For those who are unaware, Overdrive Music Magazine just passed its first birthday and we’ve already seen some changes, such as the new sleek design on our website, and to help celebrate the magazines first birthday Overdrive Touring is launching the Forge festival – Melbourne’s newest monthly heavy metal night. The night will feature live sets and covers by Valhalore, Witchgrinder, Trigger, and Triple Kill, as well as DJ’s playing your favourite metal tunes until late and competitions throughout the night with prizes for best corpse paint. It’s already set to be one hell of a night.

Recently I got to talk to Anthony Willis – guitarist and vocalist of Valhalore – about the upcoming Forge festival and I asked if Valhalore had anything special planned for the night to help celebrate Overdrive’s first birthday: “we absolutely do, we’ve got a few things under wraps right now; we’ve been a little bit quiet on our social media platforms, and that’s – I guess – it’s tactical because we really want to come out with a bang with some of the surprises we have for our fans and some of the surprises are pretty… I want to say ‘different’ but different in a really good way that I think people can really connect with” said Willis. Talking more about the importance of the Forge show, Willis mentioned: “and this show is really special for us, it’s aligned so perfectly with what we’re doing, it will be a really special night for anyone who’s fans of the band and anyone who wants to see a progression of the band, so it’s kind of like the stepping stone in a way, between all the other times that we’ve performed and I guess where our live show is heading towards, which is really cool and we’re all really excited about doing it.”

Moving on from the cryptic clues about what sort of surprises the band had in store for those attending the inaugural Forge show, we began talking about the bands recent shows and their trip to Japan in January earlier this year: “We did three shows over there; we played in Tokyo, we played in Osaka, and then we played in Nagoya […] and honestly the experience that we had, even though it was a very short tour, it was absolutely incredible” Willis went on to talk about the differences between playing in Japan compared to playing here in Australia: “the shows themselves, because we were playing with awesome bands like Ensiferum, Troll Fest, and Wind Rose, et cetera, there were some big crowds that turned out to these shows, and let me tell you, the culture of those shows when you compare them to shows in Australia… we love shows in Australia, but the shows in Japan, if you tell them to move, they will move, they were just so passionate about their music and it was really cool to see so many people coming in at the beginning of the show and then staying at the show for the entire night.”

While talking about the bands success, I asked whether the band ever saw themselves reaching such heights when they first started out, Willis said: “When you start off a band with folk metal, getting famous really isn’t one of your priorities – the love of the music is why you do it. We were six shows in when we were given that Eluveitie support spot and we just didn’t think something like that would ever happen for us because folk metal is so obscure and we weren’t doing it for the recognition or for those opportunities, we were just doing it because we really love folk metal, so when that opportunity happened, it opened a lot of other doors which subsequently lead to the Insomnium show and touring with Lagerstein, and even Japan.”

And of course, with touring comes great stories, so I asked if anything weird had happened on any of the tours or shows and Willis was delighted to share; ” well one that comes to mind – we were just out having dinner on the second night of the Japan tour, we had just played the Osaka show and we really wanted to go back and watch Ensiferum’s set, but we were all out for dinner, anyway things got a little bit crazy at the bars and for some reason all I remember about the night was that we were standing under a power pole and people were doing shots, like Lachlan (vocals/cello/mandolin/bodhran) and Lucas (guitars/vocals) were shotting soy sauce and it was just the most random memory but at the time it was so funny and so disgusting I’m sure they’ll love me bringing that up.”

We went on to discuss the band’s debut album ‘Voyage Into Eternity’, which celebrated its one year anniversary last month and the plans for a follow-up album, which Willis commented on: “We definitely have plans for a follow-up album but we have plans for stuff before that happens and both of those projects are kind of happening at the same time so it’s a bit of a juggling game at the moment – something very special is going to be announced very soon, fingers crossed hopefully within the next couple of months and the plan is to have it align with the Forge show and that’s why Forge will be a really awesome stepping stone for us. But album two is definitely underway, we have a heap of demos, most of the material is written and we just need to go and refine it and then it’s the process of recording it and finding enough money to make it happen.”

Overdrive’s Forge festival will be held at the Max Watt’s House of Music in Melbourne on the 14th of July.

Click HERE to view the event page.