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Anjelica Valkyrie Flames Of Fury - Interview
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Lacuna Coil

New York based female fronted melodic power metal band Flames Of Fury bring together a traditional based brand of metal that harks back to the days when bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were throwing down melodic riffs together with powerful vocal styles. The band recently released a lyric video for I Burn off their self titled debut EP and currently they are working on a full length album. We spoke to vocalist Anjelica Valkyrie to discuss the history of the band, the music scene in New York and what they hope to achieve in the near future.



Andrew: So how's it going? How's things with the band at the moment?

Angelica: Oh pretty good! We're still working on our album, we released ourselves a lyric video recently for one of the songs from our EP and otherwise just kickin'!

Andrew: How has the reception been so far?

Angelica: So far so good. Seems like a lot of our fans that have been with us for this entire time have been really digging the lyric video and getting a lot of feedback as far as when is the next album coming out and all I can say is it's hopefully coming out soon but I can't give a specific date just yet. I just gotta make sure everything is worked out and all ready to go before we go ahead and leak that but very excited once it gets out there.

Andrew: Yeah definitely! Obviously a debut album for any band is a very exciting time, how long has it been since you started writing these new songs?

Angelica: Oh god, in total back when the band started which was 2009. We didn't start playing until 2010 but we're constantly writing songs and writing material through out this time, it's been a crazy, awesome journey really.

Andrew: How is the process for you guys? Every band I talk to has a different way of approaching a way of creating new songs so how do you collaborate and write songs together?

Angelica: Oh yeah like you said, it's different for every band, everybody has their own methods to their madness. In our case it's myself and Jason, the lead guitarist, we get together and write a lot of the materials and most of the time it starts with me having a lyric in mind and I'll send him the ideas and the general idea of what the song is about and if it inspires him, he will come up with a cool guitar riff to go along wth it and I'll come up with a melodic melody and we go back and forth until we have enough for a song ready to go.

Andrew: And does that come naturally to you guys or is it something that you have had to work on as you were forming the band together?

Angelica: Actually it comes along very naturally for some reason, Jason is synchronised with my brain. Like 'I got this idea for a song, I'm not sure if you get it. It's kind of like this but it's kinda crazy', and he's like, 'You know what? I know exactly what you're talking about, I got this'. And all of a sudden he's got this cool riff and 'Oh that's it!'. It's awesome, it's really cool.

Andrew: It sounds like you knew each other fairly well before you joined the band, is that a fair assumption or did you guys meet up through other avenues?

Angelica: Not really, we met each other through mutual friends but we met around the same time he was looking at his own studio project. Jason does a lot of crazy stuff like cinematic music and things like that and he needed a singer for one of his songs he was working on so 'Oh this is a cool song, I'll come in and see what I got'. And I came in and sang along to the song and I also sang on something I was working on my own and he decided to play his own kind of riff to that and I was like, 'Woah that's really cool!' In fact he turned my song which I thought was very average kind of a ballad, into a doom metal song and then that started clicking as far as the music is concerned and getting these ideas together and then, 'You know what? Let's start a band, this would be a good idea'. So that's how that all started.

Andrew: And yourself, had you been in bands before or was this the first?

Angelica: Oh no I had been in a couple of bands before but this is really the biggest band that's really taking it further, sharing big stages with all these major headlining bands and things like that. But I've been in a rock band before this one, I was also doing a little bit of stuff like Jazz and stuff but really I found that metal is my true calling. Everything seems to lead towards this avenue because that's just where I seem to naturally write about.

Andrew: Yeah it's an interesting story how everyone gets into heavy metal in general. How did you first discover this kind of music?

Angelica: Oh wow you would be surprised! When I was 16 I got into metal and I was just an average Catholic school girl listening to whatever everyone else was listening to and a friend of mine gave me some Industrial metal which got me kicked off, more specifically like Rammstein and I was like, 'Oh this is awesome!' And here I am in my little Catholic uniform rocking out and headbanging to Rammstein. So that's when I really started listening to metal and different types of metal and it's progressed over the years I guess, I think it happens naturally with everyone where you get into a particular sub-genre. Like I was really a big fan of Industrial and then later on I was a bigger fan of Symphonic Metal and then later I went more into the roots of heavy metal and Folk Metal and things like that. Lately Black Metal has started to catch my interest a little more than usual for some reason [laughs].

Andrew: {laughs] Same with me as well, Black Metal has been the last of the genres of metal that's out there that got my interest and a couple of bands here and there started getting me into it. What kind of metal bands did you start to discover?

Angelica: I do listen to the more heavy metal / traditional metal like Maiden and Sabbath and things like that but a couple of friends told me about Amon Amarth and Dimmu Borgir and things like that and I'm like, 'Oh this is interesting!'

Andrew: Your band has been described in a lot of press releases as Melodic Power Metal, is that a fair description on the kind of music you play?

Angelica: Yes we are definitely without a doubt Heavy Melodic Power Metal. I am a singer, I mean there are many vocalists out there but I actually do sing. Something about Power Metal always seems to capture me vocally, that keeps me inspired in that direction.

Andrew: In Australia that kind of music is popular as well, a lot of bands who come down here play that kind of stuff. You guys are from New York / New Jersey, that area?

Angelica: Yes we are local to New York.

Andrew: So what's the metal scene like there at the moment?

Angelica: It's a pretty cool scene. I mean a lot of people often say it was a lot bigger back in the 80's or so but there seems to be a pretty big scene nowadays. It's all scattered about through all the different sub-genres, you have a lot of local bands that are into Power metal and local bands that do heavy metal, a lot of bands do Death Metal and thrash is really big around the New York City metal scene. There's so many Death Metal bands you won't believe but it's pretty big and a really tight knit group because you have a lot of musicians that hop around from style to style. Especially if you're a drummer or bassist, those are the 2 instruments that are always really high in demand so it's not uncommon to see the same guy like, 'Hey didn't I see you in that other band like last week, you were playing in a thrash metal band?' It's like, 'Oh yeah well I'm doing some melodic metal today'. Like, 'What?' [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs] It's funny you say that because we have the exact same thing here in Australia as well and I always thought that was an Aussie thing but I guess it's a world wide thing I suppose.

Angelica: Yeah when you have really good musicians and you're going to like music as long as it's good, that's what's going to draw you and attract you so you're going to want to play something that piques your interest in that moment so it's not surprising. I mean there are some people that like to stay exclusively within one style and that's fine, if that's what really drives you, go for it. But I see a lot of people go into various different styles and try different things and that's cool.

Andrew: Yeah definitely! Now I had read that you guys had Mike Lepond from Symphony X in your band for a period of time, what was it like working with him?

Angelica: Yeah he's actually playing tonight in the city right now. He's awesome, he's one of the best bassists out there. He's such a cool dude, really down to earth, what can I say about the guy! When you meet him he's one of the nicest guys in the world and when he goes on stage he's a beast with the bass. He just rips it up and tears everybody apart and when he's back off the stage, he's a cool guy, like Wow, really cool! But yeah really great to play with him.

Andrew: That's cool! It's funny as Symphony X will be in Australia next week.

Angelica: Yeah they are on tour right now.

Andrew: So I know you mentioned the full length album that's in the works but what else have you got planned as far as touring and things like that?

Angelica: Well we love to tour but as you know it's a little challenging nowadays to be able to leave and go overseas and things like that. Australia is a little bit far [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs].

Angelica: Just a little but you know we would love to go over there but it's all about logistics of course. But what we would like to do once the album is released is setup a North East Coast tour within the US and maybe do a couple of festivals here and there and maybe in Europe, that would be really awesome to see fans that we don't see on a regular basis in New York. But one of the great things about being in New York is that we have people from all over the world always coming here so we have a really nice bit of diversity and having people coming from all over the world and metal heads from all over the world coming in to New York. We do play a lot of big shows like Gramercy Theater, one of our bigger stages for metal and we've played with Doro (Pesch) twice and Primal Fear and Stryper and Rhapsody Of Fire and a bunch of really awesome bands. So we get a pretty cool group of people that come down to see us from all over the world, it's really awesome.

Andrew: OK cool! There was something I wanted to ask you which I completely forgot earlier when we were talking about your influences. As a female singer in a [metal] band which has become the norm these days whereas in the past maybe that wasn't as popular where now with bands like Lacuna Coil and Nightwish and bands like that which started that trend or whatever, who do you credit as being one of your main influences on your vocals?

Angelica: I would say a long time ago when Nightwish and Lacuna Coil came out, yeah I was really digging the fact of seeing other women in metal. Would I say they were a primary influence? No not really. As far as my vocal styles, ironically singers like Pat Benatar who was more like a rock/pop singer, I liked the attitude in her music and in her voice and that was a cool quality that's been contributing to my sound. But a lot of the bands like Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, those soaring voals and Ronnie James Dio was a huge influence of mine both vocally and lyrically. I think he was one of the best singers out there and those are big shoes to fill especially in the metal community so I would sight them - Pat Benatar, Bruce Dickinson and the late great Ronnie James Dio as 3 major influences of mine.

Andrew: Wow OK! Obviously Dio and Dickinson I can definitely hear in your voice but Pat Benatar is a bit of a surprise, how did you get into her music?

Angelica: She's more pop rock so she's pretty simple to come across in comparison to metal where metal you have to search for. But I heard a couple of songs from her and I just really liked that attitude that was there and I also thought that she was from Brooklyn as we are so she's a New Yorker as well so that's definitely present. And I always thought it was kind of unfortunate that she never decided to go into a metal career because it seems like her voice would be much better suited for some fierce metal songs and not so much these poppy love songs.

Andrew: Yeah there's many singers in the pop world that I can imagine being great singers in the metal genre, so many names I could pick out where 'Oh they should really do a metal version of that song' or something.

Angelica: Exactly!

Andrew: Anyway it's been fantastic to talk to you today, congratulations on everything that's been happening with the band so far, great to see. Maybe one day in the future we will get to see you down in Australia!

Angelica: Absolutely, that would really be awesome! Would love to head down there.

Andrew: Cool thanks for your time today, it's really appreciated.

Angelica: Alright thanks Andrew, much appreciated!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on October 6th 2016