This week we had a chance to sit and talk with guitarist, Riley Nix of VINTERSEA and discuss music videos, coming together as a band and dream platforms to perform on. Here’s what he had to say!
Ryan: How did you guys first come together to form VINTERSEA?
Riley: VINTERSEA came together through perseverance, desperation, and a little bit of luck! The metal scene in our area has always been fairly sparse. Riley and Jeremy have played music together for a long time, but after the end of their previous band’s lifespan they had to search pretty hard for new members. From the same advertisement, both guitarist Jorma Spaziano (newly moved westward from the American Northeast) and vocalist Avienne (a brand new Malaysia transplant) auditioned for roles with the band. Within just a couple of practices, it was obvious to all of us that we had found something special. Within a couple of weeks, we had written most of the songs for our original EP, “Constellations”, and by the time it was recorded we had found a sound all our own.
Ryan: Is the video for “Skies Set Ablaze” your first video?
Riley: We released a graphical lyric video for the eponymous first single, “The Gravity of Fall”. “Skies Set Ablaze” is the first full-feature music video for VINTERSEA. It is truly more work than we could have imagined, but Karl Whinnery of Hotkarlproductions has created many of the best music videos from our scene, and he really made it possible for us.
Ryan: If you make another music video off this album what would you prefer it to be?
Riley: We have a couple of good ideas on where we want to go next, most likely there will be two more releases off of this album. You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out which ones, but we definitely have some exciting surprises in store!
Ryan: Where do you find your inspiration for song writing?
Riley: There is no doubt about it, we are inspired first and foremost by the place in which we live. The Pacific Northwest alternates at a moment between beautiful and brutal, tranquil and chaotic, oppressive and free. We strive to make our music reflect that diversity and raw spirit. Aside from that, we are all inspired by the music we listen to every day, from some of the original Nordic black metal bands to the more technical and highly-produced bands of today. Most of all though, we take our inspiration and our cues from each other. When we get in a room and start to play music, sometimes the magic takes hold!
Ryan: For someone who has never experienced even listening to VINTERSEA, how would you describe your sound?
Riley: Heavy, melodically accessible, atmospherically dense, and most importantly, highly dynamic. Our music rarely stays in one headspace for long. We want our songs to take listeners through several emotional states, while using each song to unify a common theme. Humans are complicated, and most people aren’t just “angry” or “happy” about a situation, there are subtleties. We hope that our sound expresses some of that though musical passages that drop from harsh darkness to unexpected beauty.
Ryan: Is there a funny story with each other you can share?
Riley: Probably our greatest bonding opportunity yet was the actual filming of the “Skies Set Ablaze” music video. We knew we wanted to shoot in the snow, and we had a couple of locations scouted, but as we left the Willamette Valley the day of filming we weren’t sure what we would find. Especially in the spring, the mountains can look completely different from week to week as snow falls and melts rapidly. When we arrived, we found an incredible snowscape that created the natural beauty you see in the music video. However, getting to the best spots required traversing through 6-8 foot snow drifts which would give at random, causing us all to sink. At 6’10”, guitarist Riley was neck deep at one point, and poor little Avienne kept disappearing completely under the snow. Luckily, we all had one another to lean on, and through the freezing cold and dull pain we managed to create something we can all take pride in.
Ryan: Do you all give each other nicknames?
Riley: Yes, yes we do. Most of them can’t (or won’t) be repeated to the press anytime soon, but suffice to say we haven’t called each other by our real names since the third or fourth VINTERSEA rehearsal.
Ryan: Where is one place you all can agree on that you put at the top of your wish list to perform? (Arena or stadium or smaller venues)
Riley: There are a lot of places we would love to play, from Wacken in Germany to any of the little metal bars in Helsinki. Right now, at the top of that list is Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado. Colorado is just in our backyard, but we haven’t had the chance to play that beautiful spot yet. Hopefully before the decade is up!
We want to thank Riley Nix of Vintersea for his time and insight into Vintersea. We are big believers in their music and in their ability. Excited to see how their journey goes, we thank Vintersea and keep rockin’ on!