Interview by Miriam Cadoni

As everybody is aware, 2020 is the annus horribilis for the whole music business, but I’m open to affirm that for certain bands the impact was even much more worse. And one of these bands is surely Austrian symphonic metal masters Visions of Atlantis. In a way, 2020 represented for the band the year of the affirmation after paying so much dues throughout a long career. In the midst of this pandemic, the band went bankrupt and two important tours didn’t happen. Even in dire straits, there’s light outside of the tunnel and this is the ultimate hope. On the occasion of the release of the DVD A Symphonic Journey to Remember, I chatted with Clementine about it. Enjoy!

Hi Clémentine, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine, how are you and how this precarious days are treating you?

Hello, thank you so really much for having me. I appreciate it a lot. Well, right now France is suffering another lockdown, so, we can’t go out and for the next month we have to stay indoors. Of course, everything’s closed and this led me to go back at my mum’s place where I have previously spent the first lockdown. This place is located in the countryside which is also a luxury to be able in escape the city in these times. Actually, I’m doing quite good.

Since I had the chance to meet you during the last European tour, I would like to ask you to remember to our readers about its production and so far, how was the feedback from the media and fans?

Well, it was the second album with our new revamped Visions of Atlantis’s line up and with “The Deep and the Dark”’s production, we worked with the same producer. However, the main difference is that we changed singer in between because Michele Guaitoli joined not so long before we recorded “Wanderers”. It was released in August 2019 which it was followed a couple of weeks later by the shooting of DVD.

What I can also say is that the audience, so far, are loving the record which is really bright, uplifting, very melodic and very emotional. Actually, “Wanderers” has helped us to tour more than before and before the lockdown, in newer places such as the US. To be precise, the lockdown stopped our planned American tour. In the end, we are very very happy with the result from both the press and the fans.

“Wanderers” marks also the studio debut of the new male singer Michele Guaitoli. How its coming to the band influenced the whole full-length?

He’s a very positive, dynamic, committed, reliable and fun person and he’s been adding a lot to the band. Not just singing-wise but also in the band itself because he’s the one responsible for mixing both our DVD and our previous live album. Despite being an amazing singer, he’s a sound engineer and this aspect boosted a lot Visions of Atlantis.

Exactly 1 year and half later, the new DVD “A Symphonic Journey to Remember” was released via Napalm Records. First and foremost, how the collaboration with the amazing Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague started?

I think we have discovered this orchestra because they played together with other bands before and asked ourselves if there was a way to play with them, so, the next step was to contact them. In truth, we had no plan whatsoever and we were amazed when they liked our music and accepted our offer.

Then, we agreed on play a show together and Bang Your Head festival proved to be the right place for that first collaboration. The moment that we realized that we would have played with an orchestra, we decided to record it as a full video. Then, if it would be good enough we would have released.

Simply, it’s how everything started and the collaboration with them was amazing. They are very autonomous, very focused, very serious and they delivered a fantastic performance even though, we didn’t have the time to rehearse together for 2 months. Overall, it was an amazing moment and experience.

Considering all the logistics involved, how much difficult was to organize this special night?

You know, we decided to perform at a show that was already organize, so we didn’t need to take care of all the organizational aspects. Of course, it was someone involved with have everyone at the same place and at the right time but everyone knew when to be where.

Then, once we were there, the festival’s organization helped us with having a proper soundcheck, in order to check and how to build everything. In the end, when everyone know where to go, what to do and at which time be there, everything just works and flows without encountering any issues in that regard.

Instead, for what it concerns the setlist played, if we take into account the long career that Visions of Atlantis, how did you manage to carefully choose the songs?

First of all, there were several parameters to take into consideration such as that we were playing a couple of weeks before our new album was released and also, the fact that we were playing a show in front of several thousand of people.

Given that we were on the the verge to start the new promo for “Wanderers”, we consequently aware that we had to play it to show the listeners what the album will be about and hopefully, trying to get some news fans too. Mostly, that’s the reason why on the DVD recording are featured 5 songs for our latest release.

Naturally, we had to organize our setlist by featuring songs from “The Deep and the Dark” and our past releases. In that case, we chose the songs that we love to perform the most ourselves and the songs that our fans like a lot such as “Lost” and “Seven Seas”. In the end, it’s how we decided to play our songs.

Personally speaking, what this event did mean for you as a singer?

For me and the band, it was a dream coming true. Personally speaking, it’s so important because I was classically trained and it’s a world I love. The symphonic metal is capable to blend metal and classical music together and playing with an orchestra like the ultimate thing that a symphonic metal can do. It’s the best way to show and play a symphonic metal songs.

So, I felt like we have reached a milestone to be able to do it. I loved to have both those worlds merged and I felt we were complete as a band, that nothing was missing anymore due to the fact that our songs were played the way that were written with all their power and energy that you can get from having 25 musicians on stage together. It was a unique moment and I can’t wait to be able to do it again.

I’ve recently discovered that you have inaugurated your new personal blog. What’s your goal that you would like to achieve?

During the first lockdown, I’ve realized that I’ve been professionally singing for 10 years and I’ve realized that I’ve been giving a lot of chances. Also, I’ve been through highs and lows. Sometimes, I hear people share their personal skills and simply, they had to drop it because of several reasons. It always breaks my heart hearing people that aren’t going up for the challenge.

Consequently, I realize that maybe what I’ve learned,how I’ve grown as a person and an artist, I can help others and do the same. This led me to share my experience by writing and it could use to other people with the same things that I’ve been struggling with throughout my life. My hope is to help people overcome those issue and lastly, go for the challenge.

I hope you don’t mind my question but in some way I can relate to. But in one of your posts, you have mentioned that during your teen years, you were a victim of bullism. How much difficult was to regain your confidence and which piece of advices would you like to offer?

Well, in that post I explained how much I was bullied and I shared some of the thoughts that I tried to keep in my head to let not that affect me too deeply. You know, I had not always been bullied to the extent that at the beginning of my life, I was pretty much the contrary. However, one of the things that I’ve realized is if I’m the same person in whatever context I am. But the main issue are the contexts and the people here.

Tho’, you have to keep in mind that the people who bully have no other way to feel good about themselves than put the other people down. Instead of, raise themselves up. Also, the bullier is an unhappy person and when I become aware of that, I started to feel compassion for these people. And I thought: “You bullied me because you don’t know better, because you are full of frustration and you hate yourself”.

When you feel like that, you don’t work on your talent and on being a better person. Simply, you aren’t in the mindset to grow because when you put other down you don’t grow. Actually, you diminish yourself and the moment you see the bully being in a relationship with a victim, of course, it’s logical to think that this one, it get damaged by the insults. Nevertheless, the most damaged person is the bullier because it’s damaged from the start as a human being.

Usually, a human being is a person who is happy, who’s confident and who don’t bully others. As a matter of fact, the bulliers have huge issues on their own but they are trying to hide them. Indeed, you are much closer to be a better person and to overcome and to rise in life than being a bully. Now, it sounds easy to think of it, on the other hand, there’s a lot of work to do on ourselves that we can to not let those evil words harm us.

As things so, we’re not defined by how people perceive us, we’re not defined by what we go through, we’re not defined the potential that the people see in us. In the end, we should be conscious about our potential and we should be the first ones to support it. You should be the greatest fan and the greater supporter of yourself from day one. You should be the best friend, your mom and dad that you didn’t have.

Before receiving support from others, you should give support to yourself first. It’s the basics for the way back to self-love and it’s the most important path that anyone should attempt to go back to because self-love represents the fuel to do whatever you like to do in life. It’s a really big topic and I would like to talk about for hours.

What the future holds for Visions of Atlantis and how the pandemic has impacted on the band’s general plans?

Well, the pandemic stopped us, right in the middle of a big American tour of which we were looking forward to for so long. That was a real bummer. But due to the cancellation of the tour, it gave us the chance to dedicate us much more time to c9pose new material for the upcoming record. You know, everything that happened to us is neutral, it’s how we qualify if this is a good or a bad thing.

It depends under which light we appreciate it what’s happened, if it’s something to be afraid of or be looking forward to. There’s a bright side to everything. So, momentarily we cannot tour, our “Wanderers” album has only 6 months of life experience and we didn’t utilize its full potential which our long-awaited American tour was blocked by the pandemic. Unfortunately, one of the major consequences that we are still struggling with is the bankruptcy.

Now, we have time and we are using this time to write a new album. Actually, it was the first time that Michele and I ended in the studio and we could explore our creativity together. I think, if we would have kept up with our previous schedule, we wouldn’t have had the time to do this. This ability that we have to write music together is something that give us so much hope.

Our next record will be way better, way more personal, way richer because we discovered a special connection. We are just going for it and we are improving and we had so much time for that. This is something that we can grateful for in this pandemic and I would like that people would like people to embrace it.

So, Clémentine, I thank you so much for this amazing interview. We’re at the end of the interview and please be free to say hi to your fans and our readers.

Yes, I want to thank you everyone out their that is still are engaging with our band, despite the fact we can’t perform at all. Thank you for keep listening to our records, for buying our merch and our releases, for approaching us on social medias.

Every like, every comment just make us feel that we are still a band, that we still exist and that we are still out there. If we lose our fans, we don’t exist as a band anymore. So, everyone who still in our connection, I want to say thank you and you make a difference. Just keep your head up ‘cause there’ll be some better times to come.

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