The Rev: Hello Velnias and thank you for granting us the pleasure to have
this interview with you. What would you want to say about yourself to Extreminal
Webzine, our readers and metalheads in general? Velnias: Hails my friend! Thank you for interviewing me. Hails for all
the true souls out there, united we walk the path unknown to "normal society".
Let them live their false lives and go for your dreams, far beyond what eyes can
already started well here!
Romuvos is related to the Romuva cult, ethnic religion and paganism of the
Baltic people, which was centered in Lithuania, your homeland... Youíve helped
the Pagan community discover something new, and we would like to know more about
the values of Romuva.
First, Iíve got to say that the Balts are exceptional among Indo-European groups
in that they have maintained their language, folklore, pagan beliefs and customs
in a remarkably pure state for so long. Romuva is the Lithuanian expression of
Baltic Faith. The name Romuva is taken from a Prussian sanctuary and is
dedicated to them. There are many gods, folk songs and tales, but I can say that
one of the main issues in the Romuva faith is the love and devotion for nature
and her resources. Romuvan tradition and faith engulfs all the baltic tribes,
from the Prussians and Yotvingians, to Zemgalians and Latgalians. You have
different ceremonies; before a child is born, weddings, funerals, etc...
Serpents are a great symbol in Lithuanian mythology and traditions. Kirmeline
(awakening of the snakes), is one of our special celebrations, and there are
other ceremonies we celebrate by dates of the calendar feasts. There is much
more to talk about and to learn, though. I hope you get the big picture of the
Romuva faith. I am very proud of the fact that I represent Romuva throughout my
music and let Folk Metal fans around the world have the opportunity to discover
and recognize it.
Wonderful details I hadnít found, even in the web.
"Viking Metal" is a concept that is -til now- not clear. We still ask the
question "what's viking metal ?" apart from the viking outfits and the Epic
album covers. For me, it's mainly based on the chant style and and also the
concept within the songs. Do you consider that your musical genre (or sub-genre)
is Viking Metal? If not, how do you define it?
I would say that my music is pure Folk Metal. You can find some other sub-genres
in it, though mainly it is Folk Metal. Viking metal for me is when you represent
the Viking ways and traditions throughout your music and lyrics. The Vikings
were Norse poeple who traveled across the sea to other lands seeking for wealth
and new lands to raise farms and families, mainly by raids and wars, they were
barbaric and quite brutal. In some of my songs I mention the Vikings and other
barbaric tribes and cultures - as long as it surrounds the Baltic area. But that
doesnt mean itís viking metal. For me Viking Metal began with Bathory, Enslaved,
Kampfar and few more Nordic bands that gave the name to the genre and made us
recognize it as Viking Metal. Throughout the years, you can say that Viking
Metal got bigger and started to define itself with the use of certain melodies,
chanted vocal style, and in some cases the use of traditional instruments. To
this day Viking Metal is a small genre that in my opinion, is not represented by
many bands, at least not the way I think it should: Barbaric, raw and brutal
metal, with lyrics about the subject and yeah, you can definitely say itís a
sub-genre of Black Metal. I donít see any other connection to Viking Metal than
Black Metal itself, which gave birth to the Viking Metal genre.
got it! Still... I am certain that Vratyas Vakyas isn't excluded from the list
of people who inspired you. Your chant style is successfully close to
Falkenbach, and I am amazed by the details you made sure to add: Acapellas
(Sailing Far Away From Shores), ambient winds and the elemental sounds of nature
(Poems Of The Dead), the accoustic side (Inside The Lake)... What's your main
inspiration and influence? My main inspiration and influence is indeed Falkenbach, the 2nd era of
Bathory, Summoning, and few more... I like Folk Metal that is Dark, Heroic and
has those inspired moments when you want to just climb on a mountain and shout
to the sky! Although most of the Folk Metal these days is "happy" jumpy and more
on the subject of Ale drinking and dancing, and instead of climbing on mountains
and just being out there in nature, or on a battlefield, it makes you wanna go
drink beer and laugh... which is ok, though i donít like that kind of jumpy
metal music that much. I try to produce my music in a very direct and accurate
way, delivering to the listener exactly what I intended to. That can be a
battlefield between knights and barbaric tribes, a ship sailing on the waves to
shores unknown, scrolling through vast forests, being out there in the nature
with a group of brave men hunting the next dinner... All those subjects which
Iíve loved since I was a kid, and today I have the privilege to write music
about it and revive it.
Values, as I said before...
It's well known that "No Colours Records" worked with some Metal bands that have
strong reputations in the Metal scene, such as Graveland, Inquisition and
Nargaroth. How helpful was that Label for you in promoting your project?
"No Colours" is a well known label, although its main expertise is underground
Black Metal music. There are many No Colours fans out there. Every new release
under No Colours attracts their attention, so for me as a first release, itís a
great thing. As a listener and a musician I came from the Black Metal scene and
to be recognised in that scene due to No Colours is a great pleasure, because I
feel that my music has a lot of the Black Metal elements in it, production-wise
and vibe-wise. I have to say that a few fans told me that I should consider
getting bigger exposure, so Iím thinking about that as well. I donít know if No
Colours, fantastic label as it is, can deliver that exposure.
Your song "Romuvan Dainas", has a pure ancient atmosphere through guitar,
chant, and a language I unfortunately don't understand. Is it a traditional
Lithauanin chant? Have you any historical details to give about this song?
Romuvan Dainas (song) is written in old Prussian. That is a very hard language
which has many different dialects (and im still learning it). The song has also
English lyrics as well, and those lyrics actually translate the Prussian ones.
The song theme is about the bravery in men, and the time when that bravery is
needed! Itís about the past, the traditions long gone. Romuvan Dainas is a
Romuvan Folk song. Most Romuvan Folk songs are about other subjects, but I
decided to give it my interpretation and to write one myself, while most of the
time I write about true old folk songs and stories.
"...Tonight the bravest gather, And there I shall stand; To sing the song of
glory, All over again and again..."
From "Poems For the Dead" which is right now my favourite song. Tell us your
process of writing lyrics for Romuvos. Do you procede through translation from
your native language (as the main inspiration is from your own Folklore) or do
you write directly in english?
That song is the first one I wrote when I started with Romuvos. I first write
the song musically, I have a subject in mind and through the music I try to
reach for it, and to revive that image in my mind more and more. When I feel
that musically the song is almost done and ready, I start to write the lyrics,
and yes, I write straight away in english unless I am using any other language.
For me the lyrics are the easier part, with a decent vocabulary you can reach
the exact point you are trying to express in the song. Whereas with music it is
more "abstract" or less defined.Yeah, I see... And when you master the
language, you master the listenersí -musical- ear imo...
The good thing about a solo project is the total freedom in writing and
composing music. The bad side is the impossibility of live performances, how do
you see Romuvos in few years? Will it be a band or remain a project?
Well, after being in a few bands in my life, I am well aware of the advantages
and disadvantages of both situations, and you are right. In a solo project
youíve got the freedom but on the other hand, you donít have the sharing and the
magical connection between the musicians which comes very handy on stage. But
that is where I am, and hopefully, in the future I will make Romuvos a band, and
if not...well it wonít bother me that much (laugh), as long as the people out
there are getting the music to their ears!
Some short questions (for fun). Don't worry, I will not ask you about your
favourite meal or clothing brand (laugh), ready? Your favourite Metal band (or Metal musician)?
I started to listen to music with Iron Maiden, til today I have all their albums
and love them like hell!!! so yeah, Iron Maiden!
The first instrument you started playing?
Your favourite song from "Romuvan Dainas"?
Poems For The Dead
Your favourite Non-Metal band (or Artist)?
Not metal = not my cup of tea! (laugh)... Well I would say Wardruna (a cheat, I
know, it's kind of Metal)
Labai ačiū! Which means "thank you very much"... for the answers and also for
the beautiful release that will have more echoes in the future.
A last word to Metalheads and fans?
Few last words indeed: Keep the flame burning and raise your pride high. No
matter in front of who you are standing. Death to the missionaries out there!!!
Mind your own fucking buisness and donít try to expect from us to follow you
just because you have "seen a light". Hails brothers and sisters!!!