|VALERIAN from Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia - Ready to kill the dragon in your town!|
By Dr Kieran James (University of Southern Queensland)
Online interview, 1 April 2012
VALERIAN is: Dimas (Guitar1/Backing Vocals), Verrel (Drums), Edo (Bass), Harman (Guitar2), Daniel (Keyboards/Backing Vocals), and Ridwan (Lead Vocals)
Kieran James Q1: Hi mate, thanks for doing an interview with BUSUK WEBZINE. We know you are power-metal legends from Surabaya. First I want to thank my friend Ayyub Anshari Sukmaraga from Malang because he told me about you.
Dimas Bramantyo Question 1: Hi, thank you also for this interview and thanks to our best friend Ayyub Anshari Sukmaraga, we’re very honored you called us a legend but we are way, way far from being so called “legend”…we’re still stepping on our own small path right now.
KJ2: Please tell us your line-up and band history.
DB2: VALERIAN began from the friendship between Dimas, Verrel, [and] Edo in December 2004. We wanted to [form a] band and finally agreed to play metal music. In [the] course of time we had some change(s) of personnel and then in 2006, VALERIAN had a new line-up Dimas (Guitar1/Backing Vocals), Verrel (Drums), Edo (Bass), Harman (Guitar2), Daniel (Keyboards/Backing Vocals), and Ridwan (Lead Vocals) which [has] survived until today. In 2007 all the personnel had desire to create their own songs until on 6 December 2009 we successfully released our first mini-album (EP) by independent.
KJ3: We are a death-metal webzine but my background is I was a high-school student in the mid-1980s and I grew up on bands like MOTLEY CRUE, PRIEST, MAIDEN, AC/DC, SCORPIONS, SAXON, etc. Your music speaks to my heart, I love it. When I was 15-years-old I had my denim jacket with MAIDEN patch on the back. Oki and Sofyan of DEATH VOMIT and Bobby Rock of BLEEDING CORPSE like this music too as they are 30+. The question is why you choose to play power-metal when death-metal is so huge in Indo?
DB3: We have the same taste my friend, all of VALERIAN members really like 80’s Rock...and the reason why we choose to play power-metal (although our intention is not making power-metal kind of music). It came with no [specific] intention [but] accidentally some things led on to other things; that’s the explanation.
KJ4: Your vocalist is brilliant. When we think power-metal now we think of GAMMA RAY and Kai Hansen and Brice Dickinson from the earlier era who are beautiful clean melodic singers but your singer has more of a death-metal voice. Keep this guy, he is a talent. Who are his influences? I can think of the LOUDNESS vocalist and perhaps Klaus Meine after jet lag for that rough vocal hahaha...
DB4: Yes, he is really amazing, we all appreciate him…Ridwan’s [main] influence is Ronnie James Dio (RIP), for him Dio was a remarkable role model and really inspired him in singing although their singing styles are totally different respectfully [KJ: yes Ridwan does not sound like Dio although there are a few similarities...]
|VALERIAN and friends|
KJ5: Do you ever feel lonely playing power-metal in Indo? You guys were born too late maybe; you would have loved the 1980s...
DB5: No, absolutely not at all!! Basically we’re not all about power-metal [genre], what we’ve done with our music is simply because we’re having a slight similarity in taste of music [to power-metal]…so what we call music is the way we communicate and also relates [to our] hearts. As long as in this world someone still loves our kind of music, we will continue to play and work together - this is because we love [this] music.
KJ6: What are some tracks for your album? I like especially the MAIDEN gallop and melodic keys on “Wishes of the Light Bearer” and the passionate vocals on “Bliss in Eternity” but all five songs are great and different from each other too. You got variety, great drummer, great vocals, good recording (not too lush, a bit stripped down).
DB6: Yeah…thank you very much for that.
KJ7: I like stripped down, thin, dry production in power-metal and thrash also, for example RAINBOW’s Long Live Rock and Roll or Master of Puppets from METALLICA. Are you aiming for that production, i.e. not too thick? I don’t think a Dr Feelgood (MOTLEY CRUE) sound would work for you (even if you had the money for it hehehe).
DB7: Actually we didn’t meant to be like that, but if it sounds like that it will be a remarkable thing (regarding your album comparison). We just want to make the sound [as] natural as possible, for example avoiding using the drum machine, recording software like amplitube and also we worked this album with minimum budget so [we] didn’t record to pursue any particular sound. However, that doesn’t mean we worked it without effort and [without expecting a good] result…hahaha.
KJ8: OK, favorites game which is a new feature of Busuk Webzine interviews: who do you prefer IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST?
DB8: (We think) IRON MAIDEN.
KJ9: Number of the Beast or Powerslave?
DB9: We prefer Number of The Beast for the simple reason…it’s more kick-ass and straight forward album, yet Powerslave [is a] great album too but it’s just the long section of instrumental aren’t so enjoyable while we enjoy the music with the beer in our hand…hahaha [KJ: Awesome answer, I too like both, both have their own style and strengths. See my reviews of Number of the Beast and Live after Death on Busuk Webzine – click on the IRON MAIDEN label at right of page].
KJ10: British Steel or Screaming for Vengeance?
DB10: We think “Screaming for Vengeance”, with slightly different reason from [the] MAIDEN [answer] above…!!! Well British Steel is PRIEST’s notable album, but if you want to feel what is heavy metal is all about…it’s definitely the Screaming… album. [KJ: See my review of British Steel on Busuk Webzine].
KJ11: HELLOWEEN or GAMMA RAY?
DB11: HELLOWEEN…no particular reason.
KJ12: Have you got a record label yet? Sign these guys!
DB12: Since we’ve just released an EP so we say not yet but hopefully for our next full-length album we’re getting signed by some label.
KJ13: Do you agree me with SAXON is a band that should have been huge?
DB13: Yes, this band plays the amazing music of the period and they should be able to become a legend. [KJ: And SAXON had the great English sense of humor – the song “Princess of the Night” is about a train not a woman!!!]
|We want more metal chick pics on Busuk!|
KJ14: Lastly any other good power-metal bands from Indo I should hear and interview?
DB14. Yes of course…although we are lonely (in genre speaking), but we’re not alone dude…there is one power-speed metal which is signed by the major label and [the] funny thing is the band called “POWER METAL” (actually it’s their group name)…they reside in Surabaya too and their musical career has spanned almost 20 years. We proud [if] you want to interview bands like that…Do it bro...
KJ15: I hope to visit Surabaya later this year. We must meet. PS Ace Frehley rules!
DB15: We look forward to seeing you as well…last but not least we thank you so much for this... “Rock n Roll all night!!!”