Montreal outfit Valfreya has been at it for more than a decade, putting out folk metal mixed with elements of death and black metal. Building a strong fanbase over the years, guitarist and backing vocalist Daniel Simard talks with Metalhead Money about the bands goals and how they "make it work."
Tell our readers all about your band! Where are you from and when did you get started? What is your music like?
In 2009, vocalist Corinne Cardinal wanted to create a band that mixes the symphonic and orchestral parts of classical music, the festive and authentic parts of folk and Celtic music with the aggressive and energic parts of death / black metal. We're all from Montreal, Canada (and suburbs close to).
What are your goals for your band?
We went to go as far as we can with our music. So, continue releasing albums and ideally, tour the world.
What do you do for a living?
Jay is a drum teacher and Corinne is a singing teacher although she does quite a lot of other things on top of that. Maude is the manager of a music store, Anis works in insurances as well as teaching English courses online, Érik works in retail and I work in IT for a bank.
How do you balance your work and personal life with the band?
I allow some time to “band business” every week and we run some tasks to accomplish using Google Calendar to try and meet the deadlines we have or that we set for ourselves. Of course, from one week to another, the amount of time spent on work is pretty stable for the most part, but the one for personal life and music varies, depending on what needs to be done and how quickly for that specific week.
What do you consider to be the best investment you've made, music-wise?
Time is the BEST investment. Corinne and I have put a lot of time into writing music and managing the band. Time is money and we were not paid at all. All is not about money; music is a passion and it’s goes beyond money. We do not have the choice, anyway, because music unfortunately can’t provide.
What's the worst or least helpful thing you've ever spent money on as a musician/band?
Well, I used to try to upgrade my equipment little by little (which is not a bad thing in itself). But, at one point, I decided to instead save money and buy the best amp / guitar, etc... So, instead of spending on a $750 guitar, then $900, then $1200, etc... I stopped at $900 then saved-up to get my “top” guitar at like $2,000.00 plus. I actually stopped wasting money by doing that. It's easy to spend lots of money on a lot of gear, but it's not always easy to recognize what is really beneficial/necessary to what is just throwing your money out the window.
Soooooo.... how much was this guitar? :p
What kind of merch sells the best for your band? And what do you purchase most often as a music listener?
Definitely large t-shirts! I mean, our CDs are also doing pretty good, even though they're somehow getting more and more “obsolete” with the music streaming nowadays. But, there are still people out there wanting to open that booklet, look at the art and the lyrics, etc...
If you've been on tour, can you share some tour budgeting tips?
Well, when accepting a tour, you need to make sure you're getting paid enough every night to pay for gas and sleeping arrangements. Usually, we bring some sleeping bags and sleep on a floor somewhere at the promoter's house, to some fan's house, etc... We try to avoid having to pay for motels and hotels as much as we can as it can get expensive pretty quickly. Other than that, if you can bring a cooler and buy food from grocery stores instead of always eating at the restaurant, that's a good way to go as well. You can save quite a bit by doing this.
Which online music or social media platforms are most helpful to your band?
At the moment, that would have to be Facebook, I think. We pretty much share news from there all the time and of course, we also share-it to Instagram at the same time, but it pretty much starts with FB. We recently created an event for the release of our new video clip and invited tons of people and also did some publicity to try to hype it up and FB works well for that, as opposed to other platforms. Of course, it ain't perfect and there are plenty of annoying things as well, but it still works decently for our needs.
What does "making it" mean to you, and what do you think a band needs to make it in 2021?
It means ‘’Do It Yourself.’’ Do not wait for someone else to do things for you. Learn by yourself how to promote your band, how to get better at booking, etc. All the tools are on the internet. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.
Connect with Valfreya here: https://www.valfreyaofficial.com/
Photos and interview courtesy of Asher Media.
To learn more about budgeting, band finances, and more, order Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials in paperback and ebook formats: https://amzn.to/3lCsFdq
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