Want to hear an amazing album full of epic metal? Then look no further for the debut Valhalore album is all you’ll need. Filled with tons of killer riffs, soaring vocals, pounding bass and drums and folk instruments, “Voyage Into Eternity” will make you want to raise your sword and enter the battle. Guitarist Anthony Willis answered some questions for us from their home town of Brisbane, Australia regarding the new album, their influences, playing live and a few other things….check it out…..
Congrats on your amazing debut album “Voyage Into Eternity”….have you been getting some reviews and feedback yet on it?
“Thanks Jeff! Yes we have actually. I’ve seen some love from Metal Obsession, Heavy Magazine, Folk Metal.NL of course, and some radio play. I have seen some feedback, but the real test I will be keen on seeing is when the album drops tomorrow – giving me a chance to see people’s reactions. I can’t wait!”
Prior to “Voyage….”
Prior to “Voyage….”, you had released a few EP’s and singles, all of the tracks being included on the album, was this part of the plan to begin with?
“We actually wanted to release the album straight up 2 years ago. No EP. But then we realised it was unrealistic, and even since then, a lot has changed. Especially with the music and the process of recording the music (We have real drums/guitars/bass now!). So with that, we wanted to re-recorded the EP songs and our 2016 single Upon The Shores to release our album exactly how we intended for it to sound all those years ago. So I guess it was a part of the plan, we just didn’t know it back then.”
There are two presumably “newer” tracks on the album or ones not previously released that I know of (“The Winterstone” and “Guardians Of Time”) Are these in fact newer tracks or ones that just had never been officially released before?
“Technically, the title track “Voyage into Eternity” has never been heard before either. We have been playing The Winterstone live locally and on our recent Australian tour with Lagerstein. We have played “Forth the Red Sun Rises” and “By the Light of Funeral Pyres” live before with Eluveitie. But these are all songs to the majority of people will be unfamiliar. Especially considering a live sense is much different to hearing an audio recording. Other songs we have played live before as well (“By Moon and Stars”). So if you are someone that has seen every one of our live shows and owns our music, you would have technically heard 8 out of the 10 songs from our album. However, given that the audio recordings of these songs are vastly different to live, we think it will be like listening to brand new songs all over again. And we can’t wait!”
How does you writing and practicing schedule work in Valhalore? Does everyone contribute to the songs? How often do you practice?
“We try and practice weekly. Usually Sunday works for us as we all have day/night jobs, and Sunday is the day that lines up for everyone. Song-writing wise, I took most of the duties for writing the songs on “Voyage Into Eternity” (it was actually written back in 2013-2014). But newer material will have everyone in the band contributing to the final product.”
“there were 400-500 people there – just to see folk metal. We couldn’t believe it! There is a scene, and it is growing.”
Stylistically, you have numerous genres you touch on and seemingly endless influences….what style do you think your music is and who are some of your biggest influences? Influences outside of music like books and movies?
“For me personally, I like classifying our music as ‘epic metal’. Music that will inspire you and give you goosebumps, while also making you want to raise a fist and drink boisterously into the night. Stylistically, I want to say we sound like Valhalore. But we do have a similar sound at times akin of Wintersun, Eluveitie, Ensiferum, and Amon Amarth. Outside influences include nature, and the majesty of our beautiful planet. Oh, and Lord of the Rings.”
Geater and Beyond
Australia is home to some amazing folk metal bands such as Trollgasm, Lagerstein, Saralisse, Claim The Throne, Stormtide and many others….. is there really a folk metal “scene” in Australia?
“There are so many emerging folk metal bands in Australia, it’s fantastic. I’d say we’re relatively quite new to the folk metal scene. But from what I’ve seen, it’s booming. We opened for Eluveitie in Brisbane last May, and there were 400-500 people there – just to see folk metal. We couldn’t believe it! There is a scene, and it is growing.”
From all appearances, it seems that Valhalore does not seem to shy away from throwing almost anything into a track whether it is different vocals, different styles, tempos, instrumentation, etc……do you all have a “philosophy” that you are open to trying a little bit of everything?
“The goal of the band is to really go ‘greater and beyond’. That’s what “Voyage Into Eternity” essentially means, and that’s why it means so much to us as a band. We want to strive for greater, bigger, and better, all the time. So we don’t want to ever limit ourselves to a particular method. Although, I have found a musical method that works for us at this point in our career. But the method is uniquely Valhalore, which is exciting.”
Is playing live a big part of Valhalore? What are some of the pros and cons? You have a pretty decent tour coming up to support the album as well?
Huge part! Our show is a different aspect of our band. It’s an experience, as opposed to just listening to a band play music. There are no cons – despite gear not working, things being unorganized, or whatever it may be, we always push through to make each show our best!
It will happen
Are there plans to tour outside of Australia in the near future? What are some of the challenges in doing that and do your lives outside of the band allow for that to happen?
“No concrete plans, but we would like to. We’ve talked about it. We would go to Europe and tour there. Challenges include money of course, and then for everyone to find a block of time where they could dedicate for touring overseas. I’m sure it will happen.”
At this point you do everything independently as far as music releases via your website and bandcamp… are you hoping to sign to a label or is it not a concern? How comfortable are you with doing all of the marketing and promotion of the music yourselves?
“Look, it’s not really a concern at the moment. We’re learning a lot doing things independently. I’m sure there’s things we will do better next release as well. But for this one, I think we have done all we can with our current resources. Most of us really like doing the promotion and marketing ourselves – it’s fun! It’s fun to receive feedback about it too.”
Support the band directly
Music is easily downloadable and accessible….do you have a thought on this? Is it OK to not be compensated as long as the music gets out there?
“I do think artists should be compensated, but only if the consumer would like to support the band directly (where the band gets 100% of the profit). That’s why I like Valhalore being independent for the time being, as we have control. But hey, if people want to spread our band through downloading and streaming, go for it! That’s just how things are these days. I’d rather embrace it than be opposed to the idea, and share our music with everyone!”
Any favorite music for you from 2016 or 2017 so far?
“Yes – Wintersun’s The Forest Seasons! Bring it on!”
“To check out VOYAGE INTO ETERNITY in FULL please see our Bandcamp page: https://valhalore.bandcamp.com/album/voyage-into-eternity. Alternatively, see our official website for unique merch items and more information: www.valhalore.com. THANK YOU to Jeff, Folk Metal NL, and all of our supporters worldwide! Thanks for joining us on our Voyage Into Eternity!”