We are very excited to offer Blow The Scene readers around the world an exclusive interview with legendary Dutch hardcore punk band, Vitamin X. We go in-depth with guitarist Marc Emmerik who discusses the making of the band’s forthcoming and 5th studio album, About To Crack, coming soon on Tankcrimes Records. Marc also shares the inside story behind current lyrical motifs, song meanings, the recording process with renowned producer and engineer Steve Albini, current band picks, tour plans, and much more in this exclusive interview.
Below our exclusive Vitamin X interview you will find samples of About To Crack and links to pre-order the new record. Without further ado, let’s here from Marc!
Joshua BTS: Greetings! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for Blow The Scene readers around the World! Let’s kick things off by having you introduce yourself and declare your onstage weapon of choice with Dutch punk hardcore veterans, Vitamin X.
Marko – Vocals /Marc – guitars/ Alex – Bass/ Danny – drums
Joshua BTS: Vitamin X is preparing to release a 5th album, About to Crack, on Tankcrimes Records. When did the writing process begin for this record?
Marc Emmerik: It started around 4 years ago, haha.
Joshua BTS: About to Crack showcases a wide range of musical influences and frameworks. Everything from fast hardcore punk to Motör-charged riffs, rock, and even solos.
Marc Emmerik: Yeah, we like our music to be fast but also interesting, so we try to make every song different from the other. We love all kinds of punk, going from early 80’s fast hardcore, to 77 punk, and mid 80’s thrash. But we also try to incorporate other styles of music like hardrock, bands like Motörhead, ACDC, Sabbath, Pentagram.
Joshua BTS: Do you all contribute to the writing process?
Marc Emmerik: I mainly write all the music and lyrics. Alex the bassplayer also writes one or two songs a record. Marko is involved in suggesting what kind of direction the songs have to go, or what style of songs I should write. And the arrangements are done by the whole band during practice.
Joshua BTS: You again chose to record with Steve Albini and Electric Audio. Why the decision to work with Albini again?
Marc Emmerik: Actually, it went like this: before we recorded Full Scale Assault at Albini‘s studio, we practiced every week 3-4 times for like a year. We wrote the songs for Full Scale Assault, but besides that, we also had very new material. So we decided to record Full Scale Assault BUT also those very new songs with the intention of finishing and releasing it later. We were at Albini‘s studio for 10 days. We finished those new songs last year.
Joshua BTS: What are some of the lyrical themes listeners will find on About To Crack?
Marc Emmerik: The lyrics are dealing with pretty dark subjects. There’s a lot of death and destruction haha. But ofcourse we also have some funny stuff. We’ve always written political lyrics and combined it with angry personal lyrics.
The title track “About To Crack” is about being trapped (in life, in society) and not being able to take it anymore. Actually, the song “Maelstrom” also deals with this. “Ready To Burn” is about the destruction of the earth, the apocalypse, and being ready to fight the evils in this world. The song “Crank It Up” is about our life on the road, and our love for loud, angry music. “Shatter The Beast” is about major record companies who exploit bands, and change their ideals and beliefs.
Joshua BTS: You once again linked up with artist John Baizely of Baroness to craft the cover-art of About To Crack. What is the process behind the artwork creation with John? Is the visual art inspired by the music? Do you send John the tracks and lyrics beforehand?
Marc Emmerik: Yeah the visual art is directly inspired by the music and especially lyrics. We send John Baizley whatever we have, lyrics and music, and tell him our ideas. Then he comes up with some ideas and sketches, and we go back and forth. For About To Crack, Baizley was inspired by the lyrics of the title track. By the way, there will also be a crazy animation video of “About To Crack” based on Baizley‘s drawing and the lyrics. Check youtube!
Joshua BTS: What does the upcoming tour cycle look like for About To Crack? Will you be traveling to any new places or anything of particular interest on your agenda?
Marc Emmerik: The upcoming months we’re going to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, USA, Czech Rep, Germany, Spain, France. All of these countries -except for Ukraine- we’ve been before. But we’re very exited to hit the road and play those new songs.
Joshua BTS: How much importance do you place on sustained touring at this stage in the game?
Marc Emmerik: Touring is very important, also to promote an album. People need to know you’re out there and that you still kick ass. Our shows always have been crazy due to the amount of stagedives, circlepits. We also play big festivals, that way you reach more people, people that never heard of you before. A few months ago we played HellFest in France with Ozzy Osbourne, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Megadeth, and much more, and there were 40.000 people.
Joshua BTS: Seems you’ve hit something of a stride working with a lot of familiar faces including Scotty at Tankcrimes Records. How did you originally come to link up with Tankcrimes?
Marc Emmerik: We knew Scotty already for many years cos we met him at our US tours in the early 2000’s. For example, we played with his band Deadfall in 2004 at Gilman. But he also used to be the roadie of our friends Municipal Waste so everytime they came to Europe, Scotty was also there. He has a lot of great bands on his label, and Felix Havoc actually suggested that Tankcrimes might be a good label for us.
Joshua BTS: I understand Tankcimes has put together one of its infamous DIE HARD editions of the About To Crack LP- What does that entail?
Marc Emmerik: It has limited edition coloured vinyl, see through splatter, it looks great. And there’s only like a 100 or sth so get it now!
Joshua BTS: What bands, either in your local neighborhood or abroad- Are exciting you right now?
Marc Emmerik: Here are a few recent killer bands: No Class, Warsong, Crime Wave, Secret Prostitutes, Dry Hump and Fox Devils Wild. In Amsterdam we have Wanderlust which is a pretty cool new band
Joshua BTS: When you are not busy writing and performing with Vitamin X – What do the daily lives of the band look like?
Marc Emmerik: Of course we’re all collecting all kinds of music (mainly on vinyl). Besides that, Alex, the bassplayer is into surfing and scientific experiments (physics), drummer Danny is also drumming in German band Bent Cross, singer Marko is into watching and making movies, and I (Marc) like to play guitar, write songs, travel, draw, movies, etc.
Joshua BTS: Thank you kindly for taking a few moments with Blow The Scene readers from around the world, as we look forward to keeping up with your future endeavors. Any final thoughts?
Marc Emmerik: Thanks for reading. Keep thrashing, stay punk and see you at one of our shows!
Interview by Joshua T. Cohen
Top BW photo by Michael Marlovics
Vitamin X on Facebook
Tankcrimes Official Website