Melbourne metalcore outfit Vatic have proven to be a strong contender in the booming local heavy scene. Their highly-anticipated concept EP Mercer 217 – released Friday 21 October – is a shining example of their depth as a band and striking creativity.
We had a chat with the band regarding the new EP to learn more about the concept behind it.
Congratulations on the new EP! Was your next release always going to be conceptual?
No, it came about while we had so much spare time in lockdowns. We were watching a lot of horror movies together and were experimenting with the idea on our earlier single “Through the Eyes of a Snake”. A lot of our favourite artists and albums have been conceptual and with how dark and eerie it was starting to sound, we just leant into it and had a go ourselves.
Where did the idea for the fictional narrative come from?
The final transmission from the Mars rover Opportunity was “My battery is low and it’s getting dark”. I think I read that on Facebook and it sparked up a conversation about our own mortality and, knowing that you are about to die, do you long to keep living? So while we were locked inside watching and reading all these horror stories, it inspired us to write one of our own which was simply too much fun to not continue with.
Are protagonist Chance and the events of his story representative of something more personal?
Not directly. There is of course always a level of emotions and personal experiences that go into something like this, but our characters and sounds are more or less just a collaboration of everybody’s inspirations. Some themes we explore perhaps would be identity, self-reflection, grief, abuse, manipulation and exploitation.
With an obvious influence of classic horror, do you have a favourite horror book/film/true crime story?
I really loved reading The Shining as it tells a different story to the one we know from the film. Also a big fan of Red Dragon with the beloved Hannibal Lecter. Some more of our favourite movies would have to be Insidious, Hereditary, Saw – the list could go on and on.
Of all the singles, “Dead End” is the most experimental. Are you looking to expand your sound with more programming in the future?
Yeah, I guess you could say so haha. We had a lot of fun playing with noise and exploring a little further outside of our regular instruments and styles, but at the end of the day we all love being in a metalcore band.
How was it to work with Nick Sjogren of Thornhill on the project?
It is always an incredible experience working with Nick. He is a long-time friend of the band and we couldn’t imagine the Vatic family without him. It’s very comfortable and easy to experiment and be honest with each other.
You’ve got a launch show coming up at The Evelyn Hotel in Melbourne on 18 Nov. What can fans expect on the night?
We are working hard behind the scenes to make the evening a special one. We have a few plans that we hope you all enjoy. And we hope our fans are as excited as we are to be playing an all new setlist.
The EP is dropping just in time for Halloween. If you were all invited to a costume party, what/who are you each dressing up as?
We’d make a quirky cast of Stranger Things, I’d bet!