Progress, for those who believe in time circularitycan be a deceiving and macilent concept. Even though we’re living in a world that it is now becoming more aware and hospitable towards individual diversity, it is dangerous to take any social breakthrough for granted. Sometimes all that we see is covered in a non-permanent shining ormolu. It is an everlasting fight. Having recently formed Vile CreatureKW and Vic are doing their fair amount of combat. The Canadian friends quickly turned some heads around – not only their recently released debut, “A Steady Descent Into The Soil”, is a chemurgic reel of doom, but their stance on queerness, LGBT rights and veganism is public. The struggle for equality sets them apart from a whole branch of slow heavy music that most of the time seems more concerned with outer-dimension escapism rather than focusing on what really makes our lives miserable. 

So, we got in touch with them, of course. Not only Vile Creature is great music and have some pretty awesome views on this world, but they, like we do, love cats. What’s there not to like about them?

Well, USA has just legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. How happy are you for your neighbors? It only took them ten more years than Canada.

KW: This topic is certainly complicated. There is so much to say. Celebrating changes like these, ironically when pride is in full swing, is important. Especially for those who have worked hard to make it happen. While marriage is an archaic institution, it does provide some practical legal legitimizing of same-sex relationships, but assimilation and corporatization is what happens when our struggles become pacified. Right now, there seems to be more public discourse and a lot of energy being critical of the co-opting ofpride and of marriage, and therefore there are people creating alternative spaces that counter this in really creative ways (especially in DIY punk communities I’ve seen). I definitely align myself with folks who resist the colonial and capitalist state with the unwavering goal of liberation at the forefront – I am very skeptical of any campaign that has an air of respectability politics and passive activism which tends to erase a diverse history of resistance. These struggles aren’t new, the landscape has obviously changed but similar systems of domination still exist, and in my mind are even stronger, especially when a large population is striving for complacent white middle-class goals. I guess I am happy because incremental cultural changes are significant, but it’s coming at a time where the US and Canadian policies, regardless of marital rights, continue to oppress marginalized folks.

Not many bands out there openly talk about their sexual preferences. Even fewer brandish it as a cause, targeting equality as something vital to fighting for. Was it something that both of you agreed on to do, even before start playing music?

KW: I’d like to think that neither of us has ever shied away from being open about our gender identities or queerness. Beyond Animal Rights, both of us have made a point to be very vocal about queer and trans rights, and the old adage goes write about what you know, so we have been doing just that. Talking about our experiences growing up as queer is very natural for us, as is talking about my gender identity. Once the lyrical content started to take shape it made sense to consciously identify our band with our belief system.

How long have you been friends? How did Vile Creature start?

KW: We met in May of 2014 and became partners soon after. Vic’s bucket list of things to do included learning and instrument and playing in a band, so we decided to work on that together. As Vicprogressed with drums we started playing together more and more and naturally just started writing music, which after a few months became our first record. We live together now which makes practicing, both individually and together, much more fluid.

Kinda amazes me how Vic learned to play the drums so that Vile Creature could be a real thing. How was it: all the learning process, having the patience to reach something you considered musically good. Was it strenuous?

Vic: It’s really surreal answering questions like this because I spent a lot of time living with self-doubt about being creative and had it in my mind that playing music wasn’t a realistic goal, also there isn’t much support for women and we are often discouraged (hopefully when I have more experience I can teach others). I am a total believer in bettering yourself and setting reasonable goals, but I am also very hard on myself – the learning process involves being disciplined but also having fun!. With this in mind, practicing is the most important thing. It was and still is very frustrating and I still have a ton of self-doubt, but I know that I will get better if I put the time and effort in and stop worrying about this elusive thing callednatural talent.  Also, having supportive teachers is essential for learning – KW was very patient with me.

Did you immediately feel that a bass guitar was not an absolute necessity? Or the absence of it perhaps reflects the difficulty of finding someone with the same life views as yours?

KW: We never really thought about having a bassist, honestly. From the start, we just wanted to play music together. Vic decided drums was the instrument she wanted to learn, and guitar is what I know best, so it just kind of fell into place. I don’t believe we ever even entertained the idea of adding someone else. Truthfully both of us can be adverse to spending time with too many people, so keeping it with the one you feel most comfortable with is definitely an easy decision.

Veganism, gender equality and LGBT rights are recurrent topics in punk and hardcore punk. In doom, not so much. Do you have a punk/hardcore background that somehow shaped you before you’ve started playing slower stuff?

KW: We both appreciate and like a lot of punk and hardcore music, and I have definitely been involved in the North American punk community for a long time, playing in bands and touring. Vic has a huge appreciation and liking for it as well. With that said, we went into playing music together knowing we wanted to play slow and heavy. Regardless of whatever I have played in the past, my ear has always trended towards patient, brutal sounds with a lot of atmosphere and build up.

Doom is often linked with pessimistic/nihilistic outlooks on life. What about you? Do you have any hope for mankind, for progress, for seeing everyone equally accepted in a foreseeable future?

Vic: Our world is very overwhelming and finding meaning or lack of meaning is something I guess humans have been doing. Existentialist thoughts are totally normal, but I try to be conscious on how that can lead to being apathetic (nihilistic). It’s depressing, or sometimes even wonderful to know that we are insignificant in the largeness of the universe, but that doesn’t mean that our lives don’t have an impact. I want to live in a world with less suffering and I believe that other humans have enough empathy to feel empowered to act, but also see that we can be a self-destructive species. Not sure what the outcome will be while I’m living and after that, but it’s a comforting thought to know that one day the oppressive institutions that exist today will eventually be ruins. Most days I am hopeful that our modern civilization is weaning itself off horrible discourses that allow it to be so destructive. The other days doom metal and other things help get through these weird thoughts.

Your first album has been receiving some great reviews. And, indeed, it is great. Are you actually surprised with being interviewed by a Portuguese unknown dude, for instance?

KW: Absolutely. When we finished recording and the mastered version of the record came back, we just put it up online and let a bunch of friends know. It is amazing how the advent of social media has allowed small bands from smaller towns like ourselves to gain a word of mouth reputation. We are really elated and thankful that so many people are seemingly receiving what we are putting out into the world. The mere idea that you, who is a world away in Portugal, would want to have a chat with us is super humbling and exciting. We have no expectations nor hopes for this band past being able to express ourselves and enjoy writing and playing music we would want to listen to. Anything else is a really huge bonus.

What about the hate? We all know that bigotry and discrimination are still real things out there and, as Vile Creature gets bigger, I’d not be surprised to see some people bashing you. Particularly in this social media era, where all that it takes is a fake account. Have you been getting some hatemail on Facebook and Tumblr already?

KW: When our record first came out we stumbled on a Russian message board that shared the stream. We translated the comments and realized the people on it were talking about how «they would be good if they weren’t so gay» or «if only they didn’t talk about those issues I would love them». Since then we have tried to adopt the policy of never looking at the comments, because generally nothing good comes from them. I know there was a lot of weird people saying weird things after a few articles came out, but that is the internet, right? Anonymous trolls trying to get a rise out of someone and saying things they would never dare say in person. I don’t let cowardice get to me.

What is the next step for Vile Creature?

Vic: Well, we just finished our first few tours and are spending the rest of the summer enjoying the weather and hanging with our cats. We are working on writing a batch of new songs that will hopefully turn out to be the next record, and are getting ready to play the amazing Fed Up Fest in Chicago at the end of July. We are hoping to get back out on the road in the Fall/Winter and cover more ground in North America. But, mostly, we are going to hang out with our cats.

“A Steady Descent Into The Soil” will be re-released on 12” by the always outstanding Broken Limbs Recordings this Autumn. Grab yourself a copy.