Interview by Miriam C.After having released a great album as “Delta” and an EP called “Maria Magdalena”, Visions of Atlantis comes back in this 2013 with a new album, “Ethera”, that marks a new “era” of this Austrian band, which recently ended up a good tour with Serenity and Souldrinker. We had the pleasure to have a nice chat with the lead vocalist, Maxi Nil, who told us some great things… Hi Maxi and welcome to FM. How are you doing?
I’m doing great thank you. Just got back from our European tour and I’m relaxing at home with my loved ones.Let’s immediately talk about your latest album, “Ethera”. The album title is quite interesting and in a very first moment, a lot of people have thought that the album would have been called “Etherea”. Would you like to explain us the meaning of the album title and what has pushed you as a band to choose this word for the record?
Etherea?? Why? Haha… Well Ether (Etheras in Greek) is the 5th element of nature and since we have begun this game with album titles having to do with which album it is for example the 3rd was “Trinity” the fourth was “Delta” (the 4th letter in Greek alphabet) we wanted to find a title that has to do with the number 5 and the new era for VoA with a standard line up that work together as one. So Ether+Era=Ethera.This is the first album that sees the definitive entrance of Christian Hermsdörfer. Would you mind to introduce him to those people that still don’t know him and his music skills? How has he been chosen for the band?
Christian Hermsdörfer (aka Cris Tian) was our session guitar player for a few months because Werner, our former guitar player, couldn’t play many shows and tours due to family obligations. Before going on tour with Rhapsody in 2011 Werner became a daddy for the 2nd time so it was impossible for him to continue being in the band. We were very happy that Chris could come on this tour with us and when we came back we were more than convinced that this guy had to be a full time VoA member. He said yes and the journey begun. Chris brought in VoA a new sound. Great guitar player. We are very happy to have him with us.Moreover, another “surprise” is the total absence of the bass played by Mario Lochert, which has parted ways with the band a few months after the release of “Delta”. What was the reason that has pushed him to leave? A few people know that he also works for your label, Napalm Records, and that he also plays with Emergency Gate…
The truth is that in summer 2011 we were playing Masters of Rock and Mario never showed up so we went on stage without him… our management didn’t believe his excuse and because of quite a few incidents of inconvenience before that, management and label decided that they had too much of him and they kicked him out. Mario Lochert was never working for Napalm Records…who told you that? He was only booking shows for a few months for Napalm Events that has nothing to do with the label but he was kicked out of there as well. His band was and still is Emergency Gate and I wish him all the best luck with it.Let’s talk about the artwork of the album: who has made the drawing and what’s the concept behind it?
Vance Kelly from US is the artist responsible for this artwork. Medusa for us is a symbol of a 2-face demon that has a good and a bad side and the constant fight between those 2 sides.Listening to the album, I’ve noticed that the topics of each song are quite different: for example, some tracks talk about the prevailing problems that are in the modern society, in “Tlaluc’s Grace” there’s a clear connection to the movie “Apocalypto” (by Mel Gibson), some others talk about Stalingrad and so on, if I’m not mistaken. Where does the inspiration for the lyrics come from and who is the main author for these songs?
We always follow a red line in all our albums concerning the main concept of each VoA release. In “Ethera” we talk about the uprising and the downfall. The good and the bad that we all human beings have inside us and how most of the times the bad overcomes the good making us do horrible things…but after all downfalls, wars, distractions and personal failures there is always still hope. In “Ethera” most lyrics are written by Martin. Chris wrote “Avatara” and “Vicious Circle” with me and I wrote “Hypnotized” and “Cave Behind the Waterfall”.Do you work individually during the writing process for an album or do you make the so called “team work” and right after do you work all together?
This album was the first attempt to work all together and we are very proud of it. We all gathered our ideas and worked in all of them together as one.
This new record shows a very good production in the sound, who has been well-finished by Serenity bass player, Fabio D’Amore. In fact, the album was recorded in Artesonika Studios in Pordenone (Italy). Would you mind to explain our readers the reason why you have chosen this guy for the production of your fifth record?
Let me correct you in this one =-).The recordings of vocals, guitars, bass and violin (in the song “Bestiality vs Intergrity”)were done in Artesonika Studio in Italy by our good friend Fabio D’Amore who also played the bass in our album. Drums, mixing and production were done by Frank Pitter and Jakob Grabmayr at the WildoneMusic Studios in Austria and the mastering was done by the one and only Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios in Finland.After three, four years, we can say that you’re the perfect lead singer of the band, you feel very comfortable in playing with the Austrians. Are you satisfied about what you have done until now for and in the band? Is there something you would still like to do in the music universe?
Well in almost 4 years I released with the band 2 full length album, 1 EP and I have toured almost all the world. These are things that I’m very grateful for…but this is only the beginning. My dream is to do headline tours all over the world and speak to the heart of much more people with my songs.Two years ago, you’ve been chosen as VOA for Rhapsody of Fire’s European tour, which was also supported by the Italian band Vexillum. What do you remember of this experience? I know that during and after the tour, you’ve been in a very good terms with the band members and they’re still keeping in touch with you.
This was my first tour. I have only good memories of it that if I start to write down I will write a book!!! I made a few really good friends such as Dario and Michele from Vexillum and Luca from Rhapsody, that will stay always in my heart forever and we’ve got to see each other a couple of times after the tour on vacation and in the studio.During that tour, you’ve also got to know the Sardinian drummer Raphael Saini, which played with you for some dates in order to replace Thomas Caser, that has injured his leg at that time. How did you feel like sharing the stage with such a talented boy?
Raphael played all the tour with us not some dates and we were very lucky to have this guy behind the drums! After the tour he also played with us many festivals and shows around Europe. He is one of the best drummers out there and I’m happy to have him in my small circle of friends.In these two years, you’ve also taken part in Lisa Middelhauve’s project, Eve’s Apple. What is your thought about this feminine community of singers? Have you had the chance to get in touch with great talented singers, with which you share your passion for singing, music, work and so on? In my personal opinion, this is a very involving project…
Eve’s Apple is a home where all singers in there are sisters and share the same values and dreams. I made a few strong friendships in this family that I’m sure will last till the end of my days and I feel blessed to be part of this community.You’ve had the occasion to perform with all Eve’s Apple singers at the past edition of Metal Female Voices Fest (2012). The first night, in fact, was Eve’s Apple night. It was a night dedicated to you and to the girls only. What is the biggest memory do you have about that night?
What do I remember? Well… there is nothing I can forget actually. I had this crazy idea to play there and I was trying to organize everything for 15 girls on stage with the precious help of VK Lynne who managed to learn to play around 12 metal songs with just one acoustic guitar. My good friend Raphael Saini played the cajon and without any rehearsal we went on stage and rocked it!!Most of the girls had never met in real life before so when we arrived at the hotel before the show we were all in a big party mode…When we went to the festival for sound check, my knees started to shake…I thought “What the hell did you do you crazy woman? It’s gonna be chaos!”… but since all my sisters are super professional we made it happen! It was the most surreal weekend of my life and it was one of those things that I will remember when I get old and smile. We have a few plans for this year as well but nothing is confirmed yet.If you could have the chance to duet with a very famous metal band (or a very famous male/female singer), who would you chose?
I have a few on my list. Two of them are Bruce Dickinson and Roy Khan.If Maxi Nil weren’t a singer, what job she would do/get currently?
She would be a painter and a full time dreamer.Thanks for your time, Maxi. We hope to see you very soon also in Italy. You have the chance to say something nice to our readers and to the people who support you and VOA 🙂
I want to thank you all for the love you give us all these years. Please keep on buying ORIGINAL CDs and downloading LEGALLY. Because if you don’t, we won’t be able to keep on doing what we do. Labels support us only if we sell CDs… by downloading you harm the musicians and not the labels. Stay true to yourselves and to your loved ones. Love and rock n roll!