VINICIUS BROGIATO & SEBASTIAN FAJFER (VNF): “The Pandemic Definitely Gave Me The Opportunity”

VNF - from top-left clockwise: Sebastian Fajfer, Pazl Heavylution, Vinicius Brogiato, Ari Käyhkö

VNF is a Metal project quite different from other Metal bands… or at least vast majority of them. There may be plenty of four piece Metal bands that are worth checking out, but surely not many of them have their members live in four different countries and on two continents, and that is just the case as far as VNF goes: with their drummer Ari Käyhkö being based in Finland, bassist Sebastian Fajfer in England, lead singer in France and the guitarist Vinicius Brogiato who’s also the mastermind of the whole project living in Brazil (where everything gets mixed) these guys clearly prove that impossible is nothing. Two of them – Vinicius and Sebastian – do have a whole lot to say how to keep such a global project going.

Metal Express Radio: The first thing I wanted to ask from the very start: how come you guys are so scattered across the planet?

Sebastian Fajfer: It goes back to June 2020. I got a comment under one of my bass covers on YouTube. It was Vin complimenting my “Age of Innocence” bass cover. He asked me to record bass track for this song, as he was preparing his cover of that song. I said to myself: why not give it a go? After all I have got all required gear just lying and waiting. Sent my recording his way. Few days on and he came back with proposition to record some bass tracks to his original songs. He sent me demo samples of “Black Hole”, “Saving Two Lives”, “Legacy of Kain” and “Signals of Life” (last song is not on our album, but hopefully we will have chance to include it in further release). I remember listening to these “demo” versions. My thoughts were: “these songs are awesome, I want to play them so bad”, he only calls them demo but they actually sound really pro. You know, when somebody says “demo” you would expect “garage” style recording – Vin is so talented, I want to work with him. And then we just been recording. Usually Vin was sending me some ideas or fully made songs with guitars and drums and I was working on my bass lines. There we have it!

Vinicius Brogiato: Yes, we do it all the virtual way. I send the demo version with everything almost ready, then the guys record their parts, send the cloud file back my way, and then I mix it. Not an easy task, I must say, but that is the best I could do when the drummer is in Finland, singer in France, bassist in England and I’m in Brazil. The internet and technology makes such things possible. Despite the fact we have never met in person yet, it feels as if we’re family, and that’s the most exciting part. Like Sebastian already said, I found the guys on YouTube, checking their playing, I think it’s the best place to look for talented people around the world.

MER: Absolutely, no doubt about YouTube being a great place to find band members. If they’re of quality then it’s definitely better to keep things long distance rather than playing with musicians who may be local, but not really what you’re looking for. How do you see things as far as touring goes? You may be all far apart, but maybe your first tour can be a world one? That would be hell of a Metal way to kick off.

Vinicius Brogiato: Well, the first thing that needs to happen is meeting in person *laughs* I hope it can happen very soon. To be honest, I didn’t think on touring yet, because you know, everyone is in a different country. When I started this, I didn’t want to form a band, you know? It was supposed to be about getting the songs and that’s it. But Sebastian made me see it as a band. In fact, it’s much more enjoyable when the other guys be part of it just like a band. But yes, we do have some plans in mind for the near future.

Sebastian Fajfer: Vin is right. It would be great to go touring. This is where a bigger fanbase comes in more than handy. More fans could attract more attention from people/institutions happy to cooperate with young bands like us.

MER: Sounds like – in ways – you keep this project running thanks to covid; everyone is at home and you can prepare for a proper blast. Sure many artists work on the stuff, but certainly very few of them are this ‘global’. Did you ever think of the whole pandemic as an actual chance rather than a nightmare?

Vinicius Brogiato: Well, I wasn’t expecting a pandemic to happen as I was starting this project. I mean, it would happen anyway, because I had no idea we would look for months… So, between the pandemic, we started to record the songs, it was actually funny because we were all locked down, so, what’s the difference between being locked up in the studio or at home? It felt the same to me. But yes, absolutely, the pandemic showed that this project could get real, let’s say, a chance to not sound “weird”, cause it’s not very usual that process of releasing, recording at home, fully remotely, and yet sounding as if we were all together.

Sebastian Fajfer: The pandemic definitely gave me the opportunity to work with amazing guys like Vin, Ari and Paul, although now in the post pandemic world I think it will be hard for bands like us to start playing gigs.

MER: So overall, the whole lockdown thing actually turned out to be a favour, at least in that one respect. You prove that you can deliver quality music, which is really impressive, especially considering the fact it’s all DIY and remote. What would be your approach to gigs though? What steps would you take? Because it clearly looks that impossible is nothing.

Sebastian Fajfer: I think gigs would be a more difficult task to set up. Although I would not see any issues to take 2-3 weeks off from work and travel somewhere to play dozens of shows. I believe there would be rather few challenges as far as the technical side and logistics go. For example songs are written for 2 guitars and only Vin plays, because we are living in different countries, depending on where we would play some of us would have to pack and transport their gear. Conclusion is: we got the album recorded without meeting in person, the sound and power coming from album is great, now imagine us getting to play it all together live. I would be concerned if stage could handle it!!

Vinicius Brogiato: I think a fan base would make it happen, because like Sebastian said, first we need to get solid on the web, which is the opposite of the traditional way of making music. Usually people form a band and record their stuff. What we did is we got our stuff recorded and then formed a band, 100% remotely, but still we did form a band.
Let me say though, I have a desire of streaming our first rehearsal, should be very funny when that moment comes.

MER: Yes, having the exposure online is crucial these days. I dare say it’s a half of the battle. Have you already got someone who’s going to be responsible for it? Or do you have plans how to do it by yourselves? Of course you don’t have to share all the details if it might help your competition in any way!!!

Vinicius Brogiato: Well, we don’t have a person to do that job, cause we did the whole album by ourselves, I mean, the entire production was handmade. But I have some ideas in mind, especially how to use the internet to become known. The bad thing about doing everything by myself is the time, I wish I had 100% of time to dedicate to that particular marketing job. But I have lot of stuff to do on my regular job, so, if anyone’s reading this, feel free to get in touch! *laughs*

Sebastian Fajfer: I also believe it is about us getting a chance to be heard. Being interviewed by various webzines, having our stuff aired. What matters most is that we get heard by people from across the planet.

Vinicius Brogiato: Yes, that’s exactly it. In the Metal history, most of bands got known by touring, look at Iron Maiden. At the beginning, they weren’t on the radio and stuff. But due the fact we can’t tour yet, that kind of exposure is a good start.

MER: Can you not? Everyone [who doesn’t know what being in a proper band feels like] would be like: if you made it to record your album 100% long-distance, then why not tour? What are the things that prevent you from touring? You may be yet to have your first practice together, but every single one of you could play his parts in his sleep – am I wrong?

Sebastian Fajfer: Yes, you are right Milosz, we could play our parts flawlessly. I like to believe you need to have some experience or help in organising first tour. At the current stage we have neither.

Vinicius Brogiato: Yes, you are right. We might tour sometime, just biding our time.

MER: There are bands that have done that. I’m talking bands with their members scattered across the planet, so if they succeeded, what should stop you? Or do you have a strategy planned? Many say how important practicing is… but no amount of practice will ever beat the genuine passion, don’t you think?

Vinicius Brogiato: I agree. We need to keep the passion because that’s what made me find these guys and then keep the project going. Me and Sebastian are planning to meet in person very soon. Maybe to record the second album? Yes. Let’s see what happens.

Sebastian Fajfer: The passion is on every track! Vin is being very humble here. We have already got lots of ideas for new songs, and we would definitely like to explore some new musical areas for us. Hopefully we will be able to crystallise our own hallmark for sound and music!

MER: Have you guys ever had having a virtual jam? Or do you communicate a lot via video chat?

Vinicius Brogiato: Not really. Virtual jam is a little complicated because of the delay on the signal and etc. It is an idea for sure, though. I usually video chat with Sebastian, but never spoke with the other guys that way.

Sebastian Fajfer: Like Vin said, there would be signal delay. Although the 5G is meant to allow transmission nearly in real time.

MER: I have heard of band actually doing virtual jams, though perhaps all they wanted was to come up with some riffs rather than see how tight they’re going to play. Has the band already got merchandise or anything else that can keep the fans excited before the tours happen?

Vinicius Brogiato: Well, to be honest I did not think about that yet, because it’s the music itself I’m most focused on. I mean, I wrote these songs and mixed them with the tools I had in my room. Quite interesting your question because you never know where the songs will take you in life. My regular job (like Sebastian’s and other guys) has nothing to do with art and music. So the process of creating and making it is possible thanks to genuine passion. Despite that, Sebastian has always had a commercial vision, telling me about touring and stuff. That’s why it’s a great count with people when you have something to do like a project.

Sebastian Fajfer: I will not lie when I say that I always wanted to present VNF songs live. In terms of merchandise I think we are not there yet. Probably because we are so focused on music that we would never thought about selling t-shirts and stuff. But who knows, maybe our musical career will skyrocket soon and then we can open our online store.

MER: But it is good to see that you guys are passionate about it. You know, there are plenty of bands that are all like “yeah let’s get big” but deep at heart they’re like scared of becoming famous. I really hope that is not the case with you. If an opportunity arises, will you be up for dedicating your professional life to music? After all, being a musician is about making music plus 99 other things, mostly completely unrelated.

Sebastian Fajfer: All of us are in stable age group. What I mean is we are not teenagers being hot-headed. We all have successful careers in our personal lives. That makes us more reasonable when making decisions. Personally I would have no issues to dedicate myself towards a musical career, but only if my family life would not be sacrificed. Probably you will hear the same answer from rest of the guys. Somewhere deep in our hearts we hope for that opportunity. But this is not why we are making music. The reason we do is our love for Heavy Metal. Our aim is to create and if during this process someone says “I like this band, let’s give them a chance” that will be just a bonus rather than the goal.

Vinicius Brogiato: Agree with Sebastian fully. Also it has been a great experience getting to know these guys, their culture, language etc.

MER: Good stuff! After all, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin was only 18 when Jason was born, and yet he didn’t quit the band (imagine if he did!!!) And now I think this would be it as far as proper band questions go. It’s time to ask some really important questions: First off… imagine you’re playing your first ever show and it’s a festival in a place far and away, say Australia. You’ve just done three songs and now it’s time to introduce yourselves. What would you include in your brief introduction if you’re only allowed to do no more than 3 sentences?

Vinicius Brogiato: Nice one. I think this is the hardest question haha. I’d say: Vin from Brazil!!!!!!!

Sebastian Fajfer: I will follow what Vin said. It is our hallmark that we are from different countries. For me it would be: Mr Sebastian Fajfer representing Poland and also England, because one country is never enough!

MER: That way it would make sense for the other two guys to have their say also. But we can keep that mystery until the gig finally happens. It was a lot of fun interviewing you guys and the final question: imagine you’re on tour and you’re staying somewhere far and away and you can order absolutely ANYTHING to eat – what will that be?

Sebastian Fajfer: That is an unexpected question *laughs* Just like “you final meal before death row” I’d go for well done steak, french fries and salad all with a pepper sauce, desert would be a chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, drink – bottle of water and bottle of Kraken Rum, on the rocks of course! It was a pleasure making a business with you Milosz!!

Vinicius Brogiato: Thank you for the interview mate And that’s easy for me: pizza!


  • Miłosz Mikołaj Nizioł

    Miłosz is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born somewhere in Europe and now lives elsewhere in Europe. Miłosz is a writer and it has always been his passion. Aside from that, Miłosz is also a bass player - back in his UK days he played in various bands, some of which made it to have their place in the history of Metal; this includes an English high speed Thrash Metal act Rager that got mentioned in Contract in Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal (Glasper, I., 2018).   When enjoying live music as a member of the audience, Milosz never says no to circle pits and a good wall of death. Besides Metal, Milosz has a very wide range of interests that don't need to be specified here since they're not about Metal. One of them can be, actually: Milosz LOVES coming up with parodies of various songs lyrics.   Milosz's Top 25 bands (in the following order) are: The Beatles Deep Purple & Black Sabbath Queen ]v[ E G A D E T ]-[ (until 24.05.2021, but still) Judas Priest Iron Maiden (first three albums mostly) Twisted Sister Mötley Crüe KISS (preferably with Ace and Peter) Exodus Overkill Pantera Rainbow (and DIO of course) Savatage Running Wild Testament Pink Floyd ABBA Red Hot Chili Peppers Death Dire Straits Alestorm Motörhead

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