Space/futuristic/sci-fi metal is nothing new in metal, with bands like Voivod or Vektor already honing their craft, albeit in the thrash genre. Germany’s Vyre joins in the fun with an atmospheric, avant-garde, black metal take on the topic. We speak with the band to find out more what drives them, their passion, and their craft.
Greetings Vyre, thanks for taking the time to talk to us at Heavy Metal Tribune. What does the band name, Vyre, mean, and what is the band’s back story?
First of all, thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about our music. I have to admit that this is the first interview ever (as far as I can remember) that I’m going to answer on my own. Most of this stuff is done by KG, because he is so much better on that subject, so don’t be too disappointed. The name VYRE was based on an idea of KG pretty early upon forming the band. I think he already came along with the name on our first more or less official meeting in a pub, where we discussed our plans for this band. I loved it directly from the start, as I know how hard it is to name a band with a short word that is not already occupied by anyone or gives any intention what kind of music the band is playing. The story behind it is not as spectacular as you might think, nor is the meaning. It is derived from a computer game that he was playing at that time.
The back story of the band is the simple result after the EIS split back then, as we decided to keep on making music together.
The band was formed all the way back in 2011, and your interests in the future and space travel is evident. How did this interest come about, and why the decision to express this through your music?
KG came up with the science fiction/ space concept pretty soon after the decision to go on as a band. It didn’t take much to convince me as the subject fascinates me as well, although more in an entertaining than a scientific way. I enjoy all kinds of movies, series and documentations taking on that subject. From a musical point of view, there are tremendous ways of playing and writing music that can grab on that theme as soon as you know which kind of emotion the pertaining part shall be carrying. From a lyrical point of view, I’m also always stunned where all these ideas come from. Rather ask the singer.
The band’s Facebook page isn’t your typical band page – there are lots of posts regarding space travel, and displays the band’s excitement for what the future holds. What is the most exciting project for you guys these days, and why?
I think there is a lot going on in terms of breaking frontiers. Seeing space travel getting more attention from private investors and companies is a good indicator that people want to explore the unknown. I don’t think, though, that sending a car into space has any use, but it is a statement.
The band recently released its third full length album, Weltformel. Musically, it seems that the band has grown in a more progressive, avant-garde direction compared to the material on The Initial Frontier. Was this shift in the musical direction intentional, and how has it helped convey the band’s messages to the listeners?
There was really no intention on changing something in the musical direction. It is interesting that the material seems more progressive to you than the previous stuff, even if just because I think that it is rather straight. Anyway, I take that as compliment and I am glad that our new compositions don’t seem to be too plain. Honestly, we had a real problem after releasing TIF part 2, as we tried to focus on the live presentation and get prepared for more gigs. So we rehearsed a lot with the present material without any song writing progress. That led to some kind of writer’s block for us and no one was really pushing for something new. As we didn’t get the amount of gigs we were aiming for, we started writing new material in 2016. It took months until I finally got something like a complete song, but that was kind of a breakthrough for me and I finally got my mojo back (That song was “We Are The Endless Black”, by the way). Maybe that long break created noticeable changes within the musical style.
With Weltformel seeing the band breaking new ground in its musical path, how has the songwriting process changed?
It did not change drastically – the major difference was the preparation. We did not show up with some riffs at the rehearsals, but with complete songs. With the recording possibilities we have today it is easy to record and arrange complete songs and share them by email. That’s a perfect base for everyone to prepare, discuss and play to see what will work or not. Any changes made could be adapted to the demos afterwards. I had pretty much hands on that output and wrote a lot of the material (except ‘Tardigrade Empire’, which was written by KG and ‘Alles auf Ende’, which was written by Doc). So I spent many hours sitting in front of my midi keyboard and figure out possible lines for the orchestral section and keys. But it was also awesome to hear the songs grow instrument by instrument.
There are a lot more instrumental, atmospheric passages this time round. How did the composition of these passages come about, and how do they fit into the overall theme of the album?
When writing the songs, I tried to keep the guitar riffing sometimes pretty flat, lesser strokes and accentuation to keep some room for the other instruments. And yes, it is sometimes difficult as a guitarist to take a step back and let other instruments do the riff hook line, but it gives a complete different sound appearance. For example, some of the cello lines on ‘Away Team Alpha’ were initially written as guitar leads. And also Doc has a great share on the atmosphere, as he added some really brilliant lines and transferred my crappy synth ideas to an amazing wall of sound.
The influences that can be spotted on Weltformel are aplenty, though the key influences that really stood out for me were those from Arcturus in the musical arrangement, and Ihsahn in the progressiveness and technicality in the music. What are some of the other influences that have gone into the writing of the album?
I can only speak for myself and I have to admit… I don’t know. Some records that are currently on heavy rotation in my car are ‘Zero Days’ by Prong and ‘Emperor of Sand’ by Mastodon. But I’m quite sure that there is no Prong riff on our record. Mentioning Arcturus and Ihsahn is surely not deniable, because we also love their stuff. I get influenced by many different bands of various musical genres. I think this applies to the whole band, whereas the intersections and the differences may vary.
While the overall theme relates to science and the future, are there any particular themes in the lyrics of Weltformel? Does the main theme of the album dictate or influence the sound of the album as well?
In fact it was the other way around. Music First! The whole album was finished as demo before any line of lyrics was written down. So KG had the time to work on lyrics with the more or less final product and experiment on what will work for which song. Interesting is that I for myself had some certain ideas about lyrical themes on some songs, but KG came along with a totally different interpretation. And I’m totally happy with this, as these lyrical themes suit the music so much better.
With a sound as epic as such, how does the band transfer the studio experience to the live stage?
As a big crew (9 people on stage, when complete) we’re able to reproduce the music according to the record. Unfortunately, most of the stages we play may get a little narrow. I always prefer playing with true instruments, in terms of cello, violin and keys. But it may happen that some of the band members cannot participate in a gig. Therefore we started to work with backing tracks, so that even in a worst case situation, with just the rock’n’roll cast, we’re still able to deliver the full wall of sound.
Few bands have really managed to capture our hearts for a long time now, and Weltformel is one of those unique albums that has managed to do so. Where can we see Vyre go from here musically?
Thank you very much. I think after the third record, we have some kind of settled sound and a clear musical direction. No need to change the style as long as we don’t repeat ourselves. In summary: This is what we do, but be prepared for all possible changes. Space crew doesn’t wanna bore you. The only thing that I can truly say about our next record to come is that it will be the best Vyre record ever.
We have come to the end of the interview. Thank you once again!
Thank you for having us and your support. Cheers…