Hard Talk

Interview with Brandon Manlove from Vampire Mooose

In support of their latest Rotten Records release, ‘Serenade The Samurai’, I was able to catch guitarist Brandon Manlove for a quick e-mail interview to talk a bit about the band, the release and a few other things.

JH: Can you give us a brief history on how Vampire Mooose came to be?

BM: Vampire Mooose began in 1999. Mooose performed many local shows in the St. Louis and surrounding areas, and from the beginning their unique sound always attracted large and somewhat violent crowds. One incident occurred at a nightclub in East St. Louis, Illinois where a riot broke out during a Vampire Mooose performance. The mayhem continued as the crowd moved out to the parking lot where 6 people were arrested and 4 people tazed by the local police. Ryan Pulliam-vocals Vampire Mooose was one of the people arrested in this incident for allegedly “inciting” this riot. Vampire Mooose was signed to Rotten Records in 2002 and their self titled debut was released in 2003. With all of this in place, Mooose began to do small tours opening for bands such as Goatwhore, Dying Fetus, and Dog Fashion Disco, and slowly began to build a national fan base. With XM and SIRIUS Satellite radio coming up, Mooose began to get more national exposure from this relatively new market medium. More touring and a few member changes fast forward us to the Vampire Mooose of today which consists of Ryan Pulliam-vocals, Eric Baudendistel-drums and percussion, Al Carson-bass and Brandon Manlove-guitars. All are original members except for Brandon who joined the Mooose on April 22, 2005. Brandon did make a guest appearance on the first album from ’03 playing guitar and doing vocals on a track called Khali-Ma.

JH: How did you come up with the name?

BM: Ryan came up with the name. He likes to express himself in an original manner in all aspects of life. His influence and unique way of thinking is a big part in the end result that is Vampire Mooose.

JH: Tell us about the new album.

BM: Mooose began writing Serenade the Samurai in the late summer and fall of 2005. We recorded our second Rotten Records release in May of 2006 at Wrightway studios in Baltimore, MD with Steve Wright, Drew Lamond, and assistance from Jason Paquin. These guys are very good at what they do and did a great job of engineering and mixing this album. We are very happy with this album. We’ve been getting a lot of good reviews, and Sirius Hard Attack channel 27 has been giving our first single from Serenade the Samurai, Portauni quite a bit of attention. We have been #1 most requested on the Devil’s Dozen, the top 12 most requested songs of the week on Sirius Hard Attack the past 4 weeks running. Mooose was #2 most requested during week #3, but came back #1 again this week for the 11-18-06 program.

JH: Lyrical Inspiration?

BM: Movies, comics, recovery, addiction, friends, family, human environment, pain, industry, oil.

JH: How does this release compare or differ from previous release?

BM: More mature and focused this time around. All key members in place. More aggressive, heavy approach. Just in a different place in life.

JH: Describe Mooose’s sound?

BM: Heavy, aggressive, unorthodox. A lot of changes and blending different things. Unlike any music I have ever heard.

JH: Any plans for a video off the album yet? And if so, is there a track you guys have in mind?

BM: No plans for video yet, no track chosen. For the last video for Adamantium Elbow, the label and the director chose the song. I would think it would be track #1 Portauni, but we’ll see what happens.

JH: What does the tour schedule look like?

BM: We have a few shows booked here and there. We also have people working on some tour projects as we speak but nothing locked in as of yet. We will keep you posted as the info comes in.

JH: How long do you plan being out on the road?

BM: We plan to tour as much as we possibly can. Money and gas prices being a major factor in determining all of this.

JH: Any plans as of yet for any European shows?

BM: We have had offers to do European shows, but nothing has come to be as of yet.

JH: Who are some of the bands influences?

BM: Tool, Meshuggah, Tori Amos, Phish, early Deicide, Faith No More, old Sepultura, Clutch.

JH: So who are some of the bands that Vampire Mooose have shared the stage with?

BM: Body Count, Obituary, Incantation, Dog Fashion Disco, Agnostic Front, the Red Chord, Testament, MOD, Black Dahlia Murder, Cephalic Carnage, Strapping Young Lad, Cattle Decapitation, Goatwhore and a few others.

BM: Bands we would kill to tour with?? Tool and Mastodon.

JH: How is the St. Louis Metal Scene?

BM: In my opinion, there is no St. Louis metal scene. It’s all the same idiots re-hashing their version of what is popular that week, and trying to act like they are doing their own version of it. Yet, the shit sounds all the same. I think that plays a big part in Mooose’s original sound. We’ve always naturally tried to come up with musicthat was different from anything going on around us.

JH: You guys have a very large following there?

BM: From the beginning, Vampire Mooose has always had a large following in the St. Louis area. Moooseheads are very dedicated to the cause. Fans show us there Mooose tattoos, make their own shirts, and sport their Mooose merch on a regular basis.

JH: What are your thoughts on the metal scene here in the states?

BM: Metal is probably bigger and has more exposure in the states now than it ever has. As far as the new Metal/Hardcore bands in the states a lot of the stuff sounds the same. But then again, there are a lot more original sounding bands than there have been in the past.

JH: What are some of the bands long term goals?

BM: World domination. To try and find a way to survive and make a living in the music industry by doing what we were put on this planet to do.

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