After they had released their excellent album “Illuminated“ in 2019, I really thought the die had been cast for metal melodic metal band VINTERSEA from Oregon in the United States. But then some tenacious virus named Covid-19 and its mutant variants got in the way. But the steady wins the race and on May 5th, VINTERSEA will be back with a new album “Woven Into Ashes“ on M-Theory Audio. We had a nice interview with front woman Avienne Low about what happened since “Illuminated“ and we discussed the new album in every aspect.
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
Hello Avienne, we haven’t had the pleasure yet to speak to each other, so nice to meet you. How are you doing?
I’m feeling fine and dandy, thank you for having me! It’s a busy time since we are preparing to leave soon to tour with Moonspell, Eleine and Oceans Of Slumber!
Please take us back to September 2019, VINTERSEA released “Illuminated” and what happened then?
“Illuminated” is our sophomore LP and I think we really developed our sound, style and mixing production since our first LP “Gravity Of Fall”. However, the album was released right before Covid took over the world. We had to adapt to the change since we were not able to tour for the album or play any shows. We kept our ‘Covid bubble’ small and produced music videos with a skeleton crew. I think the way we adapted allowed us to expand our reach online and we met a lot of our fans and followers that way (digitally, of course!).
VINTERSEA’s new album “Woven Into Ashes” will be released on May 5th. When did you decide to go back into the studio again? Did you write the songs before that or did you still have to work on them during the recording process?
I went back to the studio when each song was solidified in terms of the melodies and lyrics that I would sing and recorded the vocals from April 2022 to September 2022. Some of the vocal parts were being written up until the time it came to record. We finished writing the vocals for one of my favorite tracks on the album “Into The Horizon” less than a week before it was recorded! Some of the harmonies on the album were even developed in the studio. Sometimes magic can happen with a little bit of pressure in the right environment!
How do these things happen? Does Jeremy first record the drum parts, then bassist Karl comes in, after that guitarists Jorma and Riley do their riffs and solos and finally you enter the studio for the vocals?
The first person in the studio is always our drummer Jeremy Spencer! After drums are recorded, the axes (both bass and guitar) get recorded. There really isn’t an order because demos are already recorded at that point, so whomever can come in gets recorded. Vocals typically are recorded in the studio last, but I have recorded to the demo guitars too. Jorma also does our orchestrations and those orchestrations get added just before the album is mixed.
On March 15, VINTERSEA released the first single from the new album, “At The Gloaming Void”. Although there is a story in the official music video, can you still explain what the song is about?
The album’s concept is about the lifecycle and journey of a soul and each song represents a phase in that cycle. “At The Gloaming Void” is about the soul’s inner demons arising causing despair and chaos. At that point they have already lived hedonistically and are left empty, while being engulfed by darkness. However it is also in this song where they become aware of their spirit guide.
Less than a month later there’s already the second single, “Unveiling Light”. It looks like it was recorded in two sessions. One where you have a coat on (cold) and one where you look very… eh… comfortable (warm)?
That music video was recorded the same day! I went without the jacket for the band shots because I was already warm from moving so much, and while waiting I had my nice plush jacket to keep me warm in the cold warehouse. The filmmaker Karl liked the look of the jacket and decided I should shoot with it on!Cover arts always intrigue me and the one for “Woven Into Ashes” is very fascinating. Who created it and please say in your own words what it represents in relationship to the album title.
The artwork was developed by Xenoyr of Ne Obliviscaris, who also created the artwork for our album “Illuminated”! I think he nailed the vibe and brought life to the album name “Woven Into Ashes”. I love the art he made because it can be interpreted in many ways, but to me the art shows the main soul fighting his demons and battles while running against time. His strife is ‘woven’ into his life which ultimately turns into ash and decay, like all things that were once alive.
Most of the songs have both clean and harsh vocals. How do you decide where you are going to use which voice on a song?
The ‘feels’ are the most important thing in music to me, and I think about that a lot when I write my vocal parts. I mentally ‘hop in’ a track and let the feels and emotion flow through me to ‘uncover’ if a part needs a harsh or clean part!
“Lonesome Tide” and especially “Into The Horizon” are a bit different than the rest of the songs. On the first one there is some kind of flute and the latter… well, maybe you can tell ús what is so different about this one.
I am so thrilled that we collaborated with flutist Tommy Graven for “Lonesome Tide”! We wanted to bring a fresh take on the progressive nature of the album and I loved the way he intertwined the Native American flute in the midst of blast beats and screams. I think it’s so cool to have a flute solo *and* a guitar solo in a metal track! “Into The Horizon” is different from any VINTERSEA track that we have recorded because it is the only track that doesn’t have upfront screams. The screams are kept behind the mix and used as a layer. Even though it doesn’t have our ‘usual’ scream-sing combo, it’s one of the most emotive tracks I have recorded because the track is very personal to me. In a way it’s a letter I’d write if I were no longer on Earth anymore. My eyes have welled singing and recording this song, and that’s what makes this track special to me.
VINTERSEA is mostly described as a melodic metal band that combines the essential elements of black, death, post and progressive metal. Do you think that is still a correct description in the context of the tracks on “Woven Into Ashes”?
That and more! The album’s concept is about a soul’s journey, and we wanted to emulate that in our tracks. There are many seasons in a lifecycle – There are ups and downs, poignant moments, agony, anger, malice, etc. We wanted to represent that in our music by combining different musical elements. I would say this album ranges in style more vastly than our last release.The release of VINTERSEA’s new album is not far away. Will there be a third single and video on the release date (or just before)?
There will be a third single and video to accompany the release! I *may* even have mentioned the track in this interview (hint! hint!).
As you already mentioned at the beginning of this interview, on April 29th you will embark on the American Full Moon tour with Moonspell, Eleine and Oceans Of Slumber. Expectations?
Good times with friends and fans, lots of late nights and little sleep, eating Shari’s at 3 am and hopefully no blown tires on our tour van this time!