Iris Interviews: Asger Mygind of VOLA — Grendel HeadQuarters

The band VOLA will release their debut album named Inmazes in September 2016. They already released an EP named Homesick Machinery back in 2008, and released Inmazes digitally in 2015, but Mascot Label Group decided to give the album a proper re-release. I interviewed Asger Mygind, the guitarist and lead vocalist of VOLA, in July. We talk about their debut album, how the album was recorded, and about their upcoming tour.

Iris: You’re about to release your debut album Inmazes in September 2016. Is it just me having a deja vu, or was the same album released earlier, back in the year 2015?

Asger: Yes, it was released earlier. That was because we released it ourselves the first time around 2015 because we didn’t have a contract with a label. We tried to send it out to a couple of labels, but we didn’t get a lot of feedback, so we decided to do it ourselves. We released it in February 2015. Later on we were approached by Mascot Label Group, and they wanted to rerelease it, and we agreed.

Iris: How did Mascot Label Group discover your music?

Asger: Well, there are different stories about that. Our manager says that he contacted them, but Mascot Label Group said that they discovered us. I don’t know what the correct story is… Well, at least one of those two *laughs*.

Iris: Tell me more about the album, how and where was it recorded?

Asger: We recorded everything ourselves. The drums where actually recorded at my parent’s place, they have a common house that we could use. We didn’t have any money for a studio, so we used that place. After that we recorded guitars and bass, at my place. I have a little dorm room in Copenhagen. The keyboards were recorded at Martin Werner’s place. It was a bit primitive to record everything this way, but there are great recording tools today, so you don’t necessarily need the big studio to make an album.

Iris: How long did the recording process take?

Asger: It took quite a long time because we are also studying at the same time. I study at the Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen, so we couldn’t spend all our time on making the album. I think it took two years in total, from the first day of recording till the release. That’s quite a long time.

Iris: How did you guys came together?

Asger: We started out as a high school band. I began jamming with some friends, and playing cover songs from bands like Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, etc… Then we started writing songs ourselves, based on the inspiration we got from playing those cover songs.  The band was coming together more and more, and it ended up with us making some demo songs for a demo EP back in 2006. We made our first real EP in 2008, called Homesick Machinery. Since then we had some line-up changes. We used to be with five members, but now we have four, so the band has gotten smaller.

Iris: Any plans that there will be a fifth member again?

Asger: I actually like to be the only guitarist, it’s makes it more difficult in a way to fill up the space, but it’s a challenge I like. We can also use the keyboards to add more space to the sound, there are no limits to what you can do with a keyboard. I think we are pretty good this way.

Iris: Can you describe the music to someone who hasn’t heard the music of VOLA yet?

Asger: I think at first, the music might sound very complex because of the odd time rhythms that are beneath the “sort of” straight beat. There are two rhythms going on at the same time, but beneath that complexity it’s just quite basic song writing, with an intro, verse and chorus. I think that all the songs can be played on an acoustic guitar, in a simple setting. To sum it up, they are basic songs with very simple melodies packed in a setting of complex sounds and rhythms. If we talk about genres; it’s rock bordering to metal with a lot of melodies and a lot of grooves.

Iris: Who are your personal influences?

Asger: I’m obviously a big Meshuggah fan. I remember hearing their album named Nothing, back in 2004, and I was completely blown away by how they could create heavy music. Heavy music that has so much groove in it that it almost sounds funky. You want to move on the music because it has such a strong groove. It was just a straight 4/4 beat, but with different time signatures going on at the same time in the guitars and bass. It’s a giant influence, that you can just create riffs in that way is fantastic. At the same time I love a good melody, so The Beatles are an influence too, because of the strong hooks they have in their music. I also like Steven Wilson’s solo stuff and Porcupine Tree, because I like the amount of melancholy in his music, and it reflects a lot of my own thoughts inside. I can feel it when I listen to his albums, and it resonates well with me and inspires me to do something similar with VOLA.

Iris: Your band is named VOLA. What’s the story behind the band name?

Asger: It was actually our former bass player who came up with the name, he’s not in the band anymore. We liked it because it didn’t sound like a band from a specific genre, it was very neutral in some kind of way, and it also looked good written down. It means “Fly” in Italian. I think our music has big soundscapes, so I hope that some listeners have the feeling they “fly” along with the music.

Iris: Who made the artwork for the album?

Asger: That’s a Danish artist named Anders Thrane. I discovered his work a long time ago because we used to study together. That drawing is very special and works well with the songs. It looks a bit scary but it also has a lot of colours, so it’s not very dark and metal-like. It invites you to listen to the songs, to find out what’s behind that choice of album cover. All band members thought it looked awesome.

Iris: Are you guys planning to do a tour?

Asger: Yes, we are! We’re going on tour shortly after the re-release of Inmazes, which will be around the end of September (Go check the website for the tour dates!)

Iris: What are the future plans of the band?

Asger: Inmazes is already a bit old in our minds, so we’re already writing music for our next album. After the tour we will begin recording the next album, and we will also continue writing songs. I can’t say exactly when we will hit the studio, but I guess that will be next year.

Iris: Who does most of the writing?

Asger: On Inmazes I’ve written the majority of the material, but we do meet up regularly, just to write together. It’s a mix of working together and working individually at home by our computers, recording ideas. I can’t say how it will be for the next album, it might be different in terms of who has written the songs. We choose what we like the best in the end. We just try to work on not so many ideas and make them as strong as possible. There was only one song that didn’t make it on Inmazes. We are probably going to redo that song, and maybe it’s going to be on the next album!

Iris: Those were my questions! Thank you very much for your time and answering my questions! Good luck with the tour!

Asger: Thank you!

More information about VOLA:

Originally posted on Grendel Headquarters, my personal webpage! Go check it out and subscribe!

via Iris Interviews: Asger Mygind of VOLA — Grendel HeadQuarters

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