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Ulf Theodor Schwadorf (The Vision Bleak)

Interview with Ulf Theodor Schwadorf from The Vision Bleak
by Maria Voutiriadou at 29 April 2010, 5:04 PM

A brand new album, some scheduled appearances in a couple of summer festivals and thoughts for upcoming DVD in the near future… What else should a die-hard fan of THE VISION BLEAK ask for? Read the following interview that Ulf Theodor Schwadorf gave at METAL TEMPLE few days after the release of “Set Sail To Mystery” and be prepared for THE VISION BLEAK’s invasion on this summer 2010. Enjoy!

Hello Ulf, congratulations on the new album. In my opinion, it's the best you've ever been released! I am watching THE VISION BLEAK since its birth and I declare a huge fan of your works, even from EMPYRIUM era.
Thanks very much for the nice words Maria! And yes, I agree with you “Set Sail…” is our best one so far!

So, what's the inspiration behind “Set Sail To Mystery”? It's about an idea that came instantly or you already wanted to make a record mainly based on the horror literature?
You know, THE VISION BLEAK has always been and will always remain a conceptual band. We are exploring the dark corners of art and literature and the abysses within our souls exclusively and will continue doing that until the very end.

Expanding the previous question, do you think that the young metallers read fiction literature? I mean a good horror book and a great metal album was an excellent recipe back in the old days where the internet was not that popular.
I truly hope so. Young metallers are not all the same, you know! Of course there are the internet geeks and everything but I still think there are enough who take there time and really get into the atmosphere of a band.

What's the connection between Music, Horror and Mystery, according to your opinion? And who are the writers that have influenced the most?
Music is the only form of art that really stimulates your fantasy I think. It can evoke pictures in front of your minds eye and we use this to evoke pictures of Horror and Mystery.

Are there any differences in the part of production in relation with previous albums? When I was listening to “Set Sail To Mystery” for first time, I found the sound quite solid and massive. Do you agree?
This time around we really wanted a less polished more sort of rough and natural sound that still sounds powerful like the previous albums. I think the sound is more atmospheric than last time with a rougher, more honest vibe…

I have the feeling that this record has as a guide your music emotion/ instinct and not music techniques and catchy know-how, a fact that I met for first time in THE VISION BLEAK's albums. Am I right?
I think we always strive for a perfect blend of emotion and instinct while composing and technical perfection when we are recording. We want both and think we succeeded especially on “Set Sail To Mystery”.

Is it true that this is your most 'Metal' album? Is this something that began with the previous “The Wolves Go Hunt Their Prey”?
All our albums have been Metal I think. I think “Set Sail…” is our most atmospheric one to this date and the most diverse one as well. The most Metal one is “Wolves…” I think with its furious thrashy riffs. The new one is like a blend of basically everything we did so far…

If you were to put a music tag outside the album what would it be; Gothic or Metal? What is your description for your music?
It belongs both to us so I really can't decide. We have more energy than all Goth Metal bands I know of though, so in that respect we are more Metal.

The opening track of the new album is quite theatrical; how important is for you theatricality in your music? Is it something that passes also through your live performances?
I think every song we do as a certain amount of theatrical and dramatic elements. And yes, we try to uphold these elements live as well.

“Mother Nothingness (The Triumph Of Ubbo Sathla)” has a specific doom, low tempo and if I was not familiar to you, I would say that you were a doom band. Are there any doom influences in THE VISION BLEAK sound?
We have never been an up tempo band and have always had our share of ‘Doom’ influences. Just think of “Metropolis” from the debut or “Curse Of  Arabia     from “Carpathia” but “Mother Nothingness” surely is a pure Doom song. I personally love it but I can already hear voices saying it's boring. So what, for me it's the perfect blend of music and lyrics, because the lyrical theme demanded a slow, heavy song.

Are there any plans for a video clip from the new album? If yes, for what song? And If no, why?
No, no video clips. We rather let the listener play their own movie in front of his minds eye stimulated by our music and lyrics.

Do you think that THE VISION BLEAK are quite competitive in the music industry, despite of the fact that there are so many atmospheric/ gothic/ metal bands out there?
I think we are very unique! Do you know any other band that sounds like us? So, yes we are competitive. But, success doesn't mean everything to us. Satisfaction with what we are doing and feeling good with it is the most important thing to us….

Are there any plans for participating in some of the big summer festivals? Shall we have the chance to see you live among others bands?
We play a couple of festivals this summer so check out our homepage for gig details.

THE VISION BLEAK are you and Allen B. Konstanz; so, you will use session musicians; how difficult is to choose them and what are your standards for the musicians to be on the road with?
We are a good team with our live musicians and are happy to share stage with them. All of them are great musicians and equally great persons. These are the important factors.

THE VISION BLEAK is the continuity of EMPYRIUM according to your opinion or something totally different?
 THE VISION BLEAK  shares some elements with EMPYRIUM but is a complete different band in the end. So it is surely not the continuity of EMPYRIUM.

Do you have the feeling that “The Deathship Has A New Captain” album was your best shot so far? Many fans seems to believe it and also, say that you will never make a successful record as that.
Really? I thought most fans loved “Carpathia” the most. However, the debut was very fresh and full of enthusiasm and that's what I love it for. But I love all our albums so I am probably the wrong person to ask…

Are there any plans to make a DVD?
In the back of our heads, yes. But nothing concrete yet.

Well, Ulf, these were my questions. Feel free to add anything you think was not covered in this interview. May H.P.Lovecraft darken your music and inspire your minds. I wish you all the best.
Thanks Maria for the interview! Check out “Set Sail To Mystery”!


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Edited 08 February 2023

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