A NEW STAR ON THE HORIZON
SHE CAME, SAW AND CONQUERED! MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) BASED NEW EXCITING SYMPHONIC METAL SINGER VICTORIA K, WHO’S DEBUT ALBUM ‘ESSENTIA’ WAS RELEASED ON APRIL 24TH THROUGH ITALIAN LABEL ROCKSHOTS RECORDS. SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW HER ALREADY FROM NUMEROUS COVER SONGS SHE LAUNCHED ON THE YOUTUBE CHANNEL, SUCH AS NIGHTWISH’S ‘LAST RIDE OF THE DAY’ AND WITHIN TEMPTATION’S ‘FASTER’. OR PERHAPS YOU KNOW HER FROM HER FIRST SOLO STEPS OFF THE DEBUT ALBUM, ‘THE HAUNTING’, ‘MATRIX’ AND ‘FORSAKEN’. WE FROM FEMALE FRONTED POWER HAD AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE METAL LADY FROM DOWN UNDER ABOUT HER NEWBORN, ‘ESSENTIA’.
VICTORIA K. was originally meant as a solo project, but ended up as a full band. What made you decide to form a band after all and where did you get your crews?
VICTORIA: The project was a solo project. I recorded ‘Lacuna‘ and off the back of the song I was blessed to be selected to support Eluveitie at their Melbourne show. The search was on for the right musicians to play that show. We all got along so well and we could all see a great opportunity to move forward as a band. Here we are today.
More than once, your music has been compared to that of Nightwish, Within Temptation and Evanescence and not by chance have you done some covers from these bands. Are they also your main influences? Anyone else?
VICTORIA: I have recorded covers by all these bands. They are certainly some of my main inspirations and influences. I also love Kamelot and Epica.
Your whole project started with the debut single ‘Monster‘ in 2016, but how did you turn this single beast (not literally, of course) into a complete beauty (literally), as ‘Essentia‘ is? Fill us in about the writing process and recording of ‘Essentia‘, please?
VICTORIA: The album is made of music that I had written over many years. When we decided to produce an album it was a process of elimination. We started with about 30 songs and short listed them to about 17 songs. We created very quick demos of the songs and then over several weeks of continual listening we shortlisted the songs that would work best. I wrote all the lyrics and created the melodies and structures on the piano. These were taken to our producer Lee Bradshaw where all the ideas, compositions and arrangements were refined. Lee created and wrote all the orchestral compositions to go with the material. Once all the instruments and the orchestrations were recorded we recorded all the vocals. All the material was sent off to Michael Wuerth of Long Island Sound Studios, NYC where the album was mixed and mastered.
3 Songs on ‘Essentia‘ feature Sheri Vengeance from the melodic death/thrash metal band Black Like Vengeance, also from your city Melbourne. How did this unique cooperation come about? Have you tried to do the extreme vocals yourself first?
VICTORIA: That’s an interesting question. I wanted to, and still want to, learn extreme vocals. When I first spoke to my producer about it he wanted me to get advice from someone he knew that sang in that style, because I was so young and so I didn’t damage my voice. He put me in touch with Sheri. We spoke over Skype a few times and got along really, really well. Soon after the album was in post-production and the first choice for the extreme vocalist role was of course Sheri Vengeance. She is just incredible and brings a new layer of depth to the songs she is featured on.
Another guest player on ‘Essentia‘ is Eluveitie’s Michalina Malisz. You two met at the Melbourne gig where you supported them in 2019 and decided to do ‘something’ together? And why did you need a hurdy gurdy on ‘Shroud Of Solitude‘?
VICTORIA: I loved the sound of Hurdy Gurdy from the first time I heard it. ‘Shroud Of Solitude’ has a more “folk” feel to it and I always imagined the Hurdy Gurdy have a key role in that song. I was discussing the Hurdy Gurdy with Lee just as we had been announced as the support act for Eluveitie. He was all for it and could see it working well in the song. Next thing you know Michalina agreed to be a part of the project. She is an incredible person, so giving and kind and just lovely to work with.
The resemblance with Amy Lee’s Evanescence is best heard on ‘Lacuna‘ and the 2nd song ‘Surreal‘, but where does the Middle-Eastern part at the end of ‘Surreal‘ come from?
VICTORIA: The Middle-Eastern references come directly from my Greek heritage and are sounds that I grew up listening to. I guess you can say it is in my blood. Those sounds just feel ‘natural’ to me and are very intriguing to listen to. I just love the vibe.
In what way is ‘Lacuna‘ on the album different from the previous version? Would you agree that ‘Lacuna‘ is a song that Amy Lee would love to have written?
VICTORIA: There is a difference in the songs. The album version is longer than the radio edit. The radio edit version was released in Australia only and was distributed by Warner Music Australia. We wanted to keep the song shorter so that it was more in line with Australian cultural and radio airplay expectations. Amy Lee is just an incredible songwriter and has written some of the most memorable amazing songs of all time. For me, to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Amy, is an honor and just incredibly humbling.
‘Essentia‘ was produced by Lee Bradshaw for Bradshaw Music Productions, who did also the keyboards, piano and synthesizer parts on the album as well as all the orchestral parts. Would there not have been an ‘Essentia‘ without him?
VICTORIA: There would not be a VICTORIA K without Lee Bradshaw. I have been working quite extensively with Lee since I was 9 or 10 years old. He has been instrumental in my development as a singer and musician. His development, mentoring and guidance over the many years means that VICTORIA K can now present to the world ‘Essentia’. Having said that he still does what I say (lol).
Who designed the beautiful front cover of ‘Essentia‘ and can you tell us what it is or what it stands for?
VICTORIA: The artwork was designed by a very talented Brazilian digital artist, Fabio Araujo of Art Studio Design. When we saw his work we knew we had to use him for our album artwork. The artwork displays the dark, brooding mood of the album and the isolation we feel as people when we get caught up in our own thoughts. There is always light (moon light) available though that can help guide us through the darkness we feel.
‘Essentia‘ will do great on the European market, but as for now with the COVID-19 situation, it’s impossible to travel for bands. But is there any chance we will get to see VICTORIA K live in Europe next year with the same line-up as on the album?
VICTORIA: There is every possibility VICTORIA K will be in Europe next year, its definitely on our bucket list. The live band line-up is very solid so we’ll all be there to hang out with our European fans. We can’t wait to be there with you all!