Posted on June 21th. 2019
Questionnaire by Stefan on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of getting to know Tom Vitacco, the driving force behind many metal bands such as Worwyk, Shadows Black, Insynirator, Metal Force, ex-Vitalecco/Affliction/Etheric Despotism…and of course, his newest project called DIVISIZ! Tom is truly a one-man band, playing all the guitars for his projects while handling the musical arrangements, mixing, mastering and artwork as well.
He is also a brilliant songwriter! Musicians of this caliber should get the recognition they deserve, I think. It’s a complete shame that so few people have ever heard of this first class musician and participating bands so I want to lend a hand to the good man in hope to gain a little more fame. My intention is to create a story that reflects his musical activities so far so no time to waste, let’s get on to business!
Stefan: Greetings Tom, may I warmly welcome you here at Metal To Infinity webzine Belgium. Always a pleasure to set up a story with a top-notch multi-instrumentalist. What kept you busy the last 24 hours?
Tom: Hi Stefan and thank you for the interview request and for the review of my new album. The support I have gotten from the Metal to Infinity team is excellent and much appreciated!
In the last 24 hours I have actually been working on a bonus song for the Divisiv project. I had some riffs for a song that I never finished for the album so I decided to go back and work on it again and I hope to release it as a bonus track in the next couple of weeks.
Stefan: How long have you been making music and at what age did you make the decision to become a musician?
Tom: I have been writing music for over 30 years now. I started playing guitar when I was 16 with some friends. We all decided to rent guitars and amps and take lessons from a local shop. I only stuck with the lessons for three months because I felt like I was not learning anything. So I returned the rental guitar and amp back to the store, bought a cheap new guitar and a used amp and I have been making music ever since.
Stefan: What was the first instrument you ever played? Others followed later, feel free to talk more about this Tom.
Tom: Honestly, the only instrument I have ever played is guitar. I have also recorded some bass guitar as well but that is it. Growing up, my dad had an acoustic guitar and there was a piano in the house because my sister Trish played, plus my younger brothers both played guitar and my parents sang in the church choir so we have always been a musical family. I don’t really play other instruments though. The drums and keyboards I use on my albums are all done with samples and midi files. I do the arrangements but do not play the actual instruments.
Stefan: Which grandmasters in Rock and Metal inspired you back in the day – what made them so unique?
Tom: It was the late 70s when I first started to get into music and bands like Styx, Kansas, Boston and Angel were my favorites. They were not metal but featured a lot of guitars and keyboards with great vocals and good melodies. I still love all those bands and continue to listen to their older albums. Then I got into Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and other early pioneers of metal and my musical tastes shifted to the heavier side. In the 80s, the thrash metal scene really took off and bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Kreator and Destruction caught my ear. Coincidentally, I started playing guitar around that time and since I was listening to a ton of traditional and thrash metal those styles heavily influenced my guitar playing.
Stefan: What was the name of the very first band you were active in? I suppose they were metal related, or am I wrong?
Tom: I don’t recall the name of the first band I was in. It was with my friends in high school when we all starting playing at the same time. In college, I played in a cover band but it was mostly pop and rock songs. I didn’t start playing metal in bands until after college although I was practicing metal all along. After trying to form a metal band for two years, I gave up and decided to buy equipment and start my home studio. Worwyk became my project band then and the rest is history as they say.
Stefan: I know you from Worwyk and Shadows Black but there are more bands that you worked with. Can you name the most interesting ones?
Tom: Sure, I actually started collaborating online back around 2002 with a project called Koalition. We would share files and I collaborated with different vocalists or guitar players from around the world. It was pretty cool and almost ahead of its time you could say because back then collaborating online was not as popular as it is today. I also recorded two albums with a project called Affliction with some friends I worked with. Then I did the Metal Force album with a buddy and Jason, who sang on multiple Worwyk albums. I have also contributed songs to a future rock musical called Metatron recently.
Stefan: You always handle all of the present instruments and I also know you as a great songwriter but man, how do you start working out an album on your own?
Tom: Thank you for the songwriter complement – that is always nice to hear. Since I have been writing and recording on my own for many years it is fairly easy for me to start a new album. After I finish a project, like the recent Worwyk album Decapitator for example, I will start working on a new song. Once that song is complete, I decide if it fits any of my project bands (Worwyk, Shadows Black or Insynirator). If it does then I will continue writing more songs until I have enough songs for a new album. The first song I wrote after releasing Decapitator was called Forgiven, and I did not feel it fit the style of any of my current projects. So I decided to start a new project called Divisiv.
Stefan: It is always easy to find a suited singer – name a few vocalists you collaborated with?
Tom: There are quite a few vocalists I have collaborated with over the years but the two main singers were Mike O’Hara and Jason Russo. Mike sang on the 2006 Worwyk album In Solitude, and Jason sang on three Worwyk albums, including Malignant, Shadows Black and Decapitator as well as the Metal Force album Metal Rebirth. Both are great vocalists with their own style but they do not collaborate online anymore.
Stefan: Allow me to mention that you are an extremely talented musician and it’s unfair, quite a shame that your bands are not really known here in Europe. Do you have an explanation for that?
Tom: Thanks again for the compliment! My only explanation for not being known in Europe would be the fact that I am not in a real touring band so the only way to reach new fans would be online promotion and word of mouth. Most of my sales come from Europe, however, so I believe the style of music I write is appreciated by European fans once they hear it. Since recording music is just a hobby of mine and not a full time job I do not spend a lot of time promoting the songs. I post video clips on YouTube and give out CDs to some friends and fans but I just don’t spend a lot of time on promotion unfortunately. Maybe I’m just too old now 🙂
Stefan: In the meantime, you have started with a new project named Divisiv, offering a different style than what we are used to. A mixture of Power, Progressive and Gothic Metal is heard on the debut album “Adharma”. Where does the musical twist come from and what are the ambitions with Divisiv?
Tom: The musical style for the Divisiv album developed out of the first song I wrote called Forgiven. I used three different vocal styles for that tune along with some orchestral sections and keyboards to complement the heavier riffs. When that song was done I thought it sounded like a combination of my two projects Worwyk and Shadows Black so I decided to continue with this style and write more songs. Originally I planned to just create a few songs but after a while I noticed I had enough material for a full album so I kept going. The entire album was written and recorded in 8 months. I don’t have any goals or ambitions with the album other than to get it out there and let people listen to some new music from me. I hope fans of my music will appreciate the album and my goal of mixing two of my musical styles because I am proud of it and really enjoyed composing these songs.
Stefan: Can give you some more clarification regarding the guest musicians present on “Adharma”?
Tom: The only guest musicians are the vocalists. There has been some confusion on how I add the vocals to my music when I am not collaborating with a real singer. Most of the songs on Adharma use vocal loops that I purchased online. There are companies that sell pre-recorded vocal lines in verse, chorus, bridge and hook formats but they are marketed towards pop, EDM and hip hop artists. I have been using some of these for my songs, especially the female vocal loop packages. So all the female vocals you hear came from these types of loop packages. The same is true for some of the male singers – I used vocal loops for those as well. These loop packages often request that you do not give credit to the artists who created the vocal loops so I never mention them in the liner notes.
A few songs feature Jason, the old Worwyk singer, but all I did was chop up some of his old vocal lines from past songs and used these vocal clips to make new vocal tracks if that makes sense. For example, the song Controlled uses small sections of vocals from the old Metal Force song called Straight to the Gates. Since I have all the master tracks from that old recording session I literally just cut out the parts I needed and made an entire new vocal track for Controlled. Basically I was trying to be creative with the vocals by using some of the tracks from the past.
Stefan: What’s the concept behind the album? Feel free to guide us through a few songs, lyrical wise.
Tom: There really is no main concept behind the album. The name Adharma came from a line in a book I was reading which said something like “adharma – all that is good or evil…” or something like that and I thought it was cool so I made a note to use Adharma for a song name or album title in the future. The lyrics often just come from the vocal loops that I mentioned earlier and since I didn’t write them I honestly can’t elaborate much more. For Worwyk songs I write the lyrics but for this album the lyrics were either already part of the vocal loops or were cut from past songs so the lyrics do not mean that much in regards to the concept of the album.
Stefan: How would like to announce the album yourself – for which kind of music lovers is the album recommended?
Tom: I feel Divisiv is a project that will appeal to fans of bands like Within Temptation, Iced Earth, Kamelot, Nightwish, etc. Really any metal fan that enjoys heavy guitar with a variety of sounds and moods in a song but nothing too extreme would like the album. I use a lot of double bass drums as well mainly because I love that type of beat!
I often use this summary which I feel is a good description of the project:
Divisiv is a new project band from Worwyk guitarist Tom Vitacco which combines the sympho gothic metal sound of his band Shadows Black with the traditional metal of Worwyk while mixing in some cinematic orchestral sections and both clean and aggressive vocals.
Stefan: What about the response you received from the international press and media so far? Actually, I wondered how you reach the European press.
Tom: Metal To Infinity is the only site which has reviewed the album so far and it got a 92/100 rating which was great to read. Thanks Rico! I have not reached out to other press in Europe so far. I do get some requests asking me to pay a marketing firm for promotion or to add a song to a sample CD but I tend not to do that kind of promotion. I will eventually post about the album on some metal forums and on social media outlets but at this stage I am just happy to be able to spend time writing, recording and releasing songs. It is very fulfilling to sit down one night, start a new tune and in 2-3 weeks have a completed song.
Stefan: I would like an address from you where interested parties can order Divisiv and other material.
Tom: Sure, physical CDs of the Divisiv album Adharma can be purchased on CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/divisiv
The album can be downloaded at Bandcamp and all other online sites like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and all other major streaming sites: https://divisiv.bandcamp.com/releases
US fans can buy the album directly from me on eBay as well. Just search for Divisiv.
The last four Worwyk albums can be found on all the online sites like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, etc. The physical CDs are for sale at CDBaby.com and they will ship worldwide. I also sell them on eBay but only ship to the US.
CDBaby links for Worwyk and my other projects:
*Worwyk – Decapitator: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/worwyk10
*Worwyk – Shadows Black: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/worwyk3
*Worwyk – Malignant: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/worwyk2 (only available as download – CD out of print)
*Worwyk – In Solitude: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/worwyk (only available as download – CD out of print)
*Shadows Black – Your World (Gothic Metal project): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/worwyk9
*Insynirator – Lost in the Darkness (variety of metal songs): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/insynirator3
You can also visit www.worwyk.com for general info about the band.
Stefan: What are the plans for the near future Tom; do you already have a new project in mind?
Tom: Right now I am working on a final Divisiv song that will be a bonus track only available on the Bandcamp page. I am in the process of recording the song, which is called Why Do I, and will release it as soon as it is done. After that I have not decided what to work on next. I might start a new Worwyk album and try to find a real singer to collaborate with online again. Or I might just release a few songs for my Insynirator project. Or I might work on another Shadows Black album. I am not sure yet but you and the Metal to Infinity team will be the first to know!
Stefan: To conclude, I want to thank you for the good cooperation and the many years delivering outstanding Metal music. I leave the last word to you, thanks again brother!
Tom: I would like to say thanks again to you and the Metal to Infinity team for all the support you have shown me and my musical projects over the years. Also to any fan out there who has purchased or even listened to my music – thank you for the support. It means the world to me! Keep it metal \m/