Interview with Joe Varga from Varga
by Damian J. Cousins
Toward the end of the 80’s when the war between genres of Heavy Metal was at its apex; one Canadian Metal band came out of nowhere, never talking smack and staying out of the firing lanes, Varga simply put the metal down and let the thunder make the statement for them. WARGASAMS came out way back in 1989 and showed that Canada was just as in on the progressive, aggressive metal that was dominating, as anything the world at large had to offer.
Varga is back and if anything, these guys have gotten better. Crisp, tight total band rolls of thunderous riffs, time changes, soaring vocals, and in your face Metal as they took some of the old music and re-recorded it with some new age tools while incorporating a touch of old school tools in the process. The result is a double dose of music that comes in the form of the recently released “Enter The Metal” and will come back around to bang you heads again around March of next year when they release “Return Of The Metal”.
You guys go back a ways and it took me a minute to remember, YouTube helps today, but can you talk about those early years a bit first?
Going back, we were just four guys from Hamilton basically just bashing out some metal and creating these crazy, epic metal songs! We pride ourselves on the stuff we have created!
I have seen it everywhere that you were influenced largely by Prong, so since that has been said so much, from your own voice; who were your influences?
I don’t know about Prong, maybe the stuff in the 90’s were more streamlined metal, and the stuff we are doing now is the stuff that we started in ’89 with the more technical thrash stuff. Right now, we are back in that position to do all those songs again in an updated format sort of thing, more progressive thrash. To answer your question I would say more old school metal like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, even Rush to a certain extent, they are the local heros (laughs) and a lot of heavier stuff, the Big 4 Slayer, Metallica Megadeth, and Anthrax.
I remember Wargasms and Prototype from back then, you guys sound like you got better and that’s saying something, it sounds like you went back to that.
Definitely, the Wargasms stuff for sure! A lot of the Wargasms songs are redone and are on our two new releases and that is the first one out now called Enter The Metal which is basically ‘part a’ and then in probably May of 2014 the other half will come out which is called “Return of the Metal.”
What got you guys back together after all this time later?
It was just a hunch that I had, a couple years back I got all the guys together and said “Hey, let’s have a jam” nothing serious you know? Just have some fun and crank out some metal. I came up with the idea that we should record all our old material with today’s technology like the computer but also old school as well we actually recorded through an SSL board from Abbey Road Studios.
Oh nice! You can hear it in the sound for sure!
Yeah! We kind of got that old school analog thick sound, we recorded into a Mac, but you can definitely hear that nice thick sound that only an SSL will give you! (we laugh)
Now I’m a big fan of the old giant movie monsters, you guys took one, wrote about it and the video is all scenes from the movie Gamera; pretty cool. Is that headed out to airplay anywhere?
The video? We are actually going to be doing a proper video for Gamera soon; that one is just sort of a lyric video that was put together just for fun. It will probably be a performance video with some footage behind us!
Seeing how MTV is whatever these days, you have to go Heavy Metal Television.
Yeah even here in Canada with Much Music Channel, it is just TV shows, it’s bizarre.
Okay man, well I love every track on here! The opening track “Beginning of the End”, if that’s an old song holy crap, I don’t know how I forgot it! (we laugh) It’s off the hook metal riffs, tight changes and scenes; can you talk about that a little bit because a lot of that, in the middle; you really hear some old Megadeth-vibe to it and it just makes you go whoa!
Yeah that’s a crazy song! The majority of our songs are just crazy music. It’s more of a unity thing I think if that makes any sense? We pride on playing a lot of stuff together as a force of one, you know?
Yeah, I get it man, my drummer and I learned our instruments dueling each other, him on drums and me on guitar.
Oh cool, how long have you been playing?
I started at 12 so 30 years or so.
(Laughs) Yeah me too!
My guitar is the only woman in my life that doesn’t give me a hard time.
That’s right! (we laugh again)
Okay, you guys were always big an hour north of here and into Canada; when are we going to see you guys here in the states or anywhere else?
No set dates yet, we’ll do some shows here at home but I think with the next album that is where the big push will start.
Yeah, it’s a different world out there now compared to the 80’s or what have you.
Yes! It’s a different world, different business. This is all self-financed, no big record company this time; it is a totally different ballgame.
Okay man, thanks for the time today and what would you like to say to the readers and fans out there?
Stay tuned for Varga because we are back and heavier than ever! And hopefully we can come out and tour around and get it in your faces!
See the interview at Metal-Temple.com