in September 2017, we managed to catch up with the founder/ front man of the band- Piotr Wiwczarek where we talked about the band, line up, the music and scene back in the day. Excerpts:
MJM. As one of the longest surviving Death metal bands hailing from Poland; how does it feel to have come this far?
Piotr: Haha! I am just happy to be here. It was never part of the plan and being one of the Extreme Metal bands back in the day; we knew we were up for something and we had to keep it spontaneous. Of course, when we started the band, we had dreams you know. I had dreams that one day I will stand on a proper stage and play the music I wanted. With Vader, it was important for me to build a proper base around the world. We have such respected fans and I love that. We fondly call them Vader maniax!
“You can record a song in an iPhone much better that how it was back in the 80’s. That’s just different. Bands these days focus too much on tools. That’s what I see.”
MJM. That’s very commendable. Vader alongside Behemoth, Decapitated and Hate have pretty much held the Extreme Metal status in Poland over the last few decades. How was the scene back then compared to how it is today?
Piotr: The people today do not have much passion as much as how we had back in the 80’s. Everything is easily accessible today. People today are thinking about careers and not creation. When we started in the 80’s, we started with nothing but we did everything possible. Nothing was easy back in the day. It was very hard because there was no scene at all. It was merely an underground scene in Poland. Today, it is hard to explain how different it was back in the day. Things have improved. Hahah! I am sure you know. I remember when we wanted to record a demo tape; in a studio with no proper equipments and it was a more of a radio station and it was a four track recorder. Only the vocals were recorded separately; the rest were recorded together as a band. It sounds kinda crap today. I don’t think people would love it today because it’s too old and the sound is just too raw. Today we use digital processors and the sound is really different. You can record a song in an iPhone much better that how it was back in the 80’s. That’s just different. Bands these days focus too much on tools. That’s what I see.
“…sometimes the bands would sound better live than when they play in the studio or records, I like that too haha.”
MJM. Poland is a conservative country. How do you think has this political and social crisis affected art and its form? Let’s just say Extreme Metal for now.
Piotr: It’s just easy to be in a band; not just any Extreme bands but just about anything. Poland being under the European Union is directly under the influence of the other countries even though we have our own laws and so on. Be it be, Germany, Spain or any country. Everything that’s available here is the same as in the other neighboring countries. If there is any release of any new album or any new material, we would have distributors and record companies that would help us cross borders. It would still be hard. If you want to go buy vinyl, which was at one point the main format of music available; you didn’t have CD’s until later on. If you needed to buy a vinyl, you would need someone travelling outside of Poland to places like Germany. If you had families in the neighboring countries, it would make it much easier for them to commute and purchase them. I remember doing that, travelling by train for 67 hours and in one direction; just to collect some demo tapes, copy some demo tapes, albums etc., the loyal fans would do any of that to make sure to get the music. Later, we had radio stations in Poland. I remember days where they would play two albums in a stretch. Albums of Deff Leppard, Sex Pistols some classic rock.
“Back in the day, when I had to contact magazines and stuff, I had to record it on tape, package it and mail it to them. Today, I can just download it, upload it and everybody can just listen to it.”
MJM. In today’s era, we also have the internet which is one of the most powerful tools to reach more people. How do you think has the internet played an important role in today’s music industry?
Piotr: We are able to speak today because of the internet. In the 80’s, you did not have the internet. Internet is a powerful tool in terms of content. Back in the day, the main source was to write letter and mails to receive things in your mail box. They made designs on the posters and letters to make it look more evil. Then you had to go to the post office to send it and then wait for another month to receive a response. Today, one click and Skype and here we are talking now. It’s absolutely great, no doubt about it but it has changed the world on the other side. The internet gives you a chance to listen to free music. Back in the day, when I had to contact magazines and stuff, I had to record it on tape, package it and mail it to them. Today, I can just download it, upload it and everybody can just listen to it. It’s not the best if you are talking about money; when you are out here trying to make profits; but most of them just make their money from shows and all these gadgets. As you go to play live, you don’t just use the music you create in the studio. People need to know it’s you. That’s why I have respect for bands that play what they record.
In the past it was different, sometimes the bands would sound better live than when they play in the studio or records, I like that too haha. In the past generations, like during my times, we just knew what we were doing and that was the only situation. We cannot change the work, we just have to go out there and play it. It sucks when people can just listen to free music and just judge the entire record by just listening to 2 seconds or 2 songs!
VADER – Sword Of The Witcher (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)
MJM. What do you think of the idea of crowdfunding? Many bands get into the crowdfunding their albums and even tours etc. What’s your aspect of getting the music out there?
Piotr: I think it’s a choice. If they like to do it in that way or this way, it’s upto them. No pressure at all. What really matters is the band going out there and playing music, how you get it, record your album and this and that is just secondary. The music is important. Its metal, so to me the band like somebody mentioned Bathory; went live in their later stages. Metal is live, Metal is staged live. I do understand and never will understand the bands that only release albums but never go live.
“India has some crazy metal fans!”
MJM. How was your experience in India when you played here the last time?
Piotr: It was great! We have been to places where we have never been to before. It feels great that people remember us and sending us a message. That is really great! On the last tour, we had visited some new places, like Philippines, New Zealand which has crazy fans who love Death Metal and then you have India. I did not know what to expect when we arrived there for the first time in Bangalore. Bangalore Open Air was a really huge surprise to us. India has some crazy metal fans!
This time we had a chance to play there twice- in the East part and in Bangalore. The Guwahati festival, Forkaal had just so many fans. Guwahati was a lot different from Bangalore or Mumbai which is a bigger city. We are trying to give fans as much as possible. Sometimes, people are poor and things are not easy to get but they are happy. Money can give you a better life but not necessarily happiness. Sometimes, people who don’t have as much money are happier. I noticed that in Guwahati. I saw so many happy faces there. That’s what I felt there. People just enjoyed the show. That’s what mattered to us as a band and it was the biggest thing.
MJM. Did you guys manage to try out any Indian food?
Piotr: Oh yes, we did! For a European guy, I found it very spicy! It’s different from the Mexicans too. For the Mexicans, they like spicy but have a different flavor. But you guys are on a whole new level haha! I like checking out the local food and culture and what it’s like to eat their food. It makes it very interesting. It would be very boring if everything was the same. That’s one of the best parts for us to try out the local food and especially Indian, one of the most famous places to talk about the food. Even in the past, the spicy flavors are known to come from India and China. And most of the other Asian areas. So thank you for that.
MJM. Let’s talk about the music- ‘The Empire’ was the latest release and it came out with great reviews all over the world. Tell us about this album and its initial phase.
Piotr: Well, it’s not like the albums we did in the past. It was very linear. It was unlike anything we wrote before. Some songs that we have mentioned according to events and we also mentioned a song that was directly inspired by Star Wars. We just took the name and musically, we are not really even close to that. It’s parallel but it’s different. It never really influenced the music straight and after years, I just wanted to pay my respect to the movie franchise. I created this song- Genocidius; as a fan of the series. We recorded the album in a studio in Poland, with Wojtek and Sławek Wiesławscy. They are very professional and to the point. That’s exactly what I need. Last year, I started to slowly construct a home studio. Maybe in the future, I will prepare demo tapes and then before hitting the studio to record the main songs. For every album, I focus on the work right in the studio even if I have some ideas already in my head. Back then, we used to just sit down and work on some ideas for the backbone of the material and then we go to the studio to start with the drums, then the guitars and the bass. Finally I mix the vocals, some beats and some add on. We do not follow the conventional method, as I cannot spend hours and 2 days recording the vocals by screaming and stuff. That’s how I work. Some people prefer to have everything ready before they head out to record, it could be easy and time saving too.
MJM. How has the change of line ups affected the progress of the band? How settled is this line up?
Piotr: You know, this is the longest surviving line up since years. It’s never happened before. We have had some problems with some members in the past. If I don’t want to work with somebody, I need to talk. If somebody does not want to accept my rules, he needs to quit and stop the lagging. To be in Vader, you need to spend most of the year touring. This is how it is. Very specific. It takes a lot of sacrifice to be in a band. Not everybody can do that. It takes time to understand it. The band makes sense only when everybody enjoys what they are doing.
MJM. When you speak about fellow Polish bands like Behemoth, Decapitated; how would you describe your relationship with them?
Piotr: They are great friends of ours. We enjoy together. We try to meet up, you know they are different characters. One of them can be different than the others, but I respect those bands for they did and for what they are. I am glad that Poland has been producing interesting bands.
MJM. Before we wrap up the talk, would you like to say anything for your fans here?
Piotr: I would like to thank each and every one for their support. Our last Asian show was in India and it is a beautiful country. Thank you once again and we hope to come back soon.
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(Cover Photo by- Monika Wawrzyniak)