THE VISION ABLAZE kinda tripped me into thinking that they were anything but Danes but with that corrected I had to interview them. ©2016 Anders Ekdahl
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
-It did take quite some time – a lot of debate. We made these long lists where each of us argued why one particular name would work, and the rest of us would take this into consideration. We were split in two camps – one wanted an obscure and overtly lyrical name, the other part a one word and simple name. In the end we decided on a compromise that made everyone happy. The Vision Ablaze alludes to a dystopic future – a world in flames. A lot of our songs are about the way mankind handle themselves – how we destroy our world, our minds and entrap ourselves in illusions and lies. This will inevitably lead to our self-destruction – and even now, it’s ruining our lives. The bandname fits that ill omen perfectly well.
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-We’re a melodic metal band from Copenhagen, Denmark. We been playing since 2011, recorded two EP’s before releasing our debut “Youtopia”. While the genre melodic metal fit us quite well, there’s also a certain amount of progressive and death metal in our songs – clean vocals, screams and growls. You’ll find clean guitars, chugging riffs and searing solos. We’ve always wanted to focus on the good melodies – more than trying to fit a certain genre (or subgenre).
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
-We’re all influenced by both metal and other genres. We never actively try to copy a riff or a song. We do, however, try to capture a feeling or the energy of songs we really like. It could be an elated anthem feeling from a great Killswitch Engage song, or a crushing death-metal part from a Decapitated song. It could also be a progressive stint from Between the Buried and Me or a great melodic shift in a Chris Cornell song. We never play cover songs in the band, so similarities to other songs is always incidental. We write songs and piece together the riffs and the composition that brings out the best melody – the song always comes first.
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-Well, being in a metal band will always feel like being part of a big family. Both metal and music, per say, is an experience that defies borders, genders and class. We haven’t jumped a bandwagon – we’re not trying to play a popular genre because it might boost our own popularity. There’s nothing wrong with being part of a wave of something new and exciting – we’ve just always felt, that the music we write comes quite naturally. And it has just never fitted well with trends.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-We actively try to not look super metal. We try not to cross our arms and get tattoos up and down our necks – while it works great for some, we don’t feel it defines us. We care a lot about how our visual identity comes across – whenever we can improve on something, we do it. The main challenge has so far been quite a few line-up changes and funds – while we do have a graphic designer in the band, we lack a great photographer. When you send out a promo package, it has to look good. Good photos, great layout and design of the information you want someone to take an interest in. It can change the attitude of a booker, a record company or simply just make the reviewer pick your package before the others. So it’s a vital part of being in a band that wants to grow.
When we put out visuals, it’s important that it’s based on great ideas and that it looks good – our lyric video for ‘Subversion’ is a good example of this: Pete (our singer) spent countless hours finding the right clips and making the visuals represent the theme of the song. We recorded the video for ‘Under the Killing Moon’ during the night of a full moon – to get the right night-time feel to it – to us the result is stunning, dark and emotion – and having shot it during the night adds a little extra depth to it.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-The world influences our lyrics. They are a vital part of our music – they convey immense emotions and are the key to unlocking our songs. Vocals are a really important part of our music – and that makes the lyrics important too. Thematically, the lyrics will often criticize situations that create imbalanced situations for man – be it authorities, religion or anything similar that tend to dictate our lives through means of tyranny and lies. Often the songs will cry out – pleading for action or regretting the fact that our world is still so full of hate and abusive authority figures.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-It’s difficult for us to say – most of us grew up in the 80’s and while we all remember our first CD, we can’t really say if the album has lost its relevance. One thing that we have come to realize is that as a struggling metal band, no one will take you seriously before you release a full album. It’s like the world wants to test your mettle – to see if you have what it takes to captivate an audience for more than 15 minutes. It’s about staying power, about craftsmanship and dedication to your music. In that respect, there’s no real difference. The real difference seems to be a completely retarded way of distributing the income – the corporations that control the streaming services have immense power. And while older acts that can tour will be able to make a living off it – newer bands will have trouble finding any income from recording an album. So digital is killing the income of the album – though not the importance of it. But it’s still relatively new, and artists are still trying to find their footing.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-We think there’ll always be a market for a luxury physical product – consider the revival of the vinyl. But digital is the future – the vast majority of music users use digital platforms to stream and listen to their favorite artists. The digital world is brimming with opportunities for artists, and those who live off artists (promoters, record companies, bookers, etc) – but there’s simply so much out there that it becomes increasingly difficult to break through. New tools are being tested and created – some work, others do not. In the end, the format is really about the format of the band – not the platform that the band use to put their music out there.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
-We’ve had plenty of live experience, but no touring experience. We are working to change that this very instance; having the debut album out it’s imperative that we play festivals and gain more experience. It’s such an important part of playing in a band and for us, it’s the reward: being able to share our songs with an audience and connect with them. When we take to the stage, we feel the audience – we move with them and they with us. We love being on stage – we love playing. We’re a tight live-band and while we have a very serious take on music, we’re also a smiling band – room for jokes and irony. So a live experience with The Vision Ablaze is fun – it’s also moving and elating.
What lies in the future?
-We’re hard at work booking shows – that’s the future for now. We have to play outside Denmark more – we’ve had many great reviews from Germany, so there’s a potential stage for us there. We’re also working on new songs already – it takes a long time to write material, and we usually do some new songs along the way to ensure we have enough material once we have to record our follow up. We want to tighten up our show even more – and to meet our fans.