Interview with bassist and vocalist Vincent Crowley
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: January 9, 2021
I am sure most of us, the fans of extreme Metal music, remember satanic US Death Metal horde Acheron, right? These messengers of evil and profanity were formed in 1988 in Tampa, Florida, and had a long and respectable career which lasted for 30+ years with only a few brief hiatuses (well, that happens to every band).
In 2019, the band decided to call it quits but, worry not, because the grand maestro himself, Vincent Crowley, is back with a new band carrying his own name. If you think Vincent Crowley is a carbon copy of Acheron, you could not be more wrong. It's a completely new musical entity, being more melodic and doom-orientated with horror and the macabre featuring heavily.
We here at the infamous headquarters of The Metal Crypt were curious and brave enough to poke the nest of unspeakable horrors to try and find out what Vincent Crowley's new band is made of. Let Mr. Crowley be our guide...
How's life in Columbus, Ohio? Tired of all the restrictions due to Covid-19, lack of gigs, social distancing, etc.?
Vincent: It is crazy times! Masks, curfews and closing businesses is utter insanity. There is absolutely a virus out there that affects a small percentage of individuals in a fatal way. The problem is that governments are using the pandemic to instill total control on the population. They do not have to close down the world, shut down the economy and restrict the freedoms of people to get control of this. Personally, I think things will eventually get worse if people don't start questioning the government's motives and use their own common sense to try and keep themselves healthy and safe. These are grim times. I hope things get back to normal soon.
EVERYTHING GOOD COMES TO AN END
In more positive news, since you buried your main band, Acheron, in 2019, you went ahead and formed a new band carrying your own name, Vincent Crowley. It's a very different entity from your previous band. Would you kindly enlighten us why you ended Acheron, which more or less was your life's work, and started a whole new band with Art (Taylor) and Ryan (Arter)?
Vincent: After 30 years of Acheron, I had done pretty much everything I wanted to do as a satanic band. I also feel that in the later years of Acheron, we put out some of our best albums, in terms of songwriting, musicianship, lyrics and sound. I wanted to end Acheron on a positive note and not keep the band alive just to get easier opportunities for record deals and shows due to our past history. I needed a new challenge.
As a huge King Diamond fan, I understood why King went solo after Mercyful Fate. As an artist you have to grow and follow your present frame of mind, so the music doesn't get stale. I cherish the stuff I did in Acheron, but it was time to move on with new ideas and themes that I have wanted to explore for years. With the Vincent Crowley band, we are exploring all kinds of different ideas while trying to keep a dark and macabre style. We are not trying to be Acheron 2.0 and that is a taking a big burden off us. This band is completely new, so whatever we do will have to stand on its own legs without the help of an established band's name. And that is very exciting.
Would you say that you were all on the same page right off the bat when you started jamming or did you make some compromises within the band?
Vincent: Guitarist Art Taylor played with me in Acheron and was featured on the final album Kult Des Hasses. We are good friends that live close to each other. When Acheron was still active, we were writing new songs that didn't really seem to fit the Acheron style. So, when Acheron ended, we reworked the songs with a whole new outlook and things started to flow very well. Everything seemed fresh and new and exploring new ideas really re-energized us as songwriters. When we found drummer Ryan Arter, the progression got even better. We played with different ideas and finally found the vibe we wanted to use for the band. The chemistry was indeed present from day one.
This new band is a completely different entity from Acheron; doomier and more atmospheric, oozing all kinds of macabre and horror-themed elements that really try to freeze people's blood in their veins. I guess the main concept was to explore darker waters and this band was a perfect channel to do so, correct?
Vincent: Absolutely! Capturing the darkest elements in all the songs is our goal. Even if a song has more of an up-tempo, we try to work in ideas to make the eeriness stand out. On the upcoming debut album, Beyond Acheron, we added some dark keyboards in select parts of songs, I mixed up my vocal styles and Art Taylor layered the songs with guitar work that is totally spine-chilling.
How easy or difficult was it for you to start making music under your own name, keeping in mind Acheron did their own thing for 30 years and had its own specific sound, which was very different from the style you are creating with this new band?
Vincent: It was an easy transition in terms of feeling right. I knew this was starting at the beginning again and had to gain attention on its own merit. In this band, we don't look back at the past of Acheron. We approach the future as a completely new musical entity.
What would you say are some of the key elements of the sound of Vincent Crowley band?
Vincent: There is much more of a doomy attitude in Vincent Crowley, even though the elements of Black, Death, Thrash and Heavy Metal are also within it. As I mentioned, we are not trying to limit ourselves. Whatever we feel that works we will use. This band is not about playing blazing fast music like so many other bands are doing. The main influences of our style come from bands like Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost, Candlemass, Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, Trouble, Bathory, Pentagram and Triptykon.
What were the recording sessions for the band's forthcoming album, Beyond Acheron, like? Did you get the album recorded the way you hoped or were there obstacles (minor or major)?
Vincent: The album is turned out much better than we hoped. The experience was amazing and went very smoothly. The only problem we had was we hadn't found a bass player. I am just doing the vocal duties in this band. So, since Art Taylor and I are the song writers, we shared the bass guitar duties in the studio and that worked our perfectly.
How did the combo of Sonic Lounge Studios and Joe Viers work for the band as a single experience?
Vincent: Joe Viers was an important part of this recording. We gave him our ideas about the direction and sound we wanted. He helped to create what we needed and was indeed a co-producer of the new album. He helped to give us direction and mixed/mastered the album just the way we wanted. We hope to work with him again.
How did you share some of the responsibilities within the band as far as the songwriting is concerned? Who's responsible for what or are all of you in an equal position to contribute?
Vincent: Art and I do the main song writing. I wrote four songs on the new album and Art wrote two. But we as a band collectively added our own elements to every song and layered them up from their original form. I write all the lyrics. The concepts of the new album are macabre stories of the theme of death. Even the title of the album is the symbolic death of my past band. We even have an intro and outro created by Ludo "Evil" Lejeune of Melek Tha, that frames the album concept perfectly.
Selling different types of merchandise is important for bands to get extra income, plus also a good way to promote your band because you just never know when some Hollywood star will end up using your band's shirt in public, in front of TV cameras. What kind of plans do you have for Vincent Crowley merchandise at the moment?
Vincent: Actually, I am presently working on some ideas for merchandise. We should have some items out in the near future. Hopefully, Hollywood types wear our stuff, unless they actually like the music, haha!!
THE MASTERS OF HORROR
Edgar Allen Poe, Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc. are just a few names that ring a bell among horror literature fans. What are some of your favorite horror writers that have influenced you from your childhood days up to today? Is there any specific writer who you consider the grandfather of horror literature?
Vincent: All of the above mentioned are great iconic writers. But I think Poe and Lovecraft stand above all. They are the true early pioneers of horror. One of the new songs "Masquerade De Macabre" is based on Poe's The Masque of the Red Death. I remember reading The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven as a child and was fascinated. Lots of great horror writers and movie makers helped build my adoration for the genre.
While Acheron philosophically represented satanism, this new band is clearly inspired by all kinds of horror, death, and macabre themes. Was this rather intentional move from you to keep this band separate from Acheron and to deal with some of those topics that didn't fit Acheron's concept?
Vincent: Yes, indeed. You can only write so many blunt satanic themes without starting to repeat yourself. Since Acheron was created to be a satanic band, I didn't want to change the original idea. Vincent Crowley is a new journey. It will touch on many of my other sinister interests.
How has your label hunt been going so far? Have you already found some potential label candidates to release Beyond Acheron?
Vincent: Very well. We have found some labels to put the album out. They will be officially announced in the next couple of weeks.
Arranging live gigs is mostly forbidden in many countries around the globe due to these difficult times but undoubtedly you'll also be prepared for that when the time is ready for playing live again. What can people expect from the band's live show?
Vincent: First and foremost, we want a big sound live, so we have added a second guitarist named Eric Stewart and are looking for a powerful bass player. I am trying to create a dark stage show with lots of horror elements.
Is your plan to tour the world as much as possible as you did in your glorious days in Acheron, or do you believe you will probably be more selective this time around regarding the band's upcoming shows?
Vincent: I don't want to do any full-blown tours, but I still want to do select shows around the world. I want any future shows to be special, not just a date you have to fill on a long tour.
As you are pretty well known in the underground Metal circles these days due to your long career, how much do you believe it has helped you to achieve certain things in your career as a musician? Has it been helpful for you to get gigs or record deals due to your involvement in the underground Metal scene over many years?
Vincent: I'm sure it doesn't hurt. I've made a lot of friends and contacts throughout the years in the Metal scene. But the fact remains, if you put out music people don't like, your history won't help you. Luckily, we have been getting a lot of positive responses to the pre-album demo we made available to the public on YouTube.
THE SPIRIT OF THE GLORY DAYS — DOES IT EXIST?
How do you view today's underground Metal scene? Does it lack anything in your opinion? Individuality? Originality?
Vincent: It is what it is. These days, the Internet has taken away the mystique of the scene. Back in the day you had to really research and work to obtain extreme music. Now anything you want to listen to is a click away. Like in every music, you have bands cloning other bands and watering down the scene. But there are still many very good groups out there putting out great music and trying to keep the spirit of the glory days. I just do what I do and don't concentrate on pleasing anyone but myself. If people in the scene like it, great. If not, I will not change to fit what is the popular trend. The underground is more of an idea than an actual thing these days. And the kindred will find each other.
Ok, I have one last question left and I will let you get back to your daily routines. What do you personally expect to achieve with this new incarnation of evilness, let's say, within the next 2-3 years or so? I know it's darn difficult to predict the future, but still...
Vincent: My only goal is to be able to record music I am proud of and stand behind without any comprising. If we can continue to put out albums and do select live shows, I would be more than satisfied. If we can gain some success, great! If not, I'll still be making music for the ones who enjoy it.
That was all for this chat, so I sincerely want to thank you, Vincent, for having this conversation with me, and in the very same breath I want to wish you all the best with your future endeavors. May your path contain many pleasant rewards in the coming months. If there's anything else you'd like to add or say, then feel free to do so now... ;o)
Vincent: Thank you for the support and interest! This is actually the very first interview I have done for the Vincent Crowley band, so it is indeed a special one. The new album will be out in 2021 and the labels it will be on will be announced very soon! Best of luck to you and your publication. Hopefully, there will be many more years of dark music. I'm not done yet!
|Other information about Vincent Crowley on this site|
|Review: Demo 2020|
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