VEIL OF DECEPTION is an Austro – Spanish band formed in 2013 whose sound ranges from heavy metal / thrash to stoner. The combo is built up by Austrians Dejan Jorgovanovic (guitar), Liam Schmid (guitar), Thomas Hava (bass), Mike Gunther ( Drums ) and Daniel Gallar (Voice). Currently they have two LPs, Tearing up the roots (2015) and Deception Unveiled ( 2013 ), both self-published.
Today Daniel Gallar, Spanish-born vocalist with VEIL OF DECEPTION has been kind enough to give us the following interview out of his place in Austria, where the band is based.
Subterráneo Heavy: Hey Daniel! How you doing? Just to break the ice a little bit, would you please tell us where you are right now while answering these questions and what album you have playing in the background?
VoD: What’s up Juanjo? I’m doing pretty good myself man, I’m here in Vienna where it’s obviously blistering cold this time of year. I’m writing out in my flat now that I have some time to spare. Music in the background? I’ve got Portugal’s MIDNIGHT PRIEST 2nd full length titled Midnight Steel, blasting man. I dig all these new bands that are once again proudly waving the flag of traditional heavy metal and these dudes in particular are doing a damn fine job of it.
Subterráneo Heavy: Tell us a bit about how VEIL OF DECEPTION came about. How does an Alicantinian like yourself end up in an Austrian band singing English lyrics?
VoD: The band was formed in January 2013 barely a few months after I moved out here with my family all the way from England. At first it was Dejan (guitars), Gerd (another guitarist who’s no longer in the band) and myself who started it all right from scratch. I figured I would just join an already existing band but man, the minute I heard those phat riffs Dejan had been working on I knew then and there we had to bring this project to life. On the other hand, prior to our moving out here, we lived in the UK (Scotland and England, where I was in a number of bands) for quite a few years. I moved out here for work and so far it’s been terrific.
Subterráneo Heavy: Tell us a bit about the Austrian metal scene. What’s the general level in terms of quality, quantity and overall dynamics? Would you reckon it’s easier to make it there than it is in other countries like Spain?
VoD: Well first of all I had to submerge myself into the whole metal thing here for a while before I started seeing what’s going down. I would conclude that the Austrian scene is second to none. While bands over here are pretty much underground and are not internationally well-known (other than black metal outfits like SUMMONING, ABIGOR or BELPHEGOR) the quality is undeniably there. There are many bands right enough (although not zillions of them) but there’s also quite a bit of variety… from the old-school thrash played by bands like ENCLAVE (really tight thrash in true Bay Area fashion in the vein of HEATHEN/EXODUS/TESTAMENT/old METALLICA), MORTAL STRIKE (more Eurothrash style in the vein of KREATOR/TANKARD) or the Tyrol band INSANITY ALERT (crossover thrash pretty much like DRI) to traditional heavy metal (ROADWOLF) to groove/metalcore (ENEERA, CHAOS BEYOND), stoner/sludge/southern metal (LOWBAU) or even good ol’ death metal (PARENTAL ADVISORY, VOID CREATION). So there’s certainly a bit of everything and the overall level is rather high. On top of that the atmosphere is awesome man. No jealousy or competition among bands, we’re all pretty tight-knit. I’m not quite certain what you means by “make it” to be honest… if you mean having it easier in terms of playing good venues, with options to play alongside bigger bands and promoters and bookers who take you seriously and respect you, you bet, it’s all more professional here without a doubt.
Subterráneo Heavy: Other than the fact that (at least in theory) Spain is a “warmer” country on both a personal and musical level, what do you miss the most now that you’re in Austria given your Levantine origins?
VoD: Quite honestly, I’ve been living abroad for so long that in the end one tends to feel a bit… uprooted as it were. Each country or culture is just different. Simple. As far as Austria is concerned… well maybe the Germanic culture tends to be a little colder at first feel but obviously that changes later on (after a couple beers the process is dramatically expedited, mind you!). Now, in all seriousness… I don’t really miss anything in particular all that much. Regarding music… well neither I would say. The styles played here as the same ones as over there and at the end of the day it’s all about folk who play the music they like and as honestly as possible.
Subterráneo Heavy: I’m going to ask you a rather touchy question. I’m not sure if you’re till following the Spanish music media but last year Leo Jiménez (very popular Spanish metal singer) stated that “there are way too many bands in Spain” and also just recently El Pirata (a very famous Spanish music critic and journalist) said that “new bands better get their crap together cause the music icons are dying and there’s no one out there to fill in for them”. What’s your take on that?
VoD: There are “way too many bands” everywhere you look now. Technically they are pretty amazing nowadays I would say. I think the problem stems from the fact that there are bands playing exactly the same style coming out of the woodwork. Bands that are extremely hard to tell one from the other. Lack of original touch at the end of the day. No spark if you ask me.
Another interesting fact is that nowadays making a decent recording is not something that only big, rich acts can do. This has triggered the creation of legions of bands who after a couple jam sessions decide to record an EP, which will eventually be uploaded on Youtube. That’s all good and well but… seriously? Is that it? I think those bands should be more patient and they should spend more time in the rehearsal room so that they can have a clearer idea of who they want to be. As regards the comments made by El Pirata… no, I can’t agree with what he said. “Get their crap together”? Bands play ‘till their fingers bleed nowadays, both in the practice room and up on stage. And again, nowadays they are technically amazing. Couldn’t it be because the media could not care less about what these bands are up to and they only cover “big bands”? I truly admire “big bands” and quite a few of them are still putting out great stuff whereas others are basically living off royalties from old albums but hey, they know damn well that no matter what they put out there’s a whole well-oiled marketing machine out there that will make sure the album sells like crazy. Couldn’t it also be that there are truly amazing bands out there who have been kicking ass for years on end but still nobody will give them a real chance of making it, which will lead to them splitting-up? It’s publications like Subterráneo Heavy that really support the true nowadays’ rock and metal scene: I am talking of course about the underground scene. Today it’s crystal-clear that you don’t get to do this for the money (if you do you belong in the loony bin), which I think makes bands even more worthy of recognition… but then again, they really need to try and sound original, bring something different to the table so that they can stand out amongst the rest.
Subterráneo Heavy: Tearing Up the Roots is your sophomore effort, which I had the honour of enjoying and reviewing. How was the album received? Are your fans liking it better than your début album Deception Unveiled?
VoD: Thanks a lot for the very positive review you made. We’re really chuffed you dug the album so much. In the main the album is getting very positive reviews and most people have interpreted it as a very logical step forward with respect to Deception Unveiled. In general people are liking it better than the debut album, although you always come across the odd person who tells you otherwise. While Deception Unveiled was a strong album in my opinion, the production maybe left a bit to be desired. But that never seemed to get in the way of people’s enjoyment of the album, and it is a very decent album. I reckon on Tearing Up the Roots we just improved on all possible levels. That’s also due to the fact that we’ve now been longer together and therefore have become more water-tight as a band. On top of that the album was produced by none other than Norbert Leitner, the best metal producer in the whole country… and you can tell.
Subterráneo Heavy: What’s the most important factor in your music-creation and writing process, having your own style and sound or the technical level? Would you actually chuck a great song just because it doesn’t have the typical VEIL OF DECEPTION imprint?
VoD: I think having your own style and sound is definitely more important. As I mentioned earlier on nowadays there are tons of bands out there, bands featuring almost virtuoso-ish people who are getting almost next to zero recognition due to their music not being original enough or because there is no real feeling to it. It’s not about playing 200 notes per second staring into the camera so people see how cool you are. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about having personality and character, and your own sound. This takes time and lots of hours of practice, and I think VoD has accomplished that as a band. As regards your last question… well if it really is our song you can bet your bottom dollar it’s gonna sound VoD, make no mistake about it.
Subterráneo Heavy: “Summer’s Dying” is your third music video, shot by Claudio Barrantes which is featured on your Youtube cannel. How was the shooting of the video? Any anecdotes you’d care to share with us? Any tips you might want to give other bands, bands who intend to shoot their very first video?
VoD: Actually it’s the second proper music vid we’ve done with him – other than the lyric vid he also did for us of our first single “Personal Holy Grail”. Claudio is an up-and-coming director with buckets of talent and potential. Shooting a video is always fun but it becomes a bit tiring in the end… lots of different takes and angles and doing playback for the same song 40 times in a row! But we’re pretty pleased with the result. The location where we shot it is just plain gorgeous when we first arrived there at dawn the landscape was just beautiful. Anecdotes? Well as usually we got the invaluable help of our Thomas’s (bass) dad (aka “heavy metal papa”). He’s our no. 1 fan!
Actually I don’t really have that many tips for other bands… other than they should take it seriously if they want to shoot a music video. They shouldn’t just grab a camera and start recording randomly. They oughta plan ahead and make sure they’re going to get a good quality product in the end. Music videos can be a bit of a double-edged sword in the sense that if they turn out utter crap that’s what folk will remember the band by rather than by the music. If they turn out great however, we think it’s a great way of just getting your music out there while giving it a different spin and dimension
Subterráneo Heavy: Last year you played live alongside well-known bands like FLOTSAM AND JETSAM or RAGE. In April you’re playing with BLAZE. Usually you guys play Vienna but are looking into dates outwith your hometown. What’s the latest scoop on that? Any confirmed gigs you can already announce?
VoD: Yeah last year was really good for us on all possible levels. New album, really good gigs… both with well-established bands and Austria’s finest acts too, even fests. It’s true that up until now we’ve played Vienna for the most part but this year we’re already going places across the country and we’re even looking into doing gigs abroad. We really have to win the crowd over wherever we may go and get new fans. For instance, on Feb 6th we’ll be playing Graz with two very promising thrash acts from Serbia: ALITOR and SPACE EATER. In late Feb we’ll headline a metal night here in Vienna, we’ll support BLAZE in April and in Oct we’ll do a mini-fest outside Vienna. As usual other gig opportunities will for sure pop up along the year as well so yeah, onwards and upwards! Spain? Well… with the right planning and if we ever got the chance we’d sure be delighted!
Subterráneo Heavy: A vocalist told me once that “one’s voice if probably the easiest instrument to have full control over but the hardest to actually take care of”. Do you agree?
VoD: Having a good command of your voice takes years of practice and experimentation. It’s not only about sounding how you want to sound but also with the same level of intensity for over an hour. Any metal style is pretty demanding vocal wise and it sure requires a good physical condition for support. On the other hand… say a bass player for instance. They can do a gig more or less even if they’re down with the cold. A singer couldn’t. So singers always have to take extra care. It’s the usual paranoia of vocalists when they wake up in the morning before a gig: bad colds and hoarseness.
Subterráneo Heavy: Which singer or band would you like to record with and why?
VoD: Ronnie James Dio – a little too late for that though… no explanation needed me-thinks!
Eric AK (FLOTSAM AND JETSAM) – huge influence on me. I guess having supported Flots is good enough eh?
(Sir) Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X) – you can’t top this guy from a technique viewpoint.
Sebastian Bach (SKID ROW) – charisma, range and versatility, all rolled into one.
Bands I’d like to perform with? The list would be too long I’m afraid.
Subterráneo Heavy: Right, let’s end the “interrogations” here. I hope you didn’t break a sweat there! Daniel, please feel free to add any comments you like. Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview with Subterráneo Heavy.
VoD: Well I’d just want to thank those who have made it this far reading the interview! I’d like to ask all self-respecting metal fans to set a good example and really support their respective underground/metal scenes and help grow those who are still small. Have those people actually realized that even freaking METALLICA started out supporting other bands? Let’s not be such elitists and let’s just really enjoy all kinds of bands – big and small. And needless to say: if you really want to see that band you liked so much live ever again make sure you support them by buying their CD cause there’s no guarantee whatsoever you’ll ever see them again. And last but most assuredly not least I’d like to encourage people to check us out and support us. I think we’re a band that has a lot to bring to the table and totally worth discovering. Thanks to you Juanjo and the whole Team for the amazing work you’ve been doing all these years. Don’t ever change one bit. Cheers!!