Vampire's Hand of Doom Can't Get Enough of Self-Titling Their Work

Sweden's death metal blood suckers Vampire founded in 2011 by vocalist Hand of Doom, guitarist Black String, bassist Command and battery Ratwing, released a self-titled demo that sold out along with it's 7-inch re-release. Now both have become non-existent, so nothing left for them to do except continue onward to write and record music, which would lead them to get signed with Century Media Records and soon release their self-titled debut full-length album. Frontman vocalist Hand of Doom discusses the debut full-length album's progress and what the future holds.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Vampire, and how long the band has been together.

HoD: I sing on the upcoming album but both sing and play drums on the demo tape. I write 90% of our lyrics and split the song writing duties about 40/60 with Black String.

2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

HoD: Vampire are based in Gothenburg, world famous (at least among people with poor taste of music) for the distinctive Gothenburg sound. That scene is probably as lively as usual. As for really interesting bands, look elsewhere. We do have our share of very ambitious black/death metal bands from around here, but the only one that I can recall actually paying any attention to the last year is probably Irkallian Oracle. Solid Portal worship with cloak and mask.

3. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

HoD: Me and Black String got together and started making music without a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve around 2009. We spent a year or two downing beers and switching instruments before Command came along. I can actually give the exact date when we realized our aim with VAMPIRE. It was the 3rd of July 2011. We pre-loaded for the Slayer/Metallica gig at my place and listened to the Necrophagia song “Young Burial” that is on the New Renaissance sampler “Thrash Metal Attack”. We looked at each other and said “This is it” (“Young Burial” is an impossibly ugly song). Then we quite instantly found our sound and started writing the songs that are on the demo. We recorded them in April and hooked up with Ljudkassett at the beginning of summer 2012. Almost as soon as the demo was out record companies started throwing deals after us, but we took our time and settled with Century Media in the autumn of 2013. Our debut album, due for release in March, was finished at the end of 2013.

4. You decided to go and call the band Vampire, with the Vampire craze as it is, why did you want to make this decision?

HoD: I initially suggested Strigoi, which (supposedly) is Romanian for “vampire” or “undead”. Then Black String came up with Vampire, and we quickly agreed on that. Quite unbelievably, no other band ever released an album under that name. Us choosing it doesn't have very much to do with an appreciation of vampire movies/books, or with any association with a “vampire society“ (god forbid). Vampire is one of those simple, effective names that no one will ever have to ask twice about. I mean, Nyogthaeblisz is a brilliant band, but I still don’t know what they are actually called.

5. Why did you want this band to be a trio act instead of a full band?

HoD: Not a conscious decision, it just happened to be that way. But the fewer people you have to write songs with, the more fun it usually is. I used be in a band with only two people in it, and I decided everything – no conflicts, only metal.

6. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

HoD: Probably hundreds, but three of them I tend to bring up are Possessed, Sarcófago and Autopsy.

7. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

HoD: There is no message, the only thing I want to convey is a worthwhile aesthetic experience that gels with the vibe in our music. I draw lots of inspiration from horror fiction, not least contemporary horror literature from Sweden (I can recommend Andreas Marklund and Anders Fager), but also from classic Gothic literature from the 1800’s, very visceral and atmospheric zombie films from Italy, J-horror, classics from the 70’s and 80’s… I am a fan since childhood, but that doesn't necessarily mean the other guys in the band share that interest. We usually don’t discuss lyrics, but I have a feeling they trust me that I know what I am doing. I haven’t fleshed out a corpus of lyrical themes I return to when writing, but it’s probably possible to find if you look closely.

8. Century Media Records signed you guys to their label - what made you say "Yes" and how does it feel to be a part of their family, what do you think they will bring to the table for you guys?

HoD: We said yes because they made the best offer economically and we got the impression those guys are actually into what they are doing and care for their bands. We know some other bands on Century Media and they confirm this. Century Media can hopefully help us reach out to new listeners and possibly get us out on tour. That’s what I expect from a label of their size and reputation.

9. You released your self-titled demo debut and will release your debut full-length, will the songs featured on the demo be re-done/included for the full-length release?

HoD: Some of them will and some of them won’t. The album includes 10 songs in total and has a running time of approx. 37 minutes.

10. What made you want to release not one but two releases under your band's name Vampire?

HoD: Are you referring to the 7” now? It’s actually a re-release of the demo, so no funny stuff there. However, we will call the album “Vampire” as well, maybe that will raise a few eyebrows, but we couldn't come up with anything else that everybody would agree on, so blame democracy. There is a band from Sweden called Switchblade that never calls their releases anything, which is very confusing, but I guess for us that hasn't really meant a problem yet.

11. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?

HoD: It’s over and done with and everything was delivered to Century Media before Christmas.

12. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

HoD: We are producing ourselves, but we did have a recording engineer in the studio at all times called Oskar Lindberg who took technical responsibility for the actual recording to tape and aided us through any creative ideas we wanted to realize. Everything you will hear on the album comes from our minds with very little outside influence. We could never afford a proper producer anyway.

13. How was the vibe in the studio?

HoD: Horrible.

14. Will this album be featuring any type of concept whether it'd be in the content itself or an actual story line?

HoD: No, nothing of that. A couple of songs are very loosely related in the lyrical content, but that might as well be impossible for anyone except me to tell. What we strived for was a collection of strong songs that don’t really depend on context, be it musically or lyrically.

15. Are there any surprises or collaborations on the album?

HoD: Yes, but we wouldn't want to ruin all that beforehand.

16. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

HoD: We wanted to keep the raw and dirty approach of the demo, yet upgrade our musical expression with the advantages of the professional, analogue studio, which is something I think we managed to accomplish. Then again, we didn't have a crystal clear idea of what we wanted it to sound like, but rather lots of examples of what we didn't want to come anyway near. Lots of bands out there have an image of having a very organic and old school approach to their music, but if you actually listen to it it’s just more of the same over-produced, square crap.

17. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

HoD: Yes. Some instruments that we haven’t used before are Fender Rhodes, accordion and vibraphone. All of those appear very briefly and are maybe not even audible at times, but nevertheless help amplify the atmosphere we wanted to create.

18. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to your previous Vampire release?

HoD: We have never really stopped writing songs since we wrote the very first songs for the demo tape, but just continued in the same vein. Some songs didn't really hold up in the long run and were skipped without even having vocal arrangements added to them, and some songs (that are on the album) have been re-arranged several times before we were happy with them. I think our actual song writing skills on a cerebral level or what to call it has improved during the writing process for the album, which means that the latest songs are very “clean” arrangement wise, where everything has been put together in a more conscious way than the songs on the demo tape. But it is mostly a matter of us being more consciously involved in the process; the result remains very similar.

19. Do you feel any pressure whatsoever about this release?

HoD: Yes, of course. Even though many people that dig the demo tape will probably prefer that release over the album, we still aim at blowing everyone away with this one. None of us have ever had the opportunity of making music with so many listeners before, so naturally you put a lot of pressure on yourself to make it as good as possible. That doesn't stop with the music either, but is a condition for the cover artwork, band photos and layout as well.

20. Are you guys Vampires? If so, what makes you Vampires can you prove it?

HoD: No, vampires do not exist, even though we are not in command of the scientific means to prove that.

21. Do you sleep in coffins and drink blood?

HoD: Yes, but that’s more a general black metal thing.

22. How did you become Vampires were you born or turned?

HoD: Don’t overdo this, honey.

23. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

HoD: Check out There will be a Vampire webpage that gathers all possible channels of the band on one single URL, but that will launch simultaneously with the album in March. From what we have gathered, your presence on the internet doesn't necessarily add anything to the listener’s experience.

24. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

HoD: A solid album and (hopefully) extensive tours. No gigs booked as of now.

25. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

HoD: The odd clash between quite conservative death metal and the eerie vibe of something completely different.

26. Do you have anything else to say to the Vampires out there?

HoD: Sök och du skall finna.

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