domingo, 30 de julho de 2017

Interview - Ruins of Elysium: "Extremely Epic Metal, Majestic and Complex Orchestral Arrangements"

Despite their recent career, the promising band Ruins of Elysium (from Minas Gerais, Brazil) has already released an EP ("Daphne") and their first full-length album, "Seeds of Chaos and Serenity", which brings innovations to Epic Symphonic Metal, as well as lyrical concepts inspired by themes such as Manga and video games, as well as current issues such as the LGBT community's fight for equal rights.  (Versão em Português)

We talked with vocalist Drake Chrisdensen who told us a little about his musical influences and his inspirations at the time of composing, the concepts of the album and its repercussion, and he already gave us a preview of what we can expect for the next album. Check it out !!

RtM: Hi Drake !! Congratulations to you and the other members of the Ruins of Elysium for the beautiful work on the album "Seeds of Chaos and Serenity", wich is receiving many excellent reviews. How does it feel to have the first full-lenght album released?
Drake: Hey Raquel, Road to Metal team and followers of this amazing portal, thank you so much for the opportunity of being part of this interview. Well, release an album like "Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity" was an experience, at the very least, intense. Since Ruins of Elysium's beginning I've always had very clear the kind of sonority I wanted my music to have: extremely epic metal, majestic and complex orchestral arrangements, and "SoCaS" is the epitome of everything I appreciated as musician and metalhead. Listening to those 75 minutes of pure Epic Symphonic Metal and having the privilege to share it with you is something really exciting because I feel it's the first big step on Ruins of Elysium's career on the metal scenario and it was given in the best possible way. 

RtM: And about the receptivity, it has been what you expected? What are the next steps to expand the release of the album?
Drake: I feel very thankful, very privileged for being able to execute this work and receive such amazing reviews. An American site said "Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity" is one of the best albuns of Brazilian Metal history and reading that brought me to tears. We have a lot to grow up as musicians and performers and I know this first step will be the first for us to develop an even better work in the future.

 "Extremely epic metal, majestic and complex orchestral arrangements, and "Seeds of Chaos and Serenity" is the epitome of everything I appreciated as musician and metalhead." 
RtM: Tell us a bit about your musical background, how did you become interested in classical singing? Do you intend to further expand your horizons?
Drake: I started singing in my school choir 15 years ago. I was always interested in music, my dad has excelent musical taste and it was through him that I got to know many incredible musicians, so even as a child I would already listen to Queen, Sarah Brightman, Iron Maiden, PlacidoMoningo, Montserrat Caballe and others who made the will to sing flourish on me. I studied popular singing a while but I found myself in operatic singing and there I am until today. 

I lived abroad in Norway, Germany and USA to study and I've had the honor of being coached by incredible teachers like Melissa Ferlaak, Eliseth Gomes, Fernanda Giardini, Marishka Wierzbicki and Janet Williams. I've always asked myself the reason why there wasn't a Symphonic Metal band with a classical Tenor voice as it's main singer. It was a kind of music I wanted to listen to and, as there was no one doing it (and I think there still isn't), I decided to make my own band.

RtM: Talking a little more about inspirations, which bands do you like to listen to, are there any that have a strong influence on your work?
Drake: My five biggest influences, and I know it might shock some people, are Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Septicflesh, Wintersun e Fleshgod Apocalypse. I always bring elements of those five titans into Ruins of Elysium's songs and I think that's why my songs sound so heavy even if it's not common in the style. Icaro and Vince loe Prog Metal, something I'm not really fond of, same way as Icaro doesn't like Extreme Metal the way I do, but we've been able to balance our influences well this far. I used to listen to Xandria a lot, but I didn't like their latest favorite band, Leaves' Eyes, died last year.....I'm waiting for Visions of Atlantis and Dark Moor to release new material because I love those guys so much. BTW, I'd like to tell Alfred Romero I'm single and just waiting for an inbox message from him lol (laughs)

RtM: Have you ever stated that you are a fan of Visions of Atlantis, tell us what it was like to take lessons with Melissa Ferlaak.
Drake: Visions of Atlantis is a band I hold very dear for several reasons. I met VoAquen they were starting, still on the first album, and I fell in love with their work. They were very kind to the brazilian fans and it was through them I found out I can sing metal, because I would always study their songs. As I had direct contact with them, I've got to know Melissa Ferlaak, one of the most beautiful voices in the world for me, and I started being vocally coached by her. . Having Mel as my vocal coach was not only an honor, but a valuable opportuniy and I feel so privileged to be a student of one of my favorite singers and be able to call her my friend.

"I just had this epiphany: 'I will write a Symphony/Opera Metal about Sailor Moon'"
RtM: Could you tell us more about the concept of the title track "Seeds of Chaos and Serenity"?
Drake: Well, I am a die-hard Sailor Moon fan, to the point of having her tattoed on my arm, so uniting this passion with my passion for Epic Symphonic Metal was a matter of time. I don't recall exactly how the idea came to me, but I remember talking to a friend one of those nights and I just had this epiphany: "I will write a Symphony/Opera Metal about Sailor Moon". I already had at the time a song Called Seeds of Chaos And Serenity, which became the first Arc of the Symphony, and started expanding it to feature all the 5 arcs of the manga/anime and so this beautiful piece was born, even naming our first album. 

RtM: The album's cover art is amazing!
Drake: Wesley Souza, who designed our cover artwork and all the arts of the "Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity" era, didn't know anything about Sailor Moon, but we spoke about the plot (which is very dense and rich, I figure a lot of people don't realize how deep is Sailor Moon) and he came up with the idea of a Goddess of The Moon creating and balancing the Universe. Same way as Sailor Cosmos did on the end of the fifth arc, Stars. The art fits greately with the epic intentions of Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity.

RtM: Do you intend to produce any clip or lyric video? If yes, which track would you like to publish?
Drake: There are two tracks i'd love to release as a single/video. One is "Kama Sutra", for being more direct, accessible and bringing a lot of sensuality without missing it's power and speed. The other is "The Birth of A Goddess", my favorite track of the album for being a celebration of LGBT Pride, a tribute to the colors of our community and our victories in search of equal rights. We still have a lot to fight, but the LGBT community is guaranteeing each and every day a bigger space on society and this has to be on heavy metal as well.

"'The Birth of A Goddess', my favorite track of the album for being a celebration of LGBT Pride, a tribute to the colors of our community and our victories in search of equal rights."
RtM: Are you responsible for all the compositions? Tell us a bit about the process of orchestrating the album.
Drake: "Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity" was written mostly by me, but I had a lot of help from Icaro (Drums/Keys) in the final moments of the orchestra production, overall polishing, and he is risponsible almost by himself for the epic "Beyond The Witching Hour". I usually have a vocal line in mind and than I start writing other instruments over it, I know it'sbasicaly the oposite of what most of the bands do, but it works forme. As I've been studied orchestration a lot those last months, we've been able to have almost all of our orchestras written by the band directly.

RtM: By the way, since that you spoke about the work of Icarus, in October of last year you announced he as a new member of the band. How did this partnership happen? What was added with his arrival?
Drake: Icaro is a great musician, an awesome friend and a valuable working partner. We've got to know each other by a friend in common, worked in a couple songs together and the workflow was very natural, it was also only natural that he would join Ruins of Elysium as a full-time member. As he joined in a moment when "Seeds of Chaos And Serenity" was mostly done on songwritting, there weren't many original songs by him there, what is being fixed in the next one. Icaro has excellent ideas and they are being used on our 2018 album, which has some of the best songs we've have ever done. You'll love it!

RtM: "Shadow of the Colossus" was inspired by the video game, do you think there is any other game that also has an inspiring storyline for future music?
Drake: Wow, many! Games inspire me a lot because they are my favorite art form, it's my escape from this crappy real world. We've have songs about Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Shadow of The Colossus, our interlude "Iris" is based on Zelda and "game-castle-medieval" songs and for the next album, Bayonetta, one of my favorite franchises ever, inspired one of our heaviest songs to date. Another frachise I love is Xenoblade and I'd love to write something about it, but as it is so dense and complex, I don't know if I am on the level for that at this moment. Plans for the future!

"Some people say "less is more", but I believe "more is more" and that is something I follow faithfuly with Ruins of Elysium!"
RtM: Recently you posted on Facebook that the material for the next album is ready. What can we expect from the new work of the Ruins of Elysium?
Drake: I have some great news about that! We finished writing 2018 album and production already started, we're polishing the harmonies, orchestration and very soon we will begin the recording process. There are 12 songs and we are doing something very new on this album: "around the world with 12 songs". Sonority is closer to Folk Metal, but not only the celtic clichê. Yes, we will have Uillean and Bagpipes to some dancing leprechauns, but you can expect traditional japanese, chinese, arabian, african and brazilian rhythms, scales and percussion blending together with the trademark grandeur of Ruins of Elysium's songs. Some people say "less is more", but I believe "more is more" and that is something I follow faithfuly with Ruins of Elysium!

Interview: Raquel de Avelar
Editing: Carlos Garcia

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