Velnias Embraces the “Scion of Aether” (Album Stream + Interview)
The Rockies sometimes call out to me. I've never seen them from anywhere other than a plane window, but, sometimes… sometimes I see them in my dreams. White-capped and monstrous, the mammoth protrusions from the Earth's core, dotted with evergreens and endless wildlife. I live in the middle of a large city -- maybe a tree here or there, but, in my childhood, I lived atop a mountain, and it was different. Maybe it was because I was a carefree child, but, what it boils down to is simple: in nature, there is freedom.
This sylvan independence appeared in Velnias's dreams, as well, and so they set out from Chicago so many years ago to Colorado in hopes of feeding from the Wild. Listen to an exclusive stream of their long-awaited Scion of Aether below.
Finding a center between black metal, doom metal, and neofolk is a hard bargain, one which is fraught with aimlessness and mimicry, but Velnias has always forged a path all their own, dating back to 2007's Pacing the Cyclic Nether EP. The duo of PJV and AJS found their center long ago, and so their crushing, atavistic sounds, too, take their time to make themselves known. Scion of Aether is the result of eight long years of composing, touring, and hardship, and its slow birth gives way to subtlety, growth, and a naturalistic bent only known to those who wander.
Read an interview with guitarist and vocalist PJV below. Embrace freedom, discover the Scion of Aether.
Eight years have passed since the release of RuneEater. What accounts for such a lengthy passage of time between albums?
As an artist, I am generally perplexed by the notion of racing from one project into the next. The creative process is an exploration. Without time to delve into this exploration, I would fear going stale or iterative. Life and the stimulus of existing is ever unfolding, yielding new elements in the conversation that we have with the universe. That which we create will outlast the construct of the self. I wish to ensure that my own creations are worth leaving behind. There is no rush with these things.
With that being said, do you find your creative process has changed during this period of time?
I feel like I have found focus again. After Sovereign Nocturnal, things moved into a very fast paced and tumultuous build for a while. Through the chaos of that time period, we come out on the other side with a better sense of what Velnias is. Though I would not dare to claim to know what the next chapter will hold, the creative process now feels clear and unbound. As we continue to grow and explore, I feel that we shed the tunnel vision and fear that may have loomed over us before. The music is now allowed to exist as intended, the journey of one note into the next, carrying our ideas forward.
So it's more of a natural existence and flow of ideas instead of a forced one?
Existence has never really been forced for Velnias. Though writing and the conjuring of ideas has always been a rather esoteric process to me, the music that I create comes naturally when there is an instrument in my hands. The biggest evolution has been learning to trust my own creative voice with confidence. Without the construct of genre, the exploration is vast and has often been quite daunting for many reasons. Through the years, I feel that I have become more fluent in speaking with my own musical language and struggle less with the identity of that which I seek to create. This, in turn, has made the whole creative process much more fluid and natural.
Through this exploration, Scion of Aether has manifested as the most varied Velnias release to date. What led to including new elements like clean vocals, a vaster atmosphere, et cetera?
I feel that it was focus -- taking the time to digest our influences and hone our vision through the music we create. Again, confidence when listening to the ideas in our heads. Without any obligation to pre-established patterns, the music was able to really develop and become what it was meant to be. When sitting and evaluating the whole process of creation, it seems silly not to utilize elements to expand your own voice as an artist. Any creative vision is one’s own reflection against the infinite aether. Shared perceptions of genre are extremely limiting when it comes to channeling this interaction with one’s own inspirations. If one tries to funnel and pigeon-hole the vast sea of their influences into a narrow-band of output there is a loss of resolution of the overall concept which they pursue. All artistic ventures are inherently rooted with familiar foundations, but if they are not allowed to meander and strive to find their own path, they will inevitably grow stale. It is all a journey. Everything that has been added or changed simply felt like a natural expansion of the Velnias palette.
What do you feel defines Velnias?
At its heart, it has been the resonance of Andrew’s and my own creative energy. It is part of our existence in a way that cannot be removed from who we are. It would be very difficult for us to stop making this music. The music itself is part of the journey of existence. Friction of the consciousness against temporal and physical confines. It is the essence of the atmosphere and stimulus with which we surround ourselves, flickering through our recorded conjurations and live immersion.
Considering your evolution from the more metallic "Pacing the Cyclic Nether" to your more atmospheric, expansive current state, what central force has been a constant through lineup changes, tumult, and near-constant performances?
There is a hunger at the core of it that cannot be quelled. An unyielding desire to shape worlds through our creative vision. Consistently this has been fueled by a manifestation of frustration with the paradox of existence -- infinite worlds dancing within our minds, trapped within rotting material husks, set to wander a construct defined by parameters beyond our control. Despite my efforts, I have yet to find an outlet that yields the same catharsis as creating this music or conjuring it through live performance.
So it's safe to say you won't be diverging from Velnias anytime soon?
I do not see why we would. There is no obligation to anything. We are not racing to push out albums like a soulless machine. It is a part of us and will continue to move in parallel with our own journeys. At whatever pace, by whatever tonality, Velnias lumbers forward. I see no reason to channel myself into different musical outlets.
The approach of making a host of bands to echo one's influences does not make sense to me.
In the time it took to create Scion of Aether, what difficulties and/or hindrances did you run into?
My own self-criticism. Working in a near vacuum, it was a battle against myself. Eventually, by Andrew pushing me through my destructive nihilistic tendencies, I learned to trust my ideas and we were able to create something that we are very proud of.
Do you see another vast horizon for future Velnias material?
It is always vast and there is much yet to explore. Nothing stands to limit where we take things. I look forward to seeing what we conjure in the years to come.
Scion of Aether releases March 27th via Eisenwald.