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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Interview by Vard Aman
In reality, they come from Novosibirsk in the South Western corner of Siberia. In reality, they are a recently formed group of extremely talented musicians who have just released their debut album, called “Carnival of Illusions”. In reality, they play technical Symphonic / Dramatic Metal, and they play it very well indeed! But there is more to Wizardmask than just “reality”, and when you enter the “Carnival of Illusions” you will discover a vast world that they have created: “Here live the dreams. Here languish the hidden wishes. Everything you can keep in your mind is possible here…” I spoke to one of the creators of this fantasy world, Wizardmask’s diva Svetlana Sokolova.
Hello Svetlana, and welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! I understand this is your first interview, we are honoured!
Hello Femme Metal Webzine! I’m glad to be your virtual guest today and give you my first interview! Thanks for making it possible!
You have recently created something that very complex and very powerful. Take us through the creation of Wizardmask?
Wizardmask is a band created by two fantasists: Sergey Amelchenko (music, guitar, conception) and me, Svetlana Diva Sokolova (lyrics, vocal, conception, design). The idea of creating a rock band had come to us long time ago. For many years each of us had been making a beautiful music, which was like missing something, until we decided to write a song together. It was “Marine” composition – the first song which we had made together. The song was done almost in one moment, as if it was waiting for its time to come, and we realized that we can do more. Therefore our debut album “Carnival of Illusions” appeared. The album was released in winter 2011. Official release in Internet was on 1st of April 2012.
Who is in Wizardmask? Have you played in any bands before?
At the moment group consists of 4 people: Sergey Amelchenko (music, guitar, conception), Svetlana Diva Sokolova (lyrics, vocal, conception), Valeriy Fomin (drums) and Ilya Dubrovskiy (bass). Our drummer Valeriy is the only one of us who had performed with other bands before Wizardmask. He’s one of the most talented people of our city, very experienced and professional drummer, who took part in many authors and commercial Siberian musical projects. Other members didn’t have any experience of playing in serious projects, Wizardmask for us is the first experience of playing in serious band.
What is the story behind the name Wizardmask?
As you can see, Wizardmask consists of two words: Wizard and Mask. Wizard and Mask are generalized characters, parts of every creative personality. One of them is creative, fragile, delicate, sensitive, looking at the world in its own way and expressing it in its art. On the contrary, the other one is strong, vivid, energetic, strong-willed, it is able to knock down every barrier, break all stereotypes, create and destroy. Both parts individually are unstable and are in need of each other, when they are in balance, the real magic is born – the art. I think that every creative person has both such parts, some have more of one part, some of the other. What music is born depends on what part is dominant.
How would you define “Dramatic Metal”?
We play in Sympho/Dramatic Metal style. The prefix “Dramatic” shows the sonic picturing of our compositions and its theatricality. We’re trying to create not merely good music, our goal is to create a valuable independent image in a listener’s mind. In this style, as in no other, the ties between melody, arrangement and lyrics is important, no single part can exist without the others. It is very important to hear what exactly I am singing about, telling about, what role I am playing at the moment. In Wizardmask art we make use of synthetic approach to creation of compositions – confluence and freedom, lack of exact regular forms, our compositions are unpredictable in their development, this makes them even more interesting. Every piece of work is a little performance, a fairytale, a sonic picturing story, a scene played by roles, and not only by vocal parts but by all instruments. If you listen to our music carefully, you will feel it and maybe even see it inside you…
Your songwriting style is very technical and detailed on “Carnival of Illusions” and included an orchestra. Tell us a little bit about the songwriting itself and the recording process.
Sergey is writing songs for Wizardmask, thinking over every detail in the sound and the form of composition. Together we contemplate on what the song is really about and what arrangement it should have. Then I think up the vocals line, write vocalization, supporting voices, some melodic turns, I breathe meaning into songs and write lyrics. Sergey makes most of arrangements himself, but in some cases we ask for help from bigger professionals. As you can see in “Carnival of Illusions”, almost in every song there is an orchestra, this is the work of our close friend, Honoured Artist of Russia Vitaliy Vdovin. It should be noted that writing an orchestration part over rock music is a very difficult and scrupulous process, many nuances should be followed. It’s not enough just to write a nice orchestration part, it must be written professionally, without any errors in voice-leading and harmony, it’s an unbelievably difficult toil and it can be done only by an experienced and talented person. Vitaliy has done that brilliantly, he has breathed true symphonic world into our project. It was an important experience for us. We are satisfied with the results. Instruments and vocals were recorded in Novosibirsk studios and Mixing & Mastering was done in the northern capital – St. Petersburg.
What is the theme tying the songs on “Carnival of Illusions” together?
“Carnival of Illusions” is a special place inside every person, it’s the world of mysteries, fantasies and hidden wishes, the world of magic. Spirit of fairytales and dark beauty is running through every song. These are the songs about human’s hearts secrets, about dreams that wait for their hour, about ancient gods, about sins and doubts.
How does your music translate live? Do you play live or make shows often? What is the audience reaction to Wizardmask?
The group has been completed quite recently, and at the moment we have played not very many live concerts. But it should be noted that every new concert of ours is an experiment on our part. Costumes, make-up, stage behaviour, interaction with the public… You understand, right? ;)) In future we want to develop the visual part of our performances and to accentuate our theatricality even more, using decorations, inviting dancers, light specialists and much more. It’s quite expensive, but always interesting. People react well to us. We are open and sincere in our art and I think that everybody who comes to listen to us feels it. Our performances are like our revelation to the listeners, it’s like our friends coming to our house, sitting by a big fireplace and listening to our mysterious fairytales.
What is next for Wizardmask? What are the group’s plans?
We are planning not to stop now but to move on! To perform, to do active advertisement in Internet. We want to tell everybody about us. Also we want to perform a solo concert and to record another album, we have already started to work on it. We are constantly working on new music, and in a year we are going to release a second album, I hope the starts form up right and all our intentions will be realized.
How do your new songs compared with the songs on “Carnival of Illusions” so far? What can we expect from the next album, or is it too early to tell?
It’s too soon to talk about new songs, we don’t want to tell all our secrets. We can only say, that new songs will be “older” and much more interesting. The experience received helps us to develop our work and to open the specifics of our style and presentation of compositions.
What is the Metal scene like in Novosibirsk?
In Novosibirsk there are very qualified bands of different genres of Metal. But unfortunately the very industry of hard rock concerts is poorly developed. There are few scenes suitable for hard sound. Most of such concerts usually are organized in summer at various open-air festivals.
Tell us a bit more about Novosibirsk and what it’s like living there.
Novosibirsk is quite a big city, not so big as New York, of course ;-)) But big enough. There are many sights and monuments. The city is developing intensively in trading terms, growing dynamically, every year a huge number of hypermarkets and business centres are opened, the city is increasing its speed and rhythm of life, fully becoming a megapolis. In the centre of the city there are many cars, hurrying people, while closer to its outskirts, on the contrary, it’s calm and soothing.
When most people hear the word “Siberia” they immediatly think “very cold”. But Siberia is a big place and Novosibirsk is in the southwest. Does it get very cold there?
Sometimes it is very cold, temperature goes below -40 C . This weather usually begins in the end of January and lasts for 3 weeks - this time is called “hard frosts”. It is hard to get used to it, but that’s the Siberian winter - sometimes it can be so harsh! fur coats, fur boots and metro are saving us, because cars may not always start in such a weather. ))))
What do you do apart from the Wizardmask project?
I like classical music, so me and Sergey frequently go to theatres to watch performances and ballets. Often we relax out of town at our beautiful summer cottage. We go in for sports. We work in Design Studio (This is yet another joint project of ours). But Wizardmask art occupies most of our time. We are constantly creating something, carrying a dictaphone with us and recording each and every thought and melody that comes into our head. We are always in pursuit.
Thanks for talking to us Svetlana! You can be sure that we’re going to follow the Wizardmask’s progress very closely in the future!
Thank you for taking interest in our work and for giving us this wonderful opportunity to tell your readers about our project.
Interview by Robin Stryker
Hailing from Norway, gothic metal band Where Angels Fall breaks out of the mould with electronic elements, groovy guitar riffs, and rock-inflected tracks. Femme Metal sat down with vocalist Eirin Bendigtsen to find out more about the history and future of Where Angels Fall.
Hello Eirin, and welcome to Femme Metal! Would you start off by introducing the members of Where Angels Fall and telling us a bit about the band’s history?
Hi! Where Angels Fall is André Bendigtsen, guitar and programming, Kristian Svenning, guitar, Espen Lohne, bass, Jarle “Uruz” Byberg, drums, and myself, singing. We started as a band in 2004. Back then, we had another drummer and Kristian was the bass player. In the beginning, we were very inspired by classical music and vocal music from the Middle Ages. Now we have a more electronic and rock-inspired sound.
What are the best and worst things about being married to a fellow band member? Could you imagine sharing your life with someone who is not also passionate about music?
I think the best part is that we are having a project together and share a lot of good experiences. I think the worst part is that it is easier to get annoyed/get angry at your partner than with the other members of the band. I think that it would be really strange to live with someone who is not interested in music. I see a lot of musicians who have to work hard with their relationships if their partner doesn’t share a passion for music. Being a member of a band consumes a lot of time, energy and money and you often have to use vacation days to do concerts. It is not easy to be the “musician-widow” sitting at home at weekends, while the partner is out with the band.
As I understand it, you were the bass player in a number of bands before joining Where Angels Fall as the lead vocalist. Why did you make the switch?
I made the switch because I found that I enjoyed singing much more than playing and that it is easier for me to use my voice to channel out my musical feelings. It was also strange for me to have other people singing my songs. It was OK, but I always felt that other vocalists made the songs different.
Does your background playing the clarinet and bass affect how you approach writing songs?
I think that playing bass has affected the way I write music. Before, I often used to start with the bass when I made a new song for a band. I don’t think that me playing the clarinet has made too much impact on the songwriting but I have some basic theory and training in composing music. That is often affecting the way I think when I make the choirs and instrumental parts for WAF.
The first thing that grabbed my attention with the “Marionettes” album was the lovely cover art of an angel dangling from a puppet-master’s hand as she tries to bite through the strings holding her. Please tell us more about the creator and idea behind the artwork.
The artist that made the painting for us, is a painter/coverartist from Belgium called Helcanen. We made sort of a competition on MySpace to get someone to draw or paint for us. We got a lot of good proposals, but Helcanen had something special. We had a process of mailing ideas back and forth. We wanted the cover to reflect the basic idea of the album; that we humans somehow are marionettes in this society. Although we have a free will, we are trained/socialized to be the way we are expected to be. The message is that we don’t have to. It is possible to think outside the box.
For those who have not yet heard “Marionettes”, can you describe the album’s sound?
The album is sounding like a mix of groovy guitar riffs, electronica, drumming from someone who has been playing black metal for years, classical influence, choirs,and a female voice. Some say it is sounding “angelic” but I think I disagree, it is sounding more alternative rock/metal.
In what ways has the music of Where Angels Fall evolved since its earlier EP “Dies Irae” and full-length album “Illuminate”?
I think the music has evolved to a more rock and electronic sound. “Dies Irae” and “Illuminate” was more pronounced classical sounding, as the songs were composed in a more classical/traditional way. After “Illuminate”, we started to experiment a lot more, trying out new approaches to songwriting, trying out other sounds. Some of the new songs after “Marionettes” are a lot harder than anything we have done before, and other songs are more like glossy eighties-sounding. ;-)
Where Angels Fall uses Latin from Catholic liturgies on a few of the tracks. Why do Latin passages appeal to you as a songwriter?
I think it has something to do with the veil of mystery that colours the lyrics when we use the Latin liturgy. I also find the content of the liturgy we have chosen, to be meaningful for people who live today. I have made my own interpretation of the Latin parts.
Unlike the two earlier discs which were released by Edgerunner Music, the band self-released “Marionettes”. Was the do-it-yourself route a good experience?
It was a lot of work, and we have learned a lot from this experience. It is risky to self-release in terms of money.
The band chose “Female Stigma” as its first music video. Are the lyrics “work twice as hard as, be twice as smart as, sing twice as good as” based on your own experience as a woman in the mostly-male world of metal?
Congratulations on your recent single “Indifferent”! Is a new album in the works?
Thank you! Yes, we are working on a new album, but I am not sure when we can release it.
Where Angels Fall toured this Spring with Theatre of Tragedy, on what may be its last major European tour before calling it quits on 2 October 2010. What were the most memorable parts of the tour?
There were a lot of memorable parts of this tour. They are really great and nice people. They treated us very well. We had a lot of fun! Most of the concerts was a really great experience.
What does the rest of 2010 look like for Where Angels Fall?
The rest of 2010 looks like recording, I think.
Thank you so much for talking with us today, Eirin! Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?
Thank you for this great interview! If you haven’t heard any of our songs, please go to www.whereangelsfall.com and check out the soundclips there! :-)
Interview by Tony Cannella
I have interviewed Doro Pesch countless times and she always remains one of the nicest and coolest people to talk to. Her passion and enthusiasm is apparent and what is also obvious is her genuine love for her fans. As she gets ready for another North American jaunt that begins on March 20th in Philadelphia, PA, she was kind enough to take a few moments to discuss her tour and other things.
Hi Doro! The tour begins this week (March 20th). What can fans expect when they come out to see you?
We are going into rehearsal tomorrow and I want to of course get all of the classics in like, “All We Are” and “True as Steel” and play a couple of songs off records that we very much like - all the highlights off each record. I will always play according to the fans, I want every show to be different and I want to feel it out like whatever the fans want to hear. If they want to hear more heavy stuff than I’ll play more of the heavy stuff, if they want to hear more anthems than we will put in more anthems, if they want to hear more headbanging, double bass stuff than we will do this. In the encore, they can call out songs they would like to hear and we will try to prepare everything and make it interactive. We want to do a killer, high energy show. I just got to New York on Thursday and yesterday I went to the Iron Maiden show at the Meadowlands in New Jersey and I talked to so many fans there and they are all coming to the shows in the New York area. Touring America is always super, super special and I want to make it special in every way.
So the set list is always going to be changing then?
Yes, every day it will be slightly changing, according to the vibe, to the people and to always keep it fresh. Sometimes some people travel to many different shows and the fans always have something to get excited about and to look forward to. It is not exactly the same every day and it will definitely be a good mix from the Warlock songs and the Doro songs. It will definitely be very special.
Have you ever thought about adding some of the songs from albums that were never released in America?
Yeah, actually we are going to put in a couple of songs and one of the favorite songs from the fans seems to be “Love Me in Black”. They call it out usually in the encores and I was so amazed because the “Love Me in Black” album never came out in the states. I’m so glad that the die hard fans are very familiar with even the songs that didn’t come out in America.
You came out with the EP “All We Are - The Fight”. Tell us a little about that.
It was for a very good friend of mine Regina Halmich. She is the 12 year women’s boxing champion. She had a special fight, it was against a guy and she asked me if I would play a classic like “All We Are” and I said OK. We played a little bit different version, we played it live and it was broadcast on TV - in front of like 10 million viewers. After it was broadcast, so many people called the radio stations and the record company called the fan club and said, “Wow, we love it and can we get it?” and some people didn’t even know the song, some people were not metal fans and they loved it. The record company said “OK, let’s release it”, I put in some songs which people who know “All We Are” would be happy to hear some other material on it. There are like five videos on it and four other songs. So I thought it is good to have another single out or an EP.
When you played the song live on TV, you had some special guest musicians with you. Who were they?
It was Schmier from Destruction the bass player and Bas Maas from After Forever was the guitar player. It was just because it was very short notice and Regina called me a couple of days before. At first the plan was that I would sing it alone and then I thought that I would like to invite some friends of mine if I can’t have the band over. Schmier is a very good guy and I just did something for his album (“Inventor of Evil”), “The Alliance of Hellhoundz”. So I called Schmier up and he said he would love to do it. It was such short notice, otherwise the band would have been there.
You also performed a duet (“Who I Am”) with Floor Jansen on the last After Forever album. How did that come about?
I met Bas from After Forever many years ago on a promotion tour in Belgium. We also did a South American tour together in Brazil and in Mexico we played together. It was really, really great and we all got along. I love Floor. I think she’s a fantastic singer and I always wanted to do something with another female singer. They called me up and said they have a great song and I listened to it, I loved it and then we did it. I think it came out really good. I was very pleased when I heard it.
Is it flattering to be asked to be on other artists albums?
It’s always a big honor when other people ask. Yeah, I love to do it, It’s always extra special. Every time I have done collaborations I was really happy to do it and It always came out really good. It’s very nice when people ask.
I wanted to ask you about the “20 Years a Warrior Soul” DVD. It’s one of the best music DVD’s I have seen in quite awhile. Tell us a little about that.
We took so long (to put it out) because the concert now is a few years ago but we had to clear all the rights. We wanted to not only put out the concert but we wanted to make a little tour movie as well, so we just put on the best stuff from the “Warrior Soul” tour. There is stuff on there from all over the world, from Russia, Germany, Spain, so we thought then let’s do a double DVD. I always like to put as much on it that I think the fans will find interesting.
The packaging was great as well.
I love good packaging with great artwork.
I think the fans can see that too. They really appreciate the fact that you always take care of them.
Yeah Tony, as you know, I only do it for the fans. Every single day the fans are in the back of my mind and I hope I can make them happy. I get inspiration from the fans. They’re the most important thing in the world to me. I always think that I have to do extra, extra good and put as much good stuff on the DVD or CD. Sometimes it’s hard, because with the record companies the more you put on the more expensive the production gets.
You are going to do a 25th anniversary show in Germany in December. Tell us about that.
I’m getting really excited for it. We want to do a couple of shows all over the world, but the first one will be in Germany in my hometown Dusseldorf. I want to invite some great bands, many, many special guests. We are just talking to some bands, nobody is confirmed yet except Leaves’ Eyes. We have a great big metal market where people can go and check out new stuff. We want to do a great stage show with many, many surprises.
Will there be another Warlock reunion at the 25th anniversary show?
We are in the middle of talking about it. It’s a possibility.
Are you working on new music?
Yes, I’m working on the new record. The song writing is going really well and I have tons of ideas. I got so inspired by all the touring experiences. After the American tour I want to go back to songwriting and then go back to the studio and record it. Probably put out the first single or EP later this year, before the 25th anniversary concert and then the new record maybe in December or January. It depends. I don’t want to put the pressure on me that I have to have it done for the 25th anniversary, but I definitely want to have an EP out where I can present some new songs. I have some collaborations in the making, which I think the fans will really be excited about.
Do you plan on filming the 25th anniversary show for another DVD?
Yes, we are planning for that. Definitely.
You are playing the Magic Circle festiva. Is it the festival organized by Manowar?
Yes, that’s it and that will be the only festival in Germany that we play, because I don’t want to overplay I just want to wait for the 25th anniversary. We will do a couple of festivals I think in Spain and Portugal, but I want to keep all of the excitement and energy pretty much for the 25th anniversary, so we will play just a couple of festivals this summer. I think we will play in America again on the 13th of September in Albuquerque.
Do you think that the European only releases of the early to mid-90’s will ever be released in America?
It’s so hard, because all of the record company people they change. I don’t know, we’ve tried like a couple of times but it’s not easy. At the moment, there are no plans, but I would love that.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything you would like to add or say to the fans?
I can’t wait for this American tour to start. The last one, it was so fabulous. It was unbelievable, all the experiences and all of the fans I met. I hope they will come out again, I hope they will bring out their friends, so we can have good, packed places and I want to thank them for their endless love and support. I would do anything for the fans and I always try my best and my hardest. I wish that everybody stays happy and healthy and that we can rock together for a long, long time.
Photos by Tony Cannella. Taken from the site dororocks.net
Interview by Connie Bach
Of course I’m looking forward to them! Those dates are just the beginning of our longer European tour. Check out the dates at our website. It’s gonna be a blast!
I’m watching the video for “Smell the Party” and it is quite entertaining. How was it put together?
We just invited bunch of fans, started jumping up and down and filmed it all. So basically we just drank beer, acted stupid and had fun! :)
Where did the inspiration for “Smell the Party” come from?
It’s a story about a day when you decide you stay home and take it easy but somehow you smell the party and… the rest is more senseless random behavior. The story of my life.
“More Senseless Random Behavior” is the band’s fourth release. How would you say Vanity Ink has changed and grown since the first day of recording all those years ago?
Ummmm… hard to say. We’re older and wiser. Well, at least older. :) I don’t know… why fix it if it ain’t broken? We’re just cranking out the tunes we love and having a good time. It’s that simple.
How did “More Senseless Random Behavior” come together? Did it become what you and Vanity Ink intended?
Yeah, it did. We recorded it in Finland at the countryside, far away from civilization in the middle of nowhere. Nice and easy.
What has the feedback from fans been like? What goes through your mind when the entire audience knows the lyrics?
Heh, do they know? Well, maybe some do. Of course it’s flattering if the audience is singing along. I guess the feedback’s good if people keep coming to see your shows. :)
What do you have in mind for your future goals? How do they contrast to those of Vanity Ink?
To have as much fun as possible until the end of the world, which is coming in 2012 as I’ve heard. :) The fun includes Vanity Ink so there’s no contrast.
How do all the band members bond and connect beyond the music?
We hang out together a lot. I love those stupid guys! :)
Turning to your personal career, how did you become a singer and rock vocalist?
I’ve been singing all my life. As a kid I was singing at home all the time. So I guess this is the thing I’ve always wanted to do.
What is the most important thing that you keep in mind when writing music?
I try to keep my mind open and just go with the flow. Too much analyzing is always bad, you just have to let it go and see what comes up.
Annabella, how do you view your own vocal style, in contrast to other vocalists?
I don’t like comparisons. Everyone’s doing their own thing. I just sing from the heart and try to get some emotion in the songs. And the balls! You gotta have the balls whatever you do.
I know your MySpace says that there are too many influences to name but I’d like to know what inspires and influences you the most in your music, as well as the other members of Vanity Ink?
This has been asked a lot and we’ve always answered that it’s the life we live that inspires and influences us the most. Things we do and see. Of course we also listen to music all the time, from punk to rock and metal and back.
Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”
Transcription and editing by Si Smith
After 3 times of scheduling problems, I was able to interview Miss Gossow and the first thing that come to mind listening to her voice, is her resolution and high-confidence of all the (musical) path that she has built and still continue to do. That’s for reason, I think, is considered a model for every femme metal singer, not only for her way of singing but also for her assurance that she communicates. Is simply a woman that kick’s ass, no more words to add, yeah at least I have one : enjoy the interview!
Hi Angela, first of all thanks for accept this inteview. It’s an honour to speak with you. Let’s talk about your upcoming album “Khaos Legion” : the cover album is very robotic, what do you want to represent? And who’s the creator of the cover?
The cover is influenced by a French painting called “Liberty Leading the People”. It is a very famous painting of a woman holding up the French flag from the French Revolution. Basically we wwomananted our cover based on that idea because it’s a very iconic picture for revolution; it is a woman leading the revolution, and when you look at our cover it is a female in the middle leading the pack. We like using this is in Arch Enemy because I am leading the band as well. These people on the album cover have just survived an apocalyptic ending of the world; the world is burning down in the background. That’s why they are wearing all these masks and look a bit like zombies. They are a little bit representing Arch Enemy, but we didn’t want it to look like us on the cover, we wanted it to look a little bit more alien. Its been done by an artist called Brent Emmet White from America. He’s very famous for this kind of digital artwork, it took him actually three months: it was hand painted first, then he rendered it in 3D on a computer. It’s all hand painted, I think its pretty awesome!
“Khaos Legions” is totally straight-in-your-face title, in your opinion what you want to express this title?
The Khaos Legion is an army that basically brings anarchy and atheism to the world, but in a positive way. It’s an army that frees people of governments, of religion, oppression in the social surrounding we live in, whether its people or relationships. These are the Khaos Legions. It’s us in our metal town.
How was the recording process and when you nailed down the first note/lyric?
We’ve basically been writing this album for four years, since the release of “Rise of the Tyrant” musically, but I started with the lyrics in Summer 2010, because I knew we were going into the studio in December and we already had some demo songs. I wrote the first lyrics, but when I get the music that’s when they change a lot, because I find it very difficult to fit words to the music: I find it a lot easier to have the music and then fit the words on it. Otherwise you might go against the rhythm of the music - for me its very important to have the music first, that’s when my assortment of words and phrases determines the lyrics. One of the first songs I did was “No Gods or Masters” and “Through the Eyes of a Raven”, which I wrote in a van while doing the UK tour in November. I write my lyrics everywhere, on trains…we do lots of travel because we tour so much, so I write them in trains, in planes, in cars, or waiting around somewhere backstage. So I get the demo songs and listen to them and whatever comes to mind.
Fredrik Nordström produced the previous album “Rise of the Tyrant” and this time you have chosen to work with Rickard Bengtsson (already in Armageddon with Christopher Amott). How was work with him and what do you think that Rickard have added to Arch Enemy musi?
Rickard is a local guy, he lives where we live, he has a studio out here which is pretty cool, and we have all our gear out here in Sweden, and its easier to record locally - because, we have a lot of equipment, a lot of vintage equipment for example, echo tapes, old amps, and we wanted to use them all on the album, so for us its a lot easier to get our stuff there - so that’s one big advantage to recording locally. And the other one is that he has known our sound for many years, he worked with us on “…Machine”, and what he’s done is engineered the album, which means he sets the sound for the drums and then he starts to record….we don’t work on our own. It just makes it easier to work locally. He sings on one album…whats good about him is that he understands vocals. I have recorded most of my vocal lines with him, because he is a singer himself, that helps a bit.
“Khaos Legions” comes out also in a Ltd. Edition 2CD in Mediabook packaging incl. 4 cover songs. Why choose this to cover this songs from Europe and Kiss for ex.? Are you connect to them for some your private facts or simply you are fan of this bands?
I am a huge fan of Europe. Michael and Chris grew up in Sweden with Europe of course. And they’ve met them many times, they are genuine Europe fans, we’ve played together on festivals. So there’s a mutual friendship. I don’t think anyone’s friends with Kiss. Kiss are such a big influence on Michael and Chris and pretty much everybody, when we were like 13 and 14, Kiss albums dominated the rock world - and they had the pretty cool make up and everything. So most people are inflluenced a little by Kiss. We do have some Kiss elements in our sound and thought it would be cool to do a Kiss song. But we are not friends with Kiss unfortunately.
Also the thing that hits me so much is : why have you called the second CD “Kovered in Chaos”?
Because the first album is “Khaos Legions” and the second album contains cover songs, it’s a cool little play on words.
Angela, you entered Arch Enemy already 12 (twelve) years ago, what is your personal balance between the touring activity and recording material?
Interview by Ed MacLaren
Boasting a heavy progressive metal sound, France’s Devious eXperiment of Synthesthesis – or DXS –immerses us in a dark apocalyptic world with their debut album “Cathar5y5”. But the devastation on this impressive concept album is not of nuclear holocaust or war spinning out of control: the destruction takes place deep with the recesses of the mind. Vocalist Alienor Colin took some time to discuss with Femme Metal the foundation of “Cathar5y5” and some of its deeper meanings.
“Cathar5y5” is a seriously awesome debut. You’re treading in some serious concept album territory though – we’re talking major Ayreon, Queensryche sci-fi stuff here. Give us a little background on the story of “Cathar5y5” and how it evolved?
Well, first of all, thank you for the compliment. As for the story, Jean-Michel, our keyboards player, laid its foundation, drawing his inspiration from events that happened in his own life to create a fiction based on people’s psychology and their ability, not to say their need, to develop their own torments. Then we worked on these themes to harmonize them with our musical needs!!! I’d like to remind you that “Cathar5y5” was first “born” in a futuristic fictional world, in which a free from physical sufferings man, particularly thanks to pharmaceutical and genetic progress, will more than ever enjoy psychological torments (romantic philosophy).
“Cathar5y5” makes some bold philosophical points over the course of the album – most prevalent the disruption of natural order through scientific manipulation. It’s interesting that in “Cathar5y5” as mankind masters its external environment through the eradication of disease it loses control of its internal mental mechanisms. What is the connection you’re trying to draw here?
We can see through that inevitability, a mere irony of fate, that despite the Cartesian aspect “Cathar5y5” takes advantage of, remains a notion that governs our world in a cruel manner.
The “Cathar5y5” vaccine provides an artificial self-actualization in response to society’s desire for instant gratification in all areas of life. Will this ultimately always fail?
The Cathar5y5 world had to be plausible indeed, but by definition, a totally imaginary futuristic fiction. Even though the concept origins lie in many winks, we never wanted to transfer the ins and outs of the story to the futuristic or contemporary real world. The script was to end badly to show the whole tragic and therefore “metal” extent of the album form and content! Our music is meant to naturally be in minor keys, dark and melancholic!
The people in Cathar5y5 strive for peace and perfection but actually enjoy the suffering they endure. Is it that the reach for the unattainable always comes with pain and hardship?
Human nature has always wanted to be equal to the Creator, perhaps out of vanity and therefore to reach perfection. However in Cathar5y5, the question is about controlling rather than reaching perfection. Nevertheless, if there was a message to learn, it would be the contradictory and perverted necessity for man to endure suffering! Here indeed, as he is deprived of physical sufferings, he develops new mental torments, which are the subjects of each song. So Cathar5y5 does take its essence in the romantic philosophy.
Is there a biblical allegory in Cathar5y5? Man strives for perfection through its faith in false idols (or corporations) instead of God and suffers the ultimate consequence?
There are some biblical hints in the script, in particular the seven vaccines and the seven diseases that echo the seven seals of the Apocalypse, however the ultimate punishment that ends this fiction doesn’t really embody anything allegorically biblical but merely tragic.
“Cathar5y5 ” highlights a bleak world-view. Do you think humankind is in a downward spiral of self-destruction? Can we do anything to change it?
The album indeed develops a rather pessimistic vision, perhaps simply to match the traditional aesthetics of metal music we’ve heard so much about lately (Hellfest). Nevertheless, we must confess and note that the members of the group ceased believing in “man’s nobility”. Fortunately, fantastic people are still to be discovered in our world that are worth forgetting the rest!
Why did you decide to tackle something so conceptually intense for your debut?
That’s not an easy question. Let’s say that, even though it’s a debut, it is a project into which we wanted to put ourselves totally and show a great maturity to compensate for its status as a “first album”. And also, the making of a universe for a group seems to me an essential matter that helps musical, visual and textual cohesion.
How directly is DXS invested into the “Cathar5y5” storyline? Will future releases continue to be extensions of the Cathar5y5 concept?
The story of Cathar5y5 remains a fiction as a source of inspiration for this first opus; we have already started working on the second album that should offer a different concept, still based on an imaginary script!
A great story and lyrics are a big part of a great album but you need to back it up with a strong musical foundation. DXS has the musical skill to really bring the concept and lyrics alive. Was the music written to match the concept or did the music come first?
Thanks again! Well, I don’t really remember whether we had already written some lyrics before completing the concept album, however some songs like “Mirror of Terror” or “Catharsis” obviously showed from the composition a schizophrenic will through the elaboration of their asymmetric riffs or of their structures. Other tracks inspired themes matching the concept but peculiar to the universe about them, for example “Nocturnal Phobia”.
DXS displays some serious prog chops with some great riffing that match perfectly the tone of the story. How difficult was it to conceptualize the music to fit around the story?
This was done fairly naturally because, through the colour we wished to give to the album and the concept that was written in order to never betray that will of darkness, we all were in a very special state of mind during the stages of difficult composition!
Your vocals really stand out on “Cathar5y5”. Your singing is strong with a beautiful tone that drives the music forward. Did you experiment with your technique to get the right vocal feel for each track?
Thank you! Generally and also to face the other productions, progressive music leaves little place for singing; however as a singer I have more freedom than my fellow instrumentalists. I must confess that once the musical parts are ready I can quite intuitively and easily compose my vocals. What takes me more time is to find the right vocal feel for each theme. And I’m not used to always singing the same thing! The vocal parts evolved as the pre-productions and also as the recordings progressed thanks to the advice of the sound team I worked with!
Alexandre Ardisson’s grunts are excellent but you also brought in some guest vocalists for “Cathar5y5”. How did you get Clément Marse of Continuum and Julien Leon of Darkenhold involved in the project?
It happened quite naturally. Clément is a long time friend who sings in another prog music group Continuum and we have played some dates with them. We really needed a particular male voice to punctuate “Amnesia” and we are fond of sharing our musical trips with our close musician friends. The same thing with Julien Leon alias Cervantes. Alexandre is also Darkenhold’s bass player and we are all very close friends of Julien, who is quite an interesting person, humanly speaking! “Psychotic Depression” is a very dark song and we wanted a very strong and typically “black” voice to confront the lead vocals!
What were the influences and inspirations that fed “Cathar5y5”? DXS seems like it would have many other influences other than music though…literature and film?
From a musical point of view, with a concern for originality, we give a great importance to combinations at the same time: prog with Andromeda and Dream Theater; black/death with Dimmu Borgir and Ihsahn; and symphonic with Symphony X, Revamp and After Forever! As I said before, the concept album was widely inspired from the Romantic philosophy.
Finally, several members of the band are students in audiovisual courses and all of us are widely influenced by cinema: as an example, the lyrics of “Mirror of Terror” are a tribute to David Lynch’s Lost Highway.
We have to talk about the band name: Devious eXperiment of Synthesthesis. It’s a bit of a mouthful. Can you explain the origination of the name, especially the Synthesthesis part?
Let’s say that in a way, we adapted the definition of “synesthésie” (synesthesia in English), a mental pathology consisting of the association of two senses like sight and hearing and that’s exactly what we wanted to translate – that is to say music and colour, especially from a harmonic point of view, which is not always easy thing to do… and we must also confess that we wished we had a much longer name than our friends in Spheric Universe Experience, who by the way, asked me to sing on one of their songs “White Willow” during the recording of their last album.
Are you planning on touring and showcasing “Cathar5y5” a la Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime?
It’s really difficult to find dates in the metal circle, especially with a first album. However, we should work on a tour project by the end of 2011!
(Famous) Last words?
Describing the world of DXS is not an easy thing to do. I do hope that, thanks to our answers, you’ll fancy having a look at our MySpace and giving “Cathar5y5” a listen.
Interview by Vard Aman
Ambehr are one of the most unique bands around, from their sound to their history. They were founded in 1995 by Art (bass & vocals) in Armenia – a country not well known for its heavy music. In fact, it’s a country that not many people know much about at all. (Go to your atlas – it’s the orange bit just below Georgia… no, not that Georgia, the other one… Got it?… Excellent!) They then relocated to Russia, where they have remained ever since. But the most unique thing about Ambehr is the music they make. Inspired by their roots and not limited to any style, they have created “Amber Metal” – Folk Metal, but not like any other kind of Folk Metal; Power Metal, but not like any other kind of Power Metal; Progressive, but not like any other kind of Progressive. Art was later joined in Ambehr by his sister, Marina, on vocals; and together they have created a dual vocal style that has come to typify that unique Ambehr sound. I caught up with Marina to talk about Ambehr (and about Armenia too).
Hi Marina, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine.
Hi Vard, nice to meet you.
I understand Ambehr is originally from Yerevan in Armenia. When did you move to Moscow? And why?
Yes, Ambehr comes from Armenia. The band was founded in 1995 by Art. In fact originally there were only three musicians in Ambehr, Art (bass, vocals and author of all the songs up to now), Ashot (guitar) and Hrant (drums), no female vocals. They decided that there would be more new possibilities to grow for the band in Russia and left for St. Petersburg first. It was in 1998, 14 years ago. They earned their living and played gigs there till 2000 (and recorded their demo album, “Life and Death”); after that Ambehr moved to Moscow. I joined Ambehr as a female back-vocal only at the end of 2003 in Moscow together with Natalie from Nemethon, Moscow (now she sings in Arcane Grail, Moscow/Germany); our first song on the stage was “Spider’s Web” from the album of the same name (2005).
Have there been a lot of changes to the line up over the years?
Actually since 2002 Ambehr has changed 5 guitar players: In 2002 two guitarists, Zurab and Vitaly, came to the band instead of Ashot who went back to St. Petersburg; In 2008 they were replaced by Igor and Vladimir; At the end of 2011 Igor left and now Dmitriy is our new guitarist.
Have you been back to play in Armenia since?
We were invited to the fest in Yerevan in 2008; it was a big international festival Rock the Borders with Italian band Sadist as a headliner. Before that we had got some invitations from Armenian organizers ended by nothing due to very expensive cost of trip from Moscow to Yerevan.
Armenia is a country that not many people know very much about; including I’m ashamed to say, myself. Tell us a bit about Armenia. What is it like a country? What is it like to live there, or to visit there?
Armenia is a place where I will always long to return. It is tiny but very beautiful, with an ancient cultural heritage. The summer is very hot there. It lies in the highlands near the Biblical mountains of Ararat. Armenia is rich in monuments of culture and nature; that is why it is called “open-air museum”. There are over four thousand unique monuments in Armenia: the monuments of the pre-Christian era and many ancient Christian temples which are all over the country. I love our unique Lake Sevan, Jermuk waterfall, lake Parz and Kari, as well as beautiful and diverse mountain landscape of the country. I think if you visit Armenia in summer you will never forget it!
Of course, Armenia made world news in 1988 with the massive earthquake in Spitak and subsequent relief efforts, including “Rock Aid Armenia” that featured many Metal and Rock musicians. That was a long time ago now. Do you remember any of it?
The charity concert with ELP, Gary Moore, Black Sabbath, Asia, Mike & the Mechanics, Rush, Deep Purple, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, Pink Floyd, Queen, Yes, Whitesnake and others was held on July 8, 1989 in London and after that, in 1990, the album was released. Certainly I remember that many famous musicians (as well as simple people all over the world) supported Armenia in trouble and provided a real help to the victims of the earthquake. We are very grateful for their efforts and will never forget about it.
What is the metal scene like in Armenia?
As I’ve been living in Russia for many years I’m afraid that my opinion about the metal scene in Armenia wouldn’t be full and correct. However I can say that at the moment there are many good bands in Armenia; with female vocal - I can mention Stryfe with Eva (maybe the band has changed the name now) and Dogma with Zara (Zara’s sung recently with Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull in Yerevan); for me, they are really fantastic singers!
Listening to your excellent and unique dual vocal style, you and Art really seem to work very well together and compliment each other perfectly. Does it help being brother and sister? Have you always been making music together?
To tell the truth, we’ve been singing together since we were children (our father taught us some Italian songs when I was 6 and Art was 4.5 years old). When my brother was 12 he learnt to play guitar, and we began to sing The Beatles, later - Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Metallica etc.; the audience were our family and our friends. Besides, we both finished music school: Art learnt to play the piano and my specialty was violin. We really understand each other very well, and when Art invited me to sing in Ambehr at last, it was not difficult for me to join the band. But I have to mention that Art is the author of all my vocal parties.
Your music is very diverse. Each song on “Amber Dreamland” sounds very different from the next. Do you have any insight into Art’s songwriting process?
It depends on his mood at the time. I would like to know myself how he creates these bright pieces of light… All I can say is that Art has always expressed his feelings through music. And I love his music very much.
Describe Amber Metal for us.
Frankly speaking we can’t define our music style now. Some reviewers call it power metal, others – power & folk basing on death-thrash! For me, Amber Metal is just beautiful songs about everything that excites most of people: life and death, nostalgia about the times of heroes and knights and today’s relations between people.
How has your sound changed over the years?
The style changed from one album to another, every time we were asked why. We cannot explain the reasons exactly, maybe the band just grows up and would like to change ways of self-expression. When two first demo albums were released there was no female voice in the songs; the band played death-thrash music. “Spider’s Web” was also in the style of death-thrash but with female back vocal. Only from the next release, “Sword’s Song” (2006), the sound began to differ noticeably from the previous albums, it became softer than earlier. The last CD that was released in 2011, “Amber Dreamland”, is mainly a collection of melodic songs; the ballade of the same name describes the Land of Amber. Each song on the CD is a different story, at first glance, independent of each other, but united by one feature – they are about our dreams of Amber Land which come from fairy tales and maybe from our childhood.
“Garnan Aravot” (“Spring Morning”) is sung in Armenian (I hope I got that right). Are you going to write more songs in Armenian in the future?
You are right – “Garnan Aravot” is sung in Armenian. In one interview Art confessed about this song that it was extremely difficult for him to write the lyrics in Armenian. Originally he had written all the lyrics only in English, later he wrote some Russian songs. Armenian is a very complicated language to know it perfectly and especially to set to music. Art told that he would try to write more lyrics in Armenian for our new releases…
“Garnan Aravot” certainly turned out very well in the end! What is it about Armenian that makes it such a difficult language to sing?
It’s easy to sing in Armenian when the lyrics are written perfectly, but it’s difficult to create a good text in Armenian. There is a huge difference between literary Armenian and colloquial language. You should find a fragile border between them – only in this case the lyrics will be simple and elegant at the same time, only then it will go well with the melody.
Does Armenia have its own unique style of folk music?
Certainly it does. For example, maybe you have heard the music of Jivan Gasparyan with his duduk, he is famous all over the world…
Other that “Garnan Aravot”, “Amber Dreamland” is all in English; while your 2007 album, “Chornaya Doroga” (“The Black Road”) is in Russian. What are your thoughts on singing in different languages on different albums?
As I’ve told originally Art wrote lyrics for our songs only in English. One day he wrote a couple of songs in Russian for a female band. Shortly after that the band broke up. So we decided to use these songs for our Russian album as a separate project (in order to be understood better by Russian audience). It was a good experience, some songs from the album “Chornaya Doroga” was a great success for Russian audience. So we understood that we could go on with Russian songs for Russia and with songs in English to be heard also outside Russia.
Have you ever been tempted to include both Russian and English songs on one album, or to release both Russian and English versions of the same album as some other Russian bands have done?
For me it’s not a good idea to mix Russian and English songs in one album, it would be an album without a concept - for no one. From my point of view Russian songs are Russian first with their melodies – lyrics just supplement the picture. But translating a Russian song into English can simply kill all its charm.
Do you have any personal favourites from “Amber Dreamland”?
Certainly I do, best of all I like songs “Let’s Go Down”, “Proud Heart” and “Garnan Aravot” (I like very much the lyrics of these songs as well).
Tell us a bit about your upcoming album, “Bezdna” (“Abyss”).
It is a Russian album; the music is melodic with elements of folk. It was recorded together with “Amber Dreamland”, but was not released at the same time due to different reasons. I hope you will have an opportunity to listen to it soon, in about two months.
How often do you play live and how do you find the audiences in Russia?
Now we do not play live so often as earlier, several times a year - while some years ago we played two or three times a month. Anyway I can say that the audiences in Russia are very sincere and hearty, especially outside Moscow.
Have you done any tours, and have you toured outside of Russia and the CIS?
We travelled to many towns in Russia to separate concerts or festivals but not tours. The reason is that the bosses will not tolerate our long absence in our offices. Unfortunately we did not tour outside of Russia and CIS (except one time to Armenia). I hope still there will be a chance for our band to do it in the future…
What do you like doing when you’re not singing for Ambehr?
I like to read good books, also I have a hobby - walking trips and living some days in a tent. When I lived in Armenia I was fond of paragliding during 5 years and also jumped with parachute several times! Unfortunately in Moscow I haven’t got any opportunity for it…
Thanks very much for talking to us Marina! We’re looking forward to hearing the new album soon, and many more to come!
Thank you for your attention; it was a pleasure for me to talk with you. Good luck to you and to Femme Metal Webzine!
Interview by Vard Aman
Marvel formed in 2006 in Kiev, Ukraine, where they are still based. Outside Ukraine, they are perhaps not that well known, but they certainly deserve to be – they are one of those bands that need discovering; and one of those bands that we will find are totally amazing when we do discover them. A hidden gem in the dust; one that equals, if not surpasses the quality of many of the gems we already know about and own; a gem that turns out to be, well… marvellous! And they are! They play a style that is very hard to define, so hard to define that I’m not going to try; you’re just going to have listen to them. Fronting this unique and immensely talented outfit is Olga Skripova, with her meticulously controlled and powerful vocals. I got the opportunity to interview her!
Hello Olga, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine.
When did you start singing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
I started singing when I was seven at music school’s choir. At 17 I joined girls’ jazz band. There were seven girls and we sang classic jazz songs in vocal arrangement. At the same time I had rock band (with Anastasia of Delia). After that I sang in another rock band at the university. I like singing very much, especially driving songs!
How did you all meet and how did Marvel start? Were you in the band right from the beginning?
We met at the University of Culture and Art where we all were studying sound engineering. At that time we didn’t know what music we wanted to play. First year we were trying to find our own music style. At the end of the second year of Marvel’s existence two of the musicians (bassist and drummer) left the band. Me and the guitarist asked to some new guys to join Marvel and we started to record our first album.
How did audiences in Ukraine react to Marvel in the beginning?
Not bad. We played many concerts in all possible clubs and festivals. We had many friends who came to our concerts. It was a good time, it was fun.
Tell us a bit about your first album, “V Kazhdom iz Nas”.
“V Kazhdom iz Nas” is very important work for us. We spent much time and energy recording the songs. When we released the album we got a lot of positive comments from people and invitations to participate in big concerts and festivals with famous rock bands, as a support. This album was officially released and sold in majority music shops in Ukraine.
And you recorded some music videos, right?
Yes! We have video clip “Vje ne tut” (“Not here”). The filming was done at a concert in Kiev. This video doesn’t have some idea or story; it is only a Marvel presentation. That’s why we chose a quick energetic song.
Then you recorded your EP, “Ona” and its English twin “Reduce My Pain” – and this was the first release of yours I heard after being introduced to you. First of all, I really like the album cover! Tell us a bit about it and why you chose it.
It is really a beautiful drawing. This picture we found in internet. We wrote to the author of this work immediately. His name is Elton Fernandes and he is from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). I like style and colors of this. I think this woman with wings (probably she is some kind of an angel I don’t know) symbolizes life with ups and downs.
When I listen to the EP from beginning to end, I get the impression of quite an intense musical “journey” taking place. Did you deliberately write it that way or is that just the way Marvel’s music is? Give us a little insight into your songwriting process.
My aim was to write three different stories with different feelings and emotions. But you’re right - there is a connection between the songs. First song (“Tantra”) is about personal feelings and beautiful emotions which we feel when we’re in love. After that euphoria the fear comes, because we worry about loved ones (like everybody). “Reduce My Pain” is something about that. And finally we understand that life is a good thing. “My Own Passion” is a very positive and life -asserting song about our music and life.
And now for the tough one! Describe Marvel’s sound and style to someone who hasn’t heard your music.
Something like this: Marvel is a lyrical music and profound texts with driving guitar riffs. Check it out guys!
How has your sound changed between when you first started out to your first album and to your most recent single “Naiti Sebya”?
I think difference is very big. Firstly, because we recorded the album and the single “Naiti Sebya” at different studios using different equipment. And we wanted to do something new when we worked on the single. We wanted to get nice rich sound with modern elements. I think that to find a new sound is very important for each band.
How often do you play live, and how is the support for your shows now?
Now we play rarely because we are working on new songs.
Have you done any tours inside and outside of Ukraine?
We played in many towns in Ukraine. And we’ve been to Belarus twice.
Do you have any personal favorite Marvel songs, or songs that have a special meaning to you?
I love the new songs. My favorite song is the newest song always.
What bands/music do you like to listen to (other than Marvel)?
I like many bands. Katatonia, Godsmack, Guano Apes, Queen, Pink Floyd, Karnivool and many many other! They inspire me to create.
What do you like doing outside of Marvel? Do you have any hobbies or interests?
Yes. I like travelling. I always go to the different city or country when I have free time. And I work at a TV Channel as a music redactor. I write about music stars and choose video clips for the TV Channel’s audience.
What is next for Marvel?
I think it is new album. We have some new songs in English. And I hope you’ll hear them soon.
That sounds good! What can we expect from your new album?
I think it will be interesting. Now we are working on change of music style. We try to compose more progressive songs with actual elements and sound. It is difficult but I believe we can destroy our usual views on structure of songs. Our new album will be not similar to the first.
OK, Olga, thanks very much for talking to us! We wish you every success and we’re all looking forward to hearing the new album, and lots more from you and Marvel in the future!
Thank you! Goodbye.
Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”
Talking via Skype with a legend of the heavy metal is not one of your regular day, believe me but we’re able to track down Federica “Sister” De Boni, the legendary singer of the Italian defenders White Skull share with us some infos about the new album “Under This Flag” and a small chit chat about coming back in Italy and personal tastes. Hail on!
First of all Federica, welcome back in Italy!
Thank you dear!
How’s coming back in Italy after so much time and what’s the thing that you missed so much when you were in America?
It is amazing. Me and my family loved it here and were missing the Italian life. I think I missed my friends and metal the most. We lived in a State where country music rules.
A curiosity, what state?
I was saying Tennessee I was close hahah
Yeah …. just southern where the bible belt runs the place.
I totally got it.. I’m just wondering now one of those places with a wood bar all drinking beer and dancing country songs.. how you endure this, I mean your’re a real defender in the midst of some lousy rockers…
Ha ha ha I felt just like you said… just staying in my porch with hubby and kids listening to “House of Hair” (Dee Snider Heavy Metal Radio Show) part.
Well, I must say that it was a great choice for endure all that stuff, something to clutch on hahaha…
Yeah, pretty muche THE ONLY choice and a few occasional concerts of local metal bands but very few oh and also we used to watch “That Metal Show” on TV so well we had some choice.
Luckily you have had that too, in Italy (I mean nowadays) except maybe for Virgin Radio we haven’t nothing like that.. you’re away 10 years but from that point of view nothing changed unfortunatly…
I realized that when I came back but we can still go online and look for those shows, we need to be flexible and get what we can find, right?
Exactly.. the Italian TV and the radio are only good for commercial music sadly. There are so many HM bands here in Italy and deserve to be recognized, we need to go to concerts and support them.
It’s totally a good thing to do, support italian metal underground, in this case the HM genre.You know if the media is not supporting HM in Italy we have to stand up and support our way.
And I’m not to saying pleasentries now, I prefer to support underground instead of the big acts I mean the big big acts has already the right following of fans sometimes we need to look inside our country and give our support to this little bands but way back to us andif you are back in Italy, it’s natural that you’re back in White Skull. How’s was the first meeting with the guys, how’s after so much years (I remember to the readers that you left the band in 2000) being back in the White Skull squad?
I agree. I love big bands myself but just love to listen to what local (italian) bands come up with. It was just like it wasn’t that long… I mean, since the first rehearsal we connected immediatly. We wrote the new album in no time. That really blew my mind how simple and natural the return has been.
You know, for the startest when I have read the news that you were back in WS I was really happy and yes kind of surprised I must admit it, yesterday that I was nailing down some questions I was thinking about it “Damn, after 10 years that she didn’t record anything, would very hard for her” instead you tell me it easy maybe after all those years you still have had the “fire” burning inside you..
It comes natural for me. First I have known metal for 20 years or more, then I do have experience in song writing and most of all I do live Metal as my life style.
Everything helps.. well I’ve listened a little bit to the album congratulations.. it’s very clear and an HQ production, what you can tell me about its genesis? Despite the fact as you have stated before that come out in a natural way…
WS is known for the concept albums. This time we wanted to get away from the past and talk about something modern and close to us. Therefore we had close experience with the wars around us and wrote about it. I’ve been a soldier wife and had a lot to say about the warfare and here comes “Under This Flag”… fight for everything you care for.
And for this is reason that the cover album, if we compare to “Public Glory, Secret Agony” or “Tales from the North”, is more straight-in-your-face and very simply? Probably more direct but very powerful maybe means also “if we reunite us under a flag we can fight this wars (or evil) together”.. when I saw I thought this interpretation, can be right?
Damn right. We want to get the Metal headbanger to join us and fight for Metal. We will say it as loud as we can and for as long as we can. WS flag is really a stand to reunite what is left of metal…
Well, talking about gather around and female solidarity I’m curious to know how was being a woman singing in a heavy metal band in the 90s? It was difficult or haven’t had a model to follow? For what I know closest rode model that you have had at the times were Doro, Girlschool and Sabine Classen.
I was really lucky Tony believed I could do the job, in 1990 a woman singing Metal was sort of a “odd thing” even if Doro and Girlschool, Lita Ford and so on was around.
Maybe if we go deep deep in the italian underground we have Morgana, I don’t know if you know her she was singing in the 80s/first 90s.
I do know Morgana and she did really challanged the Metal scene, I am really proud of having been around since the 90s and back now.
You are a national heritage, I mean also if the media won’t promote the scene you’re one of the Italian precursor female singer..comes really hard to think (at least for me) a closest singer to confront with you.
Thank you. I feel I am just one of many that are here living what they believe.
Many CDs of your discography are sold out since ages, there are any planes to re-released them without spending a lot of money on eBay? I know that the Polish Metal Minds Production has re-released years ago (in 2008 to be precise) in a limited number of copies “Tales From The North” and “Public Glory, Secret Agony” but the stocks are gone, really really gone and for the young fans that are trying to collect and buy the first albums is a problem, are really hard to find and it’s kinda become utopistic have your entire discography.
I heard about it but this is the market and WS is unable to have a say about it. Sad but true YouTube helps this out by publishing the songs for free.
But if you face the truth you cannot earn anything from that…it’s not fair! I mean is disrespectful towards you, the musicians.
I know but as far as WS music is broadcasted we will be all right.
So you count that all that people that listen WS on YouTube will support at live concerts and buying the last releases?
YouTube will spread the word, get us more opportunities and maybe some CDs sold but as we said Metal is not the TREND right now but who cares, we will get our message through.
Maybe I’m talking the wrong person (I’m imagine that you collect a lot of vinyls/CDs) but do you think about the digital music stores like Itunes?
Sure Itunes can sell the music. But this will be our label sale policy to decide it.
But now I put the question in a more personal way, as music lover what do you prefer the CD format or the digital one?
Right now in a digital world it would make more sense to get it out via internet I just do love the CD with pictures and lyrics.
Because you can “feel” them right? I mean when I see my collection I still cannot believe it have it and collect them everytime I listen to them and have the booklet in my hand I feel very proud of myself..
Yes, it does become a personal matter, you have it and can ask the musician to autograph it just like your own treasure, so much worth it \m/
Hahahah that’s true!! Well, we’re near the end what are the next planes talking live gigs and promotions? I hope you come again near where I live ‘cause some years ago with the old band members WS played a gig!!
We have a lot of gigs on schedule and I do really hope we will have the chance to play in your area as well…I am sure we will meet someday! Keep the Metal on and since then … if it ain’ t Metal, well it’s crap!!!!!!!
That’s for true! As a final question I’ll asking you to greet freely you fans and our readers and thanks for this awesome interview, Sister!
To all the metal heads: have a blast !!! WS is back and ready to kick ass just come out and play!!! Thank you for this opportunity I’ve really enjoyed the interview.
Label : Lausan Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Spain’s OffTopic has existed since 2006. Following up their impressive “Backstage” EP, OffTopic releases their fourth full-length album titled “Impacto”. Unlike their previous EP however, OffTopic has returned to singing in their native Spanish language and the result is very good as the album cruises along on the strength of some truly powerful classic metal style guitar riffs and the ever more assured vocals of Rosa Ibáñez. With the powerhouse opening riffs of “Cuarto Sello”, “Impacto” simply explodes with an intense, ferocious brand of heavy metal. The bombastic headbanging riffs keep coming with the thrashy “Fuara de Si”. The next track – and my favorite – “Siempre” is more of a mid-tempo song that has a great, melodic vibe to it. I simply love the vocals of Rosa Ibáñez as she continues to grow in confidence and ability and does just an amazing job throughout “Impacto”. The next track “El Elagido” has sort of an AC/DC style vibe at the start – in fact the opening kind of reminded me of “Whole Lotta Rosie”. “El Elagido” is a bit of a departure from the rest of the material but it is no less effective. The beautiful power ballad “Albrázame” is another one that grabbed my attention. Other highlights include: “Pierde el Control”, “Iberia” and “Sigo Viva”. With “Impacto”, OffTopic continues to grow and emerge into one of Spain’s best metal bands.
Rating - 87/100