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VEKTOR



VEKTOR "SCI-FI OR DIE!"



By Dr. Abner Mality


"When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere."--Robert Heinlein


"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."--Aldous Huxley

Space and music are the two guiding force behind the creation known as VEKTOR. This band is ostensibly located in the Phoenix, Arizona area, but after listening to the complex and cosmic thrash metal they have created, it is more accurate to say that their minds roam the vastness of time and space. And that they express their understanding of time and space through their aggressive, progressive music.

Vektor have been one of the brightest lights of the thrash revival scene. Unlike so many of their brethern, who are content to recreate and regurgitate what has gone before, David DiSanto and his compatriots are trying to push heavy metal somwhere new. True, they take inspiration from the likes of Voi Vod and Slayer, but the intent is there to advance...mutate...innovate. This is what they have done on their latest album, "Outer Isolation"...a shining example of forward-thinking-man's metal that nevertheless manages to kick a galactic amount of ass.

Recently, I used my transmat machine to materialize inside the celestial headquarters of Vektor, where I was lucky enough to find David in between journeys to the end of the universe. The following communication shall enlighten you Earthbound humanoids on the transtemporal and omniversal doings of the entity we know as VEKTOR...




WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:  Your first album "Black Future" was very well received. It was a hard release to top. What were some of the goals you had when you wanted to record "Outer Isolation"? What did you want to achieve with it?

DAVID DiSANTO: For sure, we felt the pressure. We wanted to outdo what we did on "Black Future". Luckily, we went back to the same guy who recorded "Black Future", his name's Byron Filson at Villain Recordings, and he understood what we wanted to do...record a better album.  We wanted to focus more on the production this time, make everything sound big and clear. The main focus of the album was precision and just nailing all our parts as perfectly as we could. It was apparent that "Black Future" was a pretty good album and we were all like, fuck, how are we gonna beat this? It was a little bit stressful but I think we came out with a fine album. It was kind of a fine line for us. We wanted to outdo "Black Future" and all, but at the same time, none of us really like over-produced albums. We wanted to stay true to our sound and to our genre but at the same time make it as clear and precise as possible.

WC: It seems to be a bigger album not just musically but also as far as ideas go. Is it a concept album?

DD:  It's not really a concept album, but there are a lot of concepts IN the album that repeat. There's a lot of philosophy of the mind that the songs explore. There are maybe four of the songs on the album that might fit together as a concept but then we throw in four extras to balance it out.

WC: I thought right away there had to be a strong connection between the songs "Cosmic Cortex" and "Tetrastructural Minds". Were those two closely related?

DD: They both have to do with the mind, but they are different.  The image that is created by "Cosmic Cortex" is an all-encompassing brain coming from outer space to take over the earth.  The actual underlying concept behind it is collective consciousness and how we're all drawn into this dimension of thought. "Tetrastructural Minds" is really about growing older and the change in our minds. The metaphor in the song is a dark crystal growing in a dark cave. Our brain starts to crystallize as we grow older. One of the lyrics in the song is "life is liquid when we';re young/ we paint with the colors of the sun/ Time solidifies in our brains/ and we paint with shades of grey".  Time, thoughts and ideas all start to solidify as we grow older...we become less creative, less imaginative. That song explores that topic.

WC: Where do you get the inspiration for most of your lyrics? Fiction? Non-fiction? Personal experience?

DD: It's all sci-fi themed because I've pretty much been into sci fi movies since I've been born, but a lot of the concepts are personal experiences...my own personal philosophy about the world and what goes on in it.  Inspiration can really come from anywhere, it's not just from one source. It's a conglomeration of everything.

WC: What are some of your favorite sci fi films and books?

DD: I'd say probably my number one sci fi movie is "Blade Runner". The Mad Max movies, "Star Wars" obviously. What else? George Lucas' "THX 1138"...the movie "Krull"...(laughs)

WC: That's a favorite of mine as well! I love the old Ray Harryhausen fantasies...

DD:  "Krull" is awesome because it's like a fantasy movie in space...(laughs)

WC: I was drawn a lot to the sci fi movies in the late 60's/early 70's.

DD: I kind of agree. It just has a better feel when it was done back then. There's something that computer graphics just cannot capture nowadays.

WC: Movies are mostly just product now. "2001" and "Zardoz"...those films had no restrictions. They didn't care if they appealed to kids or spawned a ton of products.

DD: I think any really good sci fi movie should have a lot of ideas and social commentary. There should be philosophy behind the movie...that's what makes the old ones so cool.

WC: You've got a song on "Outer Isolation" called "Fast Paced Society". Do you see the digital revolution of the last few years as a good thing or bad thing for society?

DD: It cuts both ways. I feel it makes a lot of people anti-social and reclusive. They have a bunch of online friends, they just talk to them and lose the human element. That song is really just about our society becoming sped up in every fashion. You name it, everything's getting faster. Everything's becoming streamlined and more efficient. We're starting to lose the creative element. Everything's just becoming product...there's a lack of emotion and feeling.
 


WC: People don't have big ideas anymore. They have a super short attention span. If they want to find something out, they just google it. I'm always in awe of old philosophers like Socrates who just with a stick and a patch of sand could out-think almost anybody today.

DD: I draw a lot of inspiration from the old Greek philosophers...Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.I really like this guy Democritus, who theorized about atoms 2000 years ago...(laughs) No microscopes of any sort back then. It was just insane that somebody back then could think about ideas so abstractly.

WC: We now think very concretely...not as abstract as we once did.

DD:  That's how my brain works. That's what we try to portray as a band. I guess that's the thing that makes Vektor a little bit different. All of our songs explore topics that nobody can define easily. It's abstract but still relatable to everyone. We take a kind of critical thinking approach to dissect ideas.

WC: How you guys write songs? It seems like you're the spark plug that gets things started.

DD: Yeah, I write all the music and the lyrics thus far. I don't know if that might change. Eric and Frank come up with some pretty cool riffs, so we might be using some of their stuff later on.  It starts out almost all the time with one riff. I can spend weeks and not come up with anything and sometimes it just happens really fast. It's a lot of trial and error, playing on my guitar and coming up with riffs. In my head, I try to imagine what that riff sounds like...usually it's something cosmically inspired...and I try to make a sonic atmosphere surrounding that riff. I think of the whole band while I write the song and I come in with a pretty clear picture of how the song's going to end up before I even present it to the other members. The lyrics always come last. The music inspires the lyrics...I always have imagines popping up in my head when I hear music. 

WC: It seems like Vektor is a band that has some influences outside the usual. What are some of the non-metal or more unusual influences you guys have?

DD: Well, I like a few songs of Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd...a lot of classic rock stuff.

WC: Progressive rock?

DD: Yeah, progressive rock. A lot of it is just good old straight up classic rock. I grew up listening to punks and bands like The English Dogs, The Exploited and The Subhumans.  I think that's why I got into thrash metal because it was the next obvious step to take...it's faster and heavier. After thrash, I kind of got into black metal and thrash and black metal have pretty much been on the top of my list.

WC: Those genres incorporate more musical ideas than punk like The Subhumans.

DD: Yeah, but there's something about punk rock. It doesn't have to be complex to be awesome and really get you moving and your mind thinking. There's some aggression and thought-provoking things in punk that no other genre can match, I think.

WC: Are you able to do those amazing high pitched screams live like you do on the record?

DD: It kinda depends. The older I get, the harder the screams are to do and my voice is hit or miss some nights. Mostly its good and I can hit all the screams but some times it's just not there. Partly it's because I've been drinking and smoking, which doesn't really help. (chuckles) I gotta lay off the cigarettes for sure.

WC: What have been the high and low points of Vektor so far?

DD: You know, honestly, right now is our high point. There's so much excitement about this new album and our name is just starting to explode right now and getting out to everyone, which is surprising. We're stoked! It's refreshing...

WC: Well, you don't have a cookie cutter sound. It's something a little bit different for people who are looking for that...

DD:  And that's cool, because I write music because it's stuff that I want to hear. It's not like we're trying to accomplish anything, we're not copying any other bands or going for a certain sound other than our own. That's the music we want to hear. We're not out there to please everybody, but it's awesome when people are getting stoked on the music. That's the coolest part of it.

WC: How do you see the band evolving in the future? Will you become slower, faster, more epic? Will you add other sounds?

DD:  I think we're all happy with what we've got going. There will obviously be some growth and evolution as we grow older and get better at our instruments, but we like our sound and we plan on sticking to our roots and not changing anything too much. I think that's where a lot of bands go wrong. On their first album, then maybe second or third, those albums are all awesome and then for some reason the band changes and starts to suck. I don't ever want Vektor to be like that.

WC: I won't mention any names. (chuckles) Are you involved with any other musical projects besides Vektor?

DD: No! Vektor is a full-time job outside of my normal full-time job! (laughs) It's the full time job I don't get paid for yet!

WC: If you could ask any three people from history to dinner, who would they be?


DD: Hmmm! Alright, I would definitely pick Carl Sagan...Albert Einsten...and...huh...
How about Piggy from Voi Vod?

WC: That's certainly a space-oriented get-together! I just read today where you've got plans for a west coast tour. What are the band's live plans shaping up as in general? Do you think you might visit Europe?

DD:  That would be cool! We've actually already had some tour offers to go to Europe, but we're on a small label obviously and they can't afford to fly us over to Europe. I don't know...if we can somehow manage to get the plane tickets to get over to Europe, we'd definitely do that in a heartbeat. But as of now, money's tight. We'll see how things shape up. We'll tour the States and see where we go. The reason we're all doing a short little west coast tour is that we're all moving to the east coast in the springtime. We're thinking about Philadelphia and moving out there at the end of March, early April. (David gets momentarily distracted by his fiancee) Once we move out east and get settled, we'll hit the east coast and the south and eventually make our way to the Midwest. So we'll be around your neck of the woods.

WC:  What was the last CD or release you got just because you wanted to hear the band?

DD: I've been really stoked on all of Absu's releases. The last two have just been incredible. The first record in their trilogy, the self-titled record, blew me away and I didn't even need to hear "Abzu" to want to go out and buy it the day it came out.

WC: Ironically, both you and Absu wound up on my Top 10 or 2011 list...

DD: Awesome! Thanks!

WC: Well, I can hear plenty of similarities between your two bands.

DD: Definitely.  I found out about Absu right when "Tara" came out and I just got into everything that they've done. I think they just keep getting better. They're amazing...inventive and original. That's a breath of fresh air in the black metal community.

WC: What was the last band you went to see in concert just because you wanted to check them out yourself?

DD: Well, there's not a lot of good shows that come through Phoenix but anytime Kreator comes through, you know, I have to be there. (laughs) The last good metal show I went to this year was Forbidden and Evile. That was incredible. "Forbidden Evil" is a sick ass album and I'm glad they played a bunch of tracks from that. As far as Evile goes, "Infected Nations" is a great album. Those guys are super tight, super talented.

WC: I think they are one of the few newer bands that can equal what the first wave of thrashers accomplished.

DD: I agree and I think it's because they put their own spin on it, they're just not blatantly copying other bands.

WC: In the history of Vektor has there been any kind of a "Spinal Tap" moment you can share with our readers?

DD: Man, I'm trying to think. Our whole tour with Exmortus was pretty hilarious and fun. (chuckles) It was a winter tour and I think we were in West Virginia. We were in this rest stop and had bought this tiny metal barbecue grill. We were making hot dogs and burgers on this cheap little crappy grill and we flip the lid up and broke the lid off. We were like, fuck! (laughs) There was a bunch of snow on the ground  sp we started using the barbecue lid as a sled. Chaos ensued!

WC: Nobody got any broken bones?

DD: I think I pretty much sprained my wrist that night, but it was good enough to play a show the next day.

WC: Any last words for the fans out there?

DD: Yeah. Sci fi or die!

www.myspace.com/vektor