‘I don’t know what New Grave means’: An interview with Fearless Vampire Killers

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The Fearless Vampire Killers have a well-deserved reputation as one of the hardest working bands in British rock, and they’ve certainly been living up to it this year; they’ve toured non-stop all over Europe, and have even managed to squeeze in a performance at Camden Rocks festival. The Edge caught up with the guys at the final date of their most recent tour to talk social networks, new music, and what they really think of the fast growing ‘new grave’ scene.

You guys have toured all over Europe this year, what was your favourite country to play in?

Luke (drums): Italy!

Drew (bass): Denmark was really good as well, our show in Copenhagen was probably one of the best of that tour.

Laurence (vocals): I really liked Austria actually, we played in Vienna and that was a lovely city. The actual show wasn’t the best though, so I guess it depends whether you’re talking about the best gig, or the nicest place

You started your own social network the Obsidian Bond last year as well; were you pleased with the reception that got?

Drew: Yeah, we were massively pleased and quite surprised as well. It was a bit of a gamble and a risk to do it, and it’s an easy thing for people to misconstrue, as there is a small element of paying for it involved. Some people see things like that as selling out or somehow exploiting your fans. But most people have just really got into it, and it’s been a really nice place for us to kind of get rid of excess creativity. We try and do lots of nice little special things and content just for the site, and people really seem to enjoy it. At the moment we have more people joining than leaving, which is always a good sign!

You actually ended up recording two albums due to management circumstances, but only released one of them. What happened to the tracks you didn’t release?

Drew: Well, essentially, we have that other album in the bag waiting. We have about 6 tracks recorded and we’re thinking about doing something with them. Quite what, we couldn’t say, but I’m sure they’ll get used in some way, shape or form.

There were lots of positive reviews for the new album ‘Unbreakable Hearts’, but there was one in particular that was very negative from Rock Sound. How did you feel about that?

Laurence: Honestly, we weren’t expecting it from Rock Sound at all. We felt that it was a bit of an insult really. We expected people to not understand it, but given that everyone else seemed to like it so much, we were just kind of confused.

Drew:  Funnily enough, I think we’d have understood it more if there’d been more of a mixed bag reaction, we were anticipating a bit of a love-hate situation, but most people seemed to really get it and think we’d made something awesome. That one bad review really threw us a bit, because it was one of the last ones we saw, and the general reaction had been so positive up until that point. Also, we’d done quite a few nice features for Rock Sound, and we sort of thought that meant they liked the album, so to get a slamming was a bit of a sneaky surprise! It was always a bit of an odd album, we knew some people would like and others wouldn’t, and I guess that we’re actually quite lucky that so many people seemed to like it.

You’ve spoken before about moving away from some of the dramatic concepts that you base your music on, particularly the fictional world of Grandomina, where a lot of your songs are set. Why are you planning to do this?

Laurence: It was something that we always planned to do from the start, but I just thought we’d have done it after being massively successful! Instead we’re doing it after having been vaguely successful [laughs]My original plan was that the first album would get us recognised, the second album would be huge, and then we’d shock everyone by doing something completely different on the third album. But that didn’t happen.

Drew: So we’re sticking to our original plan. It’s just less shocking because we’re not exactly the biggest band in the world! [laughs]We always had loads of ideas that we could do with albums that were a bit more “real world”, and we definitely want to go back to Grandomina at some point, but right now it feels like the right time to do something different.

Kerrang recently coined the term ‘New Grave’ to describe the burgeoning goth rock/punk scene. Do you consider yourselves a part of that scene?

Laurence: We had a part in creating New Grave, almost, but when we started out no one called it that. I guess our association with it is hard to describe. We’ve played with alot of bands from that scene, but at the same time, I don’t know what New Grave means.

Drew: Yeah, it’s early days at the moment, I’m not sure if I’d describe new grave as a scene of its own just yet. We’re friends with a lot of the bands in the original new grave feature, and we’ve played with a lot of them, and there’s definitely something building there, but I think it’s too early to put a label on yet. That said, I would say that we do feel like we have a connection with bands like Creeper, Fort Hope and Ashestoangels.

And finally, what else have you got planned for this year after you perform at Download?

Luke: Well we’re going on a European tour with a band who supported us recently called Annisokay and we’re doing some smaller UK festivals as well.

Drew: On top of that, we’d like to do something with the tracks that we worked on last year but didn’t end up releasing. We’re looking at ways to fund and release a new album, because we can’t fund it ourselves at them moment, and we don’t really want to go down the pledging route yet. We’re already quite reliant on our fans, we don’t want to lean on them too much! We’ve already done Obsidian Bond, and without that, we wouldn’t have even been able to release our second album!

Unbreakable Hearts is available from Goremount and PIAS Recordings.

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