Interview: Vulvodynia

Photo by Claudine van der Walt

A little while ago, a bit before Vulvodynia’s show in Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands alongside Archspire, Beneath the Massacre and Inferi, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen sent them some questions. With a bit of delay those questions are now answered by Vulvodynia’s bass player Chris van der Walt.

Hey, how are you doing?

Your latest album, Mob Justice, is now out for almost half a year. How are the reactions to the songs when played live?

They work extremely well live! The fans have been doing their homework and we have people singing along at the shows. It’s great for mosh pits!

Mob Justice is the first album with Thomas Hughes, Kris Xenopoulos and you, Chris van der Walt, as Vulvodynia-members. Did that bring changes to the creation process and if so, what changed?

Everyone added their personal touch of style and taste. Kris wrote half of the album, and Luke the other half, but we tried to maintain a focused and cohesive sound. It resulted in an organic mix of all of us focused into a brutal sound.

You’ve three guest vocalists on Mob Justice, Martin Matousek of Gutalax on Nyaope, Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder on Reclaim the Crown, Part I: The Burning Kingdom and Alex Taylor of Malevolence on Born Into Filth. How was working with them?

Everyone was super amazing! We’ve met them all along the tours and festivals, and they we’re very keen to collaborate. Everyone brought their A-Game and it ended up being something better than we could have imagined.

In May you already released the single Anthropophagus. Besides that song the single also included Mob Justice and Nyaope from the Mob Justice album. What’s the reason Anthropophagus isn’t on Mob Justice?

We like giving the fans limited editions of merchandise, and we wanted to create a hype before launching the actual album. We might decide to re-release a deluxe version of Mob Justice one day that includes that song. Limited.

In the slam death subgenre it of course is possible to have your lyrics just be about gore. Your lyrics, especially on Mob Justice are also very gory, but at the same time they are about very serious issues like child warfare, social strife and sexism. How did you found the right balance between saying something about these issues and the gore part?

We had a concept in mind about doing an album based on real life horrors of South Africa. A few topics came to light, and we started researching a bit. When you look into it you see all the gore and horror in plain sight. We always try to take it one step further and give it some kind of horror fantasy edge.

Was that something difficult?

Yes, you have to find the perfect balance on getting your message across, but also glorify it with horror to such a degree that the point makes more of an impact. You can’t be mindless about it, you have to be aware of political correctness, because in the end you want your message to be accessible to everyone. It’s a fine line, but the art lies in the balance.

Earlier this year, in May, I saw you perform at Willem Twee in Den Bosch alongside Fit For An Autopsy, Venom Prison and Justice for the Damned, which was a great show (you can read my live review about that show here). I noticed that you had quite a lot of interaction with the audience during the show, as well as immediately after you’ve finished your set, when quite a few people ran towards the stage to talk to you. You took quite some time for them at that moment while you weren’t the last band performing. I think that’s very nice and doesn’t happen that much in general. Is that something that happens often at Vulvodynia shows? If so, how do you look at this?

We love to hang out with our fans. They are the most important part of what we do. Many of them travel from far and wide, see us for the first time, have been fans from the start, or have fascinating stories to tell. If you take the time to hang out with the people who love your music it inspires you to keep doing what you do!

You played here in May, now you’re back in The Netherlands for another tour. This time with Archspire, Beneath the Massacre and Inferi. How is the tour going so far?

The tour has been fantastic. People are very supportive. The tour package are the best guys ever! We’re having the time of our lives.

Looking forward to the Dutch show in Baroeg, Rotterdam?

Any show in the Netherlands is always amazing! We have many friends there. And we have a little fun speaking Afrikaans to the Dutch fans.

How do you look at the other bands of this tour package?

They are all a bunch of heavyweights. We learn so much from them. Their music is inspiring and they are the absolute best people!

You come from South-Africa. How is the South-African metalscene?

SA’s metal scene is great! We have a lot of loyal fans here, and we will be doing a tour soon.

Any South-African metal bands you would recommend, besides Vulvodynia of course?

Red Helen, Human Nebula, Zombies Ate My Girlfriend, Boargazm, Creating the Godform, Peasant…

This tour ends at the end of 2019. What are Vulvodynia’s plans for 2020?

We have plans to tour South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Asia, and USA.

Thanks for your answers. Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Thank you for the undying support! See you at the shows!

You can also read our review of Vulvodynia’s Psychosadistic Design album here, as well as our seventh part of Promoting Bands, which included Vulvodynia, here.

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