Frank Pane - Valley's Eve

July 25, 2002

Give me some background on your band.

The band was formed back in '93. At that point the sound was really much different than now and on the new album. It was much more like normal heavy rock like Gotthard or like Whitesnake. Bluesy heavy rock and I think about '97 a new singer came into the band. That was Lia who is in another thing also and he invented a new style. He wanted to be more heavy and bring other elements into the band to make it more progressive and sound more metal. I think with that lineup and the new singer they recorded the first album Prodigia which was self-financed. The production was self-financed and also the pressing of the CDs but due to the good critics, they found distribution and sold I think about 4,000 copies which is very good for a self-produced band without a record label. After that I think about '98 the second album was released and that was under the B. MIND record label which is a small label in Berlin, Germany. It's a small label but does really good work and for that record the band toured with Rage and Nightwish in '99 or 2000 I think and did a European tour in support of Nightwish and Rage. After the tour, unfortunately, the keyboard player, the drummer, and also the guitarist who was the only remaining founding member of the band decided to leave. The remaining guys, the singer Lia and the bass player Martin had to look for new people and now I am in the band. The new drummer is also named Frank. With this lineup we recorded the new CD Deception Of Pain in May and June of 2001 and it came out this year in March. I think in the U. S. it was in June of this year.

There are no original members in the band?

Yeah, that's right. There's no one from the first real Valley's Eve lineup when they did really different music than us. There's no one in the band anymore. Lia is the longest member in the band. It must have been '96 or '97 when he joined the band. It's a whole different band now.

The original guys don't mind the band going on without them?

The reasons they left were the guitarist who was the founding member of the band really, he wanted to spend more time with his family, his wife and kids, so he had no time to spend anymore for rehearsals and tours and stuff like that. The other guys were also sick of always doing the rehearsals every week and always had to spend a lot of money on stuff like equipment and driving to the rehearsal place and stuff like that. So it was a chance for me and the drummer to join the band.

Tell me about the band members in the current lineup.

The singer, Lia, is Roberto Dimitri Liapakis. He is Greek and he is called Lia because of his last name. It's easier to pronounce. He's the longest lasting member of the band to have recorded on the three albums. The bass player, Martin Albrecht, joined the band for the second album and he's just very experienced. He played with Stormwitch before this. It's a cult band in Germany from the early '80s. One of the first metal bands there. He also played with a band called Rough which was like Warlock. They also had a female singer and they also had a very good deal and toured with Black Sabbath once I think. It must have been in the middle of the '80s for the Headless Cross album with Tony Martin. The drummer, Frank, I've known him just a few years. He's in the local area. He played in the different bands that we would see all the time. I was in a band called Red To Grey and which still exists but they have a little bit of a different sound, more fresher. We also recorded an album back in '99 which was also released but on a very small label with very bad distribution and no promotion and also nobody knows about the album unfortunately. That's not good. One of my guitar students is a friend of Frank's, the new drummer, and he told me told me one time that Valley Eve's original guitarist, Mario Cavasin, and if I knew anybody from my students or other guitarists in the area here who would like to join and I said no problem, I'll try it. Why not. So this is the new lineup really. We're of very different ages. Martin is the oldest member at 40, Lia is about 34, and I'm the youngest at 25. We're really different but everything is cool between us. There are no ego problems like the older guys may think the young guy doesn't really know what's going on bit it's really cool. We get along really well with each other.

I think you've all outgrown that by now. Lia and Martin have a band together called Mystic Prophecy.

Yeah, that's right. Mystic Prophecy I think was recorded after the European tour for the second album after the original guitarist, keyboardist, and drummer left the band. They really wanted to do something else not just spending time doing nothing. I don't know where they got the other two guys who are in the band now from but they just decided to do a project band and I think you hear on Mystic Prophecy a little bit of what the new Valley's Eve also would sound like. It was more in a straighter direction even though the Mystic Prophecy album is a lot more heavier but straight and that is also on the new Valley Eve's album which is more straight, less progressive, less keyboards. Easier to understand songs I think. You can really hear that on the Mystic Prophecy album which I think is going really well in the United States. The critics have been good.

The Deception Of Pain album is very guitar oriented.

Yeah, that's right. My fault. Metal to me is guitars. Out in front raw sound. Not like today where many bands do and they do it very good I must say but orchestration and cellos and string arrangements and keyboards, keyboards, keyboards. That's not metal to me. Metal must be a little bit rawer I think. I really like the older metal bands like old Savatage stuff or Vicious Rumors and classic metal bands from the U. S. or British metal like Maiden, Saxon, Tygers Of Pantang. That was very raw sounding but not like punk. Produced but live sounding so you could reproduce the stuff you do on the record also live. That's the problem that many of the bands have today. They do 20 guitar tracks, keyboards, orchestration, and when you hear them live you know there's nothing or all that must also come from the CD and that's not live I think. Part of the live music must come from the CD. We produce everything I do on the record live and we can do that with the new CD. If you hear it, it's very live sounding and there's really only two guitar tracks so it's no problem. That's my take but other people may think that they like more produced stuff and like the orchestration but that's just taste.

I think a lot of the albums are very dramatic sounding. It sounds cool and it's different. I can see where it's hard to reproduce that in a live setting.

The songs work really great live. Very cool. We haven't played that much yet. We've done three shows with the new lineup and everything worked very well. We see the songs work very well live. That's important and this was also a decision for Lia and Martin. They saw on the Valley Eve's tour, for the second album, straighter songs that were more easy to understand. They had refrains which you could easily sing along with. These songs came out better live. People were really getting off and so it was a natural decision I think to get more straight. Of course the new members in the band also have different tastes. Different influences. I'm also more into the straight metal stuff so just naturally that new sound came.

Deception Of Pain is the third release. The first release with the current lineup. It deals with the topic of suicide. Why was that subject matter chosen?

It was really Lia's idea of course. He read a book from a psychologist who wrote about his patients who had tried to commit suicide and failed and their experiences. It was a very, very heavy book. Interesting stuff. The music is really a little as you said dramatic and heavy. He thought that would really fit together. That theme with the music. It's not like a concept album where every song is a story and it all fits together. It's more like 13 little stories about the same theme. It was mainly Lia's decision to write about this and I think it fits really well with the songs and also the cover artwork I think really fits together very well. Lyric wise it's just Lia's thing. He writes the lyrics. He has the ideas and he has to sing them so it's his decision what to write about. He really can deal with this stuff. It fits very well and it's cool.

He gets a lot of his inspiration from books he reads or things that happen around him.

Yes, that's very much where he gets it. His inspiration comes from books or just things that happen to him. For this album it was just this book. I think it fits our music very well. It would not fit if we were singing about swords and dragons which is very cool right now again. Many bands did it 15 years ago and all the bands do it again now. Come on stage with swords and be a knight. I don't think that would fit our music now. We're not like that. We're like metal but we're not like "you must be a metal brother." That's not our thing. We like all different kinds of music. When we did our first gig ever with this lineup, we opened with a blues number just to confuse the people. We came on stage and played this really slow blues number and they were all "what's this?" Then we did the opening track of the new CD "The Fire Burns" which is really heavy and fast. We showed the people that we're not only metal. There's also other different music like normal rock, blues rock, and that's our thing. For this reason I think things like that will fit better with our music. Things about normal life or really bad things of course like suicide but that's life. Something like this happens. Why not write about it.

You're apparently not into the fantasy theme. Who designed the album cover?

That was I think from the label which the second album was released, B. MIND, which is also the label on the new CD but it's licensed by LMB and distributed to SPV. A guy from the record company, B. MIND, I think is actually the singer from Mind Odyssey. They're a German band from Berlin. He designed the artwork and we thought it was really great. He did a great job and it fits very well with the music. It looks like a nightmare. I think this suicide thing is really a nightmare also. It fits very well together.

Tell us about a few of the tracks on the album.

I think the album is very diverse. It's got some fast numbers like "The Fire Burns" which I think must be the first song we came up with I believe the first or second rehearsal with this new lineup. I came up with the riff. It worked very well and very fast. I think we got the song in about an hour. A few weeks later Lia put the lyrics on it. It's actually our opening track for our live shows. I think it's a really powerful song with a very good chorus part which people can easily sing along with and imparted live that people can really catch the songs the first time they hear them. Many people see you live the first time and they don't know your CDs so you have to have songs which go like that. Songs that are easy to understand but also be interesting. Not like stupid pop songs. I think that's a very, very strong song on the album. Another cool song I think is "The Sun" which is a little bit different soundwise. It has a little bit of detuned guitars. A little bit lower guitar so it sounds maybe a little bit more modern some people say but I think the riff and the chorus and so forth fits very well with the other stuff. It's our style but it sounds a little bit more modern due to the tuned feature of guitars but I think that's very dramatic as you said before, that song. The chorus is also very, very catchy and comes along very well live for people. They like the song so far. "Mirror In Your Eyes" which is like I think the softest song. More poppy and has more keyboards. More bigger keyboard arrangements. They can hear the keyboards better in that song but it also works very good live because as I said you have to have songs which are easy to understand. This song is really not like you have a verse part and then comes the chorus and then verse and then chorus, like very simple. The idea for this song is from our bass player Martin. He did a really good job I think. Then we have "Dark Room". I think that's one of my favorites. Actually it's like a ballad but really a ballad that starts off like a little bit like a ballad and then a really heavy riff comes also. A slow number that's a little bit doomy I think. Actually I'm also very proud of the guitar solo on this song because this was a first take. Just jammed. Maybe not perfect but I think it has a good feeling. Sounds very, very bluesy. I think it's something different from what metal players normally play. What you normally hear on a metal record. Iím proud of that song and also the guitar part. I don't really think there are really bad songs on the album or songs that are not that good. You can listen to the whole album. Of course there are some you like more that catch your ear more. The riff that clicks or you have the lyric that you just sing along with straightaway but I think the material is really made of different styles. You have the fast ones, you have the slow ones, you have a doomy song, you have also "Dark Shadows On The Wall" which I think has a little bit of a progressive element. People who like the first two albums, who also find parts that they could relate to and they see that the band has not changed totally, it's still Valley's Eve playing. That's of course also due to Lia's vocals I think. He has a voice of his own. You cannot compare him easily to other singers. Saying he sounds like this or he sounds like that. I think all of the songs on the album are good and I'm very proud of the record. People seem to like it. The critics are good in Europe so far in the magazines. I'm lucky.

It's great when you have a vocalist that can't compared to someone else. Originality is a good thing.

Yes, that's very important. That's what I like about bands or musicians. I like bands that have a distinctive sound. Today there are so many bands that sound the same. There are very many good bands and good musicians that write good songs maybe but you really don't know who is who. Many bands sound the same. These bands also get off on that old Helloween sound like Stratovarious and all great bands but really you hear a song from this band I don't know, is it that one? I really like that distinctive sound and it's really good for us that we have a singer that gives us a little bit of that. Also I think Valley's Eve was always a band you couldn't so easy compare to other bands due to the vocals of course and also the arrangements. I think that's the way to go. To be have a style of your own and maybe we will do even more with the new album to really make people think "yeah, this is Valley's Eve." Not "this is a band that sounds like Judas Priest." I want people to say "yeah, I know what this is. This is the band Valley's Eve. Here's the singer. He has a distinctive voice. Guitars are this way."

That's pretty bad when a song comes on the radio and it can be four or five songs that you know.

I don't like that. It's our goal to be a little bit for people to say "yeah, this is like Valley's Eve."

Are you guys working on new material?

Yeah, we already have I think finished four or five songs so we will go into the studio very, very soon. I think we tour in October. Two weeks of Germany, one day that's in the Netherlands, one in Switzerland, one in Austria, and then maybe do another part of the tour in November. I think we then do one week Spain, France, Portugal, and just after the tour I think we will go straight in the studio and record the next album. It should come out I think if everything works of course early next year. We will write songs I think until the tour begins in October and after the tour go straight in the studio. That's the goal. We spend time rehearsing for the tour and write songs and when we come back hopefully we'll have enough material to go straight into the studio. The problem with this record was because it came out in March in Germany, we had no chance to get on the big festivals here in Germany like Rocken and Bang Your Head. In the summertime are the festivals where all the metal bands play and we were a little bit too late with releasing it in March. You have to release really early in the year like January or the beginning of February so that you have the chance to get on the billing of these festivals. That's our goal. One festival's already confirmed for next year but we'll try to go on as much as possible because that's like 100,000 people. That's like a deal when we play there and people see that we do a good job. That gets you a lot of fans.

Then they'll come to your other gigs. Any other comments or ideas?

I don't know if we have any fans in the U. S. I hope to get to the States one time and play there. It would be great. I have never been to the States. I'd really like to come but we have to see how the people in the States like the record and see if maybe we get over for a tour and of course we will come anywhere you would like us to come. No problem.

There are so many great bands overseas that we never get to see. It's a shame.

I don't know what the situation is in the States right now but I think that the metal scene is not that big. It's really a problem. In Germany there are tours like a few years ago there were thousands of people coming to a show and now it's like half the people. Less tours, less gigs. I hope the metal scene gets a kick again.

We're going through the Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Tool thing. I've been to a lot of shows that have been put on by classic bands like Poison and Cinderella and people still come out.

Very cool. I hope to one time play in the States. It would be great of course.

All of you should pool together and do one huge megatour. Different bands from all over Europe.

The European powermetal tour. I think there are many great bands but that's really a problem. The record companies don't want to spend too much money on tours because they feel like that people are not showing up like 10 years ago. They promote all the big names like if Halford goes back to Priest that would be a big thing. Iron Maiden is back together. They have to get their money and promote this stuff. If there is a newcomer they have no money. I hope there will be a kick in the metal scene and the people will come and see the new bands also.

Valley's Eve