Greetings over there. First, I would like to show my appreciation for you to take your time to answer this interview. Thank you very much. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Hails! My name is Valax, the band leader, songwriter, bassist, and vocalist.
I’d like to present the band, first musically and on the next question about the lyrics. For a person that isn’t familiar with your sound, how would you describe Black Pestilence’s music?
Black Pestilence’s music can be simply described as black metal fueled by punk rock and electronic noise.
It is said that Black Pestilence’s lyrics are about social issues and Satanism. I’ve read your lyrics and I must say that they’re very good and not like many childish ones that we see so often. Please, tell us about your lyrics, what they mostly deal about.
Most of the lyrics I write are about various social issues through the perspective of LaVeyan Satanism. Some of the social issues include the power of corporations, media and materialism, and the impact of religious dogma on society. However, there is one specific topic that sparked the unique outlook for Black Pestilence. That topic is the narrow outlook of the black metal community. Similar to how punk rock defied the hippy movement, Black Pestilence defies the traditional black metal community which focuses on static and unchanged music, low-fi quality recordings, and poor musicianship. These elements are especially apparent among some bands here in Calgary. The album, Tradition is Obsolete is the most experimental album for a reason. It is a giant “Fuck you” to the traditional black metal community that cannot handle change within music.
Now let’s discuss your latest release In Defiance in a more detailed manner. How was the recording process of this album, how was it received by the metal media and the fans and how do you compare and rank it with your previous releases, Vice and Tradition Is Obsolete?
This was a very unique album in comparison to the previous releases for a variety of reasons. It was the first album to feature a live drummer as opposed to a drum machine. Additionally, a majority of the songs featured a session guitarist, however, for a few tracks I recorded the guitar myself.
Overall, it has been the most well received album by the band to date. I believe much of this had to do with the addition of a live drummer and the improved quality of the recordings. Although the previous albums are stylistically different from In Defiance, this album is still my favorite as it truly is the sound that I would like to continue to pursue with Black Pestilence.
In addition to the previous question, I’ve read that a vinyl version of In Defiance is going to be released. Could you tell us the date as well as if a label is going to release it and, if so, where can it be ordered?
There were talks of a vinyl to be released for In Defiance, however, the label who offered to release it is no longer interested. We would still like to find a label to press it on vinyl but it is not a priority at the moment. We may release a special limited edition in the future with bonus tracks.
06 – You’ve played the Wacken Metal Battle Final in Calgary. How exciting was this event? And do you guys have more dates set to play/ tour?
The Wacken Metal Battles were an outstanding experience for Black Pestilence. Although we only made it to the Alberta Finals it definitely gave us quite a bit of exposure. It also came at an opportune time to hype our vinyl release shows as well.
Currently the only shows we have booked right now are in eastern Canada in Quebec. Nothing has been confirmed just yet though.
As a studio band, I believe that Black Pestilence is still a one-man band. I mean, on In Defiance there were two more musicians, are they considered a part of the band or is it really a one-man band? And if so, will it still remain like this? Why do you prefer Black Pestilence to be a one-man band? And, as you play live, you obviously need live musicians. How did you choose them and how do you feel seeing the other members playing your compositions live?
Before In Defiance was recorded I had recently recruited a new live guitarist and drummer. These members were much more enthusiastic about band than the previous live members. Due to this, I wanted them to record on the album and to give Black Pestilence more of a “band” image. Ultimately, I do not see Black Pestilence as a one-man band like it was in the beginning. Although I still write all the music and control the artistic direction of the band, I do encourage the rest of the members to contribute in their own ways. For example, Little V (drums) contributes to the samples and sound engineering on the recordings while Viktor (guitar) writes the guitar solos.
I would like to keep permanent live/studio members as I would like the image of Black Pestilence to be seen as a band and not just a one-man solo project. However, I do plan on keeping the songwriting and overall direction of the band being controlled solely by myself.
I chose these live members because of their professionalism and previous musical experience. It is very humbling to see the other members playing my music live.
What other bands/ projects are you involved with? Could you name them and give more details about their styles?
On the side I play in a band called The Myconid. It is also a mixture of genres including punk, metal, and electronica. It is more of a punk band than anything else though.
I am also currently working on an electronic project, however, nothing has been released officially just yet.
Canada always had some legendary metal bands, but, lately we see lots of qualitative bands hailing from your country, especially the black metal ones. To what do you credit this? And how’s the Canadian metal underground, are the bands friendly and helpful to each other? Do you feel that metal in Canada is getting stronger?
Lately I have noticed a much stronger community within the metal scene, especially in Calgary. Many talented musicians are coming together and forming excellent sounding bands. I have also noticed that many more non-musicians are getting involved with the scene whether it be as a promoter, videographer, or as some form of PR. I believe the quality of the bands have a lot to do with the strong community. There are more metal shows than ever before. Six or seven years ago the scene was much more different in Calgary. It was smaller and there were the main bands that everyone would go see every weekend. Now there shows, bands, promoters, and radio DJs popping out of nowhere who are heavily involved with the scene. It’s hard to keep up with it all at times.
For the most part, bands are friendly with each other. There are the select few who keep to themselves due to their egos. But they will only go so far or fade away eventually. Overall, I feel the scene is getting stronger and has become more popular than ever before.
Is the band looking for a label? In Defiance had the “support” of “Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions”. Why did you decide to end this partnership? You’ve signed to Silver Wings Studios; can you tell us how this partnership will work?
Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions originally approached us to release a limited number of copies of In Defiance on CD. After about 6 months of correspondence and trying to get the release to actually happen, the owner of the label just vanished. I haven’t heard from him since and decided to self-release it due to Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions’ lack of professionalism.
Silver Wings Studios has helped us gain an increase of online exposure and is currently booking shows for us in eastern Canada. I have nothing but positive things to say about the team at Silver Winds Studios.
There are some videos on Youtube, but as on my interviews, my goal is to present the band to new listeners, please, describe how your live gigs are and what can the spectators wait from the band?
Fans can expect to see a full visual spectacle when watching Black Pestilence live. I wouldn’t want to give too much away but you can expect to see us geared up in full post-apocalyptic attire with various weapons on stage.
And we come to the end of this interview. Once again, thank you for your answers. I’d like to wish the band the best. Do you have any last words for our readers?
We just released a split vinyl with another Canadian band called Villainizer. Our side of the vinyl is called Cyber Disarray. Physical and digital copies are available from http://blackpestilence.bandcamp.com.
All photos belong to their rightful owners.June 12, 2014