Victorius – Interplanetary Space NinjasTuesday, 14th January 2020
There’s a lot of power metal that deals in dragons, wizards, and other fantastical elements, but when was the last time you heard about a power metal band singing about space ninjas from the dark side of the Sun? Such is the bombastic, over-the-top approach of Victorius’ latest release, and first for Napalm Records (PRE-ORDER HERE). With lyrics that aren’t afraid to hide their silly nature, the band is free to indulge into whatever fun or fantastical elements that they’d like to. But behind every dinosaur or space ninja, there’s the musical chops to back it up. Thrilling, riff and melody-friendly fare that hits just the right uptempo and intricate combo. Thus we grabbed guitarist Dirk Scharsich for a quick round of Q & A about their latest album, humor in metal, and the importance of presentation/appearance.
Dead Rhetoric: There seems to be a shift in Victorius’ sound with Dinosaur Warfare – do you feel that with that EP and this album, you’ve found your niche, so to speak?
Dirk Scharsich: Maybe, more or less. Some people say that we are a gimmick band now. We can live with that. There are worse things to be than gimmick bands. It suits us well and we have a lot of fun doing this not-so-serious, space-y stuff. For us, that’s okay. That’s what Victorius will do in the future.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that the band has developed from the earlier years?
Scharsich: We have gotten way more professional. We’ve gotten much more knowledge about writing songs. We know a lot more about the business as well. It’s the way of growing up as a person and a business man, so to say.
Dead Rhetoric: With some people saying that the band has that gimmick aspect, how do you tie in more serious elements to it? Obviously there’s a lot of cool stuff going on with the band, musically-speaking.
Scharsich: As you said, we try to just to make it serious through the music. All of the images and lyrics – c’mon…you can’t take it seriously. We have so much fun writing this stuff, and it’s nice to see when people laugh about this stuff. That’s the reaction we want to see. To make people laugh is our approach actually. It’s okay if they say we are a gimmick band – like I said before, we have a lot of fun doing this band.
The music, the technical aspects, are serious. We play this fast power metal and you have to be a good musician for that. But everything around it, it’s something that even we don’t take too seriously. I’m sitting here dressed as a ninja because I’m in character now but apart from that – we want to make people laugh. I will bet that you will also laugh when you hear our songs.
Dead Rhetoric: I think that’s part of the appeal too – if you look at heavy metal, there is so much seriousness to it. Even bands that have a similar sound and sing in fantasy lyrics, there’s that serious element to it. I think there’s always room for more bands who are trying to be fun and entertaining.
Scharsich: That’s what I say in almost every interview. A large percent of metal bands take themselves way too seriously. Everyone wants to be so true, evil, and grim. No one wants to have fun! When you go to the movies, you don’t always want to watch horror or thriller movies. Sometimes you want to watch a comedy. What’s wrong with the fact that you can laugh about metal? I guess there’s nothing wrong with us – we don’t it too seriously, and people should be way more open-minded about it.
Dead Rhetoric: So what were you trying to achieve with Space Ninjas from Hell?
Scharsich: The next level, so to speak. We want to play more live shows, we want to play bigger live shows, we want to go to more foreign countries – that’s the goal of every band actually. We don’t do this to be successful, we do it to have fun. But we would be very happy if we could get to the next level with this album.
Dead Rhetoric: Could you go into the lyrical concepts of Space Ninjas from Hell as well?
Scharsich: The basic concept is that the Sunbladers are an evil ninja clan, who lived thousands of years ago. They had plans for world domination, and they joined forces with Ling Long – an ancient dragon god. So they were about to enslave mankind, but at the last moment they got banned from Earth. Everyone thought that the ninjas were dead and gone, but no one knew that they survived in space on the dark side of the Sun. During the past thousand years, they lived in their headquarters in space and now they are off to planet Earth again to plot their revenge and attempt world domination once more.
That’s the whole concept – evil ninjas from the Sun want your dominion!
Dead Rhetoric: So where do those ideas stem from, when you are trying to sit down and write?
Scharsich: It all comes from my mind [laughs]. I’m the main songwriter and I write the song titles, then I start creating the music and lyrics. So first I come up with the album title, then I make the songs titles, and then I create everything else around it. We really aren’t inspired as much by movies or video games as one might think. We are just creative people.
Dead Rhetoric: Given the silly and over-the-top nature of the lyrics, is there a line that pushes things too far?
Scharsich: So far we haven’t found it yet. We never know what the future might bring, and there could always be more cheese and silliness in the music I would say. But there are no limits.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel power metal naturally fits more fantastic and over-the-top type of material than other genres?
Scharsich: I would say so. Power metal is what we love and we always wanted to play power metal since we were teenagers. But I could also quickly mention that brutal death metal bands or a pop band could also make silly concept albums about ninjas. Luckily no one else is doing this, and the same with the dinosaurs. So we are doing this now, but I guess there’s no real boundaries about the musical genre. Luckily, it fits the power metal sound well. But again, a death metal band could make fun music as well.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you like about power metal then?
Scharsich: [laughs] The high vocals! That’s my number one answer. I’m a huge Helloween fan, and the higher the vocals, the better it is.
Dead Rhetoric: Going back to what you said about the music, with it being the way that you portray the more serious side of things, is there a way that you write and put things together?
Scharsich: Actually there is no master plan. I always use the same three chords, and create great melodies. We created some of the music around the vocal lines, at least for this album. I had so many chorus and vocal lines in my mind, so we created the guitar parts around that. There’s no big deal behind writing the music.
Dead Rhetoric: How important is the visual aspect that accompanies music like this?
Scharsich: It’s a major aspect! It’s super important! I don’t really like bands who don’t give a shit about what they look like. You see a promo or a video, and it’s important to look good. That’s why we have outfits for the promo pictures and the videos. We don’t want to be just another boring band. Looking like boring students or something. We want to present an image and create pictures in their minds. So it’s a major aspect.
Dead Rhetoric: You are a big Batman guy – would you ever consider writing some music that touched into Batman territory?
Scharsich: I’ve actually thought about it quite often. Maybe one day that will happen. Never say never. I’m really hoping to because I’m a huge Batman fan. I don’t know of any band that has done that. There’s Dethklok and [Belzebubs] and things like that, but maybe I’ll record a solo album about Batman.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s next for Victorius in 2020?
Scharsich: We will play a bunch of release shows in our area, then we will go on a European tour with our labelmates in Serenity. Then we will have some summer festivals I hope, and then later that year hopefully we will tour in the autumn. The plan is to play as much live as we can.