interview with Vakslen

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Have any of you played in other bands? Yes. I myself play in bands such as Blodsgard, Minneriket and V0id&Khaos. V is active with Morgh,Þurs, Virginborn and Evig, amongst others. Vakslen started as a side-project for us, so we could collaborate on certain ideas.

How is it that you started playing music? It was the right way to present certain aspects of my world-view. It’s pop-culture you know, there are no philosophers anymore, only musicians, writers and artists.

What are your names? / Who plays what?

Stein A: Lyrics, vocals, synth/programming

V: Lyrics, vocals, guitars, drums 

Have you had other previous members? No, we have not included anyone else into Vakslen.

Where are you from? Vakslen is an international project, V is from the US, and I’m from Norway.

What year did the band form? I think we started in 2012, and we released our debut album late 2013.

What's your style of genre? Black’n’Roll, Some punk influences, some black metal, some ambient, some folk, etc. We’re a transgressive band, and labels would only tie us down. It doesn’t matter what we call it, as the audience will always define what they’re listening to based on their own assumptions.

What inspires you? Society. With Vakslen we hold a mirror in the face of society, we spit in their faces and oppose the collectiveness. We present the ugly subjects to the listener as an extreme version of the ugliness we see every day, feeding of the masochistic tendencies of the crowd.

How often and where do you reherse? We don’t. At all. Like I said, we live half way around the globe from eachother, and we’re both busy with other bands. Vakslen is a studio collaboration, with no rehearsals.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Not, because we don’t play live.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Not really. We released our debut “Crucifucked” by ourselves, and we had a limited reprint on cassete tape by the label Merdumgiriz from Turkey. Labels have nothing to offer bands today except their network of contacts and press, and they’re mostly bought and payed anyway. The whole industry is corrupt, so personally, I prefer working in the underground with idealistis and flaming souls. Vakslen belongs in the underground anyway, we have nothing to offer to the mainstream world and the large labels – and they have nothing to offer us.

What are your songs about? We kick in every direction. Noone is safe. The most important aspect of the music is how the songs reflect the contemporary society, degenerated culture, the sexualization of the mainstream, the religious bigots, the misfits and the isolation of the crowd. You raise your glasses and we say “fuck off”. Decadence, politics, everything we need to navigate around on a daily basis is the subject of our scrutiny. There’s masochistic tendencies all around.

Have you done any covers live? No, since we do not play live. We did however do two covers on “Crucifucked”. We made a cover of Satan My Master by Bathory, with guest vocals by Dáublódir (from Gandreid), and a cover of Wicked Young Man by Alice Cooper.

What language do you sing in? Mostly English, but we also use some Norwegian.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? When we re-released our album on cassette tape, the independent label also made some merchandise: patches and t-shirts. Everything hand-painted and exclusive.

Where can people buy your merchandise? It’s available directly through the label at their website: merdumgiriz.org. For those interested in the CD-release, there’s still a few copies available directly from our BandCamp-site.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I personally have no problem with that. I download music myself. It’s regressive if artists try to fight the evolution, whatever their reasons. You need to embrace it. Thrive in it. It’s all about the supply and demand. You have to make your music attractive to people. Collectors will always buy music, but then you need to give them something special. Not just music – but a reason to want to actually own it, and not just consume it. If the listener wants to return to your music, then you’ve succeeded.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Music has become a lot more accessible, and over-exposed. It’s hard to find that one album worth listening to when you need to navigate through the constant stream of music that’s being released every day. On the other hand, it’s given a lot of new people the chance to put out their music and get noticed. So there’s both good and bad with this vast sea of music online.

Do you have any role models or idols? All idols shall meet their twilight.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? We’re definitely more inspired by the old bands when it comes to Vakslen. That’s obvious with our above mentioned covers, and you can also hear a lot of the 80’s metal in our riffs, and the raw production of our sound. I’m not really interested in the modern music scene at all, I lost interest a long time ago. There’s a few releases here and there that really gets my attention, but they’re few and far between.

What advice would you give other bands or artists? Just keep doing what you love, express your honesty and you’ll never fail. Remember to make music first and foremost for yourself, there’s not one other person out there who’s interested in making music just for you. So you’ve gotta take charge yourself, ignoring the trends and naysayers.

Do you have any new material? We do not have any new material ready for the public for the moment. We have talked about making a follow-up to “Crucifucked”, but the time hasn’t been right yet. No reason to over-saturate the market either, Vakslen will be there when the smoke clears.

Do you have something to add?

Thank you for your time.

To digress a little, my other band Minneriket just released a new single called “Jærtegn” which is available for free download at minneriket.bandcamp.com, and also streaming in youtube. The full-length album will be released later.

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