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Valfreya: Quarantine Story

by Metal Jacket

In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn. Epic black / death metallers from Montreal, Valafreya are sharing their quarantine story.  Corinne Cardinal – Crook, speaks for Metal Jacket Magazine.

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Well, it has its ups and downs.  We’ve gone from lockdown to now a curfew so, it’s not awesome.  We can’t even practice as a band and we’re missing it.  Obviously, no shows either.  On the bright side, we’re working hard on writing new songs for our upcoming album and it’s coming along pretty nicely!

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
Well, we didn’t have that many shows lined up far in advance so, we had I think 2 cancellations.  Summer and fall are usually the busiest time and scheduling for that hadn’t really started for us back in March.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
Well, besides the obvious of not being to play shows for the most part, I think a lot of music will be written during that time, as bands focus their energy on what they can do during that time, and that is writing music.  I expect a lot of new albums in the next year or two.  We’ll have to see how it affected the bands that made a living out of music.  People will surely have found work to get some money in to live.  We’ll have to see how it’ll go after and if some will decide not to go back to that lifestyle of touring and whatnot.  I mean, we’ve seen Marko Hietala from Nightwish quitting after thinking it over for a while and I’m wondering if other people will follow and get to the same conclusions he did.  We might see a shift in the music industry and how business is conducted.  It might be a good thing, although I don’t really expect so many changes.  I might be a bit cynical but that’s just me (Grazzt)!

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
Well, we’re trying to stay active on social media platforms, even though there ain’t much exciting news.  We did get to work on and just now release a new video clip for our song “Warlords” from the “Promised Land” album.  We’re really pleased with the results of this and hope our fans are as well!

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
As I stated earlier, I expect a lot of new music after this and having to live without seeing people for a long time (or, being stuck with the same people for others) might make for some great songwriting.  I guess only time will tell!  Of course, it could also have the reverse effect and people will lose some motivation to do this.  I guess it depends on each individual’s personality and how they cope with those changes to our lifestyle.  Well, at least here in the province of Quebec, in Canada.  Some other countries aren’t as strict with their rules to try and contain the pandemic.

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
The actors of the scene, I’m guessing.  I don’t see promoters or organizers having much to lose as they don’t have to take any risk or invest any money at the moment.  And, they most probably were able to recuperate most of what they had invested in the first place.  To my understanding, the bands lost the most money with all the cancellations due to the pandemic.  Now, as far as the people working like sound engineers, stagehands, the ones working the lights, etc…  I think we don’t often talk about them but they’ve lost quite a lot in all of this.  We’re hoping they’ll be able to come back after all this is “over” / better.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
Slayer of Gods” by Brymir.  It’s such an amazing album that I’ve listened to so many times (Grazzt).

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
Hanging out with my bandmates and playing music as a band.  It’s ok to play all alone at home, but it’s really not the same as playing music as a band and connecting musically with others.  We’ve had to write songs over Zoom or Facebook video chat and it works pretty well overall.  But sometimes exchanging ideas in person has its advantages you can’t get over video.

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
We’ve had a single one when the rules for “gatherings” were a bit slacker at the end of summer 2020.  It was fun but it was also awkward, because you don’t want to infect or get infected by others.  We’re trying to limit the spread of Coronavirus as much as possible and even though it was “legal” to gather when you’ve been bombarded so much by “be careful” and “stay 2 meters away” for so many months, it leaves its mark.  I take it when this is all over, it’ll be a few months/years before people feel more normal.  At least, to some of us.  Pretty sure some will easily fall back into their old habits.

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!
Thank you and you stay safe too!  All of you.  Thank you for this interview, the questions were really interesting to answer.


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