Discover more from Volatile Weekly
Interview with Niviane
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.
Interview Answered by Niviane guitarist Mark Miner.
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Mark: When I was really young my grandfather played guitar and my grandmother played piano. I don’t come from a big musical family but I always remember them playing at family get together and such. As I got older I discovered bands like Kiss and Van Halen. I didn’t start playing guitar until my sophomore year in high school. By then it was AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ozzy. No clue what route I would’ve taken in life if it wasn’t for music. It’s always been my first love.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Mark: I think my only true hobby is cooking. I think there’s a connection between musicians and people who like to cook. It’s all about creativity and presentation.
How long has music been your career?
Mark: Started playing clubs in my early 20s. I’ve been fortunate that I have made a living as a guitar instructor for about 20 years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Mark: The band was originally composed of half its members in the Sacramento area and the other in the Bay Area. Even when we first started I think we’re much more influenced by the Bay Area metal scene. They actually have one there. There’s a lot of camaraderie and very talented musicians that have historically come out of the San Francisco/Bay Area.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Mark: For me personally it was our first tour in 2018 when we went out with Sirenia. It was like this whole new adventure for us. It made us stronger as a band and as band mates. My personal best shows were on our 2021 tour when we went out as main support with Soulfly. This was right after the pandemic had started to lighten up and bands started touring again. I honestly don’t have any worst gig memories.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Mark: The last tour I absolutely fell in love with the East Coast. I always wanted to visit New York and thanks to music, that dream came true. Playing the Gramercy Theater in NYC was awesome. A bit of a logistical nightmare but totally worth it. Touring Europe is the goal. Everyone we know in the industry and reviews we’ve gotten all over the world have said we would go over very well there. To play places like Sweden Rock, Hellfest, Bloodstock and of course Waken would be the ultimate.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Mark: Iron Maiden, Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Avatar and us. That obviously would be the ultimate dream festival gig.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Mark: Play music you’re passionate about with people you can trust and enjoy being around. Don’t follow trends. Don’t listen to the negative, but don’t let the positive go to your head. Practice your instrument every day. Take lessons and don’t always turn to the Internet for answers. Go out there and live it. Be passionate and be disciplined. Stay the course.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Mark: I wouldn’t change much but studying music at Berklee would really be the only thing I would go back and change.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Mark: That’s like trying to say which one of your kids is the favorite.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Mark: We have done videos for “The Berserker” from our first album and “Fires in the Sky” from The Ruthless Divine album. Both of those are sort of staples and I think people expect to hear them. There’s a brand new song on the new album we are recording now called “Under Black Flags” that we tried out on tour. It’s very dynamic and absolutely crushing.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
Mark: I honestly come up with melodies first and then some sort of riff. We all have home studios which are great to catalog inspiration as inspiration strikes. Sometimes it just comes naturally. Those seem to always be the best songs.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Mark: heavy riffs, good musicianship yet with dynamics and melody.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Mark: Very rarely. Everybody has value in their creativity. Everybody understands not all of their ideas are always going to become a song or make it on an album. We’ve always been pretty democratic like that. As long as it fits stylistically in what we have done historically and evolving moving forward, everyone’s input and ideas are considered even if they don’t make the cut in the end.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Mark: The most important is to simply keep moving forward. Keep playing, stay creative and continue to build an audience. The third album is about 80% done. It’s definitely the best we’ve ever done. I think we hit our stride which is pretty common after a band has been together a few years, line up changes, played a ton of shows and toured. We are hopeful that the new album will drop and be well received somewhere spring 2023. Goals are to land a significant tour, preferably overseas. We shall see!
Social Media to include: