The Vth CIRCLE
Nakuset Ansalewit Gould // The Vth Circle
The Vth circle is an excellent dynamic death metal band from Vancouver, Canada. I recently talked to the band’s bassist, Nakuset about the new release and plans for The Vth Circle, as well as what Nakuset is up to with her other artistic ventures. I really admire Nakuset as a multi-artist and human being. I hope you’ll read the insightful things she had to say in our following interview:
MG: Hey Nakuset! Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with me!
Nakuset: Hello! Thanks for reaching out!
MG: The Vth Circle just came out with a new song called The Intense Vibrations. It’s an awesome track with an accompanying lyric video, was this song inspired by recent times and all of the fuckery?
Nakuset: Yes! The lyrics are generally centered around global issues. We actually have 2 different videos for the song. We originally made a funny, low-budget video with Sienna (Majestic Mayhem photography) which follows the band on a hike as they run into mishaps caused by excessive cell phone use. We may have also put Sylvain from Anarcheon in a bear suit. We thought it was great, as did everyone we showed it to, but when it came to doing a PR run it was a bit too silly and it got rejected so we hired Alex (Waking World Productions) to make us a lyric video using imagery that conveys our message. We plan to release the fun version very soon on our Youtube channel, I think it will be well received. We wanted to make a funny video to contrast with the heavy subject matter of the song.
MG: Is this new single an indicator of an upcoming album or perhaps more singles in the near future?
Nakuset: We are currently working on a concept EP set for release in 2023! I’m actually very excited about it, we have some amazing and talented people featured. Jordan and I have been working hard on a storyboard for the music videos which will cut together like a short film.
MG: I love The Vth Circle’s newest merch design and I need to get my hands on a long sleeve ASAP! Do you design most of the artwork for the band?
Nakuset: Yes! We have hired other artists in the past, but I did all the artwork for the full length album, and the artwork for the single as well. We’re trying to move towards more eco-friendly, better quality merch so our fans can have a better product in their closet. The cotton industry isn’t very environmentally sustainable and a lot of the cheap brands use slave labour so I want to move away from that as a band and as a business.
MG: As much as I would love to stop asking artists questions about this, it’s painfully relevant: how have the last two years changed your perspective as a musician, and even in general?
Nakuset: I think that the industry as a whole has changed and it’s hard to predict. I’ve found that the value of digital content has gone up a lot. No shows and no tours was a major bummer and we were all struggling to not only stay motivated, but to be able to be productive without all being in the same room for a long time. It definitely made me grateful for the shows that we’ve played and I’ll never take that experience for granted. The experience of having our world changed completely definitely triggered an influx of new artists and new amazing work so that’s the silver lining I guess. This has been a pattern in humanity for a long time, an example being the roaring 20s after the end of WWI.
MG: Last pandemic Question, I swear: How did the band cope with the downtime initially, and has there been a creative silver lining that has fuelled more art for yourself, and/or the band as a whole?
Nakuset: We definitely had a lot of time to really refine our artistic concepts as a whole. Personally I used the time to get more savvy with video editing programs, Photoshop and Reaper so I can be more self-sufficient as an artist. I’m lucky that I was hired by 2 Rivers Remix Society to promote online live-streamed events because not having much music related work to do for a while was making me sad.
MG: You’ve also been working on your own solo music recently, including everything from vocals to production. Can you tell us more about this?
Nakuset: Yeah! I’ll start by saying it’s very experimental, I needed an outlet for all of my weird ideas. I find when you’re in a band you get really great results with a group of people collaborating, but on the other hand the beautiful thing about a solo project is you get complete control over the result which is at times overwhelming, but super exciting and fun at the same time. I have a ton of stuff set for release. I have an album in the works 100% produced by me, but I also have been working on a few collaborations, two of which are out. “The Queen Owes Me Money” is up on my bandcamp and was produced by my homie Julius, it was the result of me feeling angry at the colonial system and basically yelling into a mic over the beat. I wrote, recorded and released it within the span of a couple of weeks because I wanted to time it with the election, big shout out to Mick Martel from the Hazytones for mixing and mastering it so quickly. I also released a Halloween song mostly for fun, titled “Psilocybes;” the beat was produced by Nick Padovani, the genius behind the technical death metal band Equipoise, and it features vocals by Jack Hallows of Doom and Gloom, as well as a killer verse by Darth C-tzar, a very talented rapper who I went to high school with in East Van. I made the video on my cell phone at Leeside Skate Park, a place where I spent a lot of time as a youth, and stayed up all night editing it just to get it out on Halloween day. I’ve been having a lot of fun so far and I think that’s the most important part.
MG: Is production a new venture for you? Has there been either a fun learning or re-learning process?
Nakuset: I technically “produced” my first song on GarageBand when I was maybe twelve, but it was mostly just made with stock samples and wasn’t very good. I honestly wish I started seriously producing my own stuff a long time ago. I tried a few times over the years, but being a young artist that left home very early, it was an issue of not having stable housing or access to a studio space to really sit down, focus, and apply myself. I’m grateful to have that now. So far it’s been a lot of trial and error, a lot of horrible mixes, rendering issues, crying and spending hours staring at the same loop but a lot of breakthroughs that make it all worth it. I’ve been writing poetry in secret for pretty much my entire life, so I decided to apply that to lyric writing. A lot of people are surprised I jumped straight into recording vocals, but the truth is I sang in community choirs throughout my childhood and used to sing every day while busking on commercial drive as a teen. I still sing in the woods every day when I go out with my dog, I just have a very hard time singing or even speaking in front of others and will actually sing badly on purpose anytime I’m coerced into doing karaoke. There’s obviously nothing wrong with being a vocalist, but just from an ego perspective my first reaction for a while was always to be offended when I tell someone I’m a musician and their automatic assumption is that I must be a singer. I’ve always been someone who has a very fighty response to gender stereotypes and I was scared away from doing vocals every time I saw artists like Mariah Carey, Bjork, FKA Twigs and Grimes, who write and produce most if not all of their work, being referred to as “singers.” It just grinds my gears and it was my worst fear for a long time but I had to let go of that.
MG: As a multi-faceted creative, do you have a favourite outlet as far as music, acting, visual arts, writing, performance? Or is it kind of a situational thing?
Nakuset: I’m very free-flow and my creative process might be perceived as chaotic by some. It always starts with a feeling, a visualization, or an audio-hallucination, and I just build it up from there. I think it’s important for any artist to always explore several mediums, even if it doesn’t end up being your main thing. I like to compare it to a utility belt, if you have several tools on a belt it’s harder to get caught with your pants down so to speak. You have a lot more to work with.
MG: And finally, as the fog starts to slowly lift off the music world, what kinds of things would you like to see yourself accomplish as a musician? Does the band have any plans on the horizon?
Nakuset: We’re hoping to do a small tour maybe in 2022, see how it goes, then look at doing a bigger one when we release the EP. My solo stuff is probably going to mostly be a studio project for the time being, I’m more focused on creating an interesting audio-visual experience for now. I am whole-heartedly excited for what the upcoming year holds.