Helevorn interview (10/2010)
|Conducted by:||Jason W. (e-mail)|
The past two months I've spent dozens of hours exploring Helevorn's latest release, Forthcoming Displeasures. It's one of the most satisfying things to me to see a band really find their sound after years of hard work as well.
Your newest release, Forthcoming Displeasures, is very focused, showing a band who knows what they want to play and how they want it to sound. Could you tell us a small history of the band and how the band developed its sound over the years to get to where you are in 2010?
Since we started in 1999 our sound had a very unlikely evolution. First with female vocals and a very melodic Doom (Prelude Ep, 2001), then a 90's Gothic Doom which is reflected in our first album Fragments, till the actual sound recorded in Forthcoming Displeasures, where we've worked hard in the compositions, arrangements and putting all the effort on a more powerful sound and adding other influences not only 90's Doom. Apart from that our style is more defined. All this and a great production work done by Johan Ornborg and Jens Bogren, has helped to create an exceptional final result.
I love the title, Forthcoming Displeasures. It suggests that, on a large scale, the world's future will not be positive and also suggests, on a smaller scale, a very personal pain awaiting us. Could you tell us about the title, and how it reflects the overall message of the album?
Correct, that's the global idea of the title. When I was looking for conceptual ideas, I was sure I wanted to talk about the future, but thinking in realistic terms, in how is the human evolution going, starting from the romantic idea of our great past and that makes more sense, homesickness becomes something important and never from the love side, always from harshness and with a raw message, very critical with the human being. We think that sometimes we must be truly, clear, not just empty words, we're looking for a forceful meaning.
The first song that impressed me was "Descent". The line "Don't mourn for your family, but for the air you're breathing", takes sadness to a new level above the human level to the one of Earth itself. Do you think the Earth will survive our legacy?
Luckily mother earth is who decides and I hope will continue like this in the future. Our legacy is extremely frightening and what's worse is that the perspectives are not encouraging. I am always discussing this subject with a good friend because she's very positive and I like to get involved with people like this, but when we're composing we prefer to think that everything is lost.
Is their hope for our beloved human race to save itself do you think, then?
I don't think so, that's a very anthropocentric vision and we humans are here by casualty, like other species, the problem is we believe that the earth and all what's in it belongs to us and that we are superior, we must be more humble and respectful, the lack of those values is taking us to ruin.
Do you have a personal favorite song from Forthcoming Displeasures? Why is it your favorite?
Probably "From our Glorious Days", I think is the one with more meaning of the whole album, is the "alma mater" and was one of our last compositions before the recordings, so we feel it more actual. It has an ascending evolution, like the lyrics and a great ending.
I have made it a point since 2008 to take a trip to Europe from the USA each year to see a metal festival. I will be at this year's Dutch Doom Days for the second year in a row, and I have found these smaller festivals to be a great influence on me as a listener. I see you played at Dutch Doom Days back in 2007, as well as 2009's Madrid Is The Dark. How have your experiences at these doom festivals affected the band?
These festivals help a lot to connect with all supporters of a concrete style of music. They know what are going to listen and that's very noticeable. We spent a very good time in Rotterdam, it was very special because it was our first international Festival. In Madrid was amazing, it's a city with lots of Doom supporters and we love to play there.
Are there any future plans for festivals or tours for Helevorn?
We hope so!! We are working hard with our new management to play in some countries in 2011, nothing confirmed yet but we would like to finish the F.D. promotion playing some gigs outside Spain.
I still frequently play the video for "From Our Glorious Days", and I find it one of the better metal videos for 2010 for sure. I really like the honesty and concept of it, and I can feel the emotional weight of the song throughout. Could you tell us more about it?
Thank you, we're happy to hear that you've got the message exactly how we planned for the video "From our Glorious Days". Of course, video concept is to express the tremendous emotion that's behind the lyrics and the images chosen by the producers really shocked us, it was exactly what we were looking for, lots of cruelty but nothing not true, simply a reality reminder. The script of the actor, representing the human being, some original images from TV and the band playing was enough to develop the video and we were amazed of the work done by the guys of LadronDeAuras.
The quality of sound, the mix, and mastering are of great importance for me when I listen to a band's recordings. There is a delicate intensity and harshness to the final product. Each instrument and the vocals are very well balanced. How was the recording process and how did the studio techs help you achieve this?
After our first album Fragments we tried not to make the same production mistakes, so for F.D. we took the decision to contract Jens Bogren and Johan Ornborg, producers of bands like Katatonia, Opeth, Paradise Lost, etc...
A few months before the recording, we sent to them the new songs so when they were here we all started to work together in each track making the most of it. They are a great professionals, hard workers and extreme perfectionists, we could not believe how many times we had to repeat some of the takes! Then they took the final work back to Sweden to do the mixing and the mastering. A great work they made.
How has the experience been promoting Forthcoming Displeasures? From what I have seen, reviews have been quite good for the release. Has the efforts using online social networks given the band more fans and/or sale do you think?
We have done everything possible with the album promotion, together with our label it has been months of many emails, interviews, promotional Cd's and stuff request etc. but it was worth it because all reviews have been good and positive. Of course social networks and all the possibilities that internet offers you, gives you the opportunity to spread our music to everybody without paying and spending silly prices to specialized magazines which we could not afford anyway.
Selling lots of records it's too difficult nowadays due to internet downloads and for a band with a little label even harder.
Recently the band posted some great news that you are back in the rehearsal room, working on some new material. Anything you can tell us about the sound or direction of a future album, musically or lyrically? I particularly like the last 30 seconds of "Hopeless Truth", which gives the bass a visible role, and the keyboards have a different presence. Will there be more moments like this in future Helevorn songs?
Lyrically talking, at this present time, I have no idea and musically we think it's a bit early to talk about it because we are just bashing some ideas, the only thing we know is that we want to continue with a dynamic sound, we've never liked long pauses and the never ending loops, that's boring.
The arrangements you are talking about is something we would like to insist, I hope we are able to continue with the same line and even improve it. What's gonna be difficult for us, and we assume it, is keep thinking in 90's Doom when we are composing songs, that's part of our musical culture without a doubt.
Metalstorm.net and I thank you very much for the answers, Josep! Hopefully in the future when I visit Europe again, our paths will cross and I'll be able to enjoy the band's music in a live setting. Do you have any other comments or words for Metalstorm.net and Helevorn's new and current fans?
Thank you very much for your effort and your interesting questions. We hope too, we can meet somewhere in this world. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all the people to listen to Helevorn.
Many thanks to Josep for the opportunity for this interview, as well as personally putting the effort into seeking me out, and giving us at Metalstorm.net the chance to promote Helevorn's music as well.
Here are some links of interest:
Forthcoming Displeasures review
Helevorn's official website and myspace
Helevorn's video of "For Our Glorious Days"
||Posted on 31.10.2010 by Music and the written word are two of my passions in life, so I figured, why not combine the two?|
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| Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
| Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
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