In these times of uncertainty, it’s no secret that bands have been hit by it hard. Cancelled or postponed tours being the major drawback. One of the bands that postponed their tour was VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. At the beginning of lockdown, Lotty Whittingham spoke to VOA vocalist Clémentine Delauney about how she is personally coping with lockdown, some advice to pass on to others and their special gift to their fans.
So, Clementine how are you today?
I am good thank you, I am having quite a nice time being in quarantine in the countryside. So, I can go out as much as I can and the weather is lovely here. I spare a thought to those having to spend that locked in an apartment. I am very lucky.
What have you been doing during lockdown?
I can still work from home so I have been keeping track with my day job. I have a bit more time to work on my self development, music and learning new skills. Also doing work outs outdoors so it’s been full of activities and I have been very busy.
I feel like the entire rhythm has slowed down in some aspects which has been really enjoyable and not having to take public transport everyday. It’s also been nice to sleep in a little bit longer. It’s a great time to take care of ourselves.
So you recently released a video for an acoustic version of Nothing Lasts Forever. Was this something you have planned for a little while or was it a recent decision?
We had the idea since the day we had to cancel our US tour and we faced a dramatic financial situation. We decided to put a campaign together and ask our fans for support. When we saw how much the people were responding to that and how fast we reached our goal, we decided that we needed to do something as a band to thank our fans.
So that video was an idea that our bass player had when we were at the airport to fly back from Mexico. He said “let’s make it from our homes, let’s make a video and do it together to thank the fans”. As soon as we arrived back home, we recorded our parts separately for that song, we did the videos in our own environments and edited those together. So it was really a home-made quarantine video that was made for the purpose we wanted, which was to thank our fans for their help and support.
Have you got some advice you would like to give about coping techniques you have learnt during lockdown?
I think everything that happens to us in our lives is neutral and it’s the reaction to the event that colours it into something positive or negative. If I focused on the fact that our tours got cancelled and postponed, that our US tour may not happen, not being able to see my friends and wondering when it’s going to end then I turn this period into something dramatic and negative. I can’t see the positive outcome of that.
On the other hand, if I accept the situation as something that is out of our control because I think we would loose so much energy fighting something we can’t do anything about. If we instead; we sit back, relax and think “OK there is nothing I can do. I have to stay home, limit my interactions, I can’t work as much and I may have financial issues but this is something different.” I have more time. There are two things of value that you can give away to get things in life, you can give money to anything or you give it time.
Right now, we are given time to do whatever we want as a person. To me, it’ taking this opportunity to really slow down and reflect on the lives we live. Are we happy with the way we were living so far? What are the things we need on a daily basis to be happy? What are the things we need to do more of? How do we want to live when this is all over? What matters and what we take for granted.
There will be two types of people during this. Ones who take it for self pity, spending this time doing nothing and dwell in their own negativity. Whereas there will be others who take advantage to learn new skills and work on themselves. Once this is over, I think those that took this opportunity to work on themselves will be ahead of the others and I hope that most people know that there is so much to gain from looking at this opportunity that this is given to us.
Going back to workouts, what ones have you been doing?
I like to stay strong and feel fit so I balance between cardio from special videos on YouTube or on apps. It was thanks to those YouTube videos I started to feel fit, I needed something to help me get fit as I had been sitting at the computer and hadn’t done anything like that for years. So I needed to get my body back into shape. So there is an amazing library on YouTube of workout videos.
I also have a couple of applications when I want to try yoga, that’s the second activity I do. You can do this one on your own, you don’t need specialist gym equipment for it as you only need a mat. I do this outdoors.
I switch between those two so I have a full approach of stretching, resting, strength and flexibility. I enjoy that and I think it’s enough, even when you’re in a flat. Friends of mine put their workouts in their stories, they have a mat and they do any kind of physical exercise in their small flats and it works. Once you start getting this back into your routine on a weekly basis, it’s enough and you don’t have to beat yourself up. You don’t have to work out every day, as long as it’s regular and it’s something you are doing for yourself then that’s good and you’ll be happy about it.
I think it’s also a good time period to figure out what exercises people enjoy doing to get fit and stick with it after lockdown. What new things have you been trying?
I have a felt a strong calling for water colour painting since before Christmas because I requested some material as a gift. During lockdown before I go to bed, I spend two hours practising this and enjoy it a lot. I enjoy working with colours and water, it’s beautiful. It’s inspiring and there are so many possibilities and options are infinite. I wanted to develop that skillset and I am very happy to have the time to do that.
Perhaps you can use those skills to create the next album cover.
I sent our band leader a couple of drawings and I said to him “maybe in two years, I will have the skills to paint our album cover artwork.” At the moment, it’s early days and I don’t want him to have the pressure to think that I have to do it. We’ll see. I might develop some visuals, drawings and prints for Visions Of Atlantis universe. We will be opening an online store soon so this could be something as people have requested it.
Sadly your tours had to be postponed and cancelled. Am I correct in thinking you managed to perform a few perform a few shows before the tour was cancelled?
We managed to perform five shows out of thirteen. So, it was already great because it was our first time in the US in like fifteen years. Visions Of Atlantis have been to the US before, but for me it was my very first time. It was amazing as we were playing with DragonForce and Unleash The Archers so we were playing in front of sold out venues every night, from eight hundred to two thousand people cap so it was amazing. The response of the American audiences was grand and unexpected, they are so enthusiastic and they really loved the entire package. We faced success there, we could people were waiting for us and we saw the response at our merch booth as well and it would have been a successful tour for us if we had the chance to perform it until the end. I guess this will not be our last time in the US.
There were people who had never seen us live but who got to hear about us through the Internet and we do have a lot of American followers, it’s the second territory that follow us on Instagram. It’s before Europe. We do have a big fan base there so we can’t wait to come back, to meet with them and to conquer even more hearts.
The tour is to promote your latest album Wanderers, so which songs from that album went down with the crowds best?
I would say mostly all the singles we had released; Heroes Of The Dawn, A Journey To Remember and Nothing Lasts Forever. The opening track Release My Symphony is one of people’s favourites as well because it’s a longer track with more things going on. These are the main ones. Also Wanderers is the ballad we have been playing live the most, people like that one very much.
When we asked our fans what their favourite songs were a couple of months after the album release, those songs came up the most but a lot was said it was hard to choose. I think it’s because our album was genius in terms of quality and the song-writing. Each song had it’s own atmosphere.
Which songs did you enjoy performing the most?
That’s also a tricky question for me because they all have something special since I wrote all the lyrics, I really mean everything that I sing everytime. So it makes it more special. I would say there is a lot of energy in A Journey To Remember, it’s an uptempo song about grasping our chance and going onto that journey towards becoming the happiest people we could be. This entire album has been a pleasure to make and a pleasure to perform live. The Siren And The Sailor is not a single but Michael and I love to play the characters on stage with that one.
Once we get out of lockdown, what are your plans for yourself and the band?
With me personally, I would like to catch up with my friends and go for a drink. I understand the bars in France will remain closed for a little while because they are saying there is no way we can get out from one day to another. Even if the schools were re-opened in September, they won’t allow so much gatherings. So shows, bars and entertainment may remain shut for a little while.
When it comes to the band, we shall go on tour in September; the postponed tour from April. We really hope that this one can happen and we hope that quarantine won’t go on for too long. Even though some people say that it might take longer than planned. We will see. Playing shows is something we miss the most.
Thank you very much for speaking to Rock Out Stand Out today.