Interview mit Asger Mygind von Vola (Teil 1/2)

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The Danish band VOLA has entered the charts all over Europe with their latest album „Witness“. Even in the official German charts it was in the Top 60, although the record can rather be assigned to the mainstream-unfit prog genre – albeit with strong rock and metal influences. In part 1 of our VOLA interview, singer, guitarist, and songwriter Asger Mygind reveals what the combo thinks about the unexpected success, how they wrote and recorded the new longplayer in Covid times, and much more.

How does it feel to hit the international charts in Europe?
I had a gut feeling that this album would do better than previous ones, but it has still been an overwhelming period for me.

Asger Mygind live mit VOLA; © Uta A. /

How did you get along during Corona times concerning your income? Do you have a regular job as well?
Nicolai Mogensen (bass) is teaching music and Martin Werner (keyboard) has a job as an acoustic engineer. I’m not sure about Martin, but I think that Nicolai had to put his work on pause due to Corona. I have spent most of the Danish lockdown producing the new album, so I had plenty of work to do, which fortunately wasn’t dictated by the pandemic. I do a little bit of mixing for other artists on the side e.g., but I try not to live too costly, so that I can focus on VOLA.

How has the Corona times changed your way in thinking? Do you see the world differently somehow?
I think the existential risks of pandemics will be something the mainstream media will talk more about in the future. Even countries with advanced health sectors have been highly affected by this, so we have to ask ourselves how prepared we are if something even more dangerous emerges.

VOLA already played the first live gigs in Denmark. How did it feel to play under restrictions?
I was a bit nervous at first, because playing for a seated audience was a fairly new thing for us. But once I saw that people were moving and headbanging in their chairs, it made the vibe in the room feel familiar enough for me to relax in it. That was a returning thought process each night.

Have you missed your fans and talking to them after the gigs?
Yes, I’ve surely missed that. Thankfully our fans are very keen on interacting on social media, so we’ve gotten a bit of that vibe by having a dialogue there.

In your latest interview with us you already knew that the new album would be heavier than the previous one. How is it possible to know this at such an early state?
Since the songwriting finished around half a year before releasing the album, I guess I had already gathered some thoughts about what I think we achieved with “Applause…” – including thoughts on how to make the following album feel fresh. Generally it inspires me to constantly move to a place musically that is a reaction to what we have just done. “Applause…” was more mellow than our debut album, but once that kind of energy had been explored, it felt inspiring to seek something heavier. Similarly I imagine that the follow-up to ‘Witness’ will be a noticeably different album yet again.

Asger Mygind live mit VOLA; © Uta A. /

The label still advertises your album as rock or prog, other say it’s metal. What do you think it is? Have you applied to play at some metal festivals soon?
I think the production of the music has a lot to say. If the distortion guitars are gained a lot and the drums are loud in the mix, it might drive people’s thoughts towards metal, even if the mood in the songwriting doesn’t focus on brutality. I can imagine some listeners categorizing „Witness“ in that way. In general I think it’s more fun to talk about the genre of a specific album than talking about what genre a band belongs in. In terms of festivals and touring bands, I feel equally at home in a rock environment as I do in a metal one.

In other interviews you told that Corona stroke exactly after you finished the drum recordings. So the vocal and guitar recordings had to be done in the band members‘ home studios. Do you think that this had an influence on the album?
In terms of recording, everything actually turned out the way we had planned, despite Corona. We only needed a big studio for the drum recording. With the exception of keyboards – which Martin did in his home studio – the remaining layers were intended to be recorded in my home studio.

Which recording programs did you use in your home studio? Did the guitarists develop their parts basically on their own, based on your ideas?
Martin used Ableton Live to program and record the keyboard layers, which he sent to me afterwards. I used Studio One to record and arrange the tracks before I sent them to Jacob Hansen for mixing. We made quite detailed demos of the song before recording the album, so there was a framework everyone could lean against when tracking – also giving space to new ideas.

Asger Mygind live mit VOLA; © Uta A. /

Is there anything you are not satisfied with on „Witness“? Maybe something you didn’t have enough time to do it the way you actually wanted?
No, I’m very satisfied, but it did cost some sleepless nights in the home studio. It sometimes saddens me a bit that recording isn’t more fun. It’s hard to move from the incredibly stimulating and adventurous work of writing the songs, to repeating the same line or riff over and over again in the studio, until it’s good enough. It really is two completely different worlds.

I guess you also wrote some songs that are basically „outtakes“, as they don’t fit into the album’s concept. Are some of them good enough to become independent single releases one day?
We had some ideas that didn’t make the album, but to me writing new music from scratch is so stimulating that I would rather start there, than try to reimagine old material. We’ve had luck with occasionally bringing in old riffs and trying to place them in a new setting, but it’s a rarity for us.

I want to know more about the fan video for „Straight Lines“. Who had the initial idea for it and why did you do it?
I don’t remember whose idea it was, but Adam did the editing and from what I heard it was a lot of work. We uploaded stem audio files for the song; created bass and guitar tabs for it and then we invited our fans to download the files and send us a video of them playing/singing the song. It was announced from the beginning that it would end up becoming a mashup-video. In terms of making the Danish TV appearance happen, that was our PR agency succeeding in pushing the story to that news channel. It was surely a landmark for us!


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Will you continue the tradition that this video is somehow linked to fans taking part? Like having the video run on a screen in the background during live gigs?
That’s not something we’ve talked about. I can only speak for myself, but I like the idea of the mashup-video remaining a memory of that specific point in time where people couldn’t interact much physically due to the pandemic.

Publiziert am von Uta A. (Gastredakteurin)

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