Sunday 7 October 2012

20 Questions w/ Vagitarians


So guys, it is has been at least a week since I brought you another dose of 20 questions.  So, here I am to rectify that.  Poland are producing some amazing band at the moment of which we have covered many on this here blog, Vagitarians being one of them.
If you read my review, you probably didn't fail to notice how I loved that record.  Anyway, Bart and Piotr from the band kindly agreed to answer my questions.  So enjoy this 20 Questions with Vagitarians
(grb) - Bart Gamracy – Grabb – drummer
(Pit) – Piotr Pstrzoch – rhythm guitarist
Hey Guys, How are you? I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord.
Hi Aaron, we are pretty good, already during our holidays, and just after a few great gigs. Thanks for invitation to interview; it's a pleasure for us to be once again at SludgeLord Blog (Pit)
Q) Where are you guys at the moment and what are you doing, in terms of the band at the present? You preparing to tour?
A) As I said, we are just after a few really great gigs, which almost all of them happened during the Days of the Ceremony Festival. We had an opportunity to play at the same stage with Crowbar, EyeHateGod and, three times, with Flying Eyes at their shows in Poland. We are even more proud of that, because our guitarist - Piotr Rutkowski - was head of organizators team of the festival. Without his determination, organizational skills and experience probably whole fest didn't happen. Now we are preparing for a small tour around Poland and we want to break a border for a first time - gig in Germany at November. We want also to release our acoustic EP this autumn. (Pit)
Q) I recently reviewed your record Wood for the blog and even featured in my top 5 records for July, however for those people who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell me little bit about history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from, when Vagitarians first formed? Current band members?
A) Three of us: me, Piotr Rutkowski and Michał Sulej (our previous drummer) started free jams in late 2007, anyway first four straight rehearsals resulted with four new songs, which were so unbelievable good for us (we were such a naive guys, it sounded almost like Down ;). Anyway we started to have rehearsals regularly, Sagan and Marian joined us next few weeks. With this squad we made our first demo "Flesh and Bones". We had a lot of fun these days from playing Nola sound-like songs. After our first drummer left a band and Grabb joined us we could start to play more technical and groovy sound, which can be heard at EP Skkibidibi.
We all live in or near close to Warsaw, Poland
Current squad is:
Kuba Saganowski - Sagan - vocal
Piotr Rutkowski - lead guitar
Piotr Pstrzoch - Piter - rhythm guitar
Marian Odsłuch - bass
Bart Gamracy - Grabb – drums
Q) I have had the pleasure of seeing Eyehategod and Crowbar in the live setting, both were amazing. You recently played with them in Poland, right? How was that and was it a dream for you to play with those guys?
A) It was a hell of a party man... The gigs were fuckin' awesome, people gone mad and drinking then playing then drinking with Crowbar and EHG was like a dream from childhood times when you dreamt about being a goddamn rock star and playing with your favourite bands- except, we are not a rock stars (yet... hahahahah!). Really man... It was something very big and meaningful to all of us. We hope that there will be more shows like those ones in the near future. grb
Q) Is Vagitarians a full time project, or do have other bands?
A) It's almost a full time project. We spend a lot of days and nights for it but we also play in different bands: Minerva and Everyday Frustrations grb
Yes, few of us has also other bands, Grabb plays in Minerva -, Piotr Rutkowski always had lot of side projects, but to remain the most important ones : great HC/metal project and Nunczaki Orientu (Pit)
Q) Are you full time musicians?
A) You're kiddin' me right? :) grb
Sadly no, everybody has to work in different places to earn money for living. (Pit)
Q) Tell me a little about Ceremony Bookings in Poland?
A) It's a kind of a booking agency focused on showing people some good bands from all over the world. So the main goal is not to earn lots of money and don't give a flyin fuck about the band that you are booking... Besides, you can see some bands that you never saw before and you can even share a stage with them (playing with EHG or Crowbar was like a dream come true) so it's a double grist to the mill! Our guitarist and head of the band- Piotr Rutkowskii runs Ceremony Booking with his sister Agata and they are doing hell of a job man! grb
Q) Are you big fans of metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment?
A) Fuck yeah we are! I'm listening to new Gojira right now. grb
Orange Goblin, Gojira, Mastodon, Crowbar, Entombed, Machine Head, Cancer Bats. in a fact I listen more rock and different genres than metal - Graveyard, Tame Impala, Jane's Addiction, Grateful Dead, The Allman Bros, Gentleman Pistols, new Slash etc. (Pit)
Q) When you started Vagitarians, What were your hopes for the band?
A) When we started to play together we wanted to play heavier than in our other bands that time. Heavier but also with groove and lot of kickassing energy. Something completely different than it was in Poland that time. Polish metal scene was (and partly still is) dominated by sad boring moods and much worn-out riffs with depressed and infantile lyrics. We wanted to make something what could give big fun for us and for people who come at gigs. Now it has changed for more sludge, technical metal but still with lots of energy, even more than at beginning. Hopes for band? Five years ago "the sky" was to play with Down or Crowbar for example. Now it is to become recognisable in Europe, to play tours around the world and at festivals like Roadburn. (Pit)
Q) If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound? Has it evolved?
A) Sure thing it evolved! First we sounded like Down and now our music is more aggressive, definitely heavier than before and even malicious! We tried to record something heavy and massive with a taste of doom- that's why our first LP 'Wood' came out. We want people to remember that we are not closing Vagitarians in one genre... For e.g. we have couple of EPs and they vary for sure. There is acoustic version of Vagitarians that will be released this year at the very end of fall and we play unplugged shows over a year. So to make a long story short- our band is very, very, very musically varied and we don't limit ourselves to play just a single one genre of music. grb
Q) You have to tell me about that name, why Vagitarians? It’s obvious you guys have a sense of humour, right?
A) Yeah, well a sense of humour is a one thing... We love playing, drinking, having some fuckin' A time and of course- we love ladies! grb
Q) What is the scene like in your hometown?
A) Oh man, it's a sad story, honestly... But the sludge/stoner/doom etc scene is still rising and it's pretty young. There are some bands from big labels and the media and some people are saying that they play stoner or southern metal- but the truth is that you can't say Metallica is a black/death metal band... You catch my drift? Right now there are just a 2 big Metal Scenes: 1) signed and well-known, 2) underground. grb
Q) What made you start the band? Did you all know each other before you formed?
A) No, we didn't know each other before Vagitarians were formed. I think that the main reason why Vagitarians were formed was the hunger for playing live shows so you can play music and hang out with your friends while drinking tones of alcohol and doing some crazy stuff... grb
Q) What's it like being in an underground metal band in hometown or even in the Poland? Is a struggle and is their great camaraderie with the scene?
A) Being in underground in Poland is like being in underground in any other country. World is a global village, a small town. There are the same musicians with the same problems- just talking in different languages... There is no great camaraderie with the scene and it is a struggle every-fuckin'-time man. grb
Q) What are your influences musically and artistically?
A) We have lots of influences. Most of them are from other bands music and we could write a book about it... Artistically? I think that it will be mainly from the movies. grb
Q) What are your views of blogs such as the Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Is there a difference?
A) Well there is a one major difference- more and more people read blogs because you don't have to buy a piece of paper to see what's going on in the music world. We appreciate this that you can read reviews about our album or about us. It's important to be in the net so more people can hear your music and like it or hate it. And it's a nice surprise to us that the reviews are actually good! I mean that reviewers recommend our music. grb
Blogs are more focused on one genre of music, they dig deeper and deeper to find more underground band which kickass, they have very important role in promoting bands like Vagitarians. Lots of very good bands started like this and became recognizable around the world. Also good blog - lots of subscribers (Pit)
Q) What has the response been like to Wood?
A) Unluckily it was not a response that we count for from media. But a response from fans was great! They loved Wood just form listening to first song. grb
I think that response was very good, maybe not from media because we didn't promote it there very much. Fans like it. Pit
Q) Does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch?
A) No, because they don't hahahah! - And for real it's not a surprise when they buy it, it's a pleasure that people want to buy your stuff. grb
I feel really proud every time I check bandcamp sales reports or when I'm at postal office during sending Wood LP to USA, Australia, England, and Denmark or anywhere around the world. Maybe it is not a big money for our band but it gives a huge motivation for me to be a part of the band (Pit)
Q) Is your band self sufficient in terms of putting out your music, any interest from record labels, or do you prefer to go it alone without label restrictions?
A) Nowadays this is almost impossible to get signed to a big record label... We are doing everything by our own (like million other bands all over the world) and we'll always find a way to get money to put out new album or to make some new merch and shit but it would be very helpful to have some people responsible for producing merch, doing promotion, booking gigs etc... We had some offers from small polish labels but it wasn't much better than doing everything on your own. grb
In the era of internet it is easier to be self sufficient than, for example, 10 years ago. Also, to have a deal with label it almost always means to give away some part of independence. If deal could give profit only for label - it is out of sense to make it. It is why we are not really focused on deal with any label, like lots of bands try to make. More important for us is to get a close connection with some concert agency. (Pit)
Q) You got any interesting stories from your tours, favourites places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?
A) There are always some funny stories from almost every gig or road to, especially far away from Warsaw. Grabb can say something more about this ;) (Pit)
Oh god, why me? Ok! I think that our favourite place is club called Desdemona in Gdynia. We've been there twice and we drunk all supplies of Murphy's and almost all Irish whiskey and Irish whiskey cream they had. We've been drinking Car Bombs with the event manager, sound engineer, bands that played that night and with almost everyone that wanted to shot a Car Bomb with us. - Do you know what Car Bomb is? It's the best shot in the whole fuckin' world man! (Or maybe the second best because the goddamn Blaaaaaack Tooooooooooth Grin! is the number one) Take a 0,25L glass of Irish stout (Guinness is the best but if you have Murphy's that will do too), take a shot-glass half filled with Irish
Whiskey (Jameson originally) and half filled with Baileys. Drop the shot in to the 0,25L glass filled with Irish stout and drink till the goddamn bottom... Fuckin' A! - At the end of the evening band from Germany was so drunk that they weren't able to walk or sit :) And the funniest stories were at gig in Fonobar in Warsaw... I was so wasted that I fell down from a balcony which was like a 4 or 5 meters of height. Nobody knows why I was standing on a gutter at the other side of this goddamn balcony and I fell down with it. When I got back at my feet like in 5 seconds I saw that everyone from the balcony is staring at me so I took the 4 meter length gutter and I pointed it up and I shouted: 'Hey guys! Pour your beers in to it!’ So then I was drinking beers from a 4 or maybe 5 meter gutter and I think that this is a polish record in longest beer-bong thing. I had tons of leafs and sand in my mouth but the beer was just fine... Good thing is I didn't break any of my parts. That's the rock'n'roll spirit! grb
Q) Despite the distinct sludgy metal sound on your record, you also perform acoustic show too, how are those shows received and do you perform songs from Wood in an acoustic setting?
A) Actually lots of our friends and their girlfriends and their parents and grandparents likes acoustic shows more than electric... We received only good words from fans. We perform songs from Wood, from our EPs and some new material written especially for acoustic gigs. And I have to tell you- its hell of a fun! It's something new. All the tracks from Wood and EPs are totally rearranged so it's not the same thing... grb
Q) Did you have an agenda or a game plan in terms of what you wanted to write for Wood?
A) No, only Ruthless was fully prepared for recording. Rest of songs, especially Stones from a Blank Sky had been finished during records. Main term was to make very sludge/doom album. Groovy songs we left for different releases;) (Pit)
Q) How do you feel about the digital era of music and people downloading music for free? Would you or did consider releasing your music for free or ‘pay what you like ‘to raise the profile of the band?
A) As I said - it is very motivating and gives lot of satisfaction when someone buys an album and gives a proof that our music is worth some money. But downloading for free... fighting with that is out of sense. It is all about mentality - to give people chance to understand, that if they like some band and will support it by buying album - it is 6$ per CD at bandcamp - they will give us a capital for future recordings and releases. (Pit)
Q) What are your plans for the rest of the year and any chance you're coming over to the UK?
A) We would love to come to UK and to hit the road all over the Europe. Seriously man! But it's not so simple because it depends on our budget, luck and many other circumstances... Sad but true. But the rest of the year is reserved for tour inside our country and maybe 2-3 gigs in Germany. We want to release our acoustic material on EP and vinyl (we hope...) there are 2 documents about us and about our scene to come on DVD and we must to invest in merch. So yeah, we have a lot to do till the end of the year. grb
Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?
A) SKIBIDIBI!!! Have fun, stay true, keep supporting music and keep it real! And thank you very much for reading this shit and listening to our music! grb
Thanks to the guys for a great interview.  Show your support to the bands by liking their FB and checking out the links below.