Interview with Forest of Tygers band member Jim Valosik, “MONGERS” music video premiereMovies/TV,News Shawn Macomber
In the realm of dark culture, Jim Valosik is a triple-threat: Guitarist-vocalist of the sublimely brutal black metal-infused hardcore punk sludge outfit Forest of Tygres, founder of the respected underground extreme music label Acteon Records, and rising nightmare-conjuring horror film director.
Now, all three elements of Valosik’s creative persona converge with terrifying-yet-beguiling results in the FRAILITY-meets-LORD OF ILLUSIONS-meets-home invasion music video he shot for “Mongers,” a Forest of Tygres track that appears on a split seven-inch set for release next week on Acteon Records.
FANGORIA has the exclusive premiere of the clip below—which Valosik describes as a “combative, heart-pounding, aggressively freaky, chaotic horror hell-ride of hunting demons inward and outward”—as well as a short Q&A with the man himself about early inspirations, practical magic, and the quest to simultaneously transform multiple dreams across several mediums into unlikely reality.
FANGORIA: What came first for you—auditory or visual terror?
JIM VALOSIK: Horror came long before music—I have always preferred horror and psychological thriller tales. As a kid the 80’s TWILIGHT ZONE, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, and THE RAY BRADUBURY THEATER are some of my most vivid horror memories. As little kids, my friends and I traded anthologies of the 70’s horror short story writers, we collected EC comics, Stephen King books and GOREZONE issues. We always found a way to see the extreme horror films. Older siblings, you know. And there was a video store that would let us rent crazy stuff as twelve year olds. We’d watch or read anything we could get our hands on. Even on family trips my dad would play these vintage horror radio plays that were amazing.
Playing music came in my teenage years after listening to enough punk, hardcore, and some metal that I thought I would try my hand at learning to play an instrument if these other people can do it. After watching a bootleg VHS of Fugazi in Nashville dozens of times I came to appreciate that you could learn guitar from your own angle. I had a great local music store guitar teacher in junior high, he would let me bring in a tape every week and he’d transcribe the songs, whatever they were. Mostly the Dischord and SST catalogs. I wasn’t interested in the guitar books.
FANGO: How’d the two become intertwined for you?
VALOSIK: They are my two strongest passions. I love to create, period. Creating music isn’t enough. Imagery is an equal love, as is storytelling. They were never all combined to me really until this band. From the outset we wanted the band to convey something further than just the music, an emotional heaviness that our favorite grim, bleak films carried. One helps get either ideas or exposure for the other. Directing has been my lifelong goal and this is the way I figured out how to start doing it. It seemed a natural way to morph it out of my other creative love.
I often find attempts at combining horror and metal music to be less than effective—and I rarely like music videos for the same reason. So I tried to split the attention given to the picture and sound so that the halves made a new whole. We looked at it is a silent film set to music. To create something that I wanted to see, without cutting out of the story to guitar shredding or whatever takes the viewer away from the story.
FANGO: Tell me about the background for the “Mongers” video.
VALOSIK: I had created a prior video/short for the band—“Pay of Pigs”—and wanted to do another one for the next song that was far more intense, very frenetic and violent, quickly paced, and packing in a lot of story compared to the first one’s slower pace. which was a slow-motion study of a man’s final moments.
My oldest friend from childhood and lifelong horror ally Gray Creasy moved back to Nashville from LA with a bunch of skills and indie set experience. Through work in advertising I’d learned a ton about directing, cameras, and also real editing software that I had not graduated to at that point. And the theory and best practices by working with amazing directors and editors. Gray and I got together to hang out after he moved back and both realized immediately we have to make films together. He is the lead actor in “Mongers,” but also co-wrote and produced it as well as the creature and special effects. I wrote, directed, and edited it. Paul Cain, who shot “Pay of Pigs” was the cinematographer on this as well. Tiny budget, lots of favors and long nights, and a ton of awesome people pulled random duties whom were indispensable. This same crew recently shot another short Gray directed and wrote, and we have plans for more.
FANGO: Why do you think these images fit so well with your band’s music?
VALOSIK: There’s lot of action for how short it is. I think it’s pretty insane. Plus I find a lack of higher-art in a majority of heavy music videos. They typically seem a rote thing to sell the song vs to be juxtaposed against as an equal piece of art. My favorite yearly horror films tend to be indie horror’s esoteric and cerebral films, elevated genre films. I hope that people find that we have created a music video version of that.
To me the band’s essence is of a psychological horror film set to music. As far as we can create horror and other heavy emotions within our capabilities as a band. Our lyrics are about human monsters in many forms, in a harsh spotlight. Mongers is grim and carries the weight we try to in Forest of Tygers. To me a very bleak visual story plus the emotional weight of the music was a chance to make something that hopefully gets deeply under people’s skin.
For more music and info visit: forestoftygers.bandcamp.com