Interview: Vogg from Decapitated
Decapitated are one of the most proficient and innovative bands in the extreme metal universe and they have given us some incredible albums since their formation in 1996. Founding member and guitarist, Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka has been a pioneer and an absolute master when it comes to his technical ability to write and create some of the most brutally infectious riffs known to man.
Fast forward to now, the new album, Anticult, set to be released July 7th via Nuclear Blast Records, highlights just how vital Decapitated have remained two decades deep into their career. They have long been undeniable masters of their craft and they are expanding their parameters with this album, which should elevate the band's profile beyond the death metal realm in which it has dominated for years. We spoke to Vogg about the evolution of the band, his influences, what he enjoys about life outside of music and much more.
How's everything going in the Decapitated camp right now for you guys?
Very good, thanks a lot. As you know we have a new album coming out on July 7th and we just got back from Barcelona, we did a really cool show at Rockfest which was great. It was a really cool trip, we were walking around the town trying to see the sights and the culture. I'm really excited about what's going on with all of the interviews and reviews, I have seen some good reviews already about the new album even though it's still not released. I'm really excited to see lots of enthusiasm from the fans and from the people that have written about the new album. I feel like I'm flying, I'm really happy. We also have a great new bass player in the band and it feels like a really good team right now and we have very good times together in the band. It's just good times all around right now for Decap.
That's terrific! We gave Anticult a very deserving 10/10. It's not out just yet and a lot of people haven't heard it, but I can honestly say it's one of the best metal albums of 2017. Are you looking forward to everyone hearing it considering how great the feedback has been already?
Wow! Holy shit. Thank you so much. Yeah, I saw a few reviews and they were really good. Some very high ratings and lots of kind words have been said about the new album which is great. As you know, we've been changing our style and there's lots of rumours going around that we're not this extreme death metal band anymore and stuff like that. We started to evolve and slowly change a long time ago actually, if you talk about our fourth album Organic Hallucinosis which was released in 2006. It was definitely death metal, but Decapitated has always been sort of progressive when it comes to our sound. We are always trying to add different sounds and elements to the death metal that we play, more groove and some rock and roll influence and catchy riffs going on in some songs. People seem to like it and understand that this is our process and this is what we are going for and it's the evolution of the band. It's really cool to see the understanding from the fans, our music is still metal and it's still extreme, and it's true music coming from the heart. Even if our music does change, it works, because the people understand it and it has to happen for a band to grow. I don't have any kind of stress when it comes to creating new riffs when the next album because I feel that this is good metal music and the riffs hold up. I just go for it and I feel good about it, it gives me a feeling of freedom when I create.
When writing the new album did you go for a more varied approach? That's how it comes across to me personally as there's a a lot of different elements that go really well together.
It wasn't a plan to make every song different than the other, it just happened naturally. I had the guitar and I just play a certain riff and we sort of match the riff to what we think would be good like a blastbeat track or a more catchy song like 'Kill The Cult'. So, I think I was always inspired by different things in metal like around the same time of Sepultura, Pantera and Metallica, then on the other end there was Deicide, Morbid Angel, Meshuggah or Cannibal Corpse. I was always listening to different types of metal and all of these styles inspired me to write the music that I play today. I think it has helped me create my own style which I consider to be diverse and various. That's why there are a lot of different elements going on with the new album. It's all connected in some way and it makes the album more interesting when you have these different styles playing off each other. When you listen to the album you can't be sure what to expect on the next song, which I find interesting. You might be surprised, one song might sound like death metal, the next some might sound like thrash metal, there's lots of things going on.
You guys have managed to evolve your sound over the years while still staying true to your sound by being heavy and extreme. Are you happy with what Decapitated has achieved so far?
I'm very happy. The most important thing is that I need to feel freedom when we talk about creating the music. When I read some of the comments on the new material and they say that "this is not Decapitated anymore" or "this is not real death metal", I respect all of those comments and I respect the people that have those opinions. They love old Decapitated like our first album Winds Of Creation for example. But it was 17 years ago and it's a different time now and I've changed a lot and I can't be the same guy like I was back then. When I created the band I was only 15 years old and I was a death metal kid, trying to everyone how good I am and how fast I can play on the guitar, make a million notes as quickly as possible. These days I am looking for different things in music, like now when I play guitar I don't want to show everyone how good I am by being fast and technical. I want to create the best sound possible that makes you think and songs that have interesting melodies and song structure with strong riffs. Our first album was really technical, but I never really thought about being super technical at the time, it's funny because it just sort of happened and it was natural for me. It was nothing special for me, there was lots of energy going through my hands it that's how it came out. I was young and now I'm 35 years old and I'm a little more lazy.
What's the meaning behind the album title and who came up with the name Anticult?
Our vocalist and lyricist Rasta came up with this title. Anticult is something against the things going on right now with the planet. All the war and negative stuff, especially when we talk about humanity and political religious systems that are telling people what to do. It's kind of a continuation of what we did on Blood Mantra and Carnival Is Forever, when we talk about the lyrical aspect. We are trying to show people that there are other possibilities through the lyrics, and there are always other ways in life that you can choose. You have these religious and political systems that rule the world, you can be free from all of those things and all of us can think for ourselves. We can try and create our own path in life instead of following someone or something else. Of course, we are not an anti-religious band but we do start to become anti-religion when it starts killing innocent people and telling people to do horrible things like terrorist attacks and using people as a weapon. That's pissing us off and that's the lyrical content of this record. There are also songs on the album like 'Earth Scar' which is about things like us as a band and musicians travelling all over the world and learning from other cultures. We are influenced by the countries that we travel to and the different cultures that we discover, sometimes we fly very far away to places like Africa and it was quite interesting and places like Australia and New Zealand which are so far away from Poland. This song is actually about us in a metaphoric way that we are nomads and people travelling as we make this 'Earth Scar' on the planet.
Very good. Speaking of Australia, do you hope to tour here once again for this new album cycle?
Oh yeah, I really hope to come back to Australia. We don't have anything confirmed just yet but I'm pretty sure it will happen sooner or later, probably 2018. I love to play in Australia every time and I'm looking forward to it.
When you're not playing kickass death metal and writing music, what does Vogg from Decapitated like to do in his spare time?
Well these days I have two daughters, and for the last 5 years when I'm not on tour I just like spending time with my wife and kids here in Krakow which is my hometown in Poland. Apart from music there are also lots of things I have to take care of, like planning tours or taking care of the gear and all of the things that are connected to the band. It's everyday things that keep the band going and you have to do them otherwise there is no band and no shows. I'm busy with that, I'm busy with my kids, taking them to kindergarten and the cinema, watching cartoons, I even cook sometimes. Normal life pretty much, I really enjoy it and it's probably some of the best times of my life right now.
Wonderful. Well thank you so much for taking the time to chat Vogg. Did you have any final words for your Australian fans before you say goodbye?
Well, I want to say hello to all of the Australian metalheads out there and the Decapitated fans of course. I always love to play in Australia and I love your country and it's very beautiful, you also have great sushi there (laughs) and yeah, I hope to see you guys really soon on tour. I hope you get to listen to the new album which is out July 7th, I hope this music gives you some power and plenty of positive energy.
Anticult is out worldwide July 7th via Nuclear Blast Records.
Written by Steve Jenkins
Watch this official music video for the new track 'Earth Scar' below: