23 August 2018


CHEVALIER is a great band from Finland that burst onto the scene in 2016. They have recently released their second EP showing that their medieval aura and their obscure sound of old school heavy metal seem to be unstoppable. Tommi (guitars) and Emma (vocals) answered the following questions.  Ride with the Chevalier…

Tell about the beginning of the band, how did all the members met? What led you to form a band to play this kind of music?
Tommi: The idea had been around for some years but the wheels finally started turning when I moved to Helsinki in the autumn of 2015 and started talking to potential members to join a band I had a clear vision for.
How were the first rehearsals, was it easy to find the style and the sound? Did all the pieces connect easily?
Since most of A Call to Arms was already written when we started rehearsing, the sound and style was pretty much already there, we just started playing the songs and it all came together quite naturally.
Classic heavy metal seems to be your obvious influence, which bands influenced you? Do you have other influences besides heavy metal?
In the beginning the basis for the sound was a combination of French heavy/speed metal and US power metal, most of all ADX and Omen, but the influence turned more into the way of thinking and coming up with something original rather than copying a certain band or sound. For example the more complex song structures evident on the latest demo Chapitre II were influenced by Mercyful Fate and Hell (UK) without trying to sound exactly like either of those bands but their way of building up massive songs, and several other unique acts which strived for their own path despite not getting big with that decision inspired us to forge something of our own regardless of the huge demand for easy-listening retro garbage out there. One big problem with this kind of revival sound and style is that it’s always limited to a certain era by the artists who try hard to recreate that specific magic, whereas I think that doing music after several decades of different styles already inside the metal world allows one to combine different influences and come up with something more original, rather than trying to sound like it’s 1984 again, for example. I have been into black metal longer than into traditional heavy metal so I think it shows here and there in Chevalier and gives the sound some kind of a unique twist.
Who came up with the band´s name? Was there any concept in mind on which the sound and image of the band was based?
I had the English version of the name Cavalier already in plans several years ago but the strong influence from the French bands made me choose the French version of the name and I’m glad I did. The name, sound and image all fit the concept of our medieval speed metal.
Where do you draw the inspiration from for the lyrics? Do you have any non-musical influences, like literature, movies or other forms of art?
Emma: I look for song themes in my own experiences, that way I can better portray the story and empathize to what I sing. I take what I know and feel and veil it to fit in with the desirable scenery. There is no point in scribbling cool heavy metal words one after another especially if there is nothing to say, or just copying old stories without understanding them. Looking, reading and listening to all kinds of stuff and just observing life in general inspires me. It all get’s crammed into ones head and then hopefully starts popping up at the right moment.
Tommi: For me influence might come from other sources but mostly unconsciously, and I always write the music first and then think what the song should be about. As hinted by Emma, the main point is always to have some sort of message and/or a story in the lyrics with something worthwhile of your own to say, some typical “evil” nonsense lyrics have been so overdone by now that they have completely lost the effect and wouldn’t fit our sound anyways.
Your debut recording was “A Call to Arms”, which was a very impressive debut, though it was recorded at your rehearsal place, what can you tell about the recording session?
We rehearsed the songs to a point that we felt ready to record them, set up a couple of microphones in the rehearsal room, hit the record button and played them live, excluding vocals and solos. The result was satisfying and we did the same for other releases as well to keep it sounding natural and at times almost chaotic.
The songs and the sound are quite good, and I think it had a good response in the scene, what was your impression about it after it was released?
We were satisfied and humbled by the good feedback, but personally I always think of stuff that could be done better and concentrate on the new songs and new releases when the previous one is out. It has its own charm and sounds like what I set out to do at the beginning but the vision has grown ever since.
The EP was released also on a nice and limited vinyl edition (if I’m not wrong is already sold out), it has a different and cool cover artwork, give us more details about it. Will “Chapitre II” have a vinyl release too?
It’s sold out from the label Gates of Hell Records but still widely available from other sources I think, the permit to use an artwork that fits the lyrics perfectly we got from a local art museum and we wanted to have something else for the CD and vinyl since the cover art I drew for the tape release myself was just meant to fit a cassette. Chapitre II is also coming out on vinyl from Gates of Hell in September, with an exclusive bonus track which is a cover of Brocas Helm’s Fly High from the album Black Death, which in fact has been the biggest influence on the desired production of Chevalier’s music.
“A Call…” was recorded during the winter of 2016/2017, and then you recorded the songs of “Chapitre II” in December 2017. How do you see the evolution of the band during that period?
I think we got a lot tighter, playing a few of our first gigs between those two releases helped a lot with that. The song structures became a bit more complex after getting some experience on how to do it, and as I mentioned earlier, the vision of Chevalier’s sound evolved a bit after the debut release.
This time the band sounds heavier and tighter, how was the recording session? Did all the band members have studio experience?
Not all of us did, but like mentioned, Chapitre II was also recorded live in our rehearsal room over a couple of days.

I would like to ask Emma about her powerful vocal style, which female and/or male voices have inspired you to sing this way?
Emma: My all time favorite singers must be Rob Halford and Janis Joplin. They just get it to you! They have skills combined to soul! There are so many brilliant singers with very different voices and within countless genres that I admire, that it gets my head mixed up. I try to remember what I liked about each singer and why and then make my own cocktail! I also try not to overthink… that kind of kills the whole thing. I aim to learn strong technique to be able to easily reach the note and color of voice that I want and then just throw myself to the music.
Before the release of “Chapitre II” you released a split with Legionnaire, another Finnish heavy metal band. Please give us more details about the split 7”, and please tell us about the heavy metal scene in Finland among many successful black and death metal bands…
We decided to record a split 7” together since both bands share some influences and mentality regarding heavy metal, there’s not too much music like this being made in Finland even though in the recent couple of years some more bands have turned up. There’s not much to be said about the heavy metal scene here, black and death metal are still way bigger things, but fortunately we have a solid group of people to have traditional metal gigs happening as well.
What can you tell about your shows, what has been the best show you have done so far? Which whit bands did you share stage?
I think we played our best show in Deinze, Belgium in May in the middle of our minitour. Due to some problems with the car we arrived at the venue quite late and all seemed very chaotic until we hit the stage, the place was packed and the audience was very much into it, huge contrast to most shows we’ve played in Finland. Our latest gig was warming up for Manilla Road in Helsinki which was a huge honour and unfortunately the last time when that will happen.
What´s your opinion about Judas Priest´s Firepower? What records have been spinning a lot at your home lately?
Firepower is in my opinion the best Priest album they’ve released since Painkiller! Sure, it’s nothing groundbreaking or phenomenal like Stained Class etc., but damn enjoyable as well as memorable, same can’t be said about many other new albums by the old titans of metal. For obvious reasons Manilla Road records have been on heavy rotation lately, especially Out of the Abyss which is a real hidden gem in their vast discography, and also a lot of Katharsis and Negative Plane now that the autumn is kicking in.
Which albums impressed you lately?
The album is not out yet but after hearing 3 tracks live last weekend from the upcoming Nocturnus AD debut, I am already impressed by the stuff they’ve come up with as a continuation for the monumental classic The Key. A few fairly recent highlights have been the new albums from Solstice, Vomitor, Master’s Hammer and Malokarpatan.
What´s the strangest place and the most shocking place you have been?
Inside my head… Well one of the strangest sensations was the first time I visited the Sedlec Ossuary in Czech Republic and got to stare an endless amount of human skulls in their empty eye sockets from a close distance, it was an almost magical experience until a flock of Japanese tourists stormed in.
Are you planning to release the debut full length soon? Did you have contacts with labels to release it?
We are going to record it later this year and Gates of Hell Records will release it hopefully during the first quarter of 2019.
Do you have songs ready? Can you advance some song titles?  
Everything for the album has been written, most songs already ages ago but we want to spend enough time to let them shape up properly before recording, expect some energetic but dark epic speed metal by titles like The Immurement, In the Grip of Night or A Warrior’s Lament…
Thanks you for your time, last words are yours...
Thanks for the interview, heed the call to arms!

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