Austria’s Visions of Atlantis celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a brand new live CD/DVD/Blu-ray set, A Symphonic Journey to Remember. You will cry. You will be inspired. You will remember this part of your personal journey while being a part of Visions of Atlantis’ live experience, complete with a full orchestra. Messages of hope, love, and the heartbreak of loss are all captured in this incredible package. The energy with the added orchestra brings this show to another level and captivates the audience right from the beginning.
Visions of Atlantis began its journey at the turn of the millennium, two decades ago. It started with four guys who had a fascination with the myth of Atlantis. Through many member changes and tragic happenstance, VoA has come back stronger than ever. Founder and drummer, Thomas Caser, has continued to keep this project alive by adding new elements that brought the magic back. Adding French vocalist Clémentine Delauney into the mix in 2013 proved to be exactly what they needed to move forward and onward. Additional powerhouse musicians, Christian Douscha (guitar) and Herbert Glos (bass), are the glue that holds it all together. The recent addition of male vocalist Michele Guaitoli was the last piece of the puzzle to enrich the sound and quality of what this band can, and does do.
Metal Nation recently had a chance to talk with Clémentine Delauney about Visions of Atlantis, A Symphonic Journey to Remember, and much more. Delauney began her career with French symphonic metal band, Whyzdom in 2010, followed by a brief stint with Serenity in 2013, before joining VoA. She also helped found Exit Eden alongside sister female metal vocalists including America’s Amanda Somerville, Brazil’s Marina La Torroca, and Germany’s Anna Brunner. Clémentine will also make a vocal cameo on the upcoming new Leaves’ Eyes album, The Last Viking on the track, “Black Butterfly”.
Visions of Atlantis have a release coming out October 30, 2020, which is your first live release, A Symphonic Journey to Remember. I am thankful we are getting music released during this time, especially live shows we can get on DVD and Blu-Ray since we are unable to go to physical shows. This was recorded before Covid correct?
“I agree. Yeah, the show was recorded in the summer of 2019, which Covid was not existing then.”
As I was watching the live performance, the song, “The Last Home” made me want to cry. In a beautiful way. It is such a breathtaking song. Anyone who has lost someone, I think they can really relate to this song. How is it performing it? Do you ever get emotional singing it?
“To be very honest, when it comes to a show and I know I have to sing, I have to put myself in a special state of mind. Nothing can really interfere with me so I can still function. I do have a lot of emotions, but not to the point where it would prevent me from singing. Everyone has experienced when you start to cry your throat gets tight and you can’t talk anymore so you imagine if you had to sing. It is not possible, at least not for me. *laughs* But to be honest, the first time we rehearsed this song with the orchestra a couple of days before the festival, I was closer to the orchestra than I was in the DVD itself. In the room I could hear them really well and I was so touched by the arrangements and hearing violins and hearing the real strings and vibration of the instruments on that song, I couldn’t hold it, I couldn’t sing the first time. *laughs* I was getting so emotional, we had to play it again. Then I was like, I have to pay attention. I cannot drown in the music because then it is difficult to stay professional.”
You have to turn off that emotional component of your brain to be able to get through it. I can imagine the added orchestra brings the music even more to life. How was it working with an orchestra?
“It was amazing because it really transmits all the emotions that were written with the songs. The songs were arranged with an orchestra from the beginning, they were meant to be played with an orchestra. They finally got their entire dimension and we could feel the energy from those arrangements and from having 20 more people with us on stage. That was a very unique feeling that I have never got in any other situations playing our songs live. Nothing can compete with the power of people. It was an honorable, amazing experience to be able to perform in these conditions.”
With “Wanderers”, you gave an inspiring speech before playing the song. I feel this message is so important for people to hear right now, although the lyrics were done pre-Covid. It is critical for people to have that insight now more than ever. I resonate with a lot of what you say, and was curious to hear about what this song means to you.
“This song is dear to me in a very intuitive way. I wrote this song in about a half an hour because I was under a certain emotion and I needed to process. I sat at the piano and everything came, pretty much, how it sounds in the song. Even some of the lyrics. I was really into that creative, intuitive moment and it was just flowing and I thought, ‘okay, what am I trying to express here?When I heard my own words, the way they were coming out, thankfully I understood the feeling that I had inside that needed to be expressed. The feeling of, feeling at home. It is one thing to have family, it is one thing to have a place to live, it is one thing to do the things that you love, but there is moment where you go somewhere and you say, ‘this is home.’ I think this is a feeling that I am still looking for, *laughs* and I think that song was the essence of our record. That is why I gave it the title track, because we need to wander, we need to get lost in order to find who we truly are, where we belong to, what our purpose in life is and where that place would be. Where we are so safe and loved that we can say, ‘this is my home.’ I think this whole thing can be defined differently. Some people would say, ‘this is where my family is.’ Others say, ‘this is where my heart is.’ Other people would say, ‘this is where my friends are.’ Home has a different definition. To me that song is really about, wandering is great because it leads to getting to know who we are. I think that we arrive at some point when we probably get that feeling of being home.”
I think this is a forever journey. We are always going to be stumbling through dark woods here and there in life, where you are hurt throughout, then you make it to the other side finally and there is a bright beautiful meadow and you feel like it was all worth it. Along these lines, you do sing a lot about hope and the journey of life, trying to find yourself. How would you use your lyrics to help people who are struggling right now through Covid and 2020?
“I think there are things we can control, and things we can’t control. Losing energy on fighting what we can’t change is not changing anything. I would love for people to be able to always try to look for the positive side of every situation because the situation is only as bad as we define it. I know many people lost their job, lost money, and many people have lost hope of things to get better, but they are given something else, they are given time. A time frame to think differently to make different decisions to find another purpose in life and maybe do things they have never dared to do before. To do more of the things they enjoy as well. There is always a bright side and it is sometimes hard to forget the hard things that have happened, which I am not minimizing at all, but it is a matter of mindset. Whatever you can’t control, don’t fight it, accept it, and then it’s about trying to get back the control of what you can change and modify in your life to have more aligned with who you are and what you really want to do. This is just a phase, this too shall pass.”
*laughs* I say this frequently too.
It’s true right?
It is, we live in a fast paced world, and right now things have suddenly come to a halt, which of course is a shock and a big change and it is scary, but why not take this time right now to slow down and really reexamine what is important?
“Yeah. Absolutely. The lock down here was exactly what I did and it did a lot of good for me. I felt like this was even further away then a couple of months because my life is so different and my mindset is so different from before the lock down to now. I think if we take advantage of every bad situation that happens to us, we never lose, you know. We never fail. It’s lessons all the time and I know it is difficult. We are deprived of so many things. Right now in Lyon where I live, they decided that the bars and restaurants will close at 10 because Covid is rising again and all the fitness gyms are closed, and if you overlook the negative traits you forget to live your while life. Even though the world seems to be on hold, we are still living! We breathe, we eat, our life is right there in each present moment. Maybe this slowing down will enable more people to be aware of what they have and how much they can improve their life by being more aware of their own existence.”
Yeah let’s be honest, we don’t ever make the changes we need to unless we are uncomfortable.
“We do not, you are totally right.”
You also focus on some ecology topics, saving the earth. Have your fans picked up on that and with it being somewhat of a political topic, how have people responded?
“To be honest, I am not so sure many people are very aware of that. We do post about it sometimes and we have one song in the Wanderers album that is about the earth it is called ‘The Siren Scream’, but that it is not something that we put too much in front. Like you said, it is more of a political, social matter than something that is completely directed with our artistic universe. So we are not pushing that as that much, but it is something that is very dear to me. The people that follow me a little more closely know that I am very close to nature and I wish we would spare it more. We do have some fans that have gotten this aspect of the band and really dig into it and we have others that support Trump so *laughs* you know. We have to deal with those different opinions out there.”
You stated in another interview how metal has been a community that has made you feel accepted. This community is interesting. It is a bunch of outcasts who are generally more in tune with themselves and are okay with being the outcast, yet all find each other and make this mutually accepted community. Would you say this has been your experience and what you were talking about?
“Yeah, I think so. I can’t talk for the American metalheads, I don’t know them as well as the French ones, but I think they are very sensitive, and smart. There are studies out there that people who listen to metal and take part in the metal community generally have studied more than the majority of people in France. It is people who are more qualified for jobs at the point where being an outcast also hold more values. They feel more connected to some values like honor and commitment, someone’s word meant something or even the connection to nature through the entire Pagan movement and folk movement of metal is very close to that. They reject the commercial shit that is being sold on TV’s and radios everywhere and everything of this industrialized world we live in. It is deeper than just being rebels for a time or during their teenage years. I did feel really welcome there when I was around 16. I felt understood and I could have very interesting conversations with these people. They didn’t want to conform in the same way I didn’t want to conform. I thought I felt home there at some point, but as any community, it has its own downside. Sometimes it can be kind of close-minded, like metal is the only genre and the rest is shit. *laughs* If you tell some of them you like to listen to other things they say, ‘What?’ Tell them you like to dress in other colors other than black, they say, ‘What?’ *laughs* So sometimes I want to say, ‘Come on! Don’t be a kid your entire life. Life is not just about that one specific thing.’ It is much richer and if the metal bands and people writing metal songs would only listen to metal, this genre would have disappeared because we need to make it live and grow thanks to so many outside influences. If people think along some lines the perfect pop song or perfect pop lines that is arranged like a metal track but people will sometimes say, “I hate pop music!” but you listen to pop, it is just arranged differently. I am exaggerating of course, metal has way more different colors and allows itself to have different kinds. There is not one recipe for a metal track, it’s very varied especially depending on the style. This community is extremely positive, constructive, it is very respectful toward people, bands. You go to a metal festival and you know you are safe because most the guys respect women. I love this world.”
You are also a member of Exit Eden, which did mix the pop and metal world literally on the debut album, Rhapsodies in Black.
“Yeah. It was crazy to see so many people loving it because, I think, the metal aspect is still quite relevant and it was done in a very good way. Also the songs that were chosen, there were some anthems in there like “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, even if you are a metalhead you still kind of like the song. *laughs* Some of these kinds of songs from the 80’s just are cute because they are classics now. So there was a lot of positive reactions around this band from open-minded people. The saying that every metalhead doesn’t enjoy pop is not true, but if you take the extremes, you find strength of character instead of the metal is the only thing and the rest is shit, like I said before. With Exit Eden we could prove these two worlds could coexist, well three worlds because it is pop, metal, and symphonic.”
Can we expect another Exit Eden album in the future?
“Yes! Just be a little bit patient because we won’t start until I think April of next year.”
Fans will be very excited to hear that! To bring it back to Visions of Atlantis, there is a lot of history with this band, 20 years this year, and almost didn’t make it before and right around when you joined. You guys came back from possible extinction, how did that come about?
“There was a massive crisis in the band in 2013 and Thomas, the founder, has been through so much. This was not the first time there was a big lineup change in the band and I think he was really close to giving up. He was in a different area of his life and he was not taking too much time with band activity, not playing shows anymore. He had lost interest in the music also, to be honest. So when the crisis happened, he wanted to put an end to it. When he asked me to join the band, the original plan was to release a last album and make a goodbye tour. The thing is, when we started to play together again, he got excited to play and then when he saw the reaction of people, he thought, ‘Oh my god, there is still people who like us!’ So he decided not to drop it and then we decided to go on and start working on new music and this record.
Are you working on new music for an album right now?
“Yes! Taking advantage of having free time to write new songs and this time Michele and I are way more involved than in the past, which is a great thing. It is only thanks to the lock down that we have been able to discover our musical connection and write songs together and it has been amazing. It is one of the best collaborations I have ever experienced in the song writing process. I can’t wait to finalize this album and release it next year because I think it is going to be a totally different range than we have been coming up with so far. I am very excited with the material we are coming out with.”
I know he is the newest member, but you two already seem so completely comfortable with each other on this live performance and I think you compliment each other well. Last question, what can people do right now to support Visions of Atlantis during this difficult time?
“Thanks, that is a very nice question. Pre-ordering the DVD is definitely going to help us. Getting the tickets for the shows that are planned for next year, I know it is over a year ahead, but those shows are confirmed, let’s say September of 2021 and hopefully this whole shit is behind us, right? *laughs* Buying the tickets to give some hope to the promoters and ourselves that we could have a touring life in one year, that would be amazing. Otherwise, keeping active on social media, people still reply to everything that we post. Seeing their commitment and engagements shows us the band is not dropping, has been very heartwarming because we are on our own and if fans let us down, there is very little reason to go on.”
Clémentine Delauney is a genuine, good-hearted, and good-natured person, I felt rejuvenated after this interview. Visions of Atlantis‘s performance on this live album and DVD/BluRay is absolutely stunning, breathtaking, emotional, and an experience you need to hear and see. This is definitely a journey I will remember, and will continue to revisit. Make sure you support this band during these hard times. We need the music now more than ever.
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