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Niviane is an American power metal band formed in 2015 hailing from Sacramento California. Co-founders, guitarists Mark Miner & Claudeous Creamer along with bassist Rick Stallkamp and drummer Mark Sprague created the band’s sound by melding together their collective influences of classic heavy metal fused with modern European metal stylings.

Congratulations on your latest music Niviane! What is the biggest tip you followed when creating the sound?

For this album cycle I really took the back seat during the initial creative development of the music. While I did play keyboards on the first two records; The Druid King (2017) and The Ruthless Divine (2020), I was not part of the initial creative development of those songs. Nor was I either an official member yet. Now that I am officially in the band, and the same writing team for those two records is still in tacked, I really wanted to understand how they worked as a team. This honestly worked in my favor, as it allowed me to figure out who was responsible for what kind of riffs. Some sound very heavy, almost with an Amon Amarth like vibe, and then others have a very classic 80’s metal vibe. So understanding how the team worked allowed me to develop a more creative flow on my end. Ultimately don’t be afraid to sit back and watch how things are done, you can learn from watching.

How did the sound evolve from the start to the finish?

With lots, and lots of layers! This album is dense. Vocally, there are lots of harmonies, doubling between clean and harsh vocals, and even a little bit of call and response. With the guitars there are a lot of dual guitar leads, and trade off solos on top of super heavy riffs. Keyboard wise, I tried to experiment with more variety in sounds. trying to do more than just string, and choral pads. Some of the keyboard layers are even orchestral at times.

Any tricks up your sleeve when making the music?

I am known for liking bell patches, listening to Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Catamenia, and Eternal Tears of Sorrow, and you’ll hear what I mean. There is more of that on this record! One song in particular makes use of that sound for the bulk of the intro. I used that sound a little bit of The Druid King, but to a lesser degree on The Ruthless Divine. It is definitely making a comeback on this record, but at the same time, not overbearing.

Was there a collection of ideas that you had or did you have a really specific idea on the music?

The bulk of the ideas on this new record come from our guitar duo Gary Tarplee and Mark Miner. Gary in particular was churning out song idea after song idea throughout the pandemic, where Mark took his time putting together full song ideas. Vocalist Norman Skinner would take bits and pieces of Gary’s ideas to see what worked for him vocally, and that is how many of the songs came into fruition. Once those outlines were laid out we would jam them out as a group to get a clearer idea what would go on with the drums, bass, and keys. I would take my time figuring out what I was going to do in particular, because as a keyboardist there is so much I can do for a song. I can either hold down chords with a soft pad sound to give atmosphere, I could use a harpsichord, bell, piano, or hard synth to double or harmonize a melody, or even come up with my own melodic ideas to fill up an area. The list goes on.

How much time do you demand of yourself to focus on music?

This really depends on what part of my musical endeavor I am currently focused on. If we’re writing new music, that can be a process that takes months, and even then what is mostly accomplished is a rough draft. There are so many details that get ironed out in the final stages, even with the song arrangement. With that said though, on the first two Niviane records the keyboard parts were the last step added to the music, and that was right before the songs were ready to get mixed. During that time, I quickly listened to the songs and put together what I thought added the best kind of atmosphere to the song. With this new album however, I was there during the times each song was in development, heard each of the demos, and most importantly jammed them out. This allowed for more creativity to develop, which in turn resulted in more interesting keyboard parts.

Once all of that is done, then there has to be time dedicated to bringing those songs ready for the stage. With there being 11 songs on this new record, I try to perfect those songs in chunks. For example, 3 chucks of 4 songs (one those being 3), and really focusing on just those songs at just one time.

Do you have any tips or tricks for our audience on how to manage your time when it comes to making sure your music is on track for release?

This one is always hard to answer. For me it is best to really have a clear, planned out day, and proceed from there. Making sure that I accomplish everything that needs to get done before I even touch my instrument, or even my computer to access any of my music files. Once I actually am ready to be productive musically, I make sure I have a clear goal in mind for the time I have dedicated to music for that day. Whether it's practicing technique, getting a song ready to play live, or even recording a specific part. If I have multiple goals, I divide those throughout the week to accomplish after my regular day to day tasks.

Give us links and all to hear the music and follow you!

Here is a link to the media section on our website. Here you can find both of our albums that are available, as well as our official videos that can also be found on YouTube.

You can also find our music on Spotify:

Interview by Niviane Keyboardist: Aaron Robitsch

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