Polish death metal veterans Vader join forces with German thrashers Kreator in Australia this September for a double bill of extreme metal at it’s best. Touring in support of their latest album “The Empire”, it’s been a long awaited return so we chat with founding member Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek to discuss the tour, Vader’s place in today’s metal world and more.
Andrew: Obviously you’ve been speaking to a lot of press about the upcoming tour with Kreator which is a massive tour. We are big fans of both Vader and Kreator, so it’s good to see both of you guys coming down to Australia.
Peter: Oh man, I’m pretty happy too. You know, I love Kreator since the ‘80s and now I’m still fan. After we had an opportunity to tour with them a few times since we became friends so I feel an even higher respect to all these people. It’s an absolutely great band and to come back to Australia together it’s like more than something supernaturally great [laughs].
Andrew: What can the fans expect? I mean, it’s been a while since you’ve been down to this part of the world.
Peter: Fans may expect real hell! I think we’ve been to Australia first back in the 90s, and all those who remember us may expect an even more wild and extreme Vader, so this is why I can recommend to all those who are not afraid of extremity.
Andrew: Yeah definitely! Well, it’s a great combination, have you done a tour with Kreator before?
Peter: Of course. First time we toured together in the US and that was already in the 21st century after they came back after a short break and then we were together in Europe. So we had some great shows together like the one in Mexico City last year, and now Australia is waiting.
Andrew: You’re touring under the last album you put out, which is ‘The Empire’ that came out late last year. What kind of feedback have you been getting from the fans on the album so far?
Peter: Pretty good! And of course, you know I’m a composer so this is natural that I never really expect anything but as every composer, every musician I’m also proud and need the kind of motivation like good word about the songs and albums we did. And actually I can’t complain because the last album had really good response especially ‘The Empire’. ‘The Empire’ is maybe a collection of everything we’ve created in all these three decades of Vader’s existence plus something more and we just call it experience [laughs].
Peter: I’m not one who actually likes to talk about my own albums. I’m a composer and Vader is, like my life and I’m not the right person to talk about that. I’d rather leave it to fans, they like to talk about what they like more or less and that’s good in music. I’m just a composer, I just play. This is a way of expression to me, to create the music.
Andrew: You’ve been around for quite some time and I think the first album is coming up on 25 years, if I’m not mistaken.
Peter: It’s exactly 25 years since the first album was released.
Andrew: Which is kind of amazing because I’ve been following you guys probably since maybe the mid 90s, I think, when I first discovered you guys and it’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years. I mean, how do you feel about the longevity of Vader over the years?
Peter: Tell me! I was not ready for that when we started Vader, I was just like a teenage fan, pretty crazy orthodox. I wanted to be extreme in music and in life and everything and that’s why our evolution before we recorded the first album was like that. So we started with Motorhead, Judas Priest, Saxon and then came Slayer of course and changed everything and we just wanted to be more and more and more extreme. But we had to live and exist as a band behind the iron curtain like in the East block so that was different but the passion is the best fuel for every band and also for Vader, and still is. And such was the way in extreme music so we turned a little bit at the end of the 20th century so we not focus just on blast beats, we focused on the atmosphere of the whole thing as well. That’s why Vader in the 21st century is more adult, still not really less extreme, just not only fast, not only quick, not only heavy so we try to add something more and more.
Andrew: Definitely, having a lot of dynamics into your music and making it a little bit more fresh and interesting I guess.
Peter: Yeah you know, when you’re a teenage guy you rebel against anything around so you feel everything different than you were as an experienced guy who saw so much in the world . I still feel like a rebel guy. There’s still so much things I do not like and I want to talk about through the music even if I’m not talking about that straight, but I feel it and I’m just a more experienced rebel now so I have so much more to say. And after I see younger generations in front of my eyes when we play today so it means something that the music is more than just like a fragment of time, a fragment of land so we play just the music and we play it for everybody, it doesn’t depend on the age, on a place, religion, whatever so we just play music and people take that.
Andrew: How do you view today’s current extreme metal world scene at the moment compared to how it was when you guys first started?
Peter: The metal changed so much today, and there are even bands who probably nobody would call them metal in the 80s. That’s why I’m trying to say, the definition of metal music change so much in the meantime. The look of metalheads is different today; it’s not long hair, leather jacket, spikes, that was metal to us when we started, that was brotherhood. Something changed in the meantime, but there is something coming back as well. I get the feeling that still today I see more and more really young people with long hair and denim jackets and patches like in the 80s . So maybe there is something like a circle coming back, maybe there is metal and at some point it went away that way and then it’s starting again. I don’t know how to explain it… it’s just my feeling but I watch, I’m trying to see what’s going on around. I’m still fond of metal. I’m a musician for so many years but I never stopped being a fan of metal music. So actually, that’s good to me, that’s people trying to be brothers again just looking the same, being rebellious, trying to be different, trying to be themselves, not to follow because since music became popular, since Metallica became one of those most popular bands everyone tries to be in competition with, Michael Jackson and bands like that, many bands started metal just because they wanted to be famous, not just because they feel to talk in this way like we did in the 80’s. They wanted to be rock stars and sometimes this is not good. You don’t need to agree with me, but metal to us was always something parallel to business; I’m seeing huge business in music so some things changed also.
Andrew: Yeah, I definitely understand what you’re saying. I think, especially in metal there’s also a purity in there that I think a lot of bands try to retain and sort of try to keep it maybe more underground and more of a sort of community minded kind of thing which I think has always been part of the metal scene over the years.
Peter: Yeah but try to understand me, I’m not trying to be a preacher and trying to say you should play this because this is metal. No, metal was and should be all about fun, you should have fun with what you’re doing first of all. Sometimes I don’t get it because, lets say, if you play country[music] if you like it but I get a feeling that sometimes people prefer to call this metal-country because this sounds more original and they try to be original in metal society, which is wrong. Sometimes it is just like metal names, maybe just stupid things, but is this all about what you really want to do? You want to make something original to be original or do you want to have fun? And you do it because you really like it, that’s what I’m talking about.
Andrew: Yeah exactly, I think you definitely have to enjoy what you do otherwise what’s the point of doing it? I know I asked you about the current metal scene, but over the years metal has become more heavier, more extreme but it seems like it’s reached a tipping point where it can’t really get any more extreme than it is now or do you think it can get more extreme than what it is now?
Peter: Actually I get the opposite feeling today because metal was going in that way of extremity up to the end of the 20th century, in my opinion. I remember we were recording the album ‘Litany’ and that was the limit, I think. So of course, we could be faster, we could add more blast beats, and some bands did that actually and there is still some bands who focus on blast beats and they want to be more faster and heavy, more growling, everything. Of course, you may record one, two, three albums then do the same, like one hour live, but you know we were just talking about fun and if you’re losing perception then you’re losing your fun. I’m orthodox and actually the album ‘Litany’ was something which pushed me to change my mind a little bit and we didn’t change our style, we didn’t start to play, ‘Now we play more slow songs and we’re going to make hits, we’re going to make more melody on that.’ No, not like that, but I changed my mind about playing fast and slow. Not playing fast doesn’t mean playing wrong. I’m trying to paint a picture to you of how extreme I was in the way of thinking in the past and actually, Doc (Krzysztof Raczkowski, drummer) helped me a lot. He was way more open minded to other music and together we found that solution and we recorded the album called ‘Revelations’ and it was like the first album that sounded different compared to the previous Vader albums. We added something which was different, something that was even shocking for Vader fans. Those fans who knew our work created before and I think we work in the same way since then.
So 21st century Vader, which is more wide so we are not giving just one thing to our fans, we are not talking in one word to our fans so we try to find some other word but still under the definition of extremity, in my opinion. When I record the next song for the next album I always think about how they’re going to be performed live and I already have lined up all the setlist for the next tour in my mind. That’s why I try to make the album with songs which are going to be mixed and compared with all the old Vader songs which make sense, if you know what I mean. And I know that sometimes we will perform for, let’s say, 90 minutes and I’m not going to make people deaf and make people bored after 30 minutes of the show; I want to give them a fucking kick in the ass but want to keep them for the 90 minutes, you know, and even when they hunger for more.
Andrew: Well, we are certainly looking forward to see you in Australia. I think these shows are going to be absolutely amazing and I think it’s going to be some brilliant stuff. Do you have any last words for the Aussie fans before we let you go?
Peter: No there’s no last words, I hate that last word! What should I say? I really like to say this is a huge pleasure to come back to Australia after a while of non-existence in your land [laughs] and I promise that we will bring even more than we did in the past when we were there the last time.
With special guests Vader
Saturday 2nd September – Auckland, The Studio
Tuesday 5th September – Perth, Capitol
Thursday 7th September – Adelaide, The Gov
Friday 8th September – Melbourne, 170 Russell
Saturday 9th September – Sydney, Manning Bar
Sunday 10th September – Brisbane, The Zoo
On sale now!
Tickets From: http://davidroywilliams.com/tours/kreator-with-vader