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Ravenheart Music: Interviews

ARVEN - INTERVIEW

Arven1.jpg
Arven is a new Melodic/Symphonic Band from Germany. They incorporate classical instruments and folk melodies into ther soundscape. And what's more for all you lovers of the Female Fronted Rock scene, they are all girls. They have recently released their debut album 'Music of Light'. Time to have a chat I think :)

Hi, as Arven is a new band, can we be introduced to the members of the band?
Lisa: Hey, yes of course! Carina is our singer; she has a classical vocal training. Anastasia (guitar) is the main songwriter and the founder of Arven. Ines (guitar) and Lena (keyboard) studied their instrument at a college of music; I would say they are responsible for most of the classical parts in our songs. Till (drums), Lisa (me; bass) and Anastasia have more of the metal background since we have played in other metal bands for years.

And what made you all take a career in music?
Lisa: Some of the girls of Arven got a professional musical education. For example our guitar player Ines studied classical guitar at a college of music and is now getting her master degree. Elena also studied the piano, first in the Ukraine, than in Germany. Carina and Anastasia also were getting classical music training for several years. All in all I would say that we all love music and can’t live without it. That’s why we keeping playing it. I would even do it, if we had absolutely no success :-)

And how did you girls all meet?
Lisa: It was the vision of Anastasia back in 2006 to found an all-girl metal band, but she didn’t know enough girls that wanted to play metal on their instruments, so she pinned up notes everywhere to find girls to join her project. The beginning was hard and it took a long time until Anastasia had a complete lineup to play her songs. But a female drummer who would be good enough on drums was nowhere to find, so she decided to look for guys. That’s why Till is the only guy in our almost all-girl band. In the beginning of 2007 Arven played the first concert. In 2009 Arven had the last lineup change: I joined the band, and enjoy playing bass with Arven ever since.

Can you tell us about the new album and how the deal with Massacre Records came about?
Lisa: Music of Light is our debut album and we are definitely more than satisfied with the result and even more with the reactions to the release. It took us a rather long time to record the CD. During the recording process we learned a lot of new things and continued to work on the arrangements and song structure as we discovered new ways to bring in more variety along the way. Finally we applied with the final version of Music of Light to some record labels. We negotiated with a couple of labels and in the end we decided to work with Massacre Records. So far we can say that it' been a good choice :-)

I love the songs on the album especially 'World of Hatred'. Do you have any faves?
Lisa: Of course, we all have our different faves ;-) I like the fast songs like World of Hatred and On Flaming Wings the most. Midwinter Nights is also a really great song for me! Everyone likes another one more and it's actually a good thing. One of our newest songs, which is called ‘Believe’, quickly became the favorite one of nearly all of us and will be recorded for our next album ;-)

And who is involved in the songwriting process?
Lisa: Most of the time Anastasia comes up with a rough version and a first arrangement of a new song. The rest of the band listens to it and we start to rehearse the song together changing some things in the process and Carina starts looking for an interesting theme for the lyrics. Often she writes the complete lyrics but sometimes she will work together with Anastasia on the song text. When a songs is nearly ready we play it live to see how it works on stage. It is always a great feeling for us to play a new song live for the very first time :-)

And how has 'Music of Light' been received by the media?
Lisa: We got a lot of very strong reactions. Some were really bad and a lot of reviews really good. Apparently we caused quite a stir in the media. We and our music are different and we didn’t expect that everybody likes us. But most of the reviews were so positive, we didn’t expect that too. Either way the people keep talking about us, that’s the most important point!

Do you find combining metal with classical and folk elements as something that comes naturally within the song writing process?
Lisa: Yes, it is naturally. I think it is because we all have different musical backgrounds and different ways to see a song. This way the songwriting process is influenced by many different kinds of music, that it why it is so easy for us to combine the different elements we have.

And what elements do think you possess that make you stand out from other female fronted bands?
Lisa: Well, I think that oftentimes we do things in other ways than they are expected to be done by a female fronted metal band. Besides bringing in folk elements we have some rather hard songs, that are maybe even harder, that the typical songs in that musical style would be. On the other hand some of our songs are really soft, gentle and emotional, which is unusual for the metal style too. The thing is that we really enjoy playing songs with quite different atmospheres, so we don't want to limit our repertoire to a particular metal style.

Do you think being an all girl metal band has it's advantages or disdavantages?
Lisa: I think, you have both. It definitely is an advantage because people want to hear how metal sounds if girls are playing. We are different and always something special. For example when we play a concert with four other bands, we are the band which stays in the minds of the visitors. We are often kind of highlight when we are playing live. But it is also a disadvantage. A lot people think that girls can’t play instruments really well. There are so many prejudices around. We are definitely able to prove that we can play well to everyone who would like to listen, and that we are not just good looking. But the prejudices are frustrating anyway. Actually we are like every other metal band: Just having fun with playing music and trying to make the best of it.

And do you all get along :) ?
Lisa: Haha, we do!! None of us is the kind of girl which is hard to deal with. It is probably a good thing that we mostly just meet when we practice. If there are any problems, we talk about it and it’ll be okay. Two of us are living in different parts of Germany and we don’t spend much of our free time together, but when we do, we really enjoy it. That includes Till – he is a great guy to get along with and we never had problems because he is the only guy between the girls.

Are there any tour plans, and is there any chance we may see you in the UK ?
We would love to go on tour, but we didn’t make any specific plans by now. We also would like to play in the UK, but I think first we concentrate on Germany.

And if given the choice, who would you just love to tour with?
Any cool band from the melodic-gothic-or folk-metal genre would be fine. Such bands as Epica, Blind Guardian or van canto would be great to play with, but mostly we would just like to go out there and play as much as possible, no matter where and with whom. We really enjoyed playing in France this fall, but of course we would like to explore other countries too. It's astonishing how different the audience behaves in different countries.

When chilling out, what type of music do you actually listen too?
Lisa: To calm down after a hard day I use to listen to music like Damien Rice. It is definitely not my “normal” taste of music, but I need this kind of music sometimes.

It may be too early to answer this, but are there plans for album number 2?
Lisa: Actually it’s not! We made plans and already wrote a number of songs for the next album. We are already playing some of them live – the response of the audience was really great so far. Over the winter season we are planning to write enough songs for the second album. We can’t wait to be back in the recording studio.

Many thanks for your time, and we at Ravenheart Music wish you all the very best with the new album. Is there anything you would like to add before we sign off?
Thanks for the interest in Arven. We hope to be able play in the UK soon, it would be great to meet you there! If you'd like to share your impressions of our CD with us, feel free to contact us on facebook (Arven Facebook). We'd love to hear from you.
Dave Smith (Dec 2, 2011)