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Vivian Slaughter (Gallhammer)

Interview with Vivian Slaughter from Gallhammer
by Yiannis Doukas at 09 December 2007, 6:18 PM

I believe that GALLHAMMER's difference and particularity is obvious from the first moments as you're entering their world. I'm not telling that we have a maidenly birth; no, their references are clear. But this band makes you feel inconvenient and strange because - apart from their violent and torturing music - if you listen carefully you'll notice some pure and childish chastity. This antithesis I think is a reflection of their Far East origin. Anyway, their new album is a killer and although I would wish this interview to be more informative, I guess the curse of Babel bestowed here unfortunately. It doesn't matter, I'm very happy for this anyway. Hail GALLHAMMER.

Hello Vivian. How are you? I want to express my deep respect for your music that keeps company to my desperate times. III Innocence can be seen as a debut for GALLHAMMER in the world outside Japan. How do you feel about this album? Are you satisfied? Are all songs new?

Hello, thanks for your kind words. Yes, I like this album. This is all of my feelings when I made this. We recorded this album in October of 2005. Some songs are new and some songs were written in 2003 - 2004.

This is the second release with Peaceville Records. Are you satisfied with them? How did you get in contact? Did they made the first step, or you were just looking for a company by sending promo or something?

I like III Innocence very much. It is very close to my world. But Dawn Of… is different, it is good but I think it was just an introduction for GALLHAMMER. About how we got the contract, at first Peaceville found us and they contacted me. I am a great fan of Peaceville since many years ago. So I decided to have a contract with them. I did not search for any record company, because I thought music business is too much for me.

Would you like to talk to us about your new album’s lyrics? And more specially about Killed By The Queen? What inspires you?

Nothing. It is just an image that came from inside of me.

There is desperation, a hidden anger and sadness underneath your music. Are all these collected by your life? Is it a channel for releasing of feelings with a catharsis result?

Yes, I am always living with sadness and despair, but at the same time I feel that the world is so beautiful. I distort everything to see and to live. To play music is a way to express my feelings that I cannot explain in words.

The band started in 2003, right? What forced you to play music? Did you start as a trio, as you are today? Where there any lineup changes? Can you talk to us about the demo recordings before Gloomy Lights? Some of these songs were sung in Japanese, eh? Are there any copies left? How did your name was born?

GALLHAMMER was formed in 2003; also we started playing our instruments that time. I think trio is the best for me. We never change lineup. We released 2 demos by ourselves; it was CD-Rs. They are sold out by now. Some lyrics were in English and some lyrics in Japanese. III Innocence is, too. I was singing on this album in Japanese, maybe 5 songs.

Are there any unreleased tracks from that ’demo’ era of the band? When were your first gigs done?

Our 1st gig was in March 2003 in Koiwa at Tokyo. I guess we have some unreleased tracks, but I do not know where they are.

Gloomy Lights was released by Bestial Burst only or there were any other companies behind (my copy has the name of Bestial Burst)? In how many copies was it cut? What was its distribution outside Japan? Are the Endless Nauseous Days and Color Of Coma reflections of your dreams, or nightmares? The lyrics of the first one are like an ’illusion’ description.

Gloomy Lights was released from my friend’s label in Japan, at first. After that Bestial Burst from Finland and Goat Sucker Records from Mexico re-released it. Maybe it was 1000 copies in Japan, and 1000 copies from Bestial Burst and 500 copies from Goat Sucker. About the lyrics: I don’t know what meanings they have; it is always in my head. I am always thinking about this kind of things. It is not dream, it is not nightmare, it is just reality for me.

The cover photo of Gloomy Lights was done by you, and it’s very good. What is it all about? Also, in your new one the artwork is again in white. What does this colour mean to you? Does it have any connection with purity or innocence? Why this innocence is ill? Which are the reasons that destroys it and turns it to ’ill’?

Gloomy Lights is very dark but it has a slight hope. I think this artwork express this. White is very important for the III Innocence album. I think darkness is not only scary things. Brightness becomes fear to me. White remains my Innocence. And I am scary for it. White is pure and innocent but it is also ’fear’ and empty.

The covers on BURZUM, AMEBIX and HELLHAMMER are orienting very clear your sound, since these three bands are absolutely like fundamental stones for your music building. Can you talk to me about these bands? What elements of their sound you like a lot? What is your favorite AMEBIX album and song? I don’t have heard the cover on the Axeman and I’m very curious to see how it is. I remember the first time I heard the Moor I was complete terrified! I couldn’t believe that it was humans behind these sounds.

I love these bands very much and I am really inspired by their sound. I feel it is very sad and strong and very simple, most important is that they are beautiful. I like all of AMEBIX albums, in early time their style was near by new wave like KILLING JOKE. I love new wave bands very much, for example JOY DIVISION, BAUHAUS; we are influenced by them very much. Afterwards, AMEBIX’s sound became stronger, and more beautiful. I love all their albums.

What other bands do you like? In Japan there are some nice bands, from HEAVY METAL ARMY and METALUCIFER to SIGH, ABIGAIL, BARBATOS and SABBAT of course. Do you like these bands?

Yes, we have a lot of great bands in Japan, not only heavy metal but also great punk/crust, hardcore punk bands.  Sometimes I play in BARBATOS as bassist. BARBATOS is session band, so members are changing every time. I think I will play with BARBATOS on December and next May. SABBAT is the greatest band! They are legends! CORRUPTED is the most respected band for me. They are the greatest band in the world.

How was the experience of touring Europe? Was there any gig that is crafted in your memory more than the others? What was the response of the audience? Is there any possibility to come again? Please come in Greece as fast as you can!

It was such a great experience for me. I really learn many things on the tour. Many people are so nice and kind. I am very happy, maybe it was the happiest time when I played on the stage. I think it is what I want, it is my life. Every place was so good, especially Berlin and Rotterdam were very good shows for me.  I felt a lot of energy from my self at that time. I really want to play in Europe again; we want to do more good shows. And then we want to go Greece, too. I hope to meet you all.

I don’t want to bother you with other useless questions, so, THANK YOU and I hope to talk again soon. If you want to add something this is your chance. My darkest blessings! And AMEBIX mania.

I love AMEBIX too, probably I am best AMEBIX fan in GALLHAMMER, hahaha. Thank you very much. I think your questions were not boring. See you in Greece; we will make it gloomy and delirious.


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