Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor
Visions of Atlantis, a symphonic metal band originally formed in Austria in 2000, are by far the next big thing in the symphonic metal world! With their latest release “Pirates”, the band has seen their most mature sound yet, mostly due to the lineup, as well as the entire band embracing their freedom!
The band’s current lineup sees their strongest sound ever, featuring Clémentine Delauney on female vocals, Michele Guaitoli on male vocals, Christian Douscha on guitars, Herbert Glos on bass and Thomas Caser on drums!
Interview w/ Michele Guaitoli includes some discussions on Covid, touring again, the family that has been formed within the band, as well as their latest release “Pirates”!
Ryan – Hi Michele! My name is Ryan Murray, and I’m the Chief Editor, Contributor and now Co-Owner for Ethereal Metal Webzine. I’m from New York and was originally supposed to see VoA @ Dingbatz in NJ just before Covid shut everything down in March of 2020. Unfortunately had to miss the NYC show this time around as well, so I’m definitely looking forward to the next US tour!
First, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do an interview with me through email. I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you for taking the time!
After two years of uncertainty with all of the lockdowns due to Covid, how did it feel to finally perform in the US alongside with DragonForce?
Michele – I might be cliché here, but the perfect answer here is “it was a real blast”. We had so much fun…and to finally see people all together again, without restrictions, without masks, having fun and staying all together in the same room. It was just marvelous. Am I forgetting something? Oh yes! The shows!!! The audience loved us, and we loved both being on stage and the feedback we were receiving. All in all, a truly successful experience.
Ryan – Visions of Atlantis saw a massively positive reception during the now finished US tour, even causing some circle pits during “Legion of the Seas”! How did it feel to have such a positive reception, especially with a new song, with such engaging crowds?
Michele – It feels empowering! It really implants in your mind the idea that you’re doing the right thing in the right way. It took a lot of time for VoA to reach the position in which we are right now, but what we’re doing with ‘Pirates’ feels just right, as if we were meant to be doing it since the very beginning. Of course, it takes time to reach the right path to walk on…hopefully now it’s just a matter of keeping on going forward in this direction!
Ryan – Out of all of the US shows, which was your favorite?
Michele – This is an extremely though question to answer as so many venues gave us huge satisfactions and allowed us to truly enjoy every minute on stage. In 2020 we played 5 shows with Dragonforce before the pandemic happened, and some of those cities were touched again during this tour. People remembered about us; some even came for us specifically there…so I would say that the “previously performed” cities gave us a bit more excitement.
Ryan – Speaking of tours, you’re now doing the headlining tour in Europe. How is that going so far?
Michele – It’s a completely different experience. We’re passing from the massive crowds of Dragonforce where just a little few people know us to our own fans, coming for our show. On one side we had to conquer people and turn them into pirates. Now we’re performing in front of experienced sailors, ready to jump on board for the next adventure. The tour is going really well: in Europe this is one of the first tours after the pandemic and we were scared that people would have skipped the shows. Not at all, the pandemic is slowly fading away and a lot of people are craving for live music!
Ryan – Visions of Atlantis came on the scene in 2000 and has seen some lineup changes over the years. Outwardly, the band not only seems tighter musically, but also seems to be closer personally as well, almost like a family. The energy on stage is evident of this. Did the time during the pandemic draw everyone closer?
Michele – Actually not. This new line up has something special since before the pandemic already. Sometimes the right people just gather together in the right place, and I believe this is what happened with VoA. This band IS a family to me. We’ve seen so much together, we’ve traveled the world together and even if we’re actually “the same members” only since 2018, it feels like it’s a lifetime that we know each other. We’ve been traveling to South America, North America, Canada, we’ve lived the pandemic together, we’ve performed so many shows and we’ve even been on holiday together. This is how much we love each other. I think this explains quite clearly the synergy within this band today.
Ryan – So let’s chat about “Pirates”! The eighth studio album released by Visions of Atlantis sees the band’s most mature and strongest sound ever! This album saw a lot of heart, emotion and deep searching during the writing process. The idea of being “Pirates” is said to be about fully embracing the living your life to the fullest and not letting anyone take away your happiness. What does being a pirate mean for you personally?
Michele – Being a pirate means being free. Free to live your live the way you want, without boundaries or limits imposed by any external source. We believe in mental freedom; we believe in the right that everyone has to decide how to live his/her life. We can choose and our free will is one of the most important things that we own. Being a ‘Pirate’ perfectly reflects this state of mind. We have the open seas in front of our eyes, and the direction we have to follow it’s only on us to be chosen!
Ryan – When I first heard “Legion of the Seas”, I knew right away that this album would be strong, filled with emotion and an epic masterpiece. “Melancholy Angel” solidified that thought. “Legion of the Seas” is heavy and epic. “Melancholy Angel” is catchy and easily gets stuck in your head. Can you talk about the inspiration behind these two tracks?
Michele – When we write music, we truly don’t follow any rule or direction. We just follow our inspiration and we let it flow. For instance, when I was writing “Legion of the Seas” I just wanted to follow the flow of this strong melody that came to my mind. Then I put myself on the guitars and following the flow the heavy riffing came to follow the melodies…and while playing it and singing it I “heard” the violins in my mind. This is how it works, it’s just a matter of “unleashing the music inside of you”. Melancholy Angel is a softer track, with a strong meaning. If you want a fun-fact behind it: the “working title” already was Melancholy Angel. This is where Clemi started to write the lyrics for it.
Ryan – On May 5th I received “Pirates” and was immediately blown away. I knew this album was going to great after the first two singles, but it completely exceeded any and all expectations I had for the album. Every single song on the album from start to finish is filled with amazing orchestration, epic symphonic walls of sound, are heavy and filled with emotion. This album is set to raise the standard of symphonic metal for sure! It’s honestly impossible for me to skip any track on the album because they are all great. Some of my favorites include “Melancholy Angel”, “Master the Hurricane”, “Clocks”, “Legion of the Seas”, “Wild Elysium” “Darkness Inside” and “Heal the Scars”. What is your favorite track and why?
Michele – Well, “Master the Hurricane” surely has a special taste for me. It’s a long suite, with so many different parts. It’s one of this tracks that you should listen to with your eyes closed, letting the music transport you into an epic journey. In the “new era” of VoA we never had such an intense track, even if “Release my Symphony” was somehow a first approach to this style. But with Master the Hurricane everything is taken to the next level: from the choirs to the orchestrations, from the entwining of voices between me and Clementine, to the heavy riffing. I really love this song and even now I still enjoy listening to it as if it was a song from a band I love, not only as a song from the band I play with.
Ryan – When the video for “Master the Hurricane” came out, it was clear this would become a fan favorite. The video is incredibly well done and has a deep, much needed message as well. What does the video mean for you personally?
Michele – Master the Hurricane invites the listener to face the world that sometimes, like a hurricane, brings storms on us. We need to learn to master our hurricanes, we need to learn how to face the troubles that are always looming on us. The moment in which we become strong enough to face our issues directly, we really take control of our lives. Clementine did a wonderful job with the lyrics of this song, matching the pirate universe with such a strong and deep message.
The video follows the meaning of the song in a perfect way. Of course, we wanted to go all in with the Pirate theme, transforming it into a short movie (also thanks to the length of the track). Once again: things seem to have fallen into the right place, at the right moment.
Ryan – Lastly, are there any plans for another US tour?
Michele – Well, we have our US Visas now, it wouldn’t be the smartest thing not to come back before they expire, so even if there are actually not specific or clear plans, what I can tell you is that we will do our best to be back within the next 365 days, so that we can take advantage of our status. We’ll work on it in the next months, so news might be coming, if our efforts will be successful!
Ryan – Thank you so much, Michele! We at Ethereal Metal Webzine are incredibly happy for you and the band. This album is definitely on its way to creating a huge impact all around the world. Thank you for sharing this creation with us all!
Michele – Thank you and to your readers for having been willing to spend some time with us. It was an absolute pleasure to chat with you and hey, the next time we’ll hit New York, there has to be no excuse.
“Pirates” by Visions of Atlantis is out now via Napalm Records, and is available on all streaming platforms, be sure not to miss it!
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