Sunday, May 6, 2012

Interview with Vagora

Vagora is one hardworking band. They had a  double release in November last year and they’re not taking it easy yet. They just got back from a tour and are already getting ready for the next one. But that’s not all. Vagora has two new band members and they keep planning what they’ll be up to in 2012. We wanted to hear the whole story, so we decided to do an interview with them. They are the rolling skulls-and they obviously have a future! 

Graveyard Greaser Gang: Hey guys, thanks for your time. Please introduce the band for those who don't know you yet.
Cephas DeRaven: I'm the founder of Vagora and do the vocals.
TB: I also sing and play guitars
Marcus Hyde: I'm playing the drums
Kylie Discord: I'm the new bass-player in the band... 
Mike Green: ...and I just joined Vagora on guitars.

GGG: How did you guys become a band in the first place?
CD: Being unhappy with the music that was comming out in the late 90's and early 2000's this band was an outlet for my former girlfriend and I to create music that we wanted to listen to.

GGG: Mike and Kylie, you’re the newest members. Did you play in other bands before and how comes that you joined Vagora?
MG: I Joined Vagora cause i was looking for a GREAT Group with Experience, Maturity and willing to have fun and thats what i found with this band. Bands I've played in before were 'Love & Opium', 'ByAnyMeans', 'Chrysalis' and 'Denial' name a few.
KD: I joined Vagora because they were one of my favorite bands and some good friends so when the opportunity arose, I was eager to work with them.I'm currently in another band called 'Revisited', but other than some horrible elementary school tries at becoming a rock star with my friends back in fifth grade, I haven't been part of other bands.

GGG: How is it for the two of you to play in Vagora now – especially for you Kylie, being the only girl in the band?
KD: Vagora is going to be a real learning experience for me and it's going to be amazing because I'll be with great musicians and great people who will teach me a lot and, as the only female in the group and being my age, it's good to know that I've got such talented people to learn from and look out for me.
MG: Vagora is going to be a GREAT experience for all of us, including the fans. There is no better thing in this world then getting 5 people from 5 different perspectives due to age/genre and collaborating together to make GREAT music. 

Vagora playing a benefit-show in march 2012.

GGG: Where does the bandname 'Vagora' come from ?
CD: Our most asked question. The quick answer is that its a name I came up with to name the band. Original things need original names unique to themselves. Vagora is who we are and no one else.

GGG: Back to Vagora. The band is around since 2006. What are the three biggest changes since then?
TB: When I first became friends with Cephas DeRaven, and the rest of the band at the time, they were a three piece, then four. I began playing with them and we became a five piece, and we cannot see it happening any other way now. That's one change I have noticed, and it's been a positive one.
CD: Line up is our unfortunate largest change. Im very excited about our current line up I feel we have no weak links. I was the only song writer in the early days and now while I still write a large chunk of our material TB has become huge part of our song writing and so have the other members. As far as the scene the ecomomy has taken its toll on show attendence for sure.Computers have also helped and hindered the scene in its own way. 

GGG: How would you describe the music 'Vagora' plays?
CD: Intense,thought provoking,and real.Its punk, its rock, and its experimental.
TB: experimentaldreampopsludgegrungealternativemelodicpunkmetal

GGG: Would you consider 'Vagora' to be a horrorpunk-band?
CD: Horrorpunk is an infulence to us just as metal,punk,alternative. Not a label merly an infulence as we have many others.
TB: No. But I realize that there're similarities with non typical horrorpunk bands we might have, and  the typical. The biggest gripe I have is that if you have whoah oh ohs anywhere in your songs, you are considered a horrorpunk band. That's just not fair and is completely unfounded. If that is the case, then I guess the Ramones and Bad Religion are horror punk bands.The whole whoah oh oh thing is what sours me on alot of horrorpunk too at the same time, so I guess I'm being a bit of a hypocrite when I say that, but that's fine, I own it. But SO many bands just cling to that and do nothing else to get their songs across. Therein lies the problem, listeners aren't being challenged enough by that. I get it, we have dark imagery, I come from the horrorrock scene, we wear black, we have some whoah oh ohs and some suggestive song titles and lyrics, but we are not a horrorpunk band.

Vagora in 2011
GGG: So those songs are about everyday-horror and not about the clichee-horrorpunk...
TB: Take our song "The Reaction" for example. There's a lyric in there that goes, '"Now I'm snappin' her neck, 'cause she's breakin my heart". Sounds pretty horror punk right? At first glance yes, it totally does. But that lyric isn't so much about horror per se, as it is just about rage for being done wrong by someone. That happens EVERYDAY EVERYWHERE in the world.
Why is an everyday occurence "horror rock"? It's not a splatter film, it's anger and being led to a pretty devious means to an end. To me, that lyric is not so much about being scary as it is about feeling hopeless and emotionally unstable. But to answer the quesion, it is an influence yes, but I do not consider us that type of band at all. Other people might, but they aren't looking at the big picture or looking deeply enough. Scratch below the surface and you will see it.

GGG: What are the bands that influences you when it comes to music?
CD: We are inspired by many things musically, definatly punk bands like the Misfits. The ramones are there as well. You can definatly hear some Smashing Pumpkins and Placebo in there too.
TB: I have a stockpiled list of these. haha First and foremost and always, the Ramones. After that, King's X, Bad Religion, My Chemical Romance, AFI, Ignite, Alkaline Trio, Queens of the Stone Age, The Foo Fighters, The Smashing Piumpkins, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Quicksand, Stavesacre, Green Day. Suffice to say alot of influences. If I were to list them all, that would take up the whole interview.
GGG: Do you listen to horrorpunk too? Any European bands you like?
TB: I rarely listen to any horror punk nowadays. Alot of the bands that are around now doing it just sound so hackneyed and cheezy and content to follow a cut and paste Misfits format. Again, that is not challenging the listener and relying on what works. It's easy, but it gets old after a while and you wanna do more if you are capable, so why not do more? I always liked the bands that pushed the boundaries of the genre, like The Cryptkeeper Five, the Green Goblyn Project, The Rosedales, Nim Vind, ya know, stuff like that because it was anything but typical. I love Darrow Chemical Company, but I don't consider them a full on horrorpunk band. A band that I feel has NEVER gotten any due respect is Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. I absolutely love Zombina and the Skeletones. The Crimson Ghosts from Germany. Somehow, they are so melodic and bone crushing heavy at the same time. In that same vein, Send More Paramedics I like alot. The Spook too, it's a shame they called it quits.
CD: Personally I listen to alot of horrorpunk. Blitzkid is one of my favortie bands of any genre. As far as Europe I like the Crimson Ghosts,and my friends band from the UK Dead Pleasures. Im a huge Zombina and the Skeletones fan as well.

GGG: You guys already have three full-length albums and a few splits out. Where do you get all the inspiration for the songs?
CD: I write about whats around me. Strange things I see day to day will inspire me. A person or a situation, or Sometimes I just write whats on my mind from a dream, anything goes. Usually tunes or melodies will come to me.
TB: For me personally, real life inspires me. Everyday. As I have gotten older, you wanna move people, whether it's with something very dark or very hopeful, and that is the main inspiration behind any lyrics I might write now. Musically, I just try to play guitar riffs that I think will become great songs, and build from there. They all start with the guitar for me. It's all about the riff. Haha

The Nurture/Our Summer is Everyone's Fall Combo

GGG: How do you guys write your songs?
TB: I think the best thing about this band is that everyone adds ideas or has riffs or drum parts or bass parts or the use of effects here and there in their heads that we all communicate to one another to make up the songs. Cephas DeRaven and I write alot together, and we bounce ideas off of one another all the time, then we bring the songs to rehearsals and present them in skeletal form to the rest of the band and we add to them from there as five people.
CD: What ever works. many songs on our albums came about numerous ways complete solo compositions,colaberative, we're not picky as long as we all like it and it comes from some where real thats all that matters.

GGG: You already played alots of shows – would you tell us one of the funniest/memorable moments on stage?
MH: On the Dark Summer Discord Tour in the summer of 2011, we were in Virginia to play a show. We spent the whole day promoting around town, the local mall and got some people interested. Come to find out the club closed down 2 days before and failed to tell us! So instead of giving up we ended up playing a hot dog joint and met some crazy drunk dudes that tried to help us.
TB: Touring in and of itself is one long amusing story after another, because no two days are alike. This one is recent, in Dayton OH before we left for our show in Indiana, we saw this couple who lived in the same building as the person we stayed with that night,they came to our show the night before and were talking with us. They had their kids with them, walking around outside and one of them had blue hair dye all over his arms, hands and hair. The couple were saying these extremely inappropriate things to us in front of their kids and we all laughed for about ten minutes once we got in the truck to leave because it was just so, wrong. That's not an onstage moment, but definitely one that sticks out.

GGG: You also just played a mini tour with Loki on guitar, how was it?
CD: Loki is a total pro and a great guy. Ive been a fan of his for years and it was a great pleasure to have him fill in for that tour. Hopefully we can collaberate with him on some songs in the future.
TB: For me it was a HUGE honor that he even agreed to be a part of it, as I think Loki is one of the best guitarists I have ever heard. Not only that, but he and I have known one another for several years through Graves, Mister Monster, Gotham Rd, all those bands. What really struck me is that it was the first time he and I had ever played onstage TOGETHER ever. We meshed really well as a guitar tandom and we melted faces. He's super chill and a funny guy, and brought alot of humor coupled with a great work ethic to said tour. It was a blast having him along.
MH: It was great having Loki. He is a great guy to play music with and to just chill out. I definitely have a lot of respect for him as a musician, and hes totally cool with touring in the back of a box truck! 

Vagora feat Loki at the "The Darkness Calls"-mini-tour.

GGG: And you’ll play on GNOX this summer. How stoked are you about that?
CD: It was important for us to play with Blitzkid one last time. What better than to do it at the biggest event of the summer.
MH: Definitely honored to be on the bill, its gonna be a fun time.
KD: I'm preparing for Ghouls Night Out to be just about the best day of my life.
MG: Very stoked to play any show with Vagora....
TB: For me it's bittersweet. I mean, I know everyone in the horror rock community knows that I haven't exactly been into doing Blitzkid for a while now, even leaving the band then coming back, but it's heavy. I still love the band, just in a different way now. In all honesty, despite how trying it is, I realize that I like being on the road, just not all the time. I look back at what we did and coming from where we came from and I smile. It's not about not wanting to do it so much now as it is appreciating what it was and is. That's going to be our last US show, ever. I am not sure I can wrap my head around that just yet. That's nearly 16 years of my life coming to a close. At the same time, Vagora are also playing that day, so it's like beginning a new chapter and showcasing that as well. So I am excited about it, but also kind of bummed. Either way, it will be a great show and I seriously doubt Gools and myself will be able to hear ourselves even think once we hit the stage. People will be singing along to every word, and that is an awesome way to go out.

GGG: With which band (dead/alive) would you like to share stage and why?
MG: Band dead or alive that like to share the stage with the most.... THE RAMONES !!!
MH: I would love to play with Green Day, they have a great live show and I think we would actually fit on a bill with them! 
TB: The Ramones and Bad Religion. Both bands taught me everything I know about songcraft, vocal harmonies, catchy hooks, and simple but effective riffs. Those bands are the two biggest reasons why I love music so much. And like Marc said about Green Day, I think we'd fit onto a bill with them! 
CD: Placebo,AFI,Smashing Pumpkins reason being they're genre defying bands. 

Acoustic-Action: T.B., Cephas and Marcus.

GGG: Any plans for a European tour?
MH: I want to play Europe more than anything. The sooner the better! We know we have fans over there, but its just a matter of how to go about the process. Its definitely a huge commitment but if we had some help in the right direction from fans/promoters that wanted us, it would make it all the more better.
TB: I would love to take Vagora to Europe, but when the time is right. We don't have any sort of deals over there for our records, but when we do, even if it's just a distro type thing, I would love to bring Vagora to Europe. It's just a matter of the right time, the right people wanting to help, and finances.

GGG: What are your goals for 2012?
MH: I would love to be able to finish recording our next record by the end of the year. I believe we can do it. Even if its not OUT until 2013. And also to break new ground on our tour this August, as far as places we've never played.
TB: To keep playing shows, be as tight a live band as possible, and to start work on the new record, because I think this one is going to be the one that people truely will see that Vagora stands on it's own with. It's going to be VERY different in places and I think people are either going to completely love it, or be confused, or completely hate it. haha We write for ourselves and we are throwing out the rulebook completely when it comes to "Ah that doesn't sound like something we'd do" and just going for broke.We are not only challenging the listener, but we're challenging ourselves as a band. That's the ultimate goal for me. We make ourselves happy first, if people like it and support us for it, all the better.
CD: Touring, playing bigger shows, definatly looking forward to the next record were not holding anything back on this one.

GGG: Thanks again for the interview. We really appreaciate that all bandmembers found some time to answer some questions. 

Vagora on the internet:

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