INFOS : firstname.lastname@example.org
Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Interview by Connie Bach
Bel o Kan has an interesting combination of elements. There is the romance of symphony, an eighties flare created by the guitars, and a folk element Over it all.
Hello!! I’m happy to answer this interview.
Sarah, what is the story behind “Birth of a Queen”? How do you relate to it?
This album includes songs written a long time ago (“Dark and Light”, “Utopia”, “Salem”) and the other composites a little bit before the recording (“Children Call”, “Blowin’”, “Ten Thousand Milliard”). The band is created in 2001, so when I took the singer place in 2005, some songs were already composed, we chose our 11 favorite song between the 18 we had. There are different songs in this album, for example, “Blowin’ the Wind” is very different from “Six Men” or “Too Late”. I wrote the lyrics of “Too Late” and it was easier to record it because it’s my words and my feelings I sung. It was difficult for me to record this album because it was my first time in a studio, I was afraid and I think you can hear it when you listen to the album.
Can you tell me, with some detail, how the album came together?
We recored guitars, drums, bass and keyboard in a different studio than the voices. The voices were recorded in Dedy studio with André Bermudez who made the mix and we made the mastering in Alto studio…a funny detail when I recorded voices it that André was always hurting me for fun with a little paper book when I told him that I couldn’t sing anything or anything else…
The name Bel o Kan seems to have something to do with ant society, according to your Myspace. Can you elaborate?
Bel o Kan is the name of the ant hill in the book “Les Fourmis” (ants) of Bernard Werber.
Our first drummer Lionel who created the band chose this name because “Les Fourmis” is one of his favorite books. Bernard Werber has our album and he likes “Too Late”.
Different people describe an artist’s sound different ways. How would your perception, as Bel o Kan’s singer, differ from mine (introduction) ? It is interesting to compare perceptions, and the reasons why they differ.
Each person has his perception of our music, I could read that we played, symphonic metal, heavy, prog, power, celtic…. in my opinion, we play heavy metal melodic. Denis (bass), Fox and Khrys (guitars) like Iron Maiden, I love Epica, After Forever, Doro…even in the band we’ve many different sources of inspiration. So we compose a music varied of our different style.
Where does your musical experience come from, (I.e. your background as a singer)?
Interview by Connie Bach
Diva Suicide’s flavor is a constructed system of layers. It kind of reminds me of chocolate-covered pretzels, with the hard, solid guitar at its core.The layer of synthesized elements and sweet, emotional lyrics adds the “chocolate” in the equation. I feel I’m hearing undertones that call up the alternative music of the early nineties when I listen to “Scars”, Diva Suicide’s debut release.
Hello, Xs.Hey hey :)The name Diva Suicide stems from a photo shoot you did. Would you tell me more about the career that led you to be the band’s singer?Singing is my passion and I have always been involved in bands and when I had the chance of joining Diva Suicide I jumped on it.As a singer, what inspires your lyrics?Depending on the song really. Sometimes personal situations and thoughts, sometimes just general things in life…
In the past, you mentioned you are interested in animal rights activism. Do you intend to use your musical career to promote animal rights activism and how?
Yeah absolutely - I think it’s really important that bands support these causes. Music unites and makes people think. The more we are, the stronger and more able to change things. I’m delighted to see bands like London After Midnight and Undercover Slut promoting animal rights.
How has working in a home studio influenced the type of music and the relationships between band members?
Working in a home studio has its good and its bad things. On one hand, soundwise you can’t have 100% the final product you’d like to but of course it’s more comfortable to record there as you spend lots of hours so it feels like being home and you’ve got more time to experiment new solutions.
Sometimes it can be really hard work but at the end of the day it’s worth it cos’ the band is my life and even if we have to fight against lots of problems and sometimes some idiot we always get around and do what we wanna do at the end.What do you personally enjoy doing in your free time? Any crafts, hobbies, or other musical side projects, or other pursuits?
Interview by Connie Bach
Heavy and intense, Swedish Melodic Metal Disdained’s lyrics, pacing and style are distinctive and they draw you in, holding your attention. Let’s give in with the interview with Thérese.
Hi, Therese. How was your summer?
Hmm…Very busy indeed! My summer has been fantastic, thanks! I have been spending a lot of time in the studio recording Disdained’s debut album “Kill My Only Enemy” that are to be finished before the end of this year.The recordings consumed almost all spring and summer but the result is stunning! We also did a few smaller gigs and participated in the music competition “Emergenza music festival”, which is one of the biggest music festivals/competitions around, besides Idol, hehehe. We did really good and won the Stockholm finals and reached the second spot in Sweden as best live band. We also, or I mean Niklas and Johan H, received a really cool price for best guitar performance and won a fat Marshall rig! We also performed at the festival “Sweden Rock Festival” which is one of the biggest rock/metal festivals in Sweden at the moment. We had a really good time hanging out with fans and other cool people and the gig went really good. We received a lot of appreciation and respect from the audience, both directly after the gig and through e-mail the weeks after. It was a great feeling and we feel very humble to get that kind of response, also it makes us really on fire and we want to give more! Except that I enjoyed hanging out at Sweden’s best metal festival, Metaltown!
So everyone, why choose metal? What is the background each of you brings to the band?
Therese: Since childhood my mum and dad raised me in to a world filled with rock and metal music. I feel lucky to have parents that listened to bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Queen and so on. So as a child I had no choice, it was rock that was played in the house, no escaping there! As a teenager I started to explore a heavier and different side of the music I was raised up with. I started to listen to bands like Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Korn and Meshuggah and these bands still means a lot to me. Today I’m really fond of bands like Rammstein, In Flames, Slipknot, Disturbed and Katatonia. These bands really give me the rush today and they are also important inspiration when writing music. There is however another part of my musical side that really loves folk music and pagan tunes, this is something special to me and it always make me completely happy. Actually Disdained is my first band I’ve been in. I have a little different background compared to the guys in the band. My musical background started in my early years when I sang in a choir and also had musical-theater as a subject in school. After moving to Stockholm I started my theatre and musical studies, later I took a higher course in the musical subject at Kulturama, which is the biggest center for aesthetic educations in Sweden. This led me to work at a theater in Stockholm for three years. After a long break I met with Micke “INK” Östling, the guitar player of Lizette &, and I started to do troubadour gigs with him. After one gig I met Henrik and Niklas who asked me if I was interested in joining there new project as the female singer. I accepted and this collaboration led into the start up of the new band Disdained, the rest is history.
Niklas: I’ve been in love with the metal music genre since the early teenage ears. At 15 I started to listen to bands like Metallica, Sepultura and Megadeth and not shortly after I started playing the guitar since I wanted to be like them, you know, rocking on stage. Metal music gives me a kick, or a rush even, that feeling can’t be compared with no other music genre. This intense feeling for the music also brought me to playing in a band, at first it was a struggle of course with different constellations and learning the instrument and such. Later I joined the power metal band Insania (Stockholm) that I came to stay in for almost 10 years. After my power metal journey with Insania, I wanted to go back to my roots with heavier music. I started up the band Disdained together with Henrik Juhano (Insania, Stockholm) and Therése and today I feel that we are indeed fulfilled, both in regard to constellation and sound.
Tomas: The metal music was something that really attracted me from a young age. The first album I bought was a vinyl version of Twisted Sisters “Stay hungry”. I listened too much of the bands that were popular back then like WASP, Motley Crue, Skid Row and Kiss. I started playing guitar at the age of 13 since my younger brother had started taking lessons, so I got influenced by that. I did fast become better than him and he did eventually stop playing. I didn´t end the more I learned, the more I got determined to learn and play songs like my idols did. I started playing with a few smaller bands that were not that skilled and at some point I joined a band that needed a bass player. From that point I did basically stick to playing bass only. After a few years my musical taste had changed a bit and I listened much to bands like Helloween and Iron Maiden. It was more technical and I did evolve as a bass player playing these kinds of songs. At the age of 19 I joined the first constellation of what was to become Insania (Stockholm). We called ourselves Purgatory and played Helloween and Iron Maiden covers. After a year or so I was fed up with it since the same songs were played and no new were written. I played with a few other acts during the years that followed and then in May 1997, at the age of 22, I rejoined the mates from Purgatory that now also changed their name to Insania (Stockholm). During the 11 years I stayed with the band we released 4 records worldwide and played at many greater festivals. The peak of the career was when we went on a European tour in December 2007 as a supporting act to Ensiferum. Before I went on the tour I had also received an invitation from the guys in Disdained where former Insania members Niklas and Henrik played. They needed a bass player and they asked if I would like to play with them also. I was curious about this since it was something new for me musically and also that I had to play with a 5-string lower tuned bass. Back then I didn´t see Disdained as my main act and I gave them the time I could when not playing with Insania. In February 2008 we decided in Insania to take an indefinite break from playing and that led me to play more with Disdained. As I saw that Insania was not about to start playing soon again I decided to leave Insania and chose to see Disdained as my main act. That is something I do not regret today and here I am today creating history with Disdained.
Johan H: It all started by looking up to the older guys that were cool skaters that listened to bands like Accept, Tank, Saxon, Motörhead and Iron Maiden. It wasn’t though until later when my brother’s friend told me about the “worst band ever” that sounded like pure thrash that I had to buy my first full price album, which was very expensive, just to check them out! That’s how I came in contact with Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets”. I had just started to play the guitar and Metallica opened up a whole new perspective since the songs were more complex and had no real boundaries. And that’s what I really love about metal! It’s the musician’s ultimate playground. You can make music without thinking about the form and go from a sweet lullaby to all hell breaks loose in the same song if you like. My path to Disdained is quite long and we have now known each other for little more than more than a year. To make a long story short I started playing guitar when I was 14 years old. For roughly a year I explored my limits playing by myself in my room to “find my own style”. My brother, who was a lead singer, then asked me to join his band. After a few years my brother left the band I took over the vocals, we changed the name and became more and more progressive exploring different types of rhythms under influences from bands like Dream Theater and Pantera. The magical breakthrough never came and the band was split up. For years I kept wandering about playing in band playing different types of music just for fun, but one day I saw an ad that Disdained was looking for a new guitarist. So I listened to the music on MySpace and what I heard appealed to me. I’ve finally found kindred spirits that share my musical point of view to make the best melodic metal with rhythmic and progressive elements.
Johan P: Ever since I started listen to metal back in the late 80´s, listening to bands such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, I have been a sucker for metal bands with interesting drummers. I mean, Nicko Mc Brain doesn’t disappoint anyone, does he… Anyhow these days I tend to listen more to bands like Dream Theater, In Flames, Soilwork, Korn and such and I think all the drummers in each of the bands are awesome. Metal music really appeals to me because of its intensity and the energy it delivers. My musical background is slightly different than the others because I attended Eskilstuna municipal school of music at the age 8 to 18. Through the years I got to play everything from marching band and concert band to blues. Later I moved to the southeast of Sweden playing mainly rock music influenced by Sabbath, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. If we at occasions didn’t have a singer we went on playing instrumental improvised rock/metal/whatever until there was a new constellation. Playing and making music with Disdained and hanging out with the guys is really a special honor and I’m glad I had the guts to apply to their add a few years ago.
Why did Disdained call this release “Longing for Serenity”?
Niklas : The name “Longing For Serenity” reflects nicely Disdained’s over all lyrical content. Since the songs often are very personal and rather dark, the wish or struggle for peace of mind, sort of got summarized in that song title. Also at the time of the recording of that particular song, we thought that “Longing For Serenity” was the best song we had recorded at the moment. The song itself was written to send a massage and to make people stop for a moment and think of what is going on in the world with trafficking and organized transnational crime.
Therese, can you tell me a little about the band’s history before this release?
Since the start up in 2005 we have been trying to find the right sound and the right musicians to work with. Today we have the best constellation and with our upcoming debut behind us I feel very confident and positive. As any new band we have been working our asses of to get recognized or at least seen in this “noise” of thousands of bands. But with hard work you sometimes get rewarded, often not in money tough, hehehe. In the past we have released one demo that contained tree tracks. This demo was used for different purposes but mostly for promotion on MySpace and for concert booking. Thanks to that we received different great offers that led to several gigs both in Sweden and Finland, in the later we were the headlining act two years in a row at the outdoor festival “Harvester Rock Festival” that among others have had acts like Paul Di’ Anno, U.D.O and Machinemen. In 2008 we preformed at the Swedish festival “Vadstuck”, there we opened up for the Swedish gammy winner Mustasch. One other important gig for us was actually this summer where we preformed at the “Alarm Stage” at “Sweden Rock Festival”. This gig was especially fun since this stage was for femme metal bands only. It is really fun to see that interest and commitment in Sweden indeed. Disdained have during the years received a lot of radio time both in the USA as well in England. We have done a few interviews that have meant a lot to us. For example we did one for Muen Magazine (USA) and another big interview with an Venezuelan magazine where one of our songs got featured on a compilation CD included in the magazine.
Disdained contributed the title track from “Longing For Serenity” to “Beauty And Brutality”. Why did you choose to contribute this particular song, in comparison with the others on the album?
Niklas : As said in the earlier question, this was the song we wanted to use because we felt that I it had a strong message, also, at that time, we thought that “Longing For Serenity” was a good song that represented the band’s musical style well. We really like the other songs but we feel today that this EP marks a earlier sound of Disdained, even if the EP was released just recently. Today we have evolved and have some nice surprises in our sleeves for all the ones who like Disdained’s metal.
What’s up next for Disdained?
Niklas : Conquering the world of course! Hehehe… Seriously, we have been working hard all spring and summer recording our upcoming full length debut “Kill My Only Enemy” and the process is not over yet. The album is in this writing moment in the mixing and the mastering process and so far it sounds awesome! We are also working with the amazing digital art artist Lady Symphonia which is doing the album cover art. Then of course we will try to find a suitable record label so we can reach the femme metal-fans in a wider scale than earlier. We will also start to look into booking some concerts and festivals for 2011, we hope that all will go as planned.
“Longing for Serenity” is the EP available on American Amazon. Is this part of the original album “Kill My Only Enemy”, or has this plan changed in any way?
Niklas : The EP is available on American Amazon, yes. The track ”Longing For Serenity” will be on the full length album “Kill My Only Enemy”, however with a face lift.
Do any of you have any side projects, or hobbies that are important to you outside of the band? A little about them…
Johan H: At the moment I don’t have any musical side projects. There is unfortunately no time for that. I spend my spare time with my wife and children unless I’m playing floor bandy, watching movies or partying with the band!
Therese: Besides Disdained I do a lot of troubadour gigs both for fun and for an extra income. When I’m not working with music I am a person that loves being out in the nature and I do not hesitate, if there is time, to go away fishing for a while. Another big hobby of mine is attending to my orchids or watching movies. I often watch between 2 to 4 films every week. I also enjoy reading a good book or just hanging out with my friends and have a nice tasting beer or a smoky single malt whiskey.
Johan P: Right now I’m studying business development within retailing so the days are really filled for me. But I try to get out as often as I can to ride my mountain bike. I also take the time to hang out with my kids. It’s a real treat.
Tomas: Disdained is my only band I play with right now. Seeing I do not have all time in the world having 2 young sons and a family to attend to. In my spare time I really enjoy watching sports, football foremost and I also enjoy going to gigs with my favorite bands. I am much into computers and play an online game from time to time. Weekends I do often go and meet my friends for a drink or just do something fun. It is not seldom that I go to Niklas’s place and we listen to good music, have a bunch of good ales and single malt whiskeys.
Niklas: Well besides the music that takes almost all of my free time, I have a strong interest in the nature. I’ve been studying biology and earth science for some years now and I really love being out in the green, it gives me peace of mind and a lot of happiness. I also like going to concerts, watching movies at home or at cinema, reading, Photoshop stuff, gaming horror games on my PC, Single malt whisky and American ale, this last thing I share with all the guys in the band, surprise huh!!!
Therese, what is your dream performance? What venue, what bands would you play alongside, and what would make it stand out as the single best concert ever?
I would really like to perform at the Swedish festival Metaltown. Besides all the awesome bands that perform there it is a really cool environment to be in. It’s located on a pier in the metal town of Sweden, Gothenburg. Everything in the surrounding environment is made of concrete and steel! Another cool festival would be Wacken Open Air since it is one of Europe’s biggest festivals and of course Metal Voices Fest where I think we would fit in nicely. There are a few bands that I can’t get enough off and I would die to support them on tour or just a single gig. These bands would be Rammstein, Katatonia or maybe In Flames. I’m not comparing us to be at the same level as them of course but a Disdained concert is not only about the music itself and then nothing more to it but we also want to give the audience an experience where we are acting and interacting with the music we deliver. Rammstein is that kind of band that always delivers a complete genial and carefully prepared show and therefore is a band that inspires us.
Where would you say your lyrics come from, on an emotional level? Which song would you say exemplifies this the best?
Niklas : Our songs are often, almost always, about emotions on a very personal level but the lyrics can also be about real life experiences, personal or seen from another person’s perspective. We seldom write fictive lyrics, like fantasy stuff but of course a feeling or a dream can be put in another context than the actual feeling itself, that is one of the great things when writing songs. The best songs to exemplify this would probably be the dark songs “Numb” or “Trust” on our upcoming album, but if we have to mention a song from the EP it would probably be “Until My Last Breath”.
Why has the Internet been an asset, or a detriment, to the spread of your music and the income it creates?
Tomas : Since we are not a big act (yet) in any way we really benefit from the internet. It is a great channel for us to advertise ourselves and let people from all over the world get in touch with us and our music. We use web pages like MySpace and Facebook frequently to inform about the latest news from the band. The songs are distributed via Spotify, iTunes and other MP3 downloading sites, so that spreads our music also and creates a small income.
To wrap things up, is there one thing each of you would like to say to all your fans?
Niklas: Thanks for giving us your time reading this interview and I hope it was of interest. Hope to see you on a future gig or tour. Cheers to you!!!
Tomas: I would like to thank all of those that have been to our gigs supporting us, also those that has written to us and given us praise for our work. Since the record is not released yet I can´t say thanks for buying it but I will urge you to give it a shot and listen to it since I truly believe that it is something you may like if you are into bands that are in our genre. As a last thing I wish all of you a great time and remember all: Metal is the law!
Johan H: If you like heavy and melodic metal, check out our debut “Kill My Only Enemy”. Cheers!!!
Therese: Live each day as it was your last!
Johan: I’m really grateful to everyone, supporting us in the way they can.
Interview by Connie Bach
Hailing from Madrid, Crownless carries a sound all its own, which is tough to describe. With its mix of Nane’s clean, strong vocals, combined with Sergio Mena’s sinister growls offers a lovely contrast. “Lost Inside” is from their self-titled album, “Dark Evolution”, that will be released next year and is on the Femme Metal compilation coming out in October.
Hi, Vanessa. We are so glad Crownless decided to contribute to “Beauty and Brutality”. I’m just curious, where did the name Nane come from?
Hi! Nane is a nickname that a good friend of mine started using about eight years ago to call me. It seems that Nane is the way some Spanish children say Vane and Vane comes from Vanessa. My friend thought I was like a child and I use that name since then.
Though this is Crownless’s first release under that name, can you tell me about the band’s creation and history under the name Anzeray?
Well, this is a question that people usually ask. Three of the actual members of Crownless were in Anzeray but that’s the only relation between Crownless and that band. I mean, we had great times and we did great music together but Crownless is a new band, with a new musical approach and a different concept not an Anzeray’s evolution. When Anzeray broke up, time went by and one day Jorge Escudero phoned me and told me “Hey, I’m thinking in a new band, would you join me ?” and the rest is well known.
What forced so drastic a line-up change in 2006 and why the name Crownless?
The new line-up is a consequence of all we were talking about before… CrownLess is a new band, not an evolution so, in fact, there have been no line-up changes by now. Why CrownLess? There was a list with… about ten different possible names for the band. All of them had some kind of symbolism about our feelings or about our purposes. Crownless is a very representative name for a band that doesn’t believe in kingdoms. We voted and Crownless won.
Where did you learn your vocal skills? What is it like, working with a duel vocalist like Sergio?
My mother taught me the basics when I was a child but after that I continued learning by myself. I really can’t remember my life without singing. I have had lots of microphones since I was a child. I loved singing, everyday and everywhere. Sergio is a very talented singer. I really love the sound of his voice. And I think that we are a great vocal couple. The contrast between our voices and the different ways we can sing make us very versatile and, I think, attractive. I’m very proud of that.
Nane, what is your personal history with the band, and the metal music scene?
I’m very very VERY shy, haha. Even though I love singing, I never thought about being part of a band until I was about twenty years old. I started singing in a cover band called Gargoyle. We played greatest hits from bands such as Stratovarius, Skid Row or even Manowar! Haha. It was nice but Manowar really wasn’t my style XD. After that, some years after, I joined Anzeray. That was the time when I started learning classical technique by myself. With work, I managed to combine this operatic approach with my clean vocal skills. Then Anzeray broke up and I started again the “looking-for-a band” process…and finally, CrownLess came into my life. Before Gargoyle I sang and played guitar for friends, but never imagined something like this.
Turning now to the album, how was it “born” and how did the creative process go?
Well, the song “Lost Inside” is an exclusive version for the compilation, so the album is not released yet. We are at the studio at the moment. There is, however, a demo cd that was released in 2008 named “CrownLess”. That was our “introduction” to the metal scene. The creative process for the album is being hard, because we want to give our best. Anyway, we are proud and we are sure you’ll like the results. We’re looking forward to showing it to the world.
How does the process of building an album and a following, change the relationships within a band?
I think all this process is giving us the possibility of knowing thoroughly the rest of the band members. We talk a lot and we spent a great part of our time together, recording, creating, changing lines… working to make a dream come true. I’ve always said bands are like a love relationship and an album is the fruit of that union.
As far as the song “Lost Inside” goes, what is the concept behind it? How does it relate to the rest of the album?
“Lost Inside” talks about anguish and death, about those nights in which you cannot sleep, and then, you start thinking about your existence. We live everyday with death around us but we decide to ignore it because that makes live something easier to deal with. “Lost Inside” talks about the moment when someone realizes that cannot ignore that anguish. I think the album will be a dark album in almost every aspect: composition, arrangements, lyrics, album art… Anyway death is something that comes to us as life does, so there will be moments for hope as well.
How do your songs relate to your life, and the lives of the band members?
Music is an expression of the soul. When I’m sad, I always sing. That always comforts me and helps me to go on. Also when I’m angry, when I’m in love or when I’m happy. I think in CrownLess we all need music and we have lots of things to say to the world, as our listeners do.
Metal fans can be quite crazy. How do you like to connect with them?
We love them! We are logged at CrownLess Official Forum and we chat there with fans. Also we try to meet and chat with them on gigs. When I’m on stage, singing, I love to see their faces and notice that they are feeling what I’m saying the same way I do. There’s no money to pay what they can make you feel only with their eyes. It’s awesome.
What is the most memorable thing a fan has done to show support? What was your reaction?
They have done t-shirts, play cards, they’ve come to gigs far away from their cities…but the most hilarious thing I remember now was when they bought some horrible underwear, wrote on them support and love phrases and threw them to us when we were on stage. We couldn’t believe it. What a moment! Hahaha.
Interview by Connie Bach
“No Tears for You” is featured on the upcoming Femme Metal compilation Beauty and Brutality is an example of the fiery energy that can be felt when listening to Exilia’s music. I must admit, I was a little surprised by the sound, which is pleasant and strong as hot cider.
Hi, Masha. How is the year 2010 shaping up for Exilia?
Hi, and thanks for your interest in Exilia. It’s going really well, we are happy with our live activity and we are happy about our new release “Naked” that came out on June 2010.
“Naked” was a challenge for us, we never did something like this before it was our first time with acoustic guitars and percussions, the heavy part was to find the best arrangements for guitars in order to keep the power of the riffs in the acoustic side too. The good part was to sing because I could experiment new sound with my voice and give more expression to the lyrics.
This one is totally different! This is a limited edition unplugged cd! Only “No Tears for You” is fully produced, “Naked” is a special thing in our discography.
I love how “No Tears For You” discusses righting wrongs and carrying on. Would you tell me more about the personal story or idea behind those confident lyrics?
It’s a crazy story!! In the song I’m talking to Mr stupidmanthis guy has a record label and that made me lose a lot of time with his stupid tons of words, this people are the ones that destroy music.
They say writing lyrics is like writing poetry. Is it?
Yes, I really really think so.
For those less familiar with the band, Exilia has been around since 1998.They originated in the towns of Milano and Lombardy, Italy. Masha, can you tell me how you personally became involved with Exilia?
I started with Exilia in 2000, I met Alien (our guitar player) in a music shop, I was there to take guitar lessons and after some months we decided to start a band. thats how Exilia came up!
With the departure of your former bassist in 2007, how do you feel it changed the overall chemistry and sound of the band?
We found a brilliant bass player after Random left the band so we didn’t feel any difference in the sound, we had a new positive energy in the band with the new guy so we felt definetely better!
You have been Exilia’s vocalist for quite some time. What do you use free time for? Do you have any hobbies or musical side projects?
I like jogging, I like swimming, I love to take a walk with my dog and stay in the nature, I practise meditation, I teach vocal in 3 schools in Milan, I do a radio program and further more I have my own side projects where we do acoustic things with 2 amazing guitar players and where I play percussion.
Lots of bands sing in English and seldom use it otherwise. How difficult is it to transition to using English lyrics?
It’s really difficult !!! But I love your language and I try to do my best!
As the vocalist for a metal band and as a woman not from the United States, I’d like your take on the ongoing news coverage of the oil spill and how it reflects your views on American culture?
It’s a big matter and it would be my pleasure to talk about it in a deep way when it will be possible. What I can tell you is that everything that happened made me really sad because this thing destroyed a part of our planet and our nature and it twill take several years to recover from this injury. I don’t think there is a single person to be blamed for this but it’s a whole political and economical system, which we all know is ruled by the seven sisters that are responsible for this catastrophe and not only this.
Masha, thanks for your time and honesty. The lyrics of “No Tears For You”, from Exilia’s album, “Naked”, are inspiring, as are songs from other albums I have heard. Good luck for the rest of this year and in the band’s future.
Thanks a lot for your support in US. All the best, Masha MysMane
Interview by Connie Bach
From Kiev, Infinite Tales is a unique band with a dark, fiery sound. The vocal stylings of Zolik and Kiwi contrast each other perfectly, over growling guitars and the machine gun fire of drums. The entire sound rides on a stable bass for a sound in which all elements speak to the listener. I found the sound and flavor exciting, with each song easy to ride along with.
Hello, Kiwi. Thanks for taking the time for an interview with Femme Metal.
Hey! In my turn, I would like to thank you for your interest in Infinite Tales. I really appreciate this.
As well as providing melodic vocals, you also play the cello. How did this come about? Tell me a little about how you learned both skills.
My first music lessons were coming from my family: my mom is a cellist. Later, at the age of 5, I went to the music school. Interestingly enough, I started to play the piano first. But all of my teachers were so bad that my mom decided to teach me by herself. And since that time (I was 12), cello, along with singing, became an obsession, I should say. During that time, I was singing primarily in the choir but it was really something special, exciting for me.
Infinite Tales existed before you joined them. What encouraged you to become a metal vocalist?
I like metal; I adore singing. Being a metal vocalist includes both of these preferences. So, when I met the guys from Infinite Tales, I realized that it’s my thing.
“Only the Beginning” is Infinite Tales’ debut album. What was the recording process like for you? How did the experience enhance your skills as a musician?
An experience, gained during the recording sessions, turned out to be indispensable for me. I even started to sing in a different way - and you can evaluate this difference on the next record.
“Only in the Beginning” is an album with balance and variety. How did it come together and what was the recording process like?
The recording process was something new and exciting for us. We worked really hard; we experimented a lot for those 6 months. We are very grateful to Morton (the sound producer), who’ve made the sound of the album the way it is.
Why did Infinite Tales choose to have “Running Away” appear on the Femme Metal compilation over other songs on “Only the Beginning”?
“Running Away” is a very deep and dramatic song. To me, it’s my favorite song. I like to convey emotions though it.And at the same time, this song is dynamic and heavy enough.
How does the band create its sound: music and then lyrics, or vice versa? Why?
The music comes first - and it’s all has been written by Glorf. All the lyrics and vocal arrangements for the new songs were written by Zolik (the male vocalist) and me because we know our highest and lowest notes and the main range. We’re trying to make vocal parts more complicated with every new song and it helps us to develop faster. That goes for everyone in our band.
What kind of fan feedback has “Only the Beginning” received?
We’ve received a lot of positive responses. Having seen these messages, it feels like that our work has been really appreciated and it’s really important for us. We feel like we can walk the same path we have been following for all this time and that we can make our second album even much better.
I hear Infinite Tales is working on their second release. How will this one differ from the last?
It’s going to be more technical, intense, and more powerful. We have considerably grown over the past year, so the difference between the first and our second release will be easily audible.
For a little perspective, how does it feel, up onstage with your band members around you, performing such intense music?
It’s a really great feeling! Seeing that people are enjoying the songs that you play live is an unspeakable experience. You’re just trying to put your worries aside and put more energy into the music on the stage and if you see the feedback from the audience, it becomes the highest appreciation for you. So, that’s really exciting.
Do you have any pursuits, pastimes, or hobbies besides Infinite Tales?
Now, I’m studying to receive the master’s degree in management. I devote all of my free time to music and to my friends.
Interview by Connie Bach
Zala, where did the name “Act of Hybris” come from?
I am impressed with the way you used classical instruments where the guitar would normally play. For example, at the start of your first official video, Tinka plays the flute where there would be a guitar solo. Why did the band, as a whole, decide to do this?
With all that knowledge and expertise it would be a waste if we would use only instruments that are expected to use in this kind of music. We feel every instrument is equal to others and is therefore used as often as needed.
The final line-up has been playing together since 2004. All most of the members have classical training. What brought all of you together as a metal band?
Everybody in the band obviously has an edgier side that only metal or hard core music can fulfill. So why wouldn’t we express our energy and minds in form of a music we feel invigorated by. We didn’t start as a band with boundaries of a certain genre, it took some time to find out what feels right.
Your voice has a lot of power. You could have sung in operas. What influenced you, personally, to choose this type of music?
I am doing all my best to become an opera singer. It takes a lot of effort and years of discipline and training. My wish is to sing in Milan’s Scala one day but then on the other hand I would like to perform in front of thousands of people with Aperion and rock their heads off. I don’t know, I simply love expressing myself in different types of music. We will see what life has in store for me.
Aperion has performed at several large, Slovenian rock festivals, such as Rock Otocec. As a symphonic metal band, what goes into getting ready for a show?
We take the stage very seriously and have become known as a strong live performer. We believe that everything has to be perfect for a good show, from sound and light, dresses, choreography and definitely the energy of all bend members. We also have a strong group of friends, a backstage team that you usually don’t see on stage but take a big part in our performances.
How has international recognition influenced you as a singer?
Since the recognition of Aperion as well as the album has successfully crossed the national boarders I am very pleased about all the positive critics we have received so far. As a singer it lets me know I’m on the right path. I never was humble when it comes to my goals and dreams so this gives me extra will-power and energy. I also feel obligated to continue all the voice training in order to perform even better in the future.
Moving on. Many singers say a band is like a second family. Would you agree? What would you like to say on their behalf?
Your band is a group of people with whom you share very special moments and feelings, and therefore you become very attached. Strong emotions are involved in the whole process of creating and performing so you feel like they are a big part of your life. As no group can avoid moments of disagreements neither can we but the funny thing is that’s the time you actually realize how big their part in your life is.
Zala, it’s been wonderful talking with you.Thank you for your time, and I look forward to more unique releases from Aperion.
Thank you and to all our fans for believing in us!
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 Connie Bach
Virus IV is pure, solid, razor-sharp metal. No axes, just swords for this band; and it is an excellent sound. “Frightening Lanes” from the album “Dark Sun” is featured on the upcoming compilation, “Beauty and Brutality”.
Hi, Magali. We appreciate the contribution Virus IV had made to the compilation.It’s our pleasure, thanks to Femme Metal for asking us to be part it !
How did you become a vocal coach? What kind of instruction do you ofer and what kind of students come to you?I started to give voice lessons about 8 years ago, actually because people asked me to… I enjoyed to help them improve and quickly felt the need to study vocal theory myself to keep on becoming a good teacher.With time and experience I’ve specialized in strengthening the voice, working on power and vocal timbre. Most of my students are into rock or metal music and very often have their own band which makes it even more interesting. I mostly give private individual lessons in Belgium and for those who live too far, we meet on Skype, works great !Would you consider your current path as a vocalist a career, a hobby, a calling, etc? It’s a career and a hobby all at once to me. Not sure about the calling.. who am I to say it… But I believe there’s something magical about reaching people with a music or voice. It’s a quiet intimate relationship that we share with the listeners…. priceless feeling actually !
How did Virus IV come into existence and what has the band’s path to success been like? How did“Dark Sun” and the public’s response, feed into the band’s future goals?Turning to “Dark Sun” itself, how was the album “born” and did it grow into what you intended?
The corus of “Frightening Lanes” runs “…let me be your eyes at night. Let us just be one for a moment, for a while”; impressive lyrics. Where did the idea behind “Frightening Lanes” come from? Why did the band choose to offer that song in particular?
Well… imagine that fear could talk to you… it would let you know how powerful it can be when you make it our ally through life. We’ve chosen “Frightening Lanes” to be on Femme Metal Compilation, as this song represents most what Virus IV’s music is all about.
Interview by Connie Bach
What is the expression people have? Where they feel they’ve heard a song before, and it has a flavour all its own. While some elements are reminiscent of Tarja, others stand out as different from all others. Being both familiar and fresh shows quite a bit of talent.
Hi, Dianne. What’s going on with Ex Libris at the moment?
We’re very busy planning new gigs, writing songs for the new “Medea” album and rehearsing the songs we’ve already completed. We’ve set ourselves a deadline at which all of the writing should be finished but there’s still loads to be done. We want the music on our new album to be a challenge for us as musicians, an inspiration for the listeners and a feast for the crowd. The “Amygdala” album already gave us a great start but there’s more to come in the epic album that “Medea” will be.
I looked up the Latin translation, recognizing Ex Libris as a Latin phrase. It translates to “from the books”. How does the actual meaning relate to the band’s choice of name?
Yes, if you translate the word Ex Libris you will find that it means “from the books” but an Ex Libris is also an object (like a seal, stamp or a brand) which is used to indicate ownership of products of a guild. You could say that by naming the band Ex Libris we would like to brand our products as our own.
If you envision the future, what would be the dream venue for Ex Libris? What other bands would appear in the same show?
I don’t think that there is one dream venue for us. There are too many awesome stages, concert-halls and festivals where we wish to perform one day. This also goes for the bands with whom we would like to share the stage but we surely wouldn’t say no to performing with Opeth, Devin Townsend, UnExpect or Freak Kitchen.
If the members of Ex Libris could all agree on three influential artists, who would they be? Why?
We all have very different backgrounds and our taste in (metal) music is not always identical either. For example: the bands I would often listen to when I was 16 years old were Skunk Anansie, Nightwish and Muse. For me all three singers of these bands were a great inspiration for the vocal styles and techniques I now use with Ex Libris. Peter tells me that he was influenced especially by Symphony X and the older music of Stratovarius and Metallica. And Paul says: “It’s impossible to name just three bands. Let alone name three bands only within the metal genre. As I was thinking about this question my music player randomly picked Coldplay, Nevermore and Toxic!”. With Ex Libris we compose music that has a good feel for us, without thinking about bands it may sound like. It is as Paul also said: “It’s up to the listeners to decide which other bands come close”.Out of all the awesome tracks on “Amygdala”, why did Ex Libris decide to contribute “Destined” to Femme Metal’s upcoming release?
I really like the feel of the song: it’s fast-paced yet eerie. Sometimes it is hard to do both. Ex Libris pulls it off quite well. Thanks, I like the song very much myself. It’s a funny piece of music that could resemble a strong ballad when looking at the lyric vocal lines but doesn’t reveal itself like that because of the guys playing fast riffs and solos. It’s a song with two faces that really connects with the lyrics and amplifies them. The lyrics to “Destined” are written by our drummer Joost van de Pas and tell us about the inner struggle to overcome grief and move on to better times.
If there is one track in particular that has a personal story behind it, what is that song and what is the story behind it?
All the songs on the “Amygdala” album represent a different aspect of me growing up and reaching adulthood. The lyrics on the album are about problems I have been dealing with, thoughts I had and statements I wanted to make.
“Dawn Of Sugars”, the first song on the album, is about me becoming an individual. Getting rid of all the ideas that are pressed upon you by the government, religion and others. In the song I also try to encourage other people to start thinking for themselves and dare to be different.
“Love Is thy Sin”, is my “sorry for dumping you” song in which I try to explain to my former girlfriend that she and I were not able to survive together. The lyrics say that it would have been better for us to never have loved each other so that I didn’t have to hurt her by breaking up.
“Breathe With Me”, the third song on the album, is about a power play between two people who feel attracted to one another and the emotions you feel when someone is yearning for your body.
The songs “Sail…”, “… Out to Farewell” and “Death Becomes Us All” are combined into one epic and resemble the end of my 3.5 year relationship with our drummer Joost van de Pas.
In the song “Sail…” a fisherman’s wife watches her husband set out to sea, knowing that this is their goodbye. “… Out to Farewell” tells the tale of death who’s coming to get the fisherman. During these two songs you’ll hear the fisherman (spoken by Koen) writing his goodbyes in a letter to his wife. “Death Becomes Us All” is an instrumental song which is the closing piece of the epic. The last song on the album “The Day Our Paths End” is about me becoming an atheist.
“Amygdala” is an intriguing album name. How does the name represent the collective strength of all the songs together?
The Amygdala are almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep within the medial temporal lobes of the brain. They perform a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions. Since every song on our debut album is a memory or emotion set to music, we could not think of a better name.
Turning to your own personal career, tell me a little about your background as a vocalist.
Well, I had my first singing lesson when I was four years old – a birthday present from my parents, who had noticed my interest in music and singing. At the age of 7 I sang my first solo with the Concordia Fanfare during a Christmas concert. Over time I was taught by several teachers and joined various choirs. When I was 17 I sang at a prom concert with the Gildenbonds Harmonie Orchestra where I met conductor and vocal coach Sef Pijpers senior who offered to help me enter the auditions at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, School of Music in Arnhem where I was accepted. During my bachelor years at ArtEz I was taught by soprano Elena Vink, did a short internship at the Nationale Reisopera and received master classes from Barbara Hannigan, Barbara Schlick, Claudia Patacca, Lodewijk Meeuwsen, Riekje Bakker en Felix Schonenbaum. After completing the bachelor programme I auditioned for the master programme and was accepted. Currently I am in the second year of the master program where I specialize in classical music written between 1850 and today. I receive my singing lessons from Elena Vink, Wiebke Goetjes and Constantin Nica. Apart from this I also take composition classes, write poetry for other composers and I’m chairman of the New Artez Student Association, a group of master students who organize interdisciplinary classical music concerts. I hope to sing my final exam in June 2011.
Opera and metal contrast very well. Is this where you saw yourself in the long-run?
I don’t know. I’ve always known that my future lies in music but which direction my path will take I don’t know yet. For now I am very happy with the way my career and Ex Libris can develop side by side. I love both and need both musical styles to complete me as a singer.
I firmly believe that mastering different styles of music enriches you as a musician.
What do you want to achieve in the future, as a metal vocalist?
Mastering many more different styles of singing but always with a healthy voice. I wish to be an inspiration to many young singers out there and want to let them know that you can sing (almost) anything as long as you keep your voice in good condition and be aware of the fact that a good voice comes with a good support of breath.
Part of the beauty of the metal genre is that bands and fans are so connected, so genuine. So what would all of the members of Ex Libris like to tell your followers?
It’s so very true that metal fans are deeply connected to the music! I’ve done concerts in many different music genres but never were the people in the audience more devoted to the music than those I’ve greeted at an Ex Libris concert. It really is the biggest thrill ever when the audience is right there in the music with you! This being said I can only say that we would like to invite all our fans and followers to visit our concerts, experience our music and propose a toast to metal with us.