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SLAM #108 mit Interviews und Storys zu BODY COUNT +++ OZZY OSBOURNE +++ ANVIL +++ IGORRR +++ TWIN ATLANTIC +++ NATHAN GRAY +++ DEMONS & WIZARDS +++ NEAERA +++ u.v.m. +++ plus CD mit 11 Tracks! Jetzt am Kiosk!

VALIENT THORR: Interview mit Valient himself

Um das neue Album "Our Own Masters" live vorzustellen, touren die Herren aus North Carolina derzeit wieder in unseren Breiten. Ober-Bartträger Valient hat eine Audienz gewährt.

(C) Andreas Grabenschweiger / Valient Thorr / Zum Vergrößern auf das Bild klickenJust in diesem Moment machen VALIENT THORR sich wieder auf den Weg, um die Bühnen Europas zum Einstürzen zu bringen. Oder um zumindest die Vorurteile einzureißen, Rock`n`Roll hätte nichts mehr zu sagen. Mit dem neuen Album "Our Own Masters" legen VALIENT THORR wieder ein Lehrstück in Uptempo-Tiefsinnigkeit hin. Frontmann Valient himself stand uns wieder einmal Rede und Antwort, worum es ihm eigentlich geht: Weltfrieden, Konsumkritik und die Werkzeuge im Kampf gegen die Informationswelle. Hier das Interview im Wortlaut.


Five years ago you taught people a lesson about the Mayan`s calendar with "Bang For World Peace". But here we are now in 2013 – existence didn`t end and there`s no new world order, or are we just missing it because we are distracted all the time?
I think you may have the root of it. We are still here, but where is here? It isn`t the same place that it used to be. Some things are closer than they were and yet other things are moving farther and farther away. Communication is quicker and easier, so easy in fact that all communication gets tangled and misconstrued easier, and covered up because there is so much of it. We are constantly distracted by things speaking up for the first time to be heard. The constant loudness of all those things keeps us from what is really important sometimes. It`s very easy to miss things nowadays. I prefer to not use that as a crutch though, but trying to wade through all the information can bog you down like quicksand.


Everytime I hear or read the title "Our Own Masters" I have to think of the term "our own demons" that we all have to fight over our lifetime. So once we`ve overcome those demons – however they articulate – we could become our own masters?
I think that`s a good analogy. I think a lot of people never learn that all they have to do is know it and allow it to be true. They were their own masters all the time. But sometimes it takes a hint, or reminder, or realization to show them that the chains around their necks aren`t locked. All they have to do is take control of their own lives, and hopefully they, we, all of us are ready when we take that step. Because, well, life has a lot under the hood. It can get away with you.


"Our Own Masters" kicks off with "Immaculate Consumption". What`s the initial idea or story behind the song? First two things that spring to my mind are: We try to fill an inner void with consuming things we actually don`t need. And we are trying to bail ourselves out of our responsibility for this world.
I think this one is about living in a society full of people who either have given up or can`t afford to live in that society. We are bombarded everyday by the homeless and the unfortunate, a reminder of what can happen to you for a plethora of different reasons or scenarios. But some people can`t stop shopping long enough to help out someone in need. And those that do are often taken advantage of and scared away from doing it anymore. It`s vicious. There`s a part in there about "looking the other way" and trying to think of something else because its so sad. There is cause to be empathetic but the fear of being overcome causes these people to become numb to it, and they go about their frivolous lives... and that segues into a message essentially about the economy of the world and the apathy of the common man.


How does one break the cycle of either chosen apathy and the apathy he gets forced into by others?
I think maybe adopting a kitty cat can make you chill out a bit. Hahaha! I don`t know, maybe it comes with age. Something always stops me in my tracks. I cry at commercials sometimes. Sometimes something will show such a powerful image, I`m not sad, but tears literally explode from my eyes, and it freaks me out. I think even those of us pushed into the red and beyond into total apathy still have the capacity for empathy, I think it just takes something "hitting home" for them to break out of their cold demeanor and figure out some way to help whatever situation is happening.


The song "No Strings Attached" starts off with the confession "I feel the world is getting better". The song itself reminds me of a 90s punk song with a very positive vibe. Is it the score to the hope we could recreate "the old glory days"?
Haha, maybe. It definitely is supposed to be a bright view of the future. It`s us looking back and feeling accomplished about what we`ve done in the past 13 years, and simultaneously looking forward and being excited about hanging with buds and enjoying life well into the next decade.


"Torn apart" – another uncommon slow song for Valient THORR - uses the line "You don`t use the tools, the tools use you". Are we slaves to our own ideas and morals or rather to the stuff we own, or stuff that owns us?
I think that we find significance in two different ways. You`re either of the mindset that we are ruled by our habits, beliefs, and desires, or we believe that we are ruled by some autonomous, universal, or transcendent cause or happening. I believe in the former. We are who we are because of what we have experienced, and what and who we encounter. We can come in contact with a whole new experience and that can change where and what we value in an instant. And those are outside concrete things like empathy, and everyday common situations with people who we respect, love, hate or desire. I think all problems can be addressed and dare I say solved by taking these constructs into account. And that`s where that line comes from. If we know these things, but don`t use them to our advantage, then we are only tools for someone else`s arguement. "If you don`t use the tools, then the tools use you."


What if you are knowing and willing to use these tools but your counterpart does not play by those – immanent – rules but would rather choose the unfair game?
Well, if you`re playing games with someone who doesn`t play by the rules, then you don`t keep playing with them. How many times can someone throw the "checker board" up in the air when he`s losing before you grow tired and want to do something else? There are thousands of instances of those who play unfair in literature and on television and in films. I think maybe it has to do with maturity. A lot of people learn at a young age that no one wants to play with a spoilsport, or a "bad sport". And if we`re talking about real life and not "sports", we`re essentially talking about choices. If you see the choices in front of you, sometimes it`s good to think about what`s going to happen in both instances. If you don`t think about those things beforehand, it might not go the way you wanted it too. We only learn this from making bad choices. But yeah, now that I think about it, it reminds me of the RUSH lyrics from "Freewill": "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!"


Would you say that we are living in an environment where "the loudest survives", in an era of permanent attention seeking? And how is it possible for a band to make a difference in this environment but get recognised nonetheless?

Well, I think that`s correct. We are like the people on the little boat that goes to the bottom of Niagra Falls. All the information in the world is rushing down this chasm at us at full speed and we can only hold onto so much before the boat would just capsize. All the social media is built on the desire to get "your" message out as far as possible and to reach as many people, therefore more time is spent building these networks up than paying attention to what comes down the pipes. Therefore all the things you`re sending out are getting lost in the hundreds, thousands, even millions of other posts people may or may not be getting as well. It works in a way for those that want to pay attention but to others who`ve "come online" as well, it`s all just clutter. What I mean by "come online" is those people who are doing their own thing and starting out and doing it independently and are discovering how to get info out there everyday. The systems, EACH system – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and so on – are all growing everyday so it will continue to be easier and easier to slip through the cracks. Even though information is right at our fingertips now, somehow we find out even less because of the sheer amount of horseshit laying around. If you want to make a difference, you have to disregard the odds against you, keep plugging away, set goals, and once you reach one, don`t celebrate, immediately set another goal and start climbing to reach that one. It takes some combination of persistence, strategy, concentration, time management, talent, luck, balls, and flexibility. With your schedule, not your legs.


How do you keep the balance of entertaining people and educate them?
I think a lot of important influences in my life were comedians who were speaking serious politics: George Carlin, Bill Hicks. These guys knew how to get a message across to you with humor and still entertain. That with a healthy desire to rocknroll has been our formula, I believe. We don`t try to stray too heavily into "influencing" anyone much more than just laying some heavy shit – sometimes current politics – on them at the same time that we lay down the heavy licks.


How important is it for you – as a band – to create a comprehensive and complete picture with your music, lyrics, artwork and somehow also your style?
Well you hear people now speak out their "brand", like the "VALIENT THORR brand". We`ve never said anything like that, but of course we have a look and a feel, and if something "feels" out of place for us, then it`s gonna get changed quickly. We do what seems to come naturally to us. Sticking to that and not being afraid to try new things has kept us consistently going while allowing us room to grow as we learn. I think you should keep learning and keep learning as you grow ever older. At no point should you feel like you`ve learned all there is to know about anything, because you`d be bullshitting yourself.



# # # Interview: Martina Hollauf # # #



www.valientthorr.com
 
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