Interview: Velkhanos

In June, the Spanish metallers of Velkhanos released their debut full-length, titled The Wrath. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen already reviewed it here, now he also interviewed Velkhanos’ guitarist Fernando Salmerón.

¿Hola, como estas?

Hello! We are trying to work on new projects for the band due to the pandemic. We can’t play any shows now. On the other hand, our professional jobs are affected by the situation and we haven’t enough time for the band.

Thanks for the opportunity to get to know you a little better. You were and mostly still are a mystery to me, despite having seen all your social media accounts. Like I also pointed out in my review, there’s not much to be found about you on the internet, what is the reason for that, if there is one in the first place?

The band was born in 2018, so we haven’t enough information and photos to post on social media. We only have a little bit of time to dedicate to the band as well and we invest that time in creating new songs.

Can you tell us something about yourselves?

We are from a little town in Spain but nowadays we live in different cities. We weren’t friends before creating the band but now we are a family. Most of us have been playing in bands for years or studied music as a career.

I would like to compliment you with The Wrath, it really impressed me. Before I continue I would like to ask you something that has been bugging me since I first heard it, thanks in advance for clearing that up. As you have probably guessed it’s about the vocals… Is that all Miriam or do you have a second vocalist?

Miriam does all the voices, from lyrical to growls. In some songs we had the help of Agustín, Miriam’s father, for the male lyrical voices. A few exceptions are the song The Wrath, on which the growls were sung by our friend Christian and on Moloch, on which another friend, Josema Teira, interpreted a priest.

Now, on to The Wrath itself. It’s one of the best, if not the best, releases I have heard this year, especially considering this is your debut. Genre-wise your music is impossible to describe, a good thing in my opinion, provided it is carefully and skillfully executed. How would you describe your music and why?

We wanted to do whatever we felt like, taking bits and pieces from here and there and knock something different in to shape. We thought: “We like death, heavy, black, power… Why should I have a different band for each style? So we started working on each track while letting ourselves get carried away, experimenting, looking for a connection between styles… In the end we are very pleased with the album, with rhythms from melodic death and black, solos from heavy and choruses from power. This might have many distractions, we are aware of that. The next album will be very different and we think that’s the beauty of it, being able to change (within certain limits) and set labels aside.

Can you tell us a little something about the process of creating this album?

The writing process began after a few practice sessions, when the band had explored some of our possibilities and there was some material to work with. I, Nando, generally write the songs, although when we are practicing we each tweak our own arrangements or we write our own solos… Some songs have been a joint effort with Pablo and Miriam. Furthermore, my friend Adrian wrote the beautiful Spanish guitar ending for The Last Day.

What is the story behind its title, The Wrath?

This album in particular is centered on religion, that’s why there is some mythology in there, although we have tried to steer clear of clichés, avoiding names of gods or beings. The idea was to talk about the relationship between God and human beings. Who created who? Do we try to justify our actions in the name of a greater good? Are our successes or failures the favour or punishment of some deity?

Our lyrics are based on these concepts, beginning with Bring Me The Fire which is about afterlife, the struggle amongst religions to add another soul to their list; about the Inquisition (The Eye Of God), the search of a god’s compassion through sacrifice (Moloch) or simply telling a tale such as Dagon, H. P. Lovecraft’s work, which also fits the album theme.

Velkhanos is a significant name in the Mediterranean mythology, so it’s an obvious thought that you guys have some sort of link towards that. Can you tell us what that is and how, if at all, it influences or even inspires you both music- and lyrics-wise? Is there a message to be found in the lyrics?

Velkhanos was the god of fire and nature according to Cretan mythology. We are really passionate about Mediterranean culture and all the blend of civilizations it entailed. Velkhanos, the god, has been present in the great Greek and Roman civilizations, which are precisely the maximum representative of Mediterranean cultural symbiosis. Velkhanos, the band, is a symbiosis of styles within metal. This made us relate and also lead us to center our first album on religion.

It’s obvious the COVID pandemic has had great impact on the world in general and the music scene in particular. How were you affected and how do you plan to deal with the aftermath?

For the moment we have played two online shows and another one with a reduced audience. We are writing a new album but we also hope to present The Wrath live. As an old Spanish prime minister would say “It’s very difficult todo esto”.

Hopefully touring will be an option again shortly. If and when it is, what are your plans? Any chance on visiting Holland?

We would like to visit other countries to play our music but we think that it’s not possible for the moment. We may visit Holland to present the next album… It will have a special connection with this country.

You’re a new band with quite some potential. Apart from touring, what do you aim to achieve with Velkhanos?

We play music because we love it. If we have an opportunity to introduce some people to metal or to our music, we will be satisfied.

Finally something completely different, if I were to visit Spain, what would be the one place you’d recommend me to visit?

You can visit some beautiful cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Granada… We recommend to visit our land, Murcia, it has amazing weather, sunny beaches, cold beer and delicious wine.

Thanks for the interview, stay safe! Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Thank you! We would like everyone to give the full album a chance. You might not enjoy one track but you will like some other. We hope you enjoy all of the work we have put into it. We are looking forward to going out on the road to present our album and giving the audience the best we have.

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