We discovered Valkyrie A.D through our friends at Sound Pollution, and with a new work just released (at the time of this interview) “The Harvest”, we thought what better time to learn more about this project and its inspiration!
Hello! Are you still based in New York? How is life there at the moment? It has been many long years since I visited and no doubt things must have changed quite a lot. How is the underground and extreme end of music culture going in your great city?
I actually live in Upstate New York around the Binghamton area. The underground music of this area is more in line with punk and hardcore, which is what has led to Valkyrie A.D. fully evolving into a solo project.
What are your musical tastes and influences? What are some of the best albums you discovered during 2022?
While Valkyrie A.D. may be classified as Melodic Death Metal, my biggest influences originated with Punk. I was a typical early-2000s skate rat, so bands like Green Day, Bad Religion, Danzig, CKY, and The Misfits were the original bands that I really got in to. More recently the bands that are the biggest influence to Valkyrie A.D. in particular are The Black Dahlia Murder, Skeletonwitch, Sylosis, Trivium and, of course, Metallica.
As far best albums for 2022, I think the best new releases would have to go to “Netherheaven” by Revocation, “All That Was Promised” by Hath and “Omens” by Lamb of God. Probably in that order.
Other great releases that I discovered however would have to be “Nightshade Emanations” by Behexen, “Roll for Your Life” by Dungeon Crawl and “Esoteric Malacology” by Slugdge.
I’d like to ask about your discography. What were you up to musically prior to the release of Tales From The Wicked in 2019? What changes or evolutions in techniques and equipment have occurred between that earliest release on Bandcamp, and your new EP The Harvest?
This is probably too long of an answer, but prior to Tales From The Wicked releasing in 2019 I had, at that point, been playing guitar for about 12 years and had always been looking for people to play and collaborate with. Through one reason or another, I had never really connected with the right people but I was still during that time writing original material that would go on to become Valkyrie A.D. songs. By the fall of 2018, I had a handful of songs that were approaching being ten years old and I was finally tired of just sitting on them without them going anywhere, so I contacted a local musician who had a small home studio and decided to record Tales From The Wicked in his home with him mixing and mastering the recordings. The producer, Dwayne Williamson, would go on to become an integral part of me developing not only my sound as a performer but as a recording artist. He has since relocated to the Pacific Northwest so the time we spent on Tales was spent with him basically teaching me everything I know.
When it came time to record the 2020 follow up EP Vile, I recorded all of those tracks myself at home using the Fortin Nameless Suite plugin and then sending Dwayne the stems for him to mix while still providing mentor-focused feedback. In 2021, I released the single In This Haze of Green and Gold with it being my first approach to a full-on start-to-finish solo undertaking in regards to recording, mixing and mastering (and the mix suffers from it). But Dwayne remained on “retainer” so to speak to say where the song could have benefited with different techniques.
This brings us to 2022 where I released Where Terror Reigns in January and The Harvest in October and, while they may still be recorded using the same method of guitar plugins through a low budget interface, my approach to becoming a better recording artist has all been a matter of trial and error.
With 2023 upon us, what are you currently working on, or have planned for release during the year ahead?
I am always writing so my plans for this year will likely be similar to years previous. Something a little bit different though is that I am working on incorporating different styles of influence in my songwriting. Rather than it be just traditional Death Metal, the new songs that I am gearing up towards recording soon hold more influence with Doom and Groove Metal – bands like Mastodon, High on Fire and Khemmis – while also returning to some of my Punk roots. These songs are still pretty heavy but the biggest difference will be the introduction of clean vocals and the use of a lot more guitar effects. My plan is that I will be entering the home studio to start recording soon, so keep your eyes peeled for some new music.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Dwayne Williamson’s music project Beast Mountain. It’s incredibly heavy and I can’t recommend it enough and given the resource he has been, I try to spread his music as much as I can. So for those of you reading this, check out Cryptozoology by Beast Mountain and then check out Valkyrie A.D.