Saturday, 23 August 2014

INTERVIEW: Heliosaga

Yesterday we told you about the debut album release from Heliosaga called Towers in the Distance. Heliosaga are a power metal band from Minnesota, USA made up of Damien Villarreal, Jordan Ames and Chelsea Knaack and formed in 2010.

Today we present our recent interview with lead vocalist Chelsea Knaack.

How did Heliosaga get together?

I wasn’t in the band when it first started. I came after they had been established already for some time. Damien was really the guy who started up the band and came up with the name Heliosaga. He found Jordan and a few other members that originally were in the band through Bandmix before I came along. But as bands often do the lineup has changed a lot since I joined.

Can you tell us a bit about each member of the band?

Damien is the main guy, he writes the music and plays both guitar and keys on the album. He's the one who started up Heliosaga and got this dream really going. Jordan is our drummer, the heartbeat of the band. All the fills you hear on the album are made up by him so when it comes to writing the music he adds a lot to the drums. As for myself, I am the singer, lending my classical training and vocal flair to each track, taking what was once on paper and sort of making it come to life.

Where did the name Heliosaga come from?

Damien came up with the name. Helios means sun and a saga is a journey or story. In a way Heliosaga can mean journey of the sun, and the sun is a metaphor for life, so it can also mean journey of life, but when you get right down to it the name just sounds cool, so it stuck.

How would you describe your sound?

American metal with some European roots. It's a very Gothic power metal feel with splashes of symphonic metal and prog metal tossed in.

You released your debut album yesterday.  Can you tell us about Towers in the Distance?

There is no real overarching storyline to the album but the running theme most certainly is based around the story of life and overcoming obstacles in life or 'towers' that we must all climb to end up where we want to be in this world. Damien wrote the music and lyrics though both Jordan and I have also added our own flair to each song.

What motivates you to make music?

A love for music and a constant hunt for new music and the desire to add to it. I can't speak for the other members of the band but for me it's connecting to a melody and lyrics and making them come to life that makes me love this creative process so much. I enjoy seeing the songs start from scratch on paper and bloom into full-blown works of art.

Which artists have influenced you?

I can never escape it because it's the truth, but Tarja Turunen was the reason I even started singing. Since then, I have matured surprisingly however my musical influences have moved outside of metal such as Loreena McKennitt and Heather Dale. Now I would say my main influence is Kamelot.

What do you enjoy most about playing live and which Heliosaga song do you most enjoy playing?

I love the energy you get from the crowd when you are on stage. Though Heliosaga is not playing out just yet. I played out with my former band and look forward to playing with Heliosaga as well. As far as songs go, asking me to pick the one I love most is like asking a parent to pick their favourite kid. All the songs have something that makes them special to me, so just picking one is a hefty task.

If anything was possible, who would you most like to tour with and why?

Kamelot. I love their music, I love their style, and being able to hear them every night would never get old. I simply love this band and everything they are.

If you could travel anywhere to play live, where would you most like to perform and why?

London England. Why? Because I have always loved the history of the city. I know it sounds silly to pick a place based on its history, but London has been an obsession of mine since I was a little girl and to one day go there and play would be a dream come true.

Inspired by a recent guest article on Femetalism, I am interested in finding out more about the metal scene in other countries. Can you tell us about the metal scene in Minnesota?

The scene in Minnesota used to be very active, but due to recent events the past few years it has grown a bit quiet. I hope that with some of the new and amazing bands coming from this state that we can wake it up again.

So what is next for Heliosaga?

It would be nice to tour and finish our lineup for the band. Our second album is also in the works. Heading to Europe is something everyone in the band would love to do within the year.

Huge thanks to Chelsea for taking the time to talk with Femetalism.  The album is incredible and I am looking forward to hearing more from Heliosaga in the not too distant future - especially a potential European tour!

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Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.