This week we look to the UK to shine the Meet The Band spotlight on Video Nasties, who recently released their debut album Dominion. Vocalist Damian von Talbot and bassist Rick Owen introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Video Nasties.
Damian von Talbot: The band was formed due to our old bands becoming inactive/splitting up. I met the others at a Halloween party, we had a jam, formed our sound and a few years later, the album was born.
Rick Owen: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I played in Iron Witch and we shared a studio with The Bendal Interlude. I had already been jamming with Stu (Taylor, guitar) and Dave (Archer, drums) so when they called time on that it made sense for us to step it up. Once Damian had joined the fold it started moving pretty quickly for us. We’ve played a handful of shows but our main goal was to write a solid record first before hitting the road.
Describe the songwriting process for Dominion.
Damian: Stu is the main songwriter, He’ll come up with a riff, and it all goes from there. Everyone throws in ideas and then I ruin it all by shrieking over the top like a witch with a trapped tit in a door jam.
Rick: It was pretty grueling. A fair few long nights, lost days and more than enough hangovers to last a life time. I think I’m still hungover from writing it. I wish I was joking.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Damian: Probably the relief when it was all done. It became a real “shit or get off the pot” situation where we were procrastinating too much. So we forced ourselves to adhere to a deadline to actually work towards an end.
Rick: I think there was a moment for me during the first session. We had spent hours setting up the drum kit only to find out one of our interfaces wasn’t working, which long story short, wasted hours of precious time as you could imagine. Dave played throughout the day and into the early hours and I had somehow fallen asleep on the studio floor just meters from his kit. I woke as he was blasting his way through “Stabbing Nightmare,” the last track to be recorded. He didn’t have a guide track for “Stabbing” due to it being a late addition to the album and it really blew my socks off. I knew at that point we were dealing with something pretty special hearing him hammer it home at like 3am without any hesitation.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
Damian: A celebration of late ’80s/early ’90s metal with a John Carpenter nod.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Damian: All of my favorite things. Horror, sleaze and generally having a lovely time.
How did you come to sign with APF Records?
Damian: Fieldy wooed us by getting us pathetically drunk. It was so bad I had to ring in sick to work. Luckily, we had a shared vision of what the album could possibly do. Plus, Sony told us to stop bothering them.
Rick: We had flirted with the idea a few times. We handed him a demo at Riff Fest 2018 and we shared a booze fueled moment, but the stars didn’t align until the night Damian speaks of.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Damian: I’d be made up if someone listened to the album and got the same feeling I got the first time I heard Sepultura or Brutal Truth.
Rick: Already it’s opened some doors of opportunity for us. We’ve teamed up with Ben Ward at United Talent, which is pretty mega and I’m looking forward to hitting the road later in the year.
What has been your most memorable Video Nasties live show?
Damian: Probably for all the wrong reasons, but it would have to be our Desertfest show. We were all so happy to be there, we went a bit mad the night before. When we were playing, every time I opened my mouth, I could feel the sick rising up my throat. Luckily, I didn’t vomit. Sadly, Tommy did; right into a pint glass on stage with not a drop spilt.
Rick: Desertfest was pretty amazing. It’s such a welcoming festival and the vibe all weekend was amazing. Even though we were a little worse for wear come the Sunday the set was great fun and the crowd was crazy.
How did you get started in music?
Damian: Before VN, I sang in Magpyes (pretty rapid grind) for well over a decade and was fairly happy doing that on the odd occasion.
Rick: I was given a bass on my 13th birthday by my uncle but didn’t really play much until my later teenhood. I was in a pretty awful metalcore band in the early ’00s before starting Iron Witch (my previous band).
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Damian: I’ve always loved Kevin Sharp from Brutal Truth. His highs are just so awesome. Plus I am reliably informed he’s a super nice guy.
Rick: The Misfits. I think they were the first band I was obsessed with. The Nerve Agents, also. Lots of punk and hardcore growing up. I probably don’t listen to enough of it these days. Player wise, Geezer Butler is probably my biggest influence.
Was your family supportive of your decision to be a musician?
Damian: Yeah! My mum made me sign the copy if the album I gave her “just in case” we get mega rich. I don’t have the heart to tell her this isn’t like the old days and the cocaine just isn’t as good as it was in the ’80s.
Rick: My parents have always been super supportive of my playing and have always bailed me out when I’ve needed money for new strings or guitar and amp repairs etc. and I’ve been too skint for one reason or another. I’m super grateful for it as they both work ridiculously hard and I think money is something that gets taken for granted a lot when you’re younger.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Damian: Machine Head, Mary Beats Jane and Meshuggah. It was back in ’95 at the Manchester Apollo. It was insane how loud the kick drum was for Meshuggah, I could feel it in my chest and we all just lost our shit when it kicked in.
Rick: I don’t know. I remember the first big gig I went too was Foo Fighters back in 2002 on my 16th birthday, but my first metal gig? No idea.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Damian: I’m probably a bit too burned out with heavy music at the moment. But I am generally listening to anything Mat McNerney puts his name to. Grave Pleasures or Hexvessel are essential listening.
Rick: I’ve been listening to A LOT of Soft Kill right now. Their whole sound is great. Also been jamming loads of Beastmilk, Wailin’ Storms, TSOL and of course Power Trip are always queued up.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Damian: I’d really, REALLY like an endorsement deal with Jeffrey West shoes.
Rick: I’d really like to see Damian get his pointy shoe deal.
(interview published March 21, 2020)