Symphonic metal act Visions of Atlantis are setting their sails to release a new live album / DVD. A Symphonic Journey To Remember (pre-order here) will release on October 30, 2020. During this unique live event at the Bang Your Head Festival in 2019, the band was joined on stage by the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague. I spoke with vocalist Clémentine Delauney about the event, the experience of filming the DVD/CD, and we took a dive into what the future has in store in terms of the next album.
Thanks for speaking with me Clem, how are you and the band doing?
We’re doing good. We don’t live in the same place, so I don’t see them that often, but we did see each other not so long ago, so we’re doing great. We’re focusing on the future and writing a new album.
Things have become even more complicated with seeing others due to the Covid 19 situation. I know that you guys had just kicked off a North American tour, and shortly into that, the world virtually shut down. I know the band got hit very hard by it. What was it like going through something like that while overseas?It was terrible. We were waiting in front of the venue in Minneapolis. We had heard Trump’s speech the night before, and we were like, okay, this is falling on our heads. It’s like the world is coming to an end, or the world as we know it.
We were so upset to have to go home after just five shows in the US, where it took the band over a decade to come back to that territory. So we, yeah, it was hard to swallow for the first 24 to 48 hours. And then we had to look at the financial situation.
We covered the production in advance. We had ordered all the merch that we had planned to sell in advance. And we couldn’t change our flight tickets because we were supposed to depart from Canada back to Europe because we were having our last shows there.
And we had to perform one last festival in Mexico before leaving. And so we had actually to buy new flight tickets and, when we realized the amount of money that we were losing right away and considering our financial situation, it was a risk that we decided to take.
We set up a GoFundMe campaign, which was the last desperate move that we could think of to ask for support from our community and our fans because we couldn’t see any other short term solution to help us compensate over the $20,000 we lost.
That was a very hard moment to face. But now, we’re fine. I want to thank all the American fans who supported us in that campaign because we were not expecting to fulfill the goal and did not even expect to fulfill it that fast.
So you weren’t stranded in the states; you performed one more show in Mexico, is that correct?
Yes, when the Minneapolis show was canceled, we took two hours to decide whether to go home directly or to play that show in Mexico, which was planned since the beginning. We decided to play that gig because it was still going on, despite the fact that so many European acts had to cancel their participation because they couldn’t fly over.
So we ended up as like playing almost as a headline. It’s not our general slot as we generally play way earlier, during the day, like around five or six. We had a great time on stage, but and it was such a surreal show. The audience also was small compared to the size of the festival, because a lot of people just didn’t go. It was really weird like it had sort of a post-apocalyptic feeling.
Wanderers is now just a little over a year old, which has been the band’s most diverse album to date and has seen charting success. How have you felt about the response and feedback from fans?
It’s always overwhelming to see. We got positive feedback and followers and a lot of engagement from our community that we never experienced before.
We knew that this album was a step further compared to the Deep & The Dark in some ways. And especially because we had a new male vocalist and some more room. There were like things we have done better in some way, but getting that kind of reaction and support from the symphonic metal community was amazing.
When I look at that period, when we released the first singles and started to tour, I’m kind of sad that we had to cancel the headline shows and the tours in Europe that were made to really push that album further. Because after that U.S. tour we were supposed to go on a three week tour as a headline in Europe, and that got postponed to next year. That would have been the massive tour that would have promoted Wanders in the right way.
So this album only had like, let’s say real six months promotion instead of a one and a half year. So I’m not sure that we even have reached its potential when it comes to developing our band and our audience and finding more people to like it. But we believe in it’s a quality, and even to the future because you know, an album is still there, there and it’s there forever.
A lot of people might just find out about it when we release a new album afterward. So I’m not worried about that. We knew this one was helping us go further. It actually did already. And now we’re, we focused on the next one to cover lack of time for the times we missed with this one.
I was disappointed that you didn’t get to tour that album more extensively, as it was a fantastic release and we were going to cover your show in Detroit.
Yeah, but we don’t want to dwell on it.
Speaking of new albums, you have both a new one, as well as a live DVD coming out soon. Can you talk a bit about what recording that was like, and is there are sort of added pressure when you’re doing a live show that you know will be recorded for a live release?
Of course. When you know the performances are filmed, and the idea was to make a DVD out of it, you know that it’s not just the moment, you know that it’s gonna stay, it’s gonna last. Fall on stage; it’s going to be there forever. (laughing) Of course, you can still cut it out when editing.
And there is some pressure, but you know that the pressure you put on yourself comes from your mind, and it’s happening only before the show. Once you’re on stage and you’re into what you’re doing, this entire way of thinking stops, and you can just be in what you’re doing and enjoy it.
This unique live show added a completely different dimension to your music. What was your favorite thing about being joined by an orchestra on stage?
I would say the power and the energy of having 20 people backing us up. You know, it’s like suddenly we’re shipping with a huge fleet. We’re not just this simple ship on our own. We have an army with us, you know? It gives confidence when you hit the stage and you face an audience of a couple of thousands of people. It empowers your life.
And at the same time, it brings a lot of emotion and energy to have organic instruments out there performing the music with you. So it’s empowering us in many different ways and underlining some feelings and emotional moments in the music because nothing can replace the vibration of the strings and the sound of real instruments.
The visuals are an integral part of your show as well; how do you develop the aesthetics for your stage?
Well, I’m responsible for the outfits. This show is divided into two parts. In the first part, we oriented more in the, the Deep & The Dark universe. And then in the middle of the show, it’s like we changed scenery. We change the backdrop and we change clothes. And I was responsible for designing the clothes for our Wanders universe and the clothes that we were wearing for our photoshoots.
And it goes together with the concept that goes with the album. Then for the rest, we trusted a Kamelots light engineer to build the atmospheres of our song. And the good thing is that we had been on tour together for weeks before that show. So he knew our universe he knew our songs as it was easy for him to dive into them and to create the lighting environment that would suit our songs. Pyrotechnics was pretty much instinctive from our regular light engineer. And then the rest is pretty standard.
The release is an excellent statement of what the band’s identity is all about. What do you hope fans will take away from watching the DVD?
I hope it’s going to compensate for the lack of shows these days because we can’t tour and nobody can really watch bands. So I hope that having another new show to watch would be great. I think right now, this is the best introduction to the Visions of Atlantis universe.
If you don’t know the band, this is the best performance to introduce the band with. And I hope that people would enjoy watching it. Get great vibes, get great energy and, and would be willing to see us live for real.
In celebration of the release, you’re doing this really cool interactive fan feature where you’re asking fans to cover some of the songs on a classical instrument. Can you tell us what that’s about?
We are throwing a challenge at our fans because we know a lot of them are actually playing instruments. Not only like the regular metal instruments, like guitar and stuff. We know they also play what we could call classical instruments like piano, flute, and violin.
We want them to grab those instruments and to play any song from Wanders on their instruments and to make a video out of it, to publish it, and to tag us. If we get a notification of the tag called #visionsofatlantisclassicalchallange, we’re going to share the best videos during this entire month of promotion. We’re very much looking forward to checking out these versions and emphasizing the symphonic and classical aspects of our band.
Awesome. That’s really cool. And like many other artists, you’ve taken the time and begun recording your next album. What has that process been like thus far?
The new and amazing thing compared to the previous recordings is that Michele and I took the chance and to have the time to properly meet as musicians in the studio and find that we have such an amazing musical connection. It’s like we’ve done amazing things together in a very short period of time, because the way we work on music is so fluid and is so simple.
That enables both of us to just let our idea emerge and be without judging them without, putting them into boxes. And we’ve been able to really find the musical identity of Visions of Atlantis. We’ve been writing like seven songs and we’re helped by our producer, like the previous times. But this time, this album has got to be way richer, way darker, way more personal, more metal as well.
It’s not finished, so I’m not giving it a whole pitch about how it’s going to be, because it can still evolve, but we’re gonna explore a musical connection that wasn’t there before. And this is going to bring it a very nice ground basis for the future.
That definitely sounds interesting! And as you mentioned earlier, you have a tour planned, how do you feel about getting back on the road?
I can’t wait for that. It’s very weird to be at home for so long and to not to have any tour going on. I’m not used to that anymore. So we’re very much looking forward to hitting the road again. And then maybe we’re thinking about trying to see if we could tour as an acoustic act because it’s something we used to do or do an online streaming show. We’ll see. But yeah, this is something we miss, all of us. We miss it a lot.
Hopefully, things get back to normal, and soon. But thank you very much for speaking with me, we’re looking forward to the new releases. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our
readers and your fans?
I want to say thank you to all the people who get engaged with their bands and keep buying tickets for shows. Those that keep buying merch, buying records, online tickets for online shows, because you showed support to bands in the most difficult period of time they ever faced.
You know, we’re not talking about bands, selling less and less records every year. We’re talking about bands that just cant tour. Most of our revenues is coming from the touring activity and from the merch that we sell at shows. I just want to say that a lot of people are still very supportive of their bands. And this is the best sign you can give to the music industry these days.