FULL METAL MAYHEM
Interveiwer: Lord Pale
April 2003

Can you explain to me what VLE stands for if anything?

~the VLE~: The letters are taken from the phrase the eViL onE. You see, many uneducated humans like to judge. They see me as this evil dark individual, so when I first released this music I decided that I would just refer to myself as ~the VLE~. The music is just a reflection of this misinterpretation... the illusion as seen through the eyes of the flesh. In the end, VLE is just a Virtual Listening Experience, nothing more.

The cover art on all of 'The Book Of Illusions' releases are by the same artist, and look fantastic. Will you continue to use this artist for your covers in the future?

~the VLE~: Yes, all the VLE CD covers were painted by the Disney artist Christophe Vacher. I came across one of his works, "The Legacy" (the painting featured on my Book of Illusions: Chapter I and II) by mere chance while surfing the internet some years ago. So, when I decided to release this music to the world I wanted very much to use his work. I contacted him and he was very open to the idea as he also enjoyed the music. I am honored to have his work associated with my music, so yes, I hope to use more of his work in the future... if there is one.

Will The Book Of Illusions saga see another chapter or are you planning to do something different in the future?

~the VLE~: As none of this was planned to begin with, I cannot foresee the future of this project beyond the here and now. To me all this music is old anyway… recordings I did years ago, so it's not a matter of do I have material, it's more about will I release it or not. I haven't thought about it much, so I guess time will tell.

In your press release you mention a little about your spontaneous recording methods could you explain in detail how exactly a VLE track is formed from start to finish?

~the VLE~: The music is created without a set pattern or prior thought of how the outcome of a piece should be. For instance, I sit down before the keyboard and place my hands on the keys and record the sounds as they happen. When I finish recording this initial release, I then add other sounds, phrases, and outside instrumentation to the initial progression until I feel that the piece is finished. This is determined by how I feel when I listen back to all the sounds together. I don't use any programming techniques (ie. Loops). All the music is created in real-time... even the drum sounds (except in the case of Kano). A piece may start with keyboard/synth, guitar or a simple vocal melody. Some songs were done within a few hours, some a few days or months and in a few cases years. Each time I create, it is because I have to express myself. It is one of the few outlets available to me. It's just me recording sounds and working with those sounds until I feel I have nothing left to express. Some songs have started with just guitar and I don't re-do the tracks, so there is a lot of timing errors and notes that are played incorrectly as well. There is no technical aspect to it at all... it is only that I have a way that I do things and I don't try to really understand it or analyze it. I regard every musical experience as some sort of emotional exchange, so I suppose this ultimately affects how my music is created. Basically this music was meant for me as a way to release dark feelings within myself which were becoming quite stifling... nothing more. I didn't plan on anyone else hearing the music so I never paid attention to the details of proper recording techniques and such. The instruments I used are a shitty 4-track, which I suppose most wouldn't consider an instrument, but mine definitely added a nice bit of noise to some songs, so for this reason alone it warrants inclusion... Westone and PRS electric guitars, Ovation and Yamaha acoustics, Fender bass, E-mu and Korg syths, Tama drums(only on Kano) and my voice. For capturing and mixing the sounds I used a Tascam 4-track, Sony double cassette boom box, Computer, Sony DAT, Mackie mixer, Alesis effects unit and some other stuff I forget. Most of this equipment I borrowed or had access to for a short period of time.

I understand you like feedback on the way your music makes the listeners feel. For the most part I find it to be very soothing, but a few of the tracks namely 'The Arrival', 'Crimson', and 'The Surest Path', from The Book Of Illusions: Chapter 3 I found to be quite agitating. Was this a deliberate move on the newer album to evoke this response?

~the VLE~: No, because I had no idea where the songs were going to go myself. That you are even reviewing it is by accident in a way, so I surely didn't intend to agitate you or anyone. But I will say that those particular songs depict some strong feelings I was expressing about death, so if the idea of death is agitating to you, then I guess the music has spoken to you... but really, it is great when the music evokes such a response. That is why music exists... to provoke and awaken the senses. I will admit that Chapter III is the most disturbing and darkest of the trilogy, but that's because in life we travel along different paths… with time there is always change. That is what my music reflects... the changing of the times of my life… agitating, chaotic and sometimes beautiful.

You are obviously influenced by moods, emotions, and nature as opposed to other music, but who are your musical interests/influences that solely affect you as a musician and not your musical output?

~the VLE~: Here is a short list of some of the artists that I like (in no particular order): Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Boston, Salvador Dali, J. S. Bach, Kitaro, Emperor, Jeff Buckley, Arcturus, Randy Rhoads, Beethoven, Primordial, Journey, Paco De Lucia, Philip Glass, My Dying Bride, Kila, Last Crack, Anathema(old), Vivaldi, Jimi Hendrix, Bethlehem, At the Gates, Dream Theatre, Abigor, Los Incas, Zeppelin, Borknagar, Sabath, Zach Wylde, Cynic, Iron Maiden, Ulver, Radiohead, Michael Shencker, In the Woods, the Doors etc...

When you first posted your music for viewing on MP3.com did you expect the level of response you received from it?

~the VLE~: No. I was very shocked by it… I still am. It's very comforting to know that others can look beyond the shitty production and find something within the music. I always thought it almost impossible to get through to people without the glamour and glitz... especially living here in the US. I find that within the realm of music I am most honest, at peace and free. So when I received all this positive feedback, I did almost not believe it. I mean, it was through this initial positive feedback from the people that I decided to release more and more music and put it on CD. I would have never done this… not with the way the recordings sounded. I think I am more of a perfectionist, so for me I cannot really listen to the music too much without picking out all the "wrong" things, but I suppose that is what makes it so special... all the truth is there. There is no sugar and spice... just raw aggression. And there are tears as well because I have been through some crazy shit with people dying all around me... I think the people can feel this. So, for me I am happy when I hear from people that say the music helped them get though some tough times in their lives or inspired them to create music... this is the ultimate for me and makes life on this planet just a bit more bearable.

VLE is obviously a very expressive form of release for you as an artist, do you ever write any material that you feel would be unfit to be released under this moniker?

~the VLE~: I suppose material that I write with others (band situation) wouldn't fit because the whole point of VLE is that the music comes directly from me without any planned exposure or pr-arranged contribution from others. I have many cassette tapes filled with music from years of writing in this way so, there will be material that will never be heard, but more for the reason that I just decide not to release it. But I will say that many of the songs that I have written and released while in a band situation have the same dark emotive and varied quality to them, but with much better organization and sound production ;).

On a more personal note, and just out of curiosity (due to the shrouded nature of your picture), is the VLE a male or a female?

~the VLE~: Both.

Are you currently involved in or have you ever played for any other bands?

~the VLE~: Yes, I am currently in a metal band and in the past I've played in bands outside of the metal genre as well.

Can you tell us anything about the next VLE release, if there is going to be one?

~the VLE~: Hmm, not really... I haven't really thought much about it, so I guess it is safe to expect the unexpected.

Thank you for your time...

~the VLE~: Thank you for your interest in the VLE... until next time? Play it loud. Hail and Kill!

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