He learned to love his cancer. He trusted his dark side. It became him. A ruthless bastard. He would do anything for success. He done the deal. He would discard his good nature for fame and women. This was the birth of Vivian Velveteen.
He disowned his past and here he was, loved by his masses. Hiding from his thoughts with the power of self-belief. The flawed hedonist. Could he run forever?
We met in a tiny cafe, under a railway bridge. The windows were dirty and barred up. ,A dark stocky figure in a trench coat stretched back over a chair. He cupped a mug of steaming black coffee with his left hand. the clock moved a tick to 3:23. I order myself a green tea and scraped a chair out to join Vivian. He hardly moves. It’s all been arranged with his management. I find the empty, dirty cafe disconcerting. I click record.
Hi, can i just begin?
Can you pin point the moment when you first thought, This Is It, it’s working, I’ve made it?
It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment, but i suppose i knew i was on the right path around 2013. I had given up trying and thought i had failed. I was feeling very lonely having just left The Sputums, totally lost. I decided in that moment that it was time. I had to commit. All had fallen apart, our son had died, and my life was in tatters. I left my wife shortly after as the pain seemed to drive us apart, rather than together. I sat in a darkened room and spoke with some being. I can’t really say what the being was, it may have been me. But all i know is that we agreed that no more would we look out for others. From now on it was a single minded push for glory. I stepped into the studio with Fillimore and a Xylophone. I let out my anger at the unfairness of the world. I denounced god. i took on nature head to head. It felt so right.
Can you see that you have caused controversy amongst the general public with the content of your lyrics?
I’m not out to be controversial. This whole year has been nothing but an exorcism of sorts for me. It’s very personal. It’s my journey to the darkside. Fuck God. I took on the Bad Shit that was being dealt to me, and said Fuck You. This expression is my own cathartic way of denouncing my previous life. If people are offended by my exorcism then fuck them. It’s not for them, it’s for me. If they happen to relate and can get inspired by my journey then come along. If not, then fuck off. You don’t know me.
Can you see how this can turn people off?
My job is to turn people off. Turn people off life. It’s bullshit, you don;t have to stand for it. Just say no.
It seems like you are playing God, have drugs played a significant part in this journey?
Drugs were a part of my life. When everything went wrong with The Sputums and my personal life, I decided to kick the habit. I am tee-total now. I have to be. To fight nature you need a straight head, one slip up and she will fuck you. I need to be on the ball.
You say fight nature, exactly how are you doing this?
I refuse to accept the hand that has been dealt to me. I am in control. 100%. In showing people how i do this, i inspire, people see it and they wanna piece. This turns into album sales and more importantly builds hope into people who denounce God. Nature is unfair, nothing makes sense, in taking control of your destiny you become the equalizer, You take what you want.
What was it like growing up as Vivian Langford?
That person died when my son died. I don’t remember much about him. Maybe that he was a pushover, always being nice, and being offended. Nothing worked in his life and he just bent over and took whatever came his way. His family were cold, hard working, frightened. The family suffered from a drunken father and a bitter Mother. They were not happy times.
Where did you get the name from?
I needed to change my name to signify the change in me. My personality was dead. I was anew. I left behind everything I knew. Including myself.
You are seen as a bit of a joke by some of the heavy metal scene, how do you respond to this?
Heavy Metal Scene? What scene? I don’t deal in genres. I deal in real emotions. I denounce all earthly associations and categories to hide behind. Present Tense is raw and real, and about change. If you don’t want to change then don’t comment, just carry on with your life with the rest of the dead fish. Everything is stagnant, including Metal or whatever. As soon as you categorise something, give it a name, label it, it’s dead. Metal died shortly after Black Sabbath accidentally invented it. Some smart alec named it and in doing so killed it. Why are they still writing about it in 2016? Like it’s something. We are against that. Present Tense, is just that. No wonder Metal Hammer don;t like it.
Is it true that you refuse to speak to anyone from your past?
I will give people the time of day if they fit into my vision of how things should be. I refuse to be vulnerable. Most people from my past used me. They used him up and wore him out. Out of bitter disappointment was born the new me. I raised from the ashes of the shit of my past. In order to become me I had to leave it all behind. Change is good. Not change for changes sake, but escaping the hand you have been dealt. It’s not easy, but when you;’ve been kicked down onto your ass enough times you say fuck this.
What’s next for Present Tense?
Just repeat that question to yourself.
What is next for the band?
Learning to be more present. Knowing what we want. And refusing anything that does not fit in with our vision. A total disregard for trends and opinions. Total self belief and total control. We don’t want admiration, we want your soul.
Why do you want people’s soul, what can this do for you or your followers?
Well it’s simple really, fans can buy a ticket and go to watch Noel Gallagher and then go back to their job and wife they hate. If you are not happy we want you to kill your wife, your boss, your parents. Kill your life. Kill the past. Let it all go. Total destruction of life as we know it. Fuck fans. We want disciples. This shit is for real.