EMQ’s with BLACK VATICAN
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Kansas City based Gothic Rock/Metal band Black Vatican. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
We are Black Vatican. We began in early 2014, with co-founders Erick Ramos and former member Jose Hernandez. Together they made our first EP. Over the years, we had several members come and go, all talented with their preferred instruments. Until, finally, we solidified our line-up with Count Searos (Cole) as the lead guitarist and Erick as the bassist and vocalist.
How did you come up with your band name?
Erick and Jose came up with the name. We wanted a name that would represent the kind of people we grew up with, witches, Satanists, the suppressed, the poor, minorities in general. Not only that, but we also wanted a name that would represent the suppressors themselves. So, the name Black Vatican arose. “Vatican” represents what all modern societies claim to be divine, just, peaceful, correct, and perfect. While “Black” represents the shadows of those societies; everything and everyone they hide, destroy, discard, rape, and demonize for being or thinking differently. This isn’t just a reference of the Vatican itself, but all dominant religions, political parties, social groups, and all those with enough power that belittle others for personal gain. Black Vatican is the name we wanted in order to speak up for those without a voice while identifying the suppressors in return.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We live in Kansas City, the Midwest region of the United States. Specifically, the metal scene here is still pretty underground with mostly core, industrial and some black metal bands playing weekday shows. The rock scene is much stronger though. Kansas City hosts the annual Rock Fest which is one of the biggest music festivals in the country. We would have to say that the U.S. lacks diversity with its metal scene here.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest release is the witchcraft- and alchemy-inspired album “Arcana Lament”. This album utilizes both raw and equalized sounds and tones. It is Gothic metal with blackened riff in its purest form.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Our greatest influences, at least for “Arcana Lament”, were old-school Cradle of Filth, Abyssos, and Eluveitie. They are elegant but still have a brute force behind them. Be believe them to be true products of the night and have inspired many of our songs, like Vampiric Combat.
What first got you into music?
It has always been a beautiful way of releasing emotion and expressing one’s self. Erick started playing the keyboard at a young age, while Searos started becoming intrigued when he first picked up an album from The Ramones.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
We would love to collaborate with similar bands like Cradle of Filth or slightly different bands like Alcest.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Bloodstock, for sure! A European tour, because the crowds there are huge, and it would be a great opportunity for us.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
No weird gifts really, rather we sent one to a loyal fan from France. He contacted us politely asked for a signed autographed picture of us. He seemed very pleased and we are happy to have given it to him.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you so much for supporting us. You are our life line, our blood, our motivation to keep going! It’s amazing to see how our music influences others.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
We would bring back Black Moon, also known as David Parland. David was a guitarist in Dark Funeral, Necrophobic and Infernal and had an extremely unique way of playing guitar. We’d also like to bring back Chester Bennington. His lyrics helped so many people accept and surpass their inner demons.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
We love the adventures and the people we meet along the way. The creative process of writing music, and giving the night a voice! But its down side would have to be the finances; thousands of dollars spent on equipment only to be paid a small fraction still baffles us. Also promoting on social media feels a bit tedious. Filling out any kind of forms or spaces can get annoying and it’s typically very time consuming.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
A few things. Have it be less centred on pop music, have artists actually write their own music and not autotune their voices. Make actual good music that has some kind of personality behind it. Also, record labels. They get paid too much for the little they do. These days many musicians can become financially stable without a label’s help, so we suggest they become more affordable in reflection to the economy if they want to stay in business.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Would have to be “The Somberlain” from Dissection and “Together We Summon The Dark” from Abyssos.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
CD’s for certain. They carry entire stories and artwork felt by the band while making the album. But for really raw black metal bands, cassettes work a lot better.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
We’ve only played in small venues. It was in a small place that’s no longer open, deep in Lawrence , KS. Not sure how many people actually showed up since the stage was in the centre of the crowd and there was fog everywhere. Out of the five bands who played there, we were told our performance overpowered them.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Currently we have our own jobs since being a musician doesn’t cover all the bills. If it wasn’t for the Covid epidemic, we might even go back to school to study radiology or so, or even open up a music venue of our own. We’re ambitious and we like to stay busy.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Would have to be all our friends in our inner circle. We always have a good time drinking, playing games and embarrassing ourselves.
What’s next for the band?
We plan on creating more social media content such as behind the scenes looks and music videos. Also, we are currently in the middle of creating another album. We wish to become gods and won’t stop until we reached a throne amongst the zodiac.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We prefer to use our Instagram account, Vatican.black676, and Facebook page. We’re always active there and love engaging with our fans all the time.
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
We’re not sure honestly. Maybe the answer is culturally based; some countries call them biscuits or cakes, while other call them cookies. Whoever made them first should declare the proper title.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Black Vatican has always been a voice for the night and all its creatures. It is our archetype; we strive to be one with the night. Without darkness, there is no light; that below is what came from above.
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