UK underground heroes Viatrophy have been added to the long list of great British bands who’ve split up. Drummer Craig Reynolds told Muchmoremetal about this, the music industry and his new project.
Viatrophy is finished after five years (although a little later than you expected due to the vomiting virus that went round the group), why have you called it a day? How do you feel about it being over?
We called it a day because Gurneet (Ahluwhalia, guitar) left, deciding to pursue another career path by going to university, and we didn’t feel it right to go on without him. How do I feel? I can’t sleep and I have zero motivation to do anything. I’m kidding, it’s been a kick in the arse to get on with other stuff which has been useful. But I still can’t sleep.
Was your farewell tour emotional?
Probably more emotional the second time around, as you mentioned before we fell ill the first time and the only emotion around was whichever emotion puking your life out invokes. The last show in particular was crazy emotional. So many people turned up. I didn’t want it to end.
Do you have a favourite gig/tour from your time in the band?
Pretty much every gig and tour has been amazing and memorable thanks to the guys in the band and the way we do things on the road…If I had to pick a tour I’d say the European Dominatour we did last summer. It was 32 days straight in a big bus with our buddies in Annotations of an Autopsy and Trigger the Bloodshed. It was essentially one massive party. As for a show, it’s gotta be the last one in Reading.
When they first pick up an instrument a lot of people think that being in a band is an easy way to make a fortune without working very hard. Could you give us an insight into the challenges which face underground bands in the UK?
Surely those people are mentally ill. Or not playing metal. If you want to make a fortune without working very hard, play the maraca or whatever Bez does in The Happy Mondays.
It’s a hell of a lot more work than playing any other style of music, because to do it well you need to really really be on top of your game. Sure all these little dissonant 100% breakdown bands come along and some of them get big, but it’ll fade. Because they’re shit. And people only buy shit until they get told to buy some other shit.
The biggest challenge is actually making enough money to carry on making the music you love. I think it’s pretty safe to say that playing extreme metal is never going to make you a fortune these days.
These days people just download everything for free without a second thought for the artist, and that’s what feeds this throw-away musical culture we’re in right now. No artwork, no ceremonial ritual of going to the shop to buy your favourite band’s CD on release day, no tangible copy, and the band doesn’t make any money, NONE. You have to be 99% clothing and 1% music these days to even afford to pay for your rehearsal space. It makes me sick.
People assume that because you’re ‘signed’ or whatever that you’re on a pay-check, when the reality is the complete opposite. YOU owe the label money, and they want it back through record sales. So your ‘fans’ download it, guilt-free, assuming you’re living in Beverley Hills swimming in cocaine and whores, so the label doesn’t get paid back, you’re essentially doing a 7 day a week job for a MINUS figure salary, and then the same ‘fans’ get pissed off that you’ve split up because one of you goes to uni to get a real job to support your life and family.
I’m not bashing the fans at all, I bet none of them even know this is how it works, but I looked at the figures on ‘Torrent’ sites recently and I’m certain that if even half of those people had paid for our CD, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, I’d still be on tour.
You’ve now joined HAARP (myspace.com/haarponline). Could you tell us a little about the band? What sort of stuff are you playing? What stage are you at in terms of demos, gigs etc? What’s it like stepping into Dan Foord’s shoes?
YES! HAARP is a very progressive metal band with some world music influences. I shy away from using the word ‘tech’ because so many bands come out these days called ‘tech’ and they’ve just cut a psuedo-meshuggah type riff up 1 million times and stuck programmed drums underneath it. HAARP is not that. I was contacted by Al (Abdullah Al-Mu’min, guitarist) a while back to see if I wanted to play live session drums, I said yes, but when Viatrophy split up I joined full time. He’s an amazing songwriter and the stuff he’s come up with is some of the most original metal I’ve ever heard, completely free from clichés.
As for stepping into Dan’s shoes, I rewrote all the drums when I joined so it’s only really stepping into the shoes of Dan Foord’s name and status…which is already daunting enough! He’s an amazing drummer and I can’t wait to see what he gets up to in his new project.
We just got back the last batch of pre-production demos for the album, musically we’re good to go but we’re still trying to find that perfect singer. We don’t want to be limited by the boundaries of ‘screaming’ or ‘not screaming’, we just want to be musical…. So we need someone who can do EVERYTHING…not the easiest thing to do.
What are your former Viatrophy band-mates doing in the future (the ones that are staying involved with the music scene that is)?
At this moment, as far as I am aware I am the only one currently staying involved in the music scene. And I very nearly didn’t even do that.
Thanks for having me!
For more on Craig’s music visit craigreynolds.co.uk
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