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Vulture's Stefan Castevet: "Taking things way easier! We tried to get rid of a lot of pressure and some anxious moments that made us overthink and overact our songs in the past way too often."

Interview with Stefan Castevet from Vulture
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 10 May 2021, 1:38 AM

To not lose one's mind while being under a lockdown isn't really such a great virtue or a quality that is special. Patience can be offered as a key, or simply trying to find something useful to do. However, no doubt that the experience can be tough for some people, and rather annoying. Free spirits wish to break free from their cages, live the life and enjoy its treasures. Hopefully, soon all of this will be over and life will return to normal. Some made it happen for the best such the band Vulture, which were able to finish everything up for their next album, "Dealin' Death", right before the moment where everything went numb. Steinmetal had the pleasure to talk to Stefan Castevet of the band in regards to the experience of the album, musical progress, the new sound and more.

Hello Stefan, it is a mighty pleasure have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. Last time was nearly two years ago for "Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves" and here we are again. How have you been doing?

Hey man! Doing fine! Hope you're good, too. It's been both very busy and absolutely boring since the last time. We toured, played many shows recorded a new album and now we're stuck in the middle of a pandemic, just like everybody.

Let’s say that this past year has been eventful, of course for the wrong reasons. As if a black shadow was cast over the entire music scene, along with people of the industry losing their jobs, clubs closing down and in overall, the cessation of cultural life. How do you view this situation in Germany? How do you see the future going forward for this year?

Yeah it's horrible. People not only lose their jobs but importantly also their lives. I hope the vaccination process will be sped up soon. I think it's most important that people act responsible and take care of themselves and others. That's what we're practicing. Nothings as unimportant as a vulture show right now. But of course we got a lot of empathy for all those in the event industry that somehow have been forgotten by state-support and are basically job-less over a year now.

As a band that has been rather active on the live front, this pandemic probably caused you a bit more than a headache, to remain caged, not being able to show your talent to your fans and newcomer audiences. What do you miss most of that inner feeling of going up live on stage? How have you been keeping yourself sane?

I miss meeting friends the most. Being drunk on a festival ground at 10 in the morning. But yeah of course playing shows is something I miss a lot as well. Something like direct feedback by actual people standing like in front of us would be amazing, haha. To think that our last show happened 18 months ago is absolutely sad.

There have been bands out there that simply couldn’t continue due to the situation, nonetheless, there are those that made lemonade with this lack of choice, taking into account that this circumstance might take a while, and continued writing and recording. In your case, it was a matter of finishing what you started earlier on while touring right?

Yes exactly. Dealin' Death has not been affected by the pandemic at all. We wrote and recorded everything before the first meassures 've been installed over here in Germany. But yeah, we're very productive as well right now. Already did a new demo recording with three new tracks.

Maintaining that everlasting lust for vintage horrific features, you created your next in line compilation of mystifying classically brutal tales in the image of “Dealin’ Death”. Well, is that obvious that you guys have been dealing with Death ever since your first song? What makes this unifying themed title so special than previously?

It's very catchy right? That's basically the whole idea behind it. After an album called “GHASTLY WAVES AND BATTERED GRAVES” we where in desperate need of something short, haha!

Since you have been keen to follow the classics of the horrific nature, what would you say were your chief inspirations that led you to the blood chilling narratives of “Dealin’ Death”?

The Pit and The Pendulum by Poe or more the movie adaption from '61 with the great Vincent Price! One of my favorite movies. It's more a theatrical drama with a horrific ending. That's the real deal to me! Not just blood and gore all the time.

With the happenings outside, which is a different kind of horror, less horrible than what is going on within the songs of the album, would you say that “Dealin’ Death” is your special kind of happy place to find an escape from reality’s gripping hand?

It's exactly that right now to me! You can't imagine, haha! Seeing this record now coming to life and being released pretty soon is like the most exciting thing to happen in the last 1,5 years!

Even though Vulture has been a band that old school Metal has virtually been an integral, and possibly only, part of its image and sound, “Dealin’ Death” felt rather versatile within its mid 80s driven circa. Not merely riding on the wind with Thrash or Speed Metal, but impressively employing that King Diamond / Mercyful Fate melodic nature and horror driven atmosphere. What form of goals did you set for yourselves for this record in comparison to the previous?

Taking things way easier! We tried to get rid of a lot of pressure and some anxious moments that made us overthink and overact our songs in the past way too often. We wanted to approach songs more as fans than as musicians. That's one huge different to Ghastly Waves. With Ghastly Waves we listened only, and really mean like ONLY, with the ears of us as musicians. Another break here, another solo there, yet another riff in the end. That was all way too much. We're happy to be back where we started of. Feeling confident!

How do you find your development as a band after working on “Dealin’ Death”? How did the process of making the album make you do that step forward as songwriters?

There's a lot of stuff everybody learned. When it comes to the creative process I guess what clicked most is that we need to write better choruses. That's what we did! Keep a structure easy here and there. A record needs simple songs to make the more progressive ones stand out and so on.

What I also noticed, a bit connected to the previous question, is that there is as if a battle between being articulate, less straightforward per se, and that need to be right in your face. How would you say that this so-called struggle worked for the better for you on this album?

You're absolutely right! We really dived deep into this heavy metal-ish side of Vulture and we feel super confident there. The thing we always kept in mind was, that everything needs to sound Vulture, despite the tempo we're playing. That worked out absolutely great to my ears. I think we're gonna do a lot more of that in the future.

What would you say is the main element that makes “Dealin’ Death” a special kind of character in your discography?

I bet the sound will be something we'll keep looking back to and those choir-harmonies as well. But the next records will tell best, haha!

Although I loved the sound of "Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves", I believe that “Dealin’ Death” came forward as champion, as it assumed the position of a mid 80s Metal album, employing a sound pattern that is bound to send listeners back to the old albums of the golden age. What can you tell about the sound works of the album? How do you appreciate the end result?

I love it! It's the best we ever sounded. Marco really did his best job so far! Everything's still sounding absolutely natural and well-balanced but it's absolutely thrashing and still has that in-your-face feeling. Usually it takes only like a few months for me til I secretly want to change something sound-wise after release. So far I can't find the flaw, haha!

What forms of challenges stood in your way while making this album? How were you able to make those confrontations with reality to your advantage?

Actually none! Everything was done before the first pandemic meassures were installed. We were very lucky with that period of time we chose!

If I wanted to bang my head silly, the first one that comes to mind is “Flee The Phantom”, total craze, wrecking havoc, nurtured 80s Speed Metal devastator. What is your take on this track? In your view, what makes it more than a mere Speed Metal tune?

It's the first one we wrote for this record, actually. That's maybe why he still got some Ghastly Waves-vibe here and there. Huge mid part, loads and loads of riffs. Love it too, man! Especially all those slower riffs in the mid-section. Would love to play'em live.

“Below The Mausoleum” and the clincher, “The Court Of Caligula”, now those are Vulture but a closer attention to the mid tempo action, charging heavy riffs, assorted arrangements and catchy oriented choruses. I must say that aside to the speedsters, this is quite refreshing. How do you view the impact of this direction on the album and in particular these two songs?

I really think these songs make the record in the end. They sound refreshing and melodic, yet don't lack agression and really balance the whole thing out.

When you are looking at 2021, is it a wasted year or perhaps yet another opportunity to work on your next release? What are you planning next?

Absolutely nothing! Let's wait till this pandemic is over, behave properly and stay responsible. Let's plan afterwards.

Stefan, it has been once again a pleasure to have Vulture for an interview, you are on the rise, releasing an old school album that is no less than an elixir for every Metalhead. Cheers.

Thank you for having me! It's a pleasure, man!



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Edited 29 March 2023

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