Since their formation in 2000, melodic metallers Visions Of Atlantis have been on a long and arduous voyage. With a concept centered around seafaring fantasy, it’s only appropriate that their journey across the seas of music should be awash with adventure, but across their eight albums to date, they’ve had several major overhauls of crew and fought hard to find their merry band of die-hard supporters on land. They’ve indeed braved some choppy waters.
By 2018, drummer Thomas Caser was the only original member left on board and he decided to give the band one last shot with a new line-up. The resultant album, The Deep & The Dark found them in rejuvenated spirits and took them to a whole new level of both critical acclaim and commercial success. With wind in now in their sails, and just a few more line-up tweaks, they were ready to drop anchor again in 2019, with a masterful follow-up record Wanderers, and the forthcoming album Pirates (released by Napalm Records 13th May 2022) finds them basking in nautical glory. The ship has steered well and truly back on course. (Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the sea metaphors…)
Ahead of Pirates’ release, This Day In Metal sat down with the band’s frontwoman Clémentine Delauney to discuss everything piratical and metal:
TDIM: First of all, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I know you’re very busy at the moment on tour across the U.S. How’s that going?
CD: It’s going very well! The Americans really appreciate our new songs and our visual concept and they’re having a really good time. The crowd’s discovering us and enjoying us and, with our new songs, it’s perfect. We’re actually having a lot of fun here.
TDIM: So what are you guys listening to on the tourbus at the moment?
CD: uhh, nothing. [laughs]
TDIM: [laughs] Nothing?? Really?
CD: I mean, you have to imagine what the tour’s like. There’s not much leisure time on the tour bus! When we do our show, we play twice, we play during our show but then we have to stay around and do the merchandise. So we’re in a live environment all that time. When we come back to the tour bus, it’s the only moment when we can actually calm down. There are some moments where we party and there’s party music, and it’s metal. For instance, we love the new Battle Beast and Beast In Black, or Queen tracks from the 80s or other dance music, when we want to have fun. But it’s not like we actually listen to music on the tour bus.
TDIM: I getcha. So it’s basically party music or sleep.
CD: Exactly. And it’s not a party every night. [laughs]
TDIM: Ha! Okay. So you’ve got a new album out soon, Pirates. What would say is the ideal environment for listening to it? Like, the best place, time of day, the best lighting etc…
CD: Well, it’s very personal. You know, this album is a soundtrack of whatever your life could be about. You don’t need to worry about what’s working or what’s not. Our album is to be enjoyed at any time of the day.
TDIM: I’ve been listening to the promo copy constantly, all times of the day! It really is a fantastic album. I’ve been a Visions of Atlantis fan for a long time but I’m afraid I’ve got to ask this… how do you keep getting better every album?
CD: [laughs] Well… ummm… I guess there’s an evolution in who’s writing the music? When it comes to Pirates, we changed team. Michele managed to write way more songs for this record than he could for Wanderers because when he joined the band, a lot of the songs were already written. For Pirates, because it was the pandemic time, we had way more time and we decided to work deeper on our artistic and musical direction, and we wanted to push it.
We changed producer as well, we decided to go with Felix Heldt who’s the producer of Feuerschwanz and Dartagnan in Germany. He was the sound engineer for Freedom Call when we were on tour with them. He loved our band, he loved our show and our duets and he wrote a song for us on the tour and that was the turning point for us. When we listened to that song, which is actually Melancholy Angel now, we decided that this is the right person who could really understand what the band was about and bring it further, so we decided to team up with him.
Meek is an amazing songwriter too, and I’ve also written even more music for this record, I had the time for that, so yeah. Now we have the perfect triangle to deliver music that works the best.
TDIM: Yeah, that makes sense. And honestly, with no disrespect to any of the previous albums – which I love – Pirates is totally next level. Would you say it’s a concept album?
CD: Nope, it’s not. [laughs]
TDIM: Oh. Okay. I mean, I feel like there are at least a lot of themes running through it…
CD: That’s true. I mean, it’s not a concept album in the sense that there’s no connection from one song to another, it’s not telling a story. But you’re right, there are themes that are common and some songs that are like “answers” to other songs. Some themes are discussed under different angles from one song to another but that’s where the concept ends. Each of the songs can be appreciated on their own.
TDIM: I get that. I noticed quite a few little links between the songs, which is why I thought I’d ask. So, obviously the album is called Pirates and there’s a lot of lyrical references to pirates… What does ‘piracy’ mean to you?
CD: Well, it’s got nothing to do with being criminals and thieves who just go around bounty hunting and drinking rum. We are freedom seekers, the idea is to explore yourself through the stories and the monsters and find the light inside, and find the truth about who you are, and find the treasure of your soul. You know, it’s a metaphor. Pirates is about being free to be who you are but deprived of the ego. Just the real essence of what makes you happy out there. Chase that. Forget everything else! I’m on that journey too. I’ve changed my environment and my relationships to go exactly there and I wish to implore others to do the same. But it’s all still through a beautiful pirate theme, because that’s more entertaining than philosophy! [laughs]
TDIM: Yeah, I think all of that’s really clear in the lyrics. Especially on tracks like Master The Hurricane and Darkness Inside. They really resonated with me. Do you have lyrical inspirations, in terms of people, rather than concepts? You know, like people whose lyrics – or poems, even – that you enjoy and that inspire you?
CD: That’s a good question. When it comes to lyricists… no? I do enjoy poetry a lot but I have to say that I try to find my own way. The biggest difficulty when you write lyrics is that it has to fit the melody. We start writing music from the melodies – we’re a melodic metal band after all – and the melody is the queen. I have to find words that match the melodies and make it flow. Sometimes exactly what I want to say does not fit the melodies. I have to find ways around it and it takes a lot of time and effort. It’s not as simple as if I were free to write on blank paper. I have to follow a guideline. But still, if I would be writing just poems, maybe it would be easier to talk about influences but I don’t approach them like a writer’s work. To me, it’s part of the music completely.
TDIM: Interesting. That’s not what I expected from reading the lyrics, as they feel very poetic.
CD: Thank you!
TDIM: So, let’s talk about metal. What was the first metal record that you ever heard?
CD: It was Fallen by Evanescence.
TDIM: Do you remember how that made you feel?
CD: I can absolutely remember the first time I heard Bring Me To Life on the radio, in France. We had one radio station, I don’t even know if it exists any more, that sometimes played heavier songs. They played Bring Me To Life. I’m a pianist, as well as a singer, and hearing a feminine voice and a piano with the heavy darkness of their music was like an absolute shock. I didn’t understand what I was listening to but I fell in love immediately. Then I got introduced to Nightwish, which was a step further to being more metal and being more operatic. I was studying classical singing by that time, and it was just a revelation. I wanted to express myself in that way. From there, you know this, you discover one band and there’s an entire genre to discover. My parents introduced me to lots of different types of music but the heaviest I heard growing up was Led Zeppelin and Queen. But when I discovered metal, it was like Christmas every day [laughs].
TDIM: [laughs] Yeah, I completely understand that feeling. It was the exact same for me, but with Iron Maiden.
CD: Oh yeah, Maiden came in pretty fast too. I remember I was 17 when I decided to go to Paris with a friend of mine to see Iron Maiden. It was a sick line-up – Within Temptation, Dream Theater, Iron Maiden. Amazing, just a wonderful, wonderful show.
TDIM: It’s awesome seeing a show like that when you’re young. Just has such an impact. I mean, here we both are, many, many years later, still just obsessed with metal! [laughs] Actually, on the subject of Nightwish, something that struck me when I was listening to Pirates was there’s a lot of HUGE choirs on the album. How did you record that? An actual choir? Just you?
CD: There’s a lot of our own vocals, stacked together. Across the entire album, you’ll hear a lot of choirs and we recorded that ourselves.
TDIM: Nice. Okay, last question. Here at This Day In Metal, we always like to include some “Did You Know?” trivia about a band when we post about them, but the commenters tell us our facts are too obvious. Can you tell us something about Visions Of Atlantis that no one else will know?
CD: Hmmm. Let me think about that… [laughs] Well. Maybe behind our very nice and polished melodic band image, some of us are really crazy party animals!
TDIM: [laughs] How crazy are we talking?
CD: Well, um, things have been thrown from hotel windows. Things have been broken… I mean, we’re five people, we’re very different people of course, not all of us… but, ehh, we can be a little unconventional sometimes? Like, our drummer almost broke a tourbus window once, while playing with a hammer. [laughs] You know, that kind of situation.
TDIM: Well, I’d expect nothing less from pirates!
The new Visions Of Atlantis album “Pirates” is released via Napalm Records on May 13th 2022. Buy it here!
YESTERDAY, TODAY, EVERY DAY, HEAVY METAL!