Right, to start off this interview could you please introduce Helevorn to our readers as a lot of them won't be familiar with you guys yet.
Helevorn started in 1999 as a gothic-doom music project with female vocals like typical bands of that time. We released our first demo 'Prelude' in 2001 and a few years later we had some drastic band changes due to wanting to continue without female vocals and with a more aggressive line, in fact that took us to engage our first album 'Fragments' in 2005. Thanks to that we managed to do lots of gigs around Spain and in late 2007 we toured supporting Swallow The Sun in Spain and Portugal ending playing at Dutch Doom Days that same year. Since then we've dedicated a lot of effort to composing the new material recorded last year with Jens Bogren and Johan Ornborg, producers of bands like Katatonia, Opeth, Paradise Lost, etc. from that material has crystallized into our second album 'Forthcoming Displeasures', which we will start promoting live on stage from next month and we are very proud of the final result.
You guys are from Mallorca. So, you're pretty much isolated as a band. Was it hard to get the band together? I mean you need people who are interested in playing together and particularly in the same style too. So was it easy to form the band?
Four years have passed since the basic line up, core of the band, and never changed since 2003. Due to that and with much dedication from all of us, we're still moving forward because it would be too complicated to recruit lots of new members, we are conscious of that, so we intend that each member feels Helevorn like something of its own, like a self personal expression project.
What do you consider as your main influences musically? Both when you started out and these days.
Our main influences, with no doubt, have always been the old stuff like My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Celestial Season and some 80's gothic bands like Christian Death or Sisters Of Mercy. Maybe at the beginning some of Theatre Of Tragedy, but that was the past. Nowadays, starting from that base, we're listening to modern bands that bring us lots of new elements like Swallow The Sun, Draconian and other Scandinavian bands. I do like Shape Of Despair. Besides metal music, I like intimate music and even north American singers like Marissa Nadler.
After a demo in 2001 and a self-financed album 'Fragments' from 2005 you now return with the album 'Forthcoming Displeasures'. It's released by BadMoodMan Music, a subsidiary of Solitude Productions from Russia. How did you get in touch with them and can you tell us a bit about the deal you have with them? Did you sign for more than one album? Did the offer support concerning the recordings?
When we had the mastering of 'F.D.' done we started contacts with different record labels that we thought would be interested in the edition of the new album and after a few failed negotiations Solitude was the only one with real intentions, so finally we had an edition agreement. We have signed for this record only, and the support they do of their records is correct, we have to consider that doom metal is not very popular compared to other metal styles, so promotion is always short.
You recorded the album in Mallorca with Jens Bogren and Johan Ornborg. They later on mixed and mastered the album at Fascination Street studios in Sweden. So, how did you get these guys to produce your album and even come to Mallorca? They're known for the recordings they did with Katatonia. I guess that's one of the reasons for you to get them to record the album?
After all these years we all thought we should make the decision of how to focus the future of the band, take a firm step forward and take the risk. We thought this step was to contact an important producer, one we like and record a good album. We've talked to different producers and finally we've chosen Jens and Johan after they've accepted our proposal of coming to Spain to produce the record and mixing it in Sweden. They were three very intensive weeks of hard work, god, sometimes surrealistic! It was very positive for us, not only because of the result, which we are very proud of, but to see that we were able to obtain our goal. Yes, it was the work with Katatonia what we liked about them, most specially the guitar sound, which we were all obsessed about.
I heard they were quite thorough with the recordings, like putting on new strings on the guitars after a take or changing the skins of the drumkit. Tell us a bit more about the recording.
Yes indeed, the production was terribly strict (which we expected and wanted from them). We had to change the snare skins up to four times and guitar string sets more than three. The Swedish were very concerned about how the album should sound, they took their own ideas until the end, we talked and discussed everything until we unanimously came to an agreement, and it was very dynamic. During the recordings we realised that not even the funniest jokes made the Swedish guys laugh or loose their concentration.
You're doing a video too right? Tell us a bit about that?
Yes, we're planning to have it ready next week. It's from the song 'From Our Glorious Days' and has combinations of takes of the band playing in a old fashioned room and an actor playing in front of TV images of raw reality, that's what is the song all about. We think that the message of our world's vision is well reflected in the video.
The artwork of the album is really cool, done by Robert Høyem who does amazing stuff. How did you get in touch with him? Did he create this piece particularly for you or was it something he already had done?
We contacted with Robert thanks to Rodrigo from Mar De Grises suggestion. When we saw his work we knew that he was the person who could transmit the whole album concept. We gave him some ideas and he started with the first sketches until we've got the final result. All the artwork he did was totally new, he was a very patient guy and extremely talented, it has been a pleasure to work with him.
Although you're from an island you seem to play live as much as possible. Is it hard to get gigs or tours?
Yes, it's very difficult. We hardly play in Mallorca and if we have to play abroad all the expenses are higher, we accept this as it is a price we have to pay for living on an island. Even so, we have played a lot and we hope we can continue like this.
So with the album out, what are your plans for the immediate future? Any chance we will see you return to these shores any time soon?
We are now promoting the album as much as we can playing live, we have few dates booked for this summer and we hope we'll continue adding some more for September and October. Right now we have no plans to return to Netherlands, it would be great to perform there and see the reaction of the audience with the new songs.
Thanks a lot for answering. The famous last words are for you guys.
We just want to thank you for your support, we do appreciate all the Dutch people's support, we hope it will always be like this!