FemME Battle 2023: GALLIA

Can you tell us something about the name of the band? What does it mean and who came up with it?

Our band name Gallia is derived from the Dutch word ‘Galliër’, which translates to Gauers or Gaul. These are old names for the Celtic tribes that lived West of the European Alps before the Roman invasion in 50 BC. This area would later become Belgium and France, and since we’re a Belgian band, we thought this would be a great way to honor our roots. Gaul people excelled in sword-making and fighting, and their name was derived from the Celtic word ‘Galno’, which means strength. We also love bringing a great deal of power, battle and victory into our music. The founders of the band, Yannick and Laurens, came up with the name.

Can you tell us something about the history of the band? When is it established, are all the bandmembers still the same as when the band started?

Yannick and Laurens form the base of the band, they were best friends in high school where they started dreaming of starting a band together. They initially wanted to write a WOI album, but when vocalist Elyn joined in 2015 they switched to symphonic metal because it fit her voice better. Over time, Yannick’s songwriting also steered more towards fantasy and film music.  Drummer Ties joined in 2020 to replace our former drummer and really helped solidify the Gallia sound.

Please introduce us to the members of the band. Who are they and which instruments do they play? Do they have a musical background, etc. All the things you think are important or nice to know you can tell us.

Yannick is our guitarist and main writer. He has studied music and clarinet as a hobby, and took up guitar lessons during his teen years. In his early twenties he started writing music and following courses in orchestration and producing music. He has founded his own music production business, Maris Music, where he writes film scores and does music production for heavy genres.

Laurens started with electric guitar and then switched after 2 years to his second love (bass). He taught himself to play the bass in his teens and is now a crowd favorite with his extravagant stage presence.

Elyn is the vocalist of the band, she studied music and classical singing in the music academy in her teens, and has taken a lot of vocal classes in different genres ever since. She has also played in large musical productions such as The Sound of Music and Oliver!. As an indie singersongwriter she also writes and releases her songs under the name Elly Wild.

Ties is probably the most musically educated of the band. He grew up listening to Rammstein and developed an interest in drums. From the age of 4 he took private lessons for 7 years. He learnt music theory in the music academy after school. He studied at the Conservatory in Gent for 2 years and plays in a lot of bands, such as Kerbeross. He joined Gallia in 2020.

Who writes the songs? (lyrics and music).

Yannick Maris, our guitarist, is also our musical mastermind. He composes the orchestration and writes the guitar parts. Our drummer Ties then gets to work on writing the best possible drums for the songs. After that, our vocalist Elyn starts thinking out concepts for the songs, and she writes the lyrics as well as the vocal melodies. That’s how the writing process for Obscura went, but we don’t shy away from helping and inspiring each other.

Did you release some records so far. And if the answer is yes can you tell something about them (year of release, tittle, songs).

In 2019 we released our EP Everflame, where we combined 5 songs and their orchestral tracks. This EP can still be bought everywhere and it was wat really put us on the map as a band. You can really hear the development of Gallia as a band if you compare the EP to Obscura.

In 2022 we released Obscura, our first full length album. 12 original songs in the cinematic metalgenre. They tell a fantasy travel story that has also been captured in a book by the same name. This album has received incredible reviews and has really defined the Gallia sound and message.

Are you full time musicians or do you have other jobs also?

We all have jobs at the moment, being able to live on music alone would be great but it’s hard to get to that stage unfortunately. Elyn is a marketeer and social media manager, Yannick and Ties work in logistics and Laurens is doing a post-doctorate in Biochemics at the University of Leuven.

How would you call your music?

We call our music cinematic metal. In cinematic metal the orchestration takes another step forward compared to symphonic metal. The orchestration and choirs are written and produced as if they were film music. You can compare it to soundtracks of your favorite fantasy films, such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Narnia. Added to this extensive composition, are the guitars, drums and vocals, that bring the ‘metal’ back into it. We want our music to tell a story, to be a place to escape to and live out wild adventures. That is cinematic metal to us.

Are you influenced by other bands? And yes, which one(s)?

We are really inspired by film music, and great composers such as Hans Zimmer or Danny Elfman. We also look up to some great symphonic metal bands such as Nightwish, Epica, Xandria, Kamelot, Delain, Twilight Force, Blackbriar… There are so many elements to admire, from lyric writing to unique compositions and great orchestral work.

What was your most cool gig so far?

Probably the release show for our album Obscura in October 2022. As we organized it ourselves, we had a lot of creative freedom to go all out in telling the story along with the music. We combined a light show with video projection and props. The stage was big and the crowd was on fire. We have great memories of that night!

Is there a band you want to go on tour with? And why this band?

We’re open to work with any band as long as there is a creative match. But if we’re allowed to dream big, we would love to share the stage with some of greats, like Nightwish or Epica. To us, they are legendary and have inspired us so much, it would be an honor to work with them.

What do you think of FemME?

It’s an amazing festival to highlight the strong women in metal. It’s a niche that should be hyped up! The battles are also an incredible chance for small bands to take that next step and reach a larger audience. It’s hard to prove yourself if you don’t get opportunities, and that’s why it’s so important to create chances for smaller bands to also play at bigger stages.

Are you looking forward to come to the Finals?

We can’t wait! We really hope to win the hearts of the audience and jury and spread our message and music. We have some incredible competition who all deserve that spot in FemME, so the finale promises to be an amazing night with great bands.

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