Even if you never have attended the Vans Warped Tour, the mention of it probably puts a certain image and sound in your head—neither of which corresponds with Vampires Everywhere!, an industrial/goth/metal band that recently released its second album, “Hellbound and Heartless.” Nevertheless, Vampires Everywhere!, named for the comic book in the 1987 horror film “The Lost Boys,” spent the summer traveling the United States with a host of pop-punk and hardcore bands, and other acts with whom they have nothing in common. When the Warped Tour rolled through Columbia, Md., Live Metal’s Greg Maki caught up with frontman Michael Vampire to discuss the new album, the ongoing pop culture vampire craze and more.
LIVE METAL: How has the Warped Tour been treating you this summer?
MICHAEL VAMPIRE: It’s actually very surprising. Everyone’s been so cool. I had a lot of things going on in my head where I thought maybe we would get tomatoes thrown at us or something for the way we look, but it’s been amazing. Everyone’s been really cool, so it’s been great.
You’ve been playing all songs off the new album, right?
Yes, actually. We took a chance on that, played nothing from the old record. We’re not big fans of the old record. We wanted to play our new stuff.
The new album came out last month. How does it compare to the first one? Obviously, you like it a lot more.
(laughs) Well, we produced this one ourselves. We had some of our friends in Spineshank do the engineering. When it’s more personal and you’ve done it yourself, it’s a lot better. The last record, we had a producer pulling us one way, the label pulling us the other. They threw the word “pop” in the mix. At that point in time, I wasn’t a giant fan of that, but we did what we had to do, and it turned out to be that. So the (new) record that’s out is a far cry from that. It’s like a nice mixture of ‘90s kinda nu-metalish, has a Manson feel to it, has a White Zombie feel to it. I love it, man. Plus, I get to express myself on this record. I didn’t get to do that on the last.
What has it been like working with the Century Media people?
Century Media’s been awesome to us since the beginning. They stuck with us. We had some highs and lows, lows and highs. They’ve always been there for us, and I can’t downgrade Century Media. They’ve been good to us.
Only a couple weeks left on this tour, but I’m sure you’ll be touring after this. For people who haven’t seen you guys play live, what can they expect?
They’re gonna be surprised. A lot of people think they’re gonna come to our stage and there’s gonna be a ton of autotune and sparkling going on and all sorts of stuff. They’re surprised when they see that it’s harder than they thought, it’s a lot more metal than they thought. I think that’s what people have been saying. Even Metal Sucks—the people that downgrade us to the ends of the Earth—actually came around and said that we sounded more like Ratt. So hey, man, that’s cool.
Well, they don’t seem to like anyone. So I feel like if they don’t like you, that means you’re starting to go somewhere.
Yes. I mean, that’s how we got signed to Century, and that’s how our videos got big—‘cause they just totally rip us apart. I don’t know what the crossbreed’s gonna be. Most of the scene magazines—AP and stuff like that—actually didn’t want anything to do with us. I was like, interesting, because we’re trying to get out of there, and you’re pushing us out of there, and everyone else that’s out of there is starting to like us—we’re doing the right thing. So this is going good.
What is next after Warped Tour?
We have a tour I can’t announce yet, but it’s gonna be cool. A really cool magazine’s doing it, so it’ll be profitable and awesome. [NOTE: This fall, Vampires Everywhere! will support Alesana, along with In Fear and Faith, Glamour of the Kill and All Human, in the United States on the Inked Music Tour.]
The name of the band, I know it comes from “The Lost Boys.” Obviously, in the past few years, there’s been this big vampire craze, but I’m guessing you’re a little more old-school than the things that are going on now.
Yeah, I got caught in the undertow, man. I named the band that because of a comic book. I was familiar with the Mormon vampire book she was writing—about “Twilight” and shit—but I was like, this is going nowhere. There was an indie movie being made about it. I was like, this is—no way. Because there’s no blood, man. There’s no sex before marriage. It’s just like, this is not gonna work. But it did. The kids caught on to it. The mothers have something like “Star Wars,” so you can watch it. So all the other vampire mythological stuff kind of went out the window. I was caught in the undertow with it—our band was. We were the sparkly vampires with the autotune, and I think that 50 percent it helped us, 50 percent it hurt us. Right now, we’re trying to rise above the stigma and show people that we’re more than just bullshit.
What are some of the older vampire movies or books that you’re into?
Anything back in the day, old horror movie classics, AMC-type stuff. I love all that kind of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff-type stuff. But also the old “Fright Night.” I like all the ‘80s ones. Those were the best. I could go on and on about vampire movies, but the epitome of it all for me was “The Lost Boys.” And later on was Francis Ford Coppola’s version of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
That’s one of my favorite movies.
Gary Oldman—one of my favorite actors, so it was cool him putting that together.
How does all that influence your music?
It influences it greatly. It’s a whole culture behind it. The last record, I was talking more about the storyline of movies and how I incorporated vampire culture into my life. This new thing is about me and how it influences me, but it still has an undertone. Even when I’m talking about myself or religion or social climbing, it’s always there. It’s interesting how that kind of correlates.
On the new album, you do a cover of “Rape Me” by Nirvana. That wouldn’t be a band that you would think of right away when you hear you guys, but I guess their influence was so big that they, in some way, influenced almost everybody who came after them. So why did you pick that song?
I think Kurt Cobain is underrated for his punk rock influences, his darker influences. A lot of people look at him as an icon, a legend, and they don’t know that he came from the Seattle underground and he had this certain thing going. That song had a kind of circle effect—you hurt me, I hurt you. I’m really into revenge and I’m into Kurt, so I thought this would be the perfect collaboration for me to do. I had to push the band to do it, push them to play it live. But it’s worked.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I really appreciate you interviewing me, and hopefully I get to see you again when I’m on the road.