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INTERVIEW: Ash Cook – Valis Ablaze

2017 was a very successful year for progressive metal outfit VALIS ABLAZE, achieving a well deserved, commendable response to their second EP release Insularity as well as sharing the stage with the likes of UNEVEN STRUCTURE, VOLA and TESSERACT and making an appearance at the ever thriving UK Tech Fest. We caught up with guitarist Ash Cook to see what the future holds for the band.

For the benefit of our readers who haven’t heard of VALIS ABLAZE please give us an introduction.

Ash: We’re a five piece experimental/alternative metal band from Bristol and Manchester.

How would you describe your style? Do you have any particular influences or inspirations?

Ash: We fall into the experimental/alternative style. We work on finding the perfect balance of all of our influences and musical strengths so we’re a cross of heavy, modern groove with a tinge of tech/prog, yet clean and melodic vocals, lots of layers and dips and swells. We’re mostly influenced by a lot of our peers and most of the bands we’ve been able to share the stage with, such as THE CONTORTIONIST, MONUMENTS, VOLA and DEAD LETTER CIRCUS.

How do you approach the writing process?

Ash: We have riffs and ideas that we record or write out and commit them to a communal pool. We will then pick out ideas and develop them either together or on our own and then discuss ideas, stories and emotions behind those ideas to develop them even further. Once a song is almost written, we will then get together and review the tracks and pick holes until they become perfect to us. The process can sometime be really quick, or sometimes we have those sections which we develop, evolve and adapt to get what is needed for the song. Ultimately we write music that we enjoy playing and listening to so for us, that is key.

Do you think the surge in the progressive/technical metal scene has helped provide a platform for the band?

Ash: Prog metal/tech metal has been around for a fair few years now but there are significantly more bands playing this kind of style of music and perhaps more listeners than before. There are strong music communities that we have been involved in for example UK Tech Fest, and we certainly feel that has been our bed rock for growing as a band. We are part of that surge, growing with our peers around us but we want to take it much, much further and to wider audiences.

You had a productive 2017 with the release of your Insularity EP and featuring at UK Tech Fest. How do you plan to keep that momentum going into 2018?

Ash: Our debut album is being finalised and is with producer Justin Hill (SIKTH, HEART OF A COWARD, BURY TOMORROW) to be mixed and mastered. We will be putting out a music video for the first single early next year and we’re eyeing up film makers for the second and third singles. For shows, we are focusing on festivals with touring either side of the festival season. You can keep up to date with our show dates here.

Your first show of the new year will be supporting the mighty EXIST IMMORTAL at The Black Heart on January 27th, are you looking forward to getting back into the swing of things?

Ash: Yes, definitely! After the good run of shows last year, and a slight dynamic change in the last third of the year, we’re eager to get back to the stage and showcase new material.

What can the attendees expect from your live performance?

Ash: We are two parts groove, one part melodic, with a dash of heavy and a twist of prog. Expect movement, fun and emotion.

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