Immolation Interview With Bob Vigna
@ G2, Glasgow
Tuesday 10th May, 2016
Interview by: Pete Mutant
With mid-May fastly approaching, Glasgow was experiencing not only one the hottest days of the year but also one of the most fiery line ups in memory. With a mad assortment of genre spanning bands within metal we were getting our chance in Glasgow to see the mighty Marduk, Death Metallers Origin, Greek Thrash outfit Bio-Cancer and, of course, New York’s gigantic Death Metal band Immolation.
Whilst crunch time was approaching and the bands were setting up, Immolation’s own Wizard of the six-strings, Bob Vigna, was nice enough to meet myself at the merch stand before walking out to enjoy this rare occasion when the sun was brightly shining in Glasgow to conduct the interview.
PM: I’m with Bob from Immolation here, how you doing?
BV: Okay, good. Thank You
PM: First of all it’s great to have you back in Glasgow. You bring with you an exceptional line up having been in London the other day for Incineration Festival
BV: Yeah it was really good
PM: So it went really well?
BV: Oh it was awesome. I mean we played London before, obviously, and it’s always a great show in London but this was the first kind of fest we’ve done over there like that and yeah we had a good time man. You know the crowd was great right from the beginning. We have friends of ours in De Profundis played, like they were first on the list on our day and there was a good crowd for them and a good reaction. So all during the day there was a good reaction for all the different bands. Obviously, at least in our line up, I mean Bio-Cancer wasn’t able to play that show but the three different bands: us, Marduk and Origin, we have a lot of different types of stuff to offer, so I mean the kids love all of it and you know there’s really cool people there you know, got to talk to a lot of the people there throughout the day so it was cool. Really good.
PM: Yeah it looked like you were really well received, a packed crowd
BV: Yeah it was awesome
PM: So before you got here you covered a lot of ground, been to Germany, Belgium and France got any good stories from the road?
BV: We’re road veterans all of us so you know. It’s been pretty easy going, the shows have been good. We’ve been to a couple of those places before and you know they were probably even better than the last time that all of us had been through there. Belgium show was good, France show was good. We did one show in France, in Lille which was phenomenal. We did a couple in Germany that were really good so I mean so far so good. Us, Marduk, all the guys, Origin, we’re all happy with the way that this tour has been going and we’re all excited and there’s been a good vibe around this tour. It’s been a really positive vibe with lots of people coming out and having a good time. So yeah it’s been great man we’re digging it.
PM: They’re all quite scenic places as well like Lille
BV: Yeah Lille, got to walk around in Lille. That’s an awesome, awesome city. Today I got to walk around in Glasgow a little bit more than I had in the past because we’ve only been here maybe two or three times so I was actually able to go into the main part of town and stuff which was cool. When you have the opportunity we love to get out and check shit out, I mean, I’m a bit of a ‘touristo’, that’s the way I am. There’s always occasions where you can’t but when I’m able to, and the timing is right, I always try and go and check out as much as I can. I don’t take it for granted you know.
PM: So you were last in the UK in 2012 again with Marduk, is there some sort of trend emerging here? Are these guys like your road buddies for Europe?
BV: You know I think this is the fourth tour I think we’ve done with them and they’re super cool guys and not to badger their image but they’re really cool guys. Their really nice you know. They’re all dark on stage but they are really super cool nice guys and we have a great time with them. Origin guys are super cool and the Bio-Cancer guys, that we just met, very cool people. It’s just a good time and as far as coming over to the UK, it just so happens that yeah, that was just the last time we came over here but, I think we toured with Napalm Death though, but that was previously.
Yeah I think one tour we came over here recently we just didn’t come to the UK for whatever reason, unfortunately that was out of our hands. That’s out of our hands which is unfortunate but you know next time I think, well right now we are on, basically, Marduk’s fourth run so wherever they didn’t hit or wherever they are looking to hit, that’s what we’re doing. This is their thing. When we come back on our own with the new record, possibly at the end of the year or early next year to tour we will come back and definitely come back and try to include all the places like Scandinavia and the UK and just do a wonderful run which will be great. We always look forward to coming over here.
PM: And make up for lost time whilst you’re here…
PM: 2013’s Kingdom of Conspiracy, again a testament to Immolation’s consistency for brutality. What keeps giving you guys that edge to keep on churning out such brutal music?
BV: We like the music. I mean we love what we do, we enjoy it and we always want to do it the best we can and that’s really what it comes down to. We are inspired by the world that we see around us and how things are going. Lyrically that’s what inspires us. We try to look at the world and see what’s out there and make people think, you know what I mean.The last record really, a lot of kids got what we were saying and you know even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter like it’s art so it’s music. People are going to interpret things differently. Like you know you could say “I thought this song was about this” and maybe it was but maybe it wasn’t, but most of them got it. To us it’s important. We try to keep it dark still but we want to, kind of, talk about things that are relevant. So musically it’s more of just trying to do what we’ve done before and just take it to the next level. You know try to do things better, darker, heavier, it’s just a matter of trying to better ourselves and come up with the best stuff we can.
PM: Get it to that next level.
BV: Sure you know it’s not easy, we’re working on our tenth record. We’re closing in on 100 songs. It gets tougher every time. But you know I think the new record definitely has a lot of good stuff on it. It’s dark, it’s aggressive. It’s probably going to be a little more intense a little darker than the last one but more of the same, you know, it’s going to be Immolation.
PM: It’s been 25 years since ‘Dawn of Possession’ and nearly 30 years ago since the band started out. Do you ever look back to move forward or is it just a fond memory?
BV: Not really, for us forward is forward. I appreciate the stuff musically that we’ve done in the past but me personally, I’m not the guy that goes “Oh things were better back then” because honestly they weren’t. Things are the best they’ve been now. You know the band, the personalities in the band, the personnel in the band. I mean we have had this line up for about fifteen years now but I never look back and be like “oh the Dawn of Possession days”. I don’t worry about that. It’s like this to me, we are at our best now because performance wise on stage, personnel in the band,everyone is 100% into what we are doing.
We know how we need to do things when we’re on tour, everyone knows what they need to do. When we are recording, everyone knows what they need to do. We don’t even rehearse anymore as a band because we all live in so many different parts. Everyone is dedicated enough to make that work and make it work right. When we write a new record we meet in a studio and record it and we never play it as a band. When we first play it live together as a band it’s up on stage for the show.
PM: That’s pretty crazy.
BV: So you know it’s having that luxury of having everyone being 100% into it that makes that possible. So to me we always look ahead and look to what we could do. We appreciate what we’ve done but we’re always looking ahead.
PM: Back in that time in New York it was such a thriving pit of Death Metal wasn’t it, Suffocation, Malevolent Creation, all these bands were coming out?
BV: Oh sure I mean that particular time, for us as well because we were younger, it was new. The music was new for everybody and to be at that cutting edge of something that is just coming up and everything, sure absolutely, we definitely had a great time and it was a good time. No doubt about it. But you know we don’t dwell on it. But it was definitely cool to be around back then, the tape trading and stuff through the mail, there was no internet. There was a few bands out there and everyone had their own identities. You know because these days it’s so much more popular, it’s very hard for a band to find that identity and there’s a lot of you know pluses and minuses. Like now it’s everywhere so that’s good but at the same time you have that many more bands it’s harder to decipher stuff. But overall it’s come along way and people have access to it now that they didn’t have before which is totally a positive thing. You know with the internet and Facebook and all that stuff it’s great, it makes it good for all the bands and the music of this kind that doesn’t get that commercial accessibility all the time.
PM: Have you noticed that the fanbase go up a little in recent years?
BV: Yeah I mean, for us it’s always been an uphill thing. It’s always been small steps but it’s always going up. The popularity of the band has always been going up now especially ever since we got on Nuclear Blast. We kind of found that niche with them and they are very positive with the band and they like the band a lot. Gerardo in California, he’s the one that runs the label in California. You know he always pushes us and the label here and over there have always been helpful if we ask them for certain things. They make suggestions, they try to help. It’s a real positive vibe, they have really helped us gain a lot more momentum.
Ever since we did ‘Majesty and Decay’ with them it’s just constantly been going up and up. It’s good. We’re still moving forward and things are getting better for us which is kind of cool, which is unusual after about 28 years (laughs). We’ve always felt like we’re the underdogs so we’ve always felt like we’ve always been struggling and we keep moving and still have that fire in us to want to do more and push harder. We’ve always had that and seem to get more of that as we go. We don’t sit on our past stuff. We always try to write stuff as best we can and that’s it. We’ve been lucky enough.
PM: So you have been on Nuclear Blast since 2009 so you are on one of the best platforms you can be on?
BV: I think we kind of just like, we matured as a band and kind of met up with them and the fact that they were really into the band at the same time, that just paid off in the end. A lot of the labels we were on, they were good labels it’s just that, with Roadrunner at the beginning, we were kind of young and didn’t know how the game worked so they weren’t necessarily at fault in anything it was just that we expected certain things and we expected more than what reality actually is. We were young you know and Metal Blade and all that, you just keep moving forward and eventually the Nuclear Blast thing happened and I think the timing just worked out. We were kind of on point and they really wanted to do something with us and it happened to work out.
PM: Clicked at the right time…
BV: Exactly that’s all, that’s all.
PM:So you were talking about the new album, have you got any tracks written for that?
BV: I’ve got eleven tracks written musically and the lyrics we’ll work on. We’re going into the studio June 15th, so we have to write the lyrics still but we normally do that in the two weeks that we’re in the studio. We’re ahead of the game here. We have some ideas and we’ll start getting that together. During this tour we’re starting to come up with some stuff and while we’re back for the three weeks before we go into the studio we’ll try to get all that ironed out. But yeah it should be about eleven songs long and like I said there’s intense stuff, there’s dark stuff, it’s heavy, there’s a lot of quick stuff, it’s very varied like you would expect.
PM: Well it’s very, very exciting, that’s album number ten.
BV: Tell me about it, it’s a lot of pressure
BV: (laughs) It’s a lot of pressure on us
PM: It’s Glasgow’s turn for Immolation, what can we expect from you tonight?
BV: Oh we’re just going to have a great time and just go off man. We’ve had a couple of great shows so far and Scotland has got their work cut out for it.
PM: It’s going to be a sweaty affair
BV: They’re (the crowd) going to have to bring it. But yeah we’re going to have a good time, we’re just going to get up there have a good time and hopefully the fans will enjoy it and all will be good in the world.
And all was very good. Thanks again to Bob for the interview!