Vektor released a few days a go one of the most exciting tech thrash records since many years. "Terminal Redux" is full of technical finesse combined with mighty riffs and a sci-fi story that is worth to dive into. Markus' Heavy Music Blog wanted to know more about the album and it is Vektor mainman David Di Santo, that could tell us interesting facts and storys about "Terminal Reux" and the recently done tour with the legendary Voivod.
Markus' Heavy Music Blog: Hej David, great that you have some time for us. Vektor has released the new album a few days ago, something that must feel pretty good, or?
David DiSanto: (David laughing) Indeed, it feels great! No more being secretive about it. It’s a huge relief now that it’s finally out and the responses have been stellar. We knew we had a good album on our hands, but people are really excited about it. It’s a good feeling!
MHMB: The new album stands like a rock. It has a very dense sound that combines oldschool elements with modern tech metal. How would you describe the album?
David: Thanks! Even for me, it’s a hard album to place. Progressive space thrash with tinges of Death and Pink Floyd? (Lauhing again) I don’t know. It’s a journey through the depths of space and the dark recesses of our minds.
MHMB: „Outer Isolation“ was released 5 years ago. Where do you see the biggest difference between "Outer Isolation" and “Terminal Redux"?
David: For me, “Terminal Redux” is more rich and dynamic. It feels more fluid. It’s a huge, epic story that flows as one cohesive concept album. We’ve taken elements of what we’ve done before and expanded upon them. The thrash elements are much more evolved, and we’ve taken our progressive side to even further extremes. I think it is our best work yet, and our most ambitious. We really solidified our sound with this album.
MHMB: How did you guys approach the songwriting for „Terminal Redux“? Was it a group process or was someone in the lead?
David: As with our previous albums, I was the main songwriter. I typically write out an entire song and hand it over to the rest of the guys to put their parts in it. The skeletal structure of the song with just the guitar parts is there and the other dudes help make it feel like a Vektor song by adding their unique playing styles.
MHMB: Each of your three longplayers include at least one extraordinary long track. This time it’s „Recharging the Void" with 13 minutes. Is it something you guys plan from the beginning or are these songs just getting longer and longer while writing them?
David: Actually, that song was about 18 minutes long at one point. I ended up deleting and subtracting a lot of it to make it flow better with the overall concept. Writing music is a process of addition and subtraction. The hardest part is getting rid of riffs that are cool, but don’t add anything extra to a song. That’s actually one of the things that I find admirable about the musicians that can create 3 minute songs that make a big impact. It’s something that’s very hard for me to do (he laughs). I have too many ideas in my head.
MHMB: Your sound reminds me of bands like Watchtower, but also Voivod and sometimes even band like Death come to my mind. Are these the bands that influenced you the most?
David: Not really in the beginning! I was kind of mixing Pink Floyd, Rush, and Yes with Slayer, Sepultura, and even punk bands like Subhumans. I started writing some of the songs for Vektor in 1999 like “Oblivion” and “Venus Project” based off those bands. I didn’t hear about Death or Voivod until maybe 2000 or 2001. I didn’t know about Watchtower until about 2002. After I heard those bands, they made a huge impact on me. After I heard Voivod and Destruction especially, I wanted to combine the two styles and add them to what I was already doing. So yeah, those bands helped influence our sound later on, but not the original conception.
MHMB: By merging all these influences you create an own sound. How do you describe the unique features of Vektor’s sound?
David: Stated simply it’s just Space Metal. There are many dimensions to our sound but the foundation is thrash. From there, we add layers of Art and Prog rock from the 70’s, hints of Death and Black metal, and take everything into a sci-fi direction.
MHMB: „Terminal Redux“ is a concept album. How did you come up with such an idea and who was responsible for writing the story?
David: I first heard the Rush song, “Hemispheres” about 16 years ago. Ever since then, the words “We shall call you Cygnus, the god of balance you shall be” have been echoing in my thoughts. I started doing some research about the myths and legends of the Cygnus constellation 5 years ago when the concept was first developing in my head. That really helped me solidify everything. I knew I wanted the story to begin with the lone astronaut from the title track of our previous album, “Outer Isolation”. From there, I built the story.
MHMB: What is the story about and are the links to the reality here and now?
David: Yeah, I think every good sci-fi story should be a metaphor for our present society. There are a lot of ties into our current way of life including "LCD" and "Psychotropia". "LCD" has commentary about our use of digital devices, and "Psychotropia" talks about how we shape worlds to our will. The overall concept is much deeper than that though. The basic outline of the story is something like this: “Terminal Redux” begins with the lone astronaut from the title track of our previous album, “Outer Isolation”. He finds a life-rejuvinating molecule in space which he uses to rise through the ranks of a large, galactic empire called Cygnus. Total annihilation, human population control, and usrurping power are all parts of the overall story. The message is something I’d like the fans to figure out.
MHMB: It seems Vektor has a foible for science fiction and the outer space. Where does this come from?
David: We’re all fans of the genre, but I have my dad to thank for that. He’d let me watch all types of awesome movies when I was a kid that most parents wouldn’t let their kids go near. “Bladerunner”, “Mad Max”, “The Howling”, “The Thing”, and “La Planete Sauvage” were some of my favorites growing up and to this day. It’s because of him that I not only got into sci-fi and horror, but also guitar. He taught me a bunch of Led Zeppelin songs when I was younger, so thanks dad!
MHMB: You have been recently on a tour through North America, opening for Voivod. What can you tell us about the tour?
David: That tour was awesome! Voivod has been one of my favourite bands since I heard them 16 years ago. It was surreal for me and all of us in Vektor at many points during the tour. We’re all fans. They originally asked us to do a tour with them in November of 2015, but we had to decline because we already had our European dates booked. It was the hardest thing to decline that! They ended up postponing their tour until February and asked us again if we could do it. We were so honoured. It was so much fun hanging out with them backstage every night. They are all such great people. Snake is the best story teller I’ve ever met! He has the craziest and funniest stories. I got a guitar lesson from Dan, Chewy, backstage at one of the shows. He taught me the proper way to play “Roundabout” by Yes. It was a really cool experience. Away is one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever met, and so is their new bass player, Rocky.
MHMB: Have you had a chance to play some new songs and what were the reactions?
David: Yeah, we played “Ultimate Artificer”, “Cygnus Terminal”, and “Psychotropia” live in Europe and the States. The reactions were very good! We had some mosh pits going, which I totally did not expect from new songs. Most people need to hear the song first before they start going crazy.
MHMB: Vektor will come to Europe during summer for some festival shows. Is there also a tour planned?
David: Yes there is. We’re going to be touring Europe in August doing festival shows and also a few headlining shows. We haven’t announced too many dates yet, but people can follow us on Facebook to get the dates as they’re announced.
MHMB: The word ‚vektor‘ has various meanings but all of them are connected to science. Why have you chosen this name for the band?
David: I chose to use the biological definition. A vector is something that does not cause disease itself, but spreads disease by conveying pathogens between hosts. A mosquito is a vector for malaria. Vektor is a vector for our particular style of music and lyrics, which can be thought of as a spreading disease among more popular conformities of music. We spread disease by conveying pathogens, conveying our ideas between hosts. Our fans also become vectors by spreading our band out to their friends. So, let’s all become vectors: Vektonauts! We are spreading a disease that diminishes the affluence of pop music, showing that there can be more dimensionality to music.
MHMB: People say that the third album is a kind of milestone, being important for the future development of a band. Now, „Terminal Redux“ is your third record and it got very good press feedback already. How do you see the future of Vektor and what do you want to achieve with the band?
David: I agree with that statement. That’s one of the reasons I put so much of my life into this album. I poured myself into it for several years. I wanted to make a statement with this album. I wanted to show the world what we’re capable of. I hope many people enjoy it for years to come. As for our future, we’re just going to take things day by day. I would love to make a living off of my music, but we’ll see if that’s a possibility. I’ll keep playing music either way.
MHMB: David, thanks for all these interesting insights. Is there anything more you want to share with the fans?
David: I encourage everyone to read the lyrics along with the music! It really adds to the experience. We hope to see you all on our future tours. Sci-fi or die!