ZT INTERROGATION: VIDEO NASTIES FIRE UP THE CHAINSAW
With a debut album that pays homage to John Carpenter’s classic horror flicks, Paul Castles glances nervously over his shoulder before settling down to talk with Video Nasties’ guitarist Stu Taylor.
ZT: Hi guys, so your debut album Dominion has just been released, how excited do you feel about things? We’re blown away by the response so far to the release. The pre-orders alone have far exceeded our expectations so yeah, we’re very excited by how it’s going and also with what’s to come.
ZT: Where did the idea of basing the album around John Carpenter movies stem from? We didn’t set out with the intention to base the album around JC films. We wrote the music first and then lyrics followed but the content is a mixed bag with inspiration coming from JC’s themes, Damian’s deprived mind and our own influences.The film samples that were included when writing the music did influence the lyrical content to a point.
ZT: Do you feel you captured something of his chilling atmosphere on the record? From the response we’ve had so far I’d say we have. We’ve had some amazing feedback with a lot of people commenting on the similarities between the music and JC’s films. I think a lot if it has to do with some of the passages and use of dynamics in the songs, it’s about being unpredictable and creating atmosphere with a sense of added dread.
ZT: Was the studio time quick or was it a longer experience? We made the decision that I would record the album and then we’d send the tracks off to get mixed/mastered by our mate Tom Dring at Vagrant Studios. This is something we’d done before so it was tried and tested and it also made for a much more comfortable recording experience. We used our own time, equipment and environment which I felt captured exactly what we wanted. With it being our own time things did take longer than what they would have taken had we been paying an engineer per day but this made for a much more relaxed atmosphere which is what you need when recording.
ZT: Did things run smoothly in the studio? Things never run smoothly in the studio! Most of the issues we had were with the gear that we were using. Interfaces failing, crappy monitors, headsets breaking, hard drives cramming up, and all that mixed with spending 12 hours a day in a windowless room… yeah, not the best, haha. It’s also not too easy setting up a session, playing the guitar parts and recording at the same time. We set a deadline but had some availability issues also so that was something else that we had to work around.
ZT: You all came together a couple of years ago having played with The Bendal Interlude, SSS, Magpyes and Iron Witch – Are you still active in those bands? At one point myself and Dave were in both SSS and The Bendal Interlude, which Tommy was in also. SSS went on indefinite hiatus some time before Bendal decided to fold which was around the same time Rick left Iron Witch which then led to the band splitting. Damian had been doing bits with Magpyes but that had taken a backseat to other commitments. We all became available at around the same time and we’re just concentrating on VN now. I think we’re all happy with being in just the one band right now which we can give it the right amount of time.
ZT: Is Video Nasties seen as a side project or something more substantive than that? As previously stated, this is our main thing so we’re putting all of our effort and available time into this.
ZT: How’s the underground scene doing in Liverpool at the moment? It’s up and down. There have been times when it’s thrived where there have been a good number of bands sprouting up, putting shows on, supporting each other and producing good music. That’s not so much the case right now. There’s a lot of bands coming about still, but there isn’t so much of a scene like there has been. A lot of it has to do with our local venues being taken out by big businesses and there not being the opportunities that there has been in the past. I know things will change though, music runs deep in Liverpool and these hurdles only make people more determined to keep things alive.
ZT: Are there plenty of venues to play?
They come and go, sometimes within a matter of months. There was a time when you could go to Saturday matinees, watch a load of bands and move about different venues and that would continue through the night, there was always something happening. Venues starting to become fewer and fewer as they were bought out or decimated for student accommodation. We’ve been lucky though as there are people about who have always found something to keep things going in the underground, abandoned buildings, art spaces, old public houses, car parks etc, where there’s a will there’s a way.
ZT: How did you enjoy performing at The Black Heart last year during Desertfest? It was our first performance in London for the band and we were really excited to be asked to play Desertfest. There was a bit of talk about us on the lead up to the show but we did not expect the room to be completely rammed full. I think they were operating a one in one out on the door. It was great! We had a blast on stage and put on quite the show. The weekend finally caught up with us when Tommy ended the set by filling an empty pint glass with his stomach content on stage. Made for a good talking point!
ZT: What tour plans have you got around the new album? So far we have plans to tour in November, that will be announced in time. Apart from that, Covid-19 permitting, we will hopefully be joining Gatecreeper on a couple of dates in July and we have some other things lined up that we will be announcing soon.
ZT: For the uninitiated, would you like to recommend a couple of Carpenter flicks to put on with a curry and a beer? Halloween is an absolute classic and must be watched if you haven’t done so already. There’s been many a rip-off but none have come close, including Rob Zombie with his Halloween remake. Prince of Darkness is another and you’ll hear some samples on our album from this one. The Fog, The Thing, Escape From New York. All amazing!