From Bliss to Rough Edge:
An Interview with Vision of Disorder's
Mike Kennedy and Tim Williams
By Alicia Downs
Vision of Disorder took a few moments from their busy schedule of touring, promoting, touring, and touring to answer a few questions. Gathered before their show at Recher Theatre in Towson, Maryland, VOD discussed the band's drastic move to TVT records and their anticipated new album "From Bliss to Devastation."
Edge: OK, let's just start off talking about the new album, "From Bliss to
Devastation." You guys basically cleaned house for it and got a new label and management. Do you want to talk about
Mike: We completely cleaned house, everyone had to go.
Tim: Basically people weren't doing their jobs and fucking our lives up so we fired everybody.
Rough Edge: Everybody?
Mike: EVERYBODY! Three years ago we were on Roadrunner and "Imprint" had just come out maybe two, three months ago and they weren't pushing us or doing anything and Roadrunner said 'we're yanking your tour support, come home and make another record'. But we wanted to go out and support "Imprint" and just felt insulted that they said that. So we said something is going on here, we're getting the fuck off of this label. We went and had some meetings with them and were like we'll never do another record with you again. They were like, 'what do you mean?' and we were like we're never doing another record, if you give us this $150,000- which is what is was for the third record- we're going to take it and make like a demo. We could give them whatever we want as long as it was 45 minutes of original music- it could have been 45 minutes worth of feedback. We could have given them 45 minutes worth of just anything and we were kind of threatening them, we were like we're not doing it and we want to go back to being a hardcore band and playing weekends and they tried to offer us money and a better deal but we were like 'nope, see you'.
Rough Edge: So you just completely left? The TVT deal was not even in
effect then, you just walked away?
Mike: We decided that we were going to have it one way or the other. We could not have it both ways and we were like we're just going to fucking do this even if it means that we don't get signed again but we knew that the best music was coming out of us soon and Roadrunner did not know that because they thought we were going to be has-beens.
Rough Edge: Then you put out "For the Bleeders" which was like an indie
Tim: That was just to keep people alert that we still existed as a band. That's basically the only purpose that served.
Mike: That album, we are still living off of that. That has made us more money than anything that we did on Roadrunner. We made nothing on the Roadrunner Records.
Rough Edge: You cleaned house, and went underground ...
Mike: Fired our management and stayed low. Some people thought we broke up- we actually liked to hear that because we did not want to come back with a half-assed thing - we wanted to totally go away and come back with a new sound and a new album.
Rough Edge: Do you think that you did that?
Rough Edge: Do you like TVT?
Tim: They're a good label. When you ask for something they actually give it to you.
Mike: They believe in developing a band over time as opposed to like a lot of labels that just want the big one album deal. [TVT] realizes that with bands like us that takes time.
Rough Edge: And how about management wise?
Tim: We like the new management.
Mike: We have the same manager as Slayer so he is well connected and knows what he is doing. Our other manager was a little sluggish- she meant well, but she just didn't pull it off. It was the same with booking- we had reached like this plateau of being on the same tours and there not being any openings.
Rough Edge: Speaking of now it seems like you are touring with an eclectic group here- you did Clutch, now you are with Slayer and you are going to be with Pantera in Europe in the fall.
Tim: After Slayer we are going to do like five dates with Bad Brains and then Nothingface and then we'll go out to Japan and then we are doing Pantera in Europe.
Rough Edge: You are definitely diversifying your audiences...
Mike: Yeah well I think that is the whole point of being a supporting band, to play for an eclectic crowd instead of the same kids over and over again. Playing on the Slayer tour I have had some young kids come up to me and be like who the hell are you guys, you guys are sick and I've never heard of you before and these are kids that have just never been privvy to an underground band like us.
Rough Edge: It seems like mainstream and the younger kids are a little more receptive to hardcore now.
Rough Edge: Any thoughts on that whole deal?
Tim: It's just the climate. There are so many heavy bands out there that are doing really well and getting on the radio so they're doing good.
Rough Edge: Well even MTV is picking up on the hardcore.
Mike: Everything goes in waves and it was like ten years ago it was pop and metal and they both fused and then grunge happened and metal lost that edge to it. Again it is splitting to where there is pop and then the metal.
Rough Edge: Do you think you will be doing any videos then?
Tim: We'll see. There's talk.
Mike: We're doing one.
Rough Edge: "From Bliss to Devastation"- that's the new album due out June 26. What is in store on this album beings that you have revamped and reworked so much from the past?
Tim: We just took it to the next level on every aspect from the music to the vocals to getting a real producer that can capture our sound. The material for that record took almost two years to compile and it was that you create better music when you have that time. If we did a song and it wasn't good enough we could do it again or scrap it and work on it again in eight months. It took a lot of work to get the record to that level.
Rough Edge: The producer on the album is Machine who is known as a nu metal force and before you were working with D. Sardy who is known for the Red Hot Chili Peppers so do you think that this album is going to be heavier and have more of that nu sound?
Tim: It is heavier.
Mike: It's heavy in a different way. "Imprint" that D. Sardy did was heavy in an aggressive way. It was very dirty, ratty and in your face. This one is heavy in the way that a Black Sabbath record is heavy rather than a Neurosis. It is still heavy it just has a different aspect to it and that's was we wanted- we wanted our albums to sound different. So many bands put out a great record but then they put out the same record like six months later and that sucks.
Rough Edge: Any particular track that you think represents the album or where you are at now?
Tim: "From Bliss to Devastation" represents the whole album. It's the best representation...
Rough: Speaking of the title, you have two things that are basically the antithesis of one another...
Mike: That's the whole point of the record.
Rough Edge: But is it not representative of where you were in the business aspect ...
Mike: No it's more a representation of the music. We have the most mellow parts and then we can go to the heaviest parts. It is symbolic of a lot of other stuff but musically more so.
Rough Edge: You said before that you were listening to Sabbath a lot during the recording but I've also read that you were really into the Beatles. Where did that come from?
Tim: That's Matt.
Mike: Are you saying you don't like the Beatles?
Rough Edge: No, it is just rare for you to hear a hardcore band cite the Beatles as someone they were listening to as an influence for their album.
Tim: Brendan was like drilling it into people's heads that we were listening to that.
Mike: They are just a musical icon and ...
Tim: They are like an encyclopedia of knowledge listening to their music...
Rough Edge: So what did they bring to you that was not there before?
Mike: They have some trippy stuff to them and they can just floor you. It may not have influenced our music but I can say that they influenced us as musicians. It seems like a lot of the new music out there today does not blow me away and they do that. It is an emotional influence more than a direct musical.
Rough Edge: What do you listen to other than the Beatles?
Mike: We listen to Soundgarden.
Rough Edge: Who has the Donna Summer CD in their closet? Any closet bands?
Mike: No, I have the new Sade. I listen to that like every night. A lot of blues. (In representation that there was not disco or anything otherwise in their CD closet, the guys took out their CD collection and went through them with me. For those interested, they had The Doors, Cold Play, Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynrd, and Speed Dealer among others).
Rough Edge: Musically, I have heard you say in the past that you felt you were much more mature on this album.
Tim: We are MUCH MORE mature but I'll let [Mike] speak for that...
Mike: The songwriting is much more stuck to the classic boundaries of songwriting as far as a verse and chorus. Before we had no respect for songwriting and that was our style and we liked that. But now we are getting older and we want to be able to make music that you can just sit back hit play and listen to it.
Rough Edge: How would you pigeonhole your music? There is a whole new vocabulary of metal the past few years with hardcore and nu metal...
Mike: I would say it's got balls. I think we will fit into the nu metal scene- I think we will define our own area of the nu metal scene- but I think we can hang with bands like the Deftones and Godsmack. As far as it appealing, we have a couple of singles on the record that are going to attract that crowd and at the same time I think there are a couple of songs that can attract people that listen to Slipknot or even Stone Temple Pilots. I think we've always had VOD fans and we will always have them and we will continue to find new fans on the road.
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Copyright © 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 27 Aug 2002 01:56:55 -0500.