Vola’s debut album Inmazes is very much the finished product. It probably helps that Vola’s frontman Asger Mygind has just completed a masters at Copenhagen’s Rhythmic Music Conservatory, which takes a vocational approach to music education.
“It’s been really cool to focus solely on music for so many years,” says Mygind. “My college is not so much about theory but more about writing songs and helping you get into the music business.”
The Conservatory has taught Mygind well. Starburn, one of the leading tracks on the new album, is a swelling mass of catchy verses and huge choruses, while the album as a whole is indebted to the creative wisdom of Steven Wilson, set to a brooding backdrop of crunchy, downtuned Meshuggah-esque riffs and lush, layered vocals. This compound of tech-prog and pop-inspired melodies positions Inmazes perfectly between the classic era of prog and new-age futurism.
“I’ve tried to get the same explosiveness and catchiness as the bands I listen to,” Mygind says as he reels off a list of favourite Wilson/Porcupine Tree albums, citing In Absentia and Insurgentes among his most cherished. He also namechecks Devin Townsend for those “very big soundscapes”, and Opeth crop up, but the “softer side… like Damnation.” Meanwhile, The Beatles are heralded as the key to Mygind’s pursuit of a truly catchy song.
I’ve tried to get the same explosiveness and catchiness as the bands I listen to.
“I grew up listening to The Beatles because my parents used to play them, and from those early days I’ve been fascinated by music that’s very catchy. I don’t want the listener to have to wait for the chorus. I think there has to be some entertainment value the whole way through.”
All these ingredients have helped to shape Inmazes, re-released on Mascot this year.
“Recording the album was a learning experience and we were all very tired afterwards,” admits Mygind. “I slept for 48 hours after sending it off for mastering.”
Jens Bogren, the technical brains behind Opeth’s Ghost Reveries, Katatonia’s The Great Cold Distance and countless other modern-day masterpieces, applied his magic to the album, helping Vola to achieve a softer and more refined take on their hard-edged sounds.
“He makes heavy music sound pleasant to the ear. If you deliver a mix to Jens that’s slightly rough, he’ll make it sound very pristine and hi-fi.”
Vola are completed by Martin Werner, Nicolai Mogensen and Felix Ewert on keyboards, bass and drums respectively. In 2012, guitarist Niels Dreijer Madsen quit the band, leaving Mygind to fill in the second guitar part, in addition to providing main vocals and lead guitar.
Inmazes follows up two EPs recorded in 2008 and 2011 and is testament to how far they’ve come as
a band. So too is their billing alongside Agent Fresco on Katatonia’s next European tour, which will be hitting our shores in October.
“We haven’t toured much before,” says the frontman. “Looking at all the cities we’re going through is very exciting. And playing with Katatonia… well, it’s quite awesome.”
|Asger Mygind (guitar/vocals), Martin Werner (keyboards), Nicolai Mogensen (bass), Felix Ewert (drums)|
|A prog metal maelstrom tightly bound in Steven Wilson, Circus Maximus and Meshuggah grooves|
|Inmazes is out now on Mascot|