Vallenfyre | Interview with Greg Mackintosh

Vallenfyre is the new project formed by Greg Mackintosh from Paradise Lost, incorporating members from My Dying Bride, Doom and At The Gates. Whilst the band was incorporated during a shroud of dark unpleasant times for Greg, the music is brutally heavy and unrelenting. This marks a significant departure from the music Greg is known for making. Scratch the Surface caught up with Greg himself to find out more.


Hey Greg how’s everything going?

“Yeah, it’s fine. I actually moved house two days ago so that was a bit stressful but all living out of boxes right now, but yeah, it’s all good.”

Your debut album with Vallenfyre is about to be released, can you describe the sound of the music?

“Well I guess its very specialist music. It’s influenced by stuff that I used to listen to between 1984 and 1991. A mixture of early death metal from that time and a mixture of doom metal from that time and crust punk. Stuff like that all mixed together really, into a filthy package.”

You say that the music written on this album was never meant for public consumption, what made you change your mind?

“It was a gradual thing I guess. It started out as something that was kind of a catharsis and when that become less of a catharsis and became more self-destructive I just decided to get friends involved one at a time, start a gradual process and just to try and turn something that was becoming a bit destructive into something that was productive, and I want to make it fun, and it’s always more fun when you’re with your mates. I just got a load of mates involved and we turned it into a band and we started knocking some songs out. Then a couple members of the band said send this to your mate over at Century Media, which I did. He said he really liked it and did I want to put an album out. So it was all very off the cuff. There was no big plan behind it, It just kinda happened slowly over the course of 2010.”

The lyrics on “A Fragile King” are extremely personal, did the writing of these lyrics help exercise any demons?

“It did initially, that was the whole point at first really. I was told by a grief councillor actually, at the end of 2009 to just start writing stuff down rather than keep them inside, and that’s how the lyrics started to form I think. So yeah it started out being that but then like I said, it became less of that as it went along until I got the other guys involved and turned it from something that was pretty tragic into something that’s a lot of fun to do.”

You’ve picked some truly talented members of the genre to play with you, was there any doubt in your mind that these were the guys you wanted with you?

“No, there were only 3 things that I was looking for in band member, the first was that they had to be a good friend, as I wanted it to be a fun thing to do, so I picked some off my oldest friends. The second thing was that I wanted them to have grown up around the same scene that I had and had the passion for the kind of music I did. Lastly they had to be able to play as well.”

With the “Desecration/Iconoclast” 7’, why did you decide to release your first product on vinyl rather than on CD or digitally?

“It was kind of a cross between an idea our bass player Scoot who’s in Doom and our label manager Jens Prueter at Century Media because Scoot suggested to me that it wasn’t necessarily a good thing us all being in other bands because it creates bias so he said why don’t we try and keep it anonymous for as long as we can so that people will actually give it a chance and listen to it and not have any kind of expectations of any other baggage that comes from being in a band for 20 years. Our label manager said why don’t you just put it out as a limited edition vinyl and keep it anonymous and see what people think, see if there is any interest in it.”

Was the recording process for the forthcoming album much different from when you record the Paradise Lost material?

“Yes it was a lot more D.I.Y and that was on purpose. We wanted to get a sound of yesteryear and we wanted to get a feel for it as well. To do that we had to do it in the way we would have recorded back then, which is doing a few days here, a few days here, you do it in one or two takes, You get the sound you want and you stick with it. We used to call that committing to tape, which a lot of people don’t do these days. They just play it clean and decide on a sound in the mix. We did it all as we would have done it in the late 80’s and not over-think or over produce it.”

You’ve all been making music for a long time, how do you keep it all feeling fresh?

“It’s not as easy as you might think really. I guess you have to be able to laugh at a lot of things. I take the creating he music very seriously, but everything around that you have to be able to laugh at and treat it as a hobby. When I started Paradise Lost I started it with a very similar sentiment to how I started Vallenfyre and that is just do it or fun. If it’s not fun, don’t do it. A lot of kids have asked me advice about being in a band, they all ask things like how do you get a merch deal, how you get record deal, stuff like that and there the wrong questions, you should be doing it for fun first and foremost and then those other things may come later. I think it’s something that gets a little lost when people start bands.”

Will Vallenfyre be going on tour, and if so, do you have any dates?

“Yeah we definitely want to go on tour. As long as it remains fun were gonna do it. We can’t do anything for the rest of this year as we all have separate commitments so I’ve got to record a new Paradise Lost album, so it’s gonna be next year now but the plan is to get it all rehearsed up in January and some club shows in February which were trying to get booked now. We’ve already been asked to do a few festivals and I think Bloodstock were interested so we’ll see about that. We’ll try and play as many places as we can within reach. We really want to tour the states on this as the interviews has made them realise they missed out on the first wave of European death metal and they have a hunger for it and whether local bookers want to book us.”

Is there anything else you would like to say?

“Hopefully you like the music and we get to play some gigs wherever you are in the world.”

Words: James Merret

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