A musical journey into the mind in pursuit of happiness, set to a mix of 70’s progressive rock, modern day electronica, industrial and metal, topped off with clear, beautiful vocal lines: that’s what young Copenhagen quartet VOLA is offering on their debut album Inmazes, out on Mascot Records on 2LP, CD and Digitally, September 16.
Mascot Records proudly presents Inmazes, an album that will appeal to all those who love music that is adventurous and compelling. After three years of writing, recording and perfecting their craft on their two previous EPs Guitar player and singer Asger Mygind sees a steady development from 2011’s Monsters towards Inmazes:
“On Monsters we started experimenting with 7-string guitars and a lot of polymetrics – odd-time signatures over a straight 4/4 beat in our case. And it worked so well on the EP that we wanted to elaborate on this for a full album. But I think we have gotten better at producing our music as a band, which has given way to a tighter and more in-your-face vibe on Inmazes. We are also one person less than on Monsters (guitarist and singer Niels Dreijer Madsen quit the band in 2012), so in my case I’ve had to fill out more space as guitarist and singer, as Niels also played guitar and sang a lot of vocal harmonies.”
When Mygind was in high school he started writing songs and jamming with his friends in a rehearsal room in the basement of his parents’ house in Copenhagen. “The collaboration grew out of a common interest in melodic rock and weird time signatures. We’d listen to stuff like Dream Theater, Freak Kitchen, Opeth and Porcupine Tree and tried to play their songs in order to explore what kind of sound we could create as a unit. And also because it was just a lot of fun!” VOLA is completed with keyboard player Martin Werner, bassist Nicolai Mogensen and drummer Felix Ewert.
At times futuristic, the music of VOLA has references to tech-prog and pop as well. Further touching on the band’s influences, Mygind states: “I’ve always been a big fan of bands like Opeth and Porcupine Tree, and they write very dynamic songs, so I think the influence to explore dynamics and moods came from that place initially.” Then again, he admits, he is influenced just as much by just the opposite: groove-based, monotonous music. “Some big influences of heavier music are Devin Townsend, Soilwork and Meshuggah. But it doesn’t have to be metal at all as long as it has a spectacular beat, groovy odd-time groupings, an interesting mood or something else along those lines. Massive Attack‘s 100th Window is a big influence. It’s monotonous but it still feels like it’s constantly evolving. Steven Wilson‘s Insurgentes and Ulver’s Shadows Of The Sun both have a darkness that we find very fascinating.”
“What we’ve always liked from artists like Steven Wilson and Devin Townsend is that the music can change the physical state you’re in. It’s not just sound reaching your ears. It’s a force of a larger scale. There is nothing like a big chorus that suddenly opens up and elevates your body to the point where it almost feels like you levitate from the floor. That’s one of the feelings we want to evoke with our music.”
Lyrically, Inmazes deals with entrapment. Mygind: “The album tries to capture this feeling of being trapped in mental mazes and not being able to fully experience happiness, basically. How is this struggle visualized in your own mind and how do your surroundings react to the behaviour caused by it. Where the EP Monsters deals with strategies on how to escape the negative thought patterns, Inmazes is more about the distance these thoughts can create between people.”
Inmazes was mixed by Asger Mygind himself and mastered by Jens Bogren of Fascination Street Studio. Bogren worked with Opeth, Katatonia, Soilwork, Amon Amarth, Symphony X, Paradise Lost, Devin Townsend, Fates Warning and Arch Enemy, amongst others. Mygind: “I’ve been a fan of Jens Bogren ever since I heard The Great Cold Distance by Katatonia, which I think is an amazing record with a fantastic production and mix. I like the way he keeps the elements very punchy but still maintains a sort of softness to the overall sonics. He mastered our EP Monsters and we were so fond of the result that we really also wanted him to do Inmazes too. Jens has a signature sound which works great if you want a fat and dynamic mix or master, that is pleasing to the ear.”
Before the end of 2015, the band played high-profile gigs like Euroblast in Germany and ProgPower Europe in the Netherlands. Says Mygind: “We felt very proud. We haven’t played that many shows in total, so to step upon a big stage in a foreign country and experience the incredibly positive energy coming from the crowd, was amazing. We didn’t know what to expect, so it blew us all away.”
After the official release of Inmazes on Mascot Records in September 2016, VOLA will tour the UK and mainland Europe.