Versatile - ''Pure emotion. That's all the beauty about music.''
Exploding forth in a malestrom of of malevolence and savagery is Switzerlands Versatile. A sonic represntation of horror brought forth through the combination of industrial and black metal that begins quite simply with the bands name.
Hatred Salander (Vocals) : The name was chosen after the title of one of our first song, Versatile, that tells the story of a creature capable of changing his shape by wearing human skin. It’s also the name of that creature.
What led to the basis of your sound? Industrial and black metal belong together yet it is hard to do?
Hatred Salander : At the very beginning, I wanted to mix both of the most extreme and intense music that I liked: Aggrotech (mostly Psyclon Nine) and Black Metal. But as we went on, we naturally added elements from other styles we liked such as death metal, doom, or even deathcore. We don’t want to be bound and we like to give every song its unique atmosphere.
The violence in your music? Those riffs feel weaponised, where does the anger come from?
Famine(Guitars) : Thank you ! Indeed, most of the time, I lean into my riffs exploiting all the frustrations received from my anger. You're having a bad day at work, you haven't reached a goal with a taste of defeat on your lips... Music is a great opportunity to escape and put all that energy at the service of creativity. The tricky part is that an emotion goes away suddenly, and you have to take the time to interpret it and do something constructive with it at the risk of remaining on frustrations or wanting to break something …
Your latest release Atra Bilis
Famine : “Atra Bilis” was a success with an excellent reception from the various webzines and the enthusiasm of the people who follow us. Unfortunately, due to the repercussions of the Covid, the release of our physical CDs and LPs was strongly impacted, but the products were able to be sent to everyone.
Is it the representation of Black bile and the emotions associated with it?
Hatred Salander : Yes, it is! But as always, we love taking something and transforming it to serve our lore. In the theory of humors, the black bile is related to melancholy. In our songs, the black bile is a fluid capable of revealing the worst part of humanity, creating monsters.
Un hiver de Cendre? Is it prophecy or thoughts about the world in general ?
Hatred Salander: The characters in our lyrics live in an underground world called “L’Envers”, so it’s not about our real world, and neither is a “real” winter (can’t snow underground, right?). It’s an event, the beginning of our story. The atra bilis comes from these ashes melted together, along with a cold wind from the surface world.
Famine : Ah,we will see tomorrow what will happen, won't it ? There is indeed this idea to confront two thermal levels together. In our video clip, we rendered in image this duality between cold and warm colors. We find this subject a lot in films and music in general, this opposition between good and evil, light and night, etc.
The intimidating visual aspect of Versatile ? It's importance ?
Famine : As important as a fridge full of chocolate. It is necessary.
Hatred Salander : Well, I don’t put chocolate in the fridge, but yes it is! As much as the music. We want to create a complete piece using all the art forms that we can.
The influences that affect your music. Are they external ones ?
Hatred Salander : The main influences for our music and lyrics are books, movies, video games,.. different kinds of art. Frankenstein, Dante's Inferno, E.A. Poe, Victor Hugo, HR Giger, Arcane, Doom. We're not much into "World events", news or politics. Human nature and feelings are the only "real" things that inspire Versatile.
How do you define heavy music ?
Famine : Pure emotion. That's all the beauty about music. There is no canvas or an absolute method. It is not enough to tune your instrument in drop Z to obtain a massive harmony. Bands like Humanity's Last Breath, especially on their track "Tide", have understood this well. Even in pop culture, go see a Woodkid concert and listen to his various percussions and you will see how he is able to combine heaviness and emotion on the same front.
Are you proud to be known as black metal? Is it the only outlet ?
Famine : Honestly, Black Metal is one of those many branches that connects Versatile among many others. We do not define ourselves on a single style, but rather by assembling themes related to the characters or our universe. There is a rapprochement with various genres such as deathcore, death metal, post metal … As soon as an idea is obvious, we throw ourselves into it, always searching for new elements that may surprise those who listen to us.
Hatred Salander: In my opinion, “black metal” is not a good description of what we do and is a difficult label to assume, that could disappoint or repel some potential fans. We mix many kinds of Metal, and I think the only recurring thing is the horror theme.
Plans for the future
Famine : We are actively working in the shadows for the next few months with a few surprises, including a first single "Cave Canem" released a few weeks ago. But we intend to present new ideas on stage and an even stronger product than our first release in the year 2023.
Top 6 albums of all time?
Famine : City (from Strapping Young Lad), ░▒ ▓ █ (from Keygen Church) & SCD (From Nemertines).
Hatred Salander : King (Fleshgod Apocalypse), The Great Mass (Septicflesh) & Omega Arcane (Shade Empire).