Interview with Vaultry
SBS: Welcome Vaultry! Big year coming up for your band, no doubt about it. You’ve got your new kickass video for the single “No Victory” from the end of last year, the new video for “Ghost Writing” from the follow-up release to the Coven EP on the new full-album Eulogy out officially Jan. 12th, first show of the year coming up already with well-known indie bands Hawking and AZTEC supporting you onstage as opening acts – is it all just convenient timing or is the band more focused on making its mark this year?
Vaultry: A lot of things have happened to us over the past year. We’ve grown a lot, and figured out what sounds we want to work with and people seem to really be latching on to it. When we recorded Coven we were just trying to figure out what worked as a band and what people wanted to hear. Through that growth we’ve become very driven and made a lot of new connections including both Hawking and Aztec. Hawking over the last year have become our best friends and we try to do whatever we can together. Aztec was one of the bands that shared our last show with Chase with us and we felt they were definitely who we had to get to share this important of an experience with us.
SBS: These songs from Eulogy…they tell the story of Chasen Fraser, one of the original members of Vaultry, growing up transgender, being diagnosed with cancer at only 25 and ultimately gone too soon after that. The story alone on how these songs were written with Chasen, right up to & including “Hospice” written in the very hospice at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria where he was being cared for…it’s fucking inspiring. The album also includes songs written by the band in the aftermath…reactionary songs that bleed honesty, in my opinion. How does finishing this record provide you all with a sense of closure…or does it? What was particularly important about recording, approaching and performing these final songs written by Chasen for you on a personal level?
Vaultry: When Chasen passed away, we knew we had to get into the studio as soon as we could to record these songs. The plan was originally to bring him over to record an EP of new material before he had to go into permanent hospice, but his time was cut months shorter than we had anticipated. So in that regard, it was definitely the closure we needed. The biggest importance was making sure the music reflected the sounds nostalgic to Chasen: old pop punk, emo, Equal Vision records type sounds. The last time I (Leith) saw Chasen, he asked me to make sure the album was about him and his story. I scrapped all the lyrics I had and rewrote the album to be about him and our relationship. I also wanted to make sure the album was very faithful to the demos, so I was very lucky to get the opportunity to take the role of main producer on this record.
SBS: What would you say are the most important things that Chasen Fraser taught you about yourselves personally, as a band, and/or about life in general?
Vaultry: He taught us to be positive, to keep working hard and pursuing our goals and to make sure we seized every opportunity by just going for it. Life is as we’ve learned, is very fickle so you have to try and squeeze in everything you can.
SBS: To be honest…it’s a tragic but interesting moment in your career. You want to be able to celebrate the positives…because of course, there are many. You of course, walk the fine-line of making sure you pay proper respect to your fallen band-mate…and make him proud with the recording. Of all things…you don’t want anyone to think you’re out there trying to hit it big by playing through the tragedy with all the details on full-display for your own gain…know what I mean? The legitimacy that it brings to this record by having Fraser’s writing makes the intentions known is tangible and honorable…and I commend you all for your work on Eulogy in carrying on his legacy. This record is always going to have his spirit haunting its liner-notes…and there ARE a million positives because of that fact – so straight-up, open question for you to answer however you like – what is the best part about having such concrete history on a record? Aside from the fact that the songs are awesome to listen to – is the album something that you can truly enjoy on a personal-level, despite any pain that comes with it?
Vaultry: We loved Chasen, and we wish he could have been here to celebrate it as a landmark for us. You hear countless stories of people hating recordings because of the significance, but this record will never be painful to listen to, because every note reminds us of how important Chasen was to us. He is this record and though we wish these circumstances weren’t the reason this record was made, it was necessary. He wanted us to fight harder than ever before when he was gone, so we did exactly that. To sum it up, Eulogy is a record Chasen wanted to help people’s grief, to empathize with them, and not to burden them and remind them how they can’t move on.
SBS: Eulogy also marks the first time newcomers Damian Anthony (Guitars) and Skye Mclean (Drums) are on the Vaultry material aside from the “No Victory” single. As a band, listening to the new record now in comparison to the Coven EP – what changes do you hear that they were able to bring to Vaultry to assist in creating the sound you have now? Essentially…how have they contributed to the band’s overall evolution from your perspective on what you hear between records – what changed?
Vaultry: Skye is an extremely accomplished drummer, one of the most underrated in our opinion. He delivers exactly what each section needs with flair and an impressive amount of depth. Damian has been a part of many local acts and has years of experience on stage and off, giving us the edge we really needed to move to the next steps as a group. Both him and Damian have helped the band develop our sound into something we’re extremely proud of.
SBS: I was, and still am, a huge fan of the Coven EP as you already know…and I’m digging the hugeness I hear on the new Eulogy album, as well as the shift in sound-direction…you all attacked these songs with mighty performances and powerful parts that seriously hit the mark. Giant atmospheres, huge vocals, memorable songs – still, processing all the emotions and feelings you must have had during this recording session must have been nearly impossible…it would take an admirable amount of strength and courage to finish this record with such personal material and deliver it with all the power it deserved. I think people will recognize that for what it is…that the tribute is as genuine as it gets and that all the players involved went after the songs on this record with everything they got. Did it strengthen the bond between you as players, people & friends in Vaultry somehow or were you even able to get to the therapeutic catharsis of music in creating this record? How did you get around the toughest moments during the recording process?
Vaultry: I think the toughest process between recording and writing the tail end of the material for this album was definitely the grief that was pulling us away from focus. Damian joining was exactly what we needed though to keep us on track. He’s an extremely positive and driven guitarist, and it’s something you need when everyone else is depressed and in mourning. You have to know you can go on. It was a huge relief to finally be able to get it finished and to show people what we’ve been working on so tirelessly over the year.
SBS: How about a highlight from the Eulogy sessions…what went right for you in the studio this time around in comparison to recording the Coven EP? Were there things you felt more prepared for this time around? Did being more prepared for those things lead to other stuff becoming more difficult? Details gentlemen, details! What are your favorite moments & memories from the Eulogy recordings?
Vaultry: We chose a great team to work on this record. Both our Co-Producers, Adam Sutherland and Ben Erikson are extremely capable engineers that brought the best out of our demos onto the record. Also having Leith produce the record really helped make the album stay faithful to our vision. We were originally supposed to go into the studio in April 2016, so we definitely were more prepared than we would’ve been. We had a lot of fun doing gang vocals, we invited some friends over and they came in the booth and helped really thicken it up.
SBS: Go into the science behind “No Victory” a bit for us…cause I’m sensing there’s some strategy in place there. Many musicians & people out there would think you’re all straight-up crazy for releasing a song that’s not on the new record, creating a video & spending all that time & effort to end up with something outside of the new album altogether – so here’s the opportunity to explain the theory behind its separate release for those stuck in the past ways of promotion…what benefits were there to releasing this song on its own before the new album that they might not be thinking about?
Vaultry: When Damian joined the band we learned it was going to be a few months before we would get in the studio to do Eulogy. We wanted to not only showcase our new guitarist but also our new sound. The song garnered a lot of attention and pushed us more into the public eye. When you have a big stylistic change, we feel it’s a good idea to warm your fans up to it so you don’t overwhelm them with a large divergent release. We also wanted to make sure we had a new song to garner attention before Eulogy because the music industry moves so fast these days and you don’t want to leave people too long without new music.
SBS: Aside from “No Victory” were there many other songs from the recording sessions that didn’t make it onto Eulogy? Was it easy for the band to agree on the final-mixes and what made the album? Who ultimately decides whether a song is good enough to make the cut and what makes it that way?
Vaultry: Eulogy was lucky to only have one full B-Side, which is a demo version of ‘A Letter To A Dead Friend’ that was close to the style of ‘Walls’ from Coven. That’s not to say we didn’t have a lot of cut Work In Progresses and early ideas that sparked the final versions of the songs.
SBS: Even though there’s an audible shift away from the previous raw Metalcore sound of Vaultry…I felt like the new songs were a logical progression for the band that made sense. As a fan of the old stuff, I felt like it was no problem to accept the new stuff. Do you anticipate any pushback against the new direction? Does it matter? Are there further changes to the sound of the band that you still want to explore in the future?
Vaultry: We’ve had a few complaints about the lack of screaming, but Leith was having a hard time keeping up the energy while screaming without damaging his voice. He worked with a vocal coach that helped develop the singing for this album and we’re very happy about the way the vocals sounded. We keep just enough of the old elements that people have been very happy with the shift. We feel like the music is more accessible but still keeps the emotional, raw elements we had from our last release.
SBS: Even though the new record is a highly personal one for you and for existing fans of Vaultry…from your perspective, what makes Eulogy accessible and relatable to those outside of its narrative? Give the people a written reason to get their listen-on…what do you all like best about the way the new record turned out?
Vaultry: Everyone has lost someone in their life, it’s something we all face. With the rising rate of cancer and life threatening illnesses, we all feel that loss more and more. If you want a record that tugs at your heartstrings and gives you an emotional, captivating experience, this is the record for you.
SBS: Open-floor gentlemen of Vaultry! Your moment to say anything at all that you wanna and set the standard for the rest to follow this year as our first official interview of 2017! Thank you again for your time & answers & digging into the music & personal stuff with us all…stoked for the official release of Eulogy and wish you all the best this year – cheers Vaultry, the floor is yours!
Vaultry: Thanks for having us! This was a story we really want people to know about and we hope people got to know us a little better. We really want to thank Dreambound, The Pack Agency, Sleep Later Booking, Infiniti Studios, The Zone 91.3, and all our friends and fans for constantly supporting us. This record wouldn’t have been possible without them. As for 2017, we have a cross-Canada tour coming in May and we’ve already started working on a new release and will have more details soon. Love you all!
Find the new album Eulogy from Vaultry direct at Bandcamp here: https://vaultry.bandcamp.com/