Hey man, a more than warm welcome back is suitable. I interviewed you on your decision to revive the band before, but the release of a new album is a better reason to do so. Does this fresh new start means a different approach too?
The ten month break-up of Acheron back in 2010 was due to a much needed break from the music industry. We have always had problems with record labels. Not all were terrible, but in the end none ever had the funds to really promote our music on a higher level. Most of sales were based solely on our reputation, or with minor promotion. We were very proud of our last album ‘The Final Conflict: Last Days Of God’ and we received absolutely no promotion at all from our former label. It was total bullshit. It actually started tension within the band. Our drummer Kyle took some time off to create a low budget horror movie and I was working with some other guys to play some special ‘Rites Of The Black Mass’ (Acheron’s first album. R.-LoM) shows. Well, the musicians I was working with, weren’t working out, so I cancelled the shows. I hadn’t talked to Kyle in months and was just pretty sick of trying to keep the boot a float. So that is when I said “Fuck it, I am done!” And then I put the band to rest.
For many months Kyle and I were not on good terms due to the break-up of the band. But ten months later we actually sat down at a bar and had a few beers and talked things out. We decided it wasn’t worth ending the band, but we had to made it enjoyable again. So we agreed to only play shows when we could and not deal with trying to get signed until we were ready. For over two years we just did live shows. I was slowly writing new songs and starting to work them out with the band. We ended up recording a two song demo in 2012. Kyle’s other band Incantation were just signed to Listenable Records at that time. The owner Laurent was an old Acheron fan, so I decided to get in contact with him and send him our demo. He loved the stuff and we were signed to his label. Our whole goal for this album was to create something pure and raw without lacking good production. Also my goal for the song writing process was to create dark and aggressive old school riffs that were very memorable to the listeners. Also, we wanted to bring back the shredding guitar element that we used to have when Michael Estes was in the band. The approach was to make this album feel like a sledgehammer to the face that feels good! (Ha, Ha)
You are a solid name in the history of metal, but never the ones marching in the front, hence it would be unlikely to secure your retirement with the band. Is that the main reason for most musicians to regretfully have to move on, or is it just lack of character that comes out being away from home?
The reason I keep Acheron alive is because it is a part of me. I really need to do it. It is a demon I summoned long ago that refuses to go away. We may not be at a status like some of the bigger bands, but we have a worldwide following that keep the hellfires burning in our camp. Even if we weren’t signed or playing shows, I would still be writing and recording Acheron music. This lifestyle is brutal to many musicians. Either you deal with the bullshit, or just quit.
In what way do you think it is comparable with prior releases and what is totally different?
This album is yet another unique Acheron creation. It has the Acheron feel like all the others do, but there are new and old elements within this recording. We didn’t pull a “Morbid Angel” on this one. Fans of the older Acheron material should enjoy it as much as our newer fans. After Dan Swano mixed and Mastered the ‘Kult Des Hasses’, the record label loved it. Then the feedback from people in the media has been great. And we have never been very popular with the press. (Ha, Ha) So we shall see how everyone else like it.
Maybe that is why I, who always likes your stuff, needed more time to adapt to it, hahaha. Then it is worth the sacrifice. Did you give the new guys space to bring in their own ideas, or did you just use them to play what you thought of?
On this album I wrote all the basic foundation of the songs. Then everyone else comes in and layers them up with their contribution. Our Guitarist Art Taylor did an amazing job. I told him the feel we needed in each song for leads and other layering and he came up with some great stuff. Ricktor Ravensbruck, who was our guest second guitarist, also came up with some killer stuff. The two of them had some great duo-guitar assaults.
As for you personally, how motivated are you to get your band on top of all the posters again?
Of course that would be great, but that is not the reason I do Acheron. I don’t do it for fame, money or to be accepted by the mainstream metal media. I create what I want and do it for the fans who respect me for doing so. We may not have as many fans as a band such as Cannibal Corpse, but the ones we do have are loyal and many have been following us for years. And the newer fans are just as die-hard. That is why I wrote the song ‘Devil’s Black Blood’, which is dedicated to all the supports of Acheron.
It is no secret you are a part of the Satanic Church, or at least have been leader of their youth group, or so says Wikipedia at least. How do you look at the deluge of Satanic metalbands that haven’t slightly got the idea what the fuck they are talking about?
I still live a very Satanic lifestyle, but I resigned from the Church Of Satan back in 2000. I was NEVER a leader of any kind of youth group. I used to run an organization back in 1992-1995 called the “Order Of The Evil Eye” that was more of a Anti-Christian propaganda machine, that also has an inner circle of members who were Satanic and were a part of the various groups around the world. I retired the O.E.E.to work more with the Church Of Satan. But after Anton LaVey died, things changed and I no longer felt the need to be a part of any organization. As for other bands I don’t really care what they do or what they know. I’m only interested in what Acheron is doing. Acheron is the real deal and that is what matters.
Fair enough, thanks for straightening that out. Metal and Satanism, in whatever the form it is applied, seem to have gone hand in hand throughout history. What is more important to you, having suiting lyrics for your darkly layered and powerful music, or to find the music to channel your message in?
The music and the lyrics have to go hand in hand. The feeling of the song has to reflect what the lyrical contact will contain.
I know the reason why the name Satanism is suitable for the philosophy you live by, but can you imagine people finding it shocking and maybe provocative, as a term?
Sure. People have been brainwashed to think Satan is the cosmic boogieman who will put you in the fires of Hell, if you enjoy your life too much. Such bullshit! I have no idea how anyone can believe such outdated fiction created by institutions to keep the masses in their grip. In my opinion, Satanism is a philosophy and lifestyle, not a religion. Satan is used as an archetype, not an actual deity. To me, it also symbolized that force of dark light in nature that radiates energy to those who know how to become one with it. Satan is much more complex than what religions make it to be.
Thanks, that needed to be said by an insider! What is the most important thing you want to teach anyone willing to listen to what you have to say?
I have no need to teach anyone anything. I just express my thoughts and my creative conjurations and if someone resonates to what I make..great! I’m not here to convert people. Through my life’s journey I have researched many things and learned from experience. Others must do the same. I don’t know all the answers to life’s question. I just know what works for me. Each person needs to find their own way.
Do you think your band members have to share your ideas on religion? I know Ralph Santonella wore crucifixes to protect him from the influence of Glen Benton (which I think is overestimated) and Pete Sandoval cannot come back to Morbid Angel because he let Jesus into his life. How do you look at that, would you exclude someone who would say “I just play in this band, I don’t share the message Vincent puts out”?
As I mentioned before, I don’t consider Satanism a religion. Religion is a belief that makes one submit to its god and dogma. In Satanism you are your own god and you do whatever YOU think is right for you. I personally only work with people who understand what Acheron is about. I would never work with anyone who is any kind of god lover! Members in Acheron are disgusted by religions and live a Satanic lifestyle.
By the way, I saw your new pop up on IMDB, as an actor, was that indeed you and if so, don’t you want to do more with that, maybe even write films? You seem inspired and drive enough to do such a thing.
No, that wasn’t me. But I would always be game for doing a movie role. (Ha, Ha)
Well, who knows what Kyle has in store in the near future, hehehe. Let’s get back to the album, shall we? You have worked on it for some time. Listening back to it now, are there things you would have done differently?
We are all very pleased with the outcome of this album. Sure, there could have be some things done differently to make things much easier, but bands have to work within budgets. We aren’t Metallica. (Ha, Ha) We can’t just rent out a studio for a year and work at our leisure. But we worked with what we were given and I think everyone did an excellent job.
Where did you seek inspiration for it?
I think the band was just very motivated to record this new album. It had been fout years since our last album and we just signed to a record label that believed in the band. But I think the biggest inspiration was the support from all our fans who wanted a new Acheron record.
Which are your own favourite songs that will make the live setlist for sure?
I like them all. (Ha, Ha) But the ones that have been on on recent setlists have been ‘Satan Holds Dominion’, ‘Raptured To Divine Perversion’, and ‘Misanthropic Race’. We plan to add more when we get back to playing shows in March.
You sort of told it earlier on, but why did you move to Listenable to release it?
Laurent, the owner of Listenable Records has been a fan of Acheron for many years. When he heard our demo he genuinely liked the music. It wasn’t just some kind of business deal. He has goals for Acheron and he believes in the music. That is what kind of label this band needs. And we plan to kick ass for them!
How have the first responds to the album been, so far
So far all the responses have been very positive. Many have called this one of our best albums. I really think this album is going to show that there is still plenty of hellfire left in Acheron!
Ok, I think I need to give it some more spins, but maybe in time that is the outcome for me too. Will you do any big tours to support the album?
We will do some selected shows, fests and some mini-tours for sure. No real lengthy tours are planned at this time. But you will indeed see Acheron on stage in 2014!
Is there any new material waiting to be polished for a new release already?
Yes, indeed! We have already started working on material for the next album. So far we have three new songs in progress.
Well, regardless of how you felt about dong this interview, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for returning to the scene. We need warriors like you to make a difference. I put it at the end, not to influence your answers too much, but I am dead serious. I would also like to thank you for your time and I wish you all the best of luck with sales and so on. Cheers and take the opportunity to give us a final thought, I would say!
Thank you very much for your kind words and support. It is people like you that keep Acheron coming back with more unholy music. Hopefully people will take the time to check out the new Acheron album ‘Kult Des Hasses’ on Listenable Records and pick up the cd or vinyl. Acheron is back and we want blood! Come join our cult of hatred! Ad Maiorem Satanae Gloriam!