M.DREW: So, you’re doing prep for the Warped Tour, how amped are you to go out on that?
MICHAEL VAMPIRE: Man, we’re super excited to be on Warped Tour. It’s an honor to have them invite us to play, so we’re really excited about it.
M.D: Who are you most excited to share the stage with?
MV: There’s a lot of a bands that we listen to; The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Rise Against, Every Time I Die. Bands that it’s cool to be a peer with now. You watched their career, them growing up and listening to their music, and you want to model yourself after that. It’s kind of cool when you’re part of the crew, rather than a spectator. It’s a pretty cool thing to be sharing the stage with them.
M.D: Your new album comes out right around the corner on Tuesday, are you ready to people to hear that, finally?
MV: Oh, yeah. It’s been a really long week. To be honest with you, it’s been, like, two years. This is the kind of sound that we wanted to come out with originally when the band first started, but it was a timing issue. The lineup wasn’t right, the producer wasn’t right. I think this is the time for our true sound to be heard and we’re really excited about it.
M.D: So, when you say the producer and things like that weren’t right, how many attempts at this record did you make until you were happy with it?
MV: I’m talking about the last one as far as the producer, “Kiss the Sun Goodbye.” I wasn’t happy with the producer at all. But this record here, the new one that we’re putting out, we produced it ourselves, and then went to Tommy and Mike from Spineshank to help us put it down on wax. So, it’s the first record that we’ve done in house, and we have a really good guitar player, DJ, he did all the demos for us, and solidified the record before we even entered the studio. So, that was a good thing.
M.D: How liberating is it to produce your own record?
MV: It’s pretty amazing. Basically, you know what you’re getting. You don’t have any outside sources prodding in and giving their nine hundred cents on what they think should happen. You already have a product, and the only thing you can do to that product is better it. There’s always things here and there in studio which get a little better or worse, but all in all I’m very, very excited about it.
M.D: Your sound, where does that come from? Who influenced this record in particular?
MV: The record is the first record I actually wrote by and about myself. My views, what I think about people that influenced me along the way, people that made me incredibly angry along the way, you know. This record is about hate, bullying, being different, basically being a freak and living in a body that is completely consumed with OCD and anxiety like myself and trying to get by in the world. That’s kind of what the record’s about, and the whole twist of social climbing and different girl problems. But I didn’t want to go into the whole love aspect, I wanted to go more to deeper issues.
M.D: So then, you consider this record autobiographical?
MV: I think a majority of it would be. It’s definitely what I think about in my mind a lot, for sure. Compared to the last record, which had more of a story sense. This record is basically all me. Everything that I think about when I’m lying in bed at night is on this record. Whether it’s about a girl or it’s about religion or anything, this record would be me.
M.D: The sound itself, it has a very dense construction, it’s almost Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie-esque. Where did you arrive at that sound, and how was it trying to keep everything straight as you layer all of these different levels of instruments?
MV: In the ‘90s, I grew up listening to White Zombie and the Misfits and stuff like that, and Marilyn Manson of course. You kind of have that ingrained in you, especially if you’re a big fan of those bands which I was. We used it as an influence here and there, we did it right referencing that, it had a great influence on that end. Our guitar player DJ is a giant Pantera fan, so a lot of the solos you’ll hear on the record have a Dimebag-type feel to them, because he’s such a big Dime fan. It’s a nice little mix of what you said, and bits and pieces of everybody else in there. The thing that we didn’t want to do was make a pop record. We did not aim to have any pop element in this record, and I think we successfully did that. I mean, there’s moments that we tried to go down with them and make it more of a dirty, horror rock and roll thing.
M.D: Your band, Vampires Everywhere! gets lumped in a lot with that kind of screamo/Standby Records lineup, and I think that’s because of your visual appearance more than anything, but would you say you’re more musically linked to the bands that influenced you than the ones you get marketed next to?
MV: Oh, for sure. That’s a great question. It’s interesting how kids lump you into different genres, and yes, our last record definitely could be considered screamo, auto-tune type shit, and it’s just like that wasn’t who I was, and that wasn’t what I wanted to make. But you get a lot of kids with a metalcore influence, you’re gonna get that coming out. I’ve always been a giant Manson fan, and Zombie and Bauhaus and Depeche Mode and Fugazzi, big fan of that. I grew up listening to punk like Pennywise and NOFX. It was satisfying for me to make a record that was not that, because I am not that, and when you see me on stage, I don’t even resemble anything like that. So all in all, it’s very easy to get lumped, but we’re hoping that this record is the bridge to get us the hell out of there.
M.D: Speaking of your visual appearance, in all your band photos you have this Marilyn Manson or Dani Filth-esque appearance. Where did the look come from?
MV: To be honest with you, if you look at the earlier photos of our band, I’ve kind of been doing the same thing. The only thing that I changed up early was I got cooler clothes and I put on lipstick. [laughs] Other than that, I mean, a lot of people jumped on the shock of Marilyn Manson’s back and doing new stuff, and when you wear white makeup and put on an officer hat you’re ripping him off. But this has been going on for decades in music. I mean, [look at] Alice Cooper. That’s like saying, ‘hey, Marilyn Manson, how do you feel about ripping off Alice Cooper?’ This is how I feel I should look, and that’s what I put out there. Does it bother me to get referenced with Marilyn Manson? Not at all. It’s an honor to be compared to somebody that had an amazing career.
M.D: So, this is not an image for you, this is your daily life.
MV: Yeah, I’m sitting here talking to you right now and basically in the same garb you see me in. It’s always this, this is who I am. It was kind of a battle when we first got in and got signed on changing things here or there, making it not so contrived. It finally got to the point where they were like ‘okay, you look like this, you might as well be this,’ and I was like, ‘well, thank you.’ This is what I look like at Starbucks every morning, too.
M.D: Forgive me for asking this, but playing devil’s advocate for a minute, there are going to be cynics out there as your career moves forward that say, ‘here’s a guy who has taken the Manson look, and paired it with vampires who are extremely marketable right now,’ and they’re going to write your band off as essentially one long marketing gimmick. How do you respond to that?
MV: The only thing I can say is that we’re going what we love, and doing what we believe in. If that means we’re going to get stigmatized for doing that, that’s fine. Before…I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that it wasn’t contrived. The record that we put out, “Kiss the Sun Goodbye,” a lot of the band members are out of the band, I had to dress up. It was very hard for me to come off seriously and not be contrived with the past lineup and the past record. So, I don’t blame any of the haters whatsoever for stepping forward and saying ‘well, this is this and that is that.’ I pride myself on being real, but I knew the people surrounding me, and the record that I was backing, wasn’t me. So, I let it go, I let it slide when people started attacking that record, or attacking certain aspects. The new record however, the new image, the new lineup, everything that I believe in…if they attack that, there’s nothing I can do. I just have to sit back and smile because I know that I am content and loving what we’re doing.
M.D: So you’re happier now than you were then.
MV: I’m a hundred billion times happier. Right now I’m content, everyone is comfortable in their own skin, so that’s good.
M.D: Then, are you trying to put as much distance between you now and that last record as you can?
MV: Yeah, if we can put from California to China on it, I would. I’m doing the best I can with that, and this record symbolizes who I am, so I definitely want to put the other stuff aside and work with this stuff.
M.D: I’ve seen interviews in the past where you’ve said that you consider yourself a vampire. Is that still the case?
MV: Yeah. It’s an interesting topic; it’s a long one. But it more or less has to do with energy transfer and bloodplay. The whole lifestyle and subculture of vampires is something that I’ve been encompassing for a really long time, without being public or going into that realm of my true desires. As far as, am I gonna turn into a bat or you can’t see me in the mirror type deal, that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s more or less an energy thing, certain people are more in key with certain types of energy with different types of people, and that would be what I am.
M.D: Moving on to movies. You’re named after the comic book in “The Lost Boys.” That movie has kind of experienced this revival of late, as many things from the ‘80s have sort of cannibalized themselves in this nostalgic cycle. Do you consider it THE definitive vampire movie?
MV: [Pauses] Yes. “The Lost Boys” for me encompasses the whole vampire thing, if you will. A bunch of rock and rollers living forever, drinking the blood of the innocent. There’s nothing better than that. [laughs] The sad fact is, I think they were a little early on the remakes of the movies. They didn’t have the budget, so they kind of came out crappy. It was a sacrilege to watch these movies be made and deteriorate the name of “The Lost Boys” as I grew up with, saw in the theatre and named my band after, for chrissakes. I had like twenty of the same movie on my shelf, then I’d throw them away every month so I could buy a new one. To see it destroyed, right down to Corey Feldman acting kooky...I think they considered the ‘80s more of a fluke than taking it seriously. “The Lost Boys” movie was a serious movie! The whole “Fright Night” was more goofy, this was more serious. But I think they just group them together because it’s an ‘80s thing.
M.D: Would you say then that “The Lost Boys” is Alex Winter’s best movie? Is it better than “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?”
MV: [laughs] I would say that for Alex Winter, “Bill and Ted’s” was better, because I’m sure he got paid a lot more being a main character. But he definitely looked the best in “Lost Boys,” I’ll definitely stand by that.
M.D: “The Lost Boys” is a more modern version of vampires living in the now, do you also appreciate the more classical or romantic vision of vampires in a movie?
MV: Yeah, I’m a giant fan of Gary Oldman, and his portrayal of Dracula in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” That’s my favorite movie. I love Bela Lugosi, I been a fan of him for a while, but Gary Oldman changed the game for me, when he did Francis Ford Coppola’s movie, and it was just so epic. I don’t get enough of that movie, I could watch it a billion times. When you think about it, that whole classic approach of ‘love never dies’ was a common thing, and it wasn’t done as contrived. Her name wasn’t Mia, it was Star, that’s just a different aspect of how they did it. But in every vampire movie there’s always a love interest, there’s always a dying passion for that other person, between a vampire and a non-vampire. I think it correlates.
M.D: No matter whether it’s modern or classic or whatever, there’s always the same themes about vampires and how they behave in general. What is it about that theme that you think attracts people?
MV: It’s like religion, I mean what attracts people to church? You want to save your soul so that you live forever in heaven. It’s the same with vampire goals, you just choose the darker pack of people. The idea of living forever, staying forever young, that’s a big thing. Whether it’s vampires or just being immortal in general, the whole idea of living forever always grabs people in. Greek mythology, being a god…being a vampire is almost like being a god in a way, except that you’re replenished by drinking blood, but you live forever and stay forever young, and that’s the most important aspect for me. That’s like commercial media right now, the reason that “Twilight” shit is so big is because people are looking at what they consider a great person living forever and whatnot.
M.D: When you’re not watching vampire films, what other horror films populate your DVD player?
MV: I love old-school films. I love “Poltergeist,” all the “Hellraisers” are amazing. I’m not a zombie, I hate zombies, they don’t interest me. I can’t do that. I like a lot of devil-based movies, stuff back in the past like “The Prophecy,” there’s so many. I love the original “Omen,” all the “Omen” movies are some of my favorites. I use a lot of quotes from those movies in different parts of the record, actually. Big fan of that. In general, anything that has to do with the devil or the culture around the devil like “The Ninth Gate,” anything like that, too.
M.D: Do you ever, have you ever written songs based on the horror films you’ve watched? Is that a source of inspiration for you?
MV: Yeah, totally. This record, not as much. But like, “The Omen”… I think the idea of the spawn of the antichrist taking over and changing stuff around has always sort of interested me, so anything like that I would take little bits and pieces of and intertwine it in.