Influences and Essentials: VESSELES

Symphonic black metal project VESSELES has released its debut EP, I Am a Demon. Project founder Valira comments, “I Am a Demon goes through the transformation of my identity. It flows from self hatred, to release, ritual and thus transformation, closing on the disconnect between soul and body. Musically there are elements of decay illustrated by a gradual increase in dissonance and unexpected change alongside black metal tropes.”

On the importance of the new project, Valira continues, “Music, in general, has meant a lot to me for many years but this project is on a different level in terms of purpose. I have never had such a strong emotional response to my own music.”

Valira tells us her biggest influences and the essential songs of Vesseles to listen to.


EVANESCENCE: “Farther Away”

This song and video will always have a special place in my heart. I used to watch and listen to this constantly in high school. In all its low resolution glory, it still evokes the same feelings, drive, and emotion it did since day one. Something about the raw, heavy emotion just makes me want to explode.

PVRIS: “Half”

I never knew I could actually relate to any lyrics. For so many years, I had just listened to music for the music. PVRIS was the first band I found that had actually written songs that made me feel heard. This song especially will always turn me into a pile of mush. I’ve literally cried at every PVRIS show I’ve been to, and it is the most cathartic and amazing experience.

CRADLE OF FILTH: “Saffron’s Curse”

Hello, high school me. I was so absorbed in the concept of feeling “evil,” and this song always made me feel so damn good. Cradle of Filth is certainly a huge influence on my writing as well, because I listened to this album extensively. Coming back to it elicits so many old and familiar feelings. What a fantastic song.

OLD MAN’S CHILD: “Enslaved and Condemned”

I love the entirety of Vermin, so choosing one song is quite difficult. Regardless, this is a great one. This entire album was a huge influence on my writing. I adore the atmosphere in these songs so much.

EVANESCENCE: Your Star (Live)

“Your Star” is my favorite Evanescence song of all time. Their music in general is the biggest influence on my writing (and the whole reason I even write music), but the build up of this song is something that still influences me today. Thanks for making me such a sucker for epic outros. Also, I chose live because this song goes harder live, especially once Will Hunt (drummer) joined the band. 


Sure, this was my previous band, but this material is something I will more than likely be proud of for the rest of my life. It’s funny to say, but this album is actually inspiring me for the next Vesseles release, so take that as you will. 



This song was the most challenging to write since I wanted to capture what dysphoria felt like sonically, lyrically, and visually. With those challenges, I believe the result is as close to perfect as I could have gotten. When I first saw the music video for this track, I cried because I could feel exactly what I had felt when I had first finished writing this song—identity dysphoria. 


This track shows another side of my writing that I wanted to bring out with this EP. I adore sad piano music and listen to it quite often, so it only made sense to also write some sad piano music for this EP. 

Vesseles Rituale”

Remember earlier how I said I’m a sucker for epic outros? Well, this song is one of those examples of creation greatly inspired by the previously mentioned “Your Star.” I hired a choir for the ending, and it really added a new level of big and epic that made me fall in love with this song all over again.

I Am a Demon”

It’s only respectful to bring in the title track for many reasons. I wrote this song first, well before I knew what to do with it, but it ultimately inspired the rest of the material and the project itself. It’s also important to bring in this song, because, lyrically, it’s the whole reason this project exists. I had been struggling for years with my identity. The concept of “coming out” to people felt so terrifying and far away from what I could handle. I consider this project and this song especially my “coming out” to the world song, so I want to share it with pride.