Bow before no one. Recognize your divinity.
With their debut album, Adversarial Light appearing on 21 August 2015, Portugal’s Vaee Solis bring unto the world a monstrous slab of dark and heavy blackened doom. Here, drummer João Seixas and vocalist Sophia Loureiro talk to MR’s Jason Guest about the band, the album, its themes, playing in a forest after much consumption of wine and the divine in us all…
Hi and thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on Adversarial Light. It’s a magnificent piece of work! To get us up to speed, can you give us some background on Vaee Solis, how the band formed and what drew you together?
João Seixas: All is well! The project had been on the back of my mind for quite some time and by chance I reconnected with the guitarist Filipe. This led to the “materialization” of the band. We wrote everything, did some demos and then completed the line-up. Sophia and Galrito were a massive boost on finding the right direction. We went to the studio and now we are here!
Who and what are the band’s main influences? And how have they influenced Vaee Solis?
João Seixas: I guess spiritually it has to some of the hardships we went through in our personal and collective lives. It acts as a purge for the spirit. We needed this. Sonically it will have to be several key bands that carry a deeper darkness to their MO. Corrupted and Deathspell Omega come to mind first.
Sophia: There are no greater influences to me than our own experience of reality. Those are the real influences, at least in my writing.
Where does the band name come from? What inspired it? And what does it mean?
João Seixas: The name Vaee Solis for us means the unseen sun or the black sun, which are terms related to alchemy and alchemical processes. It serves the same purpose for us as the aforementioned.
So, the album. Can you tell us about the title and its meaning?
Sophia: Adversarial Light, as the title suggests, it’s the light of the adversary. Commonly associated with the “Adversarial Current”, the name of our album was deeply influenced by the Luciferian Tradition. The whole content of it derives from our esoteric view about the occult processes that occur along this branch of the sinister path, ambitioning release from the physical impositions and society illusions.
Is there a concept, a theme, a philosophy behind the album? Can you tell us a little about it? And where did inspiration come from?
Sophia: It’s a freedom scream. It’s about our personal inner journeys, where we’ve came face to face with our inner demons, transcending the abysm through purging them, and embracing them as a part of our being. Understanding the shadowy parts of ourselves it’s the first step towards illumination. Accepting them and integrating them in you, as a means to be able to ascend as a bringer of light. How can you know real light, if you have not been embraced by true darkness? Then, another kind of flame lights on… Within yourself… The black flame of self-awareness. That’s where we took our inspiration from.
What did you want to achieve with the album?
João Seixas: One step further for our own personal liberation.
Did you have an idea of how you wanted the album to sound or did each of the tracks and the whole thing take shape as it was being developed?
João Seixas: It took shape while developing it. That’s why it is so special for us. It has a bit of every one of us in it. It’s truly a collective experience!
How long were you working on the material?
João Seixas: We did maybe 5 sessions of writing and then started preparing for recording and brainstorming the whole concept. It was supposed to take less time, but we did it in our own pace since we were in a discovery process. The next stuff should come out quicker.
Can you tell us about the artwork? What does that figure on the front represent?
Sophia: The idea was to make a photograph with subliminal symbolic imprints that could somehow give a glimpse of what the album contains. The position of the arms is a very slight reference to the Osiris position, Egyptian God of the Dead and Lord the Underworld, even though that’s not exactly the Osiris position, just an allusion to it. On the left hand we’ve got a book, symbol of knowledge, and on the left hand we have a sickle, symbol of the harvest. Beside the women, water, the element of intuition and dreaming, and the trees, representing the earth, element of stability.
Who designed it? And how much direction was given in its design?
Sophia: I did. Usually I’m the one who designs the artworks, but every each of us contributes for the general concept. The photograph we used was no exception. I coordinated the process side-by-side with the rest of the members, and then I asked a friend of mine, who is a great photographer, to help me out.
Her name is Daniela Alves, and she’s really talented. I was only in charge of the creative direction on this work, making up the visual metaphor, projecting the symbology to be used along with the elements chosen, imagining the right framework. Daniela did the rest. And I must say we’re very happy with the result.
How did you come to work with Signal Rex for the album? And do you plan to stay with them for future releases?
João Seixas: The owner of Signal Rex approached me with a project and later I showed him our demos and it took off from there. We are very satisfied with his job and he has been of great help to spread our art. As for the future, only the future knows
How does Vaee Solis write? Do you write individually, collectively, jam ideas out in the rehearsal room…?
João Seixas: I used to write it with Filipe when we were a two-piece band, but now, due to geographical limitations, we write with Galrito and then send the songs to Sophia, which later steers the vibe to the right direction. We have no rehearsal room. Most of the times we do the “homework” and it’s straight to the stage/recording
Sophia: I usually write the lyrics all by myself, but I must say that the guys always put some of their inputs into our lyrics too. Which is great. We are definitely with the same mindset, so every contribution is always another positive complement.
All of the band members either are or have been in other bands. What does Vaee Solis allow that those other bands don’t?
João Seixas: Vaee Solis is a different form of band. I would call it more of a collective were everyone’s input matters and we do not proceed until everything if carefully organized. It comes down to the connection rather than the music itself, which is “secondary”
Sophia: Well, Vaee Solis is indeed a very special group of people. There’s a sense of synchronicity that totally transcends the empirical analysis of reality when we’re together. Is just a feeling of “meant to be”. We’re able to transfer to music each of our feelings without even thinking too much about what we’re creating at the time. It just seems to naturally emerge into this parallel reality where our creative outputs seem to perfectly converge. There’s something deeply mystical about our union. I’m not saying that I don’t connect as deeply with the members of my other bands, for we connect at different levels…But in terms of experiencing a similar way of thinking and living, I do believe Vaee Solis is a very rare musical phenomenon.
What does the act of making music mean to Vaee Solis?
João Seixas: Liberation and opposition.
Sophia: Creative power and awakening.
What’s the extreme metal scene like in Portugal? Are there any bands that we should be aware of?
João Seixas: There are awesome talented bands in Portugal. Unfortunately our geographical location does not provide us with a good “launching pad” for touring and reaching other places, so I would say it is a small scene. Small scenes account for drama and small mindedness. Some great new bands you should check out are Infra, Cruelist, Wells Valley, Atilla, Ricardo Remedio, etc…
Sophia: Yeah. Cruelist are still very young, but they will definitely go very very far. Also, check out Neoplasmah…Great band!
Bands are finding it increasingly difficult to survive, particularly in an ages where sales are down because of illegal downloading. How does a new band such as Vaee Solis survive in such an era?
João Seixas: Money is irrelevant when it comes to Vaee Solis. We always manage to get through. When you love something, you always find a way. As for the illegal downloads, as long as people listen and spread the poison, we are ok with it. Actually, we have our album for free on our Bandcamp page. People that want to pay for our stuff, will pay for our stuff regardless of illegal download.
Any upcoming shows? And will we be seeing you in the UK at any point?
João Seixas: We have a couple of gigs lined up. We would definitely love to tour the UK. Many great bands that influenced us musically and personally came from the UK. It would be an honour, if you guys would dare to bring us over.
What would be the ideal setting for a Vaee Solis performance?
João Seixas: Playing in the middle of the forest under a full moon after a wine drinking ritual.
Sophia: Yes! Playing in the forest would be amazing. That’s actually one of our projects… Playing in a cave would also be great.
What does the future hold for the band? Is there more music on the works?
João Seixas: We are always making new music. So expect something new, soon!
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
João Seixas: Bow before no one. Recognize your divinity.
Sophia: Remember why you came and why you’re alive. Realize your full potential. Dare to see beyond the obvious. Take full responsibility for your acts. And always trust your guts.