Singer/guitarist Harley Vendetta and guitarist Alex Nine – Mister Misery
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Arising Empire for the promo pictures and cover
Promo pictures taken by: Seike Clowniac
Thanks to Iris Bernotat at PR & Digital Relations for help with setting up the interview
Straight from the streets of Stockholm Sweden comes the brand new band Mister Misery, the band released their blazing debut album UNALIVE in October 2019 and sincethe band hasn’t been featured in metal-rules.com yet, I thought it was a good idea to set an interview with singer/guitarist Harley Vendetta and guitarist Alex Nine in order to get to known the band a bit better. The bands vampiristic look teamed up with their musical mix of glam/rock/metal with a touch of goth ought to appeal to fans of Marilyn Manson for example. Keep on reading if you want to know more about the birth of the band, their music, and the fact the band instantly landed a deal with Arising Empire and the booking company that represents bands like Nightwish, Anthrax and The 69 Eyes. Mister Misery recently supported Beyond The Black on their European tour and if you’re interested to hear about the bands own headline tour next year and a little about their upcoming show at Wacken Open Air 2020 then make sure to continue to read down below.
Hi guys nice to talk with you today, are you ready to kick off the interview?
Alex: “Hell yeah, let’s get started!”
Let’s take it back to the beginning and when the band was formed last year, who came up with the idea to form a band and was it hard to find members to join the band?
Harley: “I had a few songs and a vision for a super band and in my search for members I miraculously found Alex. It pretty much snowballed from there when we recruited our old drummer and current and original bass player Eddie. I would say it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but I consider all of us lucky for the universe somehow bringing us together to do this.”
Have you two been active in other bands prior to Mister Misery?
Harley: “Well, I was in one band earlier that was supposed to become a serious act but the members left and nothing ever came of it.”
Alex: “I’ve played as a session musician in bands such as Kobra And The Lotus & Miljenko Matjievic from Steelheart before. Besides that it’s only been smaller, local bands!”
Was it given from the start that you were going to play the kind of music you do? And how would you like to describe what kind of music Mister Misery plays?
Harley: “Yes, the vision for the band was pretty much 100 % complete by the time of it’s conception. We wanted a new and modern “Rockstar band” with a vampiric visual look. The songs, the energy and everything in between we were about 85 % sure of that it was going to work. And as of today we have not been disappointed with the response. The music is of metal foundation and it branches out in almost cinematic/horror esque elements. We want big catchy choruses, technical riffs and impressive compositions.
Where does the band name come from?
Harley: “It comes from an old lyric I wrote a long time ago that reflected what a destructive relationship I was in at the time. Mister Misery just clicked with me as the perfect band name for a killer new band. It fits all four of our personalities in the band and we had no other band names considered”
The bio states that you pushes the boundaries in you theatrical and chaotic performances, how exactly do you push the boundaries?
Alex: “By not putting any limits on ourselves when we enter the stage! We just go for the moment with no plans really. We just go crazy and see what happens.
For example, on the last tour, when we entered the stage, we would crawl on the edge, in front of the photographers and the front row, trying to make them really uncomfortable & entertained at the same time.”
Harley: “We put at least half of our efforts to behave like psychotic killers as we do playing our parts. We want the audience to feel the energy of the youth within us and the restlessness we carry. No show will sound or look the same. We have some choreography but we always end up just doing whatever the moment calls for.”
How come you chose to take on aliases and wear make up on stage?
Alex: “It’s always been a natural part for us, even before the creation of Mister Misery. Halloween and the visual essence of rock n roll has always been a great inspiration for us and something we’ve liked to explore.
To step out of your normal day self and become the one you’ve always dreamt of being, that’s really the kick you wanna go for!”
When did Mister Misery first perform on a live stage and how was your first show?
Harley: “Mister Misery’s first show was at Copperfields in Sweden in September 2018 and it was a complete disaster. But it was fun!”
How was it to open for Dream Theater in Germany this past summer? Did the DT fans like your music?
Harley: “It was quite and unbelievable feeling. As a first show outside of our country with this band we opened for the mighty Dream Theater. We were borderline shaking when we rigged our gear next to John Petrucci. And yes. The fans totally ate it up and we did not expect that. After the show we went out in the audience and the DT fans actually turned around in utter disbelief to say hi to us. Truth to be told we took maybe 100 photos or more that day.”
The bio also say that Mister Misery managed to create a hype in the underground metal community, does the bio mean in Sweden or Europe?
Alex: “Honestly, a bit of everywhere! Social media is a real beauty that way! Everywhere from USA to Indonesia we gained new fans quickly, but mainly Europe started to get their eyes on us early in our career.”
Which bands or artists inspired you to first get into the music industry?
Harley: “Well for me it was bands such as “Mötley Crüe, Guns N Roses & Metallica” I had my period of Manson and Slipknot also, and a few newer bands like Motionless In White and Black Veil Brides.”
Alex: “For me it started with Maiden, but I quickly got into Linkin Park.
Then I got stuck with heavier bands such as Children Of Bodom, Arch Enemy, Slipknot and In Flames!”
If you could pick three albums each that have inspired you the most, which ones would you pick?
Harley:“Dr.Feelgood (Mötley Crüe, Appetite For Destruction (GNR) & The Black Album by (Metallica).”
Alex: “Brave New World (Iron Maiden), Meteora (Linkin Park) & Follow The Reaper (Children Of Bodom).
How would you describe a show with Mister Misery?
Harley: “Unpredictable, energetic & scary. As If metal music had a love child with Tim Burton & Danny Elfman.”
Debut album UNALIVE
When did you began to write material to UNALIVE?
Harley: “Somewhere around summer 2018 the writing started for Unalive. Altho we had songs already released and some already written so there were only about 5 completely new songs written to finish the album.”
Who does what in the band, who writes the lyrics and the music and what are the lyrics about, are they personal?
Alex: “Harley wrote most of the music and lyrics for Unalive, he even had several songs for the album from before when we started the band. I’ve recorded some guitar solos and wrote the text for one song, but mainly I’ve been the band leader for the band, doing all the business, management and financial part. The writing process will be more together for the next album though and it’s gonna be a great time!”
Harley: “The way it’s been for this album I wrote most of the songs and lyrics. Some lyrics in certain songs are more personal about what i’ve been through and some are written just for entertainment purposes. Fictional stories if you will. However for future albums we might co-write everything or write songs on our own and then pick out our favourites for the next album.”
What inspire you to write lyrics?
Harley: “The struggles of life inspires me to write lyrics. Also unfortunate love and how we deal with loss and what sparks us to keep moving forward. Also horror, heroes, villains and movies inspires me to write lyrics.
Alex: “I have lots of lyrics in the bag, that mainly reflects my broken childhood and the pain and anger I’ve gone through. I get inspired to write songs that will speak for the broken souls around the world that find strength and purpose to carry on, even in the most dark of times, just like I had to do.”
In July the single “My Ghost” arrived, what did media and fans think of it?
Harley: “The response was good. We got much love and it sparked interest in many after that song was released. With the song the announcement of our debut album was also revealed. It also gave birth to our first international fanbase which was cool.
My Ghost (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
Were there many songs that wasn’t featured on the 40 minute long album?
Harley: “Oh god yes. Truth to be told there were a few songs I didn’t want featured on the debut album because they were so polished in my eyes that we needed the full professional treatment on them. There are songs still in our song bank completely written both lyrically and musically that we are unleashing on our next album. I believe that our second album will be a lot bigger and more well received now that we have found ourselves and know our music better.”
Did you add any bonus featured on the Asian release of the album?
Alex:“Yes we did, but unfortunately, it never got released in Japan! So there is a bonus song out there that no one has ever heard! It got stuck in purgatory!”
What are the songs “Live While You Can” and “Tell Me How” about?
Harley: “Live While You Can” is about bullying and how hard it can be to be young and different. It’s also supposed to be a pillar of strength for those who struggle in their everyday life. The heart of the song is in a line in the lyrics that goes: “No matter how dark it will get, you’ll make it through.”
“Tell Me How” is a very personal lyric about my life and what I was going through during a time that I lived In Los Angeles for 2 years. It’s about how sometimes in life you can be running around in circles and not knowing how to get out of it. It’s also how music saved my life. Music made me it’s slave for all eternity and it saved my lonely heart. Just as the lyric reads. The heart of the song is finding your purpose in life. Ours is music.”
The video to the second single “The Blood Waltz” include a story, tell us a bit about the video, please?
Harley: “The Blood Waltz “is about making the wrong decision and having to deal with it for the rest of your existence. It’s about someone who takes his own life and ends up stuck in a sort purgatory. He calls out for help and there’s no one there to respond. When I’m dancing with the lady in the music video it’s supposed to reflect the man’s mistake of suicide and that he dreams of being in his loved ones arms again. The heart of the song is the statement that suicide is never the answer.”
The Blood Waltz (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
I read that the title UNALIVE is inspired by your undead vampiric look, is that correct?
Alex: “UNALIVE reflects the feeling we all felt in our teenage years, (dead inside/unalive) which is what we’ve implemented in our undead, vampiric look. So yes, that is correct but with a deeper meaning!”
Who did the art-work to the album?
Alex: “Andreas Marschall, the renowned artist behind albums of In Flames, Blind Guardian, Dimmu Borgir and many more. We couldn’t be more pleased with the final result he presented!”
On your Facebook site the C.E.O of your label Arising Empire Markus Steiger say that your music ought to appeal to fans of Marilyn Manson, do you agree with him?
Alex: “Sure! That’s a great example!”
UNALIVE has been out for while now and have you read any reviews of it so far? Do you care about what critics have to say about your work?
Alex: “Yes we have and honestly, it’s equally fun to read a bad and a good review! It gives you great perspective of what people interpret of our music. It won’t change what we write but it’s fun to see what everyone think!
I read one review that mention you as a mix of WASP, Poison and Bullet For My Valentine, what do you think of being thrown into that mix?
Alex: “Wow, that’s a new combination I’ve never heard but I gotta admit, I really like it! It has the perfect mix of blood, anger, glam, emo, goth and metalcore! Right on!”
Harley you say in the bio that you have outdone yourselves on this first record and that you believe that it will be one of the best debut albums in a long time, but isn’t it so that a bands current album also is their best one so far for all artists?
Harley: Yes. You are very correct. Every artist says that their latest work is the best so i’m not sure that our future music will actually be better. However what I do know is that we have grown as individuals and we know ourselves as well as our music more now. We know what the band can do and what we are capable of. I will say the exact same thing when our second album drops, probably.
Label and management
How did you end up landing a deal with Arising Empire, was it you that found them or they find you?
Alex: “It’s a great story behind this! Exactly 1 day after we announced on social media that we’ve been a band for 1 year (10th of February), Markus Staiger directly contacted us on Facebook. He wrote a message on Messenger and ask us if we were interested in a record deal. The rest is history!”
C.E.O Markus Staiger say that you are going to kill it and that it’s been a long time since he was so excited about a new band, how does that feel? Do you feel any pressure delivering something extra special hearing those words?
Alex: “In the beginning we were all shaking in our knees of the crazy fact that he said those words. But now we’re great friends with him and there is no nerves anymore, we know we can deliver and we’re proud & thankful working with one of the biggest names in the metal label universe.”
Are you happy with the work Arising Empire have put into the band and into UNALIVE so far?
Alex: “Oh hell yes! Arising Empire has pushed us a lot and believe in us so much even we’re an aspiring, young new band on the market! Cudos to them for picking up fresh blood!”
You got a world wide deal with AE and in October the album was released in Europe, but what about North America and Asia, when is UNALIVE coming out there?
Alex: “What we know for now, there is work going on regarding North America! When and how the album will be released/promoted there is unclear to us so far. Japan didn’t do good, the album never got released there yet! A real bummer!”
Is there going to be any limited edition version of the album as well?
Harley: “There will not be a limited edition of the album containing more songs.
However there are now a limited edition Vinyl that comes with a gothic purple finish.
The album is released as both CD and vinyl, are you guys fans of the vinyl format?
Harley: “We love vinyl! I’ve already framed mine and I’m planning of framing the limited edition version very soon!”
Is the album available at Spotify or Itunes?
Harley: “Yes! Unalive is available on most major streaming services.”
What do you think of the meet and greet trend that’s big at the moment, would you ever charge fans in order to meet you?
Harley: “I’m not sure I have a good response to that. Honestly I’m more than happy to meet anyone free of charge that wants to meet us. However when time frames are so strict in this industry it’s hard to get a chance to meet as many as you want to. A VIP meet and greet could be a good way to cram something more into the schedule before the curfew. This would also allow us to meet our fans more often! Atho I don’t like the concept of someone paying to meet us. Like I said, I’m torn when this questions comes up.”
And what’s your take on the streaming and download business? Do you consider the record industry dead? Is it hard for artists and bands to live on their music because of the streaming services?
Harley: “I don’t think it’s the streaming services fault. I think because there is just so much content to choose from these days that music becomes a throwaway product. I don’t want to blame anyone for the death of buying CD’s or Vinyls. Times have drastically changed and this is just the way it is now. I won’t stop nor would I carry a grudge against anyone because I’m not rich and famous on my music. I’m in this for a completely different reason. That reason being because I love making music and being on stage.
The band is signed to Contra Promotion that handles bands like Nightwish, Anthrax and The 69 Eyes, how does it feel to have Contra Promotion backing you up?
Alex: “Contra is the best! They actually signed us without even have seen us live yet. They took a once in a lifetime shoot at it and they turned out to be really happy about their choice, haha!
They managed to put us on the major tour with Beyond The Black, opening for Dream Theater and playing Metal Hammer Paradise in Germany.
If that isn’t enough, they have given us our first European headline tour already + Wacken Open Air & Masters Of Rock next summer. They are everything to us and we are eternally grateful!”
Not many new bands are backed up by a label and a major promotion company like you are, and not many acts have the opportunity to head on out a tour straight after the release of their debut album, do you feel lucky with what you have achieved with the band so far?
Alex: “As mentioned before, we are eternally grateful! We call each other sometimes just to ask ourselves if this is really happening. We feel that we have achieved everything we’ve ever dreamt of and we just want it to grow from here, becoming the next big, alternative metal band out there!”
The band got a website but there aren’t much content on it, why? Do you rely on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube instead of a website?
Alex: “Yes we do. In these times where everyone is hooked up on their phones and social media, a website easily falls into shade. Although, with that being said, we will of course get a better band website in the future, we just haven’t prioritised our budget for that yet.
Who runs your social forums?
Alex: “Me and Harley”
Alive (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
About 1600 people likes your facebook site, do you think UNALIVE is going to increase that amount?
Alex: “The number will grow of course, it’s just a matter of time! What we like to focus on, is the response and interaction we receive due to such low numbers of followers. To get 2-300 reactions on 1600 on FB and 4-500 on Instagram with only 2000 followers is really good numbers, and that’s all that matters to us!
There is too many bands out there today who buy fake followers just to make it look good, but honestly: If you have 15-30.000 followers and only get around 300 reactions per post, you’re not doing it right!”
Harley: “Organic likes and comments are increasing fast right now for us and we receive fan art almost everyday. This is what counts. Not a fake number on a page.
Mister Misery is currently out on a tour in Europe supporting Beyond The Black, how has it been so far? Which show has been your best one so far?
Harley: “It’s been absolutely great. Beyond our greatest expectations. In fact, we are so good friends with BTB now that we are already planning on meeting them on their Scandinavians dates when we’re off the tour. They are all big comic book nerds and so are we so the conversations usually last a little too long when we have to go to soundcheck, haha”
Have the Beyond The Black fans been treating you nice?
Alex: “Yes they really have! Every night there has been countless of people coming up saying: “I’ve never heard you before but this was such a great surprise, you’re awesome! I wanna buy your shirt and vinyl!”
How come you aren’t featured on the Scandinavian leg of the tour?
Harley: “Well, because another band was already booked to open for them a long time ago those dates. This was something we knew about. It is what it is.”
The band ends the year with a show in Stockholm at the 7th of December, are you going to play the entire UNALIVE album? What are your plans for that night?
Alex: “Yes we did play the entire UNALIVE album, which felt great! We had people there from 4 countries and a great crowd singing along to all the words! It was great to finally see that the audience now knows the words!”
Any festival shows booked for next summer so far?
Harley: “Yes! Something we are very eager about is our first time ever playing Wacken Open Air. Getting an invite there being a new band like us was unbelievably crazy to hear. We’re also booked for Masters Of Rock and of course we have our headline tour in February.”
Is the band going to continue touring next year, if so are you going out as support or are you taking on the headlining position?
Alex: “Yes, we have our european headline tour coming up called ‘The Unalive Tour’, which is quite surreal! It will be 14 shows altogether in 5 countries, stretching from the 13th of February to the 2nd of March!”
Tell Me How (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
What are your main focus at the moment, the European or the Scandinavian market?
Harley: “Well, Europe mainly but we have our aim on the entire world. We see more america and south america taking a liking in our music so that’s cool.”
Are there any plans on trying to conquer the American and Asian market soon?
Alex: “We really want to get into those markets asap, but there is no plans for it right now! I guess we are first gonna prioritize to grow here in Europe before heading over there!”
Have you start to work on new material for the next album already or do you want to experience the outcome with UNALIVE first?
Harley: “Yes! I’ve been really eager to write more music since Unalive and I’ve written 5 new songs musically and lyrically as of now that i’m really proud of and think will set a good tone for album number 2. Like I mentioned earlier, there are some songs that could have been featured on Unalive that we withheld because we wanted them when we had better equipment to record and mix with.
When do you think the next album with Mister Misery can be found in stores?
Alex: “Hopefully next autumn!”
What would you like to say to the ones that hasn’t heard Mister Misery before?
Harley: “You better lock your doors because the ghosts are coming for ya!”
Could you give them three reasons why they should buy UNALIVE?
Alex: “It’s a fresh, youthful and angry blend of all the goodies in the bag!”
Well, that was all for me and metal-rules.com at the moment, thanks a lot guys for taking the time making the interview. I wish you all the best in the future, finally, do you have any words of wisdom to share with readers and fans?
Mister Misery: “Be yourself no matter what!”