RavenzCraft Arts Interview with
We are Honored and Excited to get to talk with Angela-Kelly Antoniou/ of Hildr Valkyrie and learn more about her career as a solo musical artist, she has collaborated and worked with many other great artists creating a history of legendary Nordic themed and inspired music
1. First off I just want to thank and welcome you, It is always very interesting to get to know more about amazing creative artists like yourself,, For those of us who don’t already know, can you tell us where you are from, and a bit about your childhood, where you grew up?
I came from Hellas (Greece), with origin of half Cretan and half Peloponnesian. I grew up in Hellas with my family. As for my childhood, let’s go to my music memories when my grandfather understood that I had a music talent, (he was a violin player and my grandmother was as singer, both of Folk Cretan music) he was trying in his own way to learn me the basics since he was a self-taught musician as I am, I remember him teaching me the meters, 1-2-3-4 and 1-2-3-4. He was “pushing” me (for a child could think in the time that wants to play games with other children) to listen to Maria Callas, so to take good bases and start singing in the right way and tone.
I remember also the time, when he took me to a music shop to buy me my first keyboard, testing all the instruments to find the one with the better piano sound and wrote me to a local conservatory when I was 5 years old, but stopped me within few months after he realized that the voice of the piano teacher was out of tune and was afraid that this would harm my talent.
2. Can you tell us how you came up with and the story behind the name Hildr Valkyrie?
I will get straight to the point dear Tim, I am an Odinist, a Heathen, believer of the Old Faith, so when I wanted to find a name for my band, I wanted something really strong to present it so I chose the Valkyrie Hildr, Hildr means Battle, and for all of us and each one separately we faced a battle in our lives.
I have given an Oath to the Gods, to fight for them in any kind of way I can. My biggest “weapon” is my faith and music. When I write lyrics for Odhinn, Thor etc it is not for trend, it is my Hymns to the Gods and I do it with much will and care. A song is like a beacon that carries a message and can travel to any soil upon the earth, can touch the heart of the listener, and maybe, maybe to wake up their spirit and for us, to gain another warrior for this battle against monotheism.
I believe that all are happy with that, we are a family that the one supports the other in things we love to do, from my parents to my husband. One thing that I regret, is that my grandfather is not in life anymore, and he did not had the chance to see my first release as musician neither listen to it.
4.Can you share with us what music you listened to as a young child and teenager?, it seems a lot of our inspiration and creativity come out of these early years and play out to inspire other great music, is there anyone in particular that inspired your interest in the metal music genre?
Yes, indeed! When I was in the age of 11, when you start making your musical identity, I was listening to Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson, Scorpions, Guns and Roses, etc, music that it is way easy to listen to and find.
Later on, in the age of 13 I went to a school party and listened for the first time metal, the song was from Iron Maiden “The Number of the Beast” and it was the first time in my life that my whole body started to shiver, from that time and on, I am a faithful and devoted metal fan.
So, later on in the age of 16, I had the luck to touch and listen the first release of Falkenbach - ...en their medh riki fara... it was not mine, it was owned by an older friend of mine who I forced him to write it on tape to listen to it day and night as I had been addicted to this album! Back then there was not the term “Viking metal” and I only could explain this genre as Epic black metal when someone asked me what I was listening to; also I consider Vratyas Vakyas as my mentor too. The very first song I composed on my keyboards was the cover “Baldurs Tod” and send it to him, I got a very positive feedback for this cover, so I took strength by this and started to compose my own music.
5. So if you don’t mind me asking, where you always a follower of pagan traditions? I myself was born into a catholic family but never felt comfortable, and soon realized it wasn’t for me, was this the case for you as well?
Yes, of course, we are in the same level. I was also born in an orthodox x-stian family, but from my childish years I was tend to think that something was really wrong with this religion. I remember sitting with my grandmother asking her questions about and she couldn’t find a good answer to tell me.
Later on I was considering myself as agnostic till I found out about Odinism. In the very beginning I felt strange and alone, but this did not bother me at all, since I felt complete inside. You will ask me and logically, why not just Hellenism? And the answer is that in our schools (and this is caused because the state and the orthodox church are connected, mainly in Greece, the church is somehow the state) we learn that the Gods are… a fairytale, or (as now they present it) a dead religion, that Paganism or Hellenism is “satanic”, “evil”, and the only true god is the one of the x-stians, so if you take such bases you feel incomplete and that’s why I was tend to be an agnostic.
I remember myself in the age of 14 when we have to go to the police station to make our first ID, I was asked which was my religion and I said, that I do not belong to any kind of religion but if it is necessary to write it down, please add Hellenism, the answer I got from the police officer was that “if I add this kind of religion, in the future you won’t be able to find any job because they will think that you are a lunatic”, so, I let the police officer to add the x-stian religion with a black heart. It is not an easy task for me to read about Heathen Gods, as all the books are not written in my main language, so it is twice as hard, but the thirst is more..
6.So the name Hildr Valkyrie is obviously a Norse inspired name, do you have any favorite literature or stories from the eddas or mythology that you really enjoy? Any favorite deity, god or goddess you really connect with?
Yes, I do! One of them is the Orkneyinga saga which this one I have it in physical book as well, gifted by an Odinist Brother, my Brother Pinlighter, who is not in life anymore, but he is inside my heart and always will be! Hail!
I think it is very obvious! I am more connected with Odhinn, He is my Guider. There are so many things that I want to say, but for a reason I really can’t describe them by words, the connection I feel is higher than any kind of simple word that can be written.
7.So it seems you have traveled quite a bit for performances and other events, have you ever been to or performed in the U.S? if not do you ever plan to?
Unfortunately I live in a city, this means that it is very hard to be connected with the energies without having any interference, also it is the way of life that it doesn’t let me to considerate and clean my spirit as much often I want.
10. So I notice there was a slight break between your music creating career, did you need a break from everything or where you possibly deciding on a different career path? If you did what career would you be interested in?
Actually was not a brake as it comes to singing, in all these years of “silence” I kept the flame by singing for other bands as a session or guest, but, I admit, it was a “kind” of break from my one-woman band if you say so, because I gifted my time to our Oikos instead of Hildr Valkyrie. I can’t give all myself in two different things at the same time, so that’s why you recognized a long “brake” in-between the two albums.
11. I noticed you have collaborated and worked on many projects with a lot of great people, is their anyone out there today that you are interested in working with someday? and would you be open to collaborating again with someone in the future?
Yes, of course there is. My biggest dream as musician and singer is to sing one day for Falkenbach, but this is just fiction! Of course I am open for collaborations, this is my (how to express it) let’s say it a “reward”; it is the Honor I receive from other musicians who actually enjoy what I do and what to share their world with me, this is something really big and great if you get my point of view, I do not see it as a just collaboration, I see more than that! I see emotions, I see concerns, I see fears, I see other fantasy worlds, I see power, I see the flame within and the creators, let me to enter and share these all.
12. Can you tell us about your latest released album, how did it feel to come back and create again? Do you feel you have a different view or approach now?
Every time you create something it feels wonderful, either this is a draw, or a sculpture, or an article, a poem; it feels you have completed a goal, in my case speaking, this coming back for Hildr Valkyrie, is something that I wanted it pretty much! I wanted this album to be better than the first one and I think I succeed this aim. After all, time (my good friend) helped me to improve my skills in a level that I am very happy with for my standards. I am a self-taught musician as I mention before, and for persons like myself; to create and finish something from the world of ideas is twice remarkable.
This album has some new features, it contains lyrics in four different languages such as Ancient Hellenic, Icelandic, Norwegian and of course English. My session guitarist Jan twothousandarrows brought a new fresh sound to my composes, my sound producer Patric from WSL studio did his best to reveal the sound of Hildr Valkyrie, my sister Runahild gifted her voice skills to one song and she also wrote the Norwegian part of the lyrics for the album, and my husband helped me with his bright mind to complete and bring to life better and stronger lyrics than any other time!
13. So other then music do you have any other interests or hobbies? Traveling, hunting, hiking?
Oh, I wish I was lucky to travel, I love to see the Cultures, to see the Traditions and explore the treasures of our Europe or also to being close to nature to find time for a nice walk to the woods. Unfortunately I am a city child that works a lots of hours a day and such activities are prohibited.
As it comes to hunting I would never do that for fun since I respect any form of life upon this planet. Besides that, except the music I have several small activities that comes in the surface from time to time, such as drawing, knitting, sculpturing, making jewelry, but not all together and not at the same the time, just limited and just for my personal use.
Also with my husband and beloved friends we run an organization under the name of Thyrsos – Oikos of Ethnikoi Hellenes, in which members and friends organize and have active practice by having Rites to the Gods, we have done as far European meetings with other members of Heathen organizations, we have presented Hellenism within European Heathenism to other countries, street activities such as raising banners and protest, also we run online publications that has to do with Heathenism in all its forms.
14. So this is sort of a bucket list question, If you had 1 day where you could have and do whatever you wanted, what would some of those things be? Any specific places you would like to travel or things you want to experience in your life?
That’s exactly what it came to my mind while I was reading this question, yes, one of my dreams is to step my feet to Norway, to smell the air, to touch its ground, to taste its water, to listen the breeze, to get warm by its fire and let the pure nature of Norway to heal my soul.
15. This last question is open for you to say or mention anything you may want to all the fans and followers out there, any advice from your personal experiences to other upcoming artists like yourself?
First of all I would like to thank you from the bottoms of my heart for this excellent interview Tim!
It is not a cliché but the true honor for an artist comes from the devotion of those who embrace the art created. To all the hordes out here… Raise the Horns!
My advice for the upcoming artists; Just follow your dreams, be the one you want to be even if you are not perfect, with work everything will turn out pretty better, have faith in you, but don’t except to earn your living from music, this it might take years or never come.
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