Saturday, June 29, 2019

catching up wth VHS

Horror-themed death metal trio VHS have kept hella busy since I interviewed them back in 2015; the band now has two albums and a number of split EPs under their belts, and are about to release their third album We're Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs. Singer/guitarist Mike Hochins was kind enough to fill me in on everything he's been up to since the last time we spoke.

Dreams of Consciousness: The last time I interviewed you was before the release of your first album, Screaming Mad Gore. What's been going on with VHS since then?

Hey! It has been awhile and a lot has happened since then! Screaming Mad Gore was more of a demo in hindsight and our second album The New Batch was made off and on for like a year and during a time when the band was more or less on hiatus. This led to the mixing of the album taking a lot longer than we originally hoped and pushed the release date back considerably as well. When The New Batch came out I was already doing the band with drum programming just to keep things moving forward while we figured out what would happen in the future. I did a bunch of splits basically as a one man band but then we had the opportunity to open up for The Black Dahlia Murder and that pretty much kicked my ass into wanting to get the full lineup back together. That led to us bringing in Curtis on bass and Andy came back aboard as drummer and we were ready to rock n' roll!

After that we played one more show around Halloween and then started working on some material that would eventually be the new album. I think we started recording the new album in February. We put together a few quick rough versions of the songs for guest vocalists and then jumped back into the album to get it done. The album came together awesome and we had a lot of fun in the studio. We are working with Rotten Roll Rex again for the CD version of the new album since Marco [Kunz] loves VHS and did an awesome job with the last album. Horror Pain Gore Death is handling the digital side of things again. Mike [Juliano] has been a huge supporter of VHS since the beginning, so we are always happy to work with HPGD whenever we can.

DoC: You have a new album coming out at the end of July called We're Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs. What can we expect from it? How would you describe the music this time around? Are the riffs, in fact, bigger?

I think the riffs are indeed bigger! You can expect 14 new tracks from the album and I would definitely say it sounds like VHS but better! This is the first time it really felt like we made a record together as a band. We really took our time with this one, tried to capture the best performances while still maintaining that rough and tumble edge that people seem to enjoy about us. We took the mixing process much more seriously this time around as well and enlisted Alejandro Corredor to do the mastering. He's worked with a ton of killer bands and he really helped make the album sound as monstrous as it needed to be!

DoC: Which films inspired the songs on this new album?

The songs on the album are based on Zombie, Piranha, Squirm, Monster Shark, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Deep Rising, Orca, Creepshow 2, Humanoids from the Deep, Lake Placid, and Savage Streets. "Rooting for the Villain" and "Let's Get Gruesome" are basically just tributes to 80's horror and horror in general and don't fit into the overall theme of the album but are two of my favorite songs on the album!

DoC: Since your third album is based around nautical monsters, please rate the following in terms of deadliness:

Great White Sharks

10/10. Would definitely never want to be anywhere near a great white shark. Granted I think most great white attacks are a case of mistaken identity but I do not want to be mistaken for a seal and be chomped in half. No thank you!

Killer Whales
I'm not entirely familiar with killer whales attacking humans but I definitely have seen footage of them attacking other sea life. They are smart and brutal and are almost always successful in their hunt. I'd say a 9 out of 10.


You definitely don't hear as much about piranha attacks as you do shark attacks. Movies in the 80's definitely made these seem like they would be more of an issue when travelling in your adult life. Let's say a 6 out of 10 for deadliness. I think the specifics of the attack would have to be just right for the attack to be deadly, for a human at least.

Amphibian Man (from The Shape of Water)

Hmm...he definitely did have a temper and truth be told I really enjoyed this more adult re-imagining of Creature from the Black Lagoon. As far as rating him in terms of deadliness, maybe a 7? No human stands a chance but I think some of the other ocean dwelling creatures would put him in his place.

Plastic Straws
10/10 dangerous! I have to admit that I hate paper straws and they get soggy really quick but I understand the need for them.

DoC: Horror producer/director Tony Newton created a music video for "Rooting For The Villain". How did you meet him, and what's the concept behind the video?

We met Tony through Facebook, I believe. He was looking for people to interview for a VHS Lives documentary and while our interview never did materialize, he did end up using our music in his Grindsploitation series. We've kept in touch and when this album was coming together I asked him if he had any unused material that we could put together for a music video. He didn't have any material but he said he would shoot something for us. Around a week later he sent us back the raw footage and it was very dark, disturbing and perfect for us. I'm a big fan of how the video came together, it's almost like found footage or a snuff movie. I know it's not a traditional music video but hopefully people will enjoy it.

I wouldn't really say there is a concept behind the video. I just sent him the song and told him to make sure he wore a mask for some of it. The rest came right out of Tony's demented brain!

DoC: A few years back, I saw Chopping Mall for the first time thanks to your recommendation. What are other movies that you recommend people check out? Are there any movies that came out recently that impressed you?

Oh Jesus, there are probably too many to list! Let's start with newer movies. Hereditary is the one I will recommend the most. I know it has somewhat divided people but I think it's the best horror movie in decades. Terrifier is also a lot of fun. A throwback gory slasher with a killer clown for the villain. Surprisingly, Netflix has been making some high quality horror movies as well. The Perfection and The Ritual were both very well made and worth checking out. I just saw the remake of Child's Play last night and was surprised by how much I liked that as well, lots of gore and an interesting update on the story.

If we want to talk older there is a list that would be too long for any interview! Some of the ones I've watched recently though are: Class of 1999, Slumber Party Massacre 2, Ghoulies 3: Ghoulies Go To College, CHUD 2, Leprechaun and probably a bunch more that I can't think of. As far as movies I'd recommend I usually always say the same ones...The Beyond, House by the Cemetery, Opera, The Burning, The Prowler, Madman, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Blood Rage, The Mutilator, Sleepaway Camp, An American Werewolf in London, City of the Walking Dead, Intruder, Street Trash, The Video Dead, Burial Ground etc. In all honesty, if it's from the 80's you can't go wrong!

If we are talking the new album, you need to check out: Zombie [aka Zombie Flesh Eaters, Zombi 2, and "that movie where a zombie fights a shark" - Dreams of Fulciness], Piranha, Lake Placid, Creepshow 2, Humanoids from the Deep, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Savage Streets, Squirm, Orca, Deep Rising, and Monster Shark. [My Halloween plans are set- Dreams of PopCorness.]

DoC: VHS has been on quite a few split EPs in the last couple of years. What do you like about the format? What kind of bands do you look to collaborate with?

I've been a big fan of splits for a long time now! I think my love for split releases started with the Hemdale/Exhumed split. I got it while still in high school and it really set the benchmark for how high quality splits can be. It can serve as a great introduction for the bands involved as well. I think a lot of the time people buying splits are familiar with one of the bands but not the other. So the split will introduce the listener to a new band. It took awhile for us to get any splits going. I think we already had the two full lengths out before we did the first split, which I believe was with Lord Rot. Since then we have done splits with Ruin and Oxygen Destroyer and have a split with Abhorrent Funeral coming out later this year.

As far as what kind of bands we'd look to collaborate with, so far it's mainly been bands we enjoy and have become friends with. We definitely get a lot of requests from bands to do splits and while I would love to do all of them, it's probably just not possible. We do however have a few more in the works but nothing concrete right now as we are focused on the album.

DoC: What's next for VHS?

The album is set to be released July 26th. We are definitely planning a release show as well as looking at playing some out of town shows as well. No tours as of yet but next year I'd like to take VHS on the road during the summer. The album is available for pre-order and we have a bundle that comes with a patch/sticker and a copy of the CD.

Thanks again for the interview and coming up with some cool questions! Cheers!

VHS on Facebook

VHS on Bandcamp

VHS on Instagram

We're Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs via Horror Pain Gore Death

We're Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs via Rotten Roll Rex

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Post:

an interview
with VHS (2015)