“At some point, you want the real thing” – exclusive interview with Clémentine Delauney about ‘A Symphonic Journey To Remember’

It’s not an easy year, but despite this Visions Of Atlantis continue their everlasting symphonic journey! The band released their first-ever live DVD & Blu-ray, “A Symphonic Journey To Remember“, which was recorded live at the last year’s Bang Your Head!!! Open Air Festival with the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague. Before the DVD’s official release (October 30th, 2020) we had the opportunity to talk with Clémentine Delauney – she shared some behind the scenes secrets and also talked about the fate of her other project, Exit Eden.

“It was a lot of pressure, we were very stressed out before the show, but once we were on stage and realizing that this was coming true, we had an amazing time that night.” – Clémentine stated. “We knew we were doing something very unique and that it was going to be recorded, and you don’t start these concerts with the same mindsets as regular concerts.

Yes, you’re focused and you want to give your best.

On that show, there were so many first times: it was the first time we were playing with an orchestra, it was the first time that we had pyrotechnics, it was the first time we were changing outfits in the middle of the show, it was the first time when we had a new live engineer for that specific show, the first time it was recorded on video. We knew that it could have been so many reasons for technical issues… We were way more focused, and I think being so focused and so tensed we were so much in the present moment, and I think our emotions with the music and with the audience were maybe stronger than on a regular show.

Also because when you’re with so many people on stage, playing the same music, you get that energy of the people playing with you.

The pyrotechnics is like you have the feeling like you’re burning alive because it’s so hot on stage, but it gives so much fire, so much energy to the performance that in the sort of transcending everything. So yeah, our emotions during that night were very high and very powerful. And I think the audience saw it and we shared them and had a very good time.

I think it was everyone’s dream to make it happen because we are a symphonic metal band, our music was written with orchestral arrangements. You know, it’s the part of our DNA to have an orchestra. To make it real, I think it was a long-term wish from the band but it was only made possible last year because of a combination of circumstances and opportunities that just happened in one place at the Bang Your Head!!! festival. And we saw that opportunity because we knew it’s not something we can do easily, so we tried to make the best out of it and decided to make a DVD out of it.

However, despite the videos, watching such a concert online is not the same as enjoying it live. That’s why we were wondering if fans would have the opportunity in the future to see Visions Of Atlantis on stage with an orchestra again. “Yeah, actually this year we were supposed to play two festivals with an orchestra again. We supposed to play at Masters Of Rock and Metal On The Hill with an orchestra – of course, everything got postponed to next year. So, next year for sure at Metal On The Hill (Austria) we will play with an orchestra, and I’m not exactly sure if Masters Of Rock is reconfirmed the way it was, but this is something that we definitely want to do again in the future, yeah.

I love classical music! (laughs) Well, if you talk about the symphonic style I’d say I’m very much into the romantic period. I love classical music which has that melancholy, and I also like some more modern composers, like Saint-Saëns, Arvo Pärt, or people like that. Otherwise, I’m a huge Chopin and Mozart lover. (laughs)

Clémentine about classical music

And what was the biggest challenge during the show? “Well, we were so much focused on our personal performance that we didn’t pay too much attention to what the orchestra was doing. We couldn’t hear anything you know, it’s so loud on stage and we had our inniers, and those inniers were made for us to listen to the whole thing, they were made for us to be comfortable with singing, having something plugged in your ears, so you have to have good feedback on your vocals which is the most important thing.

During the show, we were not thinking or analyzing what was going on.

It was really hard sometimes to get the orchestra as very precise and sharp as drums can be. You know, those symphonic assembles are not used to have beats like that, they have a conductor that makes them go faster, slower when needed to create some dynamics and some tension, but we, as a band, we play with a click. So, we did sort of a rearrange a little bit from the show for the DVD, we did edit the audio on this exact aspect to make sure that the whole thing was still hearable and understandable what they were playing with us.

Well, it’s stopped us right in the middle of the US tour, which was a real bummer, because we were so much looking forward to tour in the US again. It had been over a decade that Visions of Atlantis have not been able to set tour to the US, so yeah… We had to stop after 5 gigs instead of 13, so that was a real-real bummer. Then our April tour got postponed to fall, which got postponed to fall next year. Our December tour is postponed to December next year, so it’s like we had the chance to play one small summer festival in Germany at the end of August. Otherwise, our live activity is gone since mid-March and probably won’t happen again or take place again before summer next year. So, it’s a long time without touring and it’s a bummer in the sense also that when we were on tour in March our new album, ‘Wanderers’ was only 6 months old, so we were right in the middle of promoting that new record. And this European tour was a headline tour and supposed to help to promote that album even more, and yeah, we felt like we’ve been missing the opportunity to have this record meet with its audience. But that’s the way it is, you can’t do anything, we have to accept the situation and we try to do our best now. Promoting that DVD that is sort of a nice coincidence because it’s released in the period of time when we can’t play, so we’re happy to have that – a lot of bands just have nothing. We hold on, we’ll keep moving on and we focus on the future.

Clémentine about COVID-19

Such a concert can be a huge experience for the fans and can have a particularly inspiring effect on the musicians. So we were wondering if they got any new ideas for the next album after the concert? “We are working on a new album, this is the bright side of not being able to tour. We have time. (smiles) So, we take that time to write new songs these days and it’s going very well.

And of course, our dream goal to record an entire album with a symphonic orchestra, so maybe for the next record we’ll have some real instruments here and there depending on what we write, and depending on the orchestrations – because we’d like our symphonic arrangements to sound as organic and natural as possible.

But of course, you know that all those bands that have orchestral arrangements most of them it’s digital instruments. It could be real instruments but it’s like a database, you use the sound from libraries. It’s nothing wrong with that, just at some point, you want the real thing! We’ll see if we can afford to have this on the new record, otherwise, it’s gonna be on the next one. (laughs)

You can expect a second album, yes. We gonna start working on it next year and it should go out in 2022. I know it’s a long time, but the people involved have a lot of things going on like Exit Eden is not our main project. And there have been some changes in the company that has been our main partner, there might be some changes in the line-up, it might be some changes in how we do it, but what won’t change for sure is the core of the musical direction. We wanna keep making badass songs with symphonic arrangements and we gonna do covers and probably also original songs. So, I’m very looking forward to that, but please, remain open to changes, because Rhapsodies In Black was a one-time-thing, one period of time, but this album exists and it’s never gonna go away. It doesn’t mean that everything has to remain the same with the same people over, and over, and over again… but if you like the concept, then I guess you’ll like the rest that’s coming next.

Clémentine about Exit Eden

As we approached the end of our time, we were wondering if they are planning to do an online concert sometime soon? “We are thinking about it” – Clémentine replied. “It’s not logistically planned yet, but we are thinking about it, yes. 

Message to the fans:

Click on the logo below to order “A Symphonic Journey To Remember”:

Interview by Péter Tepliczky
Written by Afrodite Szeleczky

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"I associate heavy metal with fantasy because of the tremendous power that the music delivers." - Christopher Lee

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