Saturday 16 June 2012

20 Questions with Vulture

Vulture 2012

So Sludgeheads, it is your lucky day, because we have another exclusive interview for you.  This time with another awesome band, this time from Pittsburgh, USA.  It is the mighty, Vulture!

I for one use different methods of discovering new bands and when it comes to this band, I stumbled upon them, on everybody's favourite social network.  The excellent Doom Stoner & Sludge fb page to be precise.  They often recommend bands and this is how the band came to my attention.  I mailed them and the rest, as they say is history. 

Oblivious to Ruin, Vulture's debut full length is a phenomenal record and if you haven't heard it already, you really need to rectify that immediately.  It is widely acclaimed and you can read my review here.

Anyway, I was keen to get them to talk to us about all things, Vulture.  So here is what their drummer, Kelly Gabany had to say, when I fired 20 questions at her.
Hey Kelly, thanks for talking to me and more importantly The Sludgelord readers. 
You're another great discovery this year and your new record is amazing.   For those people who are unfamiliar with your band, tell me a little bit about the history of the band? Where you're from, band members, when you formed?
Thanks for the kind words! Our line-up since late May 2009 is myself (drums), Garrett Twardesky (guitar), Gene Fikhman (guitar), Justin Erb (vocals) and Justin Bach (bass). Garrett and I formed Vulture back in 2007.  Buddy Smith (original singer) knew us from the Pittsburgh scene and was interested in joining a new project.  We knew Bach mutually through house shows that his former band, No Room To Breathe, used to put on.  Buddy brought in Gene to complete the line-up.
We recorded a 3 song demo with our friend; Complete Failure’s James Curl, at our rehearsal space and started playing shows. We met the late Cory Smoot (GWAR) when we opened for his side project, Mensrea, in Pittsburgh and he suggested we record at his studio down in Richmond, VA. After we got some funds together, we recorded our self-titled EP with Cory and Mensrea drummer, Dave Gibson, in the late summer of 2008.
We continued playing shows and started to write new material.  The songs were getting slower, darker and sludgier.  We could tell Buddy really wasn’t into the new direction. We all knew the end was drawing near with him.
The ironic thing here is, if it wasn’t for Buddy, we would probably have never have known Erb.  We met Erb when we started playing some gigs with his band, Reduce To Ash.  Buddy was friends with their guitarist, Quinn Lukas, and put some shows together.  Garrett and Erb became friends and long story short, eventually Erb became Buddy’s replacement.
The first song we recorded with Erb was “Prick of Misery” back in February 2011 for Innervenus’ “Iron Atrocity Vol. I” compilation.
Is the band a full time project?
In terms of it being the only band I am in? Then yes.  Unfortunately I don’t have time for other projects other than Vulture.  This is the only project for Bach as well.  Erb is currently recording with Reduce To Ash and playing acoustic shows with Quinn (Reduce To Ash, Icarus Witch) under the name Sacred Smoke.  Garrett and Gene have a death metal project, Grisly Amputation, whose debut album should be coming out soon.  In terms of it being a full time job? Then No, We all have full time jobs or are in school.
Where did the name Vulture come from?
Well, when Garrett and I were starting this project, we wanted something simple and straight to the point.  I was listening to A Life Once Lost’s “Vulture” and thought ‘That’s it’!  It’s dirty, grimy and you can’t really mess it up, like our old band, Shipwreck I Promised. Haha.
How would you describe your sound?
Heavy, groovy, gritty, nasty, dare I say, sometimes catchy?
Is there a rock/metal scene in your hometown?
I think our metal scene here in Pittsburgh is pretty healthy.  There’s a lot of a lot of camaraderie with helping each other out and supporting for the most part.  Innervenus has had a hand in a lot of that with the “Iron Atrocity” compilation series.  We’ve met some great bands/people through our involvement with that.
What's it like being a rock/ metal band there? Is it a struggle?
It can be.  You can’t play Pittsburgh too much.  However, this summer is a bit of an exception for us.  Our tour plans fell through so we are helping out some touring bands with shows here.   Its slim pickings’ for sludge/doom bands in this town, we try to help out as much as possible.
What are your influences musically and artistically?
Musically I am all over the place.  I’ve always been into a wide variety of music.  In a nutshell, it ranges from Duran Duran to Electric Wizard. Artistically, I am really into what our artist, Chris Smith, is doing.  He’s been responsible for our imagery from the start and never ceases to blow me away with his work. Check out his gallery at
Were  you in a band before Vulture, who were they and what were they like and how has your style changed since then?
I’ve been in numerous bands back in the day, but Garrett and I were in a band more recently prior to Vulture called Shipwreck I Promised. It angled more towards the hardcore end of things. My style as a drummer hasn’t changed much, still a straight forward, heavy hitting groover. James Curl, currently of Complete Failure, was our bass player in Shipwreck and is responsible for the recording of Vulture’s debut full length.
Your record is your 1st full length, do you feel it is your best work and why? You proud of it?
It most definitely is our best work and we are very proud. It is very real, raw, warts and all. It’s us jamming in a room. The only overdubs were in the vocals and a couple of guitar solos.
We have so much more confidence in the music and what Erb brings to the table vocally and lyrically. He brings the hurt.

Why should people buy your record?
Because we need money to record the next one!
Your record appears be getting a lot of good feedback? What are your thoughts? Are you pleased with it? Do People get what you’re trying to do?
I’m personally blown away with all of the positive feedback.  Honestly, I was nervous before it came out simply because I didn’t know how it was going to be received. Even though I am proud of it, I am still my own worst critic.
Do you and your band members contribute songs and arrangement ideas?
Garrett and Gene primarily write all of the riffs/arrangements. However, Bach wrote “Long I Crawl” that is on the album. If one of us, including myself, has an idea on an arrangement we’ll play it out and see if it works.
How did you hook up with the Innervenus label?
We met Scott Massie (HMFIC) when we played with his band, Storm King, which he fronts. This is back when Buddy was still our singer at the time. We developed a good relationship and since we played shows with Erb as our singer. He asked to be on the label’s “Iron Atrocity Vol. I” compilation.   Soon after the compilation came out, he approached us about releasing our full length on Innervenus.
What are your ambitions for the band?
To be able to write, record and get out on the road! To release something on vinyl would be top notch!
You got any interesting stories from your tours? Where you toured? Who with?
Unfortunately we haven’t been out on the road extensively yet. We’ve played one off shows out of state, but never fully toured. No matter where we play though, we ALWAYS have a blast. We love playing Ohio. We’ve made a ton of friends from that state. Mockingbird, Rue, Traitors Return To Earth, Lo-Pan, Before The Eyewall, DeathCrawl, Bridesmaid, Red Sun, The Ravenna Arsenal etc…
What are your immediate plans and plans for the future, any plans for new material?
We have commenced writing songs for an upcoming split with DeathCrawl to be released late in the year on Innervenus.  Not sure if it’s going to be a 7” split with one song or CD split with multiple songs.  We are just going to write and the rest will take care of itself.  I wouldn’t mind going the Hooded Menace route, writing/recording a bunch of songs just to use for splits.  I personally am a big fan of the split.  Found out about some awesome bands that way.
What you reckon to people downloading music for free? Would you consider releasing your album for free to get more people listening to your music?
This is a tough one.  At one end, you have a band, such as ourselves, on a smaller level, that just wants to be heard.  At the other end, you have a band, such as ourselves, that rely on album sales to continue to do what we do so it is kind of frustrating to see “Oblivious” on so many illegal download sites.  However, it is flattering that people think enough of it to post it and download worthy. It’s a double edged sword…  We still have recording budgets to meet.  I don’t foresee us releasing an album for free.  If we could record for free, perhaps.
I personally love the whole physical package.  The art, the liner notes, the actual CD. Our album art for “Oblivious To Ruin” is hand screened on a digipak and assembled by the hard working folks at The Innervenus Music Collective.  You can’t download that!
Any plans for shows in the UK?
Don’t think it’s in the band/label budget hahaha. It is on my personal bucket list to visit though!
Last question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?
Thank you for listening, reading and supporting!

Well, there you have it!  Very cool indeed.  A big big thank you to Kelly for being so courteous with her time and answering my dumb ass questions.  ha ha.    Also for initially providing their record so we could review it.   You are very gracious and it is very much appreciated.  I hope you, the readers had fun reading the interview.  Do yourselves a favour and spread the work about this awesome band.  You could also do one better and buy their album.  Check the links below for all the info.

Vulture Bandcamp
Vulture Facebook
Big Cartel
Innvervenus Official
Innvervenus Facebook