The Baltics have a lot of Folk Metal appeal, not only does it have incredible scenic beauty, but it is also very close historically and geographically to viking influence and it is one of those regions that, for the most part, maintained tradition in the face of Roman influence and later monastic crusaders. So it should come as no suprise that Romuvos from Lithuania can get tons of mileage by drawing from these aspects of Baltic heritage. In honour of their upcoming release, we contacted Velnias with some questions to find out more about their current project as well as their musical inspirations.
For readers unfamiliar with Romuvos, how would you describe your band?
Romuvos is a Baltic folk metal with clean vocals and distorted riffs, we exist since the debut album: “Romuvan Dainas”, while it was one man band, the band was formed and the 2nd album “Infront Of Destiny” came out at 2016. We are preforming live and working on the 3rd album these days.
The music tend to be epic “bigger than life” melodies and the combination of native instruments. I think that my biggest inspirations are bands like Bathory, Falkenbach, Summoning and of course the great natures and folk stories from the Baltic area.
Lately, you’ve been working on a new album. What can you reveal about it at this point?
“It is a concept album, about specific wars from the Baltic history taking place at 1236 to 1279.
Each song represent a different war, those are very important turn points in the history of the Lithuanian and Latvian people, it’s the last pagan battles against Christianity and the Livonian order which invaded to the Baltic region. That was the last pagan culture in all of Europe as well.”
Some of the tracks on Romuvos’s albums, especially Romuvan Dainas, use nature imagery that are, for lack of a better word, captivating. While Lithuania itself does not lack scenic beauty by any stretch of the imagination, the songs mention Fjords and waterways that aren’t necessarily present in the country. So I wanted to inquire which specific locations inspired the range of scenery present on the first two albums.
Quite a few of your songs use vivid descriptions of landscapes and terrain in their lyrics, could you tell us one or two locations these songs are based on and what significance they have to you?
“I get inspired by nature and I use it in my lyrics indeed, some of landscapes I sing about are in the northern side of the Baltic sea, Sweden and even the fjords in one case. On other songs I use specific locations leading south to Istanbul, and in other cases I use elements which describe best the Lithuanian and Latvian culture and nature as amber stones, the Baltic shores and green forests and fields which cover most of that area.”
Another aspect of Romuvos’ music is that it doesn’t necessarily kick into overdrive with high speed shredding that often, nor does it come across as harsh or extreme. The traditional Metal elements are there, as are the folk elements, but the songs feel grand and somewhat atmospheric making it feel a bit Doomy despite having nothing to do with that genre. It is difficult to describe, but it still pulls off the Folk sound interestingly enough without having folk instrumentation play a major role. I asked about this and about the implementation of Folk instrumentation live, before winding down the interview.
Unlike a lot of Folk Metal music you don’t put that much emphasis on Folk instruments in particular. Is there any reason why you haven’t implemented live folk instruments on a large scale?
“I am a metal head, and that what Romuvos is first about. The Folk instruments are more in the background and they are used to give that color and sound which fits the music, but I would say that guitars drums and vocals are most important to me as a producer. Although we gonna add few very nice Folk instruments in the 3rd album but not to a point where it would define the band’s sound and style.”
Your style is more serene and more atmospheric than most folk metal bands, but seeing as you don’t necessarily play typical atmospheric metal, stylistically, why did you choose to take that approach with your music?
“It would sound corny but its true, I didn’t think about those specific elements when I started to write the music, it goes along with the process, I think that writing music for me it’s a kind of magic, ritual I might say, so it gets to the music due to my approach probably. I might add that I am very inspired from mythical stories and grew up playing D&D, found my self later on in love with metal music first because it is so atmospheric and deep. Escape from reality is art’s best side effect.”
For a closing comment Velnias had some very inspirational advice about how to go about living life. Even if readers have their own outlook his sentiments are undeniably sound advice.
Finally, have you got any closing remarks for people reading this?
“Yes, do what you love as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, respect your surroundings and try to be open minded as much as you can. Don’t be a missionary and don’t think you just found all life’s answers, be proud only on your achievements and not just things that you didn’t do shit to get, like the color of your skin, your nationality, you choose your path in life though your destiny will surprise only you, we fight and than we die, try to rest here and there as well and have some good time ;)
Hails from Velnias brothers and sisters!”