Arven – mystic elements from songrwiter Anastasia
text: Gerianne Meijer
photo: copyright Arven, Massacre Records.
An email interview with Anastasia Schmidt, songwriter and guitarist of Arven. Recently their debut album “Music Of Light” is released. There is a Dutch album review on Muzikantenweb as well.
What follows is a very interesting introduction about this promising band for many gothic, symphonic metal fans.
Gerianne Meijer: What vision did you have for the band when you first started it? Has that changed and why?
Anastasia Schmidt: “Well, before founding Arven I used to play guitar in a couple of metal bands, and needless to say, every time I was the only girl among guys. I get on with guys really well, most of the time they are very easy to be with and I enjoyed playing in such bands very much.
Still I sort of had to adjust to the atmosphere, I had to switch to the “guy talk” mode in my head. So, as I started to write songs I thought that it would be a nice experience to be in a female metal band and I went for it.
Almost five years later I can say: it definitely worked out great. For me, there are only few things in live that feel so good as band practices and live concerts with the girls. I am truly a lucky person!”
In 2008 you released some demo’s ‘Music of Light’ and ‘Ruined Castle’. The debut album was finished in 2011. How come there were two years in between those releases?
Anastasia: “The recordings for our debut album took us longer than we initially planed. It lasted for about six months and it was finished in September 2010. Though we were inpatient to finish our recordings as soon as possible, on the long run it was not so
bad. Because in the process of recordings we had a couple of ideas to improve the arrangements and the structure of the songs, so we were able to implement on the album songs.”
How did the writing and recording process go?
Anastasia: “We recorded our album in the Centralstudio in Mainz, then the songs were mixed by Kai Bender and mastered by Sascha Paeth in the Gate Studios Wolfsburg”
Who contributed to which parts in the processes?
Anastasia: “The song-writing is basically done by me. I compose the songs and write a first arrangement version for the band. When the song is being rehearsed, usually some changes or additions are made by the other bandmembers. Until the song take on their final shape. In so doing everyone contributes to the process of song-writing and sometimes interesting and unusual ideas come up this way.”
A lot of songs on ‘Music of Light’ have a somewhat Celtic/Medieval atmosphere. What is your connection to that?
Anastasia Schmidt: “Those songs are among the ones that are most fun to play life, because of their cheerful and easy spirit. I like to listen to medieval music of pagan-metal music and somehow it seems to have a long-term influence on my writing.”
Because of that, Arven would probably be very well received at fantasy festivals (like the Elf Fantasy Fair or Castlefest). Do you have an affinity with those festivals and/or would you like to play there?
Anastasia: “Oh yes, we would very much like to play at festivals like that! So far we played with medieval Rock Bands for a couple of times and the audience responded very well to our music.
It seems like people who listen to medieval rock/metal music are very fond of our band too, so it probably would be a good idea to apply for such a festival.”
Who played the wonderful violin and flute on the album? Would you consider adding them to the regular line-up?
Anastasia: “We had a couple of guest musicians on our album, mostly fellow music students. The violin, the flute, the cello, and parts of the choirs were recorded by guest musicians. At our live concerts these parts are played by our keyboard player, which we think works really good. This way we are free to use only the sounds we think fit in, for every song.”
Anastasia: “Apart from the real grand piano, the violin, the cello and the flute, we used some instrument sample libraries to add some mystic and a bombastic sound.”
You have shows planned for France and Germany. Are there plans for shows in other country’s?
Anastasia: “We have no plans to play in other countries right now, though we would love to do it. We hope that after the release of the CD we will have more opportunities to play life shows all over Europe. And we are always open for requests from club-owners of course.”
Where would you really like to play someday?
Anastasia Schmidt: “A big festival would be great to play, particularly the Female Voices Metal Fest. Right now we just would like to play as much shows as possible, after all it’s the best part about being in a band to me.”
More information about Arven on their website: http://www.arvenmusic.com/