Archive for Interview

Interview with Auger

Posted in Interview with tags , , , on 29th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Two years after discovering them at Lumous Gothic Festival, Iza caught up with Kyle J. Wilson of the British darkwave duo Auger. They discussed their band’s new album ‘Insurgence’, live streaming and other forms of lock-down entertainmnent. Check it out:

First of all, how are you doing?

We’re great thank you, well as good as you can be in a global crisis…

Congratulations on your new album ‘Insurgence’! I really enjoyed it. This is now your third studio record. Auger has come a long while since your debut album ‘The Awakening’ back in 2017. Can you tell us about the creative process and inspirations for this album? 

Thank you so much, I’m super pleased you enjoyed it. Absolutely, so like The Awakening, Insurgence was based around a story. Painting a picture of a post-apocalyptic world that doesn’t feel so far from reality given everything that’s going on.

If you were to pick a track from ‘Insurgence’ to act as an introduction to the band for new listeners, which one would it be and why?

This is a tricky one, not only because we’re so pleased with every song on the album, but because we strive to create a diverse listening experience; to put it plainly, every song is different and the album ranges from full-synthwave to out-and-out industrial tracks. I would say, however, that I’d recommend listening to ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong.’ It’s a great taster for what the album holds, it’s melodic, rocky and it features a very talented young singer, Imogen Evans, who adds an angelic female touch to it.

‘Insurgence’ features a wide range of different styles. I detected everything from electro rock, industrial metal to synth pop and darkwave. For example ‘My Death’ is very melodic and synth-pop style. What is the story behind that track?

Definitely. When I wrote My Death I was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode (can you tell?) and I wanted to try and encapsulate their sound and interpret it in a more Auger-way. In terms of lyrics, the song is about someone who feels deeply overwhelmed with the situation (that situation being the end of the world). They fantasize about what it would’ve been like to have seized more opportunities when they were still attainable; including admitting to love.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bgmRUfnC2E

The album also includes collaboration with a young musician called Imogen Evans. Who is she and what made you decide to collaborate with her?

So Imogen has come into my studio a few times over the past couple of years, mainly performing her own songs, but the second I first heard her voice I knew I needed her to sing on an Auger song; and it worked even better than I had imagined. She’s a real delight to work with and we have a laugh every time she’s here.

The global coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the music industry with thousands of events being cancelled and postponed. How has this affected Auger?

Well it has cancelled the first part of our album tour, postponing many shows into 2021. But we’ve not let this get to us! Instead we’ve hosted five live-streamed shows, each have run for three-hours and accumulated over 10,000 views. We’ve also begun to create some more YouTube specific content, run competitions and all sorts. We have really tried to think of as many ways to keep in touch with our amazing community and boost spirits where we can. We’re not going to let COVID-19 beat us!

With all tours now on hold you must have a lot of spare time on your hands. Besides live streaming and promoting the new album what else have you been up to?

Well, as I mentioned before, Kieran and I have begun to create some YouTube videos to grow our channel. We’ve been playing games, telling stories and trying some horrible food and it’s been great fun. And aside from that, a spot of gardening, lots of walks and a spot of decorating in the house.

Let’s talk about the newest trend in the music industry – live streaming. I’ve noticed that you have done some streamed acoustic sets recently. How does this compare to a real live show? What are the pros and cons of streaming vs. live from your point of view?

It’s very bizarre. Not at all in a bad way, it’s just an incredibly strange concept that you’re performing to your laptop and talking to a screen… It certainly gets some getting used to. But we love it. We were able to do a live stream together a couple of weeks back and it was great fun, the fans responded so well and it’s a great opportunity to chat, answer questions and just have a good laugh with everyone during these strange times. I don’t think you can compare it to playing a live show, it’s a completely different kettle of fish. We do miss the live shows tremendously, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop going live on Facebook.

Which festival/event are you looking forward to the most next year once the pandemic is over?

Out Of Line Weekender of course, that we’re delighted to be playing. But also, all my gig tickets have been rescheduled for next year so I’m excited to see Jimmy Eat World, Suzanne Vega and go to Amphi Festival 2021.

Finally, is there anything you would like to say to your fans and our readers?

Thank you so much for streaming, downloading and purchasing the album – don’t stop, and we’ll see you soon! Take care, #teamauger!

https://www.facebook.com/pg/AugerUK

https://darktunes.bandcamp.com/album/insurgence

Interview with Liv Sin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 28th August 2019 by Mickelrath

Ahead of the release of their new album Burning Sermons on the 6th September, Mick spoke to Liv Jagrell of Swedish heavy metal band Liv Sin. They discussed the production and songwriting of this record in comparison to their previous 2017 album, Follow Me, as well working with some of metal’s heavy hitters. Also, read Liv’s thoughts on women in metal, her biggest piece of advice for new bands and how she has overcome her biggest setback.

 What do you think is the biggest difference between the new album Burning Sermons and your previous album Follow Me?

I think that the biggest difference is in the sound of the album because we’ve brought in electronics and synth sounds. There are more keyboard and orchestral arrangements. This was not present on the first record. Maybe a song or two, but for the first album, it was more just a straight forward heavy metal sound.  However, on this record, we wanted a little bit more of a diverse sound, as a result, we took out some of the guitar-riffing and added in the more electronic sound. So we chose to work with a producer who could help us achieve this. 

I wanted to get on to the production a little bit here. I’ve read that you worked with Emil Nödtveidt  (Deathstars guitarist). What was it like to work with him and what do you feel he added to the album that you really appreciated?

Obviously all of the keyboards, electronics and orchestral arrangements which none of us could have done. He was just a pleasure to work with, it felt like there was no real effort to communicate my ideas with him and he was able to give us the best product possible. I would love to work with him again. I mean, he definitely put his stamp on the music. You can here that Deathstars sound on some of the songs. I feel that he took the songs to another level by adding things that we would not have thought of. 

Another note I have read was that you brought in Björn Strid (singer of Soilwork and The Nightflight Orchestra) for the song “Hope Begins To Fail”. What was it like bringing him into the studio and working with him?

Also, pretty amazing! Björn is an excellent singer, also I am a big fan of Soilwork, I have loved that band since they started. I also like The Nightflight Orchestra too, not 100% my type of music but it shows how versatile he is as a singer. I think that his voice worked really well in the song. We also got him to do the video shoot with us and he is such a funny guy we just had so much fun on set for that music video. Also, I would love to work with him again as well. 

That’s fantastic, I loved hearing that on the album as well. Just moving on to the lyrical aspect of the album. What is your favourite song from a lyrical standpoint on this album and what do you feel is the main message of your lyrics?

Quite hard to say as all of the lyrics are very personal to me. As when I write lyrics, it’s kind of like therapy for me as I try to process my own internal thoughts. However, I always like the idea that these songs can help someone else as well. So, on some the songs, I wrote more from more of my experience or things that I wish would happen. Then, on the other hand, I want to write songs that I think might encourage people. Like the song “At The Gates of The Abyss”, which is a song where I’m trying to inspire people to not give up, at least not today, this is not the day where we all fall. Also, in the song “War Antidote” there’s a line in the chorus ‘Hail To The Freaks’ and I feel this is embracing people who might feel that they don’t belong and try to give them encouragement to continue. That is the main thing I want to get across. That, it’s okay to be different and we can continue together.

That was pretty inspiring. I personally have been loving the album, I just think it’s a more whole and complete album than the first one.

Thank you, yes. Also, we had way more time with this record. I think we worked through the songs much more than on the first album. I think as well, we’ve found a sound that we really like and want to continue with.

Yeah, it feels like a record with more time gone into it. Not that I didn’t like the first album but I thought it was interesting to hear the evolution of your sound. There seemed to be far less fast-paced and intense metal tracks and more of a general grandiose metal sound. What is your process for working the lyrics into the music? Does the idea for the song come first or do the themes of the lyrics come first and then you try an match it?

It depends…. Mostly though, we come up with the melodies and rhythm first then try to piece the words and meaning into that melody. Sometimes, it just does fit and you can become really frustrated and then that leads to “Grahhhhgh, damn it, fuck it!” because you really want that particular rhythm and melody but you also want to say a specific line you can’t find anything to match. I have spent many evenings just staring and working on one sentence and getting nowhere. At that point, I just go “fuck it, it’ll wait until tomorrow”

So with the release of this new record, it’s a given that your new setlist will be mostly new material. Are there any songs from Follow Me that you plan to keep on the setlist?

I think the two that we kinda have to keep are “Let Me Out” and “Killing Ourselves To Live” because they are the main songs from Follow Me. Also, because they are great songs and they work well with the audience. We are also keeping “Hypocrite” as for us, it’s an awesome live song. Also, we’re planning on keeping “Emporer of Chaos” as it fits in very well with the newer songs, because it’s more of a political song and because audiences really like it.

From the last time we spoke, you said that your favourite song on Follow Me was “The Fall”. Any chance that could make it on to the setlist?

It could… But since we have “Chapter of The Witch”, it might be too much as it’s another intense fast-paced song and I don’t want too many of those working their way on to the setlist. So right now we’ve taken away “The Fall” to put in “Chapter of The Witch”. I mean you learn when you tour and “The Fall” has a tendency to be a little too fast, it’s not a really groovy track so we didn’t get the response that we hoped it would have got. I mean I really like the song, but it’s a really hard song to play live. 

Excellent, I mean I really like that song too, so if there’s a chance to hear it live again, I’m always there. Just moving away from songwriting now. What are your thoughts on the progression of women in the metal world, as they are becoming more and more prevalent in a metal context?

It’s interesting that this is even a question but understand why. I hope that it will develop further than it is, it’s definitely better for sure, certainly more so than when I first started in music. You’re seeing many more bands of just women or band with women in them. I hope it will develop further and I hope one day you won’t even have to call attention to it. You know, so we’re at a point where the term “female-fronted” for example is no longer something that is needed.

Yeah, it is kinda silly when you think about it, as long as the music is good, who cares who is playing it. Another question, I think is very interesting. From your experience across your whole career, what is the one piece of advice you give to a new up-and-coming band starting in the industry today?

Since the music business has changed so much since I started, it hard to say. As things that used to be true, aren’t anymore. One thing I will say is you can’t lie to new bands about how much work you have to put into it. Nothing is going to happen for free and if you are not committed, dedicated and not truly ready to sacrifice things, this is not the industry you want to be in. Because you have to sacrifice financial security, friends, families and whatever in order to make it work.  You know, you have to take tours before birthdays, festival slots before weddings. If you’re not prepared to do that, you will be disappointed and you will feel like a failure because you won’t make it very far. I know that sound really harsh because you want to encourage people but it’s also the truth and if you’re not ready there will always be someone who will stand over you. At the same time, I have always been that kind of person to stand on my own and do what my heart tells me otherwise I wouldn’t be here. 

However, if you’re willing to make that kind of sacrifice then it is worth it in the end because music is such a necessary thing, we need it in the world as a world without music would be a hard one to live in.

I couldn’t agree more music is so important, it’s the main thing I use to ignore that fact the world is dying and going to crap. So, just end on and this my favourite question I ask. What is the hardest thing, professionally or personally, you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Hmm, that’s a hard question, give me a minute. So, actually, this is it. I’m afraid of flying and aeroplanes in general. Whenever I sit in a plane, which you do a lot on tour, I ask myself “Why am I doing this?” but I’m still doing it anyway. I think that if I didn’t have this passion for music, I would never face that fear as much as I do. I would probably not go on a plane at all. Yet, today I’m facing that fear all of the time. I always wonder to myself, why isn’t flying becoming easier, because I’m doing it so much. Yes, you have fear but having such a strong feeling inside of you to face that fear is important and once you have that, yes it might not become easier but doing the thing enjoy becomes more rewarding.

Interview and words by Mick Birchall

Interview with Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom)

Posted in Gig, Interview, Live with tags , , , , , on 19th March 2017 by Mickelrath

Before their set in Manchester, our writer, Mick Birchall sits with Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom to talk about 20 years of the band and how they kept up in the music industry. Also, touring and the music scene in general.

This year marks 20 years of Children of Bodom. How does it feel to be able to say that you have actually been going that long?

Yes, it’s crazy it really is.  We weren’t really expecting that when we started. Back then we were just kids and we played heavy metal metal. Yeah it’s great it really is. Just the though that we’ve made it this far.

You guys have played all around the world.  Would you say there a difference in audience, depending on where you go?

You be surprised on how little the differences are really. Metal heads are metal heads no matter where you go.  If there are differences then they’d be small things. Such as in Japan, the crowd will probably go completely silent between the songs, it feels a little awkward. However, it is a show of respect. So it’s things like that but when the music is on, it’s on!

Going for 20 years now and with 9 albums.  How do you feel you keep your music sounding new without wearing out the same sound, but also without compromising the core of the band?

That’s becoming a challenge after releasing so many albums and we definitely don’t want to be stuck to a formula or get stuck the mindset of “this worked well, let’s just do that again”. As a band you have to keep creating something new and you have to take a risk with something eventually. I mean there’s only so many bands that can release the same album over and over.

Over the years what is the one song you wish you had written as a band?

I would say Redneck by Lamb of God.

What would be the best band that you have opened for and what’s the best band that’s opened for you?

I’d say the best we’ve opened for is Slayer. We did a couple tour with them and it was just great.  Their level of production and how well the opening bands were treated it was just amazing.

On the other hand we’ve had the pleasure of having so many killer band open the show for us. We had this band recently play with us.  Havok they were really great, we’ve heard them play and every audience they’ve played for people have just loved them.  Also we have Oni with us on this tour. They’re really cool, with a xylophone player. If you’re into the weird stuff then Oni is for you.

What’s your impression of the more gimmicky bands out there.  The ones who will dress up and get into character for a show?

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just don’t paste it over your image, if your band sound sounds fine without gimmicks then don’t paste it over the top of it.  Only do it if it’s natural to the kind of music that you’re trying to create. Also, if you’re going to do it, make it your own thing.  Don’t take another band idea and slap it over your band, try to be original with a concept.

So to end on. What was the hardest thing you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

We’ve had some obstacles in band. Obviously letting Roope (Latvala) go was a tough decision. We were struggling without him for sometime. When you’ve been in the industry for this long you’ve had up and and downs. At the end of the day, everyone in the band has to believe in the same thing, then between all of you you get through rough times. As long as you have you bandmates there’s very little that they’ll let you do wrong.

 

Interview and words by Mick Birchall

Interview with Finntroll

Posted in Festival, Interview, Live with tags , on 19th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Iza had a little chat with Mörkö and Skrymer from Finntroll before their show at Tampere Metal Meeting yesterday.

Iza: Hi guys!

Finntroll: Hey..

Iza: How are you doing guys? How are you enjoying the festival so far?

Finntroll: We basically arrived here just like an hour ago so we’re preparing the stage and ready to rock n’ roll for the show.

Iza: Are you planning to watch any of the bands?

Finntroll: Hopefully… Hopefully we can see, for instance Kalmah because we will be on stage right after them. Then that’s our festival. After the show we’re going straight back home.

Iza: So what can we expect from your show tonight? More crazy troll music?

Finntroll: Yeah… Experience crazy madness and circus. That’s how it usually is… (laughs)

Iza: Shame about the weather. You had better weather the last time that I saw you live at a festival.

Finntroll: Yeah, it could be. It’s been raining all day. So it’s probably going to rain in the evening as well…

Iza: Well, thanks and good luck with the show! See you!

Finntroll: Thanks and see you later! It’s going to be good.

Stay tuned for the full festival report coming soon.

http://www.tamperemetalmeeting.fi/

http://www.finntroll-music.com/

Interview with Wildpath

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 14th May 2016 by Mickelrath

Our writer, Mick Birchall had a chat with the members of French progressive-symphonic metal band Wildpath, who played Quinphonic Festival in March. This interview goes into the band’s unique style, their experiences in the music industry and their first time playing to a UK crowd.

Mick: Coming off of this year’s Quinphonic Festival, how did you enjoy your first show in the UK?

Wildpath: It was a great experience! We met the British audience for the first time. They were curious about our music, attentive listeners and very open-minded. The RoadHouse team gave us a warm welcome, and all the organisation of the Quinphonic Festival was perfect! We left with only one thought in mind : We’re coming back as soon as possible!

Mick: You have such a creative sound, mixing a lot of different styles of music together. What influenced you as a band on the whole?

Wildpath: We all listen to different styles of music, and it probably influences our own music. For us, Wildpath should always be able to evolve. We want to have the same pleasure playing our music, and to do so, we think that renewing, experimenting, mixing styles is a good way to never grow tired. Our next album might be pure symphonic metal, as much as an orchestral or electro album.

Mick: Could you tell us a bit about your creative process from musical and lyrical standpoint?

Wildpath: We always like to work around a concept: One story through all the songs, connected with the same atmosphere, dynamics and narration. It helps us to find the ideas and to know how to lead them. However, we don’t want to impose that concept to our listeners, so each song is made as a stand alone, and takes its place in the common thread.

Mick: When it comes to songwriting, can it be difficult when making new songs not to tread the same water as the past?

Wildpath: We always try to break new grounds. For each album we have a new pace to work at. Nyx Secret was made quite like a “Best of” of a very large number of compositions. Non Omnis Moriar was written as a concept album that could be read in many different ways. Our last album, Disclosure was created especially for live shows, and then arranged and orchestrated for its final studio form. We like to work in that way: It’s really rewarding and exciting to take risks at any time in the creative process.

Mick: When it comes to translating playing in the studio to playing live, do you treat the songs any differently?

Wildpath: Yes we do. For our two first albums, we wanted to share different versions on albums and live shows. Live shows demand a specific energy and clarity, while albums must be listenable tirelessly, with many nuances to reward each additional listening. Since Underneath, we tried to combine both as best as possible, so now there is much more of a resemblance. The audience gave us a really good feedback so we kept this mindset for Disclosure.

Mick: Typically speaking of the genre of symphonic metal. I’m a big fan of this type of music and I’m seeing the genre grow all the time. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this music?

Wildpath: It’s a very dynamic style these days and it’s a pleasant thing to see. We are thrilled to hear bands working on new approaches. Since the emergence of the major names of the genre in the nineties, symphonic metal has known a great evolution, mixed with many other genres, which probably explains why it keeps growing and maturing over time.

Mick: So, Wildpath has been around since 2001 and you have 4 studio albums. What would say you have learned from those experiences?

Wildpath: We have learned to do as many things as possible by ourselves. We have quite precised ideas of what we want, so we work as much as possible independently. It’s hard sometimes, but always rewarding. We learn more each time, doing our videoclips, organizing most of our shows, managing all our artistic direction, our communication and our merchandising. It’s a real involvement in time and energy but we’re really happy with these choices, and we thank all of our fans. This is all the more moving to see that our community grows each time we give it out all on every aspect of the project.

Mick: Following that, what advice would you give to newer bands on the scene?

Wildpath: Musicians are becoming more and more independent thanks to less expensive and more versatile home studios, online distribution and community platforms. Although it demands more work because you have to deal with many aspects of the production. It’s a lot of dedication, time, discipline, learning and investments, but music is a job for passionate people, and as long as the passion is here, it’s one of the most beautiful jobs in the world.

Mick: So, what does the future hold for Wildpath right now, any upcoming plans?

Wildpath: We’re planning to keep promoting Disclosure in France, and if we have the opportunity, in Europe. In 2016, we recorded Still: Acoustic Live Experience. With this album, we want to be able to play our music in any place, not necessarily in a concert hall. Several acoustic shows are already planned. We also try to keep Wildpath active on internet, with music on free streaming, and with videos and various bonuses for our community… We’ve just started thinking about the next album by the way!

Mick: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Wildpath: Disclosure, our last album, was really risk-taking. The style was different compared to our previous albums. We knew the public would have mixed opinions, but even when you’re prepared to that, it’s always a difficult step. We wanted this change and we had confidence in this new direction. We’re happy to see that we’ve touched new people, and that some of them didn’t even listen to symphonic metal before, and also, we kept a large majority of our fans.

Mick: Thank you for taking the time to chat with Valkyrian Music.

Words and Interview by Mick Birchall

Interview with Through The Cracks

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 30th September 2015 by Pieni

Just a little more than a year has passed but a lot has changed in Through The Cracks since I’ve last talked to founder Jimmy Bergman about it (read here); a new interview was in order. I amended that on the day the band played their first show (report here), catching up with them before soundcheck. It was a sunny afternoon in Gothenburg, so we had our interview outside, near the canal that runs close-by Sticky Fingers.

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Renata: hello boys and girl. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me on such an important day for you. When I interviewed Jimmy last year, Through The Cracks had a whole different line-up, so I’d like to start there. Sara, how did you join the band?

Sara Lindberg: Well, I knew Niklas (Aggemyr, bass) from before. He recorded me with my old glam rock band, Lazy Lizard, when I was just 16 years old. Then on Facebook he wrote me a couple of times “oh, come down and try out for my band”. But I was skeptic at first. I didn’t like what they were doing at the time, the song that he sent me, so I was always coming up with excuses like “I don’t know if I have the time”(laughs) But I ended up going to the studio and it was great fun. Especially because they said I could make changes, write new lyrics and new melodies, so it turned out a really good match.

Renata: I guess that’s an automatic “no” to my question regarding hearing the first two singles (“Breathless” and “Marionette”) with your voice…

Sara: Exactly! We’re not playing those songs!

Renata: I also read on Jimmy’s blog that you wanted to go heavier. How heavier?

Jimmy Bergman: Death metal! (everybody laughs)

Sara: A little bit more… progressive. I really like Alter Bridge because I love the way Myles Kennedy sings, with a lot of heart, a lot of soul… it’s beautiful! And the riffs and the music are heavy and still groovy… I think they’re more advanced than some of the other bands. And that’s the direction I want us to go. I want our music to touch people.

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Renata: Niklas, your turn: how did you go from producer to bass player? Do you even know how to play (laughs)?

Niklas: Yes, I promise! You’ll see it tonight. I’ve actually played bass for some 20 years now. I think it was when we recorded “Marionette” in my studio that Jimmy asked me to join the band. I thought “yeah, what the hell”.

Jimmy: But it was when he toured with The End Of Grace (Jimmy’s other band – Niklas replaed bass player Johan Hagman while the latter was on paternity leave) that I thought of it. That tour was his trial by fire. (grins)

Renata: And since we’re talking about TEoG… Andreas, how did you ended up replacing Daniel (Holmgren, currently studying in U.S.A.)? You actually like it or you’re just giving a helping hand to your band mate Jimmy?

Andreas Hagman: Well, to be honest… this sucks. (everybody laughs) No, it was Sara who came to me at a gig and said they needed a stand-in drummer. I don’t know if they were desperate or if she wanted me…

Sara, interrupting: No! I really thought Andreas was good.

Andreas: So she asked me if I wanted to join the band, I said I’d think about it… But then I heard the demos she sent me and I really liked it. I think this band is stepping up their game and can go far, so even just as a stand-in member, I’m stoked.

Renata: Well, you’re in the promo shots, so…

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Sara: Yeah, he’s part of the band! (Note: meanwhile, it seems that Daniel isn’t coming back and Andreas was made full-time member of Through The Cracks).

Renata: And how’s the songwriting process? Everybody’s involved or Jimmy’s the big boss?

Niklas: The thing is that Jimmy works like two hours a day… (everybody laughs) No, I’m joking, but he has more free time than the rest of us and so he sits down and works on the songs. But that’s cool ‘cause he has great ideas and records many great songs. Then he sends them to the rest of us and we let Sara take on the lyrics and the melodies, but we all add a little something to the process, we all have a saying in it.

Sara: Jimmy isn’t a dictator. (grins)

Renata: And how do you write the lyrics, Sara? You think of a theme you want to approach and you adapt it to the song, or it’s the song that inspires the lyrics?

Sara: The latter. When Jimmy sends his stuff over, I try to figure out some fitting lyrics to that melody, to that vibe. If it’s a sad song it’s got sad lyrics, if it’s an angry song, I’ll write about something that makes me mad…

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Jimmy (joking): She writes angry songs about meatballs. (everybody laughs)

Sara: I write songs about Jimmy being a dork. (grins) But my dad actually said to my mom that if “Mother” was about her, then “Hateful Things” had to be about him. (laughs) But he was joking.

Renata: And favorite songs? Which is your favorite?

Sara, Jimmy and Andreas: “Soulless Man”!

Niklas: Yeah, the new song is good, but my favorite is “Learn To Run”.

Sara: That’s because you sing on it!

Niklas: No, it’s not because of that! I really think that that song has something more than the others, much more spirit in it.

Sara: Well, one of the reasons I prefer “Soulless Man” it’s because it’s challenging to sing it. It’s not hard but it gives me the chance to show a side of my voice that I really like to use, that it’s fun to use.

Renata: And when will we be able to hear this new song?

Niklas: Well, you’re going to hear it tonight (grins). We’ll release it as a single this autumn. Then after the New Year we should return to the studio. We haven’t decided yet if it’s going to be an EP or a full album; we’ll see how many songs we come up with. But we’ll be working on it and we’ll be posting updates on Facebook, so stay tuned.

Renata: Jimmy, Through The Cracks is your baby. When you started it out a little over a year ago, did you think this is where you’d be today?

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Niklas: Did you think you’d have me in your band? (everybody laughs)

Jimmy: No, to be honest no. Through The Cracks started as a ballad project, with lots of string arrangements. But I like heavier songs and I think that now we have a great mix of both, so we’re going in the right direction. Our new song, for instance. “Soulless Man” is groovy, has more riffing and not so many back tracks. That’s what I want for Through The Cracks now.

Renata: And expectations for tonight?

Jimmy (quoting The End Of Grace): World domination! (everybody laughs)

Sara: That nobody fucks up. And that there will be a lot of people coming to see us. This is my first gig outside of Stockholm so I’m a bit nervous but also excited for having new faces seeing me. I hope they see us and think “look at them, what a cool band!”. I hope they’ll like us.

Renata: I’m sure they will. Thanks again for this little chat and see you in a couple of hours, on stage!

Through The Cracks: Thanks for your support!

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www.facebook.com/ThroughTheCracksBand

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Penicuik’s annual BOB Fest is ten years old this summer!

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on 13th March 2015 by Paul Macmillan

It’s a well-known fact amongst those familiar with the live UK music scene that small festivals and yearly events have come up along with the big boys in recent years. New yearly events spring up all the time. As well as applying to most genres, it also applies to most regions. Scotland is no different, giving fans the option of almost year round metal entertainment, with repeating events which are a little something more than just another gig.
One such event, and one of the longest running north of the border, is BOB Fest. Based in Penicuik, Midlothian, it has been running every year since 2006, operating an open air format when weather permits. Valkyrian music caught up with organiser Luke James – who also plays for Dog Tired and Torn Face – to interrogate him about the projects ins, outs, ups and downs.

Luke James

Valkyrian Music: Hey Luke, how are you doing today?
Luke James: Alright man, doing away

VM: Thanks for taking time to talk about BOB Fest!
LJ: No worries, happy to!

VM: I guess the first and foremost question is ‘Why?’. What made you want to start BOB Fest all those years ago?
LJ: We started putting on our own gigs in Penicuik all those years ago because there was absolutely nothing happening with live music. The first few we put on were a success so we thought we would ramp it up and make the all-dayer, BOB FEST!

VM: We? So you don’t run it alone – there’s a team?
LJ: I run it alone but back in the first BOB we were all total broke. Fresh out of school and no job in sight. The Penicuik Town hall were thieving goons, and demanded a ridiculous price for the hall, so the only way we managed to book the gig was if all the bands chipped in for the price of the hall, and we would pay everyone back at the end. That’s why there was a ‘We’; because there was no way I could have started this without the other bands help. Once I got a job and rationed my beer money, by BOB fest 2 I footed the bills myself. Been doing so ever since. I will give credit to Barry (Buchanan) from Dog Tired, too, though. He has helped out ever since he started in DT.

VM: It’s good to acknowledge your roots!
LJ: Definitely!

VM: What is the ethos of the event? How do you pick the line-up?
LJ: The ethos from day one is that it’s a festival built for having fun! BOB FEST is always full of people wanting to have a great time. Since BOB FEST 1 there has always been a friendly, drunken, family atmosphere, where people pit and worship Heavy Metal. I like to think that the bands that play let go and really enjoy themselves. At BOB there’s nothing to prove. It’s just a group of like-minded people partying. A lot of the bands that have played in past Bobs I had seen live, playing alongside them over the years in Dog Tired and Torn Face. This doesn’t mean that it’s just mates that play; if people are interested in playing, message the Bob fest page and I’ll get back to them.

VM: Quite a community spirit, then.
LJ: Definitely! Penicuik has a unique Metal community and spirit. They will burst out laughing reading that. Somehow, this scaffy wee town in Midlothian has always had a belting metal scene.

VM: What do you think has been the hardest thing about running BOB Fest?
LJ: Bands not showing and cancelling either on the day, or the night before. That sucks major balls. The main challenge is the weather. In 2012 I put Bob Fest 6 out in the green for an open air experience. It was an incredible day, sun blazing and the smell of beer and spew in the air! What was also great was the fact that the whole town heard it! Tonnes of complaints naturally flooded The Craigiebield after, and the police arrived, but it was a day I will never forget. I planned to do this in 8 and 9 but the Penicuik weather system had another agenda. It rained so much 2 days before, that – on both occasions – the grass was actually flooded. There was not even a chance of putting up a gazebo, unless a band were happy sinking into the ground during the solo. The amount of effort that goes into organising an open air gig for it to rain last minute is extremely frustrating. Perhaps in the future I’ll give it another shot, but not this year.

VM: Do you have any favourite moments that still stick out in your mind?
LJ: Too many! Where to begin? Adam Poustie from Edgeville Hellride’s victory speech after the cake eating competition was legendary. The faces of the poor folk that got involved in the chilli eating competition will never be forgotten, either. I think people nearly died that day.

LJ: There have been so many great bands that have played that I couldn’t mention all the highlights I remember. Having crowd pleasers Certain Death, epic tyrants Firebrand Super Rock, Achren and Man of the Hour definitely ruled though. Back in BOB 1 it was bring your own booze! Many ridiculous moments then. 10 years on, its still going strong, with a growing fan-base.

VM: Ten years is a long time! Have you ever felt like packing it in?
LJ: It is a long time. I’ve thought about, maybe, in the far future, passing it down to someone. I would love to be wheeled into BOB FEST 30 as an old man. It is that one day of the year that people from all over join friends and family, and party listening to metal. I don’t think there is any need to stop that.

VM: Are you happy, then, with where the show is now, or do you have ambitions to take it somewhere new?
LJ: I’m always looking to make BOB FEST bigger and better every year. Whether that be the annual eating competition, or the bands I am booking. This year will also be Dog Tired’s 10th anniversary, so I’m planning to make it huge.

BOB Fest 10 - BOBSTOCK

VM: Sounds like it’ll be a huge blow out, then! You guys party hard!
LJ: Penicuik parties hard!

VM: Indeed! Well, that about wraps it up. Thank you again for your time! Do you have any closing advice for those thinking of taking on a similar event?
LJ: Thanks man. For advice I’d say go for it! If you want to make your own night/alldayer/festival’ it can be done! Get all the essentials booked in place well before the event. Things like backline/P.A/stage, if needed. Then promote it! A Facebook event page won’t do. Poster the surrounding area, and get friends to help with flyering. Be kind to all bands that are playing, and make sure you compensate bands that travelled from further afield. We all love metal, but we’ve all got to make ends meet.

by Paul Macmillan

BOB FEST 10 takes place on Saturday the 18th of July at the Craigiebield House Hotel In Penicuik. Tickets will be available at the door. The event page and the bands will be announced soon.

Interview with Gehennah’s Rob Stringburner

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 16th February 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Having a history of active service in the ranks of metal stretching back to the early 1990s, Swedes Gehennah have seen their fair share of ups and downs over the years. However, the recent high point in signing with Metal Blade records seems to have breathed new life into this particular sleeping dragon. Valkyrian Music quizzes guitarist Rob Stringburner.

Gehennah

Paul: First up, while the Metal Police title was used on last year’s EP, the material on the 2015 long player also consists of re-recorded versions of older tracks, and the sound is pretty different. Is it more in line with what you had originally imagined?

Rob: That’s a good question. Back in the day we didn’t care that much about the sound, we just played on any equipment we stumbled upon, and, once in the studio, we got in and out as fast as we could, with just a few moments of setting up the sound. I remember that I specifically asked for ear-splitting cymbals like on ”Blood Fire Death” at one point, but I don’t think we ever managed that. In the end, the drinks were a lot more interesting.
Regarding the new versions, I think we play them a bit better, more groovy, but, yes, perhaps a bit slower. The actual production of those six songs didn’t turn out exactly as we wanted, not like the other 6 from the original EP-session, but it’s OK I guess. Mostly, we had a lot of issues with the mixing phase, and also this time around we only spent three or four hours in the studio recording!

Paul: When I listened to the album, I heard an obvious leaning towards the Venom sound, but there seem to be a lot more intangible influences throughout. Who else has helped to shape the sound?

Rob: Yeah, Venom was the main influence from the beginning, and we were huge fans of the ’80s harder metal scene, with bands like Destruction, Sodom and Celtic Frost, but we also grew up straight into the Death and Black Metal scene, so we took a lot of influences from there as well. For example, the first song we ever rehearsed back in ’92 was a cover of Beherit’s Unholy Pagan Fire, since we found Venom too complicated, and we’ve listened to a lot of punk and hard-core, too! Can’t forget about Motörhead either! Anyway, I’d have to write a way too long list to include all the obscure bands we’ve taken ideas from.

Paul: Have you picked up any new influences in recent years?

Rob: Well, we have of course listened to music for another 20 years so I guess it’s bound to happen, but as far as the song writing goes, we try to stay in the same style as we did before. I think for my part that my solos have become even more rock ’n’ roll and country-influenced, perhaps, but then again I could never play ”metal”-type solos.
Ronnie Ripper was one of our main songwriters before, so his departure has obviously changed things a bit, but I think that Charley has added a thing of his own that fits perfectly into our sound.

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Paul: Kicking off in 1992, you landed smack bang between the original wave of NWOBHM and the current musical climate which seems to crave more and more retro styles. Do you think you were born too early or too late?

Rob: Always wondered that myself. We were certainly born wrong in some way! Even if we took a lot of influences from the ’80s, when we started out I don’t think we’ve ever been retro. We just didn’t include the keyboards, angeline female vocals or rap into our music like others did at the time.

Paul: A lot of bands aim for that old school sound, but few actually achieve it without sounding a bit contrived. Do you think it’s possible to emulate the vibe, or is it just something you grew up with?

Rob: I guess for us we have never tried to sound ”old”, we just did what we wanted to do and had mostly old favorite bands, but perhaps you end up sounding contrived when you set your sights on a certain sound that has already been done, in any way, it will not be entirely you. I think that there are perhaps a bit too many “role playing” bands around these days. We like a lot of old bands but I don’t think we aim to sound old specifically, just right.

Paul: I think one of the great things about the Gehennah is that you have fun with the lyrics and subject matter, but still have serious song-writing as a back-bone. Do you think some bands take the ‘having a laugh’ thing too far?

Rob: Thanks, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do! I agree that it’s a fine line between being a band that have fun and being a comedy band.

Paul: As a collection of new material and classic tracks, Metal Police seems like a full release unto itself. Are there any murmurings in the Gehennah camp of a complete album of new material?

Rob: Yeah, we’re writing a new album as we speak! Why this release ended up as it did was more of a coincidence. When we recorded the EP in 2013 we just recorded the first songs we wrote with the new line-up to get something out there as soon as possible, and when Metal Blade picked it up they asked us to fill it out with something so they could do a proper release.

Paul: Underground thrash is on the rise again, at least in the UK. Would you ever consider doing another Headbangers Against Disco, like you did with Sabbat and others in the late 1990s?

Rob: Of course that would be cool! It was actually our old label Primitive Art Records’ idea to do the releases, and I guess we’d need devoted people like that again to realize such plans. As far as the actual HAD-membership club goes, I don’t think we’ll ever have the time to start that up again, but it was great times with cool parties while it lasted.

Paul: What plans, if any, do you have to take this on the road (or to Britain, to be precise)?

995031_697785776938673_588357176_nRob: As I’m writing this, we have just got back from a small tour in Italy, and we’re gonna focus on the album a while now, with just the odd gig in Sweden during the spring, but as soon as we get the new album recorded we’ll try to hit the road! Hopefully UK of course. Never played there before, and that’s of course a cryin’ shame as it’s the home of so much legendary stuff. Promoters get in touch!

Paul: Do you have anything else to say before we wrap up?

Rob: Thanks a lot for the support, and watch out for a new album, and perhaps even Gehennah showing up at your doorstep in the future!

Interview by Paul Macmillan

Interview: Paul Ablaze [Blackguard]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 8th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

After gaining popularity in not only their homeland of Canada but in America as well, Canadian power metal band Blackguard have been the supporting acts of many tours and never cease to blow away their fans with their live performances and epic albums. I got the chance to interview front man Paul Ablaze where he discusses touring life, Blackguard’s progression in their music, and the possibility of a headlining tour.

Blackguard is currently doing a European tour with Kamelot, Xandria, and Triosphere, and will be working on a new album sometime next year.

 

Interview with J Costa [Thy Will Be Done]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on 21st October 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Before their performance at the Rock and Shock Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts, Valkyrian Music writer Lauren Gowdy has a quick chat with J Costa who is the front man for the Rhode Island-based band Thy Will Be Done, or formerly known as Kobalt, and discusses their new EP, Temple, as well as musical influences, pet peeves, and the toilets in Japan. There is also a special appearance from Mr. J Walken, who thanks his fans and says how “it’s a great day to be a fan of Thy Will Be Done, whoa! Wham-o, zam-o!”

Thy Will Be Done is currently doing an US tour with Shadows Fall and God Forbid [refer below for dates] and their new EP, Temple,  is in stores and on iTunes now!

Interview: Ben Falgoust [9th May 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on 25th May 2012 by vmteam

Before their gig at Moho in Manchester, we met up with Ben Falgoust, frontman of Goatwhore for a bit of chat about all things metal.

Jade: How is the tour going so far, are you enjoying it?

Ben: Yeah, the tours going really good so far, a lot of good feedback with all the bands in general. They all offer something different to the tour, a different kind of impact

Jade: It’s good to have diversity

Ben: It’s not too diverse, just within extreme music. Each band offers a different element of that. From 3 Inches of Blood to us to Angelus Apartriad and Havok, everyone has an extreme element from their different kind of genre within the extreme metal scene.

Jade: How are you enjoying Britain? Are the fans treating you well?

Ben: Yeah, so far so good. Two shows in and we still have about five to go and then we head back to mainland Europe and finish off over there. So yeah, everything is going pretty damn good so far.

Jade: How do you find the European crowds? Do they have a different atmosphere to the US? Do you notice any big changes?

Ben: Well yeah, I think that out here the people are more, nothing against America, but they are more dedicated. If they’re into it they have been into it a while, follow close-knit to it and keep it pretty much as close to them as possible.
Whereas in America there are a lot of trends and fads and things go and people come in and out of things. But out here and in Europe if you’re into metal you’ve always been into it and have it set for the rest of your life .Where in other places it’s more of a fad and people are in and out of it

Jade: Where do you like playing the most? Have you found somewhere you like playing more than others?

Ben: As far as that goes every place offers something different, as far as the interaction with the crowd and how we’re perceived as a band and everything, I don’t necessarily have a favourite, I have certain places that I had a really good time playing but that depends on how the crowd comes out and reacts, you can’t really set aside a city as being the greatest city to play or anything because we can easily go back to that same city and it not be as impacting as the last time.

Jade: Different groups of fans

Ben: Yeah, exactly, also it depends on the tour you do. Personally I’m out here to enjoy what I do be there two people of two hundred I’m still going to perform to the same amount as I would, no matter what. You can’t upset even the small amount of people that show up rather than making sure that you always have a huge number of people out each time.

Jade: Growing up, which bands inspired you to start a band?

Ben: There were a lot of different things, it varies in different styles from like Judas Priest to a band like Cro-Mags to Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, I was into a lot of things when I was growing up.
All these little things within these bands have a role in what you want to do, what you want to evolve to do as far as bands go. And just certain aspects about them you want to pull off, like what they’ve done in a live setting or what they’ve done on certain records or what they’ve done as individual artists. It plays such a big role on how it influences you and everything.

Internally we have a lot of members that are into a lot of different things and we don’t like to pigeon-hole ourselves into one bracket, we like to be open because we are so open as far as metal goes. So when people ask us to explain what we are, we are like, we’re a metal band.
Of course people have their genres that people like to put things into and have labels to recognise things and sometime it pigeon-holes you into a spot and you have to work your magic to get out of that spot on a tour that’s a little bit different and get in front of that person that wouldn’t take the chance or the risk with you, you know, and try and work them over. You see these elements of these other bands in the past and those things help influence your music, the way you look at things and the way you do things.

Jade: Besides music, what do you like to do in your free time?

Ben: I don’t really have to much free time, I have a job at home when I’m not touring. I work in a frame shop, we do pictures, mirrors, work for hotels and stuff like that. When I go back home I go back into a regular job and do that and in the evenings we jam, work on new material. And I guess if there is any off time I probably catch up on sleep!

Jade: What is your song writing process when you come to write a new album?

Ben: It’s kind of mixed up sometimes, our drummer is from Phoenix, our bassist is from Pensecola, Florida, our drummer (Zak) will come in and he’ll get together with Sammy and they go over ideas and every now and then James will come over from Pensecola and he sits with those three. I’ll sit in every now and then to give an outsiders input and we’ll work things out like that, going back and fourth. Once things are solid in structure I’ll start putting vocals and vocal ideas on top of that.

But we’ll go to points where we’ve written a full song and you’re just like, this doesn’t quite feel like what we want so we’ll either toss the whole thing out or tear it apart and take elements from it that we really like and then we just move from there. I think a lot of bands do the same thing, I think it’s just the end result is different on how they approach it. We’ve never really started building a song around the lyrics; that would be something unique to do.

Sammy has a bunch of tapes with riffs on and we’d sit through and pick different ones out and start to structure them and everything. And now since we’re in the 21st century he’s been dropping them on to a computer so it’s been a little bit easier. Sometimes we can put together a song one day and it’s just that right thing, sometimes it takes two, three weeks to put a whole song together. Other times you’re just at that wall where you can’t go any further and you either need to step back and start something new or start at a different point.
Sometimes we’ve taken songs where we haven’t started at the beginning but started at the middle and then expanded the end, creating it from that point. Or we’ve found a riff that’s like a good ending riff so now let’s go backwards in a structure. You just fall into different ways.

Jade: How do you choose your set list when you come out on tour? Do you go through the back catalogue and go, ‘I’d like to play this one’?

Ben: Yeah, we kind of throw our ideas around and rehearse through it to see if it feels right. Some songs don’t come across live like other ones do and when you play it you can feel it, you can feel the impact and the energy behind it. So we kind of go in and pick things, we bracket packs of songs, no space in between.

We have three songs packed in a group or two songs and just do that and have minimal breaks to have more of an attacking live show rather than ‘here’s a song and here’s a break and here’s a song etc’. So we go through that process and all come together to agree which songs fit where and the whole set list.
We change the set list pretty often as we tour a lot, we don’t want to go out there and offer the exact same live setting as before. When you tour so much and people see you four times in one year, so it’s like okay, the saw the same set four times instead of having four different sets.

Jade: Do you tailor your sets to specific towns, cities or countries?

Ben: Not really, we maybe will do, like depending on the tour we’re on and the ands we’re with. Our music has variance in what we do so we can vary it to the tour we’re on. If we’re on an extremer tour then we will pull out more of the extremer songs and if we’re on more of a tour like the one we did with Devildriver we will try to get more adaptable songs for that kind of audience. Even though they are a metal band too they have different audience. We can’t change ourselves too much, we just adapt to whatever kind of songs we have so we will try to switch up of songs in accordance to that.

Jade: If you had a song that went well in a certain city, would you be more inclined to play it there again?

Ben: Yeah, pretty much. You know sometimes people leave notes on facebook or in our email requesting songs and we try to work that out, depending on what it is. If we’re half way on a tour and we can’t rehearse something we can’t. But we always take that stuff into consideration. There have been points where we’ve played a show and we did know a song but didn’t play it where people were asking and we had a little time left so we played it.

Jade: Thank you for your time.

***Photography by Jade Hunter & Taylor Seraph***

Interview: Gareth Murdock and Elliot Vernon [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 26th February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Valkyrian Music’s fifth favourite Scot Alasdair sits down with his two of his favourite pirates, Gareth Murdock and Elliot Vernon for a very length chat.

Interview: Ade Mulgrew [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 26th February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Alastair Dunn catches up with Ade Mulgrew [Darkest Era] at the Glasgow show on the Useless Drunken Bastards tour.

Interview: Heri Joensen [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 19th February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Nico catches up with Tyr frontman Heri Joensen at the sold-out show at Fibbers, York to talk about Tyr’s sound, influences and many other things.

Interview: Stefan Schmidt [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 1st December 2011 by Nico Davidson

Van Canto have been on the rise for the past few years, entertaining their fans with their unique acapella metal. Nico sits down with Stefan from Van Canto for a quick chat.

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Nico: Are there any plans for a UK tour?

Stefan: Not yet, we have been there for the first time during the Out of the Dark tour and it was great. So we will sure come back but right now there  is nothing planned.

N: How did you get the idea of forming an acapella power metal band?

S: After the split of our former bands we wanted to do something vocal oriented. We started trying things out in the studio and it turned out as a metal a cappella band.

N: Are there any challenges with emulating your voices to act as instruments? If so, what are they?

S: Well, yeah, there are, especially for the guitar and bass singers there are many tones without having the time to breath very much.

N: What’s it like having only one female member?

S: I’m not female, so for me it’s ok, haha. No, serious, Inga loves being in the band and we all take care for her.

N: What was it like working with Joakim Broden?

S: Great guy, great singer, professional musician. Perfect.

N: Is your unique sound inspired by your home country or is it more European flavoured, in your own opinion?

S: It is inspired by melodic metal bands, no matter where they are from.

N: This next one is a fan question, so don’t shoot me for any inaccuracy with it. How come you mainly perform covers?

S: Well, we don’t. We released 4 albums with 44 songs of which 13 are covers, so 75% of our songs are self written.

N: On average, how long does it to put something new together?

S: Until now it took us about 20 months for a new album

Interview: Will Brookes [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 3rd November 2011 by Nico Davidson

Following their recent rise in exposure on Facebook – as well as the recently cancelled BOTM voting – Nico sits down with Her Dark Embrace frontman and co-founder Will to talk about the band, the music and the music scene in Will’s area.

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Nico: How did the idea for Her Dark Embrace come about?

Will: Her Dark Embrace all started back in February of this year. I actually put an advert out online years previously, when I first moved to Bristol, looking for a band, but I had given up on waiting. I was busying myself writing lyrics when I got an email from Mike. He’d found my advert, and liked what he heard in my demos. We agreed to meet for a drink, and the chemistry was as immediate as it was obvious. We began to infuse his musical sensibilities with the music I had been writing to create what you have heard to date. With the additions of Maddox & Superhans to the line up this summer, we have now began work on an all new EP which should be making it’s way to people soon!

N: Where do you get inspiration for your song writing from?

W: All my lyrics are personal to me really. I would be lying if I said that I made up experiences to write lyrics, although sometimes I do wish that were the case. Every time I come to write a song, I tend to find myself looking back through my past, trying to pick out moments in time that hold enough emotional significance to me to draw them out into several verses and the occasional chorus! I should work on writing from a more fictional stand point, before I just become some depressed recluse!

N: How would you describe the band’s music, if someone asked you to?

W: I am actually asked this a lot, and I have to admit, I struggle! It’s not "rock", but it’s certainly not "metal" in any traditional sense. There is a pop sensibility to it, but it’s not by any means pop either. It’s a hybrid, a bastard child of genres if you will. We have some clever fans. Maybe they will be smart enough to coin a phrase to describe what it is we’re doing?

N: Tell me a bit about the music scene in your area.

W: Bristol has a pretty good music scene really. There isn’t a night where live music isn’t being played somewhere, normally in more than one place. Bristol has produced some big bands in the past, and we can only hope to follow in their footsteps. I don’t see myself as a Bristolian, but I certainly have no problem with flying the musical flag for the city.

N: Do you feel that the band’s music differ from other bands of the same style and genre? If so, why?

W: I certainly feel like we’re doing things differently. I’m very much of the mindset that if we’re sounding different, we’re doing something right. I have never wanted to be in a covers band, and for the same reasons, I wouldn’t want to be in a band people could very easily group with other bands. Obviously, I am aware of certain musical similarities between HDE and other bands out there, but we are all big fans of a diverse range of music, there are going to be certain sounds that influence our own.

N: How is the search for a full line-up going?

W: The search for a full line up is a constant ache for me. I really do feel like what we’re doing is worthwhile, but the fact that we can’t find certain musicians that feel the same is a bore. I know in my heart that there is a drummer and a bassist out there that want to play our music, they just don’t know it yet. Just as I met Mike, just as we met Maddox and Superhans, it all comes down to timing. When the time is right, we will complete the line up. Let’s just hope the time is right soon!

N: Are there any plans for an EP or an album from Her Dark Embrace? If so, when?

W: There certainly are plans, and they are in motion as we speak. I don’t want to go into to much detail about the EP yet, but you can expect to get your hands on it soon! After we get that out of the way, then the work begins on the album! Exciting to think about it all really.

N: Does the band have any plans for 2012?

W: I have always said that for me, 2012 is THE year for us. I really do hope that next year see’s the EP being received well. Obviously we want to get the line up issues resolved, and get our music out there on the stage! Then there is the afore mentioned album to think about. I just hope we have enough time for all I have planned next year!

N: In your opinion, what is the best time of the year and why?

W: For me, the best time of year is winter. I love the night, so when the nights come early, I am happier. Of course, it’s not much fun sitting in a beer garden at night when your beer is beginning to ice over, so there are parts of me that long for the summer nights to return whilst in the dark, but I am still happier there. When I was younger, I used to frequent a pub with a large glass window at the front. In the colder months, I used to sit there for hours on end, as the nights drew in, just watching the world move on the other side of the steamed up glass, and I was happy there. Winters always make me nostalgic of that moment, and it brings with it a sense of inner calm that relaxes me.

N: Last but not least, Her Dark Embrace have slowly being gaining recognition over the past several months, is there anyone who you’d like to attribute this to?

W: I can’t believe the amount of interest we have gotten in such a short amount of time. We have been together less than 10 months, yet we’ve racked up 3,000 fans on Facebook alone. I’m amazed by it really, and filled with hope for the future! I can only hope we continue to gain a following the way we have until now! I am definitely aware of several media outlets that deserve some thanks from us. Firstly, Rogue-Tomato.com. They have been amazing from the word go. They’ve featured us in many news stories, helped promote us via their Facebook page and just generally been very supportive since we started out. Then there’s the fans! Some of them have just gone out of their way to promote us, and it’s great to see people who really care about what we’re doing. This last month or so, it’s been great to see the support we have been getting from you guys at Valkyrian too. It’s awesome to feel like we have the support of people who really have a passion for music, so thanks to you as well!

For more information on Her Dark Embrace, you can visit their official website: http://herdarkembrace.com
To interact with the mind, you can sign up to their forums: http://herdarkembrace.com/forums/ or you can visit their official Facebook: http://facebook.com/herdarkembrace

Interview: Thomas Vikstrom [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 9th August 2011 by Nico Davidson


Nico has a chat [via e-mail] with Thomas Vikstrom, frontman of Therion and Enlighted about his time in Therion, music and other things.

Nico: Hi Thomas, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Now, obviously you’ve been apart of Therion for a short while – excluding the two years you were the live vocalist – Do you feel that in that time you’ve bonded well with the other members?

Thomas: Hi Nico! I have been a part of the band in soon 5 years. And I think I have bonded well with everybody in the band. Even though we are all very different personalities. But that is only something positive I think. Right now there is a very good vibe in the band!

N: Therion use a lot of occult symbols and ideologies in both the lyrics and on the album covers, is there any reason for this? And how do you feel about the use of occult symbology and references?

T: Yes, we do! Exactly like Lord of the rings, Omen, Nosferatu, etc, etc. I have always been into mysticism and horror. But for me its entertainment and fantasies.

N: While we’re on the topic of the symbology, have you or anyone else in Therion received negative response due to the symbology? Have any of you been accused of “devil worship” or something along those lines?

T: I can only response from my point of view. I did a TV program for Japanese television a while ago. The show was called Amazing Voice. And we wanted to film a song in a church. The church did not allow me to film in there because I played in Therion. I asked them why? Because Therion means The beast they said! I think that’s the only time!

N: That must have been disappointing then – That you couldn’t record in the church. Aside from being the frontman for Therion, you’re also the frontman for Argentinian metal band “Enlighted” – Are there any plans for an Enlighted album in the near future?

T: Nah. The Japs found some other great places! Yeah, I really like Enlighted. Its fun to do something that is different then Therion. There are plans for a full album. But I don’t know when that will happen yet

N: That’s a shame then – for your fans. Therion will be playing at Bloodstock, in the UK, in a few weeks, are you excited about that?

T: YES! I’m very exited about that! I can’t wait! It was a while now since we played, so it’s gonna be a lot of fun!

N: I bet it is. Speaking of playing live shows, it was recently announced on the Therion website that your daughter, Linnea, will be the replacement for Kat. Are you looking forward to touring with your daughter?

T: True. I’m very exited over that! And I bet she is too! She started to count the days! It’s something I have never done before so it’s gonna be interesting! And on tour we will try to be more like colleagues and not only father and daughter!

N: Well, it will be interesting to see what you both bring to the stage. This is next question is a random one, asked by one of our readers [Peter Talbot]: Why did Christopher cut his hair?

T: The answer to that is simply that he got tired of it. Plus his hair was in very bad condition!

N: That’s not good then. What are your post-festival plans? Will you be going into the studio with Therion or Enlighted or will you be taking some to relax?

T: Our plans is to start to work on a new Therion album. Hopefully spring nest year! But I can not reveal anything about that right now. Enlighted hopefully before that! But nothing is decided yet! I will record an album with a project I’m in called “Covered Call”. Its a melodic thingy!