Archive for Nico

Interview with Liv Kristine [Leaves’ Eyes]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th February 2014 by Nico Davidson

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Valkyrian Music editor Nico catches up Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine for a fourth interview, where the two talk about the new Leaves’ Eyes album Symphonies of the Night as well as Liv’s recent collaboration with Savn and keeping to the tradition, a discussion about Game of Thrones as well.

Nico: It’s nice to meet you again Liv, how are you doing?

Liv: Nice to meet you. I’m very good, how are you?

Nico: I’m pretty good, thanks.

Liv: That’s good to hear.

Nico: First question is a bit of a generic, obvious one: how has the tour gone so far?

Liv: Absolutely amazing. We played in Nottingham last night. It was our first time in Nottingham and we had a fully packed venue. It was such a warm welcoming. And Cardiff was great as well. Really really nice. So this was such a nice beginning of 2014. 2013 was so busy, really busy. So being back in the UK is just lovely.

Nico: Good to hear. The new album Symphonies of the Night focuses on female figures from both history and literature. How did this concept come about? Because it’s not a concept that is usually found in the metal scene.

Liv: Well that is probably due to the fact that I’m writing all the lyrics. I’ve always been interested in languages, literature and Viking mythology as we talked about last time in the last interview. But this time I thought that Symphonies of the Night has a very strong and delicate side to it. “The Beauty and the Beast” concept is very very strong on this album. Eileen’s Ardency and Saint Cecelia were the first two songs composed for this album and there you go: you have two female characters already. And I thought “all right, this is a very good starting point!” I told my band members and they were like: “yes, lovely! We’ll go for that!

Nico: It’s an interesting concept. It’s somewhat fresh and new for the metal scene as well, which is good because today there are a lot more females who are becoming fans of metal, whereas back in the ’80 it was more male-oriented.

Liv: Yes, definitely!

Nico: Obviously now you’ve got more bands with female vocalists showing up on the scene. Obviously you guys in Leaves’ Eyes, Epica, Nightwish et cetera as well as lesser known bands like Aonia, Hell City from Belgium, Azylya from Belgium, Ex Libris from Holland et cetera. While we are on the topic of the new album, how’s the reception been from both the media and the fans?

Liv: It’s been fantastic. It feels very comfortable to stand where I’m standing with my band right now, and also last year we had our 10 year anniversary. Before starting to compose new songs, in 2012, we all sat down and talked about what to do and what concept, musical direction and all that. And I just said ok, we have a 10 year anniversary so feel free everybody to let in any influence you would like into music. And that’s what happened: we just went with the creative flow. We’ve been very open minded about this production and I think that was a healthy and sound way to do it. So it feels great and the feedback from both press and fans, friends all over the world has just been fantastic. It sums up all the good things about Leaves’ Eyes. Some journalist said, and to me as well, that it’s the perfect beginning of another 10 years of Leaves’ Eyes.

Nico: Personally I enjoyed the new album. It’s something different, compared to previous Leaves’ Eyes albums.

Liv: It is!

Nico: Like Vinland Saga and Njord being more Viking influenced and Symphonies of the Night focuses on something completely different to many people. Folk would be possible, I don’t know if that’s the correct term to use.

Liv: Yes I know what you mean. Me and my band members, we saw how the creative process went on and how the album came together. We saw that there was a new direction to it, with many new elements in our music. A new concept, new lyrics and all that. But still, it’s Leaves’ Eyes! That’s the good thing about it! We don’t have to invent ourselves again because I’ve been around for 20 years and the members even longer. Everything is based on experience and love towards music. That’s it.

Nico: That’s the way to go. Speaking of Leaves’ Eyes, Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity have been touring together recently. How did this idea occur?

Liv: I think it’s a nice idea, it’s a good idea. Although it’s tough to do double time every night. It’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat. Atrocity’s latest album Okkult is a pure death metal album and I think that’s a very nice contrast in the live program. I enjoy that more than Atrocity playing Work 80 because I don’t think that would fit so well with Leaves’ Eyes.

Nico: You’ll be playing the 70,000 tons of Metal festival soon. Are you looking forward to that?

Liv: Very much! I’ll be travelling with my whole family so I’m really looking forward to that.

Nico: The last two interviews have always ended up with something regarding Game of Thrones, so to stick to tradition: what’s your favourite moment in Game of Thrones?

Liv: Oh I can tell you what was not my favourite moment! That was the final scene of the last season: The Red Wedding. I was shocked!

Nico: When I read it in the books I was picturing so many different ways that they could do it in the television series and they just completely shocked me. They did it so brilliantly.

Liv: Yeah, absolutely. It’s brilliantly done but I didn’t want it to be that way! *laughs*

Nico: Rob Stark is young, a bit arrogant and stuff but they could’ve at least spared him for a little bit longer.

Liv: Exactly. My favourite moment… Hmm… There are just too many of them. I really love the series. But still, I was shocked after the final scene of the latest season. I couldn’t sleep! *laughs*

Nico: Just for the fun of it, another Game of Thrones question: if you could write a song about any event in the Game of Thrones universe, which one would it be and why?

Liv: Oh I would love to write a songs about the wolf pack. The boy seeing through the eyes of the wolf.

Nico: I think that would be pretty cool actually. On to the last question. You are appearing on Savn’s debut album, which is making it the first ever collaboration with a band with your sister Carmen. Are you looking forward to it?

Liv: I’m really looking forward to it. Carmen had the idea to do a project next to Midnattsol and she gathered some very good musicians: some of them are from Sins of Thy Beloved. They came to Germany to Mastersound studio to record the first album and Carmen joined me for Eileen’s Ardency. I said in return I will join you on a song of your choice. That was a very nice thing. I’m looking forward to the album. It will remind you of the early Theatre of Tragedy days.

Nico: Sounds good.

Liv: Yes, very good.

Nico: I think I speak for a lot of fans of Liv Kristine when I say that we are looking forward to it.

Liv: Thank you very much.

Nico: You’re welcome. Thank you for your time and I hope you have a good show tonight.

Liv: I hope you will enjoy it too! Although it’s pretty cold out tonight, I think we will be sweating since we have a full house. I’m really looking forward to it. Thank you so much for being here.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

 

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Interview with Alexander Krull [Atrocity]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

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Nico got settled down in Manchester earlier this month for a chat with Alexander Krull, the voice of Germany’s death metal powerhouse Atrocity.

Nico: Nice to meet you Alex, how are you doing?

Alex: Nice to meet you. I’m fine. Fantastic tour in the UK. We’re happy to be back.

Nico: It’s been a while since Atrocity last played the UK. Has the Atrocity fanbase changed since you last were here or is it pretty much still the same?

Alex: The people we met before appeared at the show, so they are pretty much the same. I think they all liked the new album, the Okkult album. We got some really good feedbacks so we are happy that we were able to do this tour. On the other side we have been touring through many countries with both bands, Atrocity and Leaves’ Eyes, like 40 countries or more. It’s a little bit of a pity if you have a circle consisting of studio, album, touring. But maybe one tour is not happening and you go on tour with the next album, so there can be a long time in between.

Nico: If you were booked to play a festival and you get to play only one Atrocity album, which one would it be and why?

Alex: At the moment, the Okkult album. Obviously because it’s the brand new album and the songs are doing very well, so that would be the choice of the moment.

Nico: Speaking of festivals, does Atrocity have any festival plans for this year?

Alex: Yeah, it’s still in the making, but bring us back to the UK if possible!

Nico: I’m sure something can be arranged, maybe Bloodstock?

Alex: Yeah that would be awesome! We’ve played there with Leaves’ Eyes, it was amazing, it was really good. Yes maybe somebody wants to bring us back with Leaves’ Eyes or Atrocity, I don’t care!

Nico: Let’s hope so.

Alex: I mean, there are festivals coming up but I can’t tell which ones. Two new ones are coming up soon on Facebook or the page, you will see.

Nico: Okkult was released last year like you said, and it’s the first part of a trilogy. Have you started on the second part of the trilogy?

Alex: Yes, actually we recorded one song before we left for the UK. But it will take a while. I mean, we will play after this tour in North America and Puerto Rico for four weeks. That’s the situation we are in now : we are touring and playing festivals. After North America we are going back to Europe so there will be time to write and record songs. But it’s also cool to grab the energy from the shows, the experiences that we have, to write new songs.

Nico: I imagine it’s still a bit early to be talking about the second part of the trilogy, but what can fans expect from the second part?

Alex: I think you ask this question is because we have had a lot of changes within the bands history and diversity in music. But the Okkult concept is based on this epic backstory let’s say, like we have on the first album. I think we are going to keep that style which is already quite diverse. I’ve heard from some press people that they were a little bit afraid that people would not understand everything on the album. They were a little bit like ‘what?’. It’s up to the fans and I think it’s good to have a diverse album. So we are going to follow in the footsteps of the first one and develop the style. There will probably be some changes, we don’t want to be a boring band. We’re always looking for new challenges.

Nico: Are there any releases by other bands that you are looking forward to this year?

Alex: Let me think..there are a few but the thing is, I’m not sure if they are going to release next year or this year. Who’s releasing something?

Nico: There are a few bands, it’s hard to keep track of it all to be honest.

Alex: You know, who announced they were going on tour with a new record.. Was it Live or whoever? Not a metal band but I would love to see a new album of them too.

Nico: From previous interviews with Liv, I understand that you are a Game of Thrones fan. If you could be any character from the Game of Thrones universe, who would it be and why?

Alex: Wow. Okay, I think the character is dead already! Ned Stark.

Nico: Good choice! Apart from the fact he’s dead…

Alex: I didn’t read the books but yeah, that was not like in other movies… [makes chopping movement with hand] over-out!

Nico: That was one of the most impressive moments for me in the Game of Thrones universe, apart from the Red Wedding.

Alex: Yeah, the Red Wedding, I saw some reactions to that on the internet.., It was quite heavy.

Nico: It was brilliant how they did it on TV especially if you read the books as well. Because I knew it was coming so I was like “no no, not this season, not this episode! Do it another time! Please for the love of God!”

Alex: [laughs] Yeah it was quite interesting to see some reactions when they cursed the directors: “ how can they do that, the characters die!”. It’s written in the books, so..

Nico: Some fans take it a bit overboard so..,

Alex: Yeah I’m looking forward to watch the new season. I think it starts in april? Yesi *two thumbs up*

Nico: Thanks for you time Alex, I hope you have a good show tonight.

Alex: Thank you!

Nico: You’re welcome.

Alex: See you guys!

Atrocity online:

http://facebook.com/AtrocityOfficial
http://twitter.com/atrocitypage

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Interview with Phil Cross [Continents]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18th November 2013 by Nico Davidson

Phil Cross - Continents

Nico catches up with Continents frontman Phil in Bridlington, on the band’s UK tour, to discuss the new album, Idle Hands, touring, the music scene in Wales and Phil’s porn star name.

Continents online:

http://continentsband.com
http://facebook.com/continentsband

 

Interview with Liv Kristine [Leaves’ Eyes]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 17th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Liv Kristine is best known for her work as the vocalist for Leaves’ Eyes and former singer for Theatre of Tragedy. As well as fronting one of the most iconic symphonic metal bands on the scene, Liv is also a solo artist and has collaborated with a number of different bands including Cradle Of FilthAtrocityDelain and most recently she appeared on the track The Lay Of Our Love, which is featured on Tyr‘s new album Valkyrja.

With the release of Symphonies Of The Night just around the corner and a UK tour confirmed for January 2014, Nico catches up Liv Kristine to discuss all things Leaves’ Eyes as well as popular TV series Game Of Thrones, her solo project and rumours about Leaves’ Eyes appearing at the next Dames of Darkness Festival…

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you doing?

Liv: I’m good thank you. It’s been a busy day, but in a positive way, you know. Lots of interviews and we’re rehearsing because we’ll be playing the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium in a couple of days. I’ll be there with my solo band on Friday and with Leaves’ Eyes on Saturday so yes, we’re busy!

Nico: Sounds like you’ll be having fun though. Is there a meaning behind the title of the new album Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: Um, a meaning or the concept in general?

Nico: A bit of both really.

Liv: Okay, well we came up with the title pretty late in the recording process. I actually had a song called Carmilla from Sheridan Le Fanu’s horror novel from 1871. So the song, which came to be titled Symphony of the Night, was originally titled Carmilla. But we were discussing the title within the band and we weren’t really sure. What happened was pure luck: I was typing an interview and the journalist was asking me about my influences and I mentioned Tchaikovsky, who wrote the Symphony of the Swan Lake and I thought that’s it! This is an album of eleven symphonies of the night, so there we go! So Carmilla is still the main character in the title song, but the title got changed. Things happen, we are a very creative band.

Nico: I was listening to the previews of Symphonies of the Night that Napalm uploaded to YouTube earlier. There is a definite evolution in the band’s sound, changing direction compared to previous Leaves’ Eyes albums. Is this what you were aiming for with this album, and will this be a future direction you will be taking for future releases?

Liv: Well, I’d rather put it this way: Leaves’ Eyes isn’t a planned thing when we start composing. We throw everything into pre-production and what was already there, were two songs: Eileens Ardency and Saint Cecilia. They just didn’t fit on the Meredead [released in 2011] album when it comes to atmosphere. So they weren’t leftovers but they were on no album after the release of Mededead,  so we decided to start working on them. And then we realised that this was a good point to start from. You know, this year we have the anniversary of 10 years of Leaves’ Eyes so we have experienced a lot of being on the road, and all these albums we released and we’ve gathered a lot of experiences. For most of the band members Leaves’ Eyes is twenty, twenty five years of experience. Everything is there on this album, you won’t miss anything. It’s a very powerful album, I agree on that.

Nico: On previous Leaves’ Eyes albums the use of different languages made an appearance on the tracks. Will this be the same with Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: On Symphonies of the Night we’ll have modern English of course, Shakespearean English, some Norwegian, a little bit of French and a little bit of Irish. That’s five languages, I think on the Njord album we had eight languages and on Meredead six languages. I just love languages and I studied linguistics for years so it’s something I really like doing.

Nico: What would you say is the track that stands out on the new album?

Liv: Well that’s the most tricky question you could’ve asked me. Right, um.. This morning in my car I was listening to Ophelia, which is the final track of the album. Of course it’s Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius, in Hamlet. That’s my main character, and Ophelia is a quite straightforward and rocky song. It might sound like it doesn’t have a complicated structure like for example Saint Cecilia or Nightshade but Ophelia was the second to last song we recorded. We needed quite a lot of time for Ophelia to finish it in the way we wanted it. All of us: Alex, my husband, our producer, Thorsten my red-haired guitar player and myself are perfectionists. It’s great to have our own studio because then we can keep working until the three of us are satisfied. Ophelia was a tough one but I think it turned out great and at the moment it’s my favourite, if I’m allowed to have one.

Nico: You recently featured on The Lay of Our Love which is on Týr’s latest album Valkyrja. What was it like, recording that track with Týr?

Liv: Actually, I recorded my vocals here in our studio in Germany. But every time I think about doing a duet it’s always the music itself which decides. If I like the song I’ll do it. Heri from Týr helped me out in Wacken last year when Leaves’ Eyes headlined Wacken Open Air. He helped me out on Solemn Sea, one of our tracks. So when Heri asked me ‘Liv would you mind? I have a duet and you would fit very well on it’. I just loved the song and I have good news because we’ll be shooting a video clip for that track in a month! I’m really looking forward to that, it will be in Belgrade.

Nico: Ooh, excellent! I’m looking forward to that. With the recent collarboration with Týr, do you think it will help expose Leaves’ Eyes to Týr fans and Týr fans to Leaves’ Eyes?

Liv: I hope so, I really hope so! If Heri wouldn’t mind, we should tour together some day cause I think we have a potential common fanbase. The thing is, Leaves’ Eyes hasn’t toured a lot in Scandinavia. We should to that very soon, especially in my homeland. Týr is very well known in Scandinavia so that would be an absolutely amazing package.

Nico: I completely agree. A Leaves’ Eyes/Tyr tour would be amazing.

Liv: Thank you. We now have told the universe.

Nico: Speaking of touring, Leaves’ Eyes is scheduled to return to the UK next year in January with Atrocity and Pythia. Are you looking forward to the tour? Which cities are you excited about?

Liv: Absolutely! We toured the UK and Northern Ireland last year with Firewind and that was absolutely amazing. We played at places where Leaves’ Eyes had never played before and for Firewind as well it was absolutely amazing. I remember Cardiff very well because I spent a couple of months there when I was an exchange student. So Cardiff is pretty well-known to me. But of course Manchester is always packed, London is always packed. We will play in some of the venues we played with Firewind as well. We’re building up a fanbase in those places so I’m really looking forward to be back over there in the UK. We have an amazing fanbase in the UK and Northern Ireland. I was really surprised to see that there are so many fans who know about our music in the UK, and many journalists as well. I’ve had quite a few UK interviews this week so that’s good.

Nico: Last time I interviewed you, which was in Manchester last year, when Leaves’ Eyes was there with Firewind, you mentioned that you were a fan of Game of Thrones. So, if you could be any character from the Game of Thrones universe, who would you be and why?

Liv: That’s an even trickier question than the one you asked me before! Oh dear, oh dear… I’m not really sure. It must be Daenerys. Well okay, she’s blonde so it should be her.

Nico: She’s a good, strong character.

Liv: She’s great, she’s amazing yes.

Nico: Going back to touring, are there any future plans for you to tour your solo project around the UK?

Liv: I hope and pray that there will be next year because it’s certainly time to play some solo shows in the UK as well. The only shows I have this year for Liv Kristine, for my solo project, is Nagold in Germany and Pratteln in Switzerland. So those are the two gigs, but they are exclusive gigs. Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity will be touring most of the rest of the year so we will be very busy. China, Taiwan, Thailand, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium. Lot of things happening! The end of December is the right time for exclusive solo shows but the UK, 2014..let’s cross our fingers.

Nico: That’s what I’m hoping for.

Liv: Me too.

Nico: Speaking of shows. I’ve heard a few whipserings around the internet from associates of mine that Leaves’ Eyes might be playing the Dames of Darkness festival in the UK next year. I was wondering if there is any truth to this?

Liv: Wauw, I mean that would be absolutely killer! It would be fantastic. Well you know, bookers know things before the rest of the band does so..let’s make it happen.

Nico: I hope it does happen because Dames of Darkness this year was phenomenal and it would be so much better if Leaves’ Eyes was playing it.

Liv: Thank you, thank you very much! I’d love to be there.

Nico: Last question. This is a fan question, asked by April Mccaffrey: if you could have a superpower, which one would it be and why?

Liv: A superpower… Okay, you took me by surprise there! When I was a kid I always thought it would be fantastic to be able to look into the future, to know what is going to happen. But I’m not sure if I need that anymore. It’s a very good question actually. Sometimes I wish I could change things for the better of it. Sometimes, especially when it comes to children and children suffering on this planet, it feels like we are just sitting here being comfortable and warm while on the other side of the planet children are dying because of hunger. That’s when I think I would just like to be able to beam myself to that place and do something. Maybe that’s a project for the future. If I ever get tired of playing gigs and singing that would be something I would like to do, to be part of helping projects concerning children who are suffering on the other side of the world.

Nico: I wasn’t expecting that answer. You’re certainly a kind and caring individual. Thank you for your time Liv, I hope you have a good night.

Liv: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure talking to you again. Take good care and hope to see you in Manchester in January.

Nico: You too, Liv! Have a good night!

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.com
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

Interview with Martijn Westerholt [Delain]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 17th May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Delain recently headlined the Dames of Darkness Festival in Bilston, near Wolverhampton and Nico was able to grab hold of the band’s founding member, main songwriter and keyboardist, Martijn, for a chat about all things Delain, the band’s recent move to Napalm Records and other things.

Nico: Hi Martijn, it’s nice to finally meet you. How are you doing?

Martijn: I’m fine, I’m great thanks.

N: Good to hear. Our first question actually comes from a fan: which albums have inspired you to become a musician?

M: That’s a good one..Well I don’t know if albums triggered me to become a musician, but my first albums I bought were We Can’t Dance, by Genesis, an album from The Police I think. And slowly the music became a little bit harder and noisier. So it just evolved like that.

N: In your opinion, what are the best and worst parts about being in a band?

M: The best parts are that you meet a lot of people from a lot of cultures. You come in a lot of places. It’s not like people think, that you do a lot of sightseeing, because most of the time you don’t have time for that. But in general of course you do see a lot of places and that’s very nice. Perhaps the best thing about being a musician is that if you write music, it ends up on your album and you see an album being born. That’s terrific, that’s magic. And that’s one of the best parts I think. The worst is that its hard work and you have to be creative with financial means. It’s a lot of pressure. People always have an opinion about you or about your music so you have to deal with that otherwise you shouldn’t be a musician. I think that’s the bad thing.

N: Delain’s most recent two albums, We Are The Others and Interlude have a more accessible sound than the previous two albums. Do you think this is the sort of sound Delain is going to be going for in the future?

M: To be very honest, it’s not that we do something like that deliberately; like ‘okay let’s make a softer album now’. For example with Interlude we had a lot of material which we didn’t use yet and we had a lot of requests from fans asking for releasing a DVD, releasing special material and that’s what we did. Coincidence had it that this was more of the softer material. And with our last full album We Are The Others, we just went with the flow and it can be open to use grunts again in the next album for example. I just don’t know, it’s about what comes out of your mind and then we go with the flow and see what happens.

N: Earlier this year Delain signed to Napalm Records. What were the reasons behind moving from Roadrunner Records to Napalm?

M: Well, Roadrunner was bought by Warner, like the big label who people also know from movies for example. Their music department is Warner Music and they bought Roadrunner. They fired a lot of people and I actually saw this label going down, which was a shame. They originated in Holland actually, they were a really big label, a really good label. But when we released We Are The Others there was a transition going on and for us it was really, really bad. It were really hard times and fortunately at a certain point we were free to go. And then we talked to a lot of other labels and we ended up with Napalm because Napalm thought the same about what direction we wanted to go. It was the best deal and I think this label fits us really well. We are also as of yet still very satisfied to work with them and from what I understand also the other way around. So it’s good that we changed.

N: Recently you [Delain] released Interlude and just last year you released We are the Others. Have Delain started writing any new material for the next album?

M: Absolutely, we’re very busy with that right now because we would like to release a new album beginning 2014. Then we’re going to play with Within Temptation. It would be very nice if we can release around that time. On the other hand you can never control a creative process. You can stimulate and guide it to a specific direction and the more time you have to write the faster it will go of course. But it’s going to be a challenge to get it done but we’re working on it. So we’re writing new material as we speak.

N: Will there be any main concepts within the new material, like with We Are The Others it was celebrating being different and not being part of what society classifies as the norm.

M: In general we do aim to have a general theme in an album, but we’re not there yet. So for now I don’t know, I just don’t know.

N: Obviously big things have been happening for Delain this year: signing to Napalm Records and being announced being to tour with Within Temptation early next year. What does it feel like to suddenly have a huge buzz around you since the release of We Are The Others?

M: That’s of course very good, it’s always good for a band to have a big buzz going on. Actually, last year was very difficult for us when we were still at Roadrunner. I even thought about quitting completely because what we wanted with that album didn’t happen. People who we worked with for a very long time were going and now it’s completely turned around, flipped over to a very positive vibe and it can go very fast. I’m very happy about that and it supports the band members as well of course, having this buzz going on. I’m really happy with that.

N: When it comes to writing new material, where do you draw your inspiration from?

M: It can be a lot of things. It can be a song I heard, a movie I’ve seen. Most of the time it’s just feeling like writing and then things come out. There’s not really a concrete thing which makes me write. It’s just a general urge to make some music. Most of the time we’re together: me, Charlotte and our current writer Guus. We work together on it and it just happens.

N: Which band, excluding your own band Delain, would you say is your favourite on the symphonic metal scene at the moment?

M: That’s a good one! I’ve always been a fan of Nightwish. I’ve been a fan of the writing of Tuomas, so I would say Nightwish.

N: Are there any other plans for Delain this year besides playing at Dames of Darkness and playing the Metal Female Voices Fest in Belgium in October?

M: We’re doing a really special show, it’s actually our last show, in November in Holland. That’s going to be a really special one with special effects, guests etc. And we’re going to do the support tour of Kamelot for the US in September. And then it’s writing and recording new material.

N: Out of the two current tours that you’ve got coming up, which one would you say is the one you are looking forward to the most?

M: That’s a good one..I think our special show is one I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to all of them actually. And I’m looking forward to the tour for the US because I like the country a lot. And I’m looking forward to seeing new places so I look forward to that as well.

N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

M: The soundtrack? That’s a good one…That’s a difficult one…I think We Are The Others would fit a movie very well. So I would take We Are The Others but if I have to choose one movie now… Perhaps a Marvel movie, like The Avengers or something like that, or Iron Man. I would like that very much.

N: Sounds like good choices. Do you have anything you would like to say to our readers before we finish up?

M: I hope that they like our latest release very much. I hope they can enjoy it and I hope to see them soon at a show. That would be nice.

N: Thank you for your time Martijn, have a good show tonight.

M: Thanks a lot!

 

Delain online:

http://www.delain.nl
https://www.facebook.com/delainmusic/
https://twitter.com/delainmusic

 

Interview with Atrocity

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 17th April 2013 by Nico Davidson

Atrocity have been smashing their sound in the ears of listeners – both willing and unwilling – since 1985 when the band first formed. With the release of their eighth studio album, Okkult, just around the corner, Nico grabs hold of the band and gets the info on the latest album, amongst other things.

Nico: Okkult will be dealing, lyrically, with occult magics, conspiracy theories and other concepts. What inspired the band to write about these subjects?

Alex: Well, Okkult features some very obscure stories actually. I was always very much into history, legends, myths and the dark backgrounds and secrets of mankind and researching them from different sources. The idea to start the Okkult trilogy came up after the release of the Atlantis record [2004]. The research of the Atlantis secrets have been very inspiring, so the next step was to make an epic trilogy about the mysteries of the world. An even bigger challenge and concept, this is why we decided to make an album trilogy. Yes, the lyrics relate to occult magic, mysterious places, conspiracy theories and mysteries that are still unsolved. Actually it’s great to take the listener and ourselves on a heavy trip through the dark and mysterious tales, happenings and places of all times. We digged out some very obscure stories like the super sinister lady La Voisine (we use this pronunciation of the name). This song tells a dark chapter in the history of mankind. It’s set in Paris of the 17th Century and is about Catherine Monvoisin, which was known as La Voisin, as a witch and poisoner. She told the fortune for money, selling poisons and love potions, magic plant and broke off unwanted pregnancies. She and the former priest Abbé de Guibourg celebrated black masses, where also infants were sacrificed which she had previously bought from the poor people. The blood of the children they used as ingredients in potions, too. She was booked by many members of the nobility, among others, the mistress of King Louis XIV, Madame de Montespan, who wanted to get through the black masses more power and influence in society. Madame de Montespan used the potions in order to get the love of King Ludwig upright, and she mixed the potions in his food and drink. There were rumours that members of the nobility were killed by poison, and so research was driven. One day a young woman from the aristocratic circle close to King Ludwig died. Then investigations were intensified to find the poisoners’ source and to smash the conspiracy. La Voisine and other witches of the Paris witch circle were arrested. Due to the good contacts with the mistress remained La Voisine long spared from torture. Nevertheless, she was sentenced to death at the end in the: Affaire des Poisins. La Voisine was executed. Later, they found the remains of 2,500 infants in her backyard of her house, and so after La Voisine‘s death, the entire extent of her cruel deeds were obvious. The paradox of the story: It turned out that the young woman died of natural causes and she was not poisoned, like many other nobles.

Nico: Speaking of occult magics and all topics related to them. What are your personal thoughts and views on the occult?

Alex: Like I mentioned, I’ve always been into dark topics and the obscure side of mankind’s history in connection with strange, supernatural or unsolved backgrounds and events! The occult is really fascinating to myself and probably many other people. I find it a superb way of “switching off” daily life stress digging my nose into heaps of books and sources of this kind of literature. And this topic is not only about black magic like many people think in nowaday’s society. There was a period of time when science had to do research and works in the shadows because religion condemned it as the “devil’s work”. An overall important aspect in Okkult is the intersection of power, politics and religion in our world. Because religion and superstition occur exactly where the man pushes his knowledge to its limits, primal fears  can take control over the mind. This concludes in a policy based on the principle of fear. Religion and politics play on the fears of the people, thus they control. For mankind the greatest fear is darkness. The best example is processed in the song Masaya (Boca del Infierno). The cave system of the volcano in Nicaragua Masaya was regarded as an input for the indigenous population in the dark underworld. To ward off evil spirits, there were rituals of human sacrifice. When the Spanish conquerors emerged in Masaya, there was a cross erected to exorcise the devil. The Spanish conquerors thought that this was one of the entrances to hell. Two completely different cultures with different languages and peoples, and yet a common fear…

Nico: How do you feel that Okkult will differ from previous Atrocity releases?

Sander: From my perspective, no Atrocity album has ever been similar to another and the band have always just did artistically what is in the heart with really no boundaries or rules.  I think this album is in a way coming full circle and reconnecting with the metal roots of the band. In my opinion this album feels maybe like a logical step forward from the Atlantis album and I think it’s a mix between the classic death metal albums, the Atlantis record and new added influences that go from black metal to modern sounding metal. It’s also the best and heaviest sounding production on an Atrocity record ever.

Tosso: On Okkult there are some elements in which can also be found on the first two Atrocity albums, like 5/4 bar blast beats, et cetera. But all in all the intention was to make lyrics, artwork and music fit together very well… to obtain this kind of “okkult sound”. Moreover, it is a question about a basic band concept. There are bands being very happy doing the same music for decades. I don’t think that’s the concept of Atrocity. Nevertheless, the Okkult trilogy will have a clear line in all three parts. So Okkult II and Okkult III will certainly follow the paths of the first Okkult album.

Nico: Which tracks do you feel stand out the most on Okkult?

Alex: Tricky question. If I were to choose a track that represents the complete core and idea behind Okkult, the song Pandaemonium stands out for me due to its epic but at the same time brutal character. It is viciously aesthetic in every aspect. Well, it’s hard to say anyway.

Sander: I rather think of the album as a whole piece, every song has it’s own feel and atmosphere and it’s own identity and has it’s own role to play on the album musically and lyrically. I think that makes the album special although the songs differ they still are part of one homogenous soundscape.

Nico: Kate Halliday provided the finishing touches for Okkult, what was it like working with her? And do you feel that her experience has added new dynamics and feeling to Atrocity’s sound?

Alex: The cooperation with the Canadian sound designer Katie Halliday (SAW movies) was supercool, she made some really dark atmopsheric sound effects! We met Katie on tour in Canada. As we told her about the Okkult concept, she was excited to take part in such a huge metal production. As she is a big metal fan, too.

Tosso: We wanted to have a very dark atmosphere on the album, just like in the great old horror movies. You find these elements in the orchestra on Okkult and of course also on Katie’s great sound effects, that she contributed to the album. If you just listen to the opening track of the album “Pandæmonium” you’ll get an idea of what I’m trying to describe. It leaves a hell of impression on the listeners!

Nico: What song do you feel defines Atrocity as a whole?

Tosso: I guess you need several songs from the different periods of Atrocity if you want to describe or sum up all facettes of the band. My personal top 11 would be then: Blue Blood, Deep In Your Subconscious, Necropolis, BLUT, Calling The Rain, Love Is Dead, The Great Commandment, Reich of Phenomena, Relax, Call of Yesteryear, Pandaemonium.

Alex: Yes, I agree. These songs represent the varied side of Atrocity very well! Reich of Phenomena and Pandaemonium are both of my fave songs of the band, they perfectly reflect the combination of epic brutality! To put our compositions and albums in an over-all view, past to present, I think Okkult contains many elements from our musical past, especially the very heavy stuff from our 1990’s album releases but also Atlantis. Death by Metal is the best example for that: Our tribute to Death Metal actually contains the main riffs of the song, which I wrote originally in 1991 and also brand new riffs! So Okkult combines our roots with new musical ideas, and this is simply a new era for Atrocity after such a long history of challenging metal music! Anyway, I would like to mention Blut because it has put a mark on me, personally and artistically. Blut reminds me of our video shoot on the Corvin Castle in Transylvania. We did some research for the location for the video shoot and arrived there one night after driving the whole way by car during extreme Romanian winter landscapes on terrible road conditions. Instantly there was an eerie atmosphere in the castle and we had the feeling of not being alone. I needn’t say more, it still gives me the creeps. Moreover, the video shoot months later was very strange, too, to say it straight. It is said every room has its own history with its own soul. Some things can not always be explained scientifically. I am a so called atheist and still believe that there is definitely more things to this world, we can’t easily detect with our senses completely. Atrocity is a band who stand for revelation of mysteries, surprises, extremes and contrasts. You might actually get blown away, hehe.

Nico: Do Atrocity have any plans for a UK tour in support of the new album?

Tosso: We had many great shows in the past with Atrocity. I remember great shows in the UK already on my very first tour in 1994 when Atrocity toured with Obituary through Europe and the UK. So hopefully we get a chance to be back in the UK.

Alex: The UK death-metal scene of the 90s is one of a kind. By the way I organised the first Euro Death Metal Festivals and the our first Euro tour together with UK legends Carcass in 1990. Great times! And yes, bring us back, we would love to tour the UK again!

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Tosso: The Okkult album would be a cool soundtrack for one the old Vincent Price horror movies… That would be an awesome combination.

Alex: Vincent Price, yes, killer idea! The first Nosferatu movie by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and the remake with Klaus Kinski is in my view one of the highlights in dark horror movie productions. Love the vibe of these classics!Why not putt Haunted by Demons in one of these movies? Haha, I guess Todesstimmen would be a perfect match for a Horror movie trailer!

Nico: What are your thoughts on the current metal scene? And do you feel its changed since the formation of Atrocity?

Tosso: I think it changed a lot. Metal has developed many different sub genres, which is cool on the one hand, because you have a colourful scene. We gave our input to open the scene up a little more. On the other hand sometimes I miss new bands that every metal head can identify with. The technical progress and internet have also changed things pretty much. Its very easy nowadays to record music on your own and put it on the internet, especially for young bands. But the negative aspect in my opinion is that too many new albums sound like the same and musicians lose the relation to their instruments. Atrocity started as an underground band with no commercial intention, just excited to play their own music, I think that helped to form the character of the band.

Nico: If you could go back to when you first became a musician and give yourself any advice, what would it be and why?

Alex: Time runs fast… We’ve gathered a lot of experience through a great number of cooperations, connections and friendships. Generally said, a good and solid basis both within the band, and between band and so-called “partners” is, in my opinion, based on values like honesty, trust and fairness, which my band mates and myself always have struggled to keep upright. These values are incredibly important to me, personally and professionally. It is something I have always fought for, and that’s my main advice to myself, my friends and band mates and everybody else. I just can’t accept unfairness, a thing that also has infected the music business more and more over the years. Besides that, do the music you love – and that’s what we always did!

Nico: This one is a fan question. Have you ever considered doing more extreme metal and has it ever appeal to you?

Tosso: If you listen to the Okkult album, you will realize that this is definitely one driving force in this musical trilogy: We enjoy writing and playing extreme and brutal metal music. So, to answer your question, yes, we consider and will play more extreme metal on the Okkult trilogy.

Nico: Another fan question and probably the strangest I’ve ever had to ask. This one is for you, Alex. How did you get your hair so long?

Alex: Well, I guess it’s due to the good genes, haha. My father is turning 85 and still has thick hair. My wife keeps complaining about the high amount of hair products that is needed every week, haha… Not really, just kidding. People actually ask me always for advices, and it’s a simple answer: Don’t cut your hair, switch hair products. My son is about to break the record, though: he is nine and his lion’s mane has already reached his waist, for the second time in his life!

Nico: Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Tosso: Thanks for the interview and keep it Metal!

Alex: Thanks to you and to all our fans – hope to see you on tour soon!

 

Interview with Fabio D’Amore [Serenity]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Fabio D’Amore has been the bassist for Serenity for three years now and has featured on their last album, Death & Legacy as well as their upcoming masterpiece: War of Ages. Nico catches Fabio for a quick chat about the upcoming album and the recent addition of Clémentine Delauney to the band.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name?

Fabio: Serenity is a sci-fi movie, based on the fanta-western TV series called Firefly. It’s an awesome movie, and the also the TV series is incredible.  When the band was put together, the influence of “Firefly” on our artistic work was huge, so the the logical result was taking the name of the spacecraft as the band’s name.

Nico: What are the main themes and concepts of War of Ages?

Fabio: On War of Ages we developed once again our historical themes, as we did on Death and Legacy, our previous record, but this time we focused on different points of view, and different stages. We talked about characters such as Elizabeth Bathory, Henry VIII, Napoleon, Nero, Beethoven, and so on. The lyrics are telling the stories of these people, that for good and bad influenced our past, the past of the whole humanity.

Nico: How do you feel War of Ages differs from the previous album, Death & Legacy?

Fabio: Musically the two albums are different, especially concerning their structures: Death and Legacy was a long album, with many long songs, and lots of interludes, kind of like opera you have to concentrate on each single detail. War of Ages is a direct album, shorter and effective songs, no interludes and passages in here, somehow catchier and yet fluent.

Nico: Clémentine Delauney joined Serenity earlier this year. In the past, the band have used guest female vocalists, is there a specific reason for recruiting Clémentine Delauney as a permanent member of the band?

Fabio: Clémentine started touring with us during the Out of the Dark tour 2011. We’ve been touring with previous female singers in the past, and all of them have been great and we’re still thankful for the jobs they offered Serenity. Clémentine just fit perfectly when we played a trial show earlier in September, before starting that upcoming tour, and we were all really satisfied. We all improved together and she continued performing for us for
all other shows we had, and we found natural to start discussing about her joining the band permanently. It came naturally, from both sides.

Nico: How do you feel the band’s overall sound will change now with the addition of Clémentine?

Fabio: I wouldn’t talk about changement, I’d better talk about improvement. As stated before, our sound and our shows together got better and better, and we definitely found the right formula with her in the band, where the new songs find incredible improvement and the old ones got a new life and a stronger sound.

Nico: What song do you feel defines the new album, War of Ages?

Fabio: That’s a difficult question… But perhaps I’d say the brand new single Wings of Madness. It has everything of the band’s skills : heavy riffs, great vocal melodies, bombastic sound and groovy parts.

Nico: Are there plans for a UK tour later this year?

Fabio: First we’ll have a show in London in some weeks, and we are really looking forward to this, since the UK has always been great for us. Just think about last year’s headlining tour, where we were able to play in London and Cardiff. We’ll for sure have some other shows in the UK later this year.

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Fabio: Mmm… That’s again difficult…I think each member of the band would have a different opinion and answer! Come and ask us directly after our show!

Nico: Serenity have been on the scene for a decade, how do you feel the metal scene has changed since Serenity formed?

Fabio: There’s definitely a saturation of offer in the market, and it’s still increasing. I think there’s too much and less quality lately… That’s also a reason of the whole industry’s decay and I am not completely sure this will ever get better again.

Nico: All the members of Serenity live in different parts of Europe, does this make it more of a challenge when it comes to song writing and studio work?

Fabio: It’s definitely challenging! Organising rehearsals and scheduling song writing and studio sessions have been more difficult lately. For three years, we now have to organise our activity, basing also on transportation issues, and gathering everyone’s plans. But it’s working fine, although it’s still difficult to handle, from time to time.

Nico: On the note of the members coming from varying parts of Europe, have the language and cultural barriers ever been an issue for the band?

Fabio: Austria, Italy and France are of course countries with many differences. In the beginning it may be difficult, but you have to give it time to get used to each other, and I can now say it’s not a problem at all. Sometimes you learn from each difference and you can enrich our own background, so I think it’s an added value.

Nico: Which musician, living or dead, do you hold the most respect for and why?

Fabio: Freddy Mercury – he’s still the artist and frontman that changed the life of many other musicians… His voice, his artistic soul, his performances have been lessons to learn for everyone of us!

Nico: What song do you feel defines Serentiy as a band?

Fabio: I don’t think there’s only one song that can tell what Serenity is. I’d say each album we released is very different and there’s something that makes our sound.

Nico: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Fabio: I’d like to thank everyone is reading now this interview and I’d like to invite you all to our upcoming tour: we’ll bring along the best show possible and you’ll get to know this new and fresh album War of
Ages
. You’ll love it!

Serenity’s new album, War of Ages, is due for release on 22nd March via Napalm Records.

Interview with Glyn Beasley [Ravenage]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , on 15th February 2013 by Nico Davidson

Glyn Beasley has been the leader and vocalist for the epic Viking metal warband Ravenage since its formation five years ago. Glyn is also the co-promoter for the Metieval Festival, an event which has seen bands like Hecate Enthroned, Blaze Bayley and Power Quest play. He’s also heavily involved with the Warhorns Festival – The UK’s premier folk metal festival. In an exclusive interview with Nico, Glyn reveals his thoughts on Hull’s metal scene, the UK’s folk metal scene and clears up his roles in both Metieval and Warhorns. Glyn also makes reference to his love for goat’s milk.

Nico: The internet is quite barren when it comes to details of Ravenage’s early day, so my first question is; how did Ravenage come into existence?

Glyn: Ravenage were formed in December 2007 from the remnants of Heathen ForayHeathen Foray were formed a couple of years earlier by Sam and myself, first as just a recording project, but then a live band. Rich, aka Lord Legion, joined us on bass almost immediately and then later Chris on drums.  We probably did about 10 gigs in total, mostly in Hull and Beverley, but we also played Derby, Wakefield, Scunthorpe, Birmingham and Withernsea.  We also released an album and an EP and had reasonable success for a Hull-based band. Towards the end of 2007,  we recruited Mark Wood as a second guitarist as Sam was struggling with commitment, at the same time Chris had also lost interest and there was a definite divide in the band.  I didn’t feel comfortable continuing HF without Sam, so I put it on hold. At the same time I still wanted to be in an active band in a similar style and enjoyed working with both Rich and Mark, so over the Christmas period we wrote and recorded The Ravenage demo so that we could find a suitable keyboardist and drummer.  A chance meeting in Spiders Nightclub secured the services of former Gwydion drummer Bruno, and then I think Elliot found us on Myspace via has solo project Nogothrim, and full rehearsals began in March 2008. Elliot tweaked the demos and re-recorded  the keyboards, and we made our debut in Swansea supporting Annwn that April.

Nico: The band has seen several differing line-up changes through the years, how have these line-up changes affected Ravenage‘s sound?

Glyn: I think our sound has just been a natural progression since the Hardrada’s Fall EP, prior to then our sound was more raw and leaned more towards black metal, rather than the folky melodic death metal sound we have today.  To be honest, though we’ve had a fair share of line up changes over the years, everyone has known what Ravenage is about and has adapted to our style.  For our next album, I’m very keen to hear what Chris, Boxhead and Art bring to the table alongside the more established writing styles of Elliot and Danny.

Nico: Things have been quiet over the last year or so within Camp Ravenage, is there any reasoning for this?

Glyn: I wouldn’t necessarily say we’ve been quiet, it’s more of a case that we’ve not been gigging as often as we have in the past for number of reasons.  We’re probably more selective of gigs now as without major label support, we’ve done as much as we can in the UK—we’ve played Bloodstock, Pagan Pride and Gathering The Clans, and most major UK cities, as well as some continental gigs and festivals. Like most bands we’ve had good turn outs and we’ve had poor ones.  So, these days, it’s just a case of ensuring we play the right gigs and not the same place too often as we try to make every gig special, this year will probably follow in the same vein.  Also, as well as Ravenage, I have a full time job, a beautiful girlfriend, a wolfdog as well as commitments to both Warhorns and Metieval, so I don’t want to burn myself out completely.  Elliot also has his commitments to Alestorm, Danny to Aloeswood as well as being in full-time education alongside Chris and Boxhead, and Art is a full time music  lecturer. This doesn’t mean that anyone is less committed to Ravenage – wait til you hear the quality of our new songs – it’s just a case of balancing things out and staying fresh both physically and mentally.

Nico: Ravenage’s latest album, Fresh From Fields Of Victory, was released in 2011. Is there a new album in the works?

Glyn: Absolutely, and the plan is to release it this year.  We have about six songs written and have already performed Northbound Part II live.  It’s unlikely we’ll air any others prior to the album release, but you never know.  We’re also planning on releasing a video for one of the tracks, which should be a lot of fun.

Nico: A couple of Ravenage‘s members are involved with other projects – Danny with Aloeswood and Elliot with Alestorm – Has this made progress for Ravenage more challenging?

Glyn: Not now, though when Elliot first joined Alestorm we recruited Art as a session player to cover his absence.  Art loved playing live with us and we managed to fulfil last year’s gigging schedule by essentially having two keyboard players.  Art is a fantastic keyboardist as well as a great bloke and we all liked having him around, and after learning our set it did seem like a waste to just be a session player. Elliot is also an amazing all-round musician and vocalist and can play any instrument with ease, and as he now has his keyboard fix in Alestorm, playing bass with Ravenage enables him to have a lot more stage freedom and live presence. Also, during his absences, its easier for us to bring in a session bass player than a keyboard player. Regarding Danny and Aloeswood, it’s not really a problem as Danny is currently only playing select gigs.  However, I have no doubt that Aloeswood will eventually become a huge part of the UK black metal scene.  Danny is an amazing songwriter and is already beginning to receive the recognition he deserves.  Also, while Boxhead is involved with other bands and projects, he still has enough energy to be in at least half a dozen more bands so that is not a problem either.

Nico: You’re involved with both Metieval and Warhorns and this has obviously confused people, regarding your roles within both. Could you explain what your roles are in each and how they differ from one another?

Glyn: Metieval was formed in 2006 by Stig and myself to bring a professional festival to the Hull and East Yorkshire region.  Metieval organized the East Riding Rock Festival in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  Due to struggling to find a suitable venue and  over-estimating the local metal scene, we decided to call it a day in 2011 with the Metieval Requiem to finish things off.  However, after a bit of a break and a rethink we decided to resurrect the festival in late 2012 with the Metieval Winterfest, and have plans for future events. Regarding Metieval, Stig and I are the founders and have equal say in all related matters . We do have a good support team around us especially Stig’s wife Lyn, Elliot Vernon and Hull Rockers Jake and Silver Back.
Warhorns Festival is the creation Marc Ollis – I work as his right-hand man alongside Shamsi Modarai and Elliot Vernon.  However, all major decisions are made by Marc and I only book and contact bands on his behalf because of my previous experience co-running Metieval events. The difference between Metieval and Warhorns is that Metieval is regionally-based in Hull and East Yorkshire, and will book any suitable band that plays any genre of metal or rock. Warhorns, on the other hand, is purely a Viking/folk/black metal festival with a more national and international scope.

Nico: As you’re involved with Hull’s music scene, to an extent, as both a musician and a promoter, what are your thoughts on Hull’s music scene? How does it differ from the other scenes around the UK?

Glyn: I can’t really speak for other cities’ metal scenes as I’m not involved in any and I’m also a lot less involved in the Hull music scene then I used to be.  Before the resurrection of Metieval Winterfest, I think I’d been to maybe two gigs in two years.  I did recently self-promote and organise a gig for Old Corpse Road as part of the Northern leg of their UK tour, but that was a one-off, and a favour for a friend.
There are a couple of excellent local bands out there.  Obviously Sworn Amongst have been very successful, although I don’t know how they’ll get on without Frank at the helm.  Also, Infernal Creation are my personal favourites and are getting some well deserved recognition and good gigs of late.  I also like Alice In Thunderland from Bridlington, and Innersylum have the region’s strongest vocalist in the form of Derk. I also thought Pastel Jack had some good ideas, and was surprised by their demise as I thought they were on the brink of getting to the next level.  At  Metieval Winterfest, I was impressed by some of the more hardcore bands, in particular Downfall and Battalions.
The problem I think with the Hull Metal Scene was actually pointed out to me by my friend Pip (otherwise known as Raeven Irata).  She noted that the majority of metal fans in Hull are already in bands, and local bands don’t really support one  another’s’ gigs.  I’m no exception to this as I rarely go out and support other bands due to not having enough time  I think this is why over the years the scene has divided and fragmented. Also, the loss of venues coupled with the fact that a lot of people appear to prefer to watch a bunch of imposters (tribute bands) than a band playing original music, has taken its toll, hence where we are now.  I’d also say that without Darren Bunting and Music HQ, Hull’s metal scene would be dead.
There is still room I think for decent gigs in Hull and the surrounding area.  Metieval, Valkyrian, Sunkfest, and Springboard all tend to be successful.  Stig and I have also noted that there’s a new festival called Nukefest that appears to be a complete carbon copy of Metieval Winterfest.

Nico: Obviously being apart of the Warhorns family means you’ve got more involvement with the pagan and folk metal scenes. What are your thoughts on the current folk and pagan metal scenes?

Glyn: Since I’ve not travelled to a Euro Festival since 2011, I can only really comment on the UK Scene.  There are some great UK bands out there at the minute.  Old Corpse Road‘s album is amazing and they just get better and better each time I see them.  Sheffield’s Northern Oak, also deliver the goods, and I’m always a fan of Shallow Intentions from Weymouth and Manchester’s Andraste.  An up and coming band to watch out for are Morlich from Scotland.  I also understand that the recent Korpiklaani tour was a huge success and hopefully Heidevolk, Cryptic Age and Celtachor will storm the Jorvik Viking Festival next week.  I know that Warhorns has had over 50 UK bands apply and some of them are rather bloody marvellous, it will be a difficult choice selecting the right line up for this years festival, which is a good thing.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Ravenage? Is there an image or concept behind it?

Glyn: Most of our lyrics and themes are set in the Dark Ages or at least pre -1066.  This was the age of wolves, eagles and ravens – the beasts of battle.  The name just came to me one day when I was enjoying a pint of goat’s milk and thinking of song titles, and I came up with Foretelling the Ravenage which was an early HF song.

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any movie with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Glyn: I love classic epic movies from the 50s and 60s like El Cid and The Vikings.  Miklos Rozsa is my favourite composer of all time, I also love Basil Poledouris hence the secret Robocop track hehe.  Nobody could replace the soundtracks written by those composers. Maybe the movie for us do a soundtrack for hasn’t been filmed yet. Maybe that should go on the ‘To do’ board! Make a movie, that is.

Nico: Are there any bands from the folk metal scene that you’d recommend to our readers?

Glyn: Yep, I’ll recommend a couple of lesser known, but top quality bands. Please check out:
Æther Realm from USA (who are not from Finland).
Black Messiah from Germany (who are playing at Warhorns).
Elzevir from Moscow (I’m not sure if they’re currently active).

Nico: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Glyn: Thanks for the supporting Ravenage these past five years, here’s to the next five and beyond! And remember to drink goats milk – as well as tasting good it will keep you healthy and full of inspiration!

Interview with Stuart McLeod [Storm of Embers]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Scottish power trio Storm of Embers are hot on the tail of the release of their new EP, I. With a string of shows coming up throughout the year, Nico grabs Storm of Embers bassist Stuart McLeod for a chat.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Storm of Embers?

Stuart: When Al and I were coming up with the band name we wanted it to represent the musical ideas we had in mind and nearly all of the other names we were kicking around didn’t seem to suit the music. In our last band the music was very much thrash metal, so the name of that band kind of reflected that. To us, Storm of Embers suits our music perfectly. We don’t really have a meaning behind it, but if you listen to the music then it seems to be the only way to describe what we do.

Nico: Storm of Embers recently released the EP; I. What are the main themes that run through the EP?

Stuart: The main themes with the I EP, aside from giving a glimpse at what we are all about, lyrically speaking the main themes are life, change and the trials one goes through. Musically speaking this comes over as sometimes rather melancholic but with moments of, we like to think, beauty in amongst the melody and metal elements. Already we are working on the rest of the material for the upcoming full length release and it’s taking a pretty dark shape!

Nico: Describe Storm of Embers sound in five words or less.

Stuart: Dark, melodic, progressive music.

 

Nico: Are there any bands you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Stuart: Rather than recommend individual bands, we would like to encourage everyone to check out a new movement in Scottish music. There are so many amazing bands coming from Scotland we would be here all day if I were to try and name them all! We are part of the Hollow Earth Collective. This is a group of musicians and fans who are interested in all music progressive, post and experimental. Already there are plans for setting up a Hollow Earth Collective tour, I strongly recommend people to check this group out and listen to the bands, there are so many talented musicians and bands in Scotland, so that alone is a reason to check out any band from Scotland!

Nico: Where do you think the band will be in five years?

Stuart: In five years my hope for the band is to be working with a label to help further our career and help us get the music to as many people as possible. We are in this for the love of it, but having a 400 million pound contract wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Nico: When it comes to writing new material, where does the band draw inspiration from?

Stuart: Inspiration behind our music really depends on whoever the main writer of that particular song is. For me, when I write a song usually all it takes is an idea for a melody or feeling, then let the song write itself. Al is very much the lyric man of the band. So I present the music to the guys and we then flesh it out in funereal and develop the song into what it wants to be, and Al puts a message behind the song with his lyrics. So what may inspire the music may not necessarily be the same feeling that inspires the lyrics. Other times we jam riffs or melodies out in the studio and write it as a band jamming things out. I usually get nervous when Al comes in with songs as it usually means playing some sort of crazy riff in an even crazier time signature! But it’s all good, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who wrote what because once the three of us start playing, it’s Storm of Embers.

Nico: As the Scottish metal scene in rarely spoke of, let alone mentioned much by the press, outside of Scotland, what can you tell us about the Scottish metal scene?

Stuart: The Scottish metal scene is great! There are so many amazing bands, so many different styles. You can pretty much find a metal gig any night of the week, especially in Glasgow where we are from. All scenes have their good and bad points, but overall its good. Again I urge you to check out the Hollow Earth Collective.

Nico: Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Stuart: To your readers all I can say a massive thank you for the support, it means the world to us for people to check us out, or buy our merch or come to our shows, and above all else enjoy the music and we hope to play near you soon! Stay inspired, support underground music because that’s where its at!

You can check out Storm of Embers at this location.

 

Interview with Gaz [Chemikill]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 12th January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Hailing from Birmingham, the birthplace of metal, Chemikill have forged themselves a a long-lasting career upon the anvil of British underground metal scene. Confirmed to support Delain at The Dames of Darkness Festival in May, Nico interrogates the band’s bassist Gaz.

Nico: Chemikill have been on the scene for over 20 years, what’s been the highlight of the band’s existence so far?

Gaz: Well, I suppose it’s just staying power. Twenty seven years this year and we’ve had a fair few highlights, [such as] winning the Tamworth Battle of the Bands in 1995 and also supporting all American girl thrash band Wench. We’ve played along some great bands last year like Beholder, Blaze Bayley, Apperition, Dakesis, Tytan and more. We’re just glad to be doing what we do.

Nico: You’ve been confirmed to play the Dames of Darkness Festival next, where you’ll be supporting Delain. How are you feeling about that?

Gaz: Really happy and stoked to the hilt! I can’t wait for it! I saw Delain a few years back at Leamington Spa and hadn’t seen ‘em before and only was going for the support band Serenity but god when Delain came on my jaw hit the floor and been a fan ever since – They’re a great live band!

Nico: Are there any other bands you’re looking forward to playing with at the Dames of Darkness?

Gaz: Yeah! Everyone to be honest. It will be great catching up with Apparition whom we thank for getting us on the bill, Whyzdom too but all the bands to be honest. I just love live music.

Nico: In your own opinion, how does Chemikill differ from t’other “female-fronted” bands on the scene?

Gaz: I think we have our own little genre going on. It’s like old school eighties metal with a twist of today’s metal scene, so it covers Sabbath, Priest, Metallica, Slayer, Slipknot and Pantera. I suppose we really can’t say who and where we belong but it’s metal and that’s all that counts. Natalie brings a voice that can be singing like a song bird one minute and the next growling like Angela from Arch Enemy, so we can cover two different bases in one song if we wish and to see peoples’ faces when she does it is so funny as they don’t expect it at all.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Chemikill?

Gaz: There isn’t a meaning really. We just decided it was going to have the word kill in the name, so in the end it was a toss up between Nu-Killer or Chemikill. This is way before Exodus did their track by the same name too. So Chemikill came out the hat first but I suppose it could stand for being honest pure driven British heavy metal!

Nico: Excluding yourselves, which band from the UK would you say are the best on the current British metal scene?

Gaz: Well, I wouldn’t call us one of the best. We just do what we do and if people like it, fair enough. We’re glad if you’ve had a good time at a Chemikill show then we hope you come back again and bring some friends but bands at the moment who are doing well are Beholder, Hostile and Absolva, but there’s so many good bands out there at the moment, it’s getting round to see ‘em all but with all this NWOBHM thing kicking off again looks like we could be in the 2nd wave of it, if it picks up, so let’s all get ready for the ride.

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Gaz: I always look on our tracks as film music anyway. Each one tells a story which could easily be a film, but we have our track Psycho, which speaks for itself really with the film, and our new mini epic Wych, the original old way of spelling witch, which (no pun intended) could fit into any hammer horror type film on witches or something. It would just be an honour to get the offer of adding one of our songs I suppose to a film track but if i had to pick just one then it would be Demons, all about the wolf man because it explains the torment of the curse, the hunger and the lost soul which as the chorus goes: What was will be, what is will be no more – So, it covers the changing of the human part to animal and back again, so yeah.

Nico: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers before we finish?

Gaz: We all hope to see you all soon at The Dames of Darkness Festival. Cheers all and we wish you the best, Gaz and the rest of the Chemikill crew.

Chemikill are:

Natalie: Vocals
Damo: Lead Guitar
Wayne: Lead Guitar
Gaz: Bass
Luke: Drums

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Interview with Nya

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 21st November 2012 by Nico Davidson

Having blasted onto the British rock and metal scenes at the beginning of 2012, Nya have become a rising star in the UK, gaining a slot at Download 2011 and confirmed for Metal Days Festival in Slovenia for 2013. With their new EP, Driving The Nails In, released, Nya are set to reach new heights. Nico has a chance to chat with the band about their future plans and the new EP.

Nico: Are there any concepts or lyrical themes that revolve around the new EP, Driving The Nails In?

Nya: The whole concept for the EP artwork and visual theme came from the song ‘Driving The Nails In’ so the lyrics here inspired the imagery. We didn’t take a concept based approach lyrically on this EP and each song has it’s own meaning which I’m sure people can relate to when listening.

Nico: You’ve been confirmed to play Metal Days in Slovenia in 2013. How are you feeling about that?

Nya: We’re definitely excited about that one, we should have a run of European dates building up to this one so it’s going to be good fun.

Nico: Aside from the aforementioned Metal Days festival, what are the band’s plans for 2013?

Nya: To play in front of as many new people as we possibly can, get new material flowing in our veins and take no prisoners along the way.

Nico: Is there a meaning behind the band’s name, Nya?

Nya: We keep getting told new meanings by fans for the word Nya such as how it means ‘new’ in Swedish as well as our personal favourite; ‘meow’ in Japanese. The real reason behind the name is we just thought it was a cool word and liked the sound of it.

Nico: How does a typical song writing session go for the band?

Nya: There isn’t too much of a ‘typical’ song writing session for us as no 2 songs ever come together in the same way. Usually ideas are developed individually or between 2/3 people before they reach full rehearsal stage and by that point we have a good idea of where the song needs to go. It’s then a case of demoing it so we can work on the structure, textures, harmonies and layers.

Nico: If could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Nya: Every fight scene from Expendables 2 with some of the new tracks we will be playing live next year – because fire and explosions make everything better, just look at Rammstein! And whilst we’re at it we have to finish up some faster songs that would go well in any of the ridiculous stunt scenes Fast and Furious 6 is bound to have – just for the hell of it.

Nico: Where do you see the band in five years?

Nya: Bigger, better and tearing it up on tour – Stronger than ever and living life to the fullest!

Nico: Given the chance, which band would you like to tour with?

Nya: ar too many to list but it would be awesome to see the massive productions of the likes of Muse or Slipknot every night – Music is an art form and we are all into the visual side of things and putting on a show for the fans so this would be incredibly inspiring to witness day after day.

Nico: How did Nya form?

Nya: Like most bands Nya has been through various lineup changes as we find members that aren’t only dedicated to taking this as far as possible, but also who can eat, sleep, work, breathe and live together without wanting to rip each other apart (too much!). Musically and artistically we are all on the same page these days, which is only making us stronger as a unit with bigger, better songs and ideas in the pipeline. We all have big plans for the future of Nya.

Nya: It’s worth saying we are currently seeking a permanent drummer to join us and anyone interested in auditioning can contact us at nyaofficial@gmail.com

Nico: What’s the metal scene like in your local area?

Nya: We keep relocating so I’m not 100% on where our local area is right now but London and the South West has an abundance of talented bands in the metal and rock scenes!

Nico: What are the band’s biggest influences?

Nya: If it grooves, makes us feel something we can relate to and sticks in our heads we’re in!

Nico: When it comes to writing new songs, where do you find your inspiration?

Nya: It could be a new record, day to day events, a new sound, tone or groove – basically anything happening around us in life is inspiring us, sometimes it’s a positive thing and at other times it can be quite dark or negative. It’s sometimes just that desire to create that sound we have in our heads with something that is new and a part of us that leads us to new ideas.

Nico: Do you have any plans for a UK tour? If so, any indications to as where you’ll be playing?

Nya: Keep an eye out for info on UK Dates for late February and early March! We are planning on hitting quite a few places but are just waiting on the details now.

Nico: Are there any bands, aside from yourselves, you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Dead Letter Circus – Seriously worth checking these guys out, they sound huge!

Nico: What was the last album you bought?

Nya: That would be the new Deftones album Koi No Yokan – Really getting into this one so far with all its epic guitar and vocal layers backed up by some chunky riffs!

Nico: Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Nya: Thanks as ever for continuing to support what we do and we hope to see you at a show in 2013!

Nya’s new EP: Driving The Nails In is now available from http://nyaofficial.bigcartel.com

http://www.nyaofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/nyaofficial
https://twitter.com/nyaofficial
http://www.youtube.com/nyaofficial

 

Interview with Aaron and Hamish [My Dying Bride]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 6th November 2012 by Nico Davidson

Nico interviews Aaron and Hamish from My Dying Bride at Damnation 2012, where the three talk about A Map of All our Failures, the band’s inspirations and the Yorkshire and Lancashire metal scenes.

 

Interview with Necroskull [Witchsorrow]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 5th November 2012 by Nico Davidson

Nico has the honours of interviewing Necroskull, the frontman for up-and-coming UK doom band Witchsorrow, at Leeds Uni at Damnation 2012. The two discuss the band’s new album God Curse Us, film soundtracks and Jus Oborn’s Electric Acid Orgy.

Witchsorrow are:

Necroskull – Guitar/Vocals
Emily Witch – Bass
David Wilbrahammer – Drums

http://facebook.com/witchsorrowdoom

Witchsorrow’s second album God Curse Us is now out now and available via Rise Above Records.

 

Interview: Pēteris Kvetkovskis [Skyforger]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 24th September 2012 by Nico Davidson

Valkyrian Music editor Nico has a quick chat with Pēteris Kvetkovskis, frontman for Latvian folk metal heavyweights Skyforger, at Warhorns Festival in York. The two discuss all things Skyforger, as well as Latvian mythology and other things.

Interview: Sarah Jezebel Deva, Dan Abela and Damjan Stefanovic [20th May 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 23rd May 2012 by Nico Davidson

I was fortunate enough to be able to catch an interview with former Cradle of Filth backing vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva and a couple of her band mates at Yardbirds in Grimsby, where we chatted about music, the tour, mythology and ctaching flights to and from Endor on a goose’s back.

Nico: You alright guys? Right, my first question is the most generic question, and one I’m so sick to death of asking bands but how’s the tour gone so far?

Dan: Yeah. It’s gone great, actually. We’ve had three gigs so far, so it’s going alright.

Sarah: One cancelled.

Dan: Yeah, one cancelled.

Sarah: Because of the promoter, being a… Well, you know. All the promoters we’ve had so far have taken chances on us and been so lovely to us, they’ve helped us, they know the situation, they know how hard it is for all the bands out there, people taking chances, people not taking chances and some of the promoters have had us back like Rob from here [Yardbirds, Grimsby] and Sal from Whiplash Productions in Liverpool. They’ve had us before, it didn’t go successful before, but they loved it and seem to believe in us and that’s what we’re happy with. And the fans, they believe in us, they’ve supported us and what more could you ask for? Of course, being anally screwed everyday isn’t good but if it wasn’t for the niceness of the fans and the promoters.

Dan: Don’t stay at Travel Lodge. Use Premier Inn.

Sarah: Oh no, some of the Travel Lodges have been really, really nice.

Nico: Eh, moving on, your new EP Malediction is due for release at the end of the month [28th May], what would you say are the biggest influences behind it?

Sarah: Madonna. Prince. Boyzone. Serbian rap artist that I can’t pronounce the name of. Our influences? If I could answer this before you [Dan] say something stupid like Nightwish and…

Dan: I was gonna say Lacuna Coil.

Sarah: I actually don’t think our influences shine majorly through our music. We are predominantly into extreme metal. Apart from him over there who likes Beatles and Chas and Dave but we are predominantly a band that are into extreme metal and we try to let that shine through. We do not want to be the typical female fronted band. We try to make sure it’s not the typical female-fronted band. We don’t sing about dragons, butterflies, getting a flight from Endor on a goose’s back.

Nico: You’ve just pretty much described Nightwish’s lyrics there.

Dan: Over the hills and very far away.

Sarah: So, if I was going to say what our influences are on this album, mostly me and Dan wrote the EP but I would say our influences are just extreme metal and we don’t try to copy anyone. Though there’s going to be loads of people, because we’ve had Dani Filth on one track, "oh, it’s Cradle of Filth!" – No, it’s not. It’s SJD. Having Björn Strid [Soilwork] on one of the songs, it doesn’t sound like Soilwork but people are still gonna label you so, yeah, our influences are basically whatever happens happens.

Dan: I like black metal and I know you do too, Sarah, but I mean that’s the thing. It’s a funny old one, I would say it is predominantly like the old black and death metal scene.

Damjan: I think it depends on who writes the riffs, like the song with Björn on it, Dan basically wrote all the riffs for that.

Sarah: Actually that’s not completely true.

Damjan: Dan wrote of the riffs for that. Anyway, from my point of view on the drums, I’m not as into death metal as these guys are, so when I heard the riffs and stuff, it was more about listening to them and thinking "How am I going to make this feel and sound the best it could be? How am I going to make sure it’s not a repetitive thing over and over again? And when it changes section, how do I make sure each section stands out without having to over play it or over complicate it?".

Sarah: As he [Damjan] says, he’s not into the same type of stuff as us which is great because you have the diversity.

Damjan: There’s a bit of crossover but not as much. So for me, it’s just about writing stuff that’s going to sound memorable that I’d wanna listen to again and I think we managed that.

Sarah: And we’ve got to give the bassist, Ablaz, some credit as well. He predominately wrote When It Catches Up With You. Dan just made it sound better. No, not like that. Obviously when I come up with a song, like Silence Please and The Eyes That Lie, I present them to Dan and he changes a few bits, just like Damjan has produced a song, for the next album but we’ll change little bits to suit his playing and the way I sing and the way the others play. So we all contribute but up until recently, it’s been predominately me and Dan.

Damjan: I think that’s really to do with the line-up and it changing as much as it has.

Sarah: Yeah, the line-up has changed but as a band, and I know we’re totally straying away from the question now, but as a band we have totally gelled together. We just need to get Damjan into some good music.

Nico: Going back to what you’ve just been saying about the song writing, since you and Dan are the main songwriters, how does a song writing session go between you two? Do you go off into separate rooms and do your own thing or do you get together and jam?

Sarah: We write really well together. It’s a bit hard for me sometimes because I don’t play guitar. But when I’ve got a riff, I sing it to him and he spends a week working it out but me and him gel and it’s hard to break away from that when we know other people wanna get involved. It’s funny because we’ve had the argument before that no one gets involved and now they’re all wanting to get involved. It’s always relaxed, really, isn’t it?

Dan: Basically, all we do is go into the studio and start working. We always go in with the intention of writing a new song, it’s never one of those things where people say "oh yeah, phoned them in the middle of the night and told them I have an amazing riff". We always go in there and get our ideas together and present. We always do it in the studio, which I find helps because obviously I run it, so we just set up and get going.

Sarah: Legacy London Studios.

Dan: And that’s what good because we always put it from the point of view that we are going to play these songs live as well. We’re not one of those bands goes "let’s go do something that’s completely…" and then you can’t do it live. It’s what I hate, especially when you see certain bands and hear their albums and you think "Fuck me, that’s incredible!" but you know you’ll never hear it.

Nico: That’s true. Going back to what I was about influences earlier, where do you find the influence for your lyrics?

Sarah: Life, people, shit people, good people. I find it easier to write about shit people than good people because they’re really boring. All the shit experiences I’ve had in life, situations, circumstances, situations that have affected the people close to me. I’ve done a few kind of mythological songs, like Sirens and Silence Please. Silence Please is about a banshee, but you know, the evil banshee.

Nico: I thought banshees were always evil. If you look into the Irish mythology…

Sarah: Well, you’ve got the sirens of the sea, which are theoretically banshees as well, since they signify death.

Nico: I always thought the sirens were different to the banshees, with one being Greek and the other being Irish, unless I’ve got something mixed up.

Dan: Yeah, they invented the euro.

Sarah: Sirens lead sailors to the rocks, they use their beauty to lead them to their deaths. But yeah, there’s a few other songs I’ve written about mythology and fantasy. I’m Calling by Angtoria for example, I know this isn’t Angtoria but I’m Calling is about when I used to go into the bathroom and roleplay.

Dan: [suppressed laughter]

Sarah: Don’t laugh! You know like kids have imaginary friends, well I had an imaginary boyfriend who would whisk – Okay, this is what happened. Basically, instead of washing, I would have this thing in my head of this evil man feeding me evil pills and then this prince would ride up and save me from the evil guy. They were little fizzy kinda pills, could have been sterogen for false teeth, I don’t know but I swallowed. That’s what it’s about, just fantasising as a kid. But as I was saying, most of my lyrics are based on shit people, shit in life, bad things. I just cannot sing about good things, I find it very, very difficult. And I can’t sing about things I know nothing about either, like even, Silence Please – My bed use to be near the window and you know foxes make that – beautiful as they are are – make that horrible sound and it’s a scary fucking sound. And I read about banshees once and I was convinced that sound outside my window was a banshee. Used to scare the shit out of me. So, that’s what that’s based on, a nightmare and such. But yeah, I just write about things I know about. As I said, I can’t write about dragons and fucking Endor and…

Nico: So, basically you can’t do the whole Nightwish lyrical concept?

Sarah: I just can’t.

Damjan: I personally have never been into that, so I prefer this kind of thing.

Sarah: I just think you need to sing about what you know, I’m not saying I’ll never expand.

Damjan: I find as a musical listener, that’s the kind of thing you relate to more.

Sarah: And I’ve been very lucky, the fan connection has been phenomenal. The amount of people that come to me and who can relate to my lyrics. I’m glad I can do that. I’m glad I’ve lowered the suicide rate.

Azz: Going back to what you said about lyrics and singing about things you know about, I don’t see how anyone can put emotion and energy into anything that’s bullshit fantasy stuff anyway.

Sarah: Exactly, exactly. I think you need to connect with your audience and you know, a lot of my lyrics are depressing. Like, This Is My Curse is about the fur industry. And I was saying to Dan when I was writing the lyrics, I didn’t want it forced into people’s faces. Most people won’t know it’s about the fur industry, until you read it and see what Dani Filth contributed lyrically. These animals are raised and are treated like absolute shit and then skinned alive for fur, for fashion. And I would loved to have said that in a song but it doesn’t come across and it would have sounded crap. So, you have to find a poetic way to get your message across. And as I said, you gotta have feeling for that audience to believe what you’re singing about, that you have passion about your music. You have to really feel and know to get that message across and I think we do. I know these guys don’t write my lyrics but they know that I am quite a big person but take A Matter Of Convenience, that’s based on people who like to shag around.

Nico: Sounds like the population of Brid to be truthful… Anyway, moving on, you guys have been confirmed to tour with Tristania in Europe later this year. How are you feeling about it? Like going from headline tours of the UK to support act in Europe?

Sarah: Azz isn’t doing the Europe tour and it’s a bit of a sour subject, so he’s sitting out for this one but he will be doing everything else over here over us, which is as equally important but it’s a brilliant step for us because it goes up.

Dan: We’ve met them a few times before as well and we get on really well with them. So, that’s going to be on the things that’s cool about it is the fact that it won’t be strangers walking into the same room together.

Sarah: We just hope this is a step up for us. We’ve got some stuff going on in December and obviously the Female Metal Voices Festival in Belgium as well. We’ve had some amazing things go on this year but the last three weeks has obviously knocked some of us down. Me and Dan mostly, because we’ve put so much into it, that’s not to say no one else but because me and Dan predominately run as much as we can because other people have got other stuff going on. So, it’s affected us more, so hopefully what’s going on the end of this year will set us up for next year.

Dan: And you’re definitely going to see a big change for the next album.

Nico: Sounds good, sounds good. Right, this next question is for you, Sarah. Back in December, you announced you would be featuring on the new Cradle album: Midnight in the Labyrinth, which obviously came as a shock to a lot of us. How did that come about? Because obviously for a while you’ve said you wouldn’t be working again with Cradle of Filth.

Sarah: Nostalgia. I love the old Cradle albums, love the old Cradle songs. To be able to sing those songs again and because I knew it would make a lot of older Cradle fans happy. I thought it would be good for us. I think that me and Dani go well together, vocally.

Nico: Well, to be honest, in my opinion, I think Cradle’s sound, in the female vocals, has drastically gone down hill since you department. No disrespect to your replacement.

Sarah: There’s been a few.

Nico: Really? Why doesn’t anyone tell me these things?

Sarah: Well because it’s band lies. Like when we fire Damjan, it will be due to unforeseen circumstances but really, I don’t think any band really do tell the truth, I don’t think many bands tell the truth. I think some bands find it unprofessional to tell the truth but we try to always tell the truth because in the end you need a fucking good memory to lie. It’s lovely that a lot of people do think that but there’s probably are the same number of people who think I’m shit. But in my defense and I’ve said this in loads of interviews, when you’re just a backing singer in a band, you don’t have any rights and you can’t control how you sound and no one takes you seriously. I’m sure if you flick through YouTube, you’ll find lots of videos taken from mobile phones and other footage of me sounding like I’ve got my head up a cow’s arse. Some of it is atrocious, it’s because if you can’t hear yourself, you can’t pitch and that’s one of the reasons why I was glad to not be with Cradle of Filth any more because I’m a singer. It’s my life and I’ve spent fourteen years doing oohs and aahs and now I can prove I actually have a voice. Going back to do the Cradle album is no big deal and I enjoyed. I said nostalgia but there’s a lot of rumours going around that I’m going to join them. Would I go back? I’ve had this question with Dan, as in Dan Abela. If the circumstances were right, I would do some stuff. But at the end of the day, they also have to want me back. It’s got to be a mutual thing and for the right reasons.

Nico: Speaking of the rumours, I’ve had several e-mails from my readers and your fans, basically asking if there’s ever going to be the possibility of you doing  a tour or a one-off live show with Cradle sometime in the future. doing tracks from the albums you’ve featured on?

Sarah: I can’t answer that. Whatever will be, will be. Under the impression that they 100% don’t have a female singer and they’ve got Wacken coming up. I’ve said to Dani, if you want help, I will step in. Let’s see what holds. But this band comes first! I will not sacrifice anything for this band. This band comes first.

Nico: Going back to what you’ve been saying about Cradle, at the same time you announced that you’d be featuring on the next Cradle album, you said you’d be going back to work with Angtoria at some point in the future, so, what is happening with Angtoria at the moment? When can we expect something from Angtoria?

Sarah: I think again it’s a case of when it happens, it happens. Chris has a studio and he’s so busy working for other bands. We did try put a timeline of May on it but it’s just not gonna happen. It’s gonna be when it happens. I hope we have something by the end of this year. It will happen because me and Chris are close, we get on well and we’re on the same page. It’s the same kind of relationship as me and Dan. It’s really just a case of when it happens and I hope it does.

Nico: Well, I know a lot of your fans, my brother included, want it to happen. So obviously, there’s a lot of people looking forward to any news about Angtoria – Well, any good news about Angtoria. My next question is for you, Dan. Now, obviously you run your own studio, Legacy London, as a studio proprietor, producer and sound guy, how do you feel that home recording is affecting the face of music, compared to studio recording?

Dan: It’s a very hard question because in terms of people doing their own recording, I think there’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s a good thing that people are embracing technology and I think they’re getting better as song writers but a lot of the time I think they’re getting lazier as players, being brutally honest with you. But I don’t think that people realise the amount of time it takes for a band to a good album and this is what you see a lot of these days and people that go into a good studio and spend a good amount of time working on a professional album. You can always tell when a band has a good album and when they’ve half arsed it. Even with bigger bands. You see a lot of bigger bands these days: "Yeah, we decided to self-produce it" and they’ve done a massive record before and funnily enough that massive record before sounds amazing and the next one sounds shite. Fucking shite. The guy who runs the studio with me, Joe, me and him literally spend the best part of the whole day, every day, working with bands and you need that other person’s input, you really do. You need someone else to tell you what’s right, what’s wrong, even like, I’m in my own band and I’m recording it, you lose sight, always. You always lose the goal, you need someone whose got that extra set of ears to tell you where you’re going wrong and where you’re going right and obviously Joe does that for us. But bands need that.

Damjan: I think that really depends on the specific band or person you’re thinking about because one of my other bands, we recorded the drums with Dan and the rest at home but we still had that input from Dan and we’ve been recording with him for years, like EPs and stuff. But I think it depends on what you want out of music and your own personal music and for some people, it’s a money issue as well. It depends what direction you wanna take it.

Nico: Alright, next questions. What would you say is the most challenging thing about being a musician?

Sarah: Most challenging thing? As long as we communicate with each other, there’s nothing that is challenging, as long as we’re honest with each other. We’re not always going to agree with one another, I’m not always going to like his riff and he’s not always gonna like my melody, we’ve just got to make sure we don’t lie to each other and that we communicate with each other and I think a lot of bands have lost that. Now, I do know that the bigger the band gets, the more politics are involved, money, managers. The bigger the bands get, the greedier people get. The more people want a cut of what you do. It’s all us that put in the fucking hard work and as long as we don’t lose sight and are all open minded. I wouldn’t say this is challenging, I’m just saying that we all have to pull our shit together and make it work.

Nico: Last couple of questions now. Where would you like to see the band in five years time?

Dan: I don’t mind where we end up, so long as it’s a natural progression. It’s like I think we have the potential to carry on for another five years but we’ll just see where it ends up really. Maybe in a bin. Hopefully next year, you’ll see a few progressions in the tours and maybe some festivals and another album as well. It should just carry on as it is.

Nico: Alright, before we finish up, do you guys have anything to say to the readers?

Dan: Thank you for your support.

Sarah: Just give us a chance, whether you’re a fan or not. Whoever’s reading, you’ve got to give new bands a chance. So, forget what you think you know. If you’re judging someone on their image, or a bit of footage on YouTube that’s been filmed on a mobile phone, make up your own mind by actually leaving your house and checking these bands out because you could be missing a real gem.

Dan: Put it this way, any band you name, be it In Flames, Soilwork, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, they all started off playing in a pub somewhere. Go support local bands because if you want your next Metallicas and your next Iron Maidens, they’re always going to start in these small venues, so go down and support local metal.

Sarah: Yeah, you have to because all these bands started somewhere with a chance and I know that people don’t have the money and sadly you do have to pay to see a band but nothing’s free. Just because you’re payign a ticket of £6 doesn’t mean the band is getting that money and then off down to the pub later. It’s that ticket price which is helping the bands to play your local area. Without the support and open mindedness of the listener, the scene is going to die and after the conversations with certain good promoters, who are struggling, who are not going to be promoting, the good promoters leave and the little kid promoters come in thinking "Ah, I can make some money from this band" and the moment when that’s what you’ve got in every city, goodbye to the scene, I’m telling ya. We’ve dealt with that, a few kids, even on the first tour with The Dead Lay Waiting, a kid thinking "I’ll charge £9 on the door, this and that, gonna do really well", he lost shit loads of money because he got greedy and cancelled the next show, fucking over the people that were gonna go to that show. I know it costs to do these gigs but it’s not about money, if you believe in the scene, you’ve got to take chances. Don’t read rumours, make up your own mind, you know? Even album reviews, it takes a year…

Dan: He reviews albums…

Nico: Don’t worry about it.

Sarah: What I mean is that it takes us, as a band, a year to write an album, to produce it, to mix it, to master it, to sit down. It takes a reviewer less than five minutes to rip it apart. There’s good productive journalism and there’s fucking lazy journalism that goes "sounds like this band, sounds like that band". Again, there’s a large amount of journalists who want their five minutes of fame. Reviewers need to remember that they have the capability of influencing thousands of people with their opinion and it’s your opinion if you think we’re shit or not. It’s up to the listener to think "This review thinks it’s shit but you know what, I’m going to go check it out". I think we’re losing that ability to think for ourselves and allowing ourselves to be dictated by magazines and adverts.

Nico: Very true. Well, thanks for that, guys and have a great show tonight.

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: Endre Moe [2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 13th February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Nico settles down for some friendly Q and A with Endre Moe, current bassist for Norwegian symphonic black metallers Trail of Tears.

Nico: What made you want to be in a band?

Endre: Ever since I was a young I’ve dreamed about playing in a band. I remember sitting at home watching music videos and wished I was one of the guys on TV. As I very early became interested in playing (drums at that time) it was only natural to start playing in a band after a while.

N: Why did you choose bass and how long have you been playing bass?

E: I started playing drums when I was very young. I played all the time, and I also played with some friends in a band as well. I taught myself how to play the piano, guitar and bass in the same period and I also played in a marching band for seven years. From when I was 15 years to 19 I had a period without playing at all… In 2000 a very good friend of mine asked if I wanted to start a new band and play bass. After that day, I focused 100% on bass playing. I remember I practiced 3-4 hours every day for several years.

N: What’s the current status of Trail of Tears?

E: There is a LOT going on as we speak. We were on tour in China in November and December, and we are working constantly with the new record now. We will also have with auditions for a new drummer. And beside this we are in full swing to book festivals and tours.

N: Any plans for a follow-up to ‘Bloodstained Endurance’?

E: Yes, there is a new record this year. We are working to finish the record now, but some work remains. This will be a symphonic album with a dark undertone and catchy riffs.We have posted some short clips on www.youtube.com/trailoftearsofficial

N: Which Trail of Tears song do you feel defines the band?

E: Hmm, that is a really tough question, but I think it must be a song from the album “A new dimension of might”. If I have to chose it must be “Obedience In the Absence of logic”. This is a song that has everything. The hard verse, fast drums,opera vocal, the riffs and the mighty orchestration.

N:What are your plans for 2012?

E: Get the new record out, and tour! He he

N:If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with Trail of Tears’  music, which film would it be and why?

E: A horror movie with Bruce Campbell. Just because I am a fan of Bruce and I think we could do some crazy symphonic things to add to his movies.

N: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

E: Must be to tour In the US. For me it was a dream come true to play at some of the well known places in the music history. We toured there for one month in 2008, and I have only good memories.

N: Has the departure of Pål Olsen affected the song writing process in any way?

E: Not at all. When he quit the band we were in the process of making new songs so it just felt natural to keep on going without him.

N: Are there any plans for a UK tour in the future?

E: Nothing is booked yet, but it’s not impossible at all. Last time we played in UK was in 2009.

N: Are there any bands in your local area that you’d recommend our readers check out?

E: Cutthroat and Dimension F3h. Hehe, these are the two other bands that I play in.

N: Do you anything to say to any of your fans or the readers?

E: Support metal and read Valkyrian Music!

Interview: Tom Keeley [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 12th February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Cryptic Age are a York-based folk-power metal band consisting of your members. In the last year, they’ve played several gigs around the UK and have gone onto support acts such as Hecate Enthroned and Skyclad, as well headline our own Valkyrian Festival. With the future looking bright for this young band, Nico catches up with Cryptic Age’s bassist Tom Keeley.

Nico: When did you start learning bass and why?

Tom: Started playing bass when I was about 16. Some mates were big into AC/DC and wanted to start a tribute band and they said I looked a bit like Cliff Williams. So I bought a bass and started learning.

N: How did you become a part of Cryptic Age?

T: I was looking for a band as I had been floating in between bands, nothing special, some dodgy metal bands that were going nowhere. So I saw an ad that looked promising and took it up. I was the first to reply luckily, glad I was.

N: What’s the progress of the upcoming album, Sounds of Infinity?

T: The songs are almost all written, I think we might try for another two, maybe a cover, nothing is set in stone. But the bulk of the song writing is finished and we’re all really happy with the sound and looking forward to recording the new material, it’s going to sound massive! We have about half of the album recorded, songs we’ve had for almost a year. So progress is damn good.

N: Will you be touring when the album is out? If so, will you be touring Scotland as well as England?

T: A tour would be incredible but it all costs money, and with only two of us working it’s difficult to fund for just ourselves. But we certainly have gigs booked in the future, trying to get on some big dates. And we are always looking to play further away from home to spread the word, so Scotland would be great, I’ve heard there’s some fantastic venues in Glasgow.

N: Speaking of touring, which band would you most like tour with?

T: Personally I would love for us to tour with Rhapsody, that would be a dream. But in terms of bands we’ve played with already, I would love to play more with Infernal Creation, they are an awesome live band and the more chances I get to see them the better. Would be going to see them support Fleshgod [Apocalypse] but I already bought tickets for Steve Hughes!

N: Later this month, you’ll be supporting Tyr with your other band, Ravenage. How are you feeling about that?

T: It’s of course a great honour to support such a great band and it’s sure to be fun. Also a special gig for me, but maybe I’ll keep that to myself.

N: It’s still early on in 2012, aside for recording and releasing the new Cryptic Age album, what are your plans for the rest of the year?

T: We don’t really have a plan set out for the year. We had one goal last year that we came close to achieving but got pipped at the last hurdle. Maybe this year we can achieve it. Apart from that I guess the overall goal for the band is to get a label behind us to promote the music and play to larger audiences.

Interview: Lost Effect [2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 25th January 2012 by Nico Davidson

Lost Effect started out back in ‘08, surprising the York music scene with their unique blend of influences and staunch vocal vocal. Four years on, Lost Effect are set to reach higher goals. Nico has a chat a quick chat with the band.

Photo by David Ferret Taylor.
Nico: How did Lost Effect come to be?

Lost Effect: Lost Effect formed from the ashes of female fronted metal band Arkandur (formed by Steve Wells and ex-Lost Effect guitarist Carl Barker). Arkandur got themselves a good live following supporting bands such as Rise to Addiction and The Prophecy. With a few members departing, the band decided to re-brand themselves and take a heavier musical direction and also include a harsh vocal style to compliment the female vocals that Arkandur had already been using. This band became Lost Effect.

N: What would you say are the biggest influences on Lost Effect’s music?

LE: The metal genre as a whole is just one huge influence on Lost Effect, our personal influences incorporate a wide range of music and styles. As far as metal bands are concerned, Lost Effect owe a fair amount to Nightwish for kick-starting mine and Carl’s interest in female-fronted metal and forming a band to emulate them. Otherwise Lost Effect try to combine the best of new and classic metal styles to create something unique. Influences could be Black Sabbath one week and Amon Amarth the next.

N: How does the song writing process goes when it comes to writing new material?

LE: Usually, one member of the band will come to band practice with some riffs/lyrics ideas. Once we have that platform to start from the rest of the band will then put their input in and craft their own parts around this base. Sometimes though, one band member will just come in with a whole song and orchestrate the whole thing. Either way we all have active roles in the writing process.

N: With the addition of new vocalist, Emily, do you feel that Lost Effect will reach greater heights than before?

LE: We definitely hope so. It has nothing to do with previous singer Beth’s abilities as Beth was a great singer and an amazing individual, but now we have Emily up to speed with everything, we’re hoping she can bring whatever it is we need to elevate ourselves to the next level.

N: Lost Effect recently recorded the “Salvation of One” EP, what were the most enjoyable and most detestable parts of the recording process?

LE: The recording process is always a love/hate deal. The actual recording itself was dead straightforward, we had many great 1st takes and very little mistakes. The problems we had came during the mixing/editing period as Dave & Steve Wells produced the E.P themselves, it just took a lot longer than expected. We’re really happy with the end result, but seen as though it took a while to actually release, we’re itching to record again right away as we feel we’ve written much better songs since those on the E.P.

N: What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year?

LE: This year is hopefully going to be bigger than anything we’ve ever done before. We’ve played the York venues over and over and we’re really looking to expand our horizons and gig all over, wherever we can! We’ve also been talking very hush hush about perhaps making our next recording our first album. We basically hope to just gig our asses off and get the Lost Effect name out there. We ended 2011 on a high being played on the DJ Beerman show on Top Rock Radio to some great reactions. We’re hoping to bring people some exciting things regarding Lost Effect his year.

Interview: Pepe [2011]

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

Danish thrash-death metal outfit Hatesphere have been a big part of the European metal scene for several years now. Nico has a chat with lead guitarist, Peter “Pepe” Lyse Hansen.

hatesphere07122011
Nico: Do you feel that the new album, The Great Bludgeoning, differs from your previous albums? If so, how?

Pepe: We still sound like HateSphere no doubt about it. But as on all of our other albums it’s the small details that make the difference. I think we have returned a bit to more old school sounds on the new album, both musically and lyrically.

N: Do you have any plans for a UK or European tour in support of the new album?

P: As we speak we are touring on the first of two small headliner runs around Europe in the fall of 2011. The tour should take us to the UK in December on a couple of dates. Furthermore we have plans on a European tour in the spring of 2012 as well, before concentrating on Scandinavia in April and May of 2012. During the summer we will play festivals before returning to the US in the fall of 2012. So, we should have enough to do.

N: Since 2010, there have been two line-up changes in terms of bass and vocals, do you feel these line-up changes have helped develop a new sound for the band?

P: Absolutely. Not only sound-wise but also internally in the band we feel better than ever. The members fit way better in HateSphere. They have tried lots of stuff before, they therefore know what to expect and what not to expect. They are both HateSphere fans, so they also know the music and how they want it to sound. Furthermore we know them from before, so they also fit personally in the band. We are all about the same age, we have tried some of the same things, and this make us stronger as a unit for sure.

N: [Reader’s question] What made you want to play music and how did you come to play metal?

P: I went to school with this guy who played guitar in a band. I got drawn towards it, started listening to hard rock and metal and then finally got my own guitar and started playing. I never dreamed of ever doing albums and touring but having achieved that is just fantastic. The first couple of years I just played by myself but then got into the band that actually later became HateSphere. That was in 1993, so I have been in the band for almost 20 years! It took us 7 years to finally record and album and get good enough to get a record deal but since then things have just developed.

N: As a band, what has been the highlight of your career so far?

P: Touring the US, Japan and China… And to play at some of the biggest festivals in Europe for sure!

N: Are there any bands in Denmark that you would recommend that our readers check out?

P: No new bands have really caught my attention. But check out the older brigade of Danish quality bands like Raunchy, Mercenary, Mnemic, Illdisposed, etc.