Interview with Gallhammer

interview - 13.08.2007 22:00

JaME had a mail interview with Vivian Slaughter, Gallhammer's bassist and vocalist.

Hello! Please introduce yourself for the people who are not familiar with you.

Vivian Slaughter: Hi, I am Vivian Slaughter, I'm the vocalist and bass player in Gallhammer.

How would you describe your music?

Vivian Slaughter: Our music is often categorized as black metal, but I don't think we are only that. Of course I like black metal, but I also enjoy crust punk. Gallhammer is particularly influenced by black metal and crust punk, so our music style is very multidirectional and it's difficult to divide our music in to genres. I'm influenced by thrash metal, new wave, crust punk and old school black metal. We're not really a very technical band, we just want to make gloomy and simple songs.

On the Autumn you are going on a tour to Europe, where black metal originated. What are your expectations? What can the fans expect from the upcoming tour?

Vivian Slaughter: I’m so excited about this tour! But I worry that people will be disappointed at our concerts because we are not a pure black metal band.

Dawn of... was a comprehensive collection of your works, including a DVD of live material throughout the years. Did this bring back memories? It is also said that in the beginning you didn't know how to play your instruments, so you have obviously progressed a lot. What are your thoughts on the past, today and future?

Vivian Slaughter: At first we didn't want to release Dawn of..., but our record label Peaceville wanted to re-release Gloomy Lights. I was against that idea so I decided that we should release Dawn of... instead.
Gloomy Lights is my favorite album and it is very special for us. As for Dawn of..., well..we hadn't wanted to release it, but we had no choice, so now when I watch it, I am not able to remember the happy feelings we had when we made it, because of the current situation.
Now we have a big contract with a label, and sometimes we are stuck in a strange situation. We want to make what we want to make in our own way.

There are hardly any women in metal bands, let alone black metal. Was it more difficult for you to break through because you are women?

Vivian Slaughter: No, it's not so difficult and I don't really care about us being unusual just because we are women. I enjoy playing black metal, but I don't have any big ambitions to be successful, I want to just enjoy playing with my band.
Recently a lot of young people play in bands, and I don't think there's a big difference between a man and a woman who play in band.

What do people think about Black Metal in Japan? How is the Black Metal scene over there?

Vivian Slaughter: My opinion about that is different from other Japanese because I grew up in a catholic family. But Japanese people usually think of black metal as one genre and that genre is starting to become very fashionable in Japan. Black metal musicians are getting better and a lot of girls come to concerts.

Please tell us something about the upcoming album. Will it be different from the previous one?

Vivian Slaughter: Basically it won't be much different from our previous album. The theme of our previous album is dim lights in the dark, and the theme of our new album is more like irritating white lights, like when you feel you're losing your sight. Our new album has also more lyrics in Japanese.

Where do you get the inspiration for your music and lyrics? Your official bio says Hellhammer and Amebix are your main influences. Are you also interested in more "mainstream" music?

Vivian Slaughter: I prefer old school music, I can't really stand the kind of music everyone listens to nowdays. It's difficult to find good bands, especially because I don't like to listen to music on the internet. I often listen to German Progressive, NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and 70s Rock. Originally, I liked 80s and early 90s Death Metal and Slash Metal, and I also like 80s Crust. I prefer raw music even if the musicians are not so good. But Mika likes mainstream music too.

The title of your first release on Peaceville Records sounds like a reference to George Romero's movie Dawn of the Dead... Did you choose it on purpose? Do you like his movies and horror movies in general?

Vivian Slaughter: I don't like all kinds of horror movies, but I do like Dawn of the Dead.

Have you had an concerts that stuck out in your memory as either the very worst or the very best concert?

Vivian Slaughter: I don't really remember cause we have played a lot of concerts, but it seems like there is always some kind of accident.

Do you feel that the language barrier is a problem when playing concerts and connecting with your fans?

Vivian Slaughter: I feel a language barrier when it comes to interviews and on websites like MySpace, so I feel dejected. But I don't feel any language barrier at our concerts.

Since January 2006, you're on Peaceville Records, an English label, well-known for being the label of bands such as Darkthrone, Katatonia or My Dying Bride. How do you feel about being on the same label as these well known bands?

Vivian Slaughter: I feel happy because there are many bands I like. But in reality we have many serious problems because we cannot do just as we want, so we end up wasting a lot of time on businesslike work with the label and I worry that will interfere our music.

Your music is particularly "raw" and heavy. Do you think this is the only way black metal should be? What do you think about black metal bands who have a more polished/commercial or mainstream sound?

Vivian Slaughter: I think every band should choose it's own style. Gallhammer does not need drum triggering for now, but there are many bands that use the triggering to get a maximum effect on the drums. The result is important, but I care more for vocalists that have a strong voice, like DEAD.

How do you write your songs? Do you write them together or does each of you have your own parts to write?

Vivian Slaughter: I make the basic parts and then in studio I share the outline with the other members. Then we jam and later we arrange everything in details. Recently Mika and Risa have made those basic parts and I have put it all together.

Before forming Gallhammer, you were all vocalists in different bands. Could you tell us more about these experiences?

Vivian Slaughter: I was vocalist in Fast Core, Grind and other psychedelic rock bands. I was not very confident with my vocals but I had a lot of fun!

Since May, the download-only EP Beyond the Hatred is available from digital stores. What are your feelings about this new way to sell music through the internet?

Vivian Slaughter: It's so frustrating. I think all music should be bought as a CD or a vinyl. Internet selling is bad for music cause people end up treating music like a throwaway, with no respect at all.

Thank you so much for the interview! We would like to end it with one final message to your fans and our readers.

Vivian Slaughter: Thank you!
We want to produce more good music for you!


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JaME would like to thank Peaceville Records and Gallhammer for making this interview possible.
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