ViSIONS OF ATLANTIS
Interview by Roland Oei
Visions of Atlantis is a symphonic metal band from Austria that formed in 2000. They released their new album, The Deep & The Dark in February 2018. Roland Oei talked with male vocalist Siegfried Samer to find out more about the writing and recording of the album.
Visions of Atlantis are described in the press as a symphonic metal band. Can you explain what the term symphonic metal means to you?
S: Symphonic metal means big emotions, lots of orchestra, big hooks and a lot of inspiration from various different sources in literature and history and personal relationships and also fantasy and whatever you want. It is a very broad genre but musically it is like orchestral with a lot of melody.
What is it that makes your band stand out from others in the genre?
S: I would say the dual vocals that we have which are not like the classic growling male and clean female vocals because we are both singing clean especially since we have had this new line up, my voice is even more in the classical power metal vein than my predecessor's voice. He was more of a modern singer and I am more like the classic power metal singer so I think that makes us stand out.
Does that make it hard for you to sing the old songs?
S: It makes it quite a challenge actually because his voice is a bit lower than mine. Where he has his most power, I am not that powerful. I am more powerful in the higher regions so I had a bit of a challenge at first but now I have found a good way to adapt to that but obviously I feel more confident with the new songs that we did on The Deep & The Dark because they were written for Clementine and myself and that is a lot more fun.
Do you think the band would have been more popular if it hadn't been for all the line up changes that you have had?
S: I think that was a problem at some point especially with the third album because the band was close to a big break but then the singer and guitar player left just before a big tour and that set the band back until they found a new line up and if the singer leaves that is a big problem because most people identify a band with the singers because that is what catches you on a first listen so that was definitely a challenge for Visions but we are happy now and we have been one of the more consistent line ups now in terms of a pure time period and I think Clementine is the second longest female vocalist that has been in the band after Nicole and tied with Maxi.
The band has released 7 albums. How do you feel the music has changed over them?
S: Originally it was more of the symphonic metal theme and then when Melissa left after the third album and Maxi came in, the whole thing moved more into a modern rock and metal type direction for two albums and now we have taken it back to the roots and that is when he brought in Clementine and myself because our vocals fit more to that style and the new songs on the new album are written with that in mind to sort of go back to that feeling.
Can you tell us about the writing and recording of The Deep & The Dark?
S: It was quite a challenge because the previous band members, the founding members were brought back in as well as Clementine and myself back in 2013 and especially the keyboard player that wrote with the band 10 years ago but the problem was that was 10 years ago and life had changed for them and they have new jobs and families so it was kind of a different situation and quite a big challenge and it took them a very long time to come up with the song ideas and even after two years they were not many new songs standing so we decided that we needed some help and we started working more closely with our producer Frank and in the studio he actually wrote most of the musical arrangements and the vocal lines and he was responsible for a whole new musical aspect of it. He knew Visions of Atlantis from way back when and he has worked with other female fronted bands over the years so he knows the genre very well and he knows what we were going for and I think he did a really good job at capturing that essence. The actual writing process wasn't that long; about a total of one and a half years, once we decided to work with Frank then it went quite quickly. He wrote the songs and we went into the studio and we did the vocal arrangements and everything and that was not the problem. The problem was two years before that when we were waiting for the former members to come up with their stuff but then we found out that due to their commitments and families that they just wouldn't be able to do it and that is what set us back a little.
What sort of topics have you covered on this album?
S: We have some interpersonal relationship things for example the title track, The Deep & The Dark is about an interpersonal relationship and we have things about nature and the environment. Clementine came up with most of the themes for the first time in her career that she could contribute to the lyrics and themes of the album so she used the opportunity to talk about her themes and personal issues.
You have pianos and violin parts on the album. Are there any other musical instruments on the album besides guitars, keyboards and drums?
S: I think we had a singer to do the oriental type vocals but other than that I really don't know because it was all Franks doing. I just came in and did my parts basically.
Have you got any parting words?
S: Well I am just glad that after a four year wait we have managed to release the new album and I think it is a very good journey back to the roots of Visions of Atlantis both for the old fans and the new fans and we hope we brought the songs to a new level both sound wise and song writing wise and we hope that we can live up to fans expectations with the live shows and we are looking forward to continuing for many more years.
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