Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with up-and-coming progressive metal band, Valis Ablaze. George Demner (bass) and Tom Moore (Lead guitar) were kind enough to answer my questions and be very professional whilst doing so. Their debut album, “Boundless” is due out April 6th via Long Branch Records, and is available to preorder here!
In terms of the writing process, was there a different mindset going into writing for a full length as opposed to another EP?
Tom – The whole band had discussed the idea of a concept album in the couple of years running up to the release of Insularity and I think in hindsight we didn’t fully appreciate the gravity of those thoughts. When Phil pitched the idea of sleep and it’s different stages, we were all instantly excited by the dynamic narrative that we thought we could create using this as an underlying concept to Boundless.
We had a couple of half complete songs that we thought we would start off with and started creating as we usually would at first. Using the first couple of songs we started to establish themes within the melodies that could be used in other songs and riffs in similar ways. This was the main difference in the mindset of our writing – Constantly asking ourselves how the music fit within the overall journey of the album and when the right times were to bring back those recurring ideas.
What were some of your most listened to albums while writing/recording?
George – Malina by Leprous, Themata by Karnivool and Juggernaut by Periphery.
Tom – In addition to George’s mentions – Destrier by Agent Fresco, Aesthesis by Dead Letter Circus, Inmazes by VOLA, Dunno by Owane and a load of video game scores.
What are some of the lyrical themes or meanings behind some of the songs?
Tom – While the sleep cycle was the underlying theme throughout the album, it was not taken in a literal sense as such lyrically. The idea was given more depth and a story where each song is a different chapter with moods reflective of the corresponding depth or type of sleep at that stage. The narrative, shows our character falling to sleep, then faces a series of challenges representing negative feelings towards their past, present and future, then finding resolution in understanding the messages behind these tests.
Who did you work with as a producer? What kind of experience did you have with them?
George – We worked with Justin Hill who was fantastic. He gave us great advice and also had a real speedy turnaround with no compromise on quality. Communication is key, we did it all from distance and Phil and Tom were the main contacts with multiple Skype calls and conversations.
Tom – Justin produced some of my favourite albums including the recent releases by Sikth, Heart Of A Coward and Bury Tomorrow. It was great to start with a strong level of trust because of these releases and instantly being able to work closely and openly with him to achieve our vision for Boundless.
What bands are some of your biggest influences?
George – Tesseract, Karnivool and Monuments are the biggest influences for me! I just love the music they write and they have some killer bass lines that I tried to learn from when writing this album.
Tom – A few of my all time top influences would be Killswitch Engage, Trivium and Periphery.
If you could tour with any 3 bands, past or present, who would you choose?
Tom – Linkin Park, Trivium and Metallica.
George – Periphery, Protest the Hero and Monuments would be my go to bands for touring. I’ve seen those guys live and they were the best live shows I’ve seen.
Do you have any tour plans to help spread the word about the release?
George – We are working on some dates with a few of our contemporaries but nothing we can announce just yet!
What’s it been like to work with Long Branch? From what interaction I’ve had with them, they seem like really kind and cool folks.
George – Flo and the guys at LB have been super welcoming and helpful! We mainly deal with Flo who is super professional but also really cool to chat to and throw ideas around with.
Tom – I met Flo at UK Tech Metal Fest last year. He was a great guy to chat to at the time and it’s awesome to be working with him for Boundless!
What albums are you all most looking forward to this year?
George – Tesseracts new album, Heart Of A Coward appear to be teasing something so that would top it for me. I’m also hoping for another album from Kadinja by the end of the year too.
If there was one song you all would love to cover, what would that be?
Tom – All Star by Smash Mouth…
Is there anything you’d like to tell your current or future fan base?
Tom – Thank so much to everyone who has continued to be supportive of Valis Ablaze. Every Like/Comment/Share means a hell of a lot and I’m extremely proud that we have created something that we love and the initial reaction is so positive. I am really looking forward to this year after being given this huge opportunity to welcome some new ears to our noises.
George – Thanks for sticking with us and being patient in the build up to this release! We have worked hard doing what we love and I hope you guys enjoy it too!