-- Visions of Atlantis gets shredded! --

Stijn Daneels
Interview conducted and written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.

A while ago I played the Austrian symphonic metal giant Visions of Atlantis on BMS ON AIR in order to promote their upcoming live release “A Symphonic Journey to Remember.” And via Hard Life Promotion I managed to get the band’s female singer Clémentine Delauney.

So I called vocalist Clémentine via Skype to talk about the production of “A Symphonic Journey to Remember,” her ongoing blog, how she helped save Visions of Atlantis from its demise and finally we talk about sports, literature and food.

BMS: Hello Clémentine, it’s great to have you here on Skype. I’ve listened to some of your material in preparation for this shred and I’ve found your music has a great balance between the symphonic and metal instruments. I also notice a great musical chemistry between your vocals and those of your colleague Michele.
BMS: As a whole, I find that Visions Of Atlantis’s sound has a timid and humble aspect while being truly majestic at the same time. I also like your songs’ themes since they’re about humanity, philosophy, spirituality and nature. Topics that I all relate to very much.
Clémentine: Hey there! Thanks for talking so passionately about our tunes. It’s great to hear people say that they enjoy our music just as much as we enjoy making it.
BMS: Indeed, so, let’s talk about the production of your live album “A Symphonic Journey to Remember.” I’ve read this is the band’s first live release to also feature a video version on DVD & Blu-Ray.
Clémentine: That’s correct. This year marks Visions Of Atlantis’s 20th anniversary so we wanted to celebrate that by recording a live show with a full orchestra, something that we’ve always dreamt of. We’d already played a gig with the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra of Prague before which was a great experience for everyone involved so that gave us the connections and motivation to start working on “A Symphonic Journey to Remember.”

Clémentine: The first thing we did in preparation for the live release was selecting one of the festivals on which we would be playing in 2019 and see which of those would be able to accommodate us along with the entire orchestra. Eventually we selected the Bang Your Head festival as the place where we would be recording “A Symphonic Journey to Remember.” That particular festival took place in Balingen, Germany between July 11th and July 13th.

Clémentine: Initially we only wanted to release the show in audio form because we didn’t believe the video footage would’ve been any good. After all, recording video is much harder than just recording audio since you’ve got to keep things like camera angles and lightning into consideration as well. But after seeing the first full edited videos of the gig we were so impressed that we decided to make this both an audio and video experience!

BMS: Yeah, I saw the clips of “A Symphonic Journey to Remember” that Napalm Records officially released on YouTube and I must say it was a very colourful and cinematic performance! Well done! So, what are Visions of Atlantis’s future plans?
Clémentine: Originally we had a tour planned to promote our 2019 studio album “Wanderers” but obviously the COVID19 pandemic put a stopper to those plans. So instead, we spent the majority of this year working on new songs. I also travelled to Italy to work with Michele on those fresh songs together. As of this moment, we plan on releasing that new material in the summer of 2021 and hopefully by then we’ll be able to tour again to promote both this upcoming album along with “Wanders.” But in any case, we keep on working on our band and no pandemic will stop us!
BMS: Excellent! So, what other activities do you do during this ongoing pandemic?
Clémentine: During the lockdown I’ve continued my hobby of watercolour painting. I also consider myself very lucky to live on the countryside along with my family so that gives me plenty of time to wander through nature and relax. However, one activity I can’t do right now is organize events since I used to arrange gigs in my home region of Lyon.
BMS: That’s too bad, but I hope you’ll be able to soon continue setting up shows and playing shows as well. I also read on your band’s official website that you also enjoy activities like sports, cooking and reading. Hobbies that I also enjoy doing with my girlfriend Marjolein “Mrs. Metal Shredder.”
Clémentine: That’s so cute! Well, I love doing yoga since that’s an activity that improves my physical, mental and spiritual health all at once. I also enjoy outdoor climbing since it gives me a huge connection with nature as well as the satisfaction of reaching the top of the mountain after a long and heavy climb, both in nature and in life. In addition, I also love social activities like volleyball and dancing.
BMS: I see. As for me, I mainly prefer athletics like swimming, jogging or cycling. Not climbing since I’ve got a little fear of heights. Now, about cooking, what are some of your favourite dishes?
Clémentine: Tough question, but I’d say I’ve got a huge love for Indian and other Asian foods. In addition, I also enjoy cooking Mediterranean meals.
BMS: Excellent! But let’s talk about something else (because I’m getting hungry here). Tell me, Clémentine, what are some of your favourite authors?
Clémentine: I’m a huge fan of the novels by French author René Barjavel, particularly his sci-fi novel “The Ice People.” I also dig the works of several Latin-American writers like Isabel Allende and Paulo Coelho. At the moment I’m reading Ernest Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa” novel.
BMS: I see, currently I’m not reading a lot since Belgian Metal Shredder takes up so much of my time. But if I do read, I like crime novels from Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as the Harry Potter series. During the upcoming Christmas season I’m planning on reading Marjolein’s J.R.R. Tolkien novels. She’s got the Hobbit, the Silmarillion and of course the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
Clémentine: That’s great!
BMS: Yeah! I love the movies and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the books even more! Just before we began this interview I noticed that you’ve started your own blog: https://clementinedelauney.com/ Tell me something more about that.
Clémentine: Of course. Well, this year I’ve realized that I’ve been an active metal vocalist for 10 years. I learned a lot during that time and I wanted to pass that knowledge to the next generation of young, aspiring metal singers. So that’s why I began writing the “essential kit to be a good live singer.” 15 articles in which I discuss every aspect of a live metal singing performance, which include such things like building self-confidence, memorizing the lyrics and pre-show preparations.
BMS: That’s a beautiful initiative. Now going back to Visions of Atlantis, did you know the band before you began performing for them?
Clémentine: Oh yes, I think I’d first heard of Visions of Atlantis when I was seventeen or eighteen years old when I read about them in a metal magazine wherein they said they were looking for a new female singer. During that time I’ve already had being a classical singer for years as well as being a huge fan of classic symphonic metal acts like Nightwish. So my 18-year old self read that announcement and I began imagining myself being part of a band like that and touring the world.

Clémentine: At the time, however, I didn’t dare audition since I considered myself too young and too inexperienced for the band. So I continued growing and improving my craft and did vocals in bands like Whyzdom and Serenity before finally joining Visions of Atlantis in 2013 and so finally fulfilling my teenage dream.

BMS: That’s a beautiful story. Tell me something, I read that you basically saved Visions of Atlantis from its demise. How did that go?
Clémentine: Yeah, initially Thomas (Visions of Atlantis’s drummer and founding member) recruited me to record one last album and do one final major tour before retiring the band forever. Back then the band had suffered from many drastic lineup changes which left Thomas with little motivation to continue. So we recorded the “Ethera” album and did our tour but the feedback from those gigs was much more positive than we had expected. That experience revitalized Thomas’s ambitions and we’ve all been happy to continue Visions of Atlantis as it is today!
BMS: Very inspiring! Say Clémentine, what do you consider your personal crowning achievement as a musician?
Clémentine: Good question, I’ve got plenty of sweet memories of these first 10 years as a professional musician with the latest Visions of Atlantis live album being the most recent. Also being part of Visions of Atlantis has allowed me to visit places that I’d never thought I would be visiting in my lifetime. But if I do have to choose one particular moment, I’d go with the two gigs that I did with Tarja Turunen in January this year. I grew up listening to the albums she made with Nightwish and she invited me to join her on stage in Prague and Bucharest to celebrate the 15th anniversary of her solo career.
BMS: Awesome! Being on same stage as one of your childhood music idols must be a truly memorable experience.
Clémentine: Certainly, but like I said earlier, that’s just one of the many beautiful moments I’ve had during my ongoing music career.
BMS: Indeed, happiness can be found in even the smallest things in life. But now another fun question. I’ve read that Visions of Atlantis band members come from several different countries. You’re French, your co-vocalist Michele is Italian and the other members are Austrian. So I wonder, what language do you speak when you’re all on stage or on tour? French, Italian, German, or just English?
Clémentine: Just English, simply because that’s the language everyone in the band and crew understands. I do plan, however, on learning German and Italian in the near future. I love discovering new languages and cultures.
BMS: Me too. That’s why it was great to do this interview in French and now translating it into English.
Clémentine: Your French is pretty good.
BMS: Thank you! Now, one final question, I know you’ve got a side-project called Exit Eden wherein you cover pop songs and turn them into symphonic metal tunes. You’ve already covered material from Bryan Adams, Lady Gaga, Depeche Mode and Rihanna but tell me, do you have any other artists you really want to cover with Exit Eden?
Clémentine: Michael Jackson! I’ve been a huge fan of his discography since my adolescence! Or maybe Abba! In any case, we’ll be planning on making a new Exit Eden album somewhere next year!
BMS: I’m already looking forward to that upcoming Visions of Atlantis and Exit Eden material! So Clémentine, we’re almost finished with this shred, do you have anything else you wish to add?
Clémentine: It was great talking to you and I want to thank everyone who’s supporting Visions of Atlantis or any other artist throughout these troublesome times. Keep up the support and I’m sure that we’ll be returning to the stage very soon!