You might remember Vastum as that bitchin' death metal band who put out the devastating Carnal Law demo back in 2011. 2013 saw them finally release their debut album called Patricidal Lust. Due to unforeseen problems, the album almost didn't see the light of day, which would have been a shame, as it is a damn good album which has received unanimous praise across the underground media for its merciless sound and freaky lyrics about weird family sex. Vastum band members Leila Abdul-Rauf (guitars/vocals, also of Hammers of Misfortune fame) and Shelby fuckin' Cobras (guitars, also of psychedelic death metal band Apocryphon and comedy internet show Illogical Contraption Radio) were gracious enough to answer a few questions about the band, the album, the artwork and other death metal-related business. Check out the awesome Patricidal Lust and then say hi to them on Facebook.
1. Hello and thanks for the opportunity, we're very grateful to be able to interview you. How are things in San Francisco?
Leila: Quite expensive! Miraculously enough, Dan and I still live here, but most of the band lives in Oakland now, where we also practice.
Shelby: I left San Francisco about 2 years ago. Oakland is awesome, affordable, and all the good shows happen out here now.
2. You're currently riding the waves of Patricidal Lust's success which was, by general metalhead consensus (ours included) an excellent cut of old-school death metal. The road to releasing this album was filled with difficulties, setbacks and grief. Would you say that you're at last able to take a break and enjoy the putrid fruits of your labor? Are you relieved to finally have the album out?
Leila: It's great to finally have the album out; I'm very proud of it. But I'm glad the long break is over and that we're back to writing new material and playing shows again.
3. Have you had the chance to play these songs on stage yet? If so, how did audiences react to hearing your perverse tales live?
Leila: Yes, we've had one show so far with the new members and it was off-the-hook insane. I think the long break has made our audience really hungry to see us live again.
Shelby: Our first show was great, people went off and the energy in the room (both the band and the audience) was palpably crazy. I can't wait to get Vastum out on the road and bring this music to a wider audience live.
4. Really bummed out your European tour plans fell through, guys! What countries were you most excited to visit and what national Euro dishes were you most eager to gorge on? Hope you can make it to the old continent next year!
Leila: Yes, we really need to make the EU tour happen. I personally was looking forward to some Belgian waffles and some Austrian mozartkugeln! I've been fortunate to have played in EU a few times, but I have yet to visit most of the UK, Norway, Switzerland and the Eastern bloc countries.
Shelby: I've never been to the EU, and am anxious to get over there. My family is Norwegian/Italian, and I'm excited to someday return to my respective homelands for lutefisk and legit Sicilian pizza.
5. You must be tired of this by now but holy shit, the cover artwork for Patricidal Lust by Paolo Girardi is awesomely gross, althouh the shock factor is dialed down a bit by that goofy looking bat. Why Paolo Girardi?
Leila: Paolo was recommended to us by our label 20 Buck Spin. Our bassist Luca is Italian and was able to communicate directly with him about our vision for the cover, so it worked out well. I agree though, that bat is rather cuddly looking for such an otherwise devastating cover. As much as I love that painting, Dan drew an alternate cover for the vinyl which I think fits better aesthetically with the band.
6. I was stoked to hear that Shelby Cobras would join Vastum as guitarist. Did he ease in nicely among you (honk honk)? Why did you feel he would be a great addition to the band?
Leila: In my opinion, Shelby really saved the life of Vastum, and has become my true "axeman-in-crime". We were having a lot of difficulty finding the right guitarist, and when he came around, things started to really happen again. Shelby puts his heart and soul into everything he does, not to mention he is also a great songwriter and very productive with his time. He's also a lot more outgoing than I am and has done a great job taking over a lot of the booking and flyering.
7. A question for Leila, if we may: girl, Hammers of Misfortune is fucking great! It's been 3 years since the wonderful 17th Street was released, which is too long. What's going on in the Hammers of Misfortune camp? Any chance of hearing some new material any time soon?
Leila: Thanks! I agree, three years is way too long between releases. Hammers will finally be in studio again in mid-June to record a few new songs for an upcoming release. Our drummer Will Carroll also plays drums for Death Angel and because they are on the road for most of the year, it's very rare that we get to practice as a full band which has made progress very slow. We hope to have a new album out by next year.
8. Shelby, you are going to play a show with both Vastum and Apocryphon in the same evening. Are you properly prepared with Doritos and beer in order to sustain this incredible effort? Also, what metal blogs/websites are you currently following? Cvlt Nation and Metal Bandcamp are two of my favorites, but The Living Doorway is still sorely missed ;((
Shelby: I think I'll be fine. I've played two sets with two different bands in one night before, as long as I gorge myself on Miller High Life and Taco Bell for a couple days leading up to the show, it should sustain my efforts sufficiently. I'm really excited to being doing double-duty on a bill with a band as epic as Ulcerate. They're one of the few death metal bands out there that I really feel is forging their own path and creating sounds completely outside the confines of the genre.
As for the second part, I've unfortunately given up most of my efforts on reading or writing about metal whatsoever. But it's for a good reason: I'm too busy creating it.
9. Lastly, what's in store for Vastum in the future? Can you tell us anything about any upcoming material or shows?
Leila: In May, we have a show with Ulcerate followed by some Pacific Northwest dates with Diocletian, Backyard Mortuary and Bone Sickness. We also have two new songs in the works and will record more new material hopefully later in the year.
10. Guys, thanks so much for indulging us and we wish you nothing but the best! We leave the last words for the children up to you.
Shelby: Aequa lege necessitas sortitur insignes et imos. Aeternum vale.