Symphonic metal pirates VISIONS OF ATLANTIS are gearing up for their fast-approaching July 5th release for “Pirates II: Armada”. Amidst a busy touring season, vocalist Clémentine Delauney sat down with us to share some fascinating insights about the band’s creative process for writing and recording “Armada”, the album’s conceptual themes, the real-life inspiration woven into their music, and the importance of being adaptable, committed and dedicated to one’s craft.

Interview by: Angela Ambrose

“Pirates II: Armada” is a powerful album that has elements I haven’t heard in your previous music. And it also feels like a thematic continuation of “Pirates” (2022). To start things off, can you tell me how the album recording went, and some of the main themes that have come up in the lyrics?
It’s been a fantastic process, because from day one, we knew what our main direction was compared to “Pirates”. It was born during COVID times when we couldn’t meet as a band. We didn’t know exactly where we were going after this. The pirate theme was not there yet, completely, and it got confirmed during the process. So “Pirates II” didn’t have this issue. “Pirates II” was: “All right. We’ll go on with our music and our universe, we go on exploring all this”. And it was absolute fun to explore the universe at the same time we were creating it. It was a super nice exponential spiral. We tried new things, again, and we try to just be very happy with our music because we first write for ourselves. And same with the lyrics. It’s a reflection of my own journey. I cannot write about something that doesn’t personally touch me or has anything to do with something I’ve experienced myself. It’s a way for me to, to talk to humanity and to people through a pirate metaphor. But deep down, I’m just talking about how it feels to be a human on this planet, and touching on feelings and emotions that everyone can relate to.VISIONS OF ATLANTIS ClemyPirateA very interesting song that you performed live in Calgary and that I heard on this album was “Tonight I’m Alive” (also the new single out on July 2nd), which has a very different overall sound than anything you’ve done before. It has some interesting rhythms. What influenced you to take that direction musically?
So the main influence there is from a real life journey to Marrakech. We’ve been on holidays in Marrakech and were surrounded by people on the street playing with percussions, any kind of percussions. They would meet in Jemaa el-Fnaa (a popular market place in Marrakech) at night and play together in groups. You would have an entire family or friends who are used to playing together and they will improvise so much. That was musically, so genuine. And so instinctive, visceral. Percussions have this rhythm that somehow ignites something in you. But it felt like it’s a cultural thing. It’s a way to get together. And we just loved the rhythm, the sound, the warmth and the sharpness of some of the sounds there. We’re a metal band, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot bring in musical influences from other places. Symphonic metal brought the classical world into metal, so why not something else? We also played with more folkloric instruments. This time, we just wanted to incorporate those elements that we love from there and even just try ourselves, “Can we write something like this?”. The working title of that song was called “Jemaa el-Fnaa” on purpose, because of that influence from Morocco.

When you performed it live, I remember looking over at the audience. They were surprised at first because they weren’t expecting dancy, rhythmic music, but then immediately, they were dancing like crazy.

“I’ve done theater before, and I wanted to be a comedian.”

– Clémentine Delauney –

There’s something about that rhythm that you can’t resist. And it was so funny to watch night after night. Metalheads started to dance. And this is where I think music talks really to the soul, because it doesn’t matter what kind of music lover you are. If a rhythm grabs you, it just grabs you. This is so beautiful.VISIONS OF ATLANTIS ClemyMichelePUNCH-IN-YOUR-FACE
You performed three tracks from your new album on your recent North American tour, if I remember right. What is your favorite new track to perform live?
So far, from those three I have to say that “Armada” is my favorite, because it’s such a direct punch-in-your-face song. And I love the fighting spirit. It’s empowering to sing something that talks about fighting and being strong as you said earlier, and just not only yourself down it like.. it carries an inner energy, that it’s an absolute joy to perform. I really liked that song for that on stage. That will make the crowd drive. You’ve been there – we asked the crowd to shout “Armada” with us, and “Hail Jolly Roger”. So we were basically singing all this together and it feels so good. You know, as a crowd chants, in this moment, we’re just one. It’s not like the band and the audience like we’re one together, and we fight our enemy.

When I was listening to the album, it felt like a film score. It follows a story arc and it has a dramatic buildup of tension. If you’re familiar with Amon Amarth, you know they have a very big scale production as a metal band: they have live battles and so I thought, “What if VISIONS OF ATLANTIS did this?” Have you ever imagined this for the band? What would a big stage production look like for VISIONS OF ATLANTIS?
It is my absolute dream: to be able to perform every song live with a setup and effects that would be theatrical or even cinematic… that every song has something going on. Maybe because I’ve done theater before, and I wanted to be a comedian. Maybe I should have done musicals. I don’t know. I love the idea of creating my own universe and not being just an interpreter. But this is the idea. If things go well, and things go right for VISIONS, then yeah, album after album, we’ll be able to grow as a band and of course make our show grow as well, the fall tour will already have, in the places that can host it, a very new stage production. And I can’t wait to perform more with it because it’s beautiful. It empowers the show and it really helps people to just get into the mood, the show, the moment and forget about everything else for the show time.

When preparing for our interview, I saw a blog post that you’d published during COVID about the pillars of a good live performance. I can say that I witnessed those pillars in action when I saw your live performance recently. Do you have any advice on how other musicians might be able to emulate a high quality professional performance? What are some of the key elements that they would need to have?VISIONS OF ATLANTIS Clemypose

First of all, it’s about having high standards for yourself, defining yourself as a professional musician is the key. If you don’t believe you can do it, that you deserve it, that this is something you can achieve, it’s never going to work out. And there is also this saying “fake it till you make it”. I would say yes, fake it to believe in it if, at the beginning, you feel like, “I don’t believe in it, but I want to do it”. Act as if you would believe in it and feel like you’re entitled to do it. The things you do define a little bit of your character, and then your character defines what you like and what you do. It’s a two-way street. I have this mentality of being “I’m never going to stop improving”. I think a lot of people might suffer from imposter syndrome. And this is an actual dream-killer. Because it’s a voice in your head telling you “You’re not good enough, you don’t know what you’re doing. Why should you be entitled to even talk about that or do what you’re doing?”, instead of looking at the facts. You’re able to do it, and you can talk about it. You can improve and learn and go further. And so there’s no imposter here, you’re doing that thing.

On one of your North American tour stops, the venue was having some technical problems, but you went ahead and performed an acoustic set. A lot of bands might have canceled their performance. What would it take to be adaptable to different situations as a professional musician?
So it requires basically two things. First of all, always having acoustic instruments with you. We do have acoustic instruments with us because we play an acoustic show during our meeting, right? So we were lucky in a way that we could have the option of playing an acoustic set. If we didn’t have the guitar, the keyboard and the cajon, it wouldn’t have been possible. Bands should always have at least an acoustic guitar so that a guitarist and the singer can be on stage. Otherwise, it’s about having mental flexibility. It’s your capacity to solve a problem and find solutions. The crowd really helped us there. They were so cheerful, so understanding, and they appreciated every second of us trying to find solutions, and then coming up with the acoustics. I would say you need to be prepared, you need to have the gear so that it’s an option for you, instead of canceling. Then, of course, you have to be ready to switch and be like, “Alright, acoustic! Keep the smile on. The show must go on”.How do you hope your fans will react to “Pirates II: Armada”?
So you use the very important word, as you said “hope”. I cannot expect them, you know, to appreciate that album, but I hope they’re going to connect to it as much as we are connecting to it. It’s a very diverse album. But still, we feel like the quality and the emotion, everything goes even further than we did with “Pirates”. So I just hope people will connect to it, so we can go on sharing it with more and more people. That’s my hope.

Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Female Fronted Power might have an audience that is also targeting female readers and all and female artists. I just want to tell them: the moment in which you’re true to your art, you’re true to yourself, you find your way of expressing it, you put your efforts and your heart and your soul and your talent into it, you can do anything you want. I’ve been there. I’ve been through all kinds of states of mind. And I’ve seen it’s possible, I found a way for myself. So just hold on and things will happen.