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Interview with Vaermina

16 Aug 2019 // An interview by Lexa.Dixon

Vaermina is a Blackgaze/Depressive Black Metal singer from Wellington, and he has just released his first EP, Mortem. Axl Scott was able to catch up with Vaermina - here's what went down:

Where did the name Vaermina come from?

Vaermina is a fictional Character from Elder Scrolls, whose sphere of influence includes nightmares, psychological terror and torment, dreams, bringing evil omens, and stealing memories. I felt this name to be fitting to use as a musical project.

Can you tell us about your singing lessons?

As far as singing lessons go, I have never had any. The type of vocal I use throughout Vaermina's music is raw, desperate and emotional; all of which singing lessons simply cannot teach. It is a very personalized sound in which the technique was acquired from years of doing vocals in heavy bands. I feel like the vocal style I use in this project is a refined result of this.

How do you control yourself from croaking when giving vocals?

Of course to do this, technique is necessary but in this case, honest emotion in my voice becomes a huge factor which makes the feeling of expelling it that much more natural. A glass of water may also be necessary, haha.

What is the meaning behind your album Mortem?

In Latin, Mortem is a form of the word for "death," which is a stripped down concept for this project. It is the one thing in which life will guarantee you, and no one can escape it. I feel like this makes for a very personal and dark concept and a person's individual struggle can really elaborate on that. In saying this, there is also beauty in death which opens up room for more concept elaboration.

Who inspires you?

Anybody who has struggled. That is the real inspiration for me.

What got you into black metal?

At school I used to go into the computer room on my lunch break and just scope out music and was intrigued by Black Metal. It was so obscure finding out about this genre as a 13 year old kid. I remember finding Burzum one day and it terrified me in such an exciting way that enticed me further into the         genre. Now I have found a sad, personal form in which Black Metal is played and this is now where my heart lies.

What can you tell us about the artwork on Mortem?

The artwork for Mortem was created by my good friend Daniil (who has a noise/grind project called 'Bodyache'). I gave him an idea and he created it in his own style of digital art. The image was intentionally created to appear Lo-Fi and resembles a woman with a veil over her face. She has a certain look of sadness and sorrow upon her, which perfectly defines the music it represents. The logo featured was also created by my good friend Jae who plays in Oblivion Dawn, and he put a stupid amount of hours into crafting the logo that will represent this project.

What made you choose music to express yourself rather than another art field?

Because I want to walk the listener through an emotional and thought provocative journey through my mind and music is the only art form in which I can accomplish this. Nobody understands the pain in which I am forced to deal with on a day to day basis, so I will educate them through my craft. When I make my music, it usually puts me in a rather dark spot because I am unintentionally opening doors in my head. It has to be done though and is very reflective of the finished product.

I heard that you produced Mortem, I can imagine that was a lot of hard work. Considering you produce, play all the instruments and also do the vocals. Can you tell us about this process?

Well, to be honest I don't even know how to play a guitar, but I was so committed that I made it work. What I play is honest music straight from the heart and I think that makes it a lot easier. As soon as I have an initial section that I am happy with, I add layers of guitar and synths as well as bass accordingly to create the most sorrowful and mood inducing vibe possible. I then program the drums to this, and it starts to take shape and it becomes clear where the song is going. Ambiance is also a huge factor within my music, and I like to use this as an emotional build up to an overwhelming atmospheric drop and this consists of slow, quiet layering of guitars and synths. Lyrics are then written, and I begin vocal tracking. I like to set the microphone up on one side of the room and stand in the opposite corner and desperately scream so loud that it must concern the neighbours gravely. I then fit the vocal tracks in and begin the mixing and mastering process which is extremely time consuming. You can get lost for days building up your desired sound and I quite like that aspect of production.

What’s involved in a typical day for you?

I wake up (unfortunately) and go to work where I help fit and manufacture timber joinery into houses (carpentry assisting I guess?) I enjoy it. I then like to go home and chill out and usually listen to sad music over a glass of red wine and a cigarette. The weekend is usually a different story, and when I am in the music making mindset, I usually do the same during the week; except I create sad music when I go home as opposed to listening to it.

Any tour plans?

Vaermina will never be a live project because it is so personal to me that I would like it to remain a studio project. I don't think the emotional value can be captured in a live setting. Despite offers from some rather respectable musicians, I will always choose to keep this as my baby and not share it with anyone else.  

What are you working on right now?

As far as Vaermina goes, I have made a start on a full length album that is (somehow) going to be darker and more morose than Mortem. I expect this to take a while, but I am set on releasing a single before said album launch, which I aim to have out late 2020. I am also working on lyrics, vocals and a tour later this year for Malignancy, a Post-Black Metal band which I have recently become a part of with some incredible musicians. Watch this space.

How long have you been doing music for?

I have been playing in various bands for around a decade now, my last band being Depraved, a Death Metal band in Wellington. This currently lies dormant due to my decision to pursue Vaermina as a personal journey by myself. I used to love angry, hateful music but now it's time for me to do something on a personal level, and the blackened area of music is always where I have felt most at home.

What NZ artist would you like to perform with?

'Performing' is out of the question for Vaermina, but bands I would like to work with are Nystagmus and a legendary Depressive Black Metal artist under the name Exiled From Light, who I believe no longer make music under this project. In such a niche genre in a small country, your options are always going to be limited, but I have no issue doing this venture on my own.

You can check out Vaermina by clicking on the following links:




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