Victor V M-M was perhaps an unknown name for the most of us a few months ago. But after having released the debut EP of his new band, In Victory, his name has spread like wildfire throughout the power metal community. And it does help having bandmates such as Mattias Lindberg (ex-ReinXeed), Topias Kupiainen (Arion) and Jimmy Mattsson (Isole). PowerMetal.no asked V M-M a few questions about his new, uplifting, power metal band In Victory.
I know you don’t like talking too much about the past, but I’m curious about how In Victory got founded. I know that you, V M-M, alongside Mattias Lindberg, Topias Kupiainen and Jimmy Mattsson, “joined forces” at one point, but how did that happen? What are your background, and how did you manage to bring together that line-up? Could you take us back in time and tell us what the idea behind the band was and how you brought together the musicians?
Victor: I’ve always been an ambitious and passionate guy and the wish to create a band with top members was somehow there since 2012-2013. However, it hasn’t been possible until 2018. Now I have a professional attitude and a set of skills within music composition and communication that I didn’t have back then.
I still feel far from the outstanding technical skills and experience of my bandmates, but I bring the creativity and the passion to the table and we’re having fun!
You have now released your debut-EP titled Uplifting Metal. You have described the EP as an “EP that perfectly defines the band’s creative vision, a music experience that will prompt listeners to stand up and break down any obstacle that gets in their way”. What do you mean with that?
Victor: It’s music that inspires and encourages people to give the best of themselves. It helps listeners explore their limits, find courage and power and pushes them to take on any challenge they face in their lives. At least, that’s the effect that it has on me! And I want to believe that’s the effect it’s having on our listeners as well.
The title of the EP along with the music itself and your own description of the music as “…overwhelmingly energetic metal” and “…cinematic orchestral elements on top of fast melodies…” are like every power metal fans dream. Can you elaborate around the music of In Victory; who are your musical influences, and is this what power metal is (or should be) in your ears?
Victor: For me, power metal must be glorious, inspiring, full of life. That’s the main idea. Then, we can talk about its form. I don’t consider it needs to be pompous, orchestrally-influenced or super-fast. Think of Helloween’s «Battle’s Won». That song is quite sober but it’s still wonderful power metal.
Regarding my musical influences, it’s hard to tell. I feel it would be very, very long for me to clarify my answer because there isn’t any band that I’m following closely nowadays. Furthermore, I’m very open-minded musically. I’ll just say that I like my music to be classy, positive and often playful. If you want some more metal names… I enjoy certain works from Ensiferum, Sabaton, Gamma Ray… to name a few.
About the new EP: how has the songwriting been so far – have you written enough songs that you could release an album if you wanted to, and if so; why did you decide to release an EP and not an album?
Victor: By now, I’m the only composer and I must admit that I’m quite slow. Actually, “You Are The One”, the first song of the EP, was composed at the end of 2012 if I remember correctly. But we’re now a band and Topias, our drummer, is a wonderful producer; so that could definitely speed things up.
Replying to your question: No. We are already working on new songs but there isn’t enough material for a full album yet.
How was the recording process; did you hire anyone to record/master/etc, or did you do it all yourself?
Victor: Again Topias has been decisive in all aspects regarding the production: recording, mixing, mastering, re-working on the orchestrations…
My first demos with Mattias were sounding nicely, but every time Topias was putting his hands on them, I was feeling humbled to have him in the team.
I’ve mentioned the top-notch lineup, but that’s not all. On the new EP we also have names such as Glyndwr Williams from Power Quest, Samy Saemann who have played in Freedom Call, Arttu Vauhkonen from Arion and Sebastian Myrén (ex-Deals Death and Dark Tranquillity). How did that happen? And what are their roles; is it some solos here and there, or have they contributed more than that?
Victor: Samy Saemann recorded the bass track of “You Are The One” in 2014, when very few people supported the project; so I decided to keep his track for this glorious new version of the song. However, due to his professional circumstances, that remained a sporadic collaboration.
The other cases are different. We are in very close communication with Sebastian, which was introduced to me by Erik, who also played guitars in Deals Death and live with Dark Tranquillity. And we enjoyed the collaboration with Glyn, Arttu and Gege as well. So, don’t discard reading any these names along with In Victory again!
And we also have a name that was unknown for me, but perhaps well-known for the Warhammer fans: Nathan Long. What is his role, and how did you get in touch with him?
Victor: Oh, you probably read that in the band’s bio. He has nothing to do with Uplifting Metal, but he’s part of the history of In Victory. Nathan is an extraordinary writer and was a huge influence in some of my very first music compositions.
Back in early 2013, I wrote an email to congratulate him for his amazing work and invited him to record a few spoken words in an intro track called “Prophecies Of A New Era”. I also told him that the previous year, his first Ulrika novel kept me awake reading until very late. And right after finishing the book, I was so touched and inspired that I stayed up longer to compose a song called “Requiem For My Soul”, that would be published together.
However, despite their emotional value, they were very amateur and simple symphonic instrumental productions. Nothing like the kind of music I would compose nowadays.
Is this a band or a project?
Victor: It is a band. In Victory started as a project, but I always wanted it to be a band and it finally turned into it this last year.
You have now released the debut EP: what are the plans forward; when will the first full-length album come out?
Victor: It’s too soon to talk. I can tell you we are working on new material, but anything I say now could create false expectations.
How is it to start up a new band in 2018; what are the main challenges?
Victor: The challenges depend on the goals you have, the situation and the skills you use.
For me, a challenge can be the responsibility of creating music that lives up to the expectations of my bandmates, who are well musically-trained and have played in some of the biggest stages in Europe.
Also, another challenge can be getting known when you don’t have the budget for proper promotion and there are so many great bands out there. In that case, good hard work, intelligence and strategic decisions can help you get visibility.
How has the reception on the band and the EP been? Have you managed to get noticed in the jungle of power metal bands?
Victor: The reception has been perfect. Really. From both metal fans, press and fellow musicians. So thankful for all the nice words I’ve been reading these days. It’s being incredible for me!
Regarding achieving real popularity, well, that’s a different story. In the music industry, like in all businesses, the pie is usually shared by the people with more money and the adequate contacts. I’m new in this industry and I don’t have the money, so I just try to do things well.
As far as I know In Victory is not signed on any label. What are your thoughts about that; is that something you are working on?
Victor: By now, I’m managing all the aspects a record label would do. I really enjoy having the control over each one of these aspects. However, it requires a lot of work. A lot of work and time that I may not have in future years.
If there’s the opportunity to get a record deal with a well-reputed label, which is supportive and not too restrictive, it will definitely be considered.
When will we see you live?
Victor: Playing live would be wonderful, but that’s something that needs to be prepared very carefully and we haven’t done it properly yet due to time limitations, preparing the EP; geographical distance, other professional responsibilities, and a long etc.
We’ve already had some little discussions about it and a top guitarist has shown interest in joining us on stage… but these are just discussions and thoughts. The reality is that there are no concerts scheduled so far. Time will tell how far we can take this project!