Vit kill. Probably not literally, but who knows? Their brand of grueling harshitude is just about my favorite kind of ear-hate: a doomy churn filled with motion and eventful anarchy, a corpse-painted wretch that forgoes all amusical mopiness in favor of mounting, forboding horror. Fans of genre-shunting black mood enhancement take heed. Vit are shuffling bleakly toward your soon-to-be-decimated speakers.
To celebrate the band’s recent work, dB brings you the video for “16 Bodies”, a 10-minute shuck-n-jive through a chilly, broken countryside with a bag-headed knife-wielder who is probably not looking for apples to peel. The Vit boys, who like to advertise their roots in Swansylvania, Ohio (um, where?), claim that this is all found footage of “some guy walking around in the Vit cornfield.” Maybe, but the guy who found it was acclaimed metal film director David Hall. For his part, here’s what Hall had to say about the way he feels Vit’s music:
“The main thing I noticed with Vit from the first time I heard them, was mood. From the band’s name, to the artwork and packaging they have used on past releases, to their overall feelings on creativity and art and music, mood plays a huge role in what the band creates. For me personally, that mood is one of isolation and suffocation and a feeling that nature, specifically the nature local to the bands’ area, is something to be in awe of and threatened by.
In keeping with that, and based on photos the band took for artwork for their new album, I decided to grab my camera and head out into the fields and woods and just see what happened – and that hopefully, the mood of being alone in a vast space would influence me. And I feel that it did. Nature revealed itself. When I got home from filming, my boots were caked with mud, and little piece of corn stalks from the fields I walked through. The smell of that earth and dead vegetation is the video. A feeling and sense of being that can not be expressed through words or plot.”
So push play on that video right here. Smell that earth, that dead vegetation. Cake your boots with stalk-fortified mud. Then do it all again while you check out what the band had to say in defense of their art. Nature is suffocating. Welcome to the end of the world.
Inc on Vimeo.
How did Vit come together? What dark psychic pits birthed its tragic musical goals?
Zack: It’s a real small town so we were all bound to run into each other eventually. I had known Nate is school, and John I met through a mutual acquaintance while going to some sort of festival. He said he played drums. So I told him he should play drums while I played guitar and Nate said some stuff. We still don’t have a permanent bass player yet, so I usually take care of that part on records, and we get a friend or relative to fill in for shows.
John: Funny enough, the first time we all played together, we wrote the first song on The Dry Season.
Nate: This was all in the winter of 2006.
What was the Vit experience in the years you were together before the first record came together?
Zack: It’s pretty much entirely the same as it is now. Seasonal practices, followed by alcohol consumption and movie marathoning, or N64. We usually only bother to rehearse if a show is coming up or if there’s new material to iron out. Most of the music is improvised. I might bring a riff or two and then we just go from there.
John: We don’t come from a music scene at all. In fact, I think we’re probably the only band to ever emerge from our hometown, heavy metal or not. I think it was two years before we ever played a show, and even then, those “shows” were usually just us playing in a basement and inviting 30 people over. I think this was ultimately helpful because it allowed our material to ferment and become what was eventually recorded for the debut. If we had recorded a full length as soon as the songs were written, I don’t think the record would have come out as well.
Nate: I’d actually say we were more active in the years before the first record, haha.
Which would interest Vit more: being the band that puts Ohio on the proverbial map, or being the band that wipes Ohio off the map?
John: I think Ohio is very integral to our sound and is a huge part of the band. The fact that both covers feature corn fields is no coincidence. Every picture on The Dry Season packaging was taken on some random morning in the woods and fields behind my house, even the decaying deer carcass that’ll be on the gatefold. We’ve all lived here our entire lives and I know I wouldn’t mind staying forever, although I might not have a choice soon. But no matter what, I think Vit will always live and breathe Ohio.
Zack: I believe both of those options to be unimportant in the greater scheme of things.
Where does the new record take you? Where might it take its listeners?
Zack: It’s a concept album. The summer before recording was extremely hot with very little rainfall. The EP details that summer.
Nate: It serves as another “chapter” or “stepping stone” into the direction we have consciously chosen to take our music. It’s a bridging point between our beginnings (“-“) and the steps that will progress us to the natural end we perceive for Vit. The ideas illustrated on the first release are pushed further with “The Dry Season” while married with these newer ideas that will become more prominent in future releases.
John: It’s definitely much more varied than the debut, but at the same time more focused and features better songwriting. Each song on the EP showcases a different side of us, and I think that allowed us to get a lot more creative. Additionally, we didn’t have to worry about studio cost because we recorded the whole thing in our friend’s basement. While this makes for a much more raw sound than current listeners are probably used to, I think it’s a better fit for the band.
What was it like working with David Hall on the video of “16 Bodies”? What level of input did you have?
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to go film with him since he lives up in the Great White North, but we told him what we thought a Vit video would look like and what sort of imagery should be there. Of course it isn’t a completely authentic representation of a Swansylvanian landscape, but the mood is there. David has a very unique visual style and I think it conveys what we wanted perfectly. Most people probably think of him as a guy who does fucked up grindcore videos, but he can do slow and atmospheric as well.
Mr. Hall suggested the band members have some interesting non-musical things going on in their lives. Care to elaborate?
Nate: I do a lot of artwork/illustration (whatever you choose to call it) both on a personal level (I’ve been drawing all my life) and on a professional one. I’ve been extremely lucky and humbled to have a wide array of people interested in my work. I also dabble in a few other musical projects.
John: I’m an astrophysicist working toward a PhD. That’s one of the big reasons we don’t get out much and why it took us 2 years to make an EP, haha. We’re also all into alcohol to a pretty high degree. Not that we’re drunks or anything, but we appreciate a fine libation. I’ve been brewing beer for a few years and Nate just started getting into it.
What other important ideas do Vit hope to unleash upon the world?
John: Music, I guess. We wouldn’t be too good of a band if we didn’t have music.
Additionally, I’d like to publicly thank Austin Lunn, Johan Becker, Topon Das, James Plotkin, and of course David Hall. This release wouldn’t have come together without them.