Interview: DANIEL and GABRIEL of German metalcore quartet VITJA open up about new sound and new record THIRST.
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to introduce its readers to an interview we had with German metalcore quartet VITJA hailing from Nordrhein-Westfalen. We are catching up with the band of Gabriel, Daniel, Flo and Fabio after their signing to Arising Empire and the release of fourth full-length THIRST out on September 6th, 2019.
In this interview our editor-in-chief Alex had with DANIEL and GABRIEL we talked about the band’s journey and influences, the shift to a more melodic sound achieved with their brand new lineup, new label Arising Empire and future plans. Most importantly, we discussed in detail the writing and creative process behind new record THIRST, the lyrical themes and messages, the challenges, the collaboration with Carlo Knöpfel and singles BACK, MISTAKES and SILVER LINING.
- Hello VITJA, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Let’s warm up by talking about your journey across those six years and the massive shift from straight heaviness to a more melodic shade of metalcore you achieved with your new vocalist Gabriel Spigolon.
DANIEL : Hey Alex, thanks for having us! Oh yes, it´s been a long way. We have changed a lot in the past years but it feels just right. I think that we have played every possible tone in every possible measure. So it was about time to give the song a chance. We wanted to create music that suits us, suits our new singer. We will continue writing/playing heavy music but new elements will have their moments.
- What kind of influences and genres have you explored before sticking to your current soundscape and how do you see the current German metalcore/core scenario?
DANIEL: Our current style was the result of writing, writing and writing. It just happened. We did not have a masterplan. Everyone in Vitja is listening to different styles of music. This is very important for us when it comes to writing a new record. But we did not have any goals like „we have to sound like this or that“. I think that German metalcore will come back. There are only a few bands left, others broke up and some take a break. There are still a few that stay in the game and do very well in my opinion.
- CONGRATULATIONS for signing with label Arising Empire in 2019 and entering their amazing roster. What feelings and expectations are behind this achievement?
DANIEL: Signing with Arising was exactly what we wanted. I heard about how they are working with their bands, so we wanted to join the roster. It´s a label with a great infrastructure and close contact to everyone involved.
- THIRST is your fourth full-length out on September 6th, 2019 marking a new chapter for VITJA. What was the creative and writing process approached and how long have you been working on the record?
DANIEL: I think we‘ve worked for 1 year. I started writing in July 2018 and the first single dropped summer 2019. The most songs were written by me and the rest of the bands added a few ideas or we changed some arrangements. Gabriel also started writing songs. So, in our new lineup we have the possibility to mix ideas and write different styles etc. This is just great! We just started writing 🙂
- I would love to discuss with you the lyrical themes discussed in the record.
GABRIEL: Lyrics are something that we really pay attention to. I build the lyrics around the written melody and some key words coming out while I´m freestyling. For THIRST our main inspiration was life itself. It’s messy, full of surprises and often unfair. We wanted to portrait real situations we’ve all been through to connect with everybody else, so that at end of the day, everybody knows what it means when they sing along at our concert or just listening to it at home.
- What’s the general message and vision that VITJA wish to bring forward with a new sound, new lineup and new record?
GABRIEL: Happiness, hands down. We’re doing what makes us happy and we’re fortunate enough to do it with people, who are very positive and grateful. We were given a hard time by some and still are, but I’m certain if we continue to spread love and good vibes, our message will get trough and be relatable to everyone.
- Forerunners BACK, MISTAKES and SILVER LINING. Let’s discuss a few details of the songs and the mindset behind choosing those three songs in particular to anticipate the record.
GABRIEL: To begin all songs off THIRST have their special place and story, however these 3 tracks stood out the most in our view. BACK was the very first track we wrote for this new album and served as a fire starter for this new chapter of our lives. MISTAKES is a very personal song. It’s about losing someone forever, only to find love in yourself, embrace being alone and evolve as a person. When we showed the fully recorded album to our friends and label, everybody said: “this is the one!” There’s when we knew, we had to shoot a video for it. SILVER LINING is one of the heaviest off THIRST. We went into the studio, knowing that we wanted to have Carlo of BOS on our Album. It all worked out so great.. Carlo and me just clicked, it was so beautiful hearing that powerful mix and imagining what would it feel like to perform the track live, that we had to shoot a video for it. It was a ton of fun!
- I would love to discuss with you the experience you had by featuring Carlo Knöpfel from Breakdown Of Sanity and how this collaboration was set up in the first place.
DANIEL: I‘ve known Carlo for 4 years now. We toured together and kept in touch. It felt right asking him to feature one of our heavier songs in the new Vitja era. We became friends over the years.
- What song do you consider to be the heaviest, the most melodic and the most experimental on this record?
GABRIEL: The heaviest is probably VOICES. We love performing it live. It’s fast, it has a bouncy riffage and overall it’s just amazing to hear the crowd screaming: “it’s far enough”.
The most melodic one is surely Light Blue. It was definitely a goal to write a slow song, that still carries heaviness with it. It just felt right to have it as a opener, since it embodies all the elements of our songwriting.
The most experimental one is for sure Lost In You. We never wrote a 6/8 song before for a Vitja record. It was a challenge to suit it to our needs, and we’re very pleased with the result.
- Any challenging situation experienced as musicians so far especially for THIRST? This can be anything from recording, songwriting, touring.
GABRIEL: The most challenging part of this cycle was definitely the sudden change in the line-up and how to come across as a well-rehearsed, professional band. We’re lucky to have found 2 amazing guys, that are willing and foremost able to carry the torch of VITJA.
- If you had the opportunity to tour with 3 mainstream metalcore bands who would you tour with?
DANIEL: Oh, that´s a tough one. I think it would be Wage War, I Prevail and Beartooth or While She Sleeps 🙂 But this will change monthly I think, haha.
- What else can we expect from VITJA for the rest of 2019 and how you guys are going about the promotion of this record? Shows, anticipations, materials tracking, sneak peeks.
GABRIEL: 2019 is coming an end and we got around, this much I can tell you. Headlined most of the bills we played and we were not expecting this. This is a welcoming surprise and having most of the people knowing the songs, singing along.. it’s beautiful. We intend to keep going, always passionate and humble, welcoming new faces to our big Vitja-family.
Thank you for your time VITJA and all the best for the promotion of your new record. We’ll keep on supporting you into Europe and US!
DANIEL AND GABRIEL: Thank you very much Alex! Thanks for having us!
Vitja – Thirst tracklisting:
1. Light Blue
2. Silver Lining feat. Carlo Knöpfel of Breakdown Of Sanity
6. Lost In You
9. What’s Next
10. Those Years
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