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reaper3Interview with

Vasi Vallis (Reaper, NamNamBulu, Frozen Plasma)

Whoever likes the songs of FROZEN PLASMA, NAMNAMBULU or REAPER does know who Vasi Vallis is. Reflections of Darkness talked with him about the past NAMNAMBULU shows in South America, the release of the FROZEN PLASMA single ‘Crazy’, the stereotype life of a musician, his pretty, blue eyes and girl’s underwear…

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hey Vasi. How are you and did you enjoy your time in South America with NAMNAMBULU (NNB)?
Vasi: It was an amazing and unique experience. I knew that we have a lot of fans there, waiting to see us for the first time after 10 years. But what we found was so much more than what we expected. I will need some weeks to understand what happened there.

RoD: What was your personal highlight during the shows there?
Vasi: Beside the two gigs in Lima and Oroya, it were definitely the people. I fell in love with them. With their kindness, their positive thinking, their amazing feedback during the gigs. I will definitely go back to Peru – not only for gigs but for discovering the country.

RoD: You’re not only making music with NNB again, but you’re also having a new single called ‘Crazy’ by FROZEN PLASMA out on 8th August. Seems like your super busy, are you?
Vasi: It’s cool to pretend super busy, having five mobile phones, four IPads and more. But no, I am not busy it’s just my passion to write songs and you can never enjoy your passion too much. So the more I can live it – the better I feel. I don’t feel stressed while writing music. I feel stressed that there is so much more around the creative process… but it is necessary.

RoD: What is ‘Crazy’ about and will there be an album to follow?
Vasi: I always believed and still do – that women have the real power in their hands. The power to do whatever they want as they can influence men to do whatever they want them to do. I wrote a song for my other band REAPER – called ‘The Devil is female’ and this is my honest opinion. It’s not just a claim (laughs). But back to ‘Crazy’: That’s what the song is about - the power of women to manipulate men by using their beauty, sexuality and of course: their intelligence. They make guys crazy. They make guys behave like stupid children, they make guys start wars, buying silly cars, expensive diamonds and more, because they know – men want to impress omen – nothing changed since Fred Feuerstein. And yes, an album will follow very soon.

RoD: These are good news as a lot of people might be waiting for some new music stuff from you. So are there other things we can expect from you this year like concerts, remixes or maybe another album of REAPER or NNB?
Vasi: Beside the new FROZEN PLASMA Album and the new NNB Album, I started to work on the new REAPER Album too. I am very happy to be able to work together with Gregor Beyerle (Skyla Vertex) who played Keyboards on the first REAPER tour with COMBICHRIST 2007 and lots of gigs, festivals during the following years. He is one of the most promising and most talented producers and I am more than happy to let him work on my tracks, something I never did before during the last 10 years.

RoD: So many compliments for another artist from someone, who is writing songs for three bands. Are there differences in songwriting or is it always the same creative process with for example opening a bottle of wine, sitting down with your computer and playing around? How are you writing songs and what inspires you the most?
Vasi: No, there is no difference at all. I believe that a good song is a good song. If a song is good as an electronic production, it will be also good as an unplugged version or as rock version or piano or ballad. I have some demos on my PC, not yet knowing if it shall be a NNB song or FROZEN PLASMA song or REAPER song. Now some people will say “of course, because everything sounds the same” but this is absolutely not the case. It’s like a make-up artist. You have a certain range of colors, techniques… but depending on the face you need to work on, the result becomes different. Are you crying already because this is so romantic? (laughs)

RoD: I’m not crying. Not yet. Maybe later, when we finished my bunch of questions. Crying at that point would be unprofessional ( laughs). You’re not only a mastermind behind your three bands but you are also working as a producer. I found an interesting piece of music by PROVOCATION called ‘I need your love’. Please tell me about it.
Vasi: Fuck you you fuckin fuck ( laughs) It was a big hit. I mean BIG in the 90ies. (laughs) The singer was Eve Gallagher. A big Diva in the House Music scene worked together with Boy George an other superstars of the 80ies. It was a huge success but the contract I signed was a nightmare. So the project died slowly.

RoD: When watching videos of your shows on YouTube, you’re mostly being on stage with your phone in your hand. Are you that much unchallenged on stage that you still have time to film the audience and their reaction to your show or has this become a routine to save memories?
Vasi: No, I am just an arrogant asshole who always wants to watch the audience going crazy on his mobile phone. Every day. You are not challenged as a keyboarder of an electronic band. You can play some chords, maybe some little lead lines, some pads or samples. That’s it. I am able to play classic piano, even some jazz standards but within an electronic setup – less is more.

RoD: You’re in the music business since so many years and have gained so many experiences. But what’s the best part of being a musician? Getting all the girls and their cell phone numbers and collecting their underwear? Just kidding.
Vasi: Why kidding? I don’t understand. The good part of being a musician? You can be a successive banker, a good salesman, a great car technician. Everything can make you happy if you do it with passion. But: Art, no matter if music or other art – is not comparable to anything else. You trigger the feelings of your audience or your listeners. You trigger emotions and best of all: they’ll last forever. Every song has its time in someone’s life. If you hear a song while you fall in love with somebody, you will remember every moment if you listen to this song 20 years later. Nothing can top that, except for girl’s underwear.

RoD: And the negative side effects of being a musician?
Vasi: Nothing. Really nothing. Of course, you can’t really make a living with it – but – it is a privilege not making money with what you love than not making money with something you have to do and don’t love it.

RoD: Do you feel like being a bit of a public property sometimes?
Vasi: No, I am not that important at all….

RoD: Poor boy, you’re not that important at all. (laughs) Just to get back to the cliché that musicians always have groupies: Do you get offers from girls and how do you handle it?
Vasi: There are no groupies in the music scene. It’s a cliché created by Elvis and the Beatles.

RoD: Come on, be honest about the girls: They all do fall in love with your pretty, blue eyes, don’t they?
Vasi: Yes, all of them. Guys also. And Grandmas.

RoD: Apart from asking questions about your life as a musician and trying to find out if all the stereotypes are true, I want to ask you things about what you’re writing on Facebook. Sometimes you do sound pretty angry about politics or economics. Where does this anger come from?
Vasi: I am angry. I hate mankind. I often wish, that we finally destroy ourselves so the earth can breathe again. I believe, that mankind is the most stupid species in history. I am angry. Very angry. But I still hope that our end is close and it will be a big celebration day for me.

RoD: As being angry is not a solution: What needs to be changed in Germany? No matter if it is a thing in politics, in economics or society. And how could this be changed? Choose one thing and share your ideas.
Vasi: People should wake up. Germans are so nice, calm, controlled, honest. No anger, no aggression against unfair rules and facts. I love Germany – it is a wonderful country with wonderful people – but they are so wonderful, that they forgot to stand up and fight where it is necessary.

RoD: I totally agree with you in that point. What comes to my mind when listening to you is: Hard shell, soft core. This seems a bit applicable when describing you. You often sound reaper1sarcastic or you’re writing a bit provoking things on social networks, but admit it: deep inside you’re nice and sweet. I mean, you have cats. No one having cats has ever been a bad person.
Vasi: My cats are killers.

RoD: What was the weirdest question you ever got asked in an interview?
Vasi: Be honest: They all do fall in love with your pretty, blue eyes, don’t they?

RoD: Oh well, if this is a weird question to you… There’s a limit to everything. You’re sometimes overstepping limits yourself. So, how cheeky can I be asking you question before you stop replying? Where’s the border? Not that I’d like to overstep it, I’m just curious.
Vasi: You may ask me everything. I have nothing to hide (laughs).

RoD: Ok, now a question of personal interest: As I’d like to get better in interviewing people, I do read other music magazines. My impression is that sometimes they are all asking either the same boring, overly-asked and old questions, don’t like to provoke or make their readers think and use their brains less. As someone who is doing interviews since so many years with several bands: What is your impression? Has music journalism changed?
Vasi: No (laughs). Same questions – new decades.

RoD: Okay, here’s your chance: What question have you never been asked in an interview, but you’ve always wanted to answer it? Tell me and then reply it by yourself!
Vasi: Be honest: They all do fall in love with your pretty, blue eyes, don’t they? The answer is “YES”.

RoD: You’re kidding me. Haha. Making fun of the interviewer is not a good idea, no I’ll have to think of really mean questions for you (laughs). I guess, we’ve been talking enough about music, were criticizing so many things, now we can skip to the fun questions. I checked the FROZEN PLASMA merch shop and found some hot pants. Who got the idea to produce hot pants with a band logo?
Vasi: My merchandising guru Andreas Spahn. As FROZEN PLASMA has a lot of female fans -of course because of Felix pretty brown eyes - we tried it… and it worked better than expected.

RoD: Did you ever try one of those hot pants yourself? What size do you wear?
Vasi: I try all of our products for a quality control. I love them. I wear M and we think about to produce a BORAT swim suit too.

RoD: I want to get a picture then. You wearing that swim suit. Email me then. When you’re tired at evenings from writing songs, being nice to your cats and writing Facebook posts and you go to bed, what are you dreaming about?
Vasi: That someone ask me questions about my blue eyes. ( laughs)

RoD: If a pretty fairy would show up in your bedroom and offer you three free wishes, what would they be?
Vasi: Come on there is just one answer to this question: I would wish three more wishes, and three more and three more until I Collected 100. Then I would wish that all girls fall in love with my pretty, blue eyes.

RoD: I really feel that I would like to slap you a bit for making fun of me. But you’re allowed to, only because you have these pretty, blue eyes. (laughs) As you’re writing so many songs about love, how would you define the word “love“?
Vasi: I don’t know. I try to find out while writing songs about it.

RoD: Seems like, we’re getting a bit philosophic. What makes a good relationship? May it be friendship, marriage or whatever relationship you can think of.
Vasi: I have a relationship with my music. And it is perfect already.

RoD: Thank you for being so openminded and for replying all those questions. Will I get a hug now or will I end up in some criticizing Facebook post? (laughs)
Vasi: Give me your underwear.

RoD: I can’t. You wouldn’t fit in it anyway. (laughs)

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