VASTUM seemed like an interesting enough entity to get to know better. Hence this interview with all members. If you like me haven’t already bought the album rush out and do so as this is some pretty cool death metal. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
What was it made you want to do Vastum?
Luca: The horrors of life.
Kyle-: An insatiable need to play metal.
Daniel: Love for death metal and abjection.
How hard is it to come up with a name that fits the intentions of the band?
Luca: Pretty hard if you don`t know what you like.
Kyle: I think the hardest part is every one agreeing on the same name, I probably would have called the band Leatherwolf or Bloodstone or something that I relate too but Leila just pulled Vastum out of her ass and everyone liked it.
Leila: It’s hard enough to come up with a name that hasn’t been used before by another band, let alone that fits the band. Although the Vastum name came about pretty quickly, which was fortunate.
When you mix different styles/eras of extreme music to make it your own. How do you make it all work?
Luca: That`s a secret.
Kyle: I think your question answers itself. By making it your own. Believe in your self and follow your heart.
When you are Americans and you play death metal where do you look to for influence?
Luca: At the cemetery.
Leila: At the horrors within.
Kyle: It’s really hard but we have found some obscure American bands that you might not of heard of, Death, Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Obituary, Slayer, Six Feet Under, Cannibal Corpse etc.
Daniel: Musically I like to look to all the bonehead, burnout teenagers who making death metal in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Nuclear Death, Morpheus/Morpheus Descends, Contagion/Funereal, Derketa — those are some US bands that inspire me. These days I like Thevetat and Bone Sickness and of course Lawless and Necrot (of newer bands). But as has been stated, we get most of our inspiration from the mind — the greatest horror of all.
How do you know what is good and what is not when you write songs? How much of trial and error is there to being a band?
Luca: It`s personal taste. It`s about playing music you would like to hear.
Leila: It’s just a feeling you have that it’s a complete song. The work isn’t done until everyone is satisfied. I have piles of unfinished songs that went nowhere because the feeling just wasn’t right.
Kyle: It’s mostly if the song works for the band or not. We haven’t had to reject or drop hardly any songs. Leila, Luca and me all write whole songs and bring them to the band completed. Sometimes they get tweeked a little.
Is it necessary to be on a small label to be taken serious as underground musicians? When do you stop being underground?
Luca: I think you stop being underground when you stop doing what you like to please someone else that is not you or your band.
Kyle: Underground is a way of life, no one can take it away. You’re only as small as the label you put on yourself.
How much of a DIY ethic is there to the band? What are the benefits of doing it yourself contra having it done for you?
Kyle: Nothing is free. There is true freedom in being nothing.
Luca: We don`t do shit ourselves anymore. Someone else records our records, someone else pays for it, some guy from another country is doing the cover, someone else is printing our t shirts. To do something DIY it takes time, commitment, ideas and resources.
From what I understand being a metal band in the US is not easy if you want to get some kind of recognition. Where do you see yourself having the greatest chance of making a name for yourself?
Luca: Keep playing the music we like hoping that someone else will like it too.
Kyle: I never thought about it.
Leila: Recognition isn’t the point for us; just playing the music we want and being a sick live band.
Daniel: We make a name for ourselves playing live. I think we are a good live band with or without smoke, red lights, and candles or whatever. Sometimes it’s maybe a little sloppy but it’s always animalistic and disgusting, a bonafide psychical excretion.
What kind of reactions have you had to album?
Kyle: Amazing. People have been really supportive. More than I ever imagined.
How hard is it to decide on what songs you want to be on the album? What are your feelings on the album in hindsight?
Leila: The way I usually feel about all of my recordings; it’s a perfect snapshot of where the band was at the time. It was the first time we all recorded together, so we learned a lot. I think we did the best we could in what little time we did it.
Luca: We record everything then we decide what goes on the album or not.
Daniel: I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I think it’s a good record and that it doesn’t sound derivative.
What future is there for Vastum?
Luca: I don`t know. Our drummer is moving to Los Angeles, Dan went back to school and doesn`t have much time for music anymore. I guess in our future there is not as much as I would like it to be, but enough to keep the band going. We`re planning on an east coast tour next year and eventually go to Europe sometimes in the future.
Leila: A new album on 20 Buck Spin in 2013, followed by an East coast tour, hopefully, then Europe at some point.