-- Vermilion gets shredded --
On April 15, 2017 my buddy Kevin and I went to the Metaaldetector event in Geraardsbergen to see bands like Carrion, Serial Butcher, Hedonist and also Vermilion. I’ve known Timmy, Vermilion’s frontman, for quite some time, as he presented his band to me mere months after I’d begun my journey of shredding as much metal as possible. And now I finally had the chance to get Vermilion shredded. We talked about the band’s most recent release, Sentience, the band’s newest member Louis, the way Vermilion handles songwriting and finally, we went all nerdy and talked about Star Wars. Yes, the Force was strong with this one!
BMS: Hello guys, thank you for sending me your latest release, Sentience. It wasn't an easy album for me to review, but I'm damn glad I did it. Tell me something about this particular release. Let’s start with its story.Timmy: The story and setting of Sentience is based on sci-fi franchises like 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Matrix. It follows a similar premise of people being used as energy sources without their knowledge and one such character wakes up from his slumber, faces the dangers of the real world and discovers the truth behind his imprisonment.
BMS: Interesting. Well, it's been two years since you released Sentience, are you preparing to bring out some new material soon?Michael: Timmy and I have a few ideas in our minds but nothing in particular. We suffered some setbacks because of lineup changes. But now we've got Louis, a new, well-talented and equally motivated drummer among us so we can go full throttle once again.
Timmy: It's hard to combine rehearsing, playing gigs and writing new material all at once. Especially since Vermilion's sound is very multilayered and technical. So we want to treat the fans to something that we as a band are fully satisfied with. We emphasize quality above quantity and are careful not to bite off more than we can chew. At the moment, we've got shows scheduled until July and after that, we'll be putting our heads together to come up with exciting new stuff.
BMS: I already look forward to it! Tell me Louis, how did you get into Vermilion?Louis: A year ago I auditioned to be Vermilion's drummer but the decision went to Paco De Prins, a friend of mine who also drums with the Emperors of Decay. They did a few shows with Paco but eventually he departed from Vermilion to focus on other aspects of his life. Three weeks ago Timmy called me to check whether I was still interested in the job and I said yes.
Timmy: Things went very fast for us after Louis's acceptance. He managed to master all our songs after only two rehearsals and we had a successful show with him in Ertvelde two weeks ago.
BMS: Timmy, last Halloween Night you did a show with the Aalst based industrial metal band Heartache Circus. Tell me how that night went on.Timmy: Their original 7-string guitarist, Cliff, left the band for health-related reasons and they asked me to help them out with their show in the Kinky Star that night. Originally they asked a friend of mine, Tim Toegaert, to come with them but he didn't have a 7-string guitar so he directed them to me. So I practiced the songs along with the Heartache Circus guys and did the show. It was a lot of fun!
BMS: And I must admit you looked damn good with that clown face paint and circus clothes.Timmy: Thanks! I love going to Aalst Carnival and getting all dressed up. So I went digging through my costumes and found some suitable circus-themed attire. Very convenient! As for Heartache Circus I told frontman Serge that I'll always be willing to do another show with them. Fortunately they now have a new, permanent guitarist.
BMS: I’m glad to hear that. I dig Heartache Circus a lot and hope to shred them in the near future. Now, tell me how you come up with new material for Vermilion?Timmy: In the beginning of our band we thought hard about the way we would be writing songs. Nowadays I come up with a few melodies and an accompanying drum beat and then I discuss with my band mates what we can add to, change or remove from those riffs to turn them into complete songs.
BMS: Personally, I find Vermilion's sound to be exotic, mysterious and compelling. But let's say you're able to add more visual effects and props to your show. Tell me what you would consider to be the ultimate Vermilion gig.Timmy: We would love to add some custom lightning effects and a projector showing images during the performance. If we had a crew we could also add a custom stage setup, theatrics and huge balloons like Iron Maiden add to their concerts. I believe that a bit of visual flair can help bring a concert to the next level. Especially when your music is fully instrumental as is the case with Vermilion.
BMS: I agree with that. Although having good songs that stick in people's minds and a convincing stage presence still remain two of the most important aspects for a successful act in my opinion. You know, as much as I love bands that exclusively play songs without any vocals, I do wonder whether you once considered having a singer for Vermilion.Timmy: Back in the early days we did want to add lyrics to our songs, but since we were hugely influenced by progressive metal acts like Animals As Leaders and Chimp Spanner as well as jazz fusion music I think we made the right decision to have our instruments tell the story to the audience.
BMS: You know, I like bands who are confident in their abilities to tell a story just through their riffs and beats.Timmy: Thanks! Having no lyrics in our songs also allows us much creative freedom.
Michael: And in addition we've rarely heard anybody recommend to us to add vocals to our material.
BMS: And I won’t be urging you to have vocals either. What have been some of your best Vermilion experiences thus far?Timmy: We have fond memories of playing in the Vooruit in Ghent where we ended up third place in the finals of the Oost West music competition in 2013. That was quite an achievement for us. We've also had a lot of fun when we played at Lokeren that same year alongside Raketkanon and Diablo Blvd.
BMS: TImmy, I see on your t-shirt that you're a huge Star Wars fan, like me. Did you also see Star Wars Rogue One?Timmy: Yes, I did and I enjoyed it a lot. In particular the scenes with Darth Vader were beyond badass. However, I still prefer Episode VII: The Force Awakens since it introduced us to exciting new characters such as Rey, Finn and Poe while still offering us a good chunk of fan service. Louis: I don't know much about Star Wars.
BMS: That ok, Louis. Just remember one thing. Han shot first!Timmy: That's right! That loser Greedo never stood a chance!
Michael: Anyway, I love watching psychological thrillers such as Silence of the Lambs, Inception, Shutter's Island, Seven, the Shining, etc. Movies that play with your mind.
Timmy: In addition to Star Wars I also love the films directed by Akira Kurasawa. He’s most famous for his samurai themed spectacles and It served as direct inspiration for the lightsaber battles in the Star Wars franchise.
BMS: That's a fun fact! Well, looks like it's time to wrap this one up! You got anything else to say?Timmy: Thanks for talking to us and enjoy our show tonight!
BMS: May the Force be with you!
Vermilion - Syntax