Friday, July 17, 2015

VHS Interview

Canadian death squad VHS formed earlier this year, and only have one seven song demo to their name. But what a demo it is: A no-frills affair that recalls early Death and draws inspiration from the video horror culture of the Eighties and Nineties. As someone who spent the best week-ends of his teenage years with friends bonding over both obscure horror movies and metal bands, this hit the sweet spot for me. I e-mailed some questions to the band, which vocalist/guitarist Mike was kind enough to answer.

Dreams of Consciousness: How would you describe VHS?

Before getting into the gory details, just wanted to say thanks for the interview! I would describe VHS as "ADD horror metal". We don't overthink things; we just write and bang out the tunes that generally tend to be on the short side. The band is made up of me on guitar and vocals, Jimmy on bass and Andy on drums. I guess you could say we have a bit of an old school sound but it was never intentional to try and be "retro". This is just how the songs come out and with the stripped down recordings, I guess it has an older feel to it.

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band. When did you form? What were your goals?

The three of us came together to play a show doing Gwar covers, complete with costumes no less. We really clicked musically and basically that was the birth of VHS. The idea for the band started in March and we started jamming in April. So things have come together pretty quickly for the band I would say! We really didn't have any goals aside from just recording the songs and seeing what happens. We had talked about doing a full length at same point but really didn't have any concrete goals, just wanted to play metal about horror flicks!

DoC: What were you doing before VHS? What would you be doing without it?

We have all been in other projects and bands but all only on a local scene level. What would I be doing without VHS? Probably just thinking about starting a horror themed death metal band and being depressed that it hasn't happened yet! I've wanted to do a band of this type since I heard Hacked Up For Barbecue for the first time. It took a long time for it to happen, but it was definitely worth the wait!

DoC: Your band has an interesting concept, drawing on the old horror video culture. How did you arrive at that? Is it something close to your hearts?

Like I had mentioned earlier, I have wanted to do a horror themed metal band for a long time. It just never came together until now. I am a gigantic horror fan, and death metal and horror movies are a perfect match for one another. The early days of death metal were very horror movie inspired. Look at Scream Bloody Gore, or From Beyond, total horror movie worship! We don't take the concept completely seriously though. The main movies we take inspiration from are fun films. We don't want to be oppressively bleak and horrific. VHS is a band that is meant to be a good time. It's fun music with somewhat tongue-in-cheek lyrics about some of our favorite horror flicks.

DoC: Tell me about your demo. Where/how did you record it? How do you feel about the recording now?

We actually just found out that we had to change the name of the demo. So the new name of the demo is Hi-Fi Horror (Uncut Edition). Horror Gore Pain Death Productions is re-releasing the demo is a digital format with the bonus tracks and the name Rewind or Die brought up a few red flags! So now the demo has a new name!

The demo started as a rehearsal demo of sorts. We would get together to jam and then would record the tune we learned that day. We did two songs the first jam, "Fornicating in the Furniture Store" and "Hairspray and Bloodspray". I think we were all pretty excited with how they turned out and each jam we would record more songs until we had the 7 songs that make up the original version of the demo.  Looking back we could have taken a bit more time but honestly we definitely weren't expecting a reaction like the one we have received! 

We are also doing a physical copy of the demo with three bonus tracks: "Possessed", "Room 36" and "There Shall Be Nights of Terror". It has a pro printed cover and lyrics sheet, and comes with a digital download of the album as well. We are only doing 50 copies so it will be super limited! You can order from our Bandcamp or send us an email.

DoC: You recently signed with Splatter Zombie Records. How did that come about? What can we expect from this partnership? 

I forget exactly when I first heard about Splatter Zombie, but when we finished the demo I basically took Facebook and the internet by storm and was posting the demo wherever I could. Patrick had initially posted that he liked the demo and I guess as the name began to spread a bit more he became interested in working with us on a full length. He said we have a lot of potential and he loved the sleazy feel of the demo. I'm excited to work with Patrick as he supports his bands 100% and is a true underground maniac! Germany has rabid metal fans so them being exposed to VHS definitely is an awesome thing!

DoC: If you had to curate an all ­night horror marathon, what movies would you pick?

That's a tough one because everyone takes something different from horror flicks. I would say that you would have to have a nice cross section of crowd favorites and maybe throw in some unknown gems for good measure. You'd definitely need to take something from each sub­genre of horror as well.

So let's go with this: Start off with Halloween, can't go wrong with a classic and what some consider the birth of the slasher genre. Maybe throw in something with a bit of humor next like The Monster Squad. Both cannibals and zombies would need to be present so why not take care of both with Zombi Holocaust? Definitely would have to represent the maestros of Italian cinema as well so The Beyond by Fulci and Opera by Argento.

Of course we would have to end the night with something fun. The Burning would be perfect: Sun, slashing and a pre­-Seinfeld Jason Alexander!

DoC: Tell me about your hometown, Thunder Bay. What's the scene like there? Any bands from your area you want to give a shout­-out to?

This is a tough one to answer. With VHS we kind of said from the start that we weren't considering ourselves a local band. There is a metal scene in Thunder Bay but it is fickle and attendance at shows varies drastically. Is this the target audience for VHS? Not really. We are more targeting the underground maniacs and horror fiends with this band! All three members of the band are in other bands or projects. I'm in a thrashy death metal band called Slavestate that is currently working on a full length. I just do vocals in the band. Andy and Jimmy are in a number of projects, Rock Truck, Tapout, Camden Blues Band and probably a bunch more!

DoC: Lightning Round - ­ choose one:

Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees?

Jason Voorhees.

Necronomicon Ex Mortis or Reanimation serum?

Necronomicon Ex Mortis.

Blu-Ray or Laser disc?


Zombies or CHUDs?


Full Moon or Troma?

Full Moon. Sorry Toxie!

Cursed pumpkin patch or Haunted corn field?

Pumpkin patch!

Lucio Fulci or Dario Argento

Holy crap that is a tough one! Fulci for the gore!

Eaten Back to Life or Severed Survival?

Severed Survival.

Red Bull or Jolt Cola?

Jolt Cola.

Tortilla chips or Potato chips?

Potato chips.

DoC: What's next for VHS? When do you plan on releasing your first full- length and what should we expect?

So the basic idea for the full length is that it will be released early next year. I'm thinking in January but it is really too early to say. I have the skeletons of about 12 songs and we will probably need a handful more to really make it a full length. Movies so far that we are taking inspiration from lyrically are Halloween, Godzilla, Silent Night, Deadly Night, The Thing, Child's Play, The Beast Within, Evil Dead 2, and a ton more!

We also have shirts available with our logo on it. Looks awesome and you can check them out here. 

VHS on Facebook 
VHS on Bandcamp
VHS Merch
Email VHS

Splatter Zombie Records
Splatter Zombie Records on Facebook