Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers recently had the opportunity to speak with Canadian death/black metal artist Wolvesblood, founder of Visions of the Night.
Metal Mofos: How did Visions of the Night get started?
Wolves blood: It started with me listening to a band I really like called Necromantia. They put out an album called Crossing the Fiery Path which I actually didn’t really even like, and I thought I could do better than this on my own. So I got a drum machine, borrowed a friend’s bass, and did the vocals on my own. I went to the studio to see what came out, and what came out I think is better than Crossing the Fiery Path. Some people do like that album, but I think they’ve done much better. What came out from my recordings inspired me to do more.
MM: How long have you been doing Visions of the Night?
WB: Since 1999.
MM: Awesome. I know you’ve played some shows in some different places like South Korea. What’s the metal scene like in the Far East?
WB: We’re about to return to Korea. I’ve just done one show so far. It was pretty crazy there. Everyone was really into. There was at least one person stage diving in every set of the show. Koreans are generally very big people. In Japan and Taiwan I’m like an average size, but Korean guys are like football players. Everyone there was really nice and easy to get along with though.
MM. Excellent. Where do you typically play shows? Do you typically play in the Toronto area or get down to the States much?
WB: I haven’t been to either much in about 5 years. We don’t play a ton of shows. We tend to do a tour or two each year. This way you can do a bunch of practices then go all out for a tour or two.
MM: Tell me about yourself in the band. You’re pretty much the main/sole member of the band. Where do you get other musicians to record or play shows?
WB: In the beginning it was just me, but after awhile some others joined then it kind of fell apart. I was talking with a friend of mine who told me about Municipal Waste who just have two people in the band then they just hire session musicians to tour with. So I figured, why can’t I just do that? The rest of the musicians came together through my network of friends. I did a three country tour last year in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. It’s worked out great so far.
MM: Tell me more about your role specifically. Do you just perform vocals or do you plan an instrument as well?
WB: I do vocals, guitar, and I did bass on the last album on 7 or 8 of the songs. I can’t play drums at all. I did some keyboards on previous albums but the last one was all programmed.
MM: Visions of the Night has a war or military theme to the songs. How did you come up with this concept?
WB: It started out with one war related song on the first album then just progressed. I found my own style. I’ve always been interested in war stuff then I guess I got more crazy as time went on. It manifested itself in the music.
MM: All right. You just write about what you like. Are you a big history buff?
WB: Yeah, I like it a lot. Most of my knowledge is strictly World War II stuff. I’d like to get into other areas as well. I slowly am, but I’m nowhere near where I should be!
MM: Yes, I’ve noticed in your lyrics you have songs based on World War II and some more ancient war type stuff as well. In particular the song, “Invoking the Martial Gods” how you name all these different gods of war. How do you go about writing your songs? What comes first? Music or lyrics?
WB: Music will come first. Lyrics will be rewritten so many times. It’s just until I’m happy with it. I’ll come up with a basic concept then write up some lines. Then a couple days later I’ll think they’re stupid, but I still like what I’m trying to say. I just keep at it until they get better. Lyrics are probably the hardest thing for me. After all the rewrites I’m totally happy with them, but the rewrites are the hardest part.
MM: Do you have a favorite lyric you have written?
WB: I’m very proud of all the lyrics on the Guerrillas Within Their Midst album. I think “Thousand Yard Stare” is one of my favorites. It’s about a sniper hunting his prey.
MM: How did you first get into the extreme world of metal? Visions of the Night is heavily styled in death and black metal.
WB: My music taste just kind of progressed from when I was a kid to when I was in high school. We had a show here called the Power Hour which was on our version of Mtv, and they played a band called Annihilator and they totally blew my mind. They played them again a few hours later, and I held up a tape recorder to the tv to record the song. Then I found bands like Obituary and Deicide through magazines. Then I never really looked back.
MM: Would you say a lot of your influence stems from the Florida death metal scene?
WB: Yes, I’d say so. Obituary and Deicide were the first two death metal bands that I heard. A lot of the Roadrunner bands from back then.
MM: What brings in the black metal element?
WB: As unpopular as this may be I would say the first Cradle of Filth album. When I listened to it the album just sounds like it was made by an evil genius and sounded very well structured. Everything flowed really good and sounded almost like an orchestra. They added an extra instrument, and it sounds great. I still love that album even though some don’t.
MM: Yeah, people like to hate on Cradle of Filth.
WB: Yeah, they do. I’m not totally sure why. To be honest I didn’t really like much after the EP. They haven’t done anything I hate, but it doesn’t make me want to buy it. I don’t know why they get hate. Maybe it’s because they’re so big. There’s definitely more deserving bands to hate on.
MM: Who would that be?
WB: Well, Slipknot is a pretty good one.
MM: Yeah, they’re just everywhere. They’re all you hear about on some large metal news site like Blabbermouth or Loudwire.
WB: Yes, the headlines read “Corey Taylor Watches Housewives of Wherever” for example.
MM: That’s the thing we’re trying to change here at Metal Mofos. Personally myself, I want to give coverage to artists, such as yourself. So tell me about the recording process for the last album, where did you start? Do you write the songs at home, then book the studio? How did you get setup with your label to release the album?
WB: Well, actually, we did a show in Buffalo in 2007, and two people showed up. One of them was the owner of a label. We weren’t even headlining the show, long story short the headliner did show up, the bar owner cancelled the show, so we were like, well we’re here, and only and hour and a half away from home, except we don’t want to go back because it’s a pain in the a** to get over the border with the reason that we had. So he’s just like “Hey, well why don’t you just stay at my place” And he really enjoyed the material and was like “I want to put out the next album” It took 6 years, but we eventually, we actually ended up being his last release unfortunately. He even told us before that, he goes “I could put it out, but I’m shutting it down, it’s gonna be my last release if you still want to do it” Oh yeah, sure, why not. So I sent all the material to Todd and, he learned everything in like a month. We drove about two and a half hours to the studio, he recorded the drums all in one day. I’m trying to think, there was a gap there, I don’t think I even started the guitars. Actually no, I did, I did have enough to do a CD preview a couple of months later in Tokyo. We did a little CD party, just like a little preview listening party. So I guess I would have done guitars, then bass, then the vocals. At this point I don’t think any of the keys were down. Then about 6 months later I went back and wanted to re-do alot of the vocals, and from there we just slowly finished up the rest of it before the next tour.
MM: Alright. How did you start out as a vocalist?
WB: Umm, that’s a good question too. In my very first band, I was doing vocals for them, it was more Sepultura like vocals. I think I always kinda liked how Dave Mustaine did vocals a lot, with guitar, even though I didn’t want to do his style of vocals, I’m pretty sure I can’t anyways, so that worked out good for both of us. I always thought it was cool, you’re kind of doing two jobs at once, sometimes it is a pain in the a**, especially these days, instead of using session musicians, I can pick up two positions instead of just one of them.
MM: Alright, cool. So what is the secret to getting your voice to last an entire set, with screaming vocals like that?
WB: Make sure you practice a lot before hand. If you haven’t practiced in a while, you’ll barely last like a song or two. Keep at it at least a couple of weeks in a row, and it will be alright. There’s not much else to it. The only other complication is if you come down with a sore throat, especially the beginnings of a cold, sometimes it takes like a month for me to get the voice back. There has been times where I have been doing shows, and it’s shredding my throat, and obviously doesn’t sound like it should, but there is not much you can do in a case like that.
MM: Lots of whiskey and honey?
WB: I haven’t tried the whiskey thing, but I have tried alcohol with lemonade. I remember at the 2013 show in Osaka, Japan, they got me this spray, and I couldn’t even read the side, but you spray it and it hits the back of your throat, and the force of it is actually hard, so it hurts the back of your throat when it hits it, but it makes things a little bit easier. I guess it is some sort of cough spray, I’m not even totally sure. It definitely helped.
MM: I’ve never heard of anything like that. Japanese secrets to curing the common cold. So where does the name Wolvesblood come from?
WB: I actually had a dream one time, that there was this wolf standing on a hill of dirt, and I was walking with the wolf and we walked by this house, and there was this dog there, and it was an older dog, and the wolf wanted to attack the dog, and the dog just kind of looked up at me like saying “I’m kind of too old to defend myself, if anything is gonna happen it’s going to be you trying to stop this thing”. So I tried to stop the wolf, and the wolf bit me. I had my hands in its mouth and I was trying to fight the wolf. I told the dream to a friend of mine, who is a dream interpreter, and he said that the wolf represented hate. So hate you know, it works with you and it works against you, and I just thought Wolvesblood, blood, power of hate, is pretty good for this kind of music, so I thought I’d use that.
MM: That’s an awesome story, that’s definitely the most interesting story I’ve heard about how anybody got their nickname. I like that. I don’t know how much of the American media hits your area, but you know, we have our presidential election coming up, and you know is the most controversial election in history it seems.
WB: We do hear a lot of your stuff up here, that’s for sure.
MM: What are your opinions on that, and how do you think American politics differs from that in Canada?
WB: I think that we both have very biased media. When it was looking like it might have been Cruz, I would have said at least you have Fox news as an opposite side, but it seems like they hate Trump also, so they’re just like the rest of them now. Our media pretty much exclusively goes towards the liberals, maybe the NDP these days. It really seems like with big outlets, you don’t get the whole story. To hear the other side of the story, you have to follow certain journalists, and they are never on any of these shows. They might have a small segment, or as like a guest. That’s really as close as it seems. I used to have satellite, so I would get American TV, but now I don’t even have Canadian TV. Why choose to watch the news when you know its going to be slanted, and you’re only going to get one side of the story, when you can go to different websites and you know you can hear both sides.
MM: Those are my thoughts exactly. Especially the 24 hour news networks like Fox news and CNN, I mean they both just drive me nuts. They both have their own agendas, you don’t ever get the whole truth out of either of them.
WB: I would think there would be a ton of money in a station showing both sides. Why does that not exist?
MM: There’s your next business venture I guess! So one of the huge topics of debate right now in the United States is gun control. What’s gun control like in Canada, and what is your opinion on it.
WB: We have a stereo-type in that nobody in Canada has guns, yet there is, even the lowest estimates have 3 million, highest at like 9 million, and we only have 35 million people in the country, so there is actually a lot of guns in Canada. I have guns, you go to the gun club and people always think there is going to be these crazy gun people there, but they are like the nicest people ever. Somebody can walk in with like a five thousand dollar gun and they’re just like “hey you wanna try it out?” I have never met an a**hole at the gun club, ever. I’m not saying that they don’t exist, but they have one of the least deserving stereo-types, ever.
MM: I remember watching a documentary Bowling for Columbine, many years ago, that Michael Moore made, and he had a segment of the film that compares levels of violence between Canada and the United States, and there is almost no murders in Canada as opposed to, you know, our media is filled with murders everyday. What do you think is the difference there between Canada and the US?
WB: I’d say is probably more culture. One thing people never include in their conclusions, is the people themselves. For instance, you can actually get guns in Japan, it’s difficult, but lets just say everybody in Japan could easily get a gun tomorrow, do you think it would just explode into an orgy of violence? No, because the people aren’t like that. Another good example is, Chicago has some pretty strict gun control, but it has like the same amount of gun murders in a week, that Toronto would have in like a year, so I mean what does that say?
MM: I don’t know man, but what do you think we need here in the US? What’s the secret to not having such a violent culture?
WB: That’s a good question, obviously gun control isn’t working, because like I said, in Chicago, they have some of the highest murder rates ever. So I don’t know if it’s somehow rooting out the gangs, or what. I don’t have an answer for it. In some states it seems like having everybody armed works, you know, who’s going to break into a house if they’re going to get shot? Unfortunately I don’t have an answer for that, but I know gun control is definitely not the answer, it’s sort of been proven.
MM: Oh yeah, back to heavy metal, whats the metal scene like in Canada?
WB: In Toronto its great, Vancouver its great. Everything in between, keep in mind I haven’t been to a lot of the places in between.. Sorry I forgot the biggest, Montreal is the best, and Toronto and Vancouver. Everything in between is sparse. That’s not to say there isn’t any good pockets anywhere. I find it’s probably easier for most metal bands to tour the states because cities that will bring people out are a lot closer together, where as ours are all really far apart. Toronto and Montreal, yeah that’s only about 6 hours apart, but to get to Vancouver, that’s like a 48 hours drive from here. The country is not really set up for touring bands, as annoying as that is. Umm, what else can I tell you about Canadian metal. I’ll name off some metal bands, and you can say whether you knew they were Canadian or not.
WB: First I obviously gotta go with Sacrifice.
MM: Not familiar with them.
WB: And then really old school, Piledriver.
MM: Ok, I know Piledriver. Didn’t know they were Canadian. I think the only Canadian musicians I know are Rush, and I think Nickelback.
WB: I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that last one, They’re American right? Justin Beiber is yours now also.
MM: We adopted them, alright. Let’s see, what else can I learn about Canada?
WB: Well actually we use Kilometers, and Celsius, but for weight, except on official documents, we use pounds.
MM: Oh, ok.
WB: Like, nobody goes around saying they weigh 60 kilograms or anything like that, everybody always says oh I weigh like 160 pounds, or whatever that works out to. On your license or anything official, it’ll all be in kilograms.
MM: Alright, well that’s something different.
WB: Same with height, everybody would say I’m 5 foot 8, 6 foot whatever, but on official documents, it will say meters, well centimeters actually.
WB: Here’s something else, the area I’m in, actually gets less snow than Buffalo and lots of parts of the STate’s, so it’s not snow all the time. We moved out of igloos a little while ago, we do like maple syrup though. I’m actually not into hockey, that’s a weird thing.
MM: Oh yeah?
WB: A Funny story, me and one of the former members, the first time we went to Japan, just to check out the Tokyo Deathfest, and we ran into the guys from Malignancy. So, we are talking with Danny the singer, and he’s like “where are you guys from, Oh you guys are from Canada?” And then their bass player’s eyes light up and he looks over “You guys from Canada?” and we’re like “Yeah” and he’s like “who do you want to win the Stanley Cup?” And we’re just like “Actually we don’t like Hockey”. So, what I mean from that is, I bet he’s the only one in Malignancy that likes hockey. Being in Japan, of course they’re not going to follow NHL there, so he had nobody to talk about hockey with. So, finally he finds two guys from Canada, and it’s like “finally I can talk hockey” and it’s like f*ck, the only two Canadians that don’t like hockey, those are the guys I find. Although I must say, I used to like it as a kid, and it is fun to play, I just have no interest in watching it.
MM: Yeah, I find with any sport these days the seasons are so long, you can’t keep track.
WB: Yeah, I remember growing up and having the Stanley Cup on Victoria day, which is most times it’s around Mat the 24th, now it goes all the way into June, it’s almost catching up to the beginning now. Soon its gonna be like, Stanley Cup, then the first day of the season.
MM: Yeah man, sports seasons are way too long. So back to Visions of the Night. So whats the next big thing for you guys? You mentioned you’re heading back to Korea soon.
WB: Yeah we got a mini tour in Korea, with 3 shows. Seoul, Busan, and Daejeon. Daejeon, I might be butchering that name. I’ve only seen it written, I actually have not heard it pronounced. Last time we play Seoul, so it will be good to return there. Plus, to check out some new cities. The only thing we had seen of South Korea last time, was Seoul, so it will be good to see some of the rest of it. There is also this really cool war museum there with all these tanks, so were gonna be checking that out again. We wanted to go see the DMZ last time, but we kind of just ran out of time, so this time we hope to be able to check it out.
MM: Oh, ok.
WB: You’re supposed to have decent haircuts, and facial hair, so I’m not quite sure how we’ll get through with that. Maybe a ponytail and a hat, maybe I should shave this off, I’m not sure if this is decent enough. I’m actually not totally clear how they define decent, but I know you’re not allowed to wear any camouflage or anything like that. We’ll just bring along some plain black shirts and pants I guess.
MM: Yeah, that would definitely be a cool sight to see.
WB: There’s this house you can go into, when tensions aren’t very high, so Im not sure we can do it now. You can technically be on the North Korean side in this house. It’s a house they use for high level talks, that you know, if there is an emergency type situation, their diplomats or whatever, from both sides, they meet in the house. But when things are more cooled off, they allow tourists to go in there. So technically, I might actually be in North Korea as part of this.
MM: Hey that’s neat, not many people can say that.
WB: Yeah, true. Won’t be doing any shows there though
MM: Hahaha, Mr Kim Jong doesnt appreciate death metal.
WB: I actually made this animation, I don’t know if you’ve seen it or not. It’s got Kim Jong, and he’s got his binoculars, and he’s got the Korean translation, well the English translation, and it says “I’m looking for some metal shows” and he spots a wall, with a tour poster on it of Visions of the Night with Sahon. Sahon is the South Korean band we are touring with. And he’s looking through and he’s like “F*CK YEAH!” and then he looks again, and it goes down and it just says “All shows in South Korea, no shows in North Korea, and it’s got the ‘no sign’ through the North Korean flag and puts them down and he’s like “Son of a b*tch”.
MM: hahaha, that’s good man. Any new music in the works?
WB: Yeah, we are going to be debuting one of the new songs on this tour. The new album, the writing part is about 50% done.
MM: Oh, cool!
WB: So I’ll be recording sometime in 2017, hopefully early-ish. I almost never like recording in the winter because the two hour and fifteen minute drive can easily double if there is snow, and that’s not fun. Then you’re spending half the day, just on the road instead of recording. Hopefully at the end of spring we’ll start recording that. It would be nice to have it out by the end of the year, the end of 2017, but if not, hopefully early 2018. The title will be Supreme Act of War.
MM: Sounds good.
WB: I’ll add one more thing. We are debuting a new song on the tour, it’s called “Longinus”.
MM: Cool. What is the lyric concept of the new song you’re going to debut on the tour?
WB: It’s actually about the Spear of Longinus, are you familiar with that?
MM: No, whats that?
WB: Its the spear that was supposedly used to pierce the side of Christ, and the legend is that whoever brings it into battle, is invincible, although that has proven false over the years.
MM: All Right, sounds cool. Someone in the first crusade I think is famed for using that, maybe Godfrey?
WB: I don’t know about that, but I know Napoleon had it, then Hitler had it. Now there’s like, well not now, this has been going on for ages and ages. There is a couple different ones, and they’re all claiming to be the real one, in reality probably none of them are, but I don’t know, it’s a cool subject to write about.
MM: All right, well that about wraps it up about for me, so thank you for your time.
WB: You’re welcome, thank you.
Check out the track “Thousand Yard Stare” here:
Transcribed by Sean MacEachern