Against Magazine










VALLENDUSK: The two sides of the sea (Interview)

Asia did not only give birth to some fascinating metal bands – just think of Impiety for example –, but also has a growing metal-scene. Nevertheless, very few bands from the Far East ever reach Europe and become famous here. Vallendusk stem from Indonesia and were able to sign a deal with the German label Northern Silence in order to get their second album “Homeward Path” released. And that was a good decision. The guys from Vallendusk play an interesting form of atmospheric black metal and their art will surely be loved by everyone who has an interested in English bands like Fen, Winterfylleth and Wodensthrone. Guitarist Valendino talked with us about his band, the new music on “Homeward Path” and the metal-scene in Indonesia.

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“We wanted to create music we mainly appreciate ourselves.”

 

Hello Vallendusk and thank you for answering my questions! Your second album “Homeward Path” will soon be released via Northern Silence. How did you get into contact with them? Did you specifically want to be on their label because you like other bands from their roaster?
We sent the final mix of our new album to Torsten (owner of NSP) and we were glad that he was into it. Then everything went pretty fast and finally “Homeward Path” got a deal. Northern Silence Productions has established itself as one of the most revered labels in the genre. We’re so happy and honoured to be on the label and alongside the many talented artists on their roster.

You have been around since 2011 and you have already crafted one EP and two albums. Please tell us a little bit about the motivation behind Vallendusk. Why did you form this band? And what are your aims and goals?
We wanted to create music we mainly appreciate ourselves. It was never our purpose to be very innovative in the first place. Vallendusk is a product of our influences. It’s a small tribute we pay to our masters. We try to make music from our hearts and trust our own feelings. Not sure whether we’ve succeed in adding our own personal touches in the process. We always give our best and enjoy the ride as much as possible.

Not only the title alone (“Homeward Path”) but also the music itself conveys a melancholic feeling – a longing for home. In the case of your music: Is it a longing for pre-modern times? Or do you have a totally different interpretation of the title?
The words “Home” on the album-title actually refers to a primitive, most primal wisdom that lies in every one of us. A path to wisdom that will guide us back to our true calling in life, to celebrate the total incarnation of mother earth in man.

On the cover-artwork one can see a bonfire and on your promo-shots one can see you on a boat in the ocean. Therefore the elements seem to play an important role in your art. How important is especially the sea for your art? Do you get inspiration from long boat trips and phenomena like tide and flood?
The sea element which we portray in our new album actually resembles two main characters that fit best to our music and our lyrical aesthetics. The quiet sea demonstrates the tremendous inner strength as well as the emotional and spiritual balance, while the turbulent water reflects the courage and struggle on a journey through the storm.

 

“The quiet sea demonstrates the tremendous inner strength as well as the emotional and spiritual balance, while the turbulent water reflects the courage and struggle on a journey through the storm.”

 

Musically one can hear similarities to British black metal bands like Wodensthrone, Winterfylleth, Fen and the like. Do these bands inspire you? Or what kind of music are you in general listening to?
I (personally) got somewhat stuck in the early nineties wave of death metal, and I also listen to doom, and mainly black metal. It is hard to pick just a couple of acts. Every band that we listen to is of course influencing us in some way. We’re all quite different in our personal tastes and that includes stuff that sounds very different than our own music. A wide range of all sorts of music from classical, ambient, pop, folk, electro and so forth.

One can not only find very aggressive parts on “Homeward Path”, but – as mentioned before – also very melancholic and epic elements. Which parts do you find easier to compose? The more joyous and epic passages or the aggressive and direct ones?
Each of them is quite easy to compose if it stands on its own, but it is difficult to get a good grasp on how to fuse those styles together and maintain the correct flow.

In general: What fascinates you about metal music? Is it the possibility to express aggression? Is it the energy which is usually conveyed in this music? Or is it something entirely different?
Personally I was amazed by the energy, the atmosphere, and the aesthetics it creates. Metal, especially black metal, has the power to awaken my consciousness to a greater level. I feel blessed for being able to express myself through it. It’s like a vehicle for me to get some sort of balance. It also caused me to stay out of trouble for some reasons. It has occupied my time, made me an artistic and creative person. It gave me all the constant thoughts in the back of my mind that saves me from feeling lost.

 

“Metal, especially black metal, has the power to awaken my consciousness to a greater level.”

 

“Homeward Path” is pretty well produced – in which studio did you record it? And who took care of the mixing and mastering?
For the recording we returned once again (it was our third time) to the Teargas Studio. Our friend Cad was behind the mixing/mastering board. It’s somewhat a safe choice since we’ve got limited time and budget. He knows what we want and we know how he works around the studio. Since we’ve known him for some years, it makes us feel comfortable and secure. He always has this positive attitude that helps a lot to get the creativity flowing and it makes us eager to perform a little bit better. This, however, doesn’t mean that Teargas is the only studio for us, it’s just the way it has turned out and the future will show where the next turn will take us.

Your new album will be released two years after your first album “Black Clouds Gathering”. When you now listen to your first album what are your feelings? Are you still satisfied? And how do you think did you evolve as musicians in those two years?
We’d like to see each of our albums as an individual point of our musical evolution. Each album is just a link in a chain that hopefully leads to new ideas later on. The thing with creating something new is that in a way we’re always beginners. We have learned a lot by doing those earlier albums, that’s for sure, but it is the uncertainty and the unexpected that makes it all more interesting. We are totally OK with everything that happened, and we keep growing and learning as musicians.

If I am correct then you will also re-release your first album together with your first EP as a vinyl-release via Northern Silence. Is that correct? And will there be bonus-tracks, a new cover-artwork et cetera?
Yes, there’s been a lot of demand for this vinyl-reissue since last year. We’re lucky that Northern Silence will release both the first album and the EP together in a double vinyl format. It’s scheduled for a September/October release I guess. It will contain a new artwork and layout, but regrettably no bonus-tracks.

Could you give us a little insight into the metal-scene in Indonesia? Are there many bands that play metal, and especially black metal? And how are gig-possibilities et cetera?
In terms of ratio, brutal death metal bands cover a quarter of all Indonesia’s metal bands that exist. But we still have some great black metal bands worth checking out too. FromHell, Dry, Ex Inferis… to name just a few. There are plenty of gigs held every month; improvised venues pop up from nowhere one day to the other. There’s so much hunger for playing live, recording albums and buying physical releases. And everyone wants to support each other here.

Many thanks again for your valuable time and your effort! I wish you only the best! The last words to our readers are of course yours!
I’m no fan of last words. Anyway, thank you all for spending time to read this. We really appreciate it!

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You can read our review on Vallendusk’s over HERE.