This week we’re featuring the Portuguese symphonic metal group Glasya in Meet The Band. They just released their debut album Heaven’s Demise. Keyboardist Davon Van Dave (ex-Urban Tales/ex-Shadowsphere) introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Glasya.
Davon Van Dave: Glasya started with the initial idea of Hugo Esteves, guitarist and founder of the band, to create a project that could join symphonic elements with metal but in a very dramatic and almost cinematic way. So he started to gather several musicians he knew and after the members began to enter, the sound became more cohesive with several influences from folk to prog, but always with that soundtrack vibe.
Describe the songwriting process for Heaven’s Demise.
It was a very easy and flowing process. The main composers, Hugo Esteves and me, we work very well together. Hugo creates the guitar structures and I make the orchestral arrangements. Some songs are born from the guitar, other from the keyboards, but each one understands the feeling to express in the songs. Then, all the band members contribute with their talent to complete the song, Eduarda wrote several lyrics and vocal melodies. Bruno Ramos along with playing drums, he also has a great musical knowledge and helps a lot in the structures. Bruno Prates is an awesome guitar player and he has solos in the album are very technical, but also very emotional and melodic. Finally, Manuel Pinto with his bass makes the rhythm section so solid and perfect.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
We only have good memories from the recording sessions, but one that I really will always remember is our producer’s surprise when Eduarda recorded all the main vocal lines in just one day. He said “Well, if she decides to give up singing today, I have already all I need to the album.” One thing that I will always remember too is that we all worked with a big smile in our faces. We had several fun moments while recording and we left the studio always with big hugs and very happy with what we had done that day.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
I think that aside from being a symphonic metal album, it is more than that. It’s the soundtrack of several stories and feelings that I believe that some can touch in the deep heart of our listeners. So I can consider it a “dramatic symphonic metal” album.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
We explore several aspects of our daily life transposed into fantasy/ancient themes. We use imaginary characters and worlds to express our human concerns, fears and struggle. Each song has a different narrative and characters. For example, “Heaven’s Demise” talks about someone who deceives others to his own interests, “Ignis Sanctus” talks about living a life without hope and fearing that the end is near, “Coronation of a Beggar” tells that no one can be judged by their social condition, “Glasya” is the hymn of the human strength to fight and how to gain the will to resist, and so on. But we believe those who hear and read the lyrics can interpret the message in his own way. That’s the beauty of our different life experiences and feelings.
How did you come to sign with Pride & Joy Music?
We had been following Pride & Joy Music’s work for some time and since then we knew they would be a great partner. All the great promotion done for their bands and the quality they have shown in their releases made us contact them in this important stage of the band. It was not easy to convince them at first. We showed them our earlier demos last year, but it was not enough to make them sign us. We started to contact other labels and when we finished the album we were ready to sign with another label. A whole year passed, we tried to talk again with Pride & Joy Music and with the album ready itwas possible to show Birgitt, the Pride & Joy Music CEO, our value and, for our happiness, she signed us.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
We want to be more than a band that released an album and then sank into oblivion. We have a purpose and it is to touch people! We don’t have the concern to be super innovative and do things that no one has done before, we just want to be true, express feelings, create stories and make people be identified with what we are telling. We have very good expectations but we are also realistic. We are a new band from a small country. Some doors are more difficult to open, but we have the will to go further, so, step by step, I believe that more and more people will know us.
What has been your most memorable Glasya live show?
The Milagre Metaleiro Festival in Portugal, for sure. We were invited to be the opening band and two months after, a few days before the festival day, we knew that we were almost headliners, which was really a great surprise!
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
It’s easier to talk with promoters, bands and agencies after the album release date. We are starting to schedule our live shows, but with the album in our hands will be easier to reach the people we need to talk to make that happen. September will begin our “Heaven’s Demise” tour certainly.
How did you get started in music?
I always had the curiosity to learn how to play musical instruments, but when I started to hear metal music in the early ’90s, I started to take that will more seriously. I started to play guitar, but the reason I began to play keyboards was my cousin Rui Faria. When I showed him some keyboard lines I made, he pushed me to dedicate myself to the keyboards, and since them I left the guitar and began to buy keyboards and be in bands as a keyboard player.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
My first favorite metal album was Amorphis – Tales from the Thousand Lakes. It has great guitar melodies but also predominant keyboards that was not usual in metal music at that time. I always liked more the melodic side of metal music; even the death metal bands I liked were the ones that had strong melodies in their sound, like Carcass or Dark Tranquillity. After hearing the Gladiator soundtrack I began to worship Hans Zimmer and the great soundtrack composers and they became one of my main influences.
What was the first rock/metal concert you attended?
My first metal concert was the band I liked the most that time, Amorphis on their “Tales from the Thousand Lakes” tour date in Portugal. For me it was a new great experience to see a metal concert live, more because it was my favorite band and the sound was really great. What was funny to me is that they seemed to be drunk while playing, but it was a really memorable concert!
How’s the metal scene in Portugal?
Portugal has a lot to offer. We have many great bands from several styles and the quality of the bands and musicians are growing every day. Portugal is well-known for our most famous band, Moonspell. They have taken our language and culture to the metal community worldwide and we are very proud of them. We are a small country in the south of Europe, we are most famous for our soccer stars, as Cristiano Ronaldo, and our traditional music Fado, but the metal scene in Portugal is very strong. We are very close to each other and the Portuguese metal fans support the bands a lot. We always feel their warmth while we are in stage. Be aware, because more and more good Portuguese metal bands will cross the Portuguese borders and reach you.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Our album Heaven’s Demise! (laughs) I listen to the album several times, I like to analyze it. But, I’m listening to a lot Beast in Black – From Hell With Love and Amon Amarth – Berserker. Beast in Black has the great vocals of Yannis Papadopoulos that I really admire and Amon Amarth has that Viking feeling that makes me always listen to their works.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Yes, first of all, thank you again for this interview and I’d like to invite everyone to listen to our Heaven’s Demise album. We made it with our hearts and we have our deep emotions and beliefs in it, and if you feel it as we do, join us on our social media and live concerts. You will be always welcome in our band.
(interview published July 13, 2019)
Listen To Glasya – “Glasya”