The media describes them as the Italian Finns, as the sound of Vlad in Tears could easily have this origin. Kris, Dario (D!) and Lex, the three brothers from Italy, founded Vlad in Tears in 2004 together with close friend and part time family member, Alexander. This is the Italian addition into melancholic, dark gothic rock scene. STALKER wanted to hear from Kris Vlad, singer and songwriter of the quartet more about themselves and found out how they got into this kind of dark rock and why the guys are in some way real stereotypical Italian men.
Where in Italy do you come from?
We are from a little town called Cassino. It belongs to the province of Frosinone and is about 130km south of Rome.
If you have to label your music, how would you call it and what are your influences?
To be honest I really hate this. I don´t want to name what I´m doing. I´m trying to make good music. It´s the old story. I can say that we are a band who came from the direction of harder music like hard rock with influences in gothic.
Not very Italian Music…
I was always listening to music from the rest of the world and never to the stuff from Italy. I studied the lyrics and listened to international rock, hard rock, gothic rock and even dark 80´s and our music is a result of this. I also play piano and listen to classic, but I try to be careful with putting too much of it in our sound, as it is able to give it an old touch. On our first album, we still had a lot of influence by bands like HIM, but that´s long ago and we found our own style.
Is it disturbing you if magazines are calling Vlad in Tears the Italian Finns and compare you with bands like The Rasmus, Negative, Entwine and HIM?
Not at all. They are all good bands and we don´t mind getting compared with them, as long as we know that we´re doing our style and have our own sound.
If you say, that you were not listening to Italian music at all, was it hard to start with your type of sound there?
There is no place for us in Italy. I never saw one man say to us: “good sound, I could produce your music.” We are here in Germany for a reason, but that doesn´t matter. I don´t even like Italy and as I said, especially not the music. I prefer to be a man of the world, I want to play, and I want sing in English. I want to get better and better every day to feel really a cosmopolite and not an Italian man doing Italian things.
Would you consider yourself apart from the music as a typical stereotype Italian man like foreigners picture him?
I don´t know. (laughs)
How old are you?
Do you still live at your Mom´s place?
(laughter) Then you are a typical Italian man.
Aw, come on! We´re living at our parents place for a very good reason. You have to understand that we were recording and writing for two years and couldn´t move out because of this.
You chose the name Vlad as your (artist-) last name. I assume that this has to do with Vlad Tepes, aka. Vlad Dracula. What does this legend mean to you?
I love the legend of Dracula. I read many books about it and thought it is a good idea to explain more and show my point of view of his legend. I try to put this legend into rock music with writing about the world within love and hate. I really love the blood and tears thing. It´s something important, like a man, who cries for someone he loves. That is a romantic picture.
Do you prefer drama in your relationships too?
That´s the story of my life. (laughs)
I can´t really escape from this. Love is a great thing and very powerful, but it can make you crazy and can damn you. I need loving someone to live, but I hate it. You know?
You don´t? Em… I´m talking about the love to love. Like I say in one of my songs “I love but I hate love” and that´s what I talk about. I really need to love, but sometimes I hate love, because it is very difficult to be happy when you are in love with someone – at least for me.
Your latest albums name is “Underskin”. What is the meaning behind it? Inner fears? Emotional music?
You already named the most of the meanings. (laughs) “Underskin” as in “under your skin” can be whatever: pain, passion, memories… I think music can really make you feel this.
Is it more fictional or personal topics in your lyrics?
I write in most cases about my life, my stories and memories. Sometimes I write about someone I met a long time ago and this way I can feel closer to that particular person and that feels good.
You and your brothers are approximately the same age. Isn´t it hard to live together and also tour together?
It is wonderful. We grew up doing always the same things, believing the same things, we love the same thing. When we are on tour we´re living together the same dream.
So, you´re not going on each other´s nerves?
No, not at all. (loud laughter from their tour manager)
Okay, okay. Sometimes, when for example, one of us is too tired and want to sleep and the others are making noise - we can get angry, but we don´t really fight.
“Underskin” was produced by John Fryer. How was it to work with such a big name?
It was awesome. John is a really amazing man. He was for one month with us in Italy to record all songs and the mixing was in Norway then. It was very interesting and we learned a lot from him. I remember when we went to write together it was awesome. We don´t know if the next album is with him again, but we really hope so.
What was the most remarkable thing happen to you on tour so far? There were many things – good ones and not so good ones. (laughs) To choose one… Maybe one of the most important things was, when I met this guy (points at the tour manager). He (Christian „Chrischa“ Fäßler – the editors) was a real rock manager and really on the same wavelength as us. We met in July last year and it was very funny and very important for us. He is the reason why we are here in Hamburg now, so that was a remarkable thing.
What are your Future plans?
Good question and to be honest, I really don´t know.
What about a tour in Finland? You definitively fit in there.
I don´t know, but I´d like to. (looks at his tour manager)
This interview will not be the last time; STALKER will have an eye on this band. To read the concert review check here and the latest album review is here.
Author: Samira Alinto, Photos: Vlad in Tears Date: 2010-05-25