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Virgin Black - Talking about the Requiem trilogy
A while ago I reviewed an album of which I didn't know for sure whether I liked it or not. It was clearly something I'd never heard before and I really had to get used to it. Therefore I decided to take the chance to ask some questions to this band named Virgin Black. Here's what they had to tell about their upcoming trilogy. 

How’d  you come up with the name Virgin Black?

'The name Virgin Black simultaneously represents both the music and the ideology of the band, the symbiosis of contrasting sounds and as our faux dictionary definition explains: an anomalous harmony between the juxtapositions of purity and humanity’s darkness.'
 
Except from some really classical composers, I personally can’t come up with a single band to compare you with.  What are your main musical influences?
   
'I can’t speak for Samantha, but for myself, the main influence is the fact that there is not enough music that is to my taste, so I have to make my own. The problem is I usually get so caught up in it that in the end I can’t listen to it anyway, but I do get to “experience” it during its creation.'
 
Your new album; Requiem – mezzo forte has just been released, how are the reactions so far?

'We really expected that people would not take to it and resigned ourselves to doing it purely for our own satisfaction, but the reality is not like that at all. Where we thought that in some ways it would be the death of us, in many quarters it is being hailed as a breakthrough release, and our best yet. We are very proud of this album and the other two to come, we just didn’t expect the same from the press or even the fans.'
 
The album is the first part of a trilogy, how did you come up with making a trilogy?

'Requiem – mezzo forte is the second part of the series but the first to be released. Initially we set out to write a single album but found that we felt restricted and not able to allow the inspiration to freely flow. As soon we posed the idea of doing three albums of increasing intensity, the music was actually written reasonably quickly. Somehow that freedom made it so much easier.'
 
What’s the trilogy based on?

'A requiem is a funeral rite and has a long established tradition with composers. What we have done is taken the traditional approach both in the classical music and Latin texts for the first in the series, Requiem – pianissimo, then gradually twisted that tradition through the following albums. The musical transition from album to album is from pure classical to pure heaviness. The words also evolve from more traditional to our own, personal and probably emotive writings.'
 
So besides Requiem – mezzo forte there are two more albums, what can people expect from those past albums?

'If one were to take the most classical sections of mezzo-forte and the heaviest sections, it would give some idea of what the two peripheral albums are like, but they both go to still much further extremes. They are both very emotional albums, and the heavy, deathy one might surprise a few people with how emotional it actually is.'
 
When will the other two albums be released?

'It looks like Requiem – fortissimo might be out around September time but I am not sure what the label plans for the last one.'
 
What made you decide to record Requiem together with The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra?

'We knew very early on in the process that this was a project that would require an orchestra. At the time we had nothing in place but just wrote as if something would work out in the end. At one stage we were looking at youth orchestras to try and keep the expenditure within reason but, then made the decision to shoot for the top. Fortunately the conductor from The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was very impressed upon reading the scores, and was very excited to work with us. Before long we were in a hall with a conductor and a whole lot of exceptional musicians, and two very nervous composers (Samantha and I) watching on. Hearing for the first time as they were recording, the first thirty seconds of Requiem – pianissimo, we knew that we made the right decision. It sounded amazing.'

How was it to work with the orchestra?

'It was such a daunting and intimidating experience and a completely different world. We went in to it assuming that we would be looked down on by everyone involved, but on the contrary, the conductor was fantastic to us and after recording, even relayed praise from some of the orchestra members. He is very keen to work with us again; that is an enormous compliment.'

Who would you recommend your albums to? I mean, what are your main target groups?

'It is for anyone who is interested but particularly for anyone with a taste for non-cliché dark art, including metal heads, Goths, film-score enthusiasts.'

In June/July this year you will return to the U.S. (and Canada/Mexico) for a lengthy tour.  What do you expect from this tour?

'It has been such a long time since our last U.S. tour so I am really not sure what to expect. A lot has changed with our record label there in the meantime, which should bring forth positives, but only time will tell. Last time the crowds were very appreciative and respectful, which becomes very apparent during our extremely quiet sections, thankfully there was no drunken banter to destroy the atmosphere.'

Any support acts announced yet? How do you think about those bands?

'The two main bands we will be playing with will be To/Die/For from Finland and Unexpect from Canada. The people you travel with on any given tour can sometimes make or break the experience. We have been very fortunate in the past with Agalloch, Antimatter, Opeth and Nazxul being great people to tour with.'

Any chance you will head over to Europe as well?

'We would like to do what would be our first full tour of Europe in support of one of these Requiems, but only time will tell. We have made two festival appearances in Europe at Wave Gotik Treffen, Germany and Elements of Rock, Switzerland which were just one-off shows in 2003 and 2007 respectively.' 
 
How are you going to deal with replacing the entire orchestra during live shows? (Don’t you think it will effect the sound in a negative way?)
'Virgin Black is about mood and atmosphere. Basically if the sound is different but the mood is there, then it will be just as good or even better, as the live arena can allow for some very raw emotions.'

And this way an interesting interview ended. I gotta say that I actually did ask the famous DemonDust question but unfortunately the answer was left out. Nevertheless I'd like to thank the band and the label for their efforts.
Details Written on 2007-05-12
Writer @Boek

Tags: #Virgin Black