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Vello Virkhaus

V-Squared Labs elevates concert experience with multimedia creations


by Andrew Frey
November 2011

A visual revolution has been brewing in the image rendering and video projection realms transforming musical events into an entirely new multi-level experience. On Oct. 19, I was fortunate enough to attend a sold out Amon Tobin show in Denver at the Ogden Theater during the highly acclaimed ISAM tour and witness one such multimedia experience.

Objects resembling giant, white Tetris blocks on the stage were suddenly transformed into living video art that throbbed and pulsed along with the music. Audience members visited outer space when we saw spaceships fly by and explode in amazing high definition imagery. We saw cyber machines chug and churn before morphing into green blocks of electric contemplation and much, much more.

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Madison's Vanishing Kids

Vanishing Kids


by Mike Huberty
June 2009

Keeping alive the torch of post-punk and new-wave, VANISHING KIDS started making noise when guitarist Jason Hartman and vocalist Nikki Nads met in Madison in 2000 and decided to form a band the following year where they could indulge in their love of artists like The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees. That path has since taken them to Seattle, back to Madison, and finally back to the West Coast to Portland, Oregon. They’ve achieved a good deal of success along the way, signing a distribution deal with Rykodisc and having industrial pioneer Martin Atkins take the producing reins on one of their albums.  This summer, they’ve released a brand new single, “Mother Earth”, and are hitting the road on a tour that will take them through the Western and Midwestern states.

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2928 ViewsPermalinkVanishing Kids MySpace
Vanishing Kids

Vanishing Kids

An interview with Nikki from Vanishing Kids
by Mike Huberty
September 2013

It’s been a long road for post-punk outfit VANISHING KIDS’ new album, “Spirit Visions”. Band founders and married partners, Nikki Drohomyreky (stage name: Nikki Nads) and Jason Hartman, have been recording and playing with different lineups since founding the band in 2000. Their 2005 album, “Selfish Mirror”, was a dark and brooding piece of New Millennium reflection on 80’s nostalgia produced by Invisible Records’ Martin Atkins and it gained the band some serious media attention on release. They moved from Madison to Portland in 2006, released a single in 2009, and have since returned to the Midwest. Their new album drops this month and we took some time to talk to them about the release.

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1928 ViewsPermalinkVanishing Kids Website
Vanishing Kids

Vanishing Kids

interview with Jason Hartman
by Theron Moore
December 2016

Vanishing Kid’s music is best described as heavy yet ethereal, complex and textured but always accessible, and more so than not—a massive, mountain of sound. A juggernaut in their own right.

I spoke with guitarist Jason Hartman to really dig into the story of Vanishing Kids, what makes up their overall sound, and what to expect from the band in the near future.

Maximum Ink: How did Vanishing Kids come together?
Jason Hartman:
Nikki Drohomyreky (Vocals, Organ, Synth, Percussion) and I started the band in 2000. Jerry Sofran (Bass, former Fluid Oz.) has been playing with us for 3 years now and was an idol of mine as a teenager. I would go to see his thrash metal bands Mirrored Image and For Christ Sake in the early 90’s. So intense! Drummer Hart Allen Miller has been with us for a year and a half. I played some shows with Hart in the past and was always impressed with his heavy, solid style. Nik and I were in the same scenes in the late 90’s in Madison and had similar musical tastes and passions. It was easy to put music together right away.

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Janesville's VERSUS ME - photo by Elizabeth Wadium

VERSUS ME

An interview with Janesville metal band, VERSUS ME
by Mike Huberty
September 2017

Janesville’s VERSUS ME is talented AF. If you like hard rock there’s lots to like. Singer James Milbrandt has a fantastic voice when he’s singing, usually on the chorus ‘cuz the verses are always gutteral, more percussive than melodic. Bassist Lee Milbrandt and guitarists Patrick Thompson and Clint Greendeer are super heavy (but maybe give the 6-stringers a solo a sometime, c’mon!) On recordings, drummer Dustin Helgestad sounds like triggers and MIDI, but that’s the way heavy rock sounds now, if he can even play half of it live, then he’s awesome.

Alright, this all makes me sound like an old man (back in my day, drummers had to do cardio to be able to double kick!) The fact is, these guys are on the upswing with cool videos, major label level production, and you just know that they’re going to be rock n’ roll heroes with the hometown Janesville crowd at WJJO Sonic Boom - and they’re better than half the stuff JJO plays most of the time. I watched all their videos and then talked to them about their upcoming performance, influences, and more. Sunday October 1st they’ll be performing early, so don’t get too drunk on Saturday and come down and see these guys!

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Virgin Steele

Virgin Steele

An interview with Virgin Steele creator David Defeis
by Tina Hall
November 2010

The heavy metal band Virgin Steele was formed in 1981. Since then they have evolved their style into what they call Barbaric Romantic Music (they added classical music with elements of mythology and fantasy). Made up of David DeFeis, Edward Pursino, Frank Gilchriest, and Josh Block they offer metal with a twist that is far from ordinary. Virgin Steele released albums from 1982-2010, the latest of which The Black Light Bacchanalia was released this year.

Maximum Ink: How does it feel to be part of a band that has been around since 1981? Did you ever think it would have lasted this long?
David DeFeis: It feels wonderful! It has been an amazing journey! I didn’t really think about things like that when we began. I had no great illusions when we started. I simply wanted to create and play music that I loved. Upon getting into the whole experience, I realized that what I was doing was not really crafting a “career”, but creating a “Way Of Life” that would sustain me, give shape and meaning to my existence, and be my guide through my time on the Earth. To make one’s Life a work of Art that was the point. That goal has been achieved. And that is still my plan for the future. To keep going, to try to always make Life worth living, to keep creative regardless of how successful or unsuccessful it all is business wise. That is meaningless. What is important is the Life, the creative process, the Work crafted. The lives touched along the way,the communication.

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Madison's The Viscous Circle

The Viscous Circle

an interview with vocalist Shawn Anthony Brown
by Troy Johnson
October 2010

Madison based band The Viscous Circle is releasing their debut album Escape Wormwood on their own label, TVC Productions October 30, 2010. The band formed in 2006 as a hobby between frontman Shawn Brown and lead guitarist Danny Davis. After composing for nearly a year Danny urged Shawn to bring rhythm guitarist and back up vocalist Jimmie Hill into the fold and then added vets Denny Carney on bass and Chris Sandoval on drums. 

Escape Wormwood is a dark and foreboding album throughout, and the end of October is a good time of year to let it rock your walls. Frontman Shawn Brown talked to me about his appreciation for bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd that have repeatedly put out albums that are conceptual all the way through.  Brown spoke on the new album, “As we went along with the recording of Escape Wormwood it slowly became a complete project rather than an album with random songs. It’s a dark introspective album with hope and beauty but definitely a lot of darkness.”

Brown played with popular Madison rock band Last Crack for a couple years in the mid 1990’s and was the vocalist on their 1994 album runheadstartscreaming. After the album and a short European tour Brown parted ways with Last Crack and formed the band Spiritus with Last Crack drummer Chris Havey. He is now exclusively with The Viscous Circle but remains in contact and friends with members of Last Crack who have a reunion show at Scatz in Middleton on Saturday, November 13th.

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2337 ViewsPermalinkViscous Circle MySpace
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