We caught up with Vola members ,Asger Mygind: Vocals & guitar, Nicolai Mogensen: Bass and Adam Janzi: Drums as they land in the UK supporting Monuments. Their latest offering Applause Of A Distant Crowd just dropped via Mascot Record Label and it’s a beauty, Well worth checking out and of course catch them live while you can in the UK now.
Check Out Our Review Below:
Formed in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2006, VOLA explore a mix of 70’s style progressive rock, electronica, industrial and metal, topped off with clear, beautiful vocal lines.
In 2015 they digitally self-released their debut album ‘Inmazes’ which was mixed by Asger Mygind himself and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Soilwork, Amon Amarth, Symphony X, Paradise Lost, Devin Townsend, Arch Enemy) of Fascination Street Studio.
In the months following the release of the album they played their first ever festival shows at Euroblast (Germany) and ProgPower Europe (Netherlands) and the band caught the attention of Mascot Label Group (Flying Colors, Black Stone Cherry, Monster Truck, Von Hertzen Brothers, Ayreon) who re-released the album physically and digitally throughout the world.
Upon its release ‘Inmazes’ was met with a wave of critical praise; Prog magazine lauded their “widescreen heavy stadium Prog”, Metal Hammer rejoiced in the “genre-defying, weighty riffs, gloomy, ambient soundscapes and guttural grooves” whilst the UK’s biggest daily newspaper, The Sun exclaimed their “genre-mashing” ability. The single ‘Stray The Skies’ was playlisted at both Kerrang! Radio and Scuzz TV and they ended 2017 with a nomination for the Limelight Award at the Progressive Music Awards.
At times futuristic, the music of VOLA has references to tech-prog and pop as well, their influences range from Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Devin Townsend, Soilwork, Meshuggah and Ulver to Massive Attack.
About The Band:
For any of our readers who are unfamiliar with yourself / yourselves tell us a little bit about your band.
Nicolai: We are a Danish/Swedish band that merges extreme metal with the melodicism of Steven Wilson.
What was your earliest memory of music that peaked your interest?
Asger: It was discovering The Beatles. For one Summer vacation in the mid 90’s that was all I listened too on my walkman, on the backseat of my family’s station wagon while driving around Europe. I must have been around 9 years old.
Who was the first album / single you purchased?
Asger: I think it was “Be Here Now” by Oasis. Attending a gig off tour for that album is also the first big rock concert experience I remember. I believe it was in 1997.
When did you first pick up your respective instrument ?
Asger: The first song I ever learned on guitar was “Mr. Tambourine Man” by Bob Dylan. It was in the mid 90’s. When the chords were down I attempted singing it too.
What route did you take with your music / instrument / lessons / music school / self-taught and any fond memories of that journey?
Asger: I started out in a music school class in the early 90’s where the students rotated on the instruments. I quickly found the place behind the drums to be the most comfortable. I have played drums ever since then, but I find myself doing it less and less as VOLA takes up more and more space.
Who were your hero’s as a young musician that inspired and pushed you to want to be a musician too?
Asger: As a drummer it was people like Chad Smith, Lars Ulrich and Mike Portnoy. When guitar and vocals became my prominent thing it was largely due to inspirations such as James Hetfield, Mark Tremonti and Kasper Eistrup (singer of Danish band Kashmir).
Is there one particular album or song that gave you a “Eureka” moment from your youth that made you want to be a musician?
Asger: The album “Help” by The Beatles – which I borrowed from my parents’ CD collection – is the first thing I remember inspiring me to write songs.
What was the best gig you’ve ever attended?
Asger: Watching Paul McCartney on the Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival 2015 was a dream coming true. It brought tears to my eyes at several points throughout the set. It was very emotional experiencing how this guy on stage has had a massive impact across generations.
Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Asger: Not really. I do listen to mainstream pop sometimes, but it’s because I genuinely will think that it has a lot of quality to it. So I don’t feel guilty at all. Sorry for that boring answer, haha. But in terms of music I enjoy, that is a lot different from what we do in the band, I can mention Missy Elliot, M.I.A. and Justin Timberlake.
So any new music in the works currently or just released?
Adam: We’re releasing our second album ‘Applause Of A Distant Crowd’ on friday, October 12th.
Where and when did you record it?
Adam: The drums were recorded at Heyman Studios in Copenhagen, september 2017.
After that we recorded everything else in our homestudios the next few months after that.
How does the song writing process generally work for you?
Adam: I joined the band after the songwriting was already done for this album, but since I live in Sweden and the rest of the guys live in Denmark, we pretty much do most of the planning and songwriting online, and then meet up on a few occasions.
That is the way the song writing has worked before aswell, where the guys write music from their homestudios and then meet up and put the songs together.
What route have you taken to build up and establish a fan base locally & beyond your local area?
Adam: Our sound appeals more to people outside of scandinavia, so we’ve tried to use social media and internet more to try to establish ourselves in other countries.
It’s definitely much harder to establish yourself as a band in Denmark and Sweden, even though Sweden offers a lot of support for musicians through very affordable renting of rehearsal spaces and gear and similar things.
We will definitely try to establish ourselves more locally though, by playing more shows in Denmark, Sweden and the rest of scandinavia in the near future.
What is the music scene like locally to you and where do you fit in?
Adam: The band itself fits more into the local danish music scene, since the band started in Denmark. The local music scene in Sweden is vibrant, even though it’s a tough scene.
There are a lot of upcoming bands that support each other and tour together.
It’s very similar in all of scandinavia, tough music scenes where bands need to work together with each other.
Do you feel there are enough venues around you to help promote and establish up and coming bands like yourself?
Adam: It’s actually hard to find venues in Sweden that help upcoming bands. There are people that want to establish those venues, but it’s most often the economy for the venues that is the obstacle. In my hometown Västerås for example, there are several great venues that have had to close down due to issues with attendance and other things regarding their economies.
What would you like to see ideally to help hard working bands / artists get better exposure and opportunities to make a living form their craft?
Adam: This is a very difficult topic, the internet has changed things so that there are many different ways to make a living from one craft.
I think that the most important thing is for people in this industry to stick together and help each other. There isn’t one single formula that would help everyone to get opportunities to make a living from music. But I know for sure that kindness and hard work are two things that are driving factors in that regard.
What is the best piece of advice you have received on your journey thus far?
Adam: Be authentic! No matter what your craft is, authenticity shines through.
Being true to yourself makes the journey much more interesting in my opinion.
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learnt on your journey to date? With the music industry always constantly changing – how have you had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape?
Adam: With the way the music industry has changed through the internet, technology and social media, we’ve definitely had to become more familiar with it all and adapt.
That is one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned so far: adapt!
The music industry will change even more in the future so it’s very important to be able to adapt. And today that means embracing new technology and the internet.
Does the introduction of New Technology / Digital Age / Social Media etc enhance your life as a musician or do you feel it can be more of a hindrance?
Adam: It’s definitely a mix of both. The name of our new album ‘Applause Of A Distant Crowd’ speaks about how we constantly search for applause and validation through social media, from people that we might never have any fruitful relationships with. An obsession with this distant applause can definitely be a distraction and cause unnecessary stress in our lives.
But, there are many positive things with this digital age. Being able to reach many more people, if you’re a band or just someone who wants to connect with relatives around the world, is a good thing in my opinion.
New technology has also helped a lot of musicians through new and modern gear that is much more efficient and that offers more opportunities sonically.
So moving forward what’s next for you?
Nicolai: Hopefully some more tour support slots, since they can really help a band grow fanwise.
We’re also aiming for a headline EU tour sometime in 2019.
How do you see the evolution of the band / yourself as an artist?
Nicolai: I really hope we can manage to become a band do headline tours around the world with a good following. Musically we’ll keep on exploring what VOLAs sound is, constantly perfecting it, and making music that we’d like to listen to ourselves.
Do you have any short-term or long-term goals in mind?
Nicolai: The next year or two we’ll try and tour as much as possible, and after that we’re aiming to write and record the best album ever made.
If you could tour with any band or artists who would that be?
Nicolai: Touring with Deftones, Metallica, Korn or Steven Wilson would be massive.