The first EVERDAWN album “Cleopatra” came out in 2021 and was dedicated to the ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra (69-30 BC). It is now more than two years later and successor “Venera“ has just been released on Frontiers Music srl. This time, the band leaves Earth and travel through the universe without causing a new Star Wars (“Love is the greatest force in the Universe”) in 14 tracks lasting just over an hour. We spoke with Russian born singer Alina Gavrilenko, who now is a Canadian citizen, about the new album. May the Force be with us!
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
Привет Alina, have you been busy with the release of the new EVERDAWN album “Venera”?
Privet, privet! Oh definitely, last few weeks especially, as we’re so busy with interviews, promo and new music videos. But overall just the excitement for the world to finally hear our work is keeping me up at night.
Mike Le Pond is no longer in the band, but is he still active on the background as a supervisor?
If we ever need help or advice, he’s always there. After all he is a founding member and just our close friend as well. So Mike has always been there for support if we need him, plus he’s the best friends with Alan, who’s our current bass player.
After Mike was replaced by bassist Alan D’Angelo, EVERDAWN went on tour through Europe with the legendary axeman Michael Schenker. Do you have a precious moment from that tour, one you’ll never forget?
The entire experience was precious from start to finish, honestly. I couldn’t pin a specific moment, as the whole time on that tour felt like a dream. We all got along so well with the band and the crew, that it felt like one big family. It has definitely solidified my choice of being a full time musician, as I’ve felt like I truly belong in that environment. Fit in as smooth as a knife into warm butter, as the saying goes.
“Venera” is the follow up to EVERDAWN’s debut album “Cleopatra”. Is there a general theme again on “Venera”?
Well, I would certainly say that I doubled down on the astro theme this time around. At the beginning, I didn’t think to write so much lyrics about stars and space, but there was such a strong vision in my mind about it. When I first closed my eyes and listened to music, it just couldn’t be about anything else. Specifically for our title track “Venera”, the inspiration just came to me in seconds. From the first notes I had this strong space imagery in my head, it just had to be written. I get so much inspiration from the Universe that I guarantee that on the next record I will briefly cover this endless topic that is “space” once more.
The new album was recorded in the fall of 2022 and mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen. He works a lot with bands like EVERDAWN, but how did you get him to do “Venera”, as he must have been very busy at the time you asked him?
He’s definitely one of the best, and thus the busiest in the industry. So we all are so proud that Jacob worked on our album after all. My drummer Dan actually reached out to him via Facebook. Said that we loved his work and were wondering if he’d be interested to work with us. A few days later, he got back to us saying he would love to work together as he really likes what we do and apparently he has been following us for a while. The rest is history. Jacob is simply phenomenal.
The cover art of “Venera” is more or less the same as that on “Cleopatra” with a woman in the center. Who’s responsible for the cover?
Visuals is my strongest suit, so yet again, the art work concept was my crazy mind incarnate. I am so grateful that the guys trust me with that element of our albums because I take it above and beyond serious. “Cleopatra” was brought to us by Gyula Havancsák (Týr, Ensiferum, Sirenia, Stratovarius) and “Venera” was done by Zsofia Dankova. She is known for working with Powerwolf. When I saw her work, there was no doubt in my mind that she was “our” girl. And boy did she deliver! Over a 100 back and forth emails later, and we have a perfect piece of art.
“Venera” was released on December 8th through Frontiers Music srl. Why did you chose them and when did you sign the contract?
When our management were shopping our new album around, we got Frontiers contacting us almost right away. Them being a prestigious reputable heavy metal label, we were honoured that they believed in us and had no doubts that this is our new “home”. Since the summer we’re part of their metal roster.
When I think about it, EVERDAWN are right up Frontiers alley as it comes to the music they generally release. Did they mention that?
Mario of Frontiers once said “For all symphonic metal fans, this is easily the best new band in the genre coming out of North America.” We’re very honoured for such praise.
His name has appeared earlier in this interview, but the guitar intro of “Truer Words Ever Spoken” sounds a lot like Michael Schenker, he didn’t secretly…? No, Richard Fischer was just inspired by him when he recorded this, wasn’t he?
Michael Schenker has been a big influence on Richard’s playing for a long time. It’s an honour that his playing is compared to Michael’s.
Speaking of this song, do you know any truer words ever spoken than Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” or John F. Kennedy’s “ich bin ein Berliner”?
“Love is the greatest force in the Universe.”
“Truer Words Ever Spoken” also has a couple of playful intermezzos, like the street sounds with sirens. Who’s idea was that?
As for the interludes of “Truer Words”… the idea was to reflect/capture a journey of a traveler in distance and time. There are African, Ottoman, Middle Eastern, Ragtime and a modern sections culminating at the end of the world as we know it through apocalyptic ending. Underscoring that the world is beautiful while not perfect and we must cherish and preserve it. Sort of echoing my lyrics in the “The Last Eden” on “Cleopatra”.
Since “Venera” will already be out when this interview is published, maybe it is better for the fans to discover the rest of the album themselves. We can talk about videos instead. First you released the lyric video for “Cassiopea”. Cassiopea was the wife of king Cepheus of Aethiopia and mother of Andromeda. Did you read a lot about her before you wrote the lyrics?
Funny enough , we decided to completely change the original lyrics for the song the night before I had to come in and track the final version in the studio on the very last day of our tracking period. So I literally had maybe 3 hours tops for everything, Ironically, it is my best lyrical work yet. It’s amusing how these things are… you never know when the inspiration strikes, and also I do work really good under pressure, so I’m glad how the lyrics turned out at the end. “Die but do” kind of mentality was at stake here.
On November 16th, EVERDAWN released an official music video for “Century Black”. In the video we see two persons in black among a bunch of people in white who are having a masked ball. The male person gives the female a poisoned fruit and takes her with him to a place that looks like hell. So, this is all about the infinite struggle between good and bad?
The video turned out quiet ambiguous, so it is open for interpretations. However I would say that the pomegranate was not an accident, and in fact was a strong symbol clarifying who exactly the characters in black were. Following the theme of ancient Greek myths, we see in “Cassiopeia”, we used the myth of Hades abducting Persephone (with a twist) and getting her to commit to him in the Underworld as his Queen once she bit a few seeds of the fruit. A fascinating story truly…
Will there be more videos from the album after the release of “Venera”?
We would love to, of course! However, not too sure what we could do after the release. It’s not in our hands. That is something that we’ll have to clarify with Frontiers.
Albums are made by musicians for themselves and for the fans, but the latter also want to see you play the songs from “Cleopatra” and “Venera” live. Are they going to?
Absolutely. Currently we’re preparing a CD release party in New Jersey that will be solely “Venera” in its entirety to commemorate the release. However, once we hit the road, the fans can sleep at peace knowing that all their favourite bangers from “Cleopatra” will be on the set list as well.😉