Vital Remains Interview
For the past 15 years, Vital Remains has risen from crowded death metal scene and shown themselves to be one of the longest enduring death metal bands. Now with Dechristianize, they have shown that they are one of the best death metal bands around today. Such a brutal album with so much diversity, simplicity and complexity have raised the ideals for any metal band seeking to create a phenomenal album. Now on there first tour since the release of Dechristianize in August 2003, I got the chance to sit down and talk with Dave Suzuki (bass, drums, lead guitar, and lyricist) regarding the past couple of years and their plans for the future.
Grim Magazine: Dechristianize is unbelievably well written. There are few metal albums that compare with it so if you can remember to when you first wrote it, did you plan on creating one of the best albums in death metal history?
Suzuki: No, I mean it all started out raw with the rhythms and the solos and the harmonies came in probably a year later after the songs were written. After we got the songs tightened the way we wanted. We didn’t really expect anything from this album. A lot of the input like the harmonies and solos were my idea and I thought since Tony was on tour with Deicide, I felt like adding shit to the music and really I thought it was just maybe too much. So I didn’t know what to think of this album. But due to all the response to Dechristianize, it is really overwhelming. Its like we hit a nerve in some people but it’s not really what we expected, at all.
Grim Magazine: Once you finished recording and played it back all the way through for the first time, were you surprised by it or did it put a smile on your face to hear such an amazing creation?
Suzuki: I had a smile on my face that we finished it. We only had 14 days to really record the fucking album which wasn’t enough time to really sit down and fine-tune all the fuck-ups and all the things I wish I would have changed on the album but it came out the way we expected.
Grim Magazine: In total how long did it take to record the album?
Suzuki: Went down to Morrissound in Florida and we had 14 days to record mix and master everything which is really, for the amount of music that’s on this album, wasn’t really enough time but we had to get it down and really do it. But since we weren’t really satisfied with the Morrissound recording, that’s why the album was so delayed. We weren’t really satisfied with the final product from them so we had to go ourselves into another recording studio and remix the whole thing and we finally got it to where we can say: “just let it go and just deal with it”.
Grim Magazine: In my opinion, Dechristianize goes beyond all expectations of death metal and creates a sound that goes beyond just a piece of music; I think it is a true piece of art. Do you consider the album another death metal album or would you consider it art?
Suzuki: Its just music really. A lot of the stuff we write is just inspired by other bands the harmonies to me are just an homage to bands like Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, and especially a group called Lost Horizon from Sweden, a fucking powerhouse power metal band… its all music to me and it just kind of flowed out of us. So I don’t know if that’s art or just creativity on our part; its like it was meant to be the way it was written.
Grim Magazine: Did you get your inspiration from other bands or did it come from yourself?
Suzuki: Yeah a lot of it is from other bands. Cause Tony, he’s into all the old school flavor like Venom, The Possessed, Celtic Frost, Bathory. Where I come from is more musical like shrapnel shredders from the past like (forgive me for any misspellings) Tony DeCampine, Jason Patrick, Eric Friedman, early John Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Neil Young is where I drew my inspiration in, and for some reason that melt of all the touching music just kind of came together. That’s how it is unleashed into Dechristianize.
Grim Magazine: Its been almost a year since the release of Dechristianize and this is your first tour. Are you planning on doing more touring or did you just want to make it out just this once for this album?
Suzuki: This is just the beginning. Since we had problems right at the release of Dechristianize, we really couldn’t find musicians that we were happy with. Especially like the lead guitarist, we were searching endlessly, but we finally found Tim Yeung to play drums and it’s been fucking great. Glen is happy. He’s having a fucking ball so its gonna continue.
Grim Magazine: After practically memorizing every song from Dechristianize, I noticed you only played songs off of that album. Is this a turning point for the band or do you plan on playing your older songs?
Suzuki: Since we didn’t really have any time to practice with Glen for the older material from Vital Remains and since Glen was only familiar with Dechristianize, that’s the only thing we felt comfortable doing. On future tours, he’s mentioned that he wants to learn other songs so hopefully, we can play some songs from Let Us Pray, Into Cold Darkness, Forever Underground, Dawn of the Apocalypse; from all the albums and just try to make a good selection of songs to play live for the fans. Hopefully, that’ll happen.
Grim Magazine: Death metal has always been focused on Satanism or death and you have clearly chosen to write about Satanism or at least anti-Christian ideas. Do you do this for the sake of tradition or is it a personal belief for you?
Suzuki: A lot of the lyrics sound satanic but it’s more about free will. What you believe is right and not what someone tells you what is right. A lot of the lyrics point out a lot of shit in Christianity that really doesn’t make sense to me at all. Even some of the lyrics came right after 9/11, which we found that some of the people down in Iraq love the song “Entwined by Vengeance.”
We had some guy write that he listens to that song every day before they have to go out and defend their station and defend the troops and that’s what I wrote right after 9/11 occurred. It’s really cool that they found a similarity between what I was talking about, and all that [is going on over there]. So it’s not a satanic thing, it’s all about free will and living your life the way you want to.
Grim Magazine: So it’s more of a reaction to people and dogma that inflicts upon the rights of other people?
Suzuki: There so much especially in the Middle East, the way they worship is so beyond our means in the US. Where they are, they are willing to kill and murder and whatever in the name of their god. Where Christianity is, they think that is the final religion that is the law. I don’t believe that. There are too many variations on the subject. From my own point of view, what I feel is right or wrong is the law.
Grim Magazine: Talking about something a little lighter, in your “thank you” notes you talk about metal retardation. Can you describe what that is all about?
Suzuki: Metal retardation is being too involved in music and having a good time and getting drunk, getting fucked up and being retarded at times… basically is what it meant.
Grim Magazine: All for the sake of fun friends and metal.
Suzuki: Basically that’s what it’s about.
Grim Magazine: Well, I think that’s all the questions I have for you. Is there anything else you like to say?
Suzuki: I appreciate all the fucking support and hopefully all the towns and places that we’ve missed we will hit one day and meet all the people that supported Vital Remains and Dechristianize especially. Thank you for all the overwhelming support for the new album and we’ll fucking brutalize you one day. We’ll come to your town.
Vital Remains’ Discography:
(1992) Vital Remains – Let Us Pray
(1995) Vital Remains – Into Cold Darkness
(1997) Vital Remains – Forever Underground
(2000) Vital Remains – Dawn of the Apocalypse
(2003) Vital Remains – Dechristianize
(2007) Vital Remains – Icons of Evil
Band: Vital Remains
With: Dave Suzuki
Interview Date: May 20th, 2004
Years Active: 1988 – present
Genre: Death Metal
Website: Official Website
Label: Century Media
Origin: United States
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
What did you think about this Interview? Tell us below.
Or discuss it with us in our Horror Group!
*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase or sign up for a program, Grim Magazine may earn a very small commission. This is at no additional cost to you. The small fee goes toward keeping our website free of advertisements and other product banners. It also helps in funding our contests and giveaways, and pay compensation to our content contributors for their reviews, articles, and stories. Please don’t hesitate to use our affiliate links!