1.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Vision Lunar'?
Vision Lunar was created on October 6th of 2006, a night of full moon. At the time I was part of a circle named Triskalyon. In this "supergroup", every member named their solo projects "Vision something", in reference to Les Legions Noires, who named their solo projects "Project something". Since my new project was to be my dedication to the moon, I named it "Vision Lunar". I thought it sounded proper for an atmospheric black metal band name.
2.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the musical project since the release of the new EP?
The new Vision Lunar EP, "Luna Subortus", was only released a month ago, so I haven't really had much time to do anything other than promoting it. I've been handling the distribution and promotion of the album in North America through Abridged Pause Recordings, while Winterwolf Records is taking care of Europe. Thus far I've done a few interviews and it's been great to talk about the band once again. The last time that I was interviewed about Vision Lunar was in October of 2010, when the "Phase One (2006-2009)" compilation was released. A lot has changed since then.
3.How would you describe the sound of the new EP? Does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Better recording equipment is definitely the main change. I constantly had problems with the old setup at Mortified Studios from 2007 all the way through 2010. In 2014 I bought a really good external sound card so the recording session for the new material was almost flawless.
To compare the new sound to the old one, I'd say that the new recordings are a little thicker, more sludge/doom sounding, while remaining black metal. The old material was more tin-canny and sounded like primitive black metal, close to a Burzum production, which was not intentional, it was only due to poor recording equipment. In the future I plan to develop the thicker sound further. I'm a big fan of Black Autumn and Michael Krall's production.
4.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been of the new music by fans of atmospheric black metal?
Every fan of Vision Lunar from the 2006-2007 era vanished long ago. In fact I had to find a new market when I released, what was at the time a discography, the compilation "Phase One (2006-2009)" in October of 2010. The reception for that was great and so many blogs wrote and posted about it.
But now five years later, all those blogs are gone! I had to start from scratch once again and promote the music to a new market, to people who had never heard of Vision Lunar before. That's why I took the time to write an extremely detailed biography of the project, which I published at the same time as I announced the revival of Vision Lunar, in August of 2015. I also reissued "Phase One (2006-2009)" through Abridged Pause Recordings, on a limited edition CD, to give the new fans a chance to hear the old material.
The reception that I got with reviews of "Luna Subortus" has been amazing. I'm getting far more compliments than I was expecting! I'd love to find out what the old fans think of the new material though.
5.All of the music on the new EP is instrumental, are you planning on using vocals and lyrics again in the future?
Vision Lunar has been an instrumental band since the very beginning. I have never used any vocals on past recordings and I don't intend on exploring that in the future either.
6.This is the first recording to be released in eight years, can you tell us a little bit more about what happened during that time?
The final Vision Lunar recording session took place in November of 2007. I then spent a little over a year trying to find band members to expand the solo project into a full band. But that didn't work out. So in early 2009 I announced that Vision Lunar was dead.
Between 2009 and 2015 I played in a couple of metal bands (Lanterns Awake, Murder on Redpath) but mostly focused on my ambient projects. I released quite a few EPs and LPs from those projects, including "Echoes From Forgotten Hearts" and "The Last Great Torch Song" by Vision Éternel and "Memories of a City", "Bonjour Tristesse" and "Adieu Tristesse" by Soufferance. My ambient band, Citadel Swamp, has also released a few singles. I also collaborated on a song with Éphémère, which I believe is one of the best song I have ever done. Apart from my own music, I dedicated a lot of my time to my company, Abridged Pause.
7.Can you tell us a little bit about Abridged Pause Recordings?
Abridged Pause Recordings is my record label. It was founded in February of 2008, while I was still operating Mortification Records (since 2006). In the beginning Mortification Records was to be the netlabel division, releasing black metal demos and my own music, while Abridged Pause Recordings was to release vinyls and CDs from indie, post-rock, sludge and post-metal bands. The first four bands to be signed to Abridged Pause Recordings in late 2008 were Black Autumn, Dreams of the Drowned, Ethereal Beauty and my solo project Vision Éternel (because I was planning a split 7" with Ethereal Beauty).
The first Abridged Pause Recordings release was "Diluvian Temperals", a compilation featuring exclusive songs from Black Autumn, Black Sand and Starless Nights, Dying Sun, Feos, Kailash, Last Minute to Jaffna, Omega Centauri, Parabstruse, Pet Slimmers of the Year, Semiosis, Smohalla, Somnam and Tower. After that I also worked with Beyond the Dune Sea, Kailash, Phlegma and Stagnant Waters on individual releases.
I closed down Mortification Records in 2010 (after the release of Vision Lunar's "Phase One (2006-2009)" compilation) and shifted the focus of Abridged Pause Recordings to release mostly my own music. I also established imprints under the Abridged Pause enterprise umbrella; Abridged Pause Publishing, a publishing company that protects the copyrights to all the music released on Abridged Pause Recordings on top of securing my own music's catalog; Abridged Pause Apparel, the merchandising division, which thus far has only produced a few t-shirts; and the Abridged Pause Blog, which is where my profession comes in. I'm a music biographer and archivist and I publish all my retrospectives and documentaries on that blog.
I am currently putting together a second various artists compilation, to be released through Abridged Pause Recordings, that should be out in early 2016. Some of the confirmed bands include Black Autumn, Black Sand and Starless Nights, Brainscan, Citadel Swamp, Éphémère, In Cauda Venenum, Pet Slimmers of the Year and Spectrale. I plan to settle with thirteen to seventeen bands, so more artists will be announced soon. There is also a Vision Éternel boxset in the works and two Soufferance boxsets in the distant future.
8.Are you currently involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
I usually always have multiple musical projects active during the same period, but I never compose or record for more than one at a time. I will focus on a single album, finish it, then move on to the next band with another idea.
For example, in the fall of 2014 I composed and recorded the Vision Éternel EP "Echoes From Forgotten Hearts". It was released in February of 2015, by which time I was already demoing new Soufferance material. During this Soufferance session I accidentally composed two atmospheric black metal songs, which eventually became the new Vision Lunar material that sparked the creation of "Luna Subortus". But since I was focusing on Soufferance at the time, I put those songs away and forgot about them. I eventually finished the Soufferance session and in the spring I started recording a couple of new Citadel Swamp songs. But when I hit a writers block, I stumbled on the two atmospheric black metal demos again and jumped on a new Vision Lunar session instead. I know that this probably makes it seem like I am constantly composing, but I can sometimes go six months without picking up my guitar, before falling into a creative phase.
As of right now, in the autumn of 2015, I would say that Citadel Swamp is taking up most of my time. Citadel Swamp is an ambient band that I formed in January of 2011 with Valerio Orlandini (from Symbiosis and Norv). Over the years we've had a few other band members join, but we've remained the longest-lasting members. Some of those other members include Bruno Duarte (from Immundus) who joined in March of 2011, but was kicked out after collaborating on only one song, and Marc Hoyland (from Hoyland, Plaguewielder, Thornland, Ethereal Forest, Heathen Deity, Nefarious Dusk, Wither and 13 Candles) who had a brief and fruitless collaboration in February of 2014. The newest addition to the band is Lucas Martin (aka Unsilent, from Almofar, The Descent Of The Sun and Levrij), who I will be composing new material with.
Vision Éternel is still active but I'm not working on any new material. I plan to release a boxset entitled "An Anthology of Past Misfortunes" in 2016. The box will contain all the previously released EPs, each featuring a bonus disc with the b-sides and alternate takes from the recording sessions. The box will have extra room for the future EPs to easily fit in. Soufferance on the other hand is on an unofficial hiatus and I don't know what the future holds for it. There will be at least two more boxsets, one entitled "Tristesse", another entitled "Memories", which will (together with the already released "Travels" boxset) encompass everything ever recorded by that project.
9.What are some of the bands and musical styles that have influenced your new music? What are you listening to nowadays?
My favourite band has been Faith No More since the early 2000's. It would be difficult to pinpoint how their sound influences me in a black metal project, but their impact is definitely there in my subconscious creativity. In the early days of Vision Lunar, that would be October of 2006 to November of 2007, Necrophobic, Nachtfalke, Dissection (specifically "Storm of the Light’s Bane"), Immortal (specifically "At the Heart of Winter") and Burzum (specifically "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss") were particularly influential.
In the new phase I would cite Black Autumn, Eliminator (from New Jersey), Brainscan (from New Jersey), Enslaved (circa 2000-2006), Negură Bunget, Dordeduh and Bathory (circa 1988-1991) as major influences.
Other than what's listed already, I've been listening to Den Andre Lys, Sorrowbringer, Seas of Years, Brave the Waters and Semper Dolens. I also really like the Toronto band Pile High, but that's another genre far away from Vision Lunar.
10.With this musical project you record everything by yourself. Do you prefer working solo to working with a full band?
On one hand, I like the idea of working alone because it's a no-compromise situation. I only have myself to please and I don't have to keep anything in the song that I don't truly like. On the other hand, I do enjoy the creative boost that comes from working with other talented musicians.
In 2008 I tried very hard to transform Vision Lunar from a solo project into a full band. A few people tried out and were interested, including Phillip Altobelli of Triskalyon, Josh McConnell of Mad Parish and Mike Dyball of Priestess. Nothing materialized, but had this happened, I would have likely changed the band's name. Not because my approach to the music would have differed but because the end result with outside creativity would have been much greater than what Vision Lunar encompassed in the beginning.
11.To wrap up this interview, what are the future plans for Vision Lunar?
Had this question been asked a month ago I would have answered that I had two more EPs already in the making. I had originally planned to follow up "Luna Subortus" with a three-song "post-blackend sludge metal" EP, made up of reworked, unreleased Lanterns Awake material. Following that I would have released another three-song "frostland sludgecore" EP, made up of reworked, unreleased Murder on Redpath material.
But when reading the reviews for "Luna Subortus", one thing kept being mentioned almost every single time; people want a full-length album. So I decided to go for that idea. It's a new direction for Vision Lunar, since initially I was only releasing singles in 2006 and 2007. This year I attempted an EP and people still want more songs! It's very flattering. I'm not sure if all, or any of the songs planned for the other two EPs will be used on the full-length. One thing that I am confident about is that it will be a concept album. I would also like to have a few guests on it. Thanks for this interview and thanks for caring!