(Questionnaire by Stefan)
Because of my ignorance with regard to Turkish Metal scene, I had to rely on the Internet. Finally it was Encyclopaedia Metallum homepage which left me with astonishment by the mention of hundreds bands from the Turkey regions, divided into multiple genres. Following Hard Rock & Metal music since the late seventies, this is my first touch with a Turkish band really. By chance, I was told by the word of Vengeful Ghoul, a five piece technical Power Metal formation delivering their stuff in a pure US Metal manner. I hardly couldn’t believe me ears when I heard them for the first time. These Istanbul residents offering Metal we at MTI webzine like the most of all, US Power/Thrash Metal. This band comes as a thief in the night, fully unexpected but yet devilish good… I’m curious about their story !
Q: First of all, my sincere congratulations with the release of “Timeless Warfare” ! By the fact I am a real layman in the field of Turkish Metal, what about the scene over there?
VG: Thank you! It’s really great to hear that you like our music. Turkish metal scene is not so big when compared with other European countries or USA of course, but there are lots of talented heavy metal musicians and bands. Your unawareness for Turkish metal is pretty normal, because very few of them has an active and long history.
You know, ensuring stability as a band costs/requires many things. Money, endurance, patience, labor and tenacity apart from the ability to play original heavy metal. We do not doubt the ability of Turkish metal bands, but they evanesce easily as they avoid to invest in their music. Some have difficulties securing the balance between daily life and musical life, and some disappoint early for the sake of achieving a lot in a short time.
Q: What can you tell regarding the founding of the band and the first few months of existence?
Emre Kasapoğlu: The band was formed in 2005 by me and Senem Ündemir (Rhythm Guitars). We were students and our initial purpose by forming a band was just playing some heavy-thrash stuff in the school years. Then we started to arrange our own compositions, got cool people to the team, began to gig at local venues and decided to record a demo. It was not so easy to hold people together. We experienced lots of member replacements, but we waited patiently till the last and the most accurate staff is formed.
Q: Spread the word of each one in the band and a few lines on their background history would be good to know.
Emre Kasapoğlu: I’m listening to heavy metal music since 1992 when I was 10 years old. I had met it with Metallica’s “Black” album. One of my friends in primary school had told me to listen to Metallica. He was describing the music with the word “different” and that difference filled my heart and continued with other metal bands respectively. I started to play guitar like I was 13 or 14. Then I formed an oldschool thrash metal band called ElectrocutE with my friends in college. I was playing rhythm guitars and doing lead vocals. ElectrocutE had released an album called “Pirates Of Thrash”. In the same years, I was also engaging in Vengeful Ghoul and after then VG became more active for me.
Senem Ündemir: I discovered the existence of metal music with Megadeth when I was 15. After hearing metal, I wanted to play drums but it was impossible to play it since I was living in an apartment. So I put my eyes on the guitar. Then I took classical music and classical guitar lessons for two years. When the time came for me to move on to electric guitar I got help from our vocalist Emre. He helped me with showing some excercises and basic techniques. Other than that, I learned how to play electric guitar mostly by myself.
Özgür Nair: Started playing piano at 8 then continued with classic gitar at age 10 and finally started playing electric guitar when i was 12. I've played in several bands since then. Tried recording many demos/albums some of which are still on the road. I'm fascinated by the sound of metal since i first heard Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth when i was 13.
Volkan Beykoz: I started playing drums when I was 13 with sticks on pillows, listening to Slayer. I never had a chance to get a real drum lesson so I developed my drumming skills on regular studio sessions with my first band in my hometown. During the college years I had played with several punk cover bands and death metal/grindcore bands and then I started to play with VG, I think as of 2008.
Görkem Büyükeşmeli: My musical life started with keyboard when I was 8. Those years I discovered metal music with Metallica, then I decided to play guitar. I had played several bands as electric or bass guitarist during the high school years. During the college years, we had recorded a thrash metal album but couldn’t produce it. After I came back to Turkey, I met with VG and started to play bass guitar in the team.
Q: Vengeful Ghoul released its debut demo called “Premier Fury” in 2006, tell something about the result and the reaction from the outside?
VG: "Premier Fury" was our very first work and we should admit that it is a little bit amateurish. It was completely live recording, but we had started to get very good feedbacks. Even Jeff Waters (Annihilator) had congratulated us via MySpace. It was cool. That gave us extra morale and power of course. Our name had begun to be spread to the local scene and we were at stages with lots of gigs. We used to play more thrashy those days and recording an album wasn’t in our minds. Then, power metal, traditional heavy metal and doom metal started to enter into our musical style and the business got serious.
Q: How was your name spread in the rest of the world?
VG: If you’re certain about what you’re doing, all you need is promotion. Metalmessage PR company runs by Markus Eck is helping us to spread our feelings, thoughts and dreams to the world. He made us get reviewed by important magazines and blogs worldwide. As the high scores started to come, we shared these with people and our fans also started to share us via digital platforms. Of course, making gigs outside of the country and new friends also provides a remarkable network. Nowadays, we’re searching for a booking company to carry us to the next level on this purpose.
Q: VG quickly planned to record a first album, from where this fast decision?
VG: We had enough materials for almost 3 albums and we were continuing to produce new music. You know, every song is like our newborn child and these children shouldn’t stay homeless. We had also sufficient stage experience and we were always ready for any gig. Of course, recording process was not so fast as decision-making. We had to establish our recording environment to put everything we want into the debut. After all, we were ready to create a 58 minutes of heavy metal tale.
Q: Remarkable fact, all of the members spent a lot of cash to build up their own recording studio. Quite interesting story that requires a further explanation, tell us about please.
VG: We were already investing a lot of money in our music. Rehearsals, demo recordings, travel costs, etc..We thought that we should invest much more in establishing our home studio because the local area studios were pretty expensive and also unsatisfying. We couldn’t exactly do what we wanted. We eventually realized that the best and economical way to record a killer album efficiently in serenity was having our own studio. We were able to handle it in 6 months (including buying software&hardware, building cabins&special booths). It is only a recording home-studio and dedicated only to Vengeful Ghoul for now. Of course, it was hard, we’re still broke, but we’ve got our music home.
Q: Nine songs to fulfil the debut album were recorded in 2012, what happened next? Which other people were involved to complete the entire album?
VG: We finished recording and mixing in December 2012. Then, Jens Bogren mastered the album and delivered to us in March 2013. One month later, we released “Ruthless Crow” as an e-single in April 2013 and started to send our promo packages to labels. We waited 6 months after we released the single “Ruthless Crow”. Some companies were interested in our music but they were not so serious and we couldn’t make a deal unfortunately. Then, we thought that waiting period is clearly enough and so “Timeless Warfare” is self-released in February 2014.
Q: Entitled “Timeless Warfare”, the album is officially out by now and we’re excited with the final result! With all do respect but a Turkish band coming on strong with such a fantastic cut, I had never dared to think about. The entire effort has a mighty US Metal vibe on board, I’m sure you all are fans of this supreme gem, don’t you?
VG: Thanks for your words! and yes, we love traditional heavy metal and US metal roots. Of course, we all like different styles of metal, we do not want to limit that, but Helstar, Agent Steel, Vicious Rumors, Jag Panzer, Iced Earth, Nevermore and alike hundreds of killer traditional heavy metal bands influence our way of making music.
Q: MTI editor wrote down his thoughts on “Timeless Warfare” as can be read HERE, how pleased a young band can be with such a positive review?
VG: It is awesome! We feel so honoured when hearing compliments and getting worldwide high scored reviews like this. It always gives us extra joy of life and we realize that we started to accomplished something. One of the reviews was saying: ”…if Dio and Iced Earth had a baby, by right Vengeful Ghoul would be the prince offspring of the leaders of heavy metal…” Which human being does not be pleased and satisfied with that sentence? We hope that we continue this success for our future works.
Q: On what topics the lyrics has been built on?
VG: We can’t say that “Timeless Warfare” is composed in a single concept. Every song has a different story. However, maybe not so directly but, most of the tracks are telling the situation of an ongoing state of war or the song’s story takes place in such an environment. Generally, we like to use metaphorical expressions and fantasy-based, indirectly story-tellings. Main themes can be mentioned like these; “wars for greed”, “worshipping power&oppression”and “psychological&social situations/problems” Of course, the album wants to give other deeper messages which should be caught by listeners.
Q: Track number six entitled ‘Schaukelstuhl’ is sung in the German language, whence this choice comes from?
Emre Kasapoğlu: I learned to speak German in my highschool classes and I always tried to learn more and improve my German with myself. I love the German language and its phonetic character in music. There are poetries in German language written by me. We decided to melodize one of them and put into the album. So, Schaukelstuhl and its story has been shared with people in this manner. We wanted to know how goes a song like Schaukelstuhl within a power/thrash album. We’re also planning to continue composing German songs for our future albums.
Q: Available as nice looking digi-pack and most important, the production is very well done. How would you describe your own genre – to whom you want to be compared?
VG: Thank you! As we mentioned before, we want to put thrash metal to the core in our music. Then we’re encircling it with power metal, traditional heavy metal and doom metal. By now, people compared us to or maybe they generally find tastes like Iced Earth, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. We always have a musical goal that we assemble all kinds of metal more or less. You know, it is very difficult to describe yourself musically. Let the listeners decide.
Q: Can I ask for your own favourite song(s) and reason why?
Emre Kasapoğlu: I’d rather “Ruthless Crow” for its dynamism and “Fire&Spell” for vocal varieties.
Senem Ündemir: I love listen to every song but when it comes to playing, "sovereign place" and "search for aperion" are the most enjoyable ones. I love to headbang when I play "sovereign place" and love to also play "search for apeiron"s complicated and aggressive riffs.
Özgür Nair: I love to play ruthless crow and timeless warfare. These songs have epic thrashy parts.
Volkan Beykoz: My favourite would definitely be "Sovereign Place" which is fast and characterized with double kick drums (at least for me). It is really fun to play that song.
Görkem Büyükeşmeli: I enjoy to play “Sovereign Place” and “My Crowded Solitude”
Q: To buy this genius, US inspired top-notch Power Metal album I would insist to give an address?
To buy physical copies, CDs: http://vengefulghoul.bigcartel.com/
To buy it digitally: https://itunes.apple.com/tr/album/timeless-warfare/id819674575 or
To stream it legally: https://play.spotify.com/album/36tIJT6D1ZWMcToZyRzvC1
Q: Have you already been in contact with a major record label to collaborate in the future. At least, Vengeful Ghoul deserve it !
VG: Thanks! We do want it too, but there isn’t any news for it. We tried hard last year before we self-released the debut. We sent our promo packages to almost every label in the world, minor to major, local to independent. However, only one responded and that offer was not serious and we couldn’t agree on it. We recorded demo versions of the second album and even started to arrange third album’s tracks. We have satisfactory materials for our future albums. We hope that we can sign with a major label for the future. Time will tell.
Q: What’s the next step in the career of VG, maybe a European Tour?
VG: We want to be on tour as much as we can. In June 2014, we supported “Lord Volture” and “Forcentury” for some shows taking place in Belgium and France. It was pretty fun, we met fine people and made good friends. We want to continue these gigs. We are ready to play everywhere. We want to also develop ourselves by experiencing different stages.
Q: How the biggest dream of Vengeful Ghoul looks like?
VG: Firstly, Wacken main stage of course! Getting on the main stage at the sunset and starting to play live in this mighty cradle of heavy metal. It may sound unachievable in the short run, but we’ll work hard for it. Secondly, making metal music until the last breath and that’s an easier target to reach because we knew that we can’t be parted with heavy metal.
Q: It was a pleasure to meet a band like yours playing our long time, favourite style of music. Thank you for the participation, the honour’s on you to close this interview !
VG: We would like to thank you for this interview, for your proper questions and for your kind wishes. We are walking through our dream currently and we believe that it will become a reality when we share our music with more people. Heavy cheers to everyone in the metal circle!