Answers by: Viktor (Sail This Ship Alone)
I’m Viktor, guitar player for Sail This Ship Alone. We’re a screamo/skrams band from Vienna, Austria and we play a style of music that often sounds like a carcrash.
2. You are at the very early stage of your career what are your plans/wishes for the future?
To take it one step further than being a local band. It is about the intuitive desire to get your art and creative output recognized and to establish a bond or a strange form of communication with other people. The answer to the question “am i the only one” is no, we address topics close to us so hopefully somebody else can relate or find solace in some of the things we express.
From a career standpoint being able to live off the band would be the “ultimate goal” but i like to keep a realistic outlook on the monetary capabilities of a band with our style of music which are small to none. Definitely not enough to feed 4 mouths. It is very much a labour of love.
3. You have very intense sound, with a lot of changes of rhythms and speed, what had the biggest influence on your style/sound?
Probably Protest The Hero. PTH was the band that got me into complex and technical playing because they did all the technical stuff within the context of really well crafted songs. Before PTH i loathed prog-bands and was all about 2006-screamo (read: mallcore) bands but the first time hearing “Heretics & Killers” drastically changed my outlook about what can be done within the context of a rock band. After that it was a very steep fall down the rabbit hole until i got chewed out by bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, #12 looks like you, Behold, the Arctopus & Beneath The Massacre. I still kept my love for a good song with hooks and memorable parts but the “liberate” use of time in a song can really give a song something very powerful and compelling. Contrary to most peoples belief those 2 elements (song and chaos) are not mutually exclusive, listen to Miss Machine. We try to write actual songs with very chaotic/intense parts rather than just chaos for chaos’ sake. All the chaos and rawness is there to accompany the often dark and desolate themes of the lyrics. The words would seem grotesquely out of place if you’d put them over a 4 chord campfire song.
4. Who writes the lyrics and what are the themes you try to explore?
On our debut all lyrics were written by our vocalist (Cornelius). They deal with the human condition and the isolation and desperation often felt as a member of modern society. The superposition of feeling isolated whilst being surrounded by people is a strange, grueling and sometimes fascinating topic. On some of the newer songs i have taken a bigger part in writing vocals and lyrics for the tracks, mostly to be able to match the mood and pacing of the vocals to my initial idea of the song.
5. You have just released a debut album? Tell us little bit more about it.
We recorded the album in germany with engineer Jan Kerscher (Ghost City Studios) and producer Martin Albrich (Lorraine, The Great Disappointment - disbanded - ). After doing the initial debut EP in 2012 completely DIY in my basement it was a very welcome change of pace to have outside people give you their perspective on your material and use their skills to compensate for your own inability to take a step back and really judge the quality of your music.
We recorded the album over the course of 2 weeks and we were a bit of a challenge to record because i threw away 70% of our pre-written material one week before recording because i lost confidence in the music. I re-wrote all of it in a few days before the studio and everything turned out for the better, i am quite content with the result.
We already released the album digitally (see www.sailthisshipalone.com) and we will release it on vinyl in september. No CD or Casette release is planned.
6. The album also features really nice artwork, who's behind it and what message does it bring?
The artwork was made by a russian graphic artist who asked to remain unnamed. I found the artist via deviantArt and strangely enough there was a mutual understanding. The art was inspired by the lyrics to the 2nd last song on the record (Steppenwolf). It deals with stylizing yourself to be a hard independent loner as a way of dealing with trust and social issues. The lyrics to the song could be seen as a narrative of how not to live your social life and with the whole artwork visible (it spans over 4 pages, the vinyl will be gatefold) you see how your mind turns into this lone wolf. Our lyrics do not really have a direct imperative message to the listener, they operate more in the vain of prose and/or a narrateive, they “just describe” and leave the core message to the listeners interpretation.
The first time i heard the phrase Sail This Ship Alone was because it was used as a song title on the Architects Album “Ruin”. I personally deeply resonated with those 4 words because i was never a person who relied much on others or is very socially active, so it is more or less about sailing your ship on lifes rough ocean yourself. When the band was founded we looked everywhere for a name and it was the first possibility nobody intuitively dismissed so we stuck with it.
8. What's the first album you ever bought?
I cannot remember my first one, but one of the more significant purchases was Prinz Pis “NeoPunk”. When i heard the singles off of NeoPunk (“Gib dem Affen Zucker” & “Schädelficken”) I sent the link to the drummer of the band i was in back then with the remark “this is the biggest pile of music shit i have ever heard”. Two weeks later i was out buying the album. It was just one of those songs you initially hate but you have to listen to it again and again for unknown reasons and before you know you’re a fan because the elements that made the song so appalling in the first place give you something new and fresh you could not get out of other music.
9. Which is your favorite album that was released in 2013?
One Of Us Is The Killer, hands down.
I really like Daughters “If you Leave” and all the music Chvrches have released so far and of course Deafheavens Sunbather.
10. Beside music what is your favorite style of art?
I was hugely into 3d - Art a few years back but lost my love for it overtime, nowerdays i tend to enjoy surrealistic paintings which take something you are familiar with and portray it through a perspective unknown to you because it represents the artists vision and associations with said theme or object. In the later years i more and more enjoy indie movies as a all senses expression of a state of mind or an idea. I liked Ex-Drummer. It’s a belgian movie about an author who joins a band composed of handicapped people to source material for a new book of his and later unleashes his sociopathy upon a very vulnerable group of people. Definitely not a chill date movie and sometimes very uncomfortable to watch.
11. If you had unlimited budget to make a music video what would it look like?
Like project X, just with a band.
12. Which famous movie should have a Punk Rock / Hardcore soundtrack?
Lock, Stock and 2 smoking barrels.
13. If you had to do a cocktail named Sail This Ship Alone what would you put in it and what effect would it have on people?
It would be composed of weed-soymilk (weed cooked in soymilk to extract the active ingredients), 80% rum and a dash of pcp. It would completely wreck you and render your speech slurry and set your mind wandering for the next few hours. The whole experience would make you question if doing drugs is really a good idea, but you’ll do it again eventually. The drink is not supposed to make you feel unconditionally good or just fuck you up, its intentions are to give your mind a serious whack, force it take a step back and give you a different perspective on your own emotions.
14. What is your biggest wish right now?
My own coffee-minion.
15. Do you have a favorite summer festival?
No. I enjoyed fluff-fest this year but i feel like i grew out of festivals, or just became too fond of the materialistic luxuries of western society. I like my bed and my shower, maybe i should re-evaluate the wish to be in a touring band but we’ll see.
16. If you could have any musician of your choice on your next album who would it be and why?
A verse from Earl Sweatshirt over a odd-time breakdown. Earl is no stranger to crooked time signatures in his beats so i think this would work very well and i like his introspective lyricism.
17. Some last words for our readers?
“An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. "Can they be brought together?" This is a practical question. We must get down to it. "I despise intelligence" really means: "I cannot bear my doubts.” - Albert Camus.