At this point, if you are into the darkest forms of hardcore/metal music, you probably have come across this dude’s remarkable talent for graphic design. Szymon Siech, commonly known in the underground as VBRRTRD, has been creating art for a vast number of projects – IntegrityLeft For DeadFull Of HellRise And FallPick Your SideBlind To FaithSvfferSeven Sisters Of SleepIlsaLow Places… You name it. Born and living in Poland, he is far from steady, and we’ve asked him some questions about his work and daily life. But not only: across this article, you’ll find high-res photos of some of his outcomes, specially taken for the interview.

So, tell me, how long are you working on making artworks for these type of bands? And so, which are the top/main influences that you get and got all over these years to manage to get so many great artworks?

Around 15 years, I think. In the beginning I had less work than these days of course. And I used different technics then. Influences and inspirations are pretty much the same through all the years, though they slightly vary. But I think it would sound too cliche to mention a bunch of artists and how much the cold reality affects me, etc. So I just say my artworks are kind of outbursts of my imagination amplified with (not) mentioned influences. Fair enough?

I’ve noticed that you have a tendency to work with black and white pictures. And sometimes you also apply a bit of colour, such as red or blue – the main opposite colours in life. You also seem to enjoy working with dripping and clippings. Which and in what consists your methods of work? Do you usually make your own briefing, brainstorming and expose out your ideas in paper and then transfer it all to digital or do you have any another way of doing it?

You’ve mentioned black&white and colours I use often, but frankly I’ve never thought about it that way. However, the way you put it, it actually makes sense, so I guess it must come out of myself naturally. Methods I use or details which you can find in my works partly define my style and, at the same time, limit me in borders of the stylistic. But it’s not a problem for me. While creating anything I wouldn’t say I’m brainstorming. Sometimes I have a plan, an idea, sometimes I have to “look for it”. There isn’t too much thinking or analyzing in it. I usually don’t take any notes, it only happens when all of a sudden I have some idea I don’t want to forget.

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I’m also aware that you’re from Poland. In fact, you live in the former Łódź Ghetto – which was probably the most infamous and recognized jewish ghetto in WWII. Did that affect you in any sort of way? Knowing that you’re living in the same place that once, for instance was the scenery of the most horrific, grim and violent crimes to date.

This city has some tragic history and people have to be either ignorant or stupid not be aware of it, or pretend it doesn’t matter any more, which might be even worse actually. There are places which haven’t changed too much since WWII. If you google Litzmannstadt Ghetto, you can still easily recognize many streets, or see Himmler visiting the ghetto, etc. There was also a workcamp in Łódź, a train ramp from which Nazis sent off transports to Auschwitz and other deathcamps, there was concentration camp for children… Of course all that martyrology affects me, but more on a personal level. I’m not sure if it’s – for lack of a better word – inspiring. I’d rather say interesting, sad and moving at the same time. Actually, recently I’ve moved to a new flat in a different part of Łódź. Now, I have a beautiful view on huge chimneys and power plants. I wonder if my style changes soon, ha!

How does it feel to be a designer in the year of 2013? It’s pretty hard to get a job, as far I am concerned. Is it hard to find bands to work with or they easily get in touch with you?

It feels awesome! I don’t have a problem with getting new art job and since it’s rather my passion than a regular, everyday work, it’s more exciting. Especially if I make anything for bands I like personally. I wish I had some more time during a day or night, because for now my “to do” list is still growing. Sure, bands or labels contact me, but as I said, it’s awesome to make anything for your personal favs, so I contact people too, asking for any cooperation, etc. There’s no rule.

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H8000 scene in Belgium has always been big. And currently, Church Of Ra bands are probably the most known european bands around the world. I’m aware that Blind To Faith consists on some of your best friends, am I correct? How was and is it like, to work with them? 

Yes, we are good buddies, we share similar sense of humour andour vision of hardcore/metal/punk. I know about their expectations, I get the vibe of their music and creating something for them comes out sort of naturally. Neverthless, it’s always a challange. I’m trying to visit Belgium and Holland each year and, everytime we have an opportunity to hang out, we have a good time. Anyway they are not Ra band, Blind To Faith members are just connected to Ghent scene and Ra bands. Colin, Amenra‘s vocalist, was the original BTF bass player. Since he left the band, because he was too busy with Amenra, Ra link is over. People try to categorize them as Holy Terror band too, which is also wrong. They simply play oldschool nasty negative metal/punk. No posi bullshit here.

Which bands have influenced you, as a person and designer? And how did they changed your way of living your life and doing what you do?

You are asking about 20-year-long process, which is impossible to describe just in a few sentences. Let’s just say that without this music, scene and people I got to know through all these years, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today and wouldn’t have achieved what I managed to accomplish so far. And when you’re into it, some points of view evolve, you either get a wider look or solidify your way of thinking. Just try to imagine hundreds of bands which more or less influenced people around last two decades and you’ll get your answer. Damn, I’m an old fart. [laughs]

Also, which artists haven’t you been able to work with and you’d like to?

Do you mean my wishlist? To name a few: Mind EraserHaymaker, Ringworm, New Lows, Young And In The WayTrash Talk… Yeah, that would be sweet.

Any final thoughts? Anything you’d want to say to new/fresh college designers that would love to do what are you doing?

Don’t do it to yourselves, get some real job. [laughs] Nah, I don’t know, maybe be patient and try not to be lazy. Thank you for your interest and cool interview. Go vegan. Cheers!

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