Growling Progressive Metal Takes the Pacific Northwest
Interview with Vintersea
by Contributor Teri Wright for BANGS! Music & Entertainment
Teri Wright: What has been the basis for your sound?
Vintersea: We are inspired by the music we listen to and the place we live. Beautiful, haunting, dark, and heavy sounds reflect our environment. On top of that, we all listen to and are inspired by a wide range of melodic and rhythmic music, and we try to incorporate that into our heavy, dense, and harmonically accessible sound.
Teri Wright: Where have you guys been hiding? The music scene is craving more female lead driven bands.
Vintersea: You're telling us! It is rare for us to come in contact with other female-fronted metal bands, and when we do we tend to huddle up and get along really well. There is a small but strong scene of bands that fit that criterion, and we consider many of them to be our dear friends. We have really been pushing VINTERSEA to make a splash since January 2017, so we are just getting our feet under us now and ready to make an impact on the scene.
Teri Wright: (Question for Avienne). What is your musical background? Where did you learn to growl?
Avienne: It all started when I found an acoustic guitar in a box under my parents’ bed when I was 11 (don’t ask me what I was doing down there). After having that guitar dusted and tuned, I discovered my passion for singing and performing when playing covers and originals for my family and friends.
My love for performing grew in college when I joined an all-ladies A Capella group, DiViNE. I was in DiViNE for a year and a half before fully directing my focus on being a vocalist in Vintersea. I absolutely love fronting the band, and my past experiences have cultivated my ongoing passion for singing, screaming, and performing.
Teri Wright: Where did you learn to growl?
Avienne: Through repetition and practice, and practice and repetition. I started by screaming along to my favorite tunes and refined my technique and style over a period of time. As I became familiar and comfortable with my screams, I played around with different tones and styles to see what worked best. It is not only important to be aware of how your body feels when learning to scream but to be patient throughout the process.
Teri Wright: How did VINTERSEA form?
Vintersea: The Fates intervened! Jorma and Avienne both moved to Oregon's Willamette Valley from other parts of the world within a couple of months of each other. Jeremy and Riley had been searching for a singer, and from the same advertisement, both Jorma and Avienne reached out. A couple of short auditions later, and it was obvious to all of us that we needed to make some music together. We have been through bassists and keys players in a couple of years since, but ultimately there is something really special about the four of us working together.
Teri Wright: What brand do you find yourself leaning towards when playing?
Vintersea: We think it is very important to write the song or the concept, rather than for our "genre". Each album we write tells a story, and each song tells a story within that greater context. If the story means that we need to write something beautiful and epic or dark and churning, that's where our riffs tend to fall. We all love black metal and post-metal sounds, and those sounds are often our default leanings, but many of the songs we write would never fall in those categories.
Teri Wright: Do you feel you'll continue to produce dark metal or do you possibly see the band transforming into a different genre of metal?
Vintersea: Our sound will always continue to evolve, but we strive to balance beauty and darkness in all of our music. We are heavily inspired by darker themes and dense atmospheres, but lighter and catchier pieces will always have a home in our albums. We don't see ourselves stepping away from dark metal anytime soon, but we are excited to continually improve the way that we integrate light and dark to reflect our band vision.
Teri Wright: Who decides on the writing material and ideas?
Vintersea: Our writing process is a truly collaborative one. Due to the nature of our music, no song is complete until each instrument has been written for, and so a song can change drastically from conception to recording. Often, early song ideas come from the guitarists, Jorma and Riley, though those riffs are nearly always integrally changed by the drum patterns that Jeremy writes or the melodic lines that Avienne brings to the table. We also collaborate openly, with Avienne humming guitar ideas or Jorma composing harmonies in the months working up to recording. We all communicate and trust each other, which tends to yield the best results for us.
Teri Wright: Who are your influences?
Vintersea: This list could get long, but we will stick with the musicians who inspire the whole band to be better every day: Devin Townsend, Ne Obliviscaris, Enslaved, Ihsahn, Between the Buried and Me, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, TesseracT, and Skyharbor.
Teri Wright: How was it working with Justin Phelps? Did he give you all an insight into the way music in a whole is going?
Vintersea: Justin is an absolute dynamo in the studio. He has worked with some incredible bands, and he really knows what he is doing with vocal tracking, harmonization, and guitar layering. His contributions to the record are numerous, and he would be the first to tell you that he treats every record he makes like his own child. Throughout the recording process, Justin reinforced how important a record is, and that we should take a huge amount of pride in each release. He has a lot of love for real, gritty, analog sounds, and does a great job of mingling the modern with the classic, and the old with the new.
Teri Wright: My final question to you all, Name 1 thing you want fans to know about you?
Vintersea: We want to meet all of you! There is nothing more gratifying or humbling in this industry than meeting people from similar backgrounds who love the same music we love, who also happen to enjoy what we do. Get out to a show, wear your metal shirts with pride, and give us all the support you have to give - we promise to give just as much in return.
Vintersea Bandcamp: https://vintersea.bandcamp.com/
Vintersea Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vintersea/