Hi Mike! How are you? Did you prepare yourself for this Horror movie mega fan?
Mike: Hey! I am doing good! I'm definitely prepared for the interview!
The New Batch is finally out. Congrats brother, this album is truly rad, especially for horror fans, haha. So how do you feel about it? Do you have feedback from the fans?
Mike: I'm definitely very happy to have the album out! Feels good to see the finished product and be able to hold the CD! I'm very happy with how it turned out as well. The layout looks awesome and Marco from Rotten Roll Rex definitely put together a quality product. The feedback so far has been pretty good I would say. The reviews have been all positive aside from one from an Italian webzine that absolutely hated us. As far as fan reaction goes, everyone seems to be into it! A few people have said they prefer Screaming Mad Gore over the new album but that is to be expected.
I know that this album had some delays. In total how much time did you spend on this album from the beginning to the final mix? How much beer did you drink during the process?
Mike: Not sure how long in total it took to be perfectly honest! We finished recording the music in June of 2017 and then it took awhile longer to finish the vocals and to add in all of the bells and whistles. That said, there was a few things that delayed the album that were actually good delays. We did the video for "From the Scrapyard to the Graveyard" and needed to get that song mixed/mastered way ahead of the album release so it could be included in Killer Campout.
I guess in the long run maybe it took a bit longer than we had initially anticipated to get the album finished and released but I think it was worth the wait. We have a mix we are really happy with and the master came out super heavy and raw.
What can you tell us about A Very Merry VHS Xmas? The concept is amazing.
Mike: That basically started with the idea of doing a song for Christmas to release for fun and it basically turned into an EP. It was a lot of fun to put together. It was done during a break in the band I guess you could say and I handled all of the instruments and Patrick Bruss put together the drum programming and mixed/mastered the whole thing. I'm not sure but maybe this is the first full death metal release that is all about Christmas? I know Macabre have Holiday of Horrors and Frightmare had a Christmas horror movie based song on both of their full lengths but a lot of people really liked the idea of an entire album based on Christmas horror films when I announced the release. It was released on CD by Fuzzy Monkey Records and was limited to 30 copies. Pretty much sold out at this point. A tape version was planned but that is somewhat in limbo right now.
You named yourself “VHS”, what’s the deal with that? Does it have to do with your love for this old film format? Also how many VHS movies do you have in your personal collection?
Mike: The name totally came from my love of VHS tapes. It is the format that was around when I first discovered my love of horror movies and also the format that I started collecting later in my teen years when I had my own money to waste on useless things! I honestly have no idea how many VHS tapes are in my collection. It might surprise people but I mainly watch DVD and blu-ray these days, my collection is packed away right now. I definitely get the urge to take out some tapes and fire up the VCR from time to time but my wife would probably kill me!
Mike: Horror movies have just always been something I love. From the first time I saw a Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm St. flick I was hooked! Without question horror is my favorite genre of movie. What is so special about horror....where to even begin! The suspense, the excitement, the gore, the violence, the music....all of these elements add up to why I love horror.
The best old school horror films is a tough question because it all depends on what you consider old school! But some of my favorites I'd say would be Dawn of the Dead, Zombie, The Beyond, The Mutilator, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, The Monster Squad, Friday the 13th 6: Jason Lives, A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors, Phantasm 2, Bad Dreams, Braindead, Slaughter High, Night of the Demons, Deranged, Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer, Suspiria, Black Christmas, Deep Red. I could go on for a long time but these are definitely some of my favorites.
Since the new album is done, do you have any plans for kickass gigs? When and where can VHS fans catch you? If you have any upcoming shows feel free to share them here.
Mike: Not many shows lined up at this point in time. We have a gig with Homewrecker and Black Dahlia Murder coming up very soon but nothing else planned at this point. We're just taking things slow right now and seeing what happens.
You have a super huge inspiration from old horror films, but what about the music? Who are your favourite bands all of times? Who gave you the inspiration to create VHS?
Mike: A lot of the inspiration for VHS comes from some of my earliest influences when I started learning how to play metal on the guitar. Metallica and Slayer are two of my favorite bands and are a big influence. Cannibal Corpse was also a huge inspiration. I hold The Bleeding in high regard and try to capture that catchiness and energy with my writing. Carcass is a huge influence as well. My high vocals are definitely a nod to Jeff Walker. Impetigo also was a huge influence on me. The horror theme, gross vocals and catchiness of the music really struck a chord with me. Few bands really capture a gross atmosphere with simple hooks so effectively. Combine those influences with my love for the early Razorback Records releases, Japanese hardcore and crossover ala DRI and you have VHS in a nutshell.
How would you describe VHS to those who are unfamiliar with your band? And what release would you recommend for first time listeners?
Mike: I would probably describe us as fast, simple and straight to the point death metal that takes a lot influence from punk and hair metal. I guess I would say that Screaming Mad Gore would probably be the ideal starting point. We re-recorded all of the songs from the demo for the album anyway, so no point in starting with the inferior versions of the songs!
I know that you love physical formats of music and movies, so here is my question. What was the last parcel that you received?
Mike: The last parcel I received was the debut album from Oxygen Destroyer. It's called "Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Hate" and it definitely needs to be heard by more people. Super fast thrashy death metal that is like a combination of Kreater and Vader. More people definitely need to check them out! I also just picked up the blu-ray of The Shape of Water but haven't watched it yet!
I can’t speak for everyone else but, personally I`m waiting for new VHS shirts. When in the hell will you print new merch?
Mike: We have two new designs we just released, a killer zombie design by Gruesome Graphx and a Slumber Party Massacre themed design. We've been working with Scrimm Lord Death Threads for a few licensed shirt designs and that has been working out really well. We have two other designs in the works too and I think it might be time for us to start thinking about another embroidered patch as well.
Also you started to do some splits. Do you have any new plans for future splits? If yes can you name the lucky bands?
Mike: We have a bunch of splits planned in the future actually. A three way split CD with Goremonger and Organ Trail should be up first. We also have splits planned with Offal and Abhorrent Funeral. We have a few more splits in the works as well but nothing else we can reveal just yet. Needless to say we want to stay busy and keep plugging away with a bunch of releases throughout the year.
We`re out of popcorn and video tapes, I`m afraid it`s time go to the bed. Thank you so much for this small but, warm conversation!
Mike: Thanks for the interview and also thanks for the continued support over the years. Keep up the awesome work with Good Guys Go Grind!