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Robert Vigna (Immolation)

Interview with Robert Vigna from Immolation
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 04 May 2010, 6:05 PM

IMMOLATION have already unleashed their new brutal assault entitled "Majesty And Decay". Robert Vigna was kind enough to give us an inside look to this Death Metal machine while the new album is storming the amp's speakers!

Mighty hail from METAL TEMPLE!
Thanks!Hail to you as well!!Thanks for having us!

How are you feeling now that the new album has been released? Do you feel relaxed or anxious to see the fans' and the media's reaction?
We definitely feel much more relaxed that it is finished! HahaThere is always some pressure and stress going into recording a new album.But when it’s finished it’s a great feeling!It is also great to see the reactions from the people when the album is released.We work hard to make the music the best we can.. so it’s cool to see such positive feedback from the press and fans!!


Do you read the reviews? How do you feel when you are getting a negative one?
Yes, we read them.Luckily we’ve gotten mostly super positive feedback.But of course there are always those that have to be negative and I’ve noticed that everyone is a fuckin critic!! Haha From the press to the posts.. it’s hysterical.Everyone has something to say about one thing or another…so we get a lot of good laughs out of some of the stuff we see.It’s people who are inconsistent in their reviews or who totally, you can tell, don’t have any idea of what this music is about.. or are hung up on the demo days of every band back in 1986..or who have not listened to any new albums in the past 2 decades,…those are all useless words/reviews, as they have no merit at all.

When you are writing music do you think of the fans' opinion? Or you just do what sounds best to you?
We go by what sounds good to us.If you are not happy with what you are creating then what is the point? To us, as long as we feel that what we are doing represents the band in the music and the meanings we are trying to get across, then we are confident that our fans will like it too!

Expanding the previous question do you feel that the music you write must follow certain IMMOLATION standards?
Well yes, you can say that.We are our own worst critics.We scrutinize everything we do as we want the material to be as strong as possible.After so many years we really know the direction we want to go with the material.

Lets go to the new album; first of all is there a concept behind the lyrics? What is the meaning behind the cover artwork?
The songs on “Majesty And Decay” look at some of the darker moments in our world’s recent history.We look at mankind’s obsession with power and opulence and how the abuse of that power leads to the downfall and destruction of our society.The songs deal with different aspects of war… its cause , effect and personal side.We look at religion and how the church would turn it’s head on the atrocities in these times, in order to save its own existence.We look at how the fanatical beliefs of religion can cause such terror and twisted ideals. “Majesty And Decay” is about that regime building, dominating power that wants to consume everything, conquer all and wreak havoc on all who get in it’s way.This conquering and insanity builds and builds until it’s out of control and causes all around it to decay and deteriorate.The album art looks at that image on the throne, as that monument representing the powerful in our world.It shows the majestic façade in the light and in the dark we see the true decay and pain it’s creating,.. deteriorating from the inside out.The condemned souls trapped inside, trying to break free. Par Oloffson did an amazing job!!We sent him our concepts, a bad sketch and some music samples and he really brought it all to life!!!

Musically where do you place "Majesty And Decay" when compared to the previous IMMOLATION albums?
I put it up as some of the best music we have ever done.Of course there are always key songs etc from all our releases in the past that I favor… and I feel that the songs on this album are all very much with some of those great ones up at the top.


I read a statement of yours that this album has the strongest material you have ever wrote"; can you be more specific on this? The term 'strongest refers to the music or to the lyrics and atmosphere?
It refers to all!The songs are very strong and are right up there at the top of our catalog with some of the best work we feel we have created!Both in lyrics, atmosphere and music!


You had a long cooperation with Listenable Records; what happened and you did not re-new your contract? How did you choose Nuclear Blast Records?
Listenable is a great label.But we were only with Listenable in Europe and the deal was split between Listenable and Century Media… as Century Media was releasing our CDs in the states.Once the deal with those labels was up, we felt we wanted to just see what other options were out there.Nuclear Blast showed a lot of interest.So we talked with their main guy in the US, Gerardo and little by little started contemplating the situation.It was tough for us as Listenable’s owner, Laurent Merle, is a good friend of ours.We just knew that with this new deal we needed to have a worldwide deal with a label that had a big presence worldwide.So after much deliberation over many months, we decided that Nuclear Blast was the best thing for the band at this stage of our career. So far they have been doing an amazing job.Like Listenable, the staff is super cool and very helpful.The people at Nuclear Blast have been very attentive and really pushing the new record.

How important is the record label to a band's success? Do the big labels add more anxiety to the bands to meet all the deadlines?
It is very important.The label really needs to be involved if things are going to happen.Nuclear Blast is a big label, but for the first time for us in being on a big label, they are really into the band and really are trying to do all they can to push it.That’s a first for us. Listenable was very supportive… but obviously a smaller label.Roadrunner and Metalblade were big labels, but they didn’t look at us as any main priority.So now with Nuclear Blast we have a big label, with what feels like a smaller label approach towards us.We speak to Gerardo, the US label manager, regularly and he gets involved with a lot for us and really knows the ins and outs of the scene over here.The Euro office is also very helpful and supportive, really doing lots of promotion.
The only pressure we feel is when we are working on a record… but that’s our own pressure!! Hahait’s been the same for every album since we started!


During the tour with NILE Ross Dolan had to drive their bus to the concert; so, does this open for him new work horizons?? (hahaha)
Yes I think so! Yeah that was a good one! NILE’s bus driver had a problem with his license when the police pulled him over. Due to a technicality they ‘grounded’ him for 10 hours. So luckily the NILE bus had pulled into the same truck stop that we were at. So being that Ross has a commercial license he drove NILE’s bus 4 hours to the next gig! I took the drive with Ross on their bus. It all happened early in the morning, so it was pretty funny to watch each one of the band and crew wake up to not only find me on their bus, but to then find Ross driving!!! It was one of those moments we will not soon forget!


Seriously now, how do you feel the current economical crisis will affect the Metal scene? Can a band survive by selling CDs? Or touring is only way out?
Touring has been the only way for us for the past 20 years… so as long as we can get out there I think people will keep coming to shows.On our last US tour there were really great turn outs… so the economy hasn’t seemed to effect Metal much in that respect! Haha

You have been around for more than 20 years; have you ever thought of doing something special (concert or album) to celebrate this period of time?
We hardly think about it…we are just glad to be here and keep pushing forward.Maybe Nuclear Blast will want to do some kind of special release or something…but we just are looking more at getting out on the road and making some Metal!!

In your myspace page only one live date is mentioned; so what are your plans? Will it be the North US and then Europe or the other way around?
We are putting together a US tour for the fall now and we plan to be out in Europe towards the end of the year as well.We may do some Euro fests in August…still waiting to see about that…So, once things are confirmed you’ll definitely see dates on the myspace!

Having toured the US and Europe can you spot the difference between the two audiences?
Well the US audiences have been doing pretty good! HahaBut Europe is usually a bit more intense and die hard overall!We love touring the states… but Europe is always even more special!Usually more energy and intense crowds!


This is a question I always wanted to ask to a Death Metal band; how difficult is to perform this music in a concert with tracks fast and brutal? What about singing; is there a special technique? I have seen you in Chicago with ROTTING CHRIST and I have to say you took the crowd by storm there!
Well thank you, we appreciate the cool words!I think after over 20 years we have gotten much more intense and focused live.Once we get warmed up we are like a machine that does not stop!Performing the songs is not that rough, but it does take a couple of shows to really lock it in as on stage we are going nuts and moving around.So, you need to get a little real time rehearsal on a few shows to really get tight.
I think we are just really into the music and what we are doing… and that’s something that you can’t fake.We’ve played countless shows, and I think now, at this time in 2010…we are just starting to get at our prime!We love it and we always look forward to playing.And when the crowd is giving us some extra intense response… forget it… that’s when we explode! Haha



Taking into consideration the above what is the average time duration of an IMMOLATION gig?
It depends on how much time they give us! Haha,the last tour we did we played ½ hour a night… so that was a breeze!Usually, depending on if we are headlining or not…a show can go anywhere from ½ hour to an hour or so.It’s tough, because if you are on a fest, or a tour with 5 or 6 bands… there is really only so much time you can play.So we do the best with what we get and make it happen!!

So, I am done with my questions; feel free to add anything you like here! Hope to catch live this year!
Thanks so much Dimitris for the interview!We appreciate the support!!Looking forward to being on the road and playing for everyone soon! Visit us at www.myspace.com/immolation.



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Edited 28 January 2023
 

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