We were given the opportunity to talk to the dark, but melodic band Valar Morghulis. We talked to a pair of musicians - guitarist Luca and bassist Rob - about the inspiration, current situation, plans but also about what Queen and Bathory have in common. Curious? Read more to find out ;)
Band is relatively young, but you cannot be called newcomers. Can you tell us how the band was formed?
(Luca) The prequel to 'Valar Morghulis' traces back to 2015-2016. Rob and myself had known each other for a few years already, and we started rehearsing together with guitarist Lorenzo with the intention to play some kind of Scandinavian metal – we were rehearsing from Burzum and Satyricon to Amon Amarth and Ensiferum, so we were just exploring our sound. However, our intended drummer, Valerio, had to leave for a work experience in Sweden, and then I left for Brussels, so the whole project was aborted. One year later we were all back, Vale, Sam and I were having a beer together, and they proposed me to join them and form a band. I in turn called Rob and Lore. Originally we thought we'd play some other genre, we were thinking of adding keyboards, but then it just worked with the five of us. The rest is history!
When it comes to name, most of us remember the Game of Thrones. How does this series influenced your band?
(Rob) You're right! The name is obviously inspired by the works of George R.R. Martin. I'm a fan of the books since they had been published in Italy for the first time, something like 20 years ago. The words Valar Morghulis have a very fascinating sounds, full of mystery like an ancient spell, and the meaning (all men must die) I think fit perfectly for an heavy metal band with this kind of lyrics and aesthetic.
There is a lot of influences in the music – from power metal to symphonic to black metal. Can you tell us influences that formed who you are today and how band sounds?
(Luca) You can hear lots of different influences because we in turn are quite diverse and so are our influences. We never sat on a table and said „We have to play this genre of metal“: it just came like that. I am most strongly influenced by heavy, epic or melodic death metal, so I may bring a riff or refrain that makes for a catchy heavy tune, but Vale is more into black metal, Lore is a d-jenter inside, Sam likes from symphonic singing to screaming, and Rob... one day you see him with a Queen t-shirt and the next day he wears a Bathory sweater. Of course we try to make something that makes sense overall, but all of our influences come into play. The only rule is to try and keep it dark, melodic, and possibly epic.
Your latest album „Field of Ashes“ was released over year ago, however you couldn´t really promote it on tour as Coronavirus hits. How have you spent those weird times?
(Luca) That's been really bad timing. We sometimes joke about our „Valar Curse“, because it's not the first time luck is not on our side: last year our show opening for Finsterforst at Malpaga Metal Fest was cancelled due to heavy rain. But this time it was unprecedented. We had quite a few nice shows scheduled for spring and summer, our goal was to try and go around Europe by end 2020 – and here we are, not even being able to leave home. But at least we can still write our ideas on a program, record them with a DAW, share them on cloud, keep contact. Technology helps these days.
Are there already plans or materials for upcoming album?
(Luca) We have a couple of new songs and many more underway. We are hell bent on recording and sharing our riffs. Some lyrical themes may still revolve around darkness, literature, mythology, but also new topics are being introduced, and we are also experimenting some new sound.
It´s obvious that you managed to survive this bad times. What´s your advice for bands that are struggling these days?
(Rob) Keep on working in the shadows. The better thing to do is use this time to create and don't sit down and wait. We are working on new songs and put down some ideas for the next year hoping that this situation will finally ends. If the battle is lost you must have a plan B, C, and D, for the war.
We all hope it ends soon. What are your plans after all lockdowns ends and music would have chance for live performance again?
(Rob) To continue from where we left. Share our music live everywhere we can all over Europe, meet new fans, share the stage with cool bands and obviosly having fun and raise some hell. That's what r'n'r is all about, isn't it?
Are there any plans of live shows in our area? Would Slovak fans have chance to see you on stage here?
(Luca) Unfortunately it's not entirely up to us, be we'd love to! As mentioned, we were planning to find show dates outside of Italy, possibly in Central and Eastern Europe, before the pandemic hit. We'd love to visit Slovakia and meet new people abroad. We will try to arrange something in order to cross the Alps as soon as this shit is over.
You have your music on all online streaming platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, etc. How do you perceive those platforms and how do you benefit from being there?
(Rob) Those platforms are indispensable nowadays 'cause the music fruition is costantly changing, if you wanna be perceived like a professional act and share your music all over the world you can't work only on some kind of tape trading like 30 years ago. They are also a double edged swords because if you don't have hundreds thousands of streams you basically earn nothing from your music, some kind of necessay evil. You can find our album on those platforms but if you buy the cd from our bandcamp page you can have the full experience, with lyrics and artwork.
That was it – if you have anything else you want to say to our readers, your fans or haters, now´s your time! :)
(Luca). To the readers and the fans, we can't thank you enough. Thanks a lot for supporting Music. Keep on reading Hell Magazine and see you in the moshpit when this is over! I don't know if we have any haters, but that would be an honour – It means to inspire some truly strong feeling, and that's the point of metal, isn't it? Keep on hating us and spread the word!