Interview with Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost and Vallenfyre
In a time of just about any style being called “death metal” if someone shrieks or growls during the recording, Vallenfyre stay true to the older ideal of powerful, melancholic, evil and naturalistic music. We were fortunate to catch a few words with founder GREG MANCKINTOSH of the well-known pessimistic dark metallers Paradise Lost about his second band’s album, Splinters, Jay Z (?), Celtic Frost and of course about the new stuff by Paradise Lost.
Metal-Rules.com: Hello Greg! It’s Hellias Papadopoulos from Metal-Rules.com. I am very happy for this interview, and greetings from Greece! First of all, how are you doing? And where are you checking in from today?
Hey Hellias. I’m good. I’m at home in the UK at the moment. Simultaneously writing new Paradise Lost material and making a Vallenfyre promo video.
Metal-Rules.com: Oh! Great news! Let’s kick off with the new upcoming Vallenfyre album. Please give us some words about it: the songwriting sessions, the production, the artwork, everything!
The songwriting for this album was primarily done by me again, but the difference this time is everyone was involved from the first note. I needed the other guys’ wealth of knowledge to help develop Vallenfyre further. This carried on through the recording which was produced by Kurt Ballou in Godcity studios, Salem, MA. All the guys in the band lived together in a house near the studio for 3 weeks. Even though the songs were written before the studio, I wanted a decent amount of improvisation to happen to bring the album to life, and living together, discussing it every day made this much easier to do.
The artwork was done by Brian D’Agosta, who came to my attention through Scoot, our bass player. Brian had worked with one of Scoot’s other bands, Extinction of Mankind, before. I loved his style and the diversity of his work. He was a pleasure to work with, and after I gave him some lyrics, demo tracks, the title and some outline ideas, he came up with the whole concept, which suits the music and photography perfectly in my opinion.
Metal-Rules.com: What’s new on this album compared to Vallenfyre’s debut, ‘A Fragile King’?
The new album is more extreme than the first. ‘A Fragile King’ is a straight up homage to the glory days of death doom. With ‘Splinters’ we wanted to keep that core but diversify the influences. So we have things like rudimentary grind core, classic crust punk, funeral doom, and even black metal moments happening within this record.
Metal-Rules.com: Did you have an idea of what you wanted to achieve with ‘Splinters’from the get-go, or did that develop as you were writing it?
We had an outline idea that we wanted to push the boundaries more, whilst kind of developing our own sound somewhat. We also wanted to really mix up the styles so that a 7 minute epic doom track would blend straight into a 1 and a half minute grind core punk song. The album plays out very much in the same way I listen to music, in that I wouldn’t listen to grind core for 70 minutes straight. I might listen to a couple of tracks and then put on some doom metal or punk.
Metal-Rules.com: What does the future hold for Vallenfyre? Will there be a tour?
I hope so. With everyone in Vallenfyre’s hectic schedules, it makes it difficult, but I am determined to do a small European tour, a small US tour and some decent flyer shows within the next year. We are looking into it at the moment. I am kind of waiting to see what the demand is once the record is out.
Metal-Rules.com: You have been playing for the past 25 years. I’m sure you had many difficulties throughout this time…What makes you always keep pushing forward?
Music is my passion. It always has been, and creating it gives me a great buzz. Sure it has ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it.
Metal-Rules.com: What do you think of today’s music industry in general?
The music industry in general is fucked. Downloading has pretty much destroyed 90% percent of world sales. Simon Cowell is seen as a deity of the music industry, when really he is just a cunt. Jay Z is seen as a genius when all he does is talk over a shit drumbeat. It really is a joke, so I tend not to even take any notice of it. In the metal scene, things were getting pretty bad too with every band having the same production with over-edited, soulless songs. Fortunately in the last 2 or 3 years, there have been quite a few metal bands turning away from this and doing it on their own terms again, which really restores my faith in extreme music.
Metal-Rules.com: If you could pick only one musician to work with that you have not collaborated with to-date, who would that be and why?
Tom G Warrior because he has written some great stuff over the years and I think it could be interesting.
Metal-Rules.com: Tom G Fischer and Celtic Frost is a very big influence on Vallenfyre, right?
Of course! I don’t know what I would have done without them!
Metal-Rules.com: Clearly. You saidbefore something about the new Paradise Lost album. When it will be released?
This is a really interesting question, because we had to enter the studio to record the new stuff in the end of the summer. However, the date was moved around a little later in the fall / spring. I would like to be released until the end of the year. Approximately the half record is finished.
Greg, thank you very much for your time and the chance to have a closer look into the Vallenfyre camp. Wish you all the best!!!