Interview by Dale Roy with Remy and Bart 1998…

In this issue of Canadian Assault, we talk to Quo Vadis, a melodic death metal band from Motreal Quebec, Canada. Montreal is the acknowledged center for metal in Canada and is most likely one of the strongest and most dynamic scenes in North America. Quo Vadis play a style of music not unlike bands such as (defunct) At the Gates, or Dark Tranquility, yet perhaps with a harder edge and stronger Death elements. Quo Vadis received a favourable around the scene. I think it turned out pretty well as we chatted with Remy and also Bart sat down for a few questions as well, read on…

***Update - The band is still kicking after all these years and doing a lot of touring by the looks of things. I must confess I have not heard any of their releases from 2000 onward... 


Can you tell us a little about the history of the band?

Remy: Quo Vadis was formed in 1992 as a trash cover band. The band was actually formed for a school competition or something and it first had 5 members. The three core members, Arie Itman (guitar, violin, vox), Bart Frydrychowicz (guitar, vox) and Yanic Bercier (drums) stuck together and started writing songs. Then in 1995, I met Arie in a local music store and I, soon after, joined the band. At that point, I was their 17th bassist! That summer, we completed the 5 song self‑titled demo and it was released in august. Through word of mouth and a few shows in and around Montreal, the band started getting respect from the local death‑metal scene. The next summer, we recorded our first album (Forever) and released it in october. We did something special for the release. A few other bands were releasing their album at the same time so we got together with Neuraxis and Tenebrae and did a triple release. It was a huge success and since then, the band has expanded it's fan base quite alot.

How many demos were there before the release of “Forever”?

Remy: Our self‑title demo was the first and only demo we released. More and more bands are now releasing self‑financed albums it seems. It has its advantages and disadvantages but we had many good songs we wanted to release so we decided to record all of theme instead.

Did “Forever” capture the sound that band was trying to achieve?

Remy: For the budget we had, we are very happy with the way it came out. I mean, we only had 44 hours to record and mix and 3 hours for mastering. Pierre Remillard (Obliveon) did the job 10 times better than we had expected it to come out, he really pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Of course, there are a few things we would like to change in the sound but I don't think there's ever been a perfect album, so hey, with a bigger budget for the next album (which will be about 3 times higher) we will attempt to get as close as possible to what we want.

Will you use Pierre and the same studio as "Forever" for the next release? You mentioned a offer to release the next album, could you give a few details concerning this offer?

Bart: We're actually meeting with Pierre on Wednesday at "Studio Victor". It's a much higher quality studio then Peter Pan. All the big bands record there ‑ Gorguts, Cryptopsy's Last one, Obliveon. Recording with Pierre at the studio he's used to working at will be an additional advantage besides superior equipment and acoustics... I think we'll be able to do mastering there as well so it'll be a one stop shop. So anyway, Wednesday we'll be discussing rates and budgets all the boring stuff. Since our label is giving us a decent budget I think we should be able to do what we want in the time frame we'd like.

Remy: Now that the deal is signed, we can finally announce it. We have signed with Napalm Records America for our next album. We will be using Pierre again but we will be going in a better studio this time. We can afford it since our budget will be about 3 to 4 times what we had for "Forever...". Pierre is showing alot of enthusiasm since he lowered his price to meet our budget even if he's very busy, he really wants his name on our album. We will be recording at the end of August and the album should be coming out in September ’98.

How does a Quo Vadis song come together? Does everyone contribute? How long does the average song take from start to finish? How often does the band rehearse?.

Bart: Hmmm well, most of the songs take a very long time to finish‑ 4 to 8 months. It's usually Arie or me who will come up with an idea or riff for a new song. At first both of us work on it together for a while and once we have some structure going we present it to the rest of the band. Yanic adds drums and Remy works on bass parts. At that point we usually leave the song for a weeks or months to let it mature. right now we're in the process of tying up all the loose ends and finishing the material for the studio. Since the demo it's been a tradition for Yanic to write lyrics for one song [the "Element of the Ensemble" series of songs] and then for us to write the music to fit the words. We're doing that for the next release ‑ so the album will feature an "Element of the Ensemble III".

Remy: Solos and vocals are added at the end.  It is hard to say how long our songs take because it varies from song to song. On "Forever...", "Inner Capsule" took maybe 2 months while "As I feed the flames of hate" took 14 months! As for the next album, the songs are taking much longer.  There is not one song that is 100% finished, we just keep working on them. Some songs we started on last summer, others, just a couple of months ago but everything will be completed by July for pre‑production.

Remy what kind of kid were you, a quiet kid or out going? What was life like growing up in the Montreal area? Do you like college life or do you seperate yourself from it's groups and party atmosphere and only concentrate on your studies!?.

Remy: I was born in the Montreal suburb and being an only child, I didn't have to do much for what I wanted, I can say I was spoiled.  Sports were my biggest interest until I discovered metal around 16. I played hockey, soccer, rugby and more.  I was always very energetic, nothing could stop me! When I moved to Port Hope in Ontario to go to a private school when I was 17, it made me realized I wasn't like everyone else. I was getting more and more serious about the music I loved and only a few people understood what I was feeling inside. A year later, I started playing guitar and I was on my way. I loved playing so much that when I broke my arm during a rugby game, I was still playing guitar every day for maybe 15 minutes but the problem was that after that, I was in major pain for the next hour and couldn't move my arm, but I kept doing it every day! It's only a few years later that I picked up the bass. 

I hear the album is still selling really well, how much longer will you be supporting it before a new one is released?

Remy: We presently have 2 or 3 songs 90% complete with 6 or 7 others getting there. We will record the album around june or july and we will try to release it asap after that. We got a very interesting offer to release the album so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Where have you gone touring?

Remy: So far, we've only done shows here in the province of Quebec since our availability prevents us from touring extensively. The only time we're free for more than a week end is during the summer since we're all University students. Yanic is finishing his physics engineering bachelor this May and he will start his masters in September, Arie is finishing his Biology bachelor and he too will start his masters in September, Bart is presently taking a year off from his biology bachelor to work for a year and I'll complete my mechanical engineering bachelor this coming december. No masters for me, thank you very much! As you can see, we're all very busy but we still looking at the possibility to tour this summer if time permits. We've been offered a U.S. tour and if it's not possible for us, we might do a smaller tour here in Canada since we also got an offer for that, so we'll see.

Who have you gone touring with?

Remy: A few weeks ago, we did two shows in northern Quebec with Kataklysm. Since the cities are far away from one another up there, it is harder to do more dates but he had a blast anyway. The guys from Kataklysm are very nice people and we will most certainly do other shows with them in the future. There is a mutual respect between the two band and it's great.

What would be the ultimate tour, where and with whom, for Quo Vadis?

Remy: There are so many great bands, it's hard to choose. Let's say a European tour with Slayer and Death (I heard Chuck is reforming the band). It kind of represents the band; we have the aggression those bands have mixed with a melodic sound a la European. Personally, it's my personal goal to tour Europe. I refuse to go there until it's for a tour! I hope it will be soon because I am dying to visit that continent!! An other cool tour would be with Madonna, the Beatles and Elvis Presley. I'd love to see how many people would get a heart attack when Bart starts going crazy on stage. Trust me, he does get really wild. The first time I saw Quo Vadis live before I was in the band, I said to myself: "I just got to play in that guy's band!!" Of course, I was a big fan of their music also.

Describe a couple of the new post "Forever" tunes you are currently putting together? Will Quo Vadis fans be happy or is the new stuff a big departure from past material?.

Bart: The new stuff is a natural progression for us from the material on "Forever..." the songs are a bit more technical, and aggressive, we managed to capture the emotion on some tracks very well so the fans of songs like Legions of the Betrayed and Inner Capsule will not be disappointed. That is not to say that the whole album will sound like that, we have 3 or 4 relaxed, layed back songs like Zero Hour and currently we're finishing off a weird doomy piece. There is one surprise we have in store for the new release. It will be the opening track and it'll sound amazing... I can guarantee it'll turn anyones head who will listen to the album. So... Lets just say that this will be our secret weapon, a track that should make everyone notice the release and establish clearly the WE'RE BACK AND HERE TO STAY! I can not divulge what it will be, but it'll be powerfull, uncommon, challenging and original!

On to my fave question: What is your opinion on the almighty LP "Black Metal" by legends Venom? Have you heard their new album "Cast In Stone" and what do you think of it?.

Bart: I haven't... I was never a big venom fan... I know they started it all back in the dark ages of disco and shit but venom never really spoke to me...

Tell us about the Quebec scene? What are some good bands from there to check out? Good live Quebecer bands are...?.

Bart: Well, I think today the first band that deserves mention is Martyr ‑  if you miss the days of Death and Cynic ‑ these guys delivered the goods, their debut Hopeless Hopes is definitely worth checking out. They're even better live then on the CD. Another band that should be watched is Kataklysm and their new album which will surprise many people by it's content. Of course Cryptopsy. As far as the underground scene goes, we should mention Neuraxis,Necronomicon, Hidden Pride, Necrotic Mutation. All of these bands contribute to making the Quebec Scene diverse, alive and kickin'.

How would you describe the music you play? How do you feel it differs from standard extreme metal?

Remy: As I said before, we'll shrink it down to technical‑melodic death metal. We are different in the sense that most bands sound north American or European, we sound like both. If there's something I would change in the Gothenburg sound, it's the drumming. Wouldn't it be great to have ultra fast and ultra technical drumming with their guitar melodies? Well that's kind of what we have, all mixed with our personal Quo Vadis sound. I still can't believe our drummer, he's a train, I'm telling you! It's a great honor to be playing in his band.

Is anybody primarily responsible for the stories told in “Forever”, or is it a group effort?

Remy: Arie wrote the lyrics for one song, Yanic did three, Bart wrote the remaining 6 songs and I write interviews, haha. I don't know, there is some stuff I have to get out of myself and I'll probably get together with Bart to write a song for the next album. I'm really pissed off at back stabbers and hypocrites. The singer of my old band is the biggest human garbage this earth has ever produced. His stupidities fucked up the band but I don't care about that so much since I'm doing fine with Quo Vadis while he's still jacking off in the basement of his parents house while looking at his Debbie Gibson posters. I'll stop taking about him because I could go to jail if I said everything I think about him. But it will be some excellent writing material, trust me.

Do you feel a certain amount of stagnation exists in the scene? What do you think this can be attributed to?

Remy: A lot of bands copy Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse but what do you want, as long as people buy it, there will always be some bands doing that stuff. A lot of people complain about bands copying other bands or even copying themselves from album to album but I don't really mind it. For example, the new Gamma Ray album "Somewhere out in space" is a real rip off but I still find it amazing. They haven't brought anything new to metal but every time I spin the album, my mind goes somewhere out in space and I forget all about my personal problems, it helps me get through harder days. It's not everybody's opinion but it is mine.

Which bands do you think would be best suited for comparison to Quo Vadis?

Remy: It's hard to say. Terrorizer blasted us saying we're only a north American Dark Tranquility or something like that. Dark Tranquility are melodic and so are we, I'll give them that but for the rest, I'm not sure if he really listened to the album or not. Some people have compared us to Death which is ok with me. Human is one of the most technical album there is and Symbolic probably has the most felling of all any metal album. That album screams and cries from every note coming out of it. We're all Death fans so it is possible that there's an influence.

Rem did the old band you mentioned release anything? What went wrong with this band? Did you have high hopes with them? Do you still talk to the members at all of your former group?

Remy: No, we never recorded anything. In fact, we had worked on a few ideas but we never completed a song. We were mainly a cover band. We were all big Iron Maiden fans so we were doing a tribute to them.  The band lasted about a year. First we kicked the drummer out, then I left because of that thing who pretended to be a singer but got back in the band because they preferred to have me in so they booted the thing out. A month later, the other guitarist decided to quit because he was going to study piano at university so he needed more time for his auditions. The bass player and I then decided to quit the project. It was a big deception, your first band always has something special, specially since we were all such good friends. I still talk to everyone (except “it”), we’ve remained very close. Actually, the drummer is the official Q.V. roaddy, he helps Yanic a lot and he’s also the biggest fan of the band.

How do you approach the not necessarily close‑minded, but conservative metal heads and death metal fans who are unwilling to accept the musical arrangements of Quo Vadis?

Remy: There's really nothing I can do about it. If they don't want to listen to anything new, it's their decision.  Personally, I have CD's from every branch of metal. Even if I don't listen to some of them every month, I'm happy to own them because it get's we out of the same listening patern every once in a while.

Do you feel any anger towards the old iconoclastic bands, such as Manowar, that have no interest in progressing?

Remy: I think they just keep writing music for their old fans. It's hard to get new fans if your album sounds the exact same as the previous one. But let me ask you a question in return: Do you prefer bands who do not evolve or bands like Rock'n'rollica (ex‑Metallica) or Megadeth that betray Metal fans? I would prefer to have 4 albums like Rust in Peace instead of having the shit they gave us in the past 7 years. That band used to be my favorite band but now, come on, get serious Dave. I paid $100 dollars in tickets and transportation for the first Megadeth show I saw when I was in high school. It was one of the best days in my life and I even met all 4 members of the band but today, when there's a Megadeth show in town, all I do is stand outside and pass flyers to people coming out of the show.

What does Quo Vadis do in order to promote their releases? What merchandise is available through the band?.

Bart: Hmm... we sent out a few hundred promo's which generated good reviews and licencing contracts in Europe. Basically we're not affraid of sending out promo CD's since that has proven all along to be the best strategy to get noticed. Reviewers don't care about unknown bands and one way to make the notice is to ship them the CD. We spread tons of fliers as well, all around the world, hopefully the fliers help entrench the band's name in people's heads ‑ at least the ones who are into the underground which are usually the most diehard fans. We tried to get as many distribution deals as possible and just have the CD available everywhere. Ofcourse when you send hundreds of CD's on consignment to different distros etc there will be one or two that will try to rip you off but in the last two years that happened maybe twice. The degree of honesty and professionalism as well as the dedication to the underground scene by those involved is much higher then anywhere else. To sum it up you have to push your band anywhere and everywhere. It's hard work but one that gives results.

What bands did you grow up on? What were your first entries into the underground with regards to the first bands and zines you wrote or got into?. Your first concert was...?.

Remy: Like most people the first bands that got me into metal where bands like Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden and Suicidal Tendencies. Later, I discovered Slayer, Sepultura and Metallica and I knew what kind of music I preferred. My first concert was Megadeth and Suicidal in Toronto. The concert cost me $100 because I had to get a cab but it was the most intense evening of my life. I stayed the whole show in the first row and I'm still wandering how I survived. I don't know, there was something evil about that show. The bouncers had to pull someone out of the front row every 2 or 3 minutes, and 2 people fainted on my shoulder while Megadeth was on stage, it was wild. As for zines, the only one I really got into until last year was Metal Maniacs and for the last year, I've been reading Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles.

Anything else you'd care to comment on or add?

Remy: Thank you for supporting the underground and for the attention you have given to Quo Vadis. A big hello to all our fellow Canadians out West. By the way, we have the best hockey team right here in Montreal!!

Quo Vadis, P.O.Box 44 NDG, Montreal, H4A‑3P4, Canada  Phone: (514) 369‑1686   Fax: (514) 369‑9391

Vomit/Estuary Of Sin Distro. on the web =  email =



The Complete Quo Vadis Discography 

Quo Vadis Demo (1995)

Forever... (1996)

Day into Night (2000)

Passage In Time (2001)

Defiant Imagination (2004)

Defiant Imagination Triple DVD (2007)



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