Interview: Viscera

On March the 6th Viscera released their debut album Obsidian. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen recently reviewed it here. After their show with Decapitated, Beyond Creation, Ingested and Lorna Shore in Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands on March the 11th, of which you can read his live review here, he also sat down with Viscera’s frontman Jamie Graham and guitarist Adam Bell for an interview.

Hey, you already played five shows on this tour. I already heard you say that it was quite difficult.

Jamie: Yeah, just because I personally haven’t toured for a long time. It’s like just getting the muscles that you’re not used to use. It’s like going to the gym and then you don’t train for four years and you come back and you try to do the same workout. You have to kind of ease yourself in.

And how were the shows in general?

Jamie: They’re getting better with each show as far as playing we’ve been fine really, but just from a vocal perspective. So it’s taken about five shows to get to the stage now.

And now they’re good?

Jamie: I think so, definitely a bit scratchy now, but yeah, I’ll be okay.

I think it was a great show, but how do you think your first Dutch show went?

Both: Good.

Jamie: We’re pretty happy. The sound on stage is really good here as well.

Adam: There’s lots of space in there.

Jamie: We’re trying a few new things in our gig on this tour that we haven’t done before in previous bands. So, we’re going to see how that works. By using in-ear monitors and things like that, just trying to up the professional level a bit. But yeah, it went well, no complaints.

You only formed recently.

Jamie: March 2019, yeah.

And this is your first tour. How does it feel to have your first tour with these quite big names?

Jamie: It’s quite amazing, really. We kind of had a sort of statement of intent if you like to kind of come back into this at a certain level, just because with our bands before we’ve experienced sort of different types of tours, different stages, different genres of music, different bands, or whatever. So, we’ve got quite a distinct idea of what we wanted to try and get out of this band. But obviously, we try to aim for the sky and see what we can get. So far, we’ve been pretty lucky. We know the Ingested guys anyway, because the UK scene is pretty small. I toured with Decapitated in my last band as well. So, it was quite an easy tour to jump on as far as making friends.

Ingested are also labelmates, right?

Jamie: Yeah.

And you work for a Unique Leader, right?

Jamie: Yes, I do.

Last Friday you released your album, Obsidian. Congratulations with that.

Jamie: Thank you.

How does it feel to have it released?

Adam: Believe me, it feels really great. People are really liking it. It’s been awesome. So yeah, when we started back in March, it was kind of like shit, let’s do this. Then we had to like, get it going, take time to write some songs and then we had a bunch that we were quite happy with and recorded it. We had Leo from Brand of Sacrifice mix it and he has done a sick job. Shindy has done the artwork for us, which came together real good. So, we’re pumped to get out there and then hearing the response has just been super sick.

Jamie: Definitely.

Since you work for Unique Leader was getting the album out on Unique Leader a no-brainer?

Jamie: Yeah, just because it means we can dictate the way that the album is released and we’re not paying most of our stuff over to another label. It’s just all coming from the same place. I guess it’s a little bit unorthodox in a way but it just made sense for us. There are a lot of bands on the label that we’re friends with and it sort of counterparts too.

As you said before Shindy Reehal created Obsidian‘s cover.

Jamie: Yeah, he is a freelance artist. He’s done a lot of really good work for example, for Ingested and Harbinger. He’s quite new to the artwork world. I don’t think he’s going to be a small name for a long.

What made him the right person for this job?

Jamie: We just really liked his style. He just got really cool compositions. It’s like halfway between illustrated and photographic but neither. That’s quite cool, almost like comic book and he’s just super quick, super efficient to work with. I recommend him to anyone else.

Is there a story behind the cover?

Jamie: Yeah, the whole concept behind the album is basically like the darker side of what love brings to the equation. How it can consume you, how it can drive you crazy, how it can make you doubt yourself. The vortex around the woman is meant to be like the turmoil of a toxic relationship. The idea that she’s draining the life force. It’s that sort of thing. The running theme of the album is along those lines.

Jamie, live you’re also doing the vocals that are done by guests on the album. Why did you choose to do them yourself instead of having those done as backing vocals?

Jamie: It’s just better than having a backing track. I’d rather perform it myself or bring someone on stage to do it. I think maybe Will from Lorna Shore is going to do Ben’s vocals from Immersed in Ire. He’s just learning the song and then he’ll come and do it. We don’t really use backing track vocals. We have some little layers in the background on certain stuff. For example I’ve done four layers of screams on the album, we might have like one or two on hooks, like I’m doing a low one, there might be a high one behind it or something, but we try and recreate everything live.

But not one of the others doing backing vocals?

Jamie: That was also talked about but maybe I have an appetite for punishment.

Adam: I think maybe in the future. I’ve seen the Ingested guys doing their work really well.

Jamie: It does work well, yeah. Probably write a few more songs with some call and response vocal parts and then we can start doing that sort of thing.

On the album you’ve three guests: Ben Mason of Bound in Fear on Immersed in Ire and Ricky Lee Roper of Osiah and Kyle Anderson of Brand of Sacrifice on Silentium. Why did you especially wanted them for that?

Adam: They’re all beast vocalists and really nice guys. They’re in some wicked bands. Jamie is mates with all of them.

Jamie: They all have very different vocal styles compared to my vocals. So, I wanted to bring three guys in who don’t sound anything like me for variety.

Adam: Especially in the last track, Silentium, we’ve got Ricky and Kyle and they both also add a nice guttural ending to the album.

How did working with them go?

Jamie: Really easy. There was actually meant to be a fourth vocalist on the record as well, but he didn’t manage to get his stuff done in time so he wouldn’t end up on the record. I won’t say who that is, he’s a close friend of ours so he’ll get pissed off. It did come out well. Kyle turned his track around in about two days. Ben came into the studio with me to do his one. We sort of wrote it together. Roper’s part was already pre-written for him. He just kind of layered up on parts that were already there, he’s got such a sick high scream.

You are part of two very nice summer festival lineups in your home country, Bloodstock and UK Tech-Fest. How does it feel to be part of that, especially in your home country?

Jamie: It feels great, they’re milestone festivals. So, it’s a good one for us to do. They’re very different festivals, Bloodstock is like a proper metal festival, closer to like Wacken or something but smaller and Tech-Fest is more like Euroblast.

Osiah, the band of Ricky Lee Roper is also playing UK Tech-Fest. Will he join you there?

Jamie: I think he will. If we play that song, which we probably should. If we have like a 40-minute set, we’ll just do the album from start to finish. So, yeah, in that case he will do it. I don’t think we’ll be able to get Kyle because he’s in Toronto.

While looking at the column of your influences on your Facebook page one name really stands out from the rest, which is the name of Tony Danza. Can you tell something about that?

Jamie: It’s more the kind of really, really low string whammy stuff that we do. Danza had a lot of laser riffs  as we call them, they throw in whammy bar stuff. Basically on the back of that Emmure’s whole kind of sound was forged as well as Humanity’s Last Breath and I guess After the Burial. Joshua Travis obviously joined Emmure as guitarist.

But you’re talking about The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza band?

Both: Yeah, not the actual dancer.

On your Facebook it only says Tony Danza, that’s why I was confused.

Jamie: That’s what they’re known as. They’re just known as Tony Danza, because it takes a long time to say The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza.

Now I understand.

During the show I didn’t see a bass.

Adam: Yeah, our bass player is a recent dad and he’s a bit worried about leaving his son for like three weeks and he didn’t want to leave his partner to just look after the baby. He is a great dad and he would love to join us but he didn’t know if he could at this moment. The whole thing with corona, stupid virus, going on. I can understand that. I’m sure he’s going to be out with us next time and slapping some bass and making that low end rumble.

How did you do that tonight?

Adam: On the layers of the tracks we actually had to get the album bass so that we could add that in to the mix. We have the backing track bass on this tour. Next round he’ll be there man, pure instruments only.

Can you already tell something about possibly coming back to The Netherlands?

Jamie: We have no concrete plans for after this tour at this moment. It’ll change soon, I am sure.

Adam: Yeah, we’re hoping to get like boost profile and get the offers coming in, especially now that the album’s out. After this run we’re going to have a little kind of sift through talking to people to see what options there are on the table. Honestly, I’d love to come back next year, but as of the moment nothing is set in stone.

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

Adam: Thank you so much for checking us out, keep checking us out. Give us a follow on all the socials Facebook, Instagram, Spotify. Keep checking back for the next time we’re playing around and come hang out.

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