Interviews: Valis Ablaze

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In this new occassion we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Metal/Djent band Valis Ablaze, from UK. Check out this band and give them a like on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that? 

Rich: A few years back, we sat in Ash’s flat thinking about band names and inspirations from historic icons, political movers, philosophers and cartoons characters. One influential book that was mentioned was the 1981 science fiction book written by Philip K. Dick called Valis. VALIS stands for ‘Vast Active Living Intelligence System’ and it was purely a play on words with destroying this VALIS by setting it on fire. I started reading the book a long time ago but perhaps I should pick it up again! 

2.Why did you want to play this genre? 

Phil: Well, I can’t speak for the others, but for me, I love the challenge progressive music brings.  I find it quite natural to write strong, catchy melodies so I like the idea of writing something outside my comfort zone. I also love the fact that there are no rules for a Prog song, not sticking to your typical verse-chorus structures, using layering in more interesting ways, strange time signatures, unusual modulations etc. And I love both the heavyness and melodic aspects of Valis Ablaze as it has that angsty emotion in there when it’s needed, and more feelsy vibes in the ambient parts, which is a good mix for me.    

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed? 

Rich: At university I was frustrated that we didn’t have a social society for live music so I ran and set it up myself. Ash jumped on board whilst I was going into my final year and eventually took it over to be president too. Our first musical run in with each other was jamming some Metallica at the freshers fair! We immediately bonded through music and regularly met up and socialised (i.e. got drunk and chatted about music!). After Uni we went our separate ways but a few years later we met up and jammed. From there we’ve gone through members (like Spinal Tap) whilst meeting some brilliant people along the way. For everyone else we met in various ways through friends of friends. Now we have a super strong line-up who are close mates and I couldn’t be happier playing with these talented musicians. 

4. Current favourite bands? 

Rich: We all take our inspirations from different bands - that’s what makes making music with everyone so fun yet challenging. As a drummer I make sure I listen to a variety of music keeping my mind fresh with styles and ideas. I also teach drums so need to keep on top of my rhythms and grooves. However, my most listened bands recently have been Dead Letter Circus, Northlane (especially the album ‘Node’), Heck, Conquering Dystopia and Avenged Sevenfold. Certainly rock/metal styles but try to keep varied (ish).

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs? 

Phil: Wow, so many things can bring inspiration, it’s actually quite random sometimes. No matter where it comes from, I try to keep my writing process as fluid and as uncomplicated as possible. I like inspiration to flow directly onto the track with as little redrafting as possible from when I open a new project in my audio workstation. I think the best songs are those that are written in five minutes. If I work on them more than say 20 minutes, they're probably not going to work.

6. Where was your last gig? 

Phil: Our last show was at the Exchange in Bristol, supporting Dead Letter Circus on their UK tour.  

7. Where would you like to play? 

Rich: My dream goal is to play The Forum in London. This is one of the largest non-arena venues in the capital and so many successful bands have passed through the doors. I once played the London Astoria which was a dream come true but it got closed down. Another dream would be to play Download mainstage as the festival has been integral for my passion of music.

8. Whom would you like to feature with? 

Phil: I’d love to work with some of my favourite artists such as Tesseract, Monuments, Dead Letter Circus, Deftones to name a few. I’d even go back to heavy vocals for shot at a song with Vildhjarta. 

9. Whom not? 

We want each gig to inspire and make the audience feel awesome so each band on the bill should bring something to the table. Normally my disappointment from bands are those that don’t have a backbone, who are doing it for the ‘image’ and the ‘big balls’ but no substance statement. Normally they are the shit bands both in music and personality. However, most musicians are pretty decent people so no band on the hit list yet (or that i’m willing to admit!) 

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that? 

Phil: I don’t really get stage fright, for me, it’s more an anxiousness, which I put more as a form of excitement.    

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

Rich: I tend to find musical inspiration from musicians that I meet or watch live. One massive inspiration is Arnaud Verrier (drummer from Uneven Structure). He is an outstanding drummer with some serious talent and has always given his time to me. I have a lot of respect for that. In terms of bands I’ve found real inspiration from Architects. To be able to continue through everything they have been through and turn out to amaze audiences every night, I can only show my full respect for that (RIP Tom Searle).

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?  

Rich: A fan has asked for a photo of us straight after a set while we’re covered in sweat. He wanted a set list too so we had to write him one haha 

13. What do you think of your fans? 

Each night we play I get a kick out of seeing the crowd enjoying our music and getting involved. Our fans are really supportive of what we do and where we want to go - I can’t thank them enough. I love the dedication that people have shown us especially helping us spread the word to different audiences and getting more people involved.    

14. What do you think of our site? 

Rich: It’s cool! It’s a little different and has a great variety of content. It’s clean looking so it’s easy to find the various articles. Heard of the site through a friend (Bob Tett in Core of Io) and have been following ever since!    

15. Something to add?  

We have a new EP coming out on January 30th! Available to pre-order now at www.valisablaze.com  It’s a good mixture of rock/metal/alternative and we’re hoping you guys enjoy it as much as we do!

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