If you’re unfamiliar with Ancient VVisdom, there are only two things you really need to know about them. Firstly, they achieve something we used to think was impossible – they manage to make acoustic guitars sound evil. Secondly, they love, LOVE spelling their name with that pair of ‘V’s. We can’t stress that second fact enough. When guitarist/vocalist, Nathan Opposition, emailed us their responses for this interview, he used it every time he needed to use a ‘W’. Every time. Go on – count how many times he uses a ‘W’ in his answers. Go on. Actually, we’ll save you the time – it’s seventeen. We changed them all before we published though, because it was doing our nut in.
One of the terms that blogs have been throwing around in connection to you guys is ‘campfire metal’ – do you think that’s a fair term?
We are not roasting marshmallows over here. We are playing Rock and Roll and Hailing Satan. Don’t get it twisted.
The music of Ancient VVisdom is undeniably seeped in “heaviness”, even during the moments it doesn’t follow the template of what the expectations of “heavy” music should sound like. Is it some specific component of your songwriting, or is it something less tangible than that?
The will of Satan gives us power and strength to transcend heavy with our own breed of heaviness.
Watch the video to ‘VVorld of Flesh’ by Ancient VVisdom:
What do you think is it about Ancient VVisdom’s sound that can see you open up for bands as diverse as Scott Kelly’s solo stuff, and something as rooted-in-retro as The Sword?
We cover a lot of territory with our sound. We have a sound and message unique enough to be our own and familiar enough to do live rituals with a wide variety of bands. It takes all kinds of music but only the best of bands can stand out and fit in.
The members of Ancient VVisdom have a background in hardcore bands, but the band’s sound has an undeniably acoustic/folk vibe underpinning it. How did that musical journey/transition come about?
I was writing songs while living in Cleveland on my acoustic guitar. I was in Integrity at the time and we had just played Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas. After that my brother Michael [guitar/vocals] and I moved to Austin and got a place with Ribs [acoustic guitar].
I showed Ribs some of the tunes and he began writing another acoustic layer. We are both big fans of bands like Alice in Chains, Rob Zombie, Death in June, Alice Cooper, stuff like that, so we started writing and crafting our sound. Michael joined by adding the electric and the songs took form from there. We now have TA playing bass for us who plays in the death metal band HOD. So we are all over the board with the styles that we like and play and have played in the past.
There seems to have been a large resurgence in the “ritualisation” of heavy music in recent years, from the high-pomp of stuff like Ghost, to the more intellectual approach from bands like Wolves In The Throne Room. Where do you see Ancient VVisdom in relation to this?
We exist on our own terms. Our live shows are our live rituals. Our sets are ceremonies that unlock and enlighten the mind. True Satan.
Watch Ancient VVisdom perform a ‘live ritual’:
Austin seems to have become something of a crucible as far as musical talent goes – what is it about the city that produces so many interesting musical acts?
This is a big big music town. It has things like the Health Alliance fot Austin Musicians (HAAM), great artists like Roky Erickson, The Black Angels, Christian Bland and The Revelators, tons and tons of venues, and support for live music. They treat us well; we treat them to rock and roll.
Satan has always been cool, and not just inside the limited field of heavy music. Satan is flat-out cool wherever. What is it that makes Satan cool?
Satan is what everyone has that causes change in the mind. An enlightened influence into a world that exist outside the boundaries of society, religion, drama, nonsense. Scorning misinformation and revealing the truth to the world. Satan is what opens our eyes in the morning so we can evolve everyday.
Ancient VVisdom’s debut full-length, A Godlike Inferno, is out now on Shinebox Recordings.