Good morning, folks! Winter’s Wake 2013 officially starts tonight! Words cannot describe how excited I am. I hope you feel the same way. I’ve still got a few more bands to talk about, so I’ll continue posting these throughout the day.
First up this morning is the “Steel City Sludge” band Vulture! You might remember that I had an interview with their drummer Kelly Gabany a few months back (you can read it here), but I checked in with her once more to find out what’s new in Vulture-land, and here’s what I found out:
VOS: Hello, and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! How are you?
KG: No problem at all. Been fighting a cold for over a week, but other than that, great.
VOS: Would you mind introducing yourself for the readers?
KG: Sure, my name is Kelly and I’m the drummer of Vulture.
VOS: The last time I talked to you, you gave me a bit of background on the band —
Garrett Twardesky (guitar) and I used play in a band called Shipwreck I Promised, which had more of a hardcore angle. When that band dissolved in 2006 we wanted to get something else going, but different and more “us.” We knew our original singer, Buddy Smith, from around the Pittsburgh metal scene and he was looking for a new project as well.
This time around I wanted a simple, straight to the point name. With a name like Shipwreck I Promised, it was hardly ever written correctly. I was listening to A Life Once Lost‘s album The Hunter when the track “Vulture” came on. I thought, that’s it! It’s simple, dirty, grimy and pretty much impossible to misspell.
Buddy brought in Gene Fikhman (guitar), who was playing in a death metal band at the time. Buddy, Garrett and I knew Justin Bach (bass) from the days when our bands played basement shows at his house with his former band, No Room to Breathe. We played our first show ironically five years ago to the day [from the time of this 2012 interview] on October 12, 2007. Shortly thereafter, we recorded a three-song demo with our friend James Curl, our bass player from Shipwreck I Promised, and currently of hardcore/grind band Complete Failure.
We recorded our self-titled EP with the late Cory Smoot of GWAR in the summer of 2008 with the original line-up. As time went on, we started writing new material which was becoming darker and sludgier. We could tell Buddy wasn’t really into the direction we were headed musically and we were starting to feel that his vocals weren’t the right fit either. We parted ways in May 2009 and to make a long story short, Garrett brought Justin Erb (current singer) into the mix and it was a perfect match. He brings the aggression and hurt vocally as well as lyrically. We recorded an exclusive track in February 2011 with James again for the all-Pittsburgh metal compilation Iron Atrocity Vol. I, released by Innervenus. We returned to the studio with James at the end of the summer to record our full length Oblivious to Ruin, which was officially released last March also by Innervenus.
— but can you tell me a little bit about what you’ve been up to since then?
KG: Honestly, we’ve been re-evaluating the future of Vulture since our last show in Columbus, Ohio back in late October. Most of us are busy with our full time jobs and life in general. A couple of the guys also have a bit of a haul to get to our rehearsal space. To keep a long story short, instead of throwing in the towel completely, we agreed to focus on writing/recording new material and not worry about playing the next show. That may change down the road, but for the foreseeable future we aren’t actively booking. I think we all want to see where our sound goes on the next record.
VOS: How would you describe the band for someone who’s never heard your music before, and what are some of the main inspirations that have helped shaped your sound?
KG: I would say heavy groove sludge metal I guess. It’s heavy and it grooves. As individuals, we each have pretty diverse influences, but as a whole, our main inspiration comes from bands such as (just to name a few) Electric Wizard, Eyehategod, Sourvein, and the masters of the riff, Black Sabbath.
VOS: How do you feel about the metal community in Pittsburgh right now? I know several of you are (or have been) members of other bands, in a wide variety of styles. Do you think it seems like the scene in general is pretty open-minded and willing to embrace all those different styles? What about Vulture‘s “steel city sludge” in particular, how has the reaction around the Pittsburgh area been?
KG: The metal community in Pittsburgh appears to be pretty strong right now. It’s probably diverse as it’s ever been. The camaraderie amongst bands is pretty solid as well. We all want to see each other succeed. I’d like to think the scene is open-minded as I am. I embrace shows that contain different sub-genres of metal. It also exposes me to something new I may have not heard otherwise. A perfect example would be this weekend’s Winter’s Wake festival. It’s diverse as hell, it’s heavy and I love it.
Vulture has been received pretty well around Pittsburgh. Fortunately, we have the ability to play with a variety of metal bands in the city. There’s never a shortage of people asking us to play shows so I guess we must be doing something right, ha.
VOS: It’s now been nearly a year since Oblivious to Ruin was released, were you surprised at all to see how well-received that album was, or to have such a positive response to it (nationally, and internationally)?
KG: I was really taken aback from the positive reviews we have received at home here in the U.S. and abroad. It still amazes me that people from other countries are digging our music and buying our merch.
VOS: So as you mentioned, and like many other musicians nowadays, you all have jobs and other bands and other commitments, and clearly you don’t really intend for Vulture to turn into a full-time career with nonstop nationwide touring or anything like that. Actually, it’s been said that this weekend’s show at Winter’s Wake will very likely be the only scheduled date for 2013. So, what kind of future plans do you have at this point — any new material being written, or any new recording planned?
KG: As I alluded to earlier, we don’t plan on playing any shows for the foreseeable future simply because we want to really focus on writing the next record without having to worry about the stress of booking and preparing for shows. Some bands can do it, but with our schedules and limited time in the rehearsal room, it’s pretty much one or the other right now. Besides writing our next full length, we still plan on recording material for a split with Ohio’s DeathCrawl.
VOS: And one last thing — who are YOU especially looking forward to seeing at Winter’s Wake?
KG: Where do I start? Honestly, I am looking forward to every band not named Vulture, ha. It’s going to be great to experience the original purveyors of Pittsburgh Sludge Metal, Dream Death. On Friday, I’m looking forward to seeing Black Anvil, Vit, along with our buds Meth Quarry and Liquified Guts with their new drummer.
Personally, I’m glad we are playing first on Saturday. We go up, do our business and then get to kick back, grab a cold one and watch all the other bands crush. It’s always a great time when we get a chance to play with our friends Molasses Barge and the mighty Derketa. I’m also looking forward to The Gates of Slumber, Vattnet Viskar, Evoken and Occultation on Saturday.
VOS: Thank you again for taking the time to do this, it was nice talking with you once again.
KG: My pleasure. Thank you for the continued support!
The band’s incredible full-length album Oblivious to Ruin can be heard (and bought) here…
Vulture are playing at Winter’s Wake on Saturday, 23 February 2013, at 6119 (6119 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh). Doors open at 4, and be sure to get there early because Vulture goes on first at 5.