This week the French quartet Volker are in the Meet The Band spotlight. They just released their full-length debut album Dead Doll. Guitarist Ulrich Wegrich introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Volker.
Ulrich Wegrich: Volker was born few years ago from the minds of death-metallers wishing to explore new musical horizons, wishing to return to their roots and play some old rock/dark rock/punk rock styled music.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Dead Doll.
We work this way: I compose all music and Jen (Nyx, vocals) writes all lyrics. Basically when I have finished a new track, I send it to the rest of the band to view to receive their impressions and feelings. If everyone is OK with the music, Jen will work on it, put in her vocals and lyrics. We arrive in studio with all tracks and arrangements already planned. We know exactly what we want and what we have to record.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
That’s a good question. In fact, we’ve never calculated our style since the start of the band. After finishing some tracks, we began to see some similarities with other bands and styles. Even for us it’s not so easy to characterize our music. We play some gothic rock/metal crossover music inspired by ’80s and ’90s punk rock/grunge, but with a kind of dirty modern touch.
Is there a lyrical theme or concept?
Volker has a horror theme: old horror movies; all things about sorcery, voodoo, death, witches, zombies and gothic romances. Jen incorporated all of these ideas when she joined the band, and she really gave Volker its dark imagery and concept. We know there is a big wave of new bands in the USA that write and sing about horror topics; a lot of neo-metal and deathcore bands with gothic corpse paint, leather suits, etc. Bands with massive “horror” visual aesthetics. But, we are not this kind of band; we prefer to appear as old school rockers/metallers and keep our natural way.
How did you come to sign with Overpowered Records?
Unfortunately our previous label manager was struck by a serious disease and was forced to stop his activity, so we were searching for a new label. The guys from Overpowered records liked the band; we met and we signed!
What has been your most memorable Volker live show?
Our tour with Moonspell was very cool! We made a lot of great memories!
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We have some French festivals booked this summer, but we will really start performing shows and touring after next September.
How did you get started in music?
I discovered Guns N’ Roses and Maiden when I was young, during the early ’90s. I fell in love with hard rock and metal music. But I really decided to become a musician when I heard the Decade of Aggression live CD by Slayer. It was a sort of revelation for me.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Slayer for sure, and a lot of death/black metal bands were my first influences as a musician and guitarist. I played and composed extreme metal for 20 years, but to be honest, now those extreme styles don’t inspire me anymore. Now, I come back to my early early loves: old school stuff, such as GnR, Blondie, Misfits, Scorpions, Nirvana and a lot of non-metal bands.
What’s the best concert you’ve attended as a fan?
Iron Maiden/Slayer in Paris, in 2000. It was the “Brave New World” tour, the comeback of Bruce Dickinson, and the killer show of Slayer with one of my mentors Jeff Hanneman. I will never forget this concert.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Not a lot of heavy stuff for me. But the rest of the band is still really attached to heavy and extreme stuff. I know Jen listens to a lot of Marilyn Manson and In This Moment. Manu is into brutal death metal.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thanks a lot for your questions! We salute all U.S. people who will listen to and appreciate Volker and Dead Doll! Some new video stuff is on the way, keep following the band via Facebook or our official website, and don’t hesitate to visit our webstore. Merci!
(interview published May 27, 2017)