WALLACHIA – Interview
Wallachia is a superb symphonic black metal band with many other influences. They came from Norway and started the band in the year 1992. They are not so well known, but is a real pity because Wallachia is a great band with great music. Lars is the founder member and also the mastermind behind this band, and he was kind enough to give me some very good and complex answers.
Hi Lars and welcome to Metal Maniack webzine! How are you today? 2016 is a good year for you so far? Are you busy?
Lars: Hi Alex, and thanks for having me here on Metal Maniack! I’m doing fine up here in the North, and am currently preparing myself for another evening shift at the cinema where I work. So far into 2016 it has been pretty busy with work- and music-related matters, and now in the summer I am gonna spend my time here at home and put the finishing touches to the new Wallachia album.
Ok, let’s start. Please make a short, or long, history of your band. When and why do you decide to form Wallachia?
Lars: First of all I started to play guitar when I was 12 years of age, and for my 13th Birthday I got an electric guitar and amplifier as a gift from my parents. Since I was little I just knew that I wanted to play guitar more than anything else in this world. And when I was 16 years old, in the summer of 1992, I had started to compose my own songs that would lead into creating Wallachia. And in those times there were basically no scene at all for black and death metal stuff around here in this region, so I kinda settled with the idea of keeping Wallachia as my one-man band and try my best to do everything on my own. But luckily I met Eystein Garberg a couple of years later, and despite the distance of 200 km’s between our homes, we managed to meet up some weekends where I would show him my material and rehearse together.
As a duo we recorded our demo in the autumn of 1995 and released it on our own in two pressings during the spring of 1996.
The following year we signed a contract with French label Velvet Music International and re-issued the demo on CD-format, simply entitled “Wallachia”.
After this we tried to create a 4-piece band prior to recording the first album, but things didn’t really work out as smoothly as hoped, the distances being a key element to that, and the progress was just too slow. So instead I took charge of everything on my own and just had two drummers stepping in and recording on 4 songs each of what became the 1st album “From Behind the Light”.
The album was released towards the end of 1999 in a ltd. first and only pressing before the label VMI sadly disbanded.
And at the dawn of the new millennium I was basically thrown back at scratch with everything, and in many ways if was like starting all over.
And at the dawn of the new millennium I was basically thrown back at scratch with everything, and in many ways if was like starting all over. Also a lot of things were slowly starting to change with the evolution of technology and the expanded use of the internet, and a lot of the physical scene, so to speak, were gradually fading away from how it used to be.
In 2004 I was approached by my friend Roman Sayenko from Ukrainian band Drudkh, to re-issue the first album and demo on cassette format via his label Nightbirds Rex. And also a few months later we did the CD re-release via US label Dark Horizon Records in a ltd. one and only pressing.
In 2006 I met up with my friend Paal who at that time lived two streets down from my place, and together we recorded a full instrumental pre-production of the 2nd album. I put a couple of these songs up on the Myspace page we had, and this led to a proposal from Stefan Traunmüller (from Austrian band Golden Dawn) to record the album in his studio in the Bavarian mountains at the border between Austria and Germany. Stefan also helped me to hook up with drummer Thomas Kocher, and in 2007 he did the drum recording separately, and in the summer of 2008 I finally traveled down there and spent a very hectic week of recording together with Stefan.
I signed a contract with German label Twilight Vertrieb and the 2nd album “Ceremony of Ascension” was released in April 2009. And then only to find myself in the exactly same situation as around the 1st album, the label disbanded shortly after for similar reasons.
Though I now had a base with my Austrian connections and things were running a lot smoother this time around. In 2012 we signed a contract with French label Debemur Morti Productions, and in that summer I went back to Stefan’s studio and recorded the 3rd album “Shunya”. Thomas on the drums once again, and this time around we included real orchestral strings performed by Austrian girl Caroline Oblasser and Polish girl Anna Oklejewicz, and it really gave the album that extra depth and layers of atmosphere. I’ve always labeled Wallachia as symphonic black metal, and this time around we really took it to the next level.
Shunya was released in the fall of 2012 and it’s our most cohesive and ambitious record so far, also the one that has been received most warmly from supporters and media it seems.
Since Shunya I have now written what will become the 4th album, and also earlier this year we did the “Carpathia Symphonia” release, which is a 3-track EP we recorded last summer + a freshly remastered version of our since long sold out 1st album. It is available as a double digipack CD with the 2nd album as bonus disc, and also a ltd. gatefold 2 x 12″ vinyl version that is really nice.
The core of Wallachia today is me and Paal, and we are now about to finish the pre-production of the upcoming new album that is scheduled for a 2017 release.
You start this band in 1992 about the same time with many others black metal bands in Norway. Why your band was less visible than the other bands and why your band has only 3 full-length albums until now?
Lars: There are several factors why we still remain a bit in the shadows one can say, which partly are conscious choices and also because of the circumstances around the band through the years. At the time I started Wallachia there were first of all no scene for this kind of music up around here where I live, compared to the scenes around Oslo, Bergen and the Southern part of Norway where there was more of a network and co-operation between several bands.
The main setback for me and my band was when our first label disbanded in 1999 and I had to start all over again from scratch. And I did my service in the Airforce and did some studies, exams and got into working a full-time job, and I was from then on able to continue Wallachia independently and recorded the 2nd album before having any contract, so we basically came straight out of the shadows again ten years after the debut album.
And I’ve always been very conscious about having a pure focus on the music itself, the conceptual ideas behind the songs, the aesthetics and the wholeness of putting out an album, and to not mind all the outside factors, the image and so forth.
I prefer it this way, to be a bit in the shadows, as the music have never been an aspiration as a career or anything like that. It’s too precious for me to destroy it with the pressure of such things. The music is my life, to play it as well as to be a passionate fan and collector just the same.
Please try to describe all Wallachia releases and tell us about your lyrical concept as well. I ask you this because I know you are very familiar with our Romanian culture. Why?
Lars: Demo 1996: The first recording. Done as a duo consisting of myself and Eystein, I took charge of the acoustic, rhythm and lead guitars + bass and vocals, while Eystein did rhythm guitars, keyboards and drum programming. We used a 1st generation drum machine that I got hold of from the studio of my mom’s band.
We were pretty young and inexperienced at that time, and that’s part of the charm too – that you don’t really know what you are doing until it’s done.
Of course the programmed drums stick out in the sound, but so does the vocals here, which perhaps are the main reason why people either seemed to find it cool and different, or maybe found it too strange. What I personally love about our demo is the atmopshere itself, the continuous flow in the songs. I used an electric harmonizer on my voice to create a more inhuman sound, as I was a lot influenced by the 1st Deicide album and the crazy possessed vocals of Glen Benton in songs such as Mephistopheles, etc. I wanted to do something that sounded more extreme and not just a regular human growl, but the results are a bit so and so due to my inexperience and having never at all sung in bands before we entered the studio.
From Behind the Light 1999: As Eystein was no longer a part of the band, I also now took charge of the keyboards and I practiced my songs on the piano in a friend’s house every now and then. I had with me the two drummers, Lars Erik and Mikael, and we were rushed by deadline from our label who knew that they were closing the business, but they were kind enough to tell that they really wanted to release this album before they disbanded. And thus I had to make the choice of re-recording the 4 demo songs as we didn’t have enough time to rehearse all the new material, which I am still not happy about. And I personally prefer the original demo versions more than the re-recorded ones here. The 4 other planned songs ended up on the follow-up album.
Ceremony of Ascension 2009: After a ten-year hiatus we came back with this album. The music of Wallachia has always been eclectic, mainly focused around the epic and melancholic black metal influences, but also some of the death metal stuff I grew up with. And I think that all these influences were more prominent on this album than on the 1st, and each song is very much like a journey on its own. We focused a lot more in an individual way with the songs and tried out a lot more things, most of all my vocals here are totally without any effects other than some reverb/echo here and there, but it’s much more primal and real, and it was a good experience to let myself out and to find my vocal expression.
Also Stefan’s influence and contribution to the sound with his keyboards gave the album a different touch. It sounds more properly arranged in every way compared to the early material. This album introduced a new logo and a different style of artwork too, which I think is very symbolic and suits the album in a good way. Though we have now decided to stick with the original logo again, because it is after all our real identity.
Shunya 2012: A natural follow-up to the 2nd album, and I think we took everything one step further with this one, and also knew where to step down and revert a bit towards the earlier works. The 2nd album was a bit more expermintal in terms of sounds and how we arranged the songs, and this one is more focused around the atmosphere and flow, like the 1st album. Also with the orchestral strings it gave our music a new dimension. It’s the recording so far I’m most happy with – performance- and song-wise.
Carpathia Symphonia 2016: The 3-track EP recorded last summer + the two first album re-issues package. The new EP is the only Wallachia recording done as a full five-piece band, as we had the live-members step in and do this together with me and Paal. It’s one exclusive new song + a completely re-arranged version of the song Arges -Raul Doamnei, this time as a doomish black metal ballad type of song, and also the more orchestral version of Fullmaane over Fagaras, and we did both these songs with lyrics translated into English.
And it’s nice to have the first two albums available in physical format again – all this for a very cheap price.
A little bit about the lyrical concepts: Obviously there’s a Romanian mythological and historical influence to some of the songs, which were the key inspiration when I started the band. It’s a mix of the real historical elements related to the story and places of Vlad Tepes, and with some of the fictional vampyric folklore influences too, as I started the band around the time when the movie of Bram Stoker’s Dracula came out. I found myself somewhere in the middle of these real dramatic events and the gothic fictional side.
I was taking more influence from my own life, my own emotions, thoughts and ways of philosophizing and reflecting on the world and my own life.
There’s always been touch of melancholy and solitude to my songs, from the way that I grew up and the circumstances in my life at the time when I created Wallachia. Music was an escape for me. A song like “The Last of My Kind” from the 1st album or “The Wreckage of Innocence” and “Rival of a Cursed Destiny” from the 2nd album were the foundations for a more personal, fragile, honest and open direction that blossomed more strongly on Shunya. I was taking more influence from my own life, my own emotions, thoughts and ways of philosophizing and reflecting on the world and my own life.
Then there’s also the antitheistic side that have been there with me ever since I was no more than 7 – 8 years of age, and had my doubts and questions already then. The essence of individual freedom and how complex and different we all are as human beings are something we ought to celebrate and not fight against for all of us to be equal in a negative sense. It’s more about the good values you stand for, thus naturally it also becomes a fight against the intolerance and prejudice we see from religion-based governments in both the middle east, but also to an extent in some European countries still today. But the focus is on doing what feels right for myself. And this is where I feel nauseated by any form of theocracy and dictatorship – how it breaks down these values of individual freedom, and how even now in 2016 men and women are not seen as equal beings in some countries because of how they are governed by religious law and centuries of oppression and backwards stubborn stupid traditions that especially are in favor of the male sex and more as an oppression and punishment towards women.
Even some of my first songs are focused on these subjects, and gradually more on the past two albums. When you see the street preachers with their placards of condemnation of generalization towards people they have not met or spoken with – they just condemn for their choice of life, sexuality, and so forth. And this is what makes my blood boil.
I saw now recently how a music festival in Georgia got shut down because of the anger from the local monks and Orthodox priests who became violently aggressive and attacked people, cut the electricity just because they didn’t approve of it and saw it as an “orgy of sex” of all things. For me it’s unthinkable that what I regard is right for myself should be applied for everyone else when it comes to my lifestyle choices and ways of thinking, as we are all so different and complex, like I said, and it’s the diversity that keeps us going, that makes us tolerant and manage to co-exist with one and another. But these theocratic bastards want to impose their backwards and hostile vision of life upon everyone else, and it’s nothing more than a fast forward ticket to our extinction as different, thinking and spiritual beings.
So these past ten years or so I have felt a stronger urge to resist and fight against such things, to stand up for my own values and thoughts, and for me black metal is exactly about that – liberty and all those devilish threats – the simple freedoms of life.
About Wallachia name what you can tell us. I know of course what does it means but please explain to our readers who don’t know. Why do you choose this name for your band?
Lars: Ever since I was a kid, around 9 – 10 years old, I was fascinated with the Dracula myth. And I was equally thrilled and scared by the appearance of Christopher Lee’s performance as the count himself in those early Hammer Horror movies. And one of my neighbours at that time, from a Dutch family, told me about the real origins of Dracula. And when I got in my teenage years, I discovered this Danish book about morbid characters of medieval Europe, containing chapters about Elizabeth Bathory, Gilles de Rais, and most important an extensive chapter about Vlad Tepes. And I was so fascinated by the dramatic stories of his life, from being a young boy being captured by the rival Turks, and his determination as a warrior in those rough uncivilized times. Also the mystic descriptions of the places in Wallachia and Transylvania were inspiring for creating the music.
So I took the name Wallachia because I liked how it sounded and what it represents historically. From early on I wanted the concept to evolve around these subjects, and although my songs have become more influenced by my own personality and the world as of today, I still am as fascinated and interested in those subjects and I have some ideas that are yet unexplored, purely Romanian influenced. And I will get back to that soon and do something cinematic and vast, musically and visually.
Which are your main influences that you had back then when you form Wallachia, and which are your influences today? How about your home or car playlist, what music you are listening? Any new discoveries?
Lars: When I started Wallachia in the early nineties my main influences were the epic mid-era Bathory albums, in particular «Blood Fire Death» and «Hammerheart», as well as the Greek scene had a big impact on me with Rotting Christ, Varathron, Necromantia and Zephyrous. And of course the rising scene here in Norway at that time with Emperor, Enslaved, Burzum, Immortal, Hades, Ancient, Gehenna, Satyricon, Kampfar, Old Man’s Child, Thorns, etc. Bands like Master’s Hammer, Ancient Rites, My Dying Bride, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Woods of Ypres, Dissection, Marduk, Primordial The Equinox ov the Gods, Windir, Drudkh, Negura Bunget, Inquisition, Summoning, Abigor, Samael are also sources of musical inspiration to me.
And I think one can hear some of these influences shine through in my songs, as I some times subconsciously create something in the style of my favorite bands, and then I might even strengthen that «nod» and do a little tribute with something that has some specific trademarks, such as the Windir styled melodic/lead guitar that are an obvious influence from my friend Valfar R.I.P. Also the Greek influences come forth here and there in my riffing, and it’s just natural that you get inspired to create something within the frames of your biggest influences. It’s important first of all to create something on your own and that the influence comes as a surprise to yourself even, that’s the way I feel about it.
These past 5 – 6 years I have become very addicted to Woods of Ypres, and was lucky to be in touch with David Gold for some months until his accident and death in December 2011. When I came across his music I was blown away by the emotional connection I felt to what he was creating, as it reflected my state of mind and heart at that time, and his music was really a remedy and something I could lean onto and it left me feeling understood somehow. He was a great man, a poet like no other, and his songs are so honest, painful and yet beautiful – most of all I like the realism in them, and how he captured all these confusing and hurtful feelings so well in words. Some of my songs on Shunya are touching into this same territory, and that’s why I was so happy to find this band and to feel that there are somebody else out there just like me. So yes, it’s a lot of Woods of Ypres going on here in my house, and also I’ve been much into Cult of Luna and everything they’ve done. I saw them live in Germany shortly after they released the Vertikal masterpiece, and it’s a very unique band. Bleak, cinematic, cold, harsh and beautiful all at the same time.
Also evoking some of the same feeling is the US band This Will Destroy You, which for me is the perfect music for traveling, for venturing out in the forests or near the fjord with my headphones on – they really manage to capture you inside a hypnotic state of mind, very relaxing and intense at the same time, and purely instrumental.
I keep getting back to my old fave albums all the time, but also check for new things too, and these last few mentions are perhaps the biggest influences these past few years for me. Some of my all-time faves are still going strong, with the recent albums from Rotting Christ, Primordial, Enslaved and Kampfar all being very good records.
I know that Wallachia played a show in Romania last year if I’m not mistaken. How was the show? It was above your expectations, or not?
Lars: Yes, our first ever concert took place at Dark Bombastic Evening Festival last August, inside the RYMA, Alba Iulia, and it was a special experience for sure. First of all we didn’t know what to expect as far as the audience and response, but all in all I think it went down fine and we met some really nice people from Romania and also abroad. I think it’s one of the most unique festivals we have in Europe, where you get to see a lot of bands you normally won’t see on regular tours and such, and as in the case with ourselves being debutants on stage. Doru and the crew are good at what they do, and the whole atmosphere of the festival feels more like a giant gathering of friends coming together, with the bands and the audience being there the whole weekend, watching the shows, having some beers together.
For us it was a big challenge since not being a band with a full line-up to begin with, and when Doru proposed us the gig, I had to ask some of the guys in my circles if they wanted to step in and do this together with me. All the guys answered «yes!» right away, so from that point we just accepted the offer and started to plan – two Norwegians and 3 others from Austria and Germany. We prepared ourselves separately, as me and Paal were rehearsing together up here and the other guys on their own, and then we met up a few days before the show and rehearsed the whole set for no more than two days – and I don’t think many bands have been up for such a challenge and risk in many ways. But I’m pleased with what we managed to pull through in such short time, and much thanks to the other guys who did a phenomenal job. After the first couple of songs we loosened up a bit more and felt confidence growing as with also the sound turning better on stage. It was an enjoyable experience, and a pity when we came to the last song and we knew that this was it for this time around.
It was a good start and a fun challenge, and I know that it will be more fun after having done a few more shows and you feel warmed up. I’m glad that we got to do our first concert in Romania, and it was a big adventure that I look back at with joy. I want to thank all of my friends who we met at DBE and came to talk with us, had a beer or two, and we hope to see you again some time soon. And also a big thank to Doru, Daiana, Fenrir, Ana-Maria and the whole crew for being so kind and helpful with everything. Cheers!
Also, I know that you came to our country just to visit it. What memories do you have from that trip? What do you liked most about our country?You plan to come back as a tourist or even with your band? I ask you that because, unfortunately, I missed that concert?
Lars: In July 2014 I went on a week journey through most of Transylvania. First going to Budapest in Hungary and hooking up with my Hungarian friend and photographer for Wallachia releases, Tamás Vámosi. And together we went across to Romania, passing through Oradea and venturing to the beautiful city of Cluj-Napoca for two days. After this we traveled further to Hunedoara where we had our base for the rest of the trip, a nice village just outside of Déva. From there on we went each day on different journeys, with the final expedition taking us to Fagaras, Sibiu and Sighisoara – all very beautiful towns. Visiting Sighisoara was very special for me because of its history and for being Vlad Tepes’ place of birth. It was the medieval festival in the time we arrived, so lots of stuff was going on in the streets, music and performances, sunny and beautiful weather.
What I liked the most about Romania is perhaps the feeling of timelessness when traveling through some of the towns and villages, and you see this mixture of the very modern stuff as you find elsewhere in Europe, but at the same time also the old streets and buildings that have surivived the centuries, the many castles and ruins, the customs and traditions that are still kept alive from many generations back – it makes you feel at peace and in touch with yourself and the surroundings. Cluj-Napoca was a city I really enjoyed with its cultural vibes and lots to see, and we went up to this park/hill that gives a lovely view over the city, and for being a quite big and populated city, there was still that tranquil feeling to it.
Naturally it was a big thing for me to see the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara for real, since it has been feautured on the cover of our demo + MCD as well as the more recent Carpathia Symphonia release (the picture for this one was taken on this trip) – so that stands out as one of the most memorable moments indeed. Also our visit to Cetatea Colt, the Jules Verne Carpathian Castle as has become knows as – with its dramatic location and a real Carpathian feeling. On the day we went there it was raining and misty and it just added to the atmosphere.
I still have a lot of places that I want to see in Romania and will sure come back there as a tourist, and hopefully also with my band again – that would be awesome. I hope we can arrange something together with a couple of Romanian bands maybe one day, and we just need some help with bookings and such things, then I would love to be back there and see some of the cities and places I have missed out on.
What live plans do you have for this year? Some tours or some festivals maybe?
Lars: We have a potential festival gig here in Norway some time in the autumn, but nothing is for sure yet. It’s a festival that wanted to have us last year, but we weren’t able because of the DBE planning. And earlier this year we had an offer to open for Sirenia on their Oslo gig, but it was in too short notice for us to be able, because of the logistics of having the band spread so far apart, but maybe now we have a better solution to this ahead of us.
We had some other offers too, including from Romania, and it’s basically all about schedules, budgets and so on in order to make it happen. I hope that with a new album coming it will be some more concerts.
And to us who were into this music already at that time, it was a fascinating epoch were you would see guys ar your own age or just a few years older, creating musical masterpieces without realizing the quality of their own works – they just followed their instinct and heart, and that’s what made the scene so special back then.
I want to know your opinion about the black metal scene in general and black metal scene in Norway in particular. How do you think that Norway black metal scene changed in the past 20 years or so?
Lars: The black metal scene that erupted in the early nineties was in some ways a rebellion and also a revolution in musical terms, because we all know about the incidents which made the Norwegian scene an infamous one here and abroad. And to us who were into this music already at that time, it was a fascinating epoch were you would see guys ar your own age or just a few years older, creating musical masterpieces without realizing the quality of their own works – they just followed their instinct and heart, and that’s what made the scene so special back then. There was a hunger to express something new, something primal and also as a response to the music scene and the industry of that time. The whole black metal scene was from the very start a DIY movement where bands and zines were done from the bedroom in the houses of our parents. Also since this was in times before the internet, there was a lot more effort involved just to be in touch with people, handwritten letters, tapetrading, buying stuff straight from the bands and labels and this more direct correspondence. Whereas now a lot changed since the internet became a big platform in how to distribute and discover music, more and more with the streaming functions and so on. If you want something then just type a few words into the browser and «voila!». I am a bit nostalgic about the days of tapetrading and getting hold of the cut and paste type of magazines, and still to this day I value highly the physical aspect of music and take pride in owning the real thing, as opposed to streaming or dowloading. I just like to hold and feel an album, to flip through the booklet and read the lyrics and get all the extra information that comes along.
The Norwegian scene was reaching its highest peak around 1998 – 1999, I think, and from that point a handful of bands made it really big by signing to some major labels and getting more and more extensive touringschedules. While some other acts vanished because of family and/or career choices conflicting with the musical aspirations they had. And then there were some bands that drastically changed direction in their music and maybe was fed up with the dogmatic approach the scene had taken. The biggest example being Ulver perhaps, who became an equal interesting entity within their electronic and ambient landscapes, in my opinion. Emperor split up at a time when their music started to evolve differently, and their latest album is a bit in the vein of which Ihsahn now carries on with his solo-project. Darkthrone embraced a bit more punkish expression over the years, and some bands like Carpathian Forest, Tsjuder, Gorgoroth and Kampfar remain true to their sound and their later works still have that nineties spirit, I think. Here in central Norway we have the Nidrosian scene with some more harsh and cold sounding bands like Mare, Katechon (who features original Wallachia drummer Mikael), Sarath, etc. and also there are bands like Dødsengel, Nordjevel and a few others that have come out on this side of the millennium. But for me the Norwegian scene is mainly the stuff that was going on between 1992 – 2000 that really sticks with me, in a similar way as the Tampa scene was for death metal in the late eighties and early nineties – it was that same spark of inspiration that created many unique bands and there are some legendary studios such as the Morrisound Studio for the Tampa Scene and the Grieghallen here in Norway – so many classic albums were made in both those studios.
And since we reached the year 2000 and up I think a lot more stuff have been happening in the black metal scene on global basis, such as the American scene with Nachtmystium, Krieg, Leviathan, Wolves in the Throne Room and Agalloch who all showed some vitality and bringing fresh elements into the black metal sound. And from Romania we saw Negura Bunget rise to become an active touring band and creating some real masterpieces in the early 2000’s. The emergence of Drudkh from Ukraine, the French scene with Deathspell Omega, Alcest, Les Discrets being examples of bands who created something unique and new. But as we see, things come and go, and some times it goes in cycles and revives itself – and as death metal started to die out in the mid-nineties, it just came back stronger a few years later. One needs some new blood and fresh minds every now and then to stir things up.
Maybe a little problem is that some artists have «grown up», if you know what I mean. For me it’s about having a balance of getting older and with more experiences in life, and at the same time I feel no less provoked and frustrated about the state of the world we live in, and I find enough of inspiration in every day life to create music from. In a sense I feel that the album I have been working on now is more rebellious, more focused and reflective than anything I’ve done before, and it feels in many ways as coming full circle and going back to the times when we did the demo recording.
Black Metal is something that evolved a lot from its humble beginnings in the early – mid eighties with the more rock’n’roll’ish and thrashy approach, to the more fast, harsh and cold style of the nineties, to the big epic cinematic stuff we’ve seen at the start of the millennium and now the recent few years with the Cascadian type of bands, the post-bm and depressive/suicidal inspired stuff. We’ve seen a lot of subgenres and mixtures, and some bands who have a natural approach for it, while some times it feels a bit watered out and “too mild” I would say. I like honest and personal art, and my favorite bands are the ones that touch me on personal level and reflect my state of mind and emotions. It’s so much more than just the sonic qualities, how the vocals sound and how fast the drums are, etc., but more about feeling than perfection and technical matters.
To me black metal isn’t so much about a scene or a community of some sorts, but it’s more about the essence of the music itself, the feeling it evokes in the listener. When I listen to some of my fave albums from the early nineties they still give me the goosebumps the same way as when I first discovered them, and I think it’s natural to be nostalgic about the past and our teenage years and what was going on at that time. The period of our lives when we are shaped a lot into what we are years and decades later. And I am the same person now as I was then – I haven’t changed, just evolved. And this form of music is my life.
I like very much “Carpathia Symphonia” artwork concept. Is dark and mysterious like your music. Who got the idea and who made the whole artwork?
Lars: Thanks! The photos for the cover and booklet were all taken by my Hungarian friend Tamás Vámosi during our trip in Transylvania in the summer of 2014. We decided to do a very old school black and white design and keep it in style of the demo cassette cover, and I think it turned out really nice and suitable for this release.
The design was done by French artist Dehn Sora who has also done album and shirt designs for bands like Alcest, Ulver, Manes, etc. and it was our label that arranged the co-operation with him. He understood the essence of what we were aiming for, and I’m very happy with the result.
I want to know when you think that Wallachia release another full-length album? What are your future plans about Wallachia?
Lars: The initial plan was to record the new album last summer/autumn, but since the DBE concert happened and we also decided to do the EP and re-issues package, the new album has been postponed due to that. I had a lot of economical stuff to take care of with the rehearsals and travels, stays at hotels, new musical equipment for the actual show, etc. So all the budget I had set aside for the album went into the live plans instead.
The album is now completely written and ready to record, so hopefully we’ll begin with this now towards the end of the summer. All I can say is that we are aiming for a release during next year some time. The album is entitled «Path of Satya» and will contain 8 songs and have a playing time of approx. 50 minutes. We have two guest musicians on the album, and the majestic intro has already been recorded by Athelstan from UK band Forefather, and the vocals for the ending song have been done by Cristina from Italian bands Nahabat and Xvarhnah. So the first few steps are already done and we just need to dive into this whole process with all our hearts, and I look forward to finally getting it done.
The main focus is to finish up the album and aside from that we are open to play some shows and just see what the future brings.
Thank you for this interview and if you want to add something in the end, please do it.
Lars: Thank you, Alex, for featuring us here on Metal Maniack! And I want to thank all our friends in Romania and those who support what we do with Wallachia. It’s much appreciated!
Cheers, and hope to see you all soon.