QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Hatred Salander, Cinis & Famine (VERSATILE)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello guys. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days?

Morale continues to be good, no matter what we all may be going through with Covid.

Pix666: How did you get to know each other and what kind of music do Versatile make?

Hatred: Cinis and I were already friends before Versatile. I met her at a gig of her previous band. We were both interested in the same things and had the same ideas about what a band should be, we naturally became friends. Then I met Famine, at a dark/indus party. In a few hours, I knew I needed this guy in my band.

It’s hard to define our music in a few words. We mix different metal genres with elements of industrial/electro music. Violent riffs, midtempo, guttural vocals, dark arpeggios from black metal. Something between Dimmu Borgir and Psyclon Nine, maybe.

Pix666: You founded Versatile about two years ago. What have been the best experiences in your band’s career so far?

Famine : We were invited to play for 3 days straight in the big stage of “L’Usine” at Geneva to practice during the covid period. We were helped by some professional engineers for the lights and the sound, and another professional team who worked with us for recording two of our tracks on stage.

We simply loved to be there. You move away from your routine and the problems you encounter in everyday’s life to focus only on your music. You rehearse once, four times, eight times a day a whole set, correcting what is needed, so that the result, both visual and musical, becomes the most harmonious.

Cinis : As the pandemic arrived when we were ready to do concerts, we had to focus on other aspects such as photoshoot/video clip and all that stuff. It was such a pleasure to work on the  visual environment of our universe. Personally, one of the best experiences I had was to do the video clip as it is for me the final point of a song.

Working on the scenario, the costumes and visiting places to find the best way to represent what we have in mind, was really cool. The people we worked with were amazing and discovering the final result was so satisfactory, it’s been a really great experience.

Pix666: How do you create your songs? Is there a certain plan? Who in the band is responsible for what? How many songs are there from Versatile so far? Have you already released an album or do you have one planned?

Hatred: Usually I bring an idea, and Famine and I build the music around it. Famine writes some guitar parts by his side, and I do the same for the samples, then we meet to put it all together, building a structure. The lyrics come at the end. At the moment we have got about ten tracks. We already started the recordings for the first EP.

Famine: Hatred is the mastermind behind the whole tracks, and my duty is to provide what he needs musically speaking. Sometimes, he just brings ideas, themes or ambiences and we figure it out together the best way to express our inspiration in our music. I always work with my guts, I don’t think I have any musical influences.

Pix666: You sing in French. Was this decision already made when the band was founded? Have you also tried some songs in English?

Hatred: Yes, the french lyrics were part of the conception of the band. I used to sing in English before Versatile. I thought Versatile needed French, which in my opinion sounds more sharp/raw than English. And it allows me to write better texts as it’s my main language. Plus the universe of the band is inspired by French things like the court of miracles, so it makes sense.

Pix666: In May you released the video clip ‘Un Hiver de Cendre’. Where did you shoot the clip and how satisfied are you with the result?

Hatred: Yes, we shot the whole clip in our country (Switzerland), in three different places. I’m very satisfied with the result. We worked together and each of us bringed good ideas.

Cinis: As previously said, working on video clip is one of the thing I really like. All the process is so satisfactory! From the beginning of the creation, doing the scenario, acting, to the discovery of the result, all of the parts are really interesting. We have millions of anecdotes of this shoot, conditions were so particular as it was just the end of winter but it was such a great moment and we are all really happy with the result. 

Famine: It’s probably the best experience that I lived so far in a video clip. When you have to stand half-naked inside a cold cave, blood covered and bare foot on the rock, while playing for hours like a mad guy … You start to notice that the result will be worth it.

Pix666: The clip now has 6,000 views on YouTube. Do you look at statistics like that? Do you know which countries your listeners and fans come from? 

Cinis: I have to admit that it is a good surprise and it’s always encouraging but it still only numbers. I don’t really focus on that, I mean I don’t have expectations of anything. 

Famine: The most important thing for me it’s not the number of views, but the love coming from a worldwide perspective. At the moment, European and South American listeners seem to appreciate our work the most at first glance. But we are just at the beginning of our project and we plan to expand and to do more soon.

Pix666: You have an outfit in your video which is a ‚little bit‘ conspicuous and clearly distinguishes you visually from other bands. How important is the visual aspect of your band for you?

Hatred: In my opinion, the visual aspect is  ‘almost’ as much important as the music. I consider Versatile being more than just a music band. I want to gather different forms of art (music, writing, costumes, etc) to help bring the public to another world. With the outfits, there are characters, that appears in the lyrics too. It’s roleplaying, live show should be a theatre piece and videoclips should tell stories.

Cinis : We decided to create the band with the idea to impregnate our own universe in all the perspectives possible. It’s really more than music. In that idea, each of us has created his character and interprets it on video clip and stage. We work together to build it and the story grows as things progress.

Pix666: Who designs these cool outfits for you – do you have a private tailor?

Cinis: I had a precise idea of what I wanted and I was looking for an artist who could make it the best. Then I found the talented “Aconito Couture” from Italy who designed my outfit. We discussed a lot about my ideas and what was possible to do. I’m really happy with the result.

Hatred: It depends, we used the skills of different artists. My vest was designed by Scenesick. I did my own make-up.

Famine: I certainly wish to have a private tailor – even for classy costumes ! But there are many beautiful people out there who are awesome crafters. “OneMadMask”, an italian artist, made the bloody mask following my instructions. Then, “Sinscissors” made the black outfit and I was interested to have it for my character. Finally, “Rolltonoid” did the bloody necklace.

Pix666: Have you already had a live performance this year and are there any live dates for the second half of the year?

Hatred: Versatile had its first appearance on stage this year, while we had three days of rehersal and a filmed gig at l’Usine in Geneva. We are looking for other live dates (We’d be glad to come and spread our poison over Germany !)

We are actually searching around Switzerland first depending on the progression of Covid. Naturally, we keep our interest to find other gigs to play around new territories.

Pix666: How important is social media for Versatile and on which channels can your band be found?

Hatred: Social media are important to spread our music and reach more people. It’s a useful tool. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other ones will come with the EP.

Pix666: As a musician, you certainly spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to get your mind off things – are there any interesting hobbies that you pursue?

Cinis: In my free time, other than practicing music, I like to do painting, climbing mountains (there are such beautiful places of nature in Switzerland), doing sport (boxing) and taking care of my cat.

Hatred: I love roleplay games such as Dungeons&Dragons, Pathfinder, Cyberpunk, etc. I enjoy reading or watching films too, and spending time with my girl and my animals of course. Aside of writing songs, I also play guitar and drums.

Famine: I’m a lover of elegance in many artistic forms (neoclassical, baroc, grotesque, horror), I’m also currently writing my first book about a fictional horror/thriller story. During my spare time, I play videogames since the very first era. And finally, the last but not the least : I simply LOVE cooking (not always human beings).

Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?   

We are looking forward to meet you all on the stage. Don’t be shy, approach us, we are only savages and demented, but still civilsed. Stay safe out there.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck and stay healthy!!!


photos © Mattǝo VDiva Fabbiani (Vdpictures)