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Venia

 

I’ve had the honour to talk a little bit with Viktor, Venia’s solo guitarist: that young finnish group is achieving more and more into the christian metal scene and we hope they will soon spread the Word also into the secular scene. We’ll talk with him about the past, the present and the future times in the history of that group, and about many other things. I thank Veronica and Jere too for their availability!

Above all, compliments for your music and your amazing work into the christian metal scene. Well, introduce your band.

Thank you! Venia consists of vocalist/violinist
Veronica Solje, lead guitarist Viktor Fagerström, rhythm guitarist Jere Veijalainen and bass player Juhani Palttala. We are currently looking for a new drummer.

Why have you chosen metal music in order to express your christian message?

For me it wasn't much of a choice, I started playing the guitar thanks to metal and that is the style I have always wanted to play. When I became a Christian I started to feel a calling to make music in the honor of God, so I ended up posting some ads that I wanted to start a metal band, and that eventually lead to Venia being formed.

About your line-up, we know that Daniel has decided to leave the band. Are you looking for a new drummer? Are there any novelties?

Yes, we are looking for a new drummer. We have a few candidates, but nothing is certain yet. Daniel is such a good drummer that his shoes are pretty big to fill.

Veronica is a very good singer! Why have you chosen a female voice?

Again, it wasn't much of a choice. We didn't have very specific criterias when we were looking
for a vocalist, but for some reason mostly female vocalists contacted us. Veronica impressed us, so we decided to give it a go and she hasn't disappointed. It feels like we got the vocalist that was meant for us.

Listening to your CDs, everyone can realize that there are many influences from different metal styles. How do you describe your sound?

Yes, indeed. To get away easy we simply describe our sound as melodic metal, because melody is the staying foundation of our music. If you want a more detailed description I would say that we are a classic heavy metal band with influences from power, progressive and thrash metal. Of course, the female vocals and use of violin make our sound more personal, as they are quite rare in this genre. In the 80's, female metal vocalists were unheard of, now they are more common but very few do this classic old school type of metal. The reason we have chosen to blend so many different styles of metal is that we have very broad tastes when it comes to metal and it keeps things interesting. We use our personal sound and melody to keep things from getting too chaotic. We expect our thrash metal influences to grow in the future and what will happen with the prog influences will probably depend a lot on our new drummer. The songs we are writing now at least seem to be more straight forward.

Personally, I think that the lyrics are very important. For example I love Taivaassa (I can’t understand the words, but I read the english translation) and Illusion. Who are the writers of the songs? And what’s for you the importance of the lyrics?

Jere wrote the lyrics and music to Taivaassa while Veronica wrote the text to a song of mine that became Illusion. So far everyone but our bass player Juhani have contributed to the lyric writing, but Jere and I have written the most. I think
the lyrics are very important as we want the listeners to get something more than just entertainment by listening to us. Our goal is to share the hope we have in Christ, to encourage and give food for thought about different issues in life. Our lyrics are usually based on personal feelings and revelations we have gone through, but also have a strong foundation in the Bible.

Veronica: When I started working on the lyrics to Illusion I hadn't even heard the song Viktor earlier had composed, but as soon as I heard it I realized my lyrics and melody belonged to that song. I feel like God gave me those words, and not until afterwards have I begun to understand the deeper meaning of them. My inspiration mainly came from Isaiah 53. Jesus didn't promise us an easy life as Christians, but he surely knows how we feel and can therefore comfort and help us in this struggle.

Jere: The lyrics of Taivaassa are based on the idea that in heaven there can't be boring even though we'll be there forever. Here on earth we cannot fully understand eternity in heaven but we can trust that it would be something awesome. The other point of that song is that Jesus is the only way to heaven and if we abandon that way we'll end up in hell. These two are the only options.

What’s your opinion about the christian metal scene in the world? Now, many bands are born, particularly in the extreme scene (black metal and even gore metal).

I think it's good that the Christian metal scene is growing. It's nice to find a lot of young a promising bands. One problem still is that the Christian metal scene tends to be too separated from the secular scene. We need more channels to get Christian metal out to major labels, stores, concerts, radio, movies, magazines, TV and so on, to be a light in the world and show that Christians can play great metal too. Venia’s music is not meant only for a Christian audience and I'm sure most Christian bands feel the same about their music.

Is victoryzine.com your webzine? If yes, how many people are working now with you for this project?

No, Victoryzine is not my webzine. I was simply writing some reviews for them a few years back, but then band duties and personal life started to demand so much time that I couldn't find time for it anymore. Perhaps I'll start writing reviews again sometimes, it's hard to say. I do know that 9 people are working on Victoryzine at the moment, of which about half are active. The founder of the webzine is a good friend of mine, a great guy and music lover that keeps the zine together. I'm always looking forward to hear what he has to say about our new music.

Which are your favourites as ever Christian metal albums?

Here is my top 25. I tried to narrow it down, but
they're all so good that I feel they deserve to be mentioned.
1. Deliverance - Weapons of Our Warfare
2. Tourniquet - Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance
3. Saviour Machine - II
4. Antestor - Martyrium
5. Deliverance - Learn
6. Saviour Machine - Legend Part II
7. Theocracy - Theocracy
8. Deliverance - Deliverance
9. Rob Rock - Holy Hell
10. Virgin Black - Elegant... and dying
11. Antestor - The Return of the Black Death
12. Saviour Machine - I
13. Lengsel - Solace
14. Virgin Black - Sombre Romantic
15. Shadow Gallery - Tyranny
16. Tourniquet - Crawl to China
17. Rob Rock - Rage of Creation
18. Jacobs Dream - Theater of War
19. Vardøger - Whitefrozen
20. Extol - Burial
21. Vengeance Rising - Human Sacrifice
22. Jacobs Dream - Jacobs Dream
23. Frosthardr - Maktesløs
24. Believer - Extraction from Mortality
25. Wingdom - Reality

Do you have any particular relationship with other christian bands? Which ones?
 
We obviously have a somewhat special relationship with the bands Bleakwail and UPS as we share members with them. Other than that, we have quite a big Christian metal scene here in Finland and all bands pretty much know each other and often meet at different happenings around the country.

Do you like live dimension or do you prefer a studio one? Which is the best concert you have done?
 
Both are nice in their own way. It's great to play for a good and active audience but there's usually a lot of work involved with the live gigs. In the studio it can be stressy, but it's very awarding to hear the songs turn out the way they were intended. Our best concert was definitely last fall at the Maata Näkyvissä festival in Turku. It's the biggest Christian festival up here in the north, the concert was sold out and the audience was great. We had a blast.

Are you satisfied with your success?

Yes, we are generally happy with the response we have gotten. God has taken us to places we couldn't even dream of when we first started and we are very thankful for that.

What are your future plans?

At the moment we are focusing on our new album, a full length that we hope to release this fall. So far Daniel has recorded the drums and they sound awesome, he did a great job. I'm really glad Daniel agreed to play on the album because we have practiced the songs with him for so long that it wouldn't have felt right with another drummer. We are currently working on the final
arrangements for the bass, vocals and violin (you will hear the violin a lot more than before on the new album), and then we will start recording the guitars and bass. Thomas Mattsson who recorded, mixed and co-produced In Our Weakness is working with us again on this new album, as we were really pleased with his work last time. I have a feeling that the new album will be a big improvement over In Our Weakness. We are definitely putting more effort into this one and have set our goals very high. The people hoping for more catchy songs should be pleased as well. Other than this we have booked a gig at Immortal Metal Fest in Nokia in May. We're still not sure who will be play the drums there.

Thank you for the interview! God bless you all! Just leave a message for the Italian metallers!

Thanks for your interest, keep on spreading the metal and the light of Jesus! Let us know what you think of our new album when we get it done.
May God bless you!

 

 

 

Daniele Fuligno

 

Italian Version

 

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