Beer is definitely consumed at most practices of VHS

interview vhs canada death metal

The 80’s….The time of neon, excess, and bad music. But the blood ran thick and eyeballs were exposed to some of the most ridiculous and nasty images ever committed to film. VHS is a tribute to the first time you saw Jason hit an unsuspecting girl into a tree, the first time Freddy cracked a one liner, or the first time you saw a gut munched in graphic detail. This is a tribute to 80’s horror, clamshells and Mike will guide you through.

Ok first things first. Mike, I gotta congratulate you on this new album of yours man. The perfect marriage of grind/punk and old school death metal with the 80s 90s horror aura. What’s the feedback so far?
Thanks man! The feedback has been great so far. I’m not sure if it’s due to our album being released at the same time as a bunch of other albums but it has been a bit tougher this time to get the album out there. That said, the majority of reviews have been excellent and the feedback from people that have bought the album has been great. People seem to be digging it and as the album spreads around more and more, I’m sure we will be seeing more reviews and new fans getting into the album. Also thanks for the awesome review on BRUTALISM.com, definitely our favorite review so far.

Glad to hear that bro. So… Just two years since your first full length and here you are again with a new full album and a ton of other releases like split cds and eps available. Almost hard for someone to catch up with you guys. Where does all that inspiration come from?
I’m not sure where the inspiration comes from honestly. I just love having my guitar in my hands all of the time and I’ve never been the type of player that likes playing other people’s songs. If I’m playing I’m either practicing VHS tunes or writing new riffs. I’m always writing lyrics as well, just today I wrote the lyrics for three new tunes. I know we have had a bunch of releases since we’ve been around and I apologize to those who can’t keep up. That said, don’t expect that to change anytime soon! We have a bunch of stuff planned for the next year or so and eventually I’ll start writing for full length number 3 as well. We are also planning a CD that collects all of our EP’s and the last few splits later this year.

The first hearing gave me the impression of a band jamming at their home studio drinking beers and discussing horror movies. Gave me the impression of a band that actually doesn’t give a fuck about who likes it or not. How far from reality is this?
You pretty much nailed it man. VHS was born out of three dudes that had access to a studio that found out quickly that they really enjoyed playing and recording music together. We definitely don’t give a fuck if people like it or not though I guess we prefer it when people do actually like it. We definitely don’t try to cater to what is popular and really don’t care about pleasing anyone other than ourselves. And yes beer is definitely consumed at most practices and recording sessions.

“Screaming Mad Gore”, consisted of 19 tracks in total duration of 34 minutes. “The New Batch” consists of 16 tracks and lasts 29 minutes. Long tracks wasn’t your thing two years ago and I am happy to see that this hasn’t changed. Although, in “The New Batch”, despite the tracks having a short length, you can sense that they are kind of more complete, than the ones in your first one. How true is that, and what are the differences you’d see from your first full length till “The New Batch”?
Yea I’d say maybe the songs are a bit more complete on the new album. Maybe my songwriting was a bit more focused due to it being the second full length we’ve written. The biggest difference I’d say between the two albums is the production and I think I used my death metal vocals a lot more on the new album. The first one I mainly channeled my inner Jeff Walker but this one I find has more growling, some songs are even all growling which we definitely didn’t do on Screaming Mad Gore. I think the new album has some of the best songs we’ve ever written and I think as a whole it feels more like a complete album. It’s still all over the place stylistically just like Screaming Mad Gore was but this one feels more consistent throughout.

My point exactly and ofcourse, another point I’d like to congratulate you is the production. Raw and filthy as it should be, but on the same time loud and clean enough, so everything makes it through the mix. Where did the entire process take place and who’s responsible of the final mix and master?
We recorded the album at Broke Toker Studios, which is our studio and the same place we did Screaming Mad Gore. We wanted to go for something a bit beefier and did a bunch of different mixes before we landed on our final mix. We definitely owe a big debt of gratitude to Mike Tkaczyk. He really took the project under his wings and experimented a lot and helped us get the most out of our modest setup. Mike brought in a lot of new ideas for the guitars for the album as well. For Screaming Mad Gore, he was there for some sessions but not all of them, for The New Batch we made sure he was there for every session. He also brought in his secret weapon, the HM-2, which added an extra layer of filth to the album for sure. For the mastering we sent the album to Geoff Hodsman and we are super pumped with the results. He got it done very quickly and was very easy to work with. Geoff also plays in Human Compost, Brain Spasm and Gravitational Distortion so you should check out all three!

The 80s-90s horror concept is vast and I am sure that your dedication to it made many people connect easier. Since there are many horror freaks out there reading this, please tell us quickly: Fav movie, fav horror character and the most inspirational one to write a song about. Which movie would be the one to pick if you somehow had only one option?
My favorite horror movie of all time is Friday the 13th 6: Jason Lives. It was my first Friday the 13th movie I saw and it has been my favorite ever since. So of course that means Jason Voorhees is my favorite character then. Most inspirational movie to write about was probably The Beyond. Room 36 had lyrics that seemed to write themselves and they are still some of my favorite lyrics that I’ve written. If I could only pick one movie to watch it would have to be The Monster Squad. It may be light on the gore and sleaze, but it’s one of my favorites and pretty much a perfect 80’s movie.

Great pick indeed man. Ok, so I understand there are some guest appearances in “The New Batch”. Can you please tell us a bit about these fine gentlemen that added their touch to your new horror endeavor?
Sure thing. We’ve got some awesome guests this time around. Dave Ingram of Bolt Thrower/Benediction and countless other bands is on Growing Pains and From the Scrapyard. Been a big fan of his bands and vocals for a long time so it was very cool that he was into being on a few tracks. The mighty Stevo of Impetigo contributed a ton to the album. He did the intro/outro voice overs and also did guest vocals on Down the Drain. He’s been a big supporter of VHS which honestly blows my mind as Impetigo are easily my favorite band. I’d definitely like to keep the streak of having Stevo involved on each album to some extent going in the future! Maniac Neil of Blood Freak/Lord Gore/Frightmare is on the tune Perfect Fit. He did a lead at the beginning of the song and some vocals throughout the song. I’m a huge fan of Razorback Records and Blood Freak sits right next to Impetigo when it comes to my favorite bands. Having Neil on the album is quite awesome. Bob Shaw of Existential Dissipation and Brain Spasm is on the track Sand, Sun and Bloodshed. Bob and I have been internet buddies for awhile so it was killer to get him on a track. Andrew Gigan of Castle Freak/Rot Wollower/Pusfuck did the outro music for us. It came out really cool. Yea, so that’s all of the guests. We had a few planned that fell though. So maybe those will manage to happen next time! We’ll see!

Hopefully. So let’s talk a bit labels. First full on Splatter Zombie Records whereas this new one is released under the German, Rotten Roll Rex. Why did you decide to change record label this time, and how happy are you from the deal with Rotten Roll Rex so far?
Patrick and Splatter Zombie definitely took a huge chance on us and we definitely appreciate all that he did for us and for releasing Screaming Mad Gore. The move to Rotten Roll Rex just seemed like a natural thing. Marco is a huge fan of the band and I thought why not try a different label for album number 2? He has done an amazing job and the album itself looks and sounds fantastic. He is getting the album out there through trading and he travels to all of the extreme metal festivals so the album is definitely out there and available in markets we could never get it out to ourselves. Seeing someone buy a copy of your album half way across the world is definitely a humbling and awesome experience.

What about promotion? Are there any gigs/tours planned in order to promote “The New Batch”?
Nothing much planned as far as gigs go and touring really isn’t an option for the band. We did however just play with The Black Dahlia Murder and Homewrecker which went extremely well and served as something of a CD release show since it’s our first gig since The New Batch has been out. We are hoping to play a few local shows throughout the year but mainly want to get back in the studio and start banging out some new ideas.

Ok, a goofy question I like to ask a lot. You get two guys coming at you after a show. One sayin he downloaded all your music and it is the coolest stuff he’s ever heard and the other sayin he bought your cds and that this was the dumbest move in his life as an adult. Worse than listening to his dog fart. Which one gets a punch in the face? What’s your stand in downloading music in general?
I’d probably punch the guy who didn’t like the album and headlock the downloader until he bought everything on the merch table! I think downloading music is just unfortunately a sign of the times. If people want to have the music digitally they will find a way to do it, some people pay for it, others don’t. I think what bands can do to combat this is put effort into the packaging of their albums and try not to push out an album every year if the inspiration isn’t there. A lot of bigger bands fart out the same album every year just to maintain the album/tour cycle. That said some people just don’t value music and I guess I’d rather they were listening to the album one way or another. Our album is definitely available on torrents and if I’ve learn anything it’s that you can’t fight the internet!

Sad but true. Well… That’s all from me Mike. Congratulations again on an absolutely amazing second full length and thank you for your time. Close this any way you like!
Thanks for the kind words and for the interview! If anyone wants to check us out or connect with us on the crazy thing we call the internet. Hit up some of the links below! Cheers!

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Interviewer: Andy Christos

Jun 7, 2018

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