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Asger Mygind/Nicolai Mogense (VOLA)

Interview with Asger Mygind/Nicolai Mogense from VOLA
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 02 November 2016, 7:37 AM

A musical journey into the mind in pursuit of happiness, set to a mix of 70’s progressive rock, modern day electronica, industrial and extreme metal, topped off with clear, beautiful vocal lines: that's what young Copenhagen quartet VOLA is offering on their debut album “Inmazes”, out now on Mascot Records as 2LP, CD and Digitally. Metal Temple’s Editor-in-Chief, Dave “That Metal Guy” Campbell, recently interviewed Asger Mygind (guitar & vocals) and Nicolai Mogense (bass) about the journey that has brought them to this point in their careers.

Greetings from Metal Temple, Asger and Nicolai, and thank you kindly for this interview opportunity! I understand your debut album “Inmazes” is set for worldwide release on September 16, on Mascot label. Can you give me a little history on the band, in terms of how you met and came together?

Asger: It basically started out with me jamming with some friends in high school, playing covers of bands like PORCUPINE TREE and FREAK KITCHEN. Then we started writing our own material and made some demoes. We made the EP “Homesick Machinery” in 2008 and “Monsters” in 2011. The lineup has changed quite a lot along the way. Since “Inmazes” we’ve been a quartet.

How did the composition process work on the album? Do you have one or two main songwriters, or does every member contribute? How would you define your sound to people who are not familiar with the band?

Nicolai: Some of the songs Asger wrote on his own. We also send demo ideas to each other and form the songs together sometimes. “Gutter Moon” is an example of that. It started with an idea that Martin (keyboards) had but got transformed quite a bit when we started working on it together. I would describe our music as a mixture of the heaviness of MESHUGGAH and the more melodic side of PORCUPINE TREE.

I understand you are embarking on a UK/European tour soon…will this be your first? If not, can you tell me about your previous tour experiences? Any fun road stories or the like? If it is your first tour, can you tell me what you are looking forward to most? Also, if you could have a dream tour with any band(s) and any locations, what would that look like?

Nicolai: This is our very first tour and we are only one week into it right now, so we don’t have that many crazy stories yet. We are playing support for KATATONIA and AGENT FRESCO, and it’s a dream coming true for us. All of the venues are great, so it’s hard to pick out some of them as highlights, but it would probably be the one in the O2 in London at the 21th of October; that should be a very beautiful venue and the show in Pumpehuset, Copenhagen on the 26th of October, where I am seeing my family again for the first time in a month.

I keep about 25 newer CDs in my car to play while driving back and forth to work, and “Inmazes” is one of them! I very much enjoy your sound, which for me is so unique, yet totally accessible. I really like “Starburn.” The super heaviness of the guitars seems to clash brightly with the wonderful melody in the chorus, yet they fit together so nicely and it really very pleasing. I am always intrigued to learn how you approached writing this kind of sound, and would you share that with me?

Nicolai: I think that what we all have in common in this band is that we love heavy riffs that groove and melodic parts that are catchy and interesting melodically. So that’s what we’re aiming for on most of our songs. I am very happy that you dig it.

Asger, I have always wondered what is the story behind “Emily?” It’s such a pretty song. “Gutter Moon” is another really melody. I apologize for all the compliments, but I am not being disingenuous! I have always felt that a good melody is harder to write than something hard and heavy. Where do you get inspiration for some of these melodies? What are some of your favorite tracks on the album?

Asger: I love when albums have a lot of dynamics in the way the songs relate to each other. To me, “Emily” is a peaceful moment amidst some more hectic ones, which is a way of trying to form a dramaturgy for the album. In terms of melody, THE BEATLES, is always a big inspiration. “Help” was the first record I remember putting in a CD player and it has definitely had an impact on the way I think about melodies. Other than that, I would say that artist like PORCUPINE TREE, STEVEN WILSON, OPETH, DEVIN TOWNSEND, and SOILWORK have meant a lot for me in that area.

What does the cover art on the album signify? I figured since he is a bit of a creepy looking fellow, there is probably a good story behind it!

Asger: A Danish artist called Anders Thrane, did the drawing that the artwork is based on, and it immediately got my attention when I saw it. I like to think that it’s an x-ray of a person’s head. All the different lines inside the head and the intimidating look on the person’s face, give the impression that something is wrong. At the same time, it’s a very colorful drawing, which is welcoming in a way. I’m very fond of this mix in moods.

What is the Metal scene like in Denmark? I must confess to not knowing much about that other than the few band I know like VOLA, MERCENARY and VOLBEAT.

Nicolai: It’s been a while where music with distorted guitars have been kind of outdated in Denmark, but I think it’s starting to turn around and metal and rock are becoming cool again. But the scene is kind of small and it’s usually a lot of the same people you recognize when you go and see a concert.

What do you guys do when you are not making music?

Asger: I like to spend time with my girlfriend, to watch satire on YouTube, as well as series and documentaries on Netflix, and to play tennis once in a while. Music in general takes up a lot of space though. If I’m not working with VOLA, I’m often mixing, producing or writing music for other projects.

Nicolai: I love to play soccer with friends, eating fancy places and spending time with the family.

Can you tell me who some of your musical influence are, past and present?

Nicolai: I started to play music when I heard “Nothing Else Matters” for the first time. I just had to learn how to play that intro. So METALLICA was a big influence for me in the beginning. Then I got more into more technical music such as MESHUGGAH, DREAM THEATER, and NEVERMORE. At the moment I’m listening to TAME IMPALA, BECK, and a small Danish band called PALACE WINTER.


Lately I have heard some aging rock starts comment that Metal music is dead, yet it couldn’t be more alive for me. I think one basic problem is American ethnocentrism, as much of the great Metal and Prog today is being made in Australia, Europe and the Nordic countries. Would you agree, and why or why not?

Nicolai: I think it has more or less always been like that. The older generation of musicians have a hard time understanding what’s interesting in the new bands that are up and coming. I guess it is because that the time people grow up in has a big influence on the music you make, so there will often be that difference in taste.

If there is anything else you would like to tell me about the band or album, please do not hesitate! Thank you again for this opportunity!

Nicolai: Thank you so much Dave for taking your time to do this interview with us. It was a pleasure answering them! 


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