Venefixion is a new band but what they play is old metal of death. France has always been a fertile ground for death metal, bands like Mercyless, Loudblast and Massacra, to name a few, have made their name in the underground many moons ago. But things have changed over the years and a new wave of death metal bands has risen from the putrid French underground and bands like Hate Supremacy, Malekhamoves, Cadaveric Fumes, Demonic Oath, Necrowretch, Venefixion are spreading their toxic waves of rotten metal over the world.
After the release of Venefixion‘s debut demo, Defixio (review can be read here), I really wanted to find more about this band and their music so here’s a very detailed and interesting interview I had with F. Goathroat (vocals).
First of all, congratulations for releasing “Defixio”, such a powerful demo tape. Second of all, thank you very much for accepting this interview for ScrollsofDarmoth. Let’s roll.
Thank you for giving some credit and interest to VENEFIXION. Also thanks for the kind words about our demo tape that got released last year (already one year it got released as I answer your interview).
I. Venefixion is a very young band even though all of you are no newcomers to this scene. You play in bands like Demonic Oath, Cadaveric Fumes, Necrowretch, Ritual Temple etc. How did that help Venefixion integrate in the French scene? Did the French press (magazines, fanzines etc) pay a particular attention to the band, especially after releasing this short but outstanding demo tape?
This question is interesting; we actually did not get much interest showed up or anything from any « french press » except one -for free- fanzine that got really enthusiastic. The rest is just void. The scene actually supports us, I mean people involved in French bands famous or not did, the audience is quite shy we will say (at the moment as our first show did not take place yet), a few webzines have contributed to spread it nonetheless and our first interview was with a French webzine though. A couple webzines, a couple fanzines from our country and friends from bands supporting us. Other than that, we got reviews in many different countries, interviews in small, big fanzines and then starts the big magazines. France as a whole was not really supportive. Even if we all have other bands, we have to make our proofs with VENEFIXION and this is more than normal to me. To end your question, we got an OK interest from medias in general but nothing huge (this actually tends to slightly change) and if we were Swedish or German, let me tell you it would be kind of different for us regarding the impact we could have, but so it is and for us the path will be a little harder it seems…
II. Speaking about the “Defixio” demo casette. It looks totally old school, from the cover (logo, drawing and inlay) to the content. I mean, it looks as if the cover has been xeroxed, like so many booklets that were done 20-30 years ago. Did you intend to make it look like this from the start or was SeventhBell’s choice?
That is exactly why Kev and I have created that band for, performing Old School Death Metal with a punk-ish touch with visual that could look like back in time. We needed to have something looking like we did this demo tape back in 88 you know. This is why it looks like that. We did it this way cause we also did not want to fall into clichés. It looks professional because we were in 2015 and not 1988, we had to make it look like from the past but not copying an era VENEFIXION did not belong to aesthetically. It was totally our choice since day 1, Jack did a great job in answering perfectly to our needs. But regarding the production, it was normal to us to sound a little like from back in time but not forgetting we were in another century.
III. You’ve only released this demo so far, but it’s been already on streaming on You Tube. Isn’t it frustrating, especially for a young band like you, to have their full material available for free, all the more when a demo tape/cd etc has already been released by a label? Don’t you feel like your work (and your label’s too) is in vain?
I guess I understand your point, but as a band, especially like ours, the more exposure you get the better you can feel. It is exposure for free and when your label seems to be ok with that, why shouldn’t you? I mean, people can have a closer look to what you have delivered, not only a sample or a only one track, they really see what you are worth. Also, IRON BONEHEAD is going to release our demo on LP and the upcoming MLP on CD (plus demo as a bonus) and vinyl. Nowadays, we know that people consume their music like they drink Coke or something… That is the way it is and we are forced to accept it and play that game with websites like Soundcould or bandcamp, we also need it as a band, just like our label. Youtube is a good friend for helping you out finding new bands. I am a big vinyl collector but I have learnt and accepted to live with the internet and its many facets; good or not. At the moment, many bands would not be where they are without the internet, I will never give any names, but just let me tell you that many bands (incl. VENEFIXION probably) would never be where they are without it, that would actually take one or two years longer otherwise, easily.
IV. Who does what in Venefixion ? Is there a standard writing/rehearsing/recording process going on, or you just go with the flow, so to speak?
In VENEFIXION, K. Desecrator is writing the music, records the bass and depending on the record the lead or rhythm guitars. On the demo, W. Cadavre (Cadaveric Fumes) was recording the lead guitars, I did the vocals and wrote lyrics, finally Kev did all the rest. On the ‘Armorican Deathrites’ MLP, J. Obscene (Hexecutor) has been joining on rhythm and lead guitar (sharing the role with W. Cadavre), me on vocals & lyrics plus Kev handling the rest. We rehearse together depending on schedules. On the next release (a split EP we hope), all members may record where they are at (live). M. Abomination is the live bass player, he has been playing within PERVERSIFIER (along with K. Desecrator) for many years.
V. The sound and the atmosphere on the demo are very murky and sweaty, just like a Louisiana swamp. How hard was for you to create that distinct sound?
It was kind of easy as we totally wanted it to sound like that. Muddy, sweaty, disgusting, fast, haunting, vile, furious… Man, that was very easy to create this as this was like natural to do it. We have been doing this band for that: creating this exactly! The stench that could be felt in Louisiana, Brittany or India (all places dealt about in VENEFIXION).
VI. Throughout the demo’s 4 songs, a certain melody can be heard here and there, like a light in the dark. Unlike other bands from this new wave of occult death metal, you have successfully integrated certain thrashy melody in you dark, aggressive sound. Did you have that in mind from the beginning, when you wrote the songs?
To be honest, I don’t really think of what sort of parts will be in a song when I decide to write music, it just comes naturally.
But that’s obvious that eerie melodies are, to me a primordial part in Death Metal to set up the atmosphere so it was meant to end up in VENEFIXION in a way or another even if there’s no particular “recipe” to write songs.
VII. Almost every new band has some influences from some cult bands from the past, sometimes more visible, sometimes not. What are your favorite bands which have inspired you to play this music, if you have any?
There should have been a lot, let’s make you the biggest list we probably ever did: GROTESQUE, REPULSION, REPUGNANT, MORBID ANGEL, BASTARD PRIEST, DEATH, EXCORIATE, TRIBULATION (1st album), AUTOPSY, KAAMOS, POSSESSED, DISMEMBER, MASSACRE, MORBID, SADISTIC INTENT, VENENUM, ENTOMBED,…There should be many more, but we could write two more pages…
VIII. Venefixion plays death metal. Why? Joke aside, your music is so fucking old school, but that’s what I like about it. You’re not trying to be another copycat of the Swedish sound, but instead you have created something quite original, with personality, which is rather rare these days. How did you create this sound of yours when there are so many tempting influences lurking around every corner?
First of all, thanks for the words, that’s the kind of reactions I like to see on my music.
As I mentioned before, there’s no “recipe” to write music to me, if you do it this way, you’re wrong, you lose all the artistic side of it. You have to let it come to you and not force yourself to write music this way or that way.
So, I don’t try to rip off bands and to sound exactly like them, that would be totally useless to me. Metal is my life though, I listen to it everyday so of course you can hear influences in the music I write but it’s not intentional.
Also, to make things clear, we don’t try to sound old school, we just sound Death Metal, you don’t have to put the words “old school” in front of it.
Death Metal takes its roots from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties and has to sound like that. Period.
To me, a band like Dying Fetus is not Death Metal, that totally don’t fit to the standards, as Euronymous would have said, it’s “Life Metal”.
IX. You are signed on Iron Bonehead, who will release your next material, “Armorican Deathrites”, in december. Why not realeasing a full length? Didn’t you have enough songs for an album or you just didn’t think the time was right yet? Where can we expect the debut album to be released ?
I guess it’s a mix of both, we didn’t have enough songs ready for a full length but we still wanted to release something new and also it was not the right time to us as we don’t want to act too fast. We like these kind of short releases before an album, it’s important to take our time, unlike a lot of bands these days who just release an album without even a demo.
To be honest, I really don’t know when the debut album will be released, there are just a few ideas here and there but it’s not our main priority now.
Be patient, it will happen in due time…If we want…
X. Is, or will be, Venefixium a live band? Now, when almost every band holds rituals, ceremonies and masses, not choosing to play live (or selecting the shows to the limit) seems like swimming against the current. I have to admit I respect that attitude a lot, even though I’m dead curious to witness one of your performances. Do you think that less is good and more can be bad?
We do not make a big deal around that actually. We play no ritual, no black mass, no ceremony and so on… We are only about to deliver a Death Metal show we hope people will remember. The rest is folklore and bullshit to us. We also already agreed not to play on every opportunity as we all play in different bands and because we want VENEFIXION to be able to select the shows where to perform, also being quite rare as a live band. WE ARE A DEATH METAL BAND PERFORMING DEATH METAL GIGS, END OF THE STORY!
We will of course be rare on stage which means we will select the best opportunities in France and then will look at all what comes out from abroad with seriousness.
XI. What bands would you like to share the stage with? Do you have a dream line-up for one of your shows? How “picky” are you when selecting the live appearances?
We have started this band with the aim of not headlining every local shows. It means we will not perform at any occasions like town events and so on, also if we think a band may not match with our ideals, we may just give a simple no. We are gonna open for Canada’s OCCULT BURIAL and CAUCHEMAR plus our brothers in RITUALIZATION in November, in Nantes, FR, then be the openers for SADISTIC INTENT in Rennes, FR. Man, our two first gigs are going to take place with killer bands! It is the best start you can dream of…. Plain and simple…. Then comes a mini tour in February along with LUCIFERICON and IN AETERNUM… And maybe two shows in two other countries but those need to be confirmed (which is not the case at the moment I write you).
XII. Bretagne is a region with quite a rich tradition in superstition and folklore, (menhirs, dolmens, the cemetery of 7777 saints) mixing pagan and Christian beliefs. Wasn’t it more easy for you to get inspired by these instead of other topics?
We have been really interested in different cultures and their rites or cults within the first demo. On our upcoming release, it is true, we actually deal about something closer. Our Breton culture. We do not care much about the Christian culture to be honest…. Over here, it is very poor regarding dolmens, tumulus, sepulchers of any kind. Many things got destroyed by the Christians (they built churches all the way upon pagan sites) … Our Homeland got fucked by Christians and got sold by its inheritance, that is all I can tell you. We just wanted to pay tribute to the power, strength of the Breton people and their beliefs. We got inspired by that on this release, and got our promo pictures done before a dolmen (pagan collective sepulture for the Celts), this is very Death Metal to be honest, more than cemeteries full of Christian crosses.
XIII. Your lyrics deal with (black) magic, Voodoo rituals and Aghori. All this voodoo thing has been portrayed as a bloody, vengeful and extremely powerful religion. Does this description come from a Christian point of view and therefore cannot be trusted or those practices are indeed dangerous? Have you read “Tell my horse” and “The Serpent and the Rainbow”?
I will not lie to you, voodoo is to me linked somewhat to Christianity but La Secte Rouge is quite more disconnected to the faithful ground to be honest. La Secte Rouge is/ was something secret trying to get some kind of an upper level. Not that many people could reach that level of knowledge and could belong to it. I actually never read « Tell my horse » , I have been reading « Magic in the Antilles » which is quite a good reading and I still learn a lot.
XIV. The word zombie has a semi-romantic connotation these days, because of the cinema. But if we get to believe the Bokor sorcerers, this “curse” actually is very real and can have serious consequences over one’s life. Do you think someone can be actually turned into such a mindless and obeying living corpse only by the power of a spell and some drug?
That is for sure and as we were dealing about it. Funny you talk about it… In VENEFIXION we talk about the beginning of curses (Antique Rome). Then, we talk also about sorcery in a way and we actually do think that in one way or another it has some sort of influence on someone’s life. We will also deal about Palo sooner or later, these are subjects I really dig and get absorbed by.
XV. The common denominator of your lyrics is Death, in its purest form. Can we truly say “life is certain, death is not”? What does Death mean for Venefixion? Do you worship it, like the Aghori babas you talk about in “Aghori’s Ashes of the Dead”, or it’s just another topic that can be used as inspiration?
We actually believe in the « Death is certain… Life is not ». For VENEFIXION, Death is all, you rule your life depending on no how you want your death not to look like. For VENEFIXION, Death is all, the beginning of the end, where all starts to finish. We cherish Death and respect it to the deepest of our hearts. Death is the thing on that planet that should be worshiped and praised the most over here, but is not. I personally would not bend over Evil, but would do for Death.
XVI. Well, it seems we have reached the end of this long road. Thank you very much for taking your time to answer my questions, hope they did not bore you. Looking forward to your next release and, why not, maybe you’ll visit Bucharest someday in the near future. As usual, my guests have the last words, so if you want to close this, now is the time:
Thanks a lot for the support and interest you show to Venefixion,that means a lot to us.
Of course we would be happy to desecrate Bucharest with our reaping Death Metal one day if we get an occasion.
Don’t forget, Only Death Is Real.
F. Goathroat – vocals
W. Cadaver – guitars
J. Obscene – guitars
K. Desecrator – bass/drums