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Valkiria - Interview

Interview with: Valkus
Conducted by: T.V.

Last year Italian band Valkiria released a great, already their fifth album entitled Here The Day Comes, released by Italian growing label Bakerteam Records. The best work this band ever did was also nominated in Terra Relicta Dark Music Awards 2012, where it made it into the final round. It's not that we have an everyday chance to listen such an oustanding elaborate piece of art as this album offers with its combination of Gothic Metal, Doom and Black Metal.
The story of Valkiria began back in 1996 when Valkus founded the band. Since then many line-up changes occured, but it seems that Valkus finally found the right person in Mike who shares his musical view. In the recording process of their last album the band worked with well noted drummer Giuseppe Orlando, better known from Novembre, The Foreshadowing and Airlines Of Terror. So, we did an interview with Valkus to get more insight into the bands story, music and of course into the background of their last album Here The Day Comes.


T.R.: Here The Day Comes is out for almost a year now, so how are you satisfied with this one and what about the response from media and fans?
Valkus: The response was bigger than we could have ever imagined, we play a kind of metal not so “popular”, but it seems that people liked it very much, so we are really satisfied under any aspects. We play to gratify ourselves, but it’s obviously a great pleasure, when the music you created is loved by so many people.
T.R.: It has a very interesting lyrical concept, quite metaphorical. Can you tell me more about that?
Valkus: I usually start writing an album by a concept that grows up with the songs day by day, in this case the same very title of the song was inspiring as well, before I'd compose it. I’m still analyzing the real meaning of this concept, and I'd like anyone to say his own word about it. Basically I just can say I tried to synthesize the life of a man in a long day, with different phases of the day/life.
T.R.: Here The Day Comes is the first album that is not self-released for Valkiria. How did you get in touch with Bakerteam Records and how are you satisfied with this label so far?
Valkus: I never trusted any labels, that’s the reason why I did everything by myself with all my previous albums. Bakerteam represent to us a sort of step forward, we wanted to break up with the past and that was a big change. They did what I imagined so our expectations haven't been deluded so far, but I’ve to say also that we didn’t expect that much.
T.R.: The music of yours goes through many changes from album to album, is this the consequence of the fact that you are still searching for the right musical approach of yours?
Valkus: I can’t say I am one of those musicians who fear to write the same album over and over again, if any album is different is because I am growing as person and as musician, in a word I am each new day different from what I was the day before, that’s is also with my music, because music is a part of me and I think that every musician or artist in general is always looking for the perfect work.
T.R.: So, why have you used black metal kind of vocal approach this time?
Valkus: I wanted a harder sound for this album, a sort of return to the origin, in fact when I started with this project I played a style of music very close to black metal. I think that this vocal style fits perfectly with the emotions I wanted to communicate, a continuos contrast between melody of the guitars and the acid rage of the vocals, but as I said I like changing the style of albums and I can anticipate, even if nothing it's decided for sure, that in the next one we will have the clean singing again.
T.R.: Also the fact that you took over all vocal duties seems interesting...
Valkus: I started singing the songs, and I liked it, so I thought there were no reasons to look for someone else for this role. I did not growl for a long time and it was difficult restart singing that way and I suffered a bit, but it was worth doing it.
T.R.: Have Valkiria ever played live?
Valkus: No we didn’t. We tried to tour in order to promote Here The Day Comes, but we had a lot of problems with the line up, so we have decided to renounce. I am honestly not interested in playing live, if this means receiving a lot of stress. So I can say we are still wait for the right conditions to do it and in the meantime we enjoy the fact to be only a project band. We can experience all that comes to mind, or invite any guest musician without worrying about not being able to bring live all the stuff we compose.
T.R.: How it was working with Giuseppe Orlando and how did you got in touch with him?
Valkus: During all the last years we've been working with the drum machine, that was not our choice, but we had to. I actually didn't mind about that, that's how we always did. But with Here The Day Comes we wanted to break this tradition and the first and only name which came into our mind was Giuseppe who is an old friend of Mike, so it was easy to contact him. I have always admired his style of playing drums, he did exactly what we wanted, so it was a good deal for Valkiria without any doubts.
T.R.: You worked with a lot of different musicians so far. With who it was most interesting?
Valkus: That's a good question, but i think the word "interesting" is not the proper one. I would dare saying that we should think about who gave less problems! Music is one of the most important things in my life, but despite all the efforts I keep doing it is always so hard to deal with other musicians, and often a bit sad as well. I have to use all control by myself to stand the others' lack of willingness. Anyway, at present Valkiria is a duo that works very well, so if I have to mention one name among Valkiria past and present members, who deserve all my respect, that's Mike.
T.R.: Beside Valkiria, are you involved in any other band or musical project?
Valkus: I was involved in the past in another project called 41Chains, I recorded three demotapes, but I never promoted them and only few persons have listened to them. I quit it cause a lot of that ideas flowed in Valkiria. Sometimes I think to give new life to that project or to create a new one and probably the time has come, since I have composed too many good songs, with very different styles, and the new album can't contain them all.
T.R.: What can you tell me about the video clips for the song "Sunrise" and upcoming for the song "Dawn"? How did you enjoyed this process?
Valkus: We always wanted to make a video, it was our desire since the beginning of our career. So when we had the opportunity last year we did it straight away. The idea was to represent the concept of the album, and that's not simple just with one song, so we made up another clip as an ideal continuation of the first video "Sunrise". It was very exciting to write the storyboard, approaching this new way of expression which includes not only music but also images. We wanted to do something different from the classical Metal video, a sort of short movie that tells a story which can be read in many different ways. Basically that was an experience that we're going to repeat in the future, also because we're sure we can do it even better.

T.R.: Have you already started to compose new songs and when can we expect new things from
Valkus: We are fully immerged in the composition of the new stuff, but we have no idea where we are going as we're composing without any boundaries whatsoever... so I just can say that the next one is not going to be a classical metal album, as we are blending altogether our style with other genres and inspirations.
T.R.: Can you share some words about bands name Valkiria?
Valkus: I chose that name at a very young age, at that time I even didn't play guitars yet. I took it from a commodore 64 videogame called "Archon", a sort of chess game with warriors fighting on a chessboard. I didn't know at that time what valkirias were, as well as I ignored all the norse mythology, I just liked that name and that's it. I just thought: oh that would be a great name for a band whenever I decided to do one... and that happened for real!
T.R.: Which artists or bands have given you the biggest inspiration on your musical path?
Valkus: I've been listening tons of Metal albums since i was a teen, and many of that had an influence on my style, in primis: Metallica, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Accept and guitars heroes like Malmsteen and Satriani. After that I moved forward to something harder, death and black Metal were the answer with bands like Deicide, Morbid Angel, Emperor, etc... for what concerns the end of nineties, I could say Katatonia, Anathema, My Dying Bride. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list.
T.R.: I think that music of yours is very hard to describe, still, can you give us your own opinion and description about it?
Valkus: That's not an easy question, even for us! When we had to choose a short description about the last album we decided to call it "gothic doom". That's obviously not an exhaustive form, as we got vocals very close to black metal, atmospheric clean guitars, keyboards but also slow riffs with a lot of harmonized guitars. Well, I guess it should be simply called Valkiria's style.
T.R.: Any words about the recent situation in the world,... economical, political and social crisis?
Valkus: I think of the positive side of this crisis as an opportunity to finally change something in this world, hopefully in a better way. We always should consider any kind of crisis in that way. Speaking about Valkiria I can say that we had a lot of crisis, but we always came over them, becoming even stronger in the process. That should be the same when it comes the actual situation, I think people have received a big kick in the ass, and maybe they have actually realized that living as we did so far is just not possible. I hope it's just the beginning of something that might lead us straight to a more spiritual and not egoistic living.
T.R.: Thank you for all the answers and are there any last thoughts that you would like to share with us?
Valkus: I hope what I said in the last answer will become reality, and don't forget that music is a powerful way to increase our mind power, listen to it conscientiously and try to manage those vibrations in a positive way.

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Valkiria articles: Here The Day Comes - review