Exclusive Interview: Vaneno talk “Struggle Through Absurdity”, Lisbon Metal scene and Mad Max!
Born from the desire of three friends, Miguel Nunes (Drums), Eduardo Cunha (Guitar) and António Tavares (Guitar) to start a band back in 2017 and play a blend of Metallic Hardcore and Sludge Metal, Vaneno expanded into a five-piece with the arrival of Pedro Fernandes on bass and Alexandre Fernandes in 2019 and the result is the seriously impressive “Struggle Through Absurdity“. Afforded the opportunity to chat with them, here’s what they had to say!
How have you found the reaction to “Struggle Through Absurdity“ so far? Having been together since 2017, has it felt like a long time coming?
“Hey there! First things first, so thank you for the review you’ve written about us! So far, the reaction to “Struggle Through Absurdity” has been pretty good actually! We’ve been receiving good feedback and some killer reviews like the one you’ve written! There’s always that challenge for new bands to get their music heard since the fanbase is not established. On top of that, with all the circumstances in which we currently live in with this Covid-19 pandemic, new bands like us lose the opportunity to show their music live which is something important specially when you’re starting. All things considered we feel that this is a promising start for us based upon the feedback we’ve been receiving! Part of the band has been together for more than 3 years now, so at times it felt like we were chasing our own tails since we wanted to get things done but our lineup wasn’t completed. At the same time, it shaped us to have the perseverance to continue and it ended up shaping our sound, so yes it felt like a long time coming but we wouldn’t change a thing about it“
One of the things we love about “Struggle Through Absurdity“ is the raw power of the music; it has that edge of the live show about it. Who were the bands that inspired you to create your sound?
“It’s cool that you mention that, since one of our goals was to capture the band’s energy and rawness. We want people to listen to “Struggle Through Absurdity” and be able to feel that the band is right there playing for them, so thank you for noticing it! We’re five guys in this band and each one of us comes from different musical backgrounds. Some guys are more connected to the Hardcore scene, while others are more linked to Sludge and Doom and then some of us also like Death and other sub-genres. That said, it’s tough for us to point out any band. When we create our music, we’re just focused on creating something that we all like and that works for VANENO. In the end our music will reach each person in a different way, so anyone who listens to us will have their own opinion on where exactly we fit in the heavy scene or which bands/ influences do we remind them of.“
What was it like working with Pedro Mau (Kneel, Wells Valley) on the recording of “Struggle Through Absurdity“? How did you come about choosing him for the purpose?
“Well the process of choosing Pedro Mau to work with us was something that happened in a natural way, since Eduardo and António have known him for more than 20 years now. They come from the same hometown. Pedro is a super busy guy so when the opportunity came up to work with him, the idea was brought up to the table and everyone agreed so we just went for it! Working with him was a process that ran smoothly. Between all of us and Pedro we had limited time due to everyone’s life, so we made the most out of the time we had. Pedro is a very focused person and knew how to capture us and use the sonic strengths of the band to make us sound like we wanted. From the band’s perspective we just focused ourselves in giving him the best performance!“
In our review, we said that lyrically “Nightrider” sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to a Mad Max film; so what are your favorite films and why?
Alex: “I would go from the apocalyptic genre like Mad Max, to something more complex like No Country for Old Men, all the way up to Apocalypse Now! Oh, and B class horror movies too! The real cheesy “not taking ourselves too seriously” type. I like those moments where I’m like watching a movie on the sofa and suddenly I think “holy s*!# this would be perfect for the lyrics of that song”, just like it happened when writing Nightrider. It’s cool to have those moments where something just clicks and you just got for it, you know? Whether it comes from watching movies or from our daily existence it really doesn’t really matter, as long as we’re there to embrace it.“
What is the Metal scene like in Lisbon? Can you recommend any bands from the local scene that we should check out?
“The metal scene here is quite good. We have very good bands from different genres, which helps to build a healthy diversity that in our opinion just solidifies the scene itself, even for new bands like us. Unfortunately, due to the Covid pandemic all the venues are closed…But we hope that when this is over, we can have some cool gigs! You guys should definitely check: Soul of Anubis, Colosso, Mordaça, Centopeia, Wells Valley.”
Alex: “I would personally check out Bas Rotten new album. Been binge-listening to those guys lately, they f*# kill!“
After listening to “Ad Nauseum”, we could very much see Vaneno sharing stages with Crowbar, Raging Speedhorn or Left Behind; if you had the opportunity to play shows outside of Europe, who would you like to hit the road with?
“We would be honored to share the stage with any of those bands! Being 100% honest though, if we had the opportunity to play shows outside Europe, we would be thrilled for that alone and we would enjoy every second of it. It would be a blast! We feel that our music can fit in different bills and the songs we’ve chosen to be featured in “Struggle Through Absurdity” already kind of lift the veil in terms of that diversity so let’s see what the future holds for us.“
“Struggle Through Absurdity“ doesn’t have any guest appearances on it so if the opportunity to bring someone on stage for one of your songs came up, who would you choose, which song and why?
“Most likely any band that shares the stage with us will be our first pick for that, if they’re up for it.“
Alex: “I have this eerie feeling that someday I will be on stage with Matt Pike [of High On Fire], yelling DECEIVEEER from the top of my lungs! I’d love to see us both reaching that high pitch and tearing the place down!“
“Struggle Through Absurdity” by Vaneno is out now and available over at bandcamp