Interview with Verkrag by Jose of Mutilador Zine…
You’re busy right now recording and mixing the debut album “13 victims”, what you can tell us about this album?
Recordings, mixing etc. are done and the album has been available since December 13th. This release date was nearly delayed since the printers and duplicators here in South Africa refused to reproduce the album after seeing and hearing the content. I invested in the equipment needed to produce the CD myself. It has a total of 9 tracks and a playtime of over 45minutes. It’s an enhanced CD with flash files and desktop wallpapers. The 12 page booklet is printed on some of the highest quality paper and features sick rape victim photography. The lyrics are in my own handwriting (yes it is legible).
What’s the concept behind “13 Victims”? What role do the models play?
The concept of the album is that the killer (me) is now suffering in an asylum and thinking back to all that has lead up to that point. It starts in his childhood with an incestuous relationship with his sister. Then his dilutions of being God and “saving” prostitutes from the street life. As an older man he develops a love for little girls and tortures, kills and eats them to keep them pure. In the asylum all his victims start haunting him. Are they ghosts or is it all in his mind? Does he become their victim or a victim of his own mind?
I needed a visual representation for the story so I involved some of the best alternative models from around the world and they all did a great job as you will see in the album design and on the CD data part.
In your record, there’s a song where Elena’s voice appears (Elena is one the winners for Diaboliswear contest), why choose Elena for this song?
I did a cover of ‘Sweet Dreams” (the Marilyn Manson version). I wanted to change it a bit and make it darker and add the psychotic Black Metal element. I thought that adding a little girl’s voice with ghostly effects on it might help with creating that atmosphere. I knew that working with a child on such a project would not be an easy task. Difficulties arise in finding one whose parents would allow it, as well as the actual recording sessions.
Since working with Elena a great friendship has grown and I gave her a call one evening. When I heard her sweet voice I told her about my idea and she immediately said that she would be glad to record some samples for use in the song.
Verkrag 13 Victims models Aericura (from Austria) and Yasya (from the Ukraine) also contributed and will feature on other tracks. I would like to thank these beautiful ladies for their vocal contributions. I really appreciate their help.
For 2010 you already have a demo, what can we expect for 2010?
I have some tracks finished and hope to release another album by the end of 2010. It is much faster and more Anti-Religion orientated. Early 2010 will see some Verkrag t-shirts and I hope to make 2 or maybe even 3 music videos in 2010 with tracks from the 13 Victims album.
Before Verkrag there was Sanguinarius, which unfortunately called it quits, what happened? You recorded some promos?
I was Sanguinarius. It was never a band as I wished it would become. I played all instruments and did all recordings. The mistake I made was introducing the extra lyricist as a band member. She merely helped write lyrics and did some modeling for Sanguinarius.
3 EP’s were made for promotion of the unreleased album “Revelations”.
Sanguinarius did well and got a lot of interviews and airplay around the world. But the fan base and overall reaction pales in comparison to what I am getting now with Verkrag.
Then you started Verkrag, How did this new concept come about? Do you play all the instruments?
I wanted a fresh start and also a new name that is not as commonly used as the word ‘Sanguinarius’ is. I re-recorded all ‘Sanguinarius’ tracks and new lyrics were added. Of course new tracks were also recorded and are included on the 13 Victims album, the title track for example.
As with Sanguinarius, I play all the instruments.
Verkrag is an African word meaning rape, assault, why choose this name? How does it reflect your style and concept?
VERKRAG is an Afrikaans word. In South Africa alone we have 11 official languages, English and Afrikaans being the 2 ‘white’ languages. Afrikaans comes from 17th century Dutch.
I chose this name since it is so unique and brutal sounding. In the final track on the album you will hear me say ‘VERKRAG’. I included that since no other country really pronounces it correctly. I thought the fans would like to hear the proper pronunciation.
The word not only relates to physical but also mental abuse, a feeling of despair, anguish, fear.
You already have had some airplay and in short time you gained a fanbase.
I had some airplay yes, but not much since I didn’t want to send songs to stations too early. Now that the album is done you will be hearing Verkrag on the air a lot more.
The fanbase exploded in comparison to ‘Sanguinarius’. The Sanguinarius myspace page has about 6 000 contacts since late 2006 while VERKRAG myspace grew to 13 000 since late 2008. The VERKRAG myspace is also on the official Dark Funeral myspace top friends which of course helps a great deal for spreading my sickness to the masses.
Besides the musical project you have the “Victims” project which involves gorgeous alternative models, what can you tell us of that? Are you a photographer?
The Victims project started so I can get a visual representation for the 13 Victims album. I used the project to promote the 13 Victims album and all the models involved. I am not a photographer but with my art history and working as a graphic designer I think I have a good eye for photography. I am very interested in getting involved in that as well as making music videos.
About the shooting themes, all of them portray chaos and insanity (even your music).
What do you make of this concept? Your goal is to project insanity through your music.
How is this process achieved? Why choose these kinds of themes?
I am very interested in the criminally insane, serial killer theme. I want my music to be about different subjects. What is more fascinating than the human mind? Especially a sick mind… Think of killers like Ted Bundy, Wayne Gacy, and Richard Ramirez. Think of the feeling one gets when watching films like SAW, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes etc. I wanted to get that same eerie feeling – not just lyrically but in the music itself. On the 13Victims album I make use of a lot of samples of torture screaming and ghostly whispering as well as chains and old record scratches. I also added heavy strings and creepy piano tunes on some tracks. It brings that classic horror film atmosphere. Combine all this with Black Metal and blast beats and you realise why I love calling my particular sound ‘Psychotic Black Metal’
What do you do to promote the “Victims”? How can a girl become a Verkrag Victim?
All the models’ pics are on verkrag.com’s victims’ page are linked to the models’ myspace pages. Simply click and go add them. Their pics are included in the CD booklet design and also all the Victims pics are on the Enhanced CD part in flash files. All the victims receive a free 13Victims album in post and this is then something they can use in their portfolios.
Well, I have 13 Victims already so not taking in any more models, but for future projects I might do something similar and should I require models, I will publish requests on myspace, the official Verkrag website and the Facebook fan page.
There were a lot of models… how do you feel that your 2 victims won? Both are gorgeous indeed, different personalities.
Elena and Vanessa were chosen from over 100 entries to be in the final 24 of the contest. Having both Verkrag models win and work with Dark Funeral was a great boost for Verkrag. I have always been a great fan of Dark Funeral and it is a pleasure working with them and all the Verkrag models. I hope to meet them all in person one day.
How’s the relationship with Dark Funeral?
I joined the Dark Funeral Street international street teams and I now co-ordinate all the Dark Funeral Facebook street team group pages. To join please e-mail Eset at email@example.com or add her on myspace http://www.myspace.com/francine666. She is the international Street Team leader and a good friend of mine.
Dark Funeral is using your design…
Eset manages a lot of the Dark Funeral pages for them and with Lord Ahriman being busy with recordings I was asked to design a banner for them for use for the Nordic Rage Metal Fest that took place in Sweden in September. Lord Ahriman usually does all the banners himself since he is also a Graphic Designer. They were pleased with my designs and it was used on the Dark Funeral myspace as well as Reverbnation pages. Since then Verkrag is on the Dark Funeral myspace top friends. I thank Eset and Lord Ahriman for giving me the opportunity to work with them – It is truly an honor.
Besides Verkrag you contribute with other bands like Wrath Passion from Norway. You just recorded a demo with them.
Wrath Passion’s Daniel and I have been friends since the early Sanguinarius days. The demo you speak of was recorded by Wrath Passion alone and is in need of vocals so Daniel mailed me about contributing guest vocals. I will be working on doing those recording as soon as possible. It is a great pleasure working with Wrath Passion. This is the 1st time ever a South African and Norwegian band has done a song together.
What are all your projects?
Musically Verkrag is my only project at the moment. I have been speaking to some of the South African Black Metal and Death Metal bands about doing guest vocals with them. The South African Black Metal and Death Metal scene is growing fast but it is still a struggle getting proper promotion. I am an admin on a South African Black Metal & Death Metal group on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=info&ref=mf&gid=25184664205) and we hope to bring fans together to support the local scene and get international acts to tour the country.
Your facebook account was deleted, why?
Verkrag was considered too offensive by some ignorant narrow-minded people and they decided to start a hate group and report the Verkrag pages and my personal profile. I will not be silenced and I am back. I added extra admins on the Verkrag pages so that I do not loose all my Facebook contacts again.
Your website is amazing, very well done, the layout, look-n-feel, did you create it? Is the concept is yours?
Thanks. Yes, I designed the site myself and do all updates. I will be improving on the site a lot in 2010 with more flash and faster uploads. I want to give it a very creepy feeling and include more of the 13 Victims album design elements.
How much does the internet help you to promote your projects?
The internet is my sole promotional tool at the moment. Since Verkrag is a solo project I do not play live and to be honest I don’t plan on playing live anytime soon. I would rather make music videos since music videos are so easy to access and the audience is worldwide.
When will “13 Victims” be available? How can it be acquired?
The album was released on the beautifully blasphemous date of Sinful Sunday December 13th. The long awaited album is available to South Africans (via bank transfer) and international fans (via moneybookers)
Visit www.verkrag.com then go to the merchandise page to buy the album.
The CD will be sent by airmail and you will also receive a tracking number and tracking URL. In the unlikely event of the CD getting lost in the post, the money will be refunded. Please allow about 10 days for delivery.
How can people get in touch with you?
For CD orders, interviews, reviews and airplay enquiries please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans can mail me on the Verkrag, myspace or Facebook pages.
Have we left anything important out of this interview, do you have anything that you wish to add?
Actually yes. “WHY NO PAYPAL?” is a question I get asked frequently by fans when ordering the album.
Currently, Paypal is limited to South African users. PayPal may not be used by South African citizens to receive payments due to South African tax laws and banking requirements. SARS, South Africa’s “taxman” wants their share and with PayPal they can’t take it so they banned PayPal to sellers.
And lastly, do you have any last words or a message for the Mutilador readers?
Hails. Check out my websites and order the album. I would be more than happy to sign it.
Thanks to all the fans for the support – keep spreading the sickness…