Interview with Martin Harb – Visions of Atlantis, November 2011

Ant May from Planetmosh talked to Martin Harb, the keyboard player with Visions of Atlantis about their new EP, and the band in general..

Planetmosh: You’ve just released a new EP, Maria Magdalena.  Can you tell us a bit about the EP and the songs on it?

Martin: Yeah, that`s right, and we`re very happy with the result and even stunned by the reactions so far :-)   The songs were written and parts already recorded parallel with the Delta material but thematically they where not fitting that good into the whole Delta-concept and seemed to have kinda own “red line”. Lyrically the songs deal with death in different facets (except the Sandra Cover Maria Magdalena which is just a party killer-track haha). Melancholia has a weird, a bit insane mood and is filled with cool tempo-changes and breaks, Change of Tides could have been perfectly on Delta as well with its Film-Score and very powerful touch while Distant Shores and Last Shut of your Eyes (which is a Re-recording of the Cast Away-Version of 2004!) are slowing down everything a bit and The Poem Pt.II-Beyond Horizon is the successor of The Poem which was on Trinity (2007) and just continues the story behind it…I`m already composing Part III to end the trilogy somewhen by the way;-)

 

Planetmosh: Your latest album, Delta was released in February this year, and your EP, Maria Magdalena in October – why release the EP so quickly after the album?

Martin: The idea came from our label Napalm Records when they offered us the possibility releasing two times in 2011 and as the tracks where recorded and we think they are very very cool it would have been a shame if they would have never seen the light of the day. So we where very happy to give our fans half an hour of brand new VoA-stuff for the price of a single…not many bands are doing this anymore I think ;-)

 

Planetmosh: In the past there have been gaps of several years between albums, but you’ve announced that your next album will be released in 2012, which will make 2 albums and one EP in the space of two years – what has changed in the band for you to release music so much more often than in the past?

Martin: Hahah, i got these questions very often already ;-)   Well, when you see how many line-up changes we had the last years the answer is clear: Without a stable band it`s hard working in a proper way. And now we`re a team of 5 friends with the same love for music and the best hobby in the world with Visions of Atlantis. Well, and as we where able composing many cool trax over the last 3 years (I`ve been already working on the next album for about 10 months now!) it`s possible releasing every year or all two years now!

 

Planetmosh: What is the progress on the next album?  Is there a title for it yet?

Martin: Oh, the progress is „just in plan“ (if there`s a plan haha)….Song writing was finished about 2 weeks ago, right after that we started pre-production and final arrangements which are in progress now and we`ll be able to enter the studio in middle/end of January to record the new album…Man, we`re so excited as we all have the feeling that this is the best material we gathered so far and you can expect a killer-album in summer 2012!!!

There`s no title yet, but I`ve been thinking (and for sure the others too) already about some stuff as it`s album number 5 and personally I would love to have again something which deals with the number 5, but we`ll gather all ideas coming up from everyone and then choose again…as we did for Delta and all previous albums!

 

Planetmosh: What is the writing process in VoA?  Is there one main songwriter or do you all sit down together and write?

Martin: For Delta and Maria Magdalena everything was written by Mario Plank (male vocals) and me with the help of a good friend who`s doing the orchestra-stuff. Also for the new album Marcus Steinberger will work on the orchestra again without being involved in the songwriting process this time.  For the new album most of the songs where written by me but also our female singer Maxi Nil and Cris Tian (guitars) will contribute with their material. But since we`re from 3 different countries sitting together and writing songs would not make that much sense and I think it`s also not our way of working as everyone comes from a bit different musical direction (what is a very good thing in my opinion) and prefers working out the basic song on his/her own! But our guitar player Cris Tian is doing the final arrangements and co-producing the album and so it`s possible for him giving the stuff his own trademark (which is a cool trademark i can already tell you hahaha) as well…..So, all systems are up and working perfectly ;-)

 

Planetmosh: You recently played the Metal Female Voices Fest in Belgium.  Were you surprised to be asked back so soon as you had played MFVF a year earlier?

Martin: Hm, Metal Female Voices Fest is something very special for us and of course it was great to be back again one year after our last performance. But actually we were not surprised that much as we`ve always had a great contact to the MFVF-team AND (more importantly!) people there always seem to really love what we`re doing and so they demand us again to return!!  Personally I would also love to play there again in 2012 and will cross my fingers that we will be able to make the hat trick hahaha

 

Planetmosh: How did you enjoy the festival this year?

Martin: AWESOME, GREAT and MUCH MORE! I really enjoyed every minute on stage (the others as well of course) and collected again some great memories for life the last weekend of October in Belgium. Especially that sooooo many people attended our signing session and sooooo many partying with us during our show was another great experience I don´t wanna miss :-)

 

Planetmosh: Visions of Atlantis unfortunately cancelled their UK tour dates with Leaves Eyes shortly before MFVF.  Are there any plans to arrange new tour dates in the UK?

Martin: Oh yes, with the new album I really hope that we`ll be able to make it over finally! It seems like a little curse that we`ve already been able playing so many countries, but not the UK (it`s a shame!)….BUT we`re doing everything to go there and play, so hopefully see you in 2012!!

 

Planetmosh: What bands do you think have influenced the music of Vision of Atlantis?

Martin: I would say Nightwish has always been an influence (especially on the first 2 records!), melodic power metal and modern gothic metal bands such as Sirenia for instance maybe as well, but as we`re all listening to so many different kinds of music I`m quite sure that there are influences basically from 50 different styles of metal and 200 different bands or more ;-)    This question is always hard to answer, you know

 

Planetmosh: The internet has clearly changed the music industry, what do you think are the ways that the Internet is good for bands like VoA?

Martin: LEGAL downloads are good for a band and for its fans, why? Cause in some countries it`s just not easy finding any real record store where to buy CDs, so download portals such as Itunes, Amazon and many more are a big advantage for those people. Also the social networks are great for a band and its fans to have this close contact, news spreading much faster than in the past and of course a mostly free platform to present material and to advertise band-products such as merchandise and music! I like it!     So, get online and check in at www.facebook.com/visionsofatlantisofficial or www.myspace.com/visionsofatlantisofficial   and you will know what I mean when I say direct news from the band and direct contact with the band, meet you there :-)

 

Planetmosh: And in what ways is the internet bad?

Martin: ILLEGAL DOWNLOADS!!! Why?  People want to go to live shows of their favourite bands, but the same time they download pirate copies from these bands and then they`re wondering why the bands have no money to tour and to afford playing in these countries or whatever…….People think that the bands already sell so much that there`s enough money and enough possibilities, but that`s not the truth: The truth is a daily fight for the economic survival of a band (SEE THE MOVIE „ ANVIL“, THAT SAYS A LOT !!!) !!   And with illegal downloads all the bands not selling 100s of thousands albums each year already have to deal with less money for a production but fans awaiting a perfect product……Well, this is the worst thing which came up with the internet, but people seem to learn more and more as legal downloads increase, illegal downloads are getting less, it changes already and this is a good thing!!!

Thx for the nice interview and interesting questions and thx to all reading this for the interest in our work !!! Metal on !!!

 

 

 

 

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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