Angellore's Atmospheric Discussion

Atmospheric doom metal act Angellore took sometime to discuss with me the band's process with writing their material and how their latest release compares to their unique style of work.

1. What type of band are you?

Walran: Well, we're actually quite easy to define: we're a trio and we play atmospheric doom metal inspired by bands like Saturnus, Draconian, Swallow The Sun and so on. I think I could just stop here, but maybe the readers would like to know a little bit more :) Angellore is actually composed of Ronnie, the drummer, Rosarius, handling duties of the guitars, bass, half of the vocals and keyboards, and taking care of the biggest part of the composing process and me, in charge of the other half of the keyboards and vocals (mainly extreme), and a smaller part of the composing and arranging process as well.

Ronnie: Walran, you forgot about Empyrium, also a major influence for us!

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Walran: Rosarius and me actually met via Internet in 2007. We started to write e-mails to each other, then had very long phone conversations, and finally we thought of starting an atmospheric doom metal project together. We both really wanted to express ourselves following the rules of this very specific style of music. In August 2007, we recorded our first demo and from this moment on, we kept on releasing demo EPs and publish them on the Internet. Considering the good reactions we managed to get (despite the very poor sound quality of our early works), we decided to take Angellore to the next level and hired Ronnie, an old friend from highschool and an impressive drummer. Then, from December 2009 to February 2011, we worked on "Errances", our first studio album, composed of early songs re-worked and re-arranged and one totally new composition, brought by Rosarius: "...Where Roses Never Die...". After a few months of research, we signed a contract with DreamCell11, an Italian label, and now we're ready to release our first album. We couldn't be happier and more excited than we are right now!

3. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

Rosarius: Widow’s weed, one of the most beautiful gothic metal album ever recorded, is very important to us? Tristania’s music has definitely influenced our conception of our music. On this album, there is a song titled “Angellore”. Beside the fact that we love Tristania’s music and this song, we have always thought that this name was beautiful, full of grace and poetry. A perfect name for the music that we wanted to play. Angellore has been the name of our band even before we start to write our first songs!

4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Walran: We mainly sing about melancholy, sorrow, despair, ethereal visions, deep meaningful emotions, ghostly yet beautiful fairies, broken hearts, tragic love stories… Nothing very new for a doom metal band! But to be honest, those themes may be classic, but they really are inspiring. English language offers us some great semantic fields to express in our own personal way the visions or ideas we want to share with the listeners. But I have to confess that in Angellore’s world, music is much more important than words. Words are just here to set up the mood and help the listener to enter our musical eerie domain.

5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Walran: Yes. Once, we covered a song from another artist in the rehearsal room, but the material we record is (and has always been) 100% ours. Most of the time, Rosarius comes to my place and starts to play his ideas. Then, we try to find the best way to make them grow and reach their highest potential. Rosarius comes with most of the melodies, and I do my best to arrange them and create a good structure for the songs. Sometimes, we have some specific ideas and we set up some rules to follow: for example, when we started to work on “Shades of Sorrow”, it was clear that we wanted to create a catchy and heavy gothic/doom metal song with acoustic guitars and a special folk touch. Most of the time, I finish the arrangement/production process of the demo myself (most of these early demo works have been remastered and reunited in the compilation “Premières Liturgies – Soupirs d’Aurore”, released in 2012), then we bring the songs to the rehearsal room and work on them with Ronnie, who brings his rhythmic ideas. The three of us play the songs and try to make them as good as possible. Sometimes, it means adding a new idea to offer an epic ending (“Weeping Ghost”, “Shades of Sorrow”), sometimes changing the tempo and shorten some parts (“Tears of Snow”). When we are in the studio, Rosarius and I often have some last-minutes ideas about arrangements, and we don’t hesitate to include them on the record, to give it more of ourselves, in a spontaneous way. In this way, we offer to our music a real honest soul. That’s what happened with the guitar solos and keyboard lines of “Tears of Snow” or “Shades of Sorrow” for example: they have evolved until the very last moment. I think we’ll keep on working things this way in the future… At least for the next album!

6. Who are your musical influences?

Walran: Even if we’re quite open-minded and listen to some different kind of music and bands, there are two bands that have been really important for us since the beginning of Angellore: Saturnus and Draconian. The guitar work on “Veronika Decides To Die” from Saturnus never ceased to amaze us, and we feel the same about Draconian’s perfect balance between strings arrangements and guitars, without mentioning this really interesting duality in the vocal lines, that has also inspired us. Even if Angellore has already a quite strong musical identity (in my humble opinion), we really share the musical vision of these bands. Other influences mainly include some other doom/dark metal projects like Shape of Despair, While Heaven Wept, Empyrium, Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy and many others, but also dark atmospheric projects like Dark Sanctuary, for example.

Ronnie: Of course we have keys influences but we don't want our music to sound like this or that band. The composition is only about feelings.

7. What was the inspiration for the album name Errances?

Rosarius: “Errances” is a french word which means “Wanderings”. This first album is like a wandering through different landscapes, and even if we looked for a name for our album for a long time, “Errances” came to be the most appropriate for the global atmosphere of our songs.

Ronnie: It's important to add that this name was not our first idea, and when we were looking for a cover picture, we saw this one and in a few seconds it was this name which came on the table: the main concept was in! And looking at these stairs we told ourselves "yes, it has to be called "Errances" to make an echo to the musical interlude which holds the emotional concept of the album." In some way, it’s a “love at the first sight” story!

8. Why did you pick I Am The Agony as your single? Can you tell me about the song?

Rosarius: One night at Walran’s place, we were talking about Draconian’s music and atmospheres : we felt like to create our own romantic doom/goth song with emotional and catchy chorus. I took my guitar and this melody came to me by itself. The other parts of the song followed.

Walran: The choice was really easy to make: we wanted to pick up a song that would not be too long, with a strong chorus and a catchy melody, but which would also be representative of the rest of the album. What I like the most about this song is that it contains the rawest part of the album with the really doomy/death metal verse, then a majestic chorus, and then a really melodic break, with a gothic/pop touch! It really shows that Angellore’s music is all about contrasts and oppositions. We really enjoy mixing different parts and elements into our music, so it can convey different emotions and appear as a beautiful musical journey, divided in several steps. If it was only growl and extreme metal or, on the other hand, only atmospheric keyboards all along, it would be boring… Or, at least, less interesting in our opinion.

Ronnie: Long story short, I was not really okay with that decision. Yes this is the catchiest song, everything sounds like a single, that's sure, but this is not the main representation of what we are, in a way "I Am Am the Agony" is different from the rest, you see what I mean? Actually a lot of people really like it, so that's fine. I have to admit I was a bit scarred of people telling "it sounds like a Pop/Doom/Goth song, so the whole album is like this, I’ll go my way". It's not about people loving our music or not, it's just that I don't want to be misunderstood.

9. How do you describe your music to people?

Walran: As majestic sorrowful metal. Some of my friends or accointances not necessarily know so much about metal, so I try to explain to them that Angellore is not the typical extreme death metal band they would expect to listen when I use the word: “metal”, which is always scary for “regular” people. I tell them about the contrasts of the music, the emotions that get portrayed, and most of the time, people manage to appreciate our work.

10. What image do you think your music conveys?

Walran: A lot of people told us that our songs had a very “visual” impact, and could be used as soundtracks to some epic movies. That’s a really nice compliment! Apart from that, I think everybody understands our music in a personal way: a lot of people feel like travelling in oniric, imaginary worlds. That is perfectly fine for me, as I want my music to be ethereal and magic and help people to escape and let their mind drift away while listening.

11. What are your dreams and goals?

Walran: Just be able to keep on music for Angellore for as long as I live. My friendship with Rosarius and Ronnie is very important for me, and deeply linked and connected to Angellore’s music. It’s a blessing to be able to work with those guys. I want us to keep on playing together, maybe play some live shows and make some tours every once in a while, but most important, always bring some new emotional doom metal songs.

12. What inspires you to do what you do?

Walran: An unexplainable sparkle of sadness and nostalgia that I bear with me since my birth. Also my will to escape the modern world to find a haven made of my own imagination. And the fact that atmospheric doom metal seems like the best medium to express melancholy. Is sadness can be that beautiful, how incredible would be pure bliss and happiness?

13. What advice would you give to fellow bands, who wish to do what you're doing?

Walran: Give all your heart and soul in your work, money shall never be an issue (there are always some ways to make enough cash to do something), believe in what you do (you have to be madly in love with your music to build something out of it, that’s true) and never give up. I should say “work on your instrument from 9 to 5 every day” too, but I’m too lazy!

14. The plans for you guys in 2013 is what and why?

Walran: Give a good promotion to our beloved “Errances”, then starting to rehearse with some session members to try to prepare ourselves for hypothetical live shows, and record our second full length, which is already composed.

15. Anything else you want to say to your fans?

Walran: Thanks a lot for the support! For a young band coming from nowhere like us, it’s amazing to know that some people listen to our work and actually enjoy what we do. Thanks a lot for the interview, Natalie, and thanks a lot to all the readers! All the best, and please give a try to our music!

Rosarius: All the same!

Ronnie: All the same too. It's always a pleasure to explain what is in our music. And never forget "Buy it, steal it, trade it but spread the word."

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