I've already provided my initial thoughts on the mind-bending Digital Affairs Neurotic, its record release show has transpired, and pre-orders have shipped. Now, it's time to let the music—and those responsible—do the talking…
Finland has become a bit of a "home away from home" for Vegas—to whatever degree that the band's transiency lends itself to any "home" at all. How was your return to Helsinki?
I find it difficult to not like Finland, its people, and their mentality—specifically the twisted characters operating behind the moniker Judas Chair Collective. While the stereotype might suggest that Finns are a reserved and taciturn lot, the Finnish DNA seems to be diametrically opposed to the light, meaningless chit-chat folks in the new world are accustomed to, which resonates with me. I am a simple man, and the fact that Nakki Sixx—frontman of the fantastic band Dredged and the powerviolence outfit Circling the Drain—has mastered the craftsmanship of a patisserie chef is reason enough to visit. Nakki's lingonberry cakes get better each time, and are a treat to be savoured.
This year's excursions led us to the Artek HQ, which—being a Bauhaus aficionado—was a real treat, as their emphasis firmly focuses on the quality of materials and technology rather than indulging in frivolous ornamentation, which could be seen as the epitome of the Finnish national character. The fact that they proffered spruce resin ice cream—created to capture the taste of their architecture—only enhanced the experience. We also used the occasion to visit the Steven Holl-designed Kiasma museum, and felt particularly safe under the watchful gaze of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.
Vegas' performance capped off the first day of the inaugural Judas Chair Collective Festival last weekend, acting as the release show for Digital Affairs Neurotic. What was the whole experience like—perhaps most notably sharing the occasion with the debut live outing from your cohort in Broken Cross the following night?
I was blown away by the caliber of bands that played the festival, and it was quite a humbling experience to share a stage with them. Highlights of the first night included Circling the Drain, a band that anyone remotely into power violence should check out; as well as Long Gone, who conjure their own idiosyncratic brew of Cleveland hardcore infused with Nordic vitriol. The second night saw, among others, the fantastic The Reality Show, the bulldozers of Dredged with their bitter darkcore, and a bludgeoning set by Remissions that pulverized the place. It was fantastic for the festival to culminate with the first-ever performance by Broken Cross, whose presentation was a more than adequate extension of their recordings.
It seems safe to assume that Digital Affairs Neurotic will not be your last collaboration with the Judas Chair Collective. How would you characterize the manner in which this symbiosis has continued to progress in such short time?
On the surface, it might look like the collaboration has only evolved over the last couple of years, but it turned out that the heads behind the Judas Chair Collective have been aware of Vegas since its first inception, and that we share quite a few preferences in terms of our musical socialization—which immediately created a foundation that helped for the projects to grow organically. The Judas Chair Collective always has something cooking, and the Digital Affairs Neurotic LP is the mere tip of the iceberg.
I highly recommend checking out the current and upcoming releases from Dredged, Long Gone, and Circling the Drain. The Judas Chair Collective also created some special customized merch for the record release show, of which some leftovers might still be available.
Digital Affairs Neurotic having surfaced some 13 years following Wake, must the hordes endure another lucky 13 before the next Vegas long-player sees the light?
[Laughs] you never know. We have been releasing quite a few records in between—some deliberately in homeopathically limited quantities—and in all kinds of novelty formats. We have an array of songs recorded and are currently working on new ones, so there is certainly no lack of material. I like how Digital Affairs Neurotic has come together, and the territory it covers.
We all love and share a friendship with Vegas, so when T asked if we wanted to release the new full-length with The Final Judgment Records, it was pretty much a no-brainer—especially after we heard the recordings.
We were also putting up a festival for dark and sinister hardcore and other "similar" underground music, and had already booked Broken Cross and other great bands for the lineup. So, we thought what would be a better excuse to bring Vegas back to Finland and organize a record release show?
The festival was a blast. All the bands did top-notch shows, and everything worked like a dream. We couldn't be happier about the record, either. There is no other force like Vegas.
Historically, relations between Poland and Germany were not easy—to put it mildly and politically correct. Fortunately, the characters between Vegas and The Final Judgment Records operate outside the boundaries of convention.
In 2016, The Final Judgment Records travelled to Helsinki, Finland through various airports and the labyrinth-like underground car parks of Merihaka in order to witness a one-time Vegas performance. The trip resulted in a bond with Finland's finest—the Judas Chair Collective—although the relationship was sabotaged by the local shop selling us blood brownies.
In the last few years, The Final Judgment Records and Vegas cooperation has resulted in a series of limited lathe-cut singles, and with the up-to-date Vegas artistic output, a full-length seemed as the final piece to the puzzle. The operation required a special task force rather than a one-man army, and the decision of joining forces with the Judas Chair Collective was made, the plan set, and the actions taken.
What you can hear today is the result of passion, hard work, and fulfilled ambitions. Enjoy…