Interview with STORMHAVEN

Toulouse based progressive metallers Stormhaven have released their sophomore album “Exodus” back in May. We recently talked with the band about the songs on the record, current scene, influences, favorite albums, and more.

Hey guys. How are you doing?

We’re doing great! We’re actually looking for gigs in the area to show our fans that we’re still here and readier than ever to play our music live. We haven’t been doing any shows these last years due to line-up changes and other band issues. With our new album “Exodus”, we’re finally taking off in the right direction.

Your most recent release is this year’s album titled “Exodus.” How do you feel about it?

We’re proud to finally release this album that’s centered around the Exodus trilogy, a story told on the three first tracks of the album. I guess it’s almost a concept album in that only these songs follow the same storyline. Afterwards we have Mirror of Revelation and Eclipse which pursue the same musical ideas and conclude our work here rather well in my opinion. We are happy with the release as far as the songs go and the mixing as well. We worked way harder on this album than the first and consider Exodus to be the foundation of our musical identity for the years to come
How much of a challenge was to work on the album?

The writing part went rather easily and it didn’t take that long to compose it either. We started having trouble with our drummer who wasn’t working hard enough but wanted to manage the band’s recording anyway. We deceided to part ways with him and seek a better fit for us. By the time we found the right man for the job, more than a year had past.

It’s also a big step for us (in the musical sense) because we took the time to record and mix every instrument ourselves to have a balanced album, something we had not worked on enough on Mystical Journey. Olivier from Dismalsound studios gave us a big hand in the mixing and recording process, we are very greatful to him for all of his hard work. Vincent from Above Chaos helped us renew with the band’s visual identity. The album’s artwork is simply gorgeous and represents well the Exodus storyline. We also changed our logo for something, here again, that fits our music better. We’ve been through some rough times and in the end it took not far from 3 years of work for this album to be released. But we all agree, it was worth it!

Stormhaven - Exodus

What is your opinion about the current progressive metal scene?

I have to say that I’m pretty happy with the progressive metal band’s latest releases. Bands like Enslaved, Haken or Opeth keep on writing great music and renewing themselves with every album, it’s a very interesting journey to follow. As a french fan though I’m a little saddened because there isn’t a big prog metal fanbase here. The big prog bands don’t often come our way, so when they do we’re sure to go have a look.

Can you tell me something about your influences?

My dad always wanted to be a great guitar player but never really had the time to pratice, he always had alot of love for this instrument. Whether he ment it or not, he past on to me his love for metal and blues. I grew up in a christian family and didn’t have the chance to discover alot of music until my late teens because my parents were afraid of the “bad influences” we would come across with my little brother. Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix were the three big beacons that caught my ear thanks to music-loving friends I had at school back then.

At 19 I started music school and explored jazz and all it’s diversity for three years. I guess it’s here were I realized what kind of music I really wanted to play. Even though I was working on all of these different jazz musicians I came across Symphony X and Opeth and found a kind of music that profoundly spoke to me. I new I was made for progressive music.

What are you listening to these days?

These days I love mixing it up with alot of different styles, so just to name a few: Country with some Hank Williams III, Blues with Joe Bonamassa, Thin Lizzy for my Rock dose and Vektor and Bloodbath for my more violent needs!

Your 5 favourite records of all the time?

Opeth : Blackwater Park

Iron Maiden : The number of the beast

Dream Theater : Metropolis part II

Symphony X : The Odyssey

Deep Purple: Made In Japan

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “Exodus”?

Apart from the drums we recorded all the instruments and vocals ourselves in our homes of rehearsal room. The drums were recorded by Olivier Dismalsound in his studio.

Keyboards: Yamaha S08 as master keyboard, New York Concert Grand / Vienna Concert Grand for the piano plugins and Omnisphere 2 for the rest.

Drums : Tama Starclassic Performer b/b 5 toms, Paiste Alpha metal cymbals: Crash 16”, 18”, Ride 20”, China 16”, Hihat 14”, Tama SpeedCobra double bass drum pedals.

Guitars: Schecter Hellraiser, Schecter hellraiser Jeff Loomis signature, Tech 21 Sansamp US Steel and EZ mix.

Bass: Sandberg California VM, Ampeg svt 3Pro, Ebs multicomp, multidrive, metaldrive and unichorus for the effects.

Vocals: Studio Shure PG 42 and a Presonus Blue Tube preamp

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

We’re actually working very hard on our third album as we speek. I can’t say anything more at the moment but I think our fans will appreciate it. We’re more motivated than ever and we hope to continue producing music for a long time.

Any words for the potential new fans?

Thanks for your interest in the band! We’re doing our best to give you unique prog metal and we’ll keep on pushing hard as long as we can. Don’t hesitate to support us by buying an album or two, come and see a show if we’re playing near you!

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