Vaiya might not be a household name in atmospheric black metal, but on the strength of Remnant Light, it deserves to be. Bleak and grim, but not without beauty or heart, Remnant Light was originally released in 2014, but is now getting a re-release thanks to those lovely people at Nordvis/Bindrune Recordings.
Filled with dark atmospheres and reflective moods, as well as a healthy amount of blackened aggression, this is an album that I find myself captivated by. It passed me by when it first came out, so this re-release is most welcome.
The entire work is the product of one driving entity that goes by the name of Rob Allen. Below, he provides a bit of context and depth to the themes, thoughts and motivations behind Vaiya…
Introduce us to Vaiya
The project is based in ritual work, both in live and in private settings, for the exclusive purpose of concentrating energy, particularly dark energy, in to and out through musical form.
What are your influences?
Musically my influences vary greatly and no doubt some are obvious. For the purpose of paying respect, my friend Chet W. Scott of Blood of the Black Owl and Glass Throat Recordings et al. has been a major influence and inspiration for me in many ways. And my dear friend and kindred spirit, Austin from Panopticon has been a true friend and inspiration to me for years now. Both these great men have my utmost love and greatest respect. Ever onward brothers!
Thematically my influences are spiritual, dealing with my own betterment and my spiritual relationship with the natural world. The betterment of my own being is the paramount purpose of Vaiya and I focus a vast amount of energy into to the recording or performance for the sake of its ritual element.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Marigold – Monolith (Great friends of mine making beautiful atmospheric pop music)
Clandestine Blaze – City of Slaughter
Balfor – Black Serpent Rising
Leprous Vortex Sun – По направлению к Солнцу, плавящему изнутри кости
Elsa & Emilie – Kill Your Darlings (guilty pleasure)
Tell us about your Remnant Light
Remnant Light is a banishing ritual. The music is but a backdrop for the vocal performance. The lyrics were conceived to be performed ritually, to banish negative energy. At the time it had been building in my life and it needed an outlet, Remnant Light is the result of that.
How did you construct the songs?
Musically they came pretty simply and easily, time was obviously spent fine tuning structures, but I generally write songs by just seeing what happens naturally by letting my emotions guide me. Lyrically however, more time was put into that as the structure for the ritual had to be relatively specific so as to be performed as such and recorded at the same time. I did fine-tune some vocal parts either by fixing minor issues or adding layers, but the majority of what you hear is the one take I recorded for the ritual performance.
What does the work mean to you?
Like all my work it means an immense amount to me. But to be honest, once it is done and out in the world, I don’t pay much attention to it. That does not mean I do not care for it, but like most musicians, so much time is spent crafting your work that you are pretty much exhausted by it by the time the world hears it. This is especially true for Vaiya’s music, as it has been created for a specific purpose and dealing with a specific time or event.
Do you view Vaiya as a music-only band, or are other aspects of the project that are equally important to you?
Music is but one element of the more important ritual purpose. Again it shouldn’t diminish its role, only suggest it is but a cog in the wheel. The overall piece is the most important, no one element more than another.
Now that Remnant light is getting a re-release through Nordvis/Bindrune, what’s it like to revisit the work?
As I tend to distance myself from my music once it is out in the world, it has been interesting to revisit it to say the least. It was remastered for vinyl so it was nice to refresh it in that way. And to work on new art always gives a bit more life to a piece of musical art.
Three years down the line, how does it stand up as an album? Would you change anything about it?
I would probably change everything if I did it now. It is a product of that specific time in my life when a lot was happening and even more still has happened since. So it has served as a bit of a bookend in my approach to some things and it marks a change in life and music for me. Even if I hear things I would like to change or do differently, I wouldn’t want to, as it would take away from its importance as a relic of time for me.
The re-released version of Remnant Light is getting new artwork – how would you compare the original to the new one? Tell us about both pieces and what they mean to you.
The original release and its art were made up of the same elements as the new, the same photos and insignia, but in its original release it was a completely different package. This time in a more traditional packaged CD, and now LP, I got to reinvent the art from 3 years ago, to breathe new life into it, and connect with it in a different way. The original will always be the first and most specific version, as it was the end result of crafting the whole piece of art. But these new versions mark a new chapter for Vaiya as it comes out of obscurity and into the light and achieves a wider audience than before, and for that, these versions are very momentous and important. And I have Nordvis and Bindrune to thank for that wonderful opportunity.
Are you working on any new Vaiya material at the moment?
I have a new album written and am hoping to start recording soon. As I said before, times have been and are changing for me personally and for my music, so the new album will be a fair bit different in both sound and theme. I am still focusing on personal improvement and continuing the fight against the dark elements of my nature, this new album however is a little less asking it to leave me be, and a little more declaring war upon it. Thus, it is all more aggressive and particularly its sound.
How would you say that Vaiya differs from other projects that you’re involved with, such as Encircling Sea?
Musically they probably don’t differ all that much and many people have said as much. That’s fine and I agree essentially. However it is the intent that differs greatly. Put very simply…Vaiya is about Darkness. Encircling Sea is about Light.
As I think Encircling Sea are such a great band, what’s the status of that project at the moment?
We have a new album coming out this year on SMGS Records from Germany. It is all done and ready to go to print essentially, we are just combing over the finer points at the moment. We have a couple of shows planned and obviously some launch shows as well when the album is released, but all in Australia for now. Two of our members just had new babies very recently and over the past few years I have had two myself. So we are restricted in the amount of time we can put in to the band, but we are still here and still loving it when we can do it.
What are you up to for the rest of the year?
Raising kids, living life, studying, reading, fighting, lifting, loving, hating, growing and trying to make sense of it all with a smile on my face.
Any final words?
Thank you for your questions and your support it is greatly appreciated!
Live simply, tread lightly.