Vampires Everywhere are a band who’ve been through a lot in the relatively short time they’ve been performing together. There have been bust-ups, line-up changes and to cap it all off, late last year frontman Michael Vampire announced that the band would be changing their name to The Killing Lights, and that this name change would reflect a change in the musical direction of the band. I recently had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Michael, now going by his real name of Michael Orlando, before The Killing Lights’ recent Southampton show in support of The Defiled.
Why did you initially decide to change the name of the band? Why did you chose to do your first tour as The Killing Lights in the UK and not the US, where you’re from?
I just decided that it was time to move on. I loved Vampires, and I certainly put a lot of time and effort into it, but it was representative of a very angry depressive point in my life. I was morphing into all these different characters, but I wasn’t really being myself. Starting this tour in the UK marks a complete fresh start for us. It’s the final closure on Vampires and the start of something else; hopefully something better. We’re playing all new stuff at these shows, none of the old songs. We just felt we had to, otherwise it could get confused. That said, we’ve recently parted company with Century Media, our record label, and that means that the Vampires Everywhere name is mine again, so in the future, if Halloween comes up and we’re playing, who knows. We might roll out some of those songs!
What sort of reaction have you had from your fans so far?
It’s been a great reaction ever since we changed the name actually. Of course people were pissed off for a day or two, but that’s really all it was. As long as I’m playing music that people are loving it’s fine. The fan response on the tour has been especially great actually, there are people at these shows who’ve been waiting for us for the past four years and that’s really nice, obviously.
Is there a big difference between The Killing Lights and Vampires Everywhere musically?
Yes, definitely. We tried to get a little bit of a fusion between metal and grunge going on. I really love the 90’s, you can hear that on the older Vampires record. I really like nu-metal and grunge, and the Killing Lights sound is a continuation of a more melodic version of what we were doing on that record and I think people are really going to like it.
So far though, the only thing we’ve really recorded and mixed properly is two demos. One is called ‘Don’t Turn Around’ and the other is called ‘Waste My Time’. We just released ‘Waste My Time’ as a free download on Facebook. We knew the fans really wanted to hear some songs, but those two are really all we have so far. The stuff we’ve given away won’t be on our record though, so we’re working on new material. Some of that will be harder, some will be softer. I’m feeling it out on this tour really, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Where did The Killing Lights name come from?
I was in a very bad car accident when I was younger, and the last thing I saw in the moment before it happened was the lights, so the name came from that. I’m a big AFI fan, and it sort of came to my attention later on that The Killing Lights is an AFI song too.
How would you describe the music you’re making now to someone that’s never heard it before?
There’s a little bit of the 90’s to it and a little bit of today. We’re trying to make it a bit fresh, but we’re not really doing anything new. If I could be playing in the same era as Bush I would be, but sadly it’s not like that anymore! I’m trying to be what would happen if Nirvana had a baby with Pantera, that’s what we’re aiming for.
Have you ever had a crazy fan experience?
Oh god, so many! [laughs]There were two that really stuck out as the worst. One was where a fan found my mailing address and sent me vials of blood. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, because I get sent a lot of candy, so I thought it was that. I sniffed it, and smelt iron and then it clicked! The other one was cupcakes that were filled with blood. Why do people think this is something I want? [laughs]I took a bite of that cupcake, tasted it, and, well, I have OCD, so I just went directly to the hospital. When I got back, my guitar player had eaten three of these things! I never told him to this day, but hey, he knows now!
As a band, Vampires Everywhere received a lot of hate, why do you think that was?
It was the name, definitely. There were quite a few bands with a similar look to us, but they broke through a lot quicker because they didn’t have the word ‘vampires’ in their name. The vampire thing is actually a reference to the film ‘Lost Boys’, which I love, but it definitely meant that people made a lot of assumptions about us without ever hearing our music. We wore make-up too, and that was a little rough, but the biggest problems came from our name. For example, we had a lot of line up changes early on, and loads of amazing bands go through line-up changes, but we always got stigmatised the most because we’re the sparkly ones! [laughs]