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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Interview by Ed MacLaren
Every once in a while you run across a promising band new band and you’re instantly captivated by their sound, their creativity and their maturity. But most of all you can sense that intangible quality – something difficult to describe – that makes them unique and sets them apart. Ellyose is one of those bands. They ooze potential and bring a defiantly fresh take on gothic metal music. Femme Metal had the pleasure to speak to Ellyose vocalist Justine Daaé on recording their debut album “Théogyne”, the struggles of an up-and-coming band and staying true to your musical vision.Ellyose has the look and the sound to make a real musical impact on the French metal scene and beyond. What can you give some background of you and the band?
I myself have a classical background; I have studied classical music and singing at the conservatory in Paris and still am. At the age of 18, I started singing in some metal bands; it made me realize and understand several things: that I could never work with people handling music as leisurely entertainment and that, as I’m also a musician, I could never be only an interpreter, I needed to be very much involved in the writing process of the songs. It took me a few years to find partners who matched my musical personality and involvement and who didn’t want to do music in an amateurish way. When I met Ghislain (bass player) in early 2009, I felt I found the right person to work with and that’s when Ellyose began. Our guitarist Arnaud joined us 8 months later, after we released our 6-track-demo.
Ellyose has been together and performing for just over a year. What can people expect when they listen to Ellyose for the first time?
They can expect music loaded with arrangements mixing different types of musical influences among them classical (especially with the vocals) electronic and dance. It is very much a challenge to find the right way to make everything go well together to bring different emotions.
Ellyose is currently hard at work on its debut album “Théogyne”. What’s the recording process been like so far?
The hardest part is keeping the necessary distance to judge fairly our own songs – to be able to stand back and remain objective. In other words, keeping fresh ears after listening to parts of the songs a thousand times to find the perfect arrangement. It’s very long hours spent in front of a computer with our instruments trying to catch emotions in a very rigorous way. It’s exhausting but thrilling.
We can get a musical taste of Ellyose on your MySpace site and the posted tracks are excellent. What can we expect on “Théogyne”? Will the remaining songs be in the same vein or do you have some surprises in store?
It will be in the same vein as our eponymous track “Théogyne”, meaning less of a metal tradition, moving away from symphonic or gothic metal towards electronic, techno, dance and trance. This approach takes the strength and power metal brings and contrasts it with classical arrangements and vocals. And this is what it’s all about, violence and delicacy in one combined in music we want to sound aggressive and sensual.
Did you enter the studio with a specific idea of what you wanted the tracks to sound like or did everything get tossed out the window after you entered the studio and started to experiment?
We don’t experiment in the studio – everything is fixed before in the finest detail. The time to experiment is during working sessions. In the studio, we focus on not forgetting what we perfected, on being good at our instruments, and making ourselves clear and understandable with the sound engineer about what we want.
There are many operatically trained vocalists in goth metal but your classical vocal style works very well with the industrial and electronic elements in Ellyose. And by combining that operatic approach with breathy whispers and spoken word segments, it creates a unique vocal perspective that stands out. How did this vocal style develop?
I like to mix different kinds of singing and make use of everything I can do with my voice in order not to sound monotone and bring different emotions to each song: something more intimate with the whispers, something more lyrical with the vocals. Unfortunately, I’m unable to do grunts! I wish I could! I’m amazed by classical singers like Floor Jansen (very recently) who can do it without damaging their voice. At least that’s what she claims!
Your vocal background is in classical music. What is it about this vocal style that works so well with metal music?
To me, classical singing doesn’t just work well with metal, it could work well with many other kinds of music. I’ve never understood why it is so unpopular or why it sticks only with classical or metal.
Do you ever perform in a traditional classical environment? Is that a musical goal of yours?I still perform in a completely classical environment as part of my training at the conservatory. I also do chorus in operas. I have a deep passion for classical music and singing but obviously, I could never make a career in that environment plus classical music is just one facet of who I am. I’d rather be the crazy metal kind of girl.
Ellyose, while having a strong goth metal focus, also leans heavily towards industrial and electronic music. Is the future of metal going to be one where it assimilates different styles of music to stay fresh.
Metal has only been here for around 40 years so how will it sound in 100 years? I think it’s fair to expect it will continue to evolve like it already has by assimilating different styles of music.
You’ve also been heavily involved with Grey November, an excellent ambient doom metal band, that released its debut album “D’Automne” back in 2008. What prompted you to change musical directions from the dark ambience of Grey November to forming a gothic industrial electronic metal band like Ellyose? It’s a big change.
I don’t actually write Grey November’s music, I only write the vocal parts, so the project wasn’t mine in the first place, I agreed to work with Cédric whose music and lyrics deeply moved me. As a result, I’m very proud of what we’ve done even though ambient doom is definitely not the kind of music I want to go along with. Ellyose is my own project with my bass player partner Ghislain Henry, I am the songwriter myself in close collaboration with him. Today it is my top priority. I wanted a band that was totally who I was and which sounded totally the way I liked. It’s more personal.
Is Grey November still a viable outlet for your darker and more doomy creative tendencies? Will there be another Grey November project in the future?
I’m too busy with Ellyose for the moment to think of some other work sessions, but yes, I’d like to keep singing for Grey November in the future, I’m still a gothic music lover.
What are the musical and compositional differences in working with a band like Ellyose versus a band like Grey November?
The work is extremely different as far as Grey November is only a studio band, we’ve never planned to perform on stage so we’ve never recruited any session musicians and never had to go to rehearsals unlike Ellyose where we had to find other musicians and work for live shows.Many bands – regardless of what country they’re from – choose to sing in English to supposedly maximize their potential audience. Your lyrics are sung in your native French. French works so well with your music and your vocal style (especially the spoken parts) that English would take away from the overall impact of Ellyose. Other successful French bands like Kells sing in French while Markize performs in English, French AND Russian. But is there a negative to that? Does the language you sing in have an impact on the success of a band and the audience they can reach?
First, thank you for saying French matches with our music, especially that you are not a francophone. The funny thing is that I feel that the ones who are more likely to be bothered by French are French people. I personally like to hear songs in a foreign language (especially German) but most people keep thinking English is either the prettiest language to fit music or that it widens the audience. My choice with Ellyose is to record a bilingual album with French and English, just like the way I practice both of them in my daily life. French brings something unusual and I like to go off the beaten track.
As someone who’s been working the scene and developing your musical vision with increasing success, I’m sure you’ve run into a few roadblocks. What advice do you have for young bands trying to get their music out there?
Ellyose is a young band trying to get its music out there. If Ellyose succeeds, it will be thanks to our association with people aiming for the same goals. Music is teamwork as it also includes people providing the mixing, the production, the promotion, etc. The key thing would be surrounding yourself with bandmates who think the way you do. As well, choose the right people to collaborate with even though it could take some time to find them. Never lose patience.
How important is the Internet in developing and marketing new bands in the 21st century?
Internet is freedom; it allows you to choose one’s own music. Other media imposes on us. Most bands couldn’t live without the Internet. Its role is essential in developing and marketing a new band.(Famous) Last words?“Ne fais pas attention à ce que dit la critique : on n’a jamais élevé une statue à un critique.” (Jean Sibelius)
This is a French quotation meaning that no matter how harshly people may be bad-mouthing and criticizing others thinking they have an important role stating their opinion, they’d never be the ones statues are erected for. It’s poetic way to say, “To hell with detractors!” Follow your own instincts and inspirations and never try to have unanimous backing.?
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
Forget all those Cristina Scabbia & Lacuna Coil look-alikes from Italy. If you want to hear some old sckool metal from that country that would make Doro or Sabina Classen proud you should give the band White Skull a try. No soprano vocals or sweet elven maidens onstage with this band. I saw White Skull a few years ago at the Metal Female Voices Fest and they were one of the highlights today (the others were Girlschool and Izegrim).
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
Well, from what I can remember, when I started listening to heavy metal music I was about 16 years and I imagined myself running on a stage like Bruce Dickinson, hehe! That’s probably the dream of many young metal heads. Btw, then I started learning guitar and I found my own style on vocals just many years later.
Did you have any other bands before White Skull?
Yes, but as I said before, I was playing guitar. I played in some underground bands of my town, sometimes on guitar, later on vocals, and sometimes both on guitar and voice. Everything is good to make experience!
Who are your favourite singers?
Bruce Dickinson, Bobby Blitz and Ronny James Dio.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I love and listen mostly to thrash metal (‘80s Bay Area bands) and classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Scorpions.
What are your other passions besides music?
I love reading books and watching horror films. I like being scared!
And is it difficult to combine White Skull with your personal life?
No, luckily my job gives me the chance to plan my time in an independent way.
Besides White Skull you are also busy with your mail-order shop (see www.over-zone.com). What made you decide to start your own mail order shop specialized in old school metal stuff from the eighties?
Thanks for the question about it. I’m into the ‘80s style since I was young and I also worked with a business partner in a rock-metal shop for several years. After making enough experience in it, I was in need of independence and I also found out that she wasn’t the right person to share my work with. So I opened my own on-line shop and finally I could put my own style in it! It’s been a great satisfaction and I hope to support the old school style as long as possible, also for the young generations.
Do you think that metal as genre and life style was better in the eighties than today?
Surely it was better in the eighties. Everything was new, and you had to make sacrifices for your passion in Metal. Now everything is much more simple, you can find everything on-line, Mp3, information, shops… So it’s also less strong than before. And then, today many pubs and clubs are closing or just stopping to let bands play. It’s very sad!!
Unlike most female singers today (who try to be the next Sharon den Adel or Cristina Scabbia) the way you sing is more in the style of Sabina Classen from Holy Moses. Since this is not the most gentle way to tread your vocal cords, what do you do to keep your voice in top condition?
Yes it’s not a gentle way at all, haha. I’ll be honest I’m doing very few things for it: just concentrating in the right breathing and rehearsing at home to find the best position of the sound in my mouth or head, or nose.. I’m sorry, I haven’t got time for vocal lessons at the moment.
How did you became a member of White Skull?
Oh, totally by accident! I wasn’t following the band in the last times, so I didn’t know that they were searching for a new vocalist. One night I met Danilo in a pub and he just asked me what I was making in music now. He only knew that I was playing guitar in some local bands but he didn’t know that I was singing too. So he simply asked me to make the proof with them.. I did it one week later and here I am.
And since you are not White Skull’s first singer, was it necessary to adapt the songs to your voice?
Of course it always happens, when one vocalist comes after another (or two!!) and he has to perform songs that he hasn’t composed. That’s a old story! I’ve tried to do my best, but it’s natural that I prefer singing my own songs, I haven’t got problems in telling it.
What are the most memorable moments for you with White Skull? We are a band and a family as well, so every time we go out and play, we have very good time together, in total harmony and fun. I can remember when we played at the MFVF in Belgium. We arrived to the place the day before playing, so we had all the day and night to relax and touring around Bruxelles. It was like a little holiday and we really had fun (especially with food and beers!!) I have seen White Skull only once, at the Metal Female Voices Fest of 2008. How do you look back at that festival? Oh, I didn’t read this question when I told you about it in the previous one! As I told you, we really enjoyed that little tour and also the organisation of the Festival has been good and kind with us. I only have to say that we were the only True Metal band, that day. The other bands played mostly gothic or doom or some new metal, that’s not my genre. It seems difficult to find female metal bands in classic heavy metal! Luckily at the end came the Girlschool with their funny and old school rock’n roll, hehe.
We are a band and a family as well, so every time we go out and play, we have very good time together, in total harmony and fun. I can remember when we played at the MFVF in Belgium. We arrived to the place the day before playing, so we had all the day and night to relax and touring around Bruxelles. It was like a little holiday and we really had fun (especially with food and beers!!)
I have seen White Skull only once, at the Metal Female Voices Fest of 2008. How do you look back at that festival?
Oh, I didn’t read this question when I told you about it in the previous one!No problem :)
As I told you, we really enjoyed that little tour and also the organisation of the Festival has been good and kind with us. I only have to say that we were the only True Metal band, that day. The other bands played mostly gothic or doom or some new metal, that’s not my genre. It seems difficult to find female metal bands in classic heavy metal! Luckily at the end came the Girlschool with their funny and old school rock’n roll, hehe.
Can you introduce us to the other members of White Skull?
Tony Mad (Rhythm Guitar) and Alex (Drums) are the founder members of the band. Later, after other mambers, came Danilo Bar on the solo guitar and me on voice and finally Jo on bass. During the story of the band there have been several line up changes. For example, Alessio Lucatti (Keyboards) has just left the band due to employment purposes. It’s not easy to find the right people to play with, sometime for personal reasons, other times for a different style in composing ad taste in music, or simply for problems in the job. Now we hope to last many and many years like this!
Who is responsible for the music and lyrics in White Skull?
The music is composed by all of us, sometimes all together, other times working on one’s idea or riff. When each song is ready I write the lyrics and the melody for the voice.
And were do you and the band get the inspiration for the songs?
We all listen to metal since years and years, so I think that our inspiration comes in a natural way from all the bands we love. Though, ‘cause we have different taste in music (I’m mostly into thrash metal, for example), at the end everything mixes together and that’s the way how the White Skull current style was born.
“Forever Fight” is White Skull’s latest album. Is “Forever Fight” a concept album or are it thirteen individual songs?
I’d better say that they are 13 different songs, linked together by the same historical period (the end of the Roman Empire of Occident). Some of the songs tell about the same story (for example, “Boudicca’s Speech” is the prologue of “A Mother’s Revenge” and other songs talk about Attle and the Huns). But in the end it’s not a real concept album.
How did the press and the fans received the album?
Well, I can honestly say in a good way. I’m happy about the result. Of course there will always be who prefers the old WS style or members, but it’s natural and it’s not a problem. Everyone has his own taste in music and you can’t say anything, everybody is right. The important thing is that fans come to our shows and at the end they are really happy and come to talk with us with much excitement. And this is the biggest satisfaction for us!
Since “Forever Fight” was released in 2009, are you already working on a new album?
We’ve been busy with the live shows since now, so we’re planning to start the new album around this summer but with no hurry. There’s nothing worst for a musician than being late and having to write songs as quick as possible. We also live in different and also far cities, so it’s not easy to meet each others and play together, so the times are a little longer than normally.
If you look back at “Forever Fight”, are there things on the album you would have done different now?
This is my first album with WS and I’m much attached to it. So, even if nothing is always “perfect” and you could always improve it, now I wouldn’t change a single note in it.
And what are White Skull plans for the future?
Going on with the live shows and starting the composition of the new songs as well.
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Oh you’ve already asked a lot, hehehe! :)
One can never ask enough questions :)
I can only add that WS is a band with a strong passion for the true heavy metal and we do nothing if we don’t like it in that moment. We’ve done sacrifices like many other Italian bands to have the chance to play around, in a bad period for heavy metal music. Our only interest is passion and not business! Keep the Metal alive, guys.
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Heaven Rain is a band that comes from Bosnia Herzegovina and the sound you propose to the audience is a sort of symphonic metal, with some power and hard rock melodies. Already known in the native country, this band has released the debut album in 2008 and now it’s ready to rock Europe with the second album, “Second Sun” and in occasion of the official release, I had the pleasure to talk with Miona Graorac, the lead singer of the band.
Today FM has the pleasure to exchange some word with the singer of the Bosnian band Heaven Rain, Miona Graorac. Welcome to our website, Miona. Would you first introduce something about yourself and your band?
Thank you! And the pleasure is mine. First of all I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to introduce us better to our fans and the entire metal population. Well, I could describe ourselves as a couple of enthusiasts who did their best in the environment they live and work in, and who tried to present themselves, their work, spirit, creativity and positive energy through notes. Unfortunately, conditions we live in don’t allow us to live only out of music, so we’ve managed to get a blend of different professions and interests gathered around a mutual goal. I myself am an economist, with a good taste in music :)
Heaven Rain is a band that comes from Bosnia Herzegovina and as we already mentioned, you’re the new vocalist of this band. How did your adventure into the musical field started?
My adventure started a long time ago, as a keyboard player. That is my first love, as a schooled pianist. Later on, as I stepped further through musical genres, some of famous singers made a huge influence on me to explore singing more profoundly and try myself out as a singer. I started out, first in my previous bands and later in Heaven Rain. We already knew each other as a proved musicians,and were friends in our private lives, so after their lineup changes and dilemmas, our cooperation came as a result of well thought-through decisions of the bands future.
After having replaced the former singer, Božidar Šević, finally the band started its own path into metal scene. Heaven Rain signed a deal record and it has released the debut album called “Far and Forever”, after then there were some changes inside the line up, which was finally completed thanks to your entrance and to the one who has seen a new guitar player: Igor Dragelj. Now you’re back with a new record, “Second Sun”. What could you tell about this album? Was it your first experience in a studio or have you had some other chances before?
Yes, on this first album, the guys showed their creativity and potential, so I was glad to see them move on further, even though in our country it meant dealing with windmills. Now, we have a strong line up, which is ready for higher goals, meaning dedicating more time, efforts and resources to this mutual project. It was crucial for this band that all of its members have exactly the same view on the future actions and goals. I already had plenty of experience in different studios, working with some more famous bands from this area, so Heaven Rain studio sessions went very fast and smoothly, since we’ve rehearsed the songs ‘till perfection, before getting ourselves into this whole recording machine.
The band is chiefly straight to a symphonic metal sound, with some hard rock and power melodies. Indeed, your biggest influence comes from the Finnish school of power/symphonic metal (Sonata Arctica and Nightwish just to list some!). What is the origin of this decision to take a cue from so important band in this area?
As you could see, our keyboard player is a composer for most of our songs, so it is expected to have this symphonic sound. I think that this direction of metal offers the best opportunity for creativity to step in, and enables each and every member to focus on melodic lines and make their own variations of the theme. Of course, we’ve all listened to most famous bend of this genre, but there is so much more to give to this music, without having to be anybody’s shadow. We just really enjoy making something that is really of our own.
Don’t you think that maybe the result can be a little “copied” or unsatisfactory? Maybe some fans may find this choice a bit ‘risky’… As you know, nowadays many bands, albeit influenced by some others, try to imitate them even managing to fail.
On the contrary. You will always have copycats vs. creators, in every area of life. This is a well known fact. I already mentioned that our keyboard player is the author of most of our songs; so naturally, we have a big symphonic influence. The other fact is that I am a female singer. But this is the place where I would put an end to this resemblance. All of the bands you’ve mentioned have melodic and soft female vocals. This is not the case. I’ve started with blues, funk, and finally found myself as a huge hard rock soul, and I’ve built the color of my voice and my technique according to that. I’ve brought this sound to Heaven Rain and along with our guitarist Igor Dragelj; we’ve made a recognizable sound and gave a personal stain to what we do. I think the fans have recognized it too.
Listening to the album, I’ve seen that you played a cover version of a 80’s pop classic song by a famous Yugoslavian band called Zana. This is quite curious. How did this happen? Could please reveal something about this anecdote?
Yes, this was a huge hit in those days :) Our drummer Nebojša Lakić is a huge Yugo-nostalgic music fan. It was his major desire to tamper with this song, and as I said, we gathered around to have fun and good time as well, so the idea itself seemed so ridiculously brilliant, that we instantly put ourselves into it and made of it what you can hear as our bonus track :) We’ve sent it to the original band Zana and they were amazed by what we’d done. Nowadays, we have a great support in that band, so I would like to use this opportunity and thank them once again
What could you tell us about the recording process of the album? Any funny episode to share with our fans?
Actually, it went pretty smoothly. We came well prepared into the studio, so the atmosphere was relaxed and not stressful. We’d record until 6 p.m. and then move on to a famous local club, for a big meal, cold drink and live performance of their local bands. Of course, since I have vocal cords instead of an instrument, I had to be quiet most of the time since the music was loud. So, the ones who had fortune to experience these episodes were boys :)
The record has some nice songs like the title track but I’ve seen that you have put in this album some songs that were already in your EP “Evolution” (2010). What has caused this decision? Was due to allow your fans to discover something more?
The “Evolution” EP was made in a time when we were still in a search for a good and reliable record label for our future material. The album itself was still not in our short-term plans, but once the representatives from Music Buy Mail contacted us, they were willing to make a deal for our new material which was to be recorded in terms we agreed. So it motivated us to work harder, and complete this “Evolution” process into a full album, so the songs were re-recorded and adjusted to my voice.
Ok, let’s talk about the cover artwork. What does it represent?
The cover art designer was recommended to us by Music Buy Mail, since he already collaborated with them, regarding their previous editions. He is a talented artist named Alex Yarborough. We checked out his earlier work more thoroughly and then we exchanged some ideas of how our cover art should look. He made a few samples, for which he thought they would suit us the best. Finally, we came across our current cover artwork which contained the entire mixture of our albums sensitivity and atmosphere. So, the answer to your question ‘what does it represent’, I would say ‘Simply, our album’. Not some metaphor, just the album itself. So if you’re trying to find a connection between a blonde angel on the cover and me, don’t.
Now that the album has been released, what will you do?
Well, now starts the part that all the bands love more than constant rehearsing and recording worries. We’ve currently working on our merchandise, since we’ve got our promo CD-s as well. When the work is done, we’ll be ready for our pending concerts and presentations. We have the biggest responsibility to our home-town members who have supported as all along, and according to that, we’re preparing a big album promotion back at home, and then we’ll be available and ready to play in every place we can maintain a minimum technical conditions to present ourselves to our fans outside our country as well.
What are your future goals?
I like to see this as our fresh start. The album is out and it’s now up to as to make the best of it. The songs are good, and so is our energy, and this has only showed us that it can be done, and that we have to push even harder. Our current goal is as wider auditorium as we can get. We’re working on a video for 2 songs. We picked our bonus track as our first one, because it’s the only song in our native language and this is mainly for our local fans. The other one will be either album title track “Second Sun” or “Heaven Rain”, depending on the taste of wider audience. This will enable us bigger marketing break-through and hopefully more interest to our album, which we are ready to present live in a near future.
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
Absynth Aura just published their first studio album, “Unbreakable”. You may think they are all a bunch of newcomers, but…they aren’t! Having played on various tv shows and during some important festivals and venues, they delivered an album which is a good, solid piece of Metal. We just had to interview their singer, Claudia “Klod” Saponi, to hear from her how this band so quickly made their way into the italian metal scene.
Your first song is “Will Is Power”. It is a song written specifically for CESVI and its show “Virus-Free Generation”. Was there something in particular that convinced you to write a song for that show (organized by a charitable organization), in which you officially debuted as Absynth Aura?
I had already written “Will Is Power” a few months before taking part in the competition. The song was born as a “personal reminder”, it’s a way to face up to life, it’s my story and the lyrics make me never forget that. The perseverance, the strength and the determination of the song are the key factors to the success of it.
Talking about fans, I’ve seen that you post lots of things on your wall, as Absynth Aura, but also through your personal profile pages. How important is for you your relationship with fans? In which ways you try to “please” them (I’m thinking about, as I said before, participating in first person to your facebook fan page) and make them feel involved in your activities?
I like to keep my fans up to date with photos, dates of concerts and all the latest news. However personally I do not spend much time on social networks, instead my team-mates are real computer nerds eheh :)
Do you have any precious memories you can recall with some of your fans?
All my fans are always very nice to me. Sometimes they identify themselves in our lyrics and they talk to me about episodes of their lives… precious memories? I used one of their life stories to write the lyrics of a song of Absynth Aura.
Talking about your musical style…you obviously play metal, but it’s unique, and, as you stated, you are influenced by various styles (Funk, Prog, Rock, ecc.). What’s your personal stylistic evolution? I mean, how did each one of you evolved in their style, passing from one to another and how all those styles ended in Absynth Aura and its particular sound?
Every one of us comes from a different musical background and our influences put together have resulted in our typical sound. Personally I think that the musical knowledge that I acquired during the years, such as blues, funky and rock, couldn’t be ignored or hidden away so I decided, even though it was a rock-metal disc, to include it in “small drops”. The result? Well, you have to tell me eheh… I’m satisfied eheh…
What about you, Claudia? Tell us something about yourself, your story! What do you feel it’s your greatest achievement so far, and how did you feel when “Unbreakable”” was finally released?
I was born in a family where music reigns over all. Since I was a little girl I used to dream about doing this job and I thank God that I have the possibility to do something that I really like. To write, to record, to play over and over again, to sing and re-sing…I couldn’t wish for anything else. When I opened the first copy of “Unbreakable” I felt like a child with a Christmas present eheh… Years of work where concealed in that small box…fantastic!
Talking about the releasing of “Unbreakable”, how did you feel as a band? You thought “Now the cd’s out, now can rest” or more like “Our album is out! Let’s show the world how we rock!” ?
Without doubt “let show the world how we rock”! I never stop composing for Absynth Aura, I think that none of us know the meaning of the word “pause” eheh. I don’t consider the release of “Unbreakable” as a finishing line but as a first step along a road to walk down together.
How was your “video experience”? I mean, playing on Rock Tv and shooting your first video for “Desert Flower”?
The Rock Tv experience was awesome! Having the chance to play live in a program that discovers emerging Italian bands was an excellent opportunity for us to get known to the public, and making the “Desert Flower” video was real fun…we have recently made a video for “The Fire in My Eyes” and we’ll release it very soon so…stay tuned!
Did “Unbreakable” make you know any special person? Someone who helped you a lot for your career, or someone who made your road trips funny, or unique in a certain way? What do you think about being “on the road” to play some gigs?
During the “Unbreakable” tour I have met a lot a people and each one of them has left me something special. I think that the most emotional and fun part of our job is being on the road. There are hundreds of stories I could tell and maybe a few of them could be included in our future songs!
What was your best gig so far? And why was it special?
Each gig has something special, the public, the fans who follow us, the energy that we have on stage and the magic that is created each time we play together. It has been defined as the “Circus of Dark Fire Tour” because we have played together with a group of friends very well-known in the Heavy-Thrash Metal world, Arthemis. The public has seen quite a few eheh!
You got a lot of reviews for your “Unbreakable” but what was the one you liked the most? It doesn’t have to be the one from a famous magazine, it can also be a very moving comment on facebook from one of your fans, or something like that!
I was pleasantly surprised in finding out that the reviewers and the listeners have understood the intention I wanted to communicate in the disc, the emotions I wanted to get through have been felt and many people have approved certain style choices. Although the best words have been the ones of a female journalist who probably wanted to fly high the “girl power” flag when she said “all these male rockers will never get the better of you” eheh.
Final question: Any wish you’d like to make for the future? Any hope?
A new disc, a new tour, maybe even overseas and…my team-mates to share all this with me!
Interview by Scott Johnson
Beautiful as the deepest Forest in the medieval times. Notes dancing on the wind. A story unfolds into a most adventurous mind movie. These are my thoughts as I listen to Astray Path. Music that could be the soundtrack for any true fan of a good story. Metal meets Lord of the Rings style lyrics flirting with Braveheart dressed as a metal lord of Gothic doom. I had a chance to talk to the siren of this most innovative tribe of musicians, Kathrin Kaifel. And now if you dare, take my hand into the Astray Path.
Hello Kathrin, I am honored to have this chance to talk with you today and find out what we can find down the Astray Path. Can you share with us the history of the band?
Simon and I used to make music together a long time before Astray Path, and we both love the same musical style. It was in January 2003 when Simon and I were on our way home from a great metal concert. We sat in the car and Simon said: “Hey, let’s found a band, too!”. And I think this was the first step on the path that leads astray…
Where does Astray Path draw inspiration from?
Sometimes I have an inspiration from a special situation or feeling, then I form the lyrics for a song. It works the same way for Dora (bass). We then hand the lyrics over to Simon and he writes the music fitting to the text. Sometimes it happens the other way around: Simon plays the piano and a new song arises simply out of his playing. Then the lyrics are added afterwards based on the pictures or emotions the melody has created in our heads and hearts.
What was it like in early 2003 when you, Oliver, Florian, Dominic and Simon first formed the band?
For all of us it was the first band. No one had ever played in a band before. So, we all said something like “OK, now we have a band… let’s see where it will lead us…”. It was very exciting for everyone. And a few months later we won our first band competition – a wonderful experience
Then there was a 2 year period full of uncertainty for you and Astray Path. How did you find the strength to make it through this time?
We all love music, in general and of course our own musical experiments. And so it was clear that we wouldn’t stop working on our musical journey.
What was it like to make it to the studio in 2006 and record “Follow the Path”?
It was very exciting because for most of us it was the first time working in a studio. And Benny Fetscher, the owner of the studio, had a very calm and informative way of working. He showed us everything that could be done.
Where are some of the places the band played between 2006 and 2008?
Mostly in Ulm and around Ulm, we had not travelled much farther then.
We reach 2008 and the band enters the studio once again to record “The Hidden Line” and during this time Robert leaves the band. How did the band meet this challenge?
At first we thought we couldn’t work on the new album without a guitarist. But then it was a great chance to gain Benny Fetscher (the owner of the studio) for the guitar-parts! He brought some new ideas and it was very inspiring to work with him.
In 2009 once again the band enters the studio to record the album “Desert”. What was this like?
Elmar (Guitars) was also the producer of this album. He was the driving force, he took care of everything and invested much time in this project. We couldn’t have managed without his support. He had the idea of a concept album and completed the story around it with his song (“The Call”). And of course we had a great team of musicians (flute, cello, french horn, etc). It was fun to work with them in the studio. And now it’s great to play with them on stage when they have time to be there. But not to forget Manuel Staib, the owner of the studio: he was very confident, he had the required sense of calmness and influenced the recordings in a very positive way.
What has the band been working on recently?
We are rehearsing with a new (additional) guitarist and of course we are working on some new material.
So do you all love the whole Renaissance themed subjects and do you like these things outside of the band as well?
All of us have this “classical background”. Simon (Keyboard) and Holger (Drums) are both conductors (Simon: many choirs, Holger: symphonic brass orchestra) and so they know an enormous spectrum of music. Dora has played the viola in various orchestras. And I love singing in choirs that perform classical music, especially music of the 20th and 21st century. This is sometimes hard to take. We all know that this sort of music is at a different level to what we write.
What are some of your musical influences?
Church music of all centuries and bands like Subway to Sally, Blind Guardian…
How long have you been singing and where did you have your training?
I have loved singing my whole life. At the age of about 11 I started to sing in a school choir and a youth choir. When I was about 17 I began to love the classical style of singing. And then, at the age of 19 or 20 I took classical singing lessons with a private teacher and continue up to now.
If you could pick one of your favorite shows that the band has played which one would it be?
I guess playing as support for Xandria was my favourite show so far. The location was quite big and the audience who didn’t know us before responded well. But any show, no matter which location, is fun and a wonderful experience. As long as we manage to reach the souls of the people who came to listen.
What are some of the next shows on the Desert tour?
We don’t know yet, our booker is working on the plan.
It was so nice to have you here today Kathrin. Before we close do you have anything that you would like to add?
Thank you very much for the interest in our music and the imaginative questions!
Label : Solarfall Records
Review by Andrea Disgraced
Masters of decadent funeral doom Shape of Despair are finally back after six years (not considering that sort of self-titled compilation out in 2005) of silence. Well, what we have here is “just” an EP, also a really brief one, considering the band and genre - total length is about 11 minutes for two songs, not an extreme length if you know what I mean. Moreover, it’s always more difficult to judge an EP than a full-length, you don’t have much to appeal to and in this case more than ever, since we have only two tracks. Coming to the music, I must say that I’ve been a bit personally disappointed, only hoping that this is an appetizer for a greater opus - arriving soon if possible and not in 5 years! ;) - which bring the band back to its throne of romantic funeral doom. Actually I say I’m a bit disappointed because all these years for two songs that, be it clear, are not bad but absolutely nothing you’ll die for, seems a little poor to me. The EP kicks off with the title-track “Written in My Scars”, whose soaring melodies place the song right in-between their latest two albums, without sounding too similar but letting us cast a glance in what might be the future of the band, which is a positive note in this sense. Most interesting for the readers of this webzine I guess, in this song you can hear Natalie Koskinen’s usual backing vocals consisting in ooohs & aaahs that surely hel building the right atmosphere; nonetheless, don’t expect to hear more female chants on this EP. Which isn’t bad per se, every member of this band contributed to build a genre, and Pasi’s distinctive, suffering growls are certainly able to carry the song. Only, since Natalie has a particular and cold clean voice, it wouldn’t be bad to hear more from her in the future - and for those not knowing what I’m talking about, chech out her other band Depressed Mode. In this song is absoutely worth mentioning the good work done by Samu at the drums. Second track is titled “The Bliss of Sudden Loss”, that nothing will add to your judgement or liking of the EP, in good or evil. But, I couldn’t help noticing the initial and final riff (that accompanied by our usual and beloved SoD-keyboards bring a big smile on our doomy faces) sounds similar to the main riff of Draconian’s “Scenery of Loss”… now maybe it’s me who’s not good at musical theory enough to judge but that’s what my ears and “heart” told me. ;) In conclusion, I guess this is the typical fan-only release; I’m sure the band itself intended it that way. Now we’re all waiting for more!
Rating - 63/100
Review by Tony Cannella
Okay, so here is another Folk-Metal band.This band, Scythia hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and makes no mistake about it; they play Epic Folk-Metal.The main lead vocalist Dave Kahn (I believe) but they could use several different singers since there are a couple of different styles at play here – some better than others. Some Female vocals are used as more background or harmony vocals. Musically, Scythia is Folk-Metal and they don’t stray too far from that path. The best track on display here is the 7-minute “Red Wizard”. This is just a cool epic type number that features a lot of tempo changes. Another favorite is the orchestral instrumental piece “Elegy”. Other highlights include: “Fierce Riders of Scythia”, “The Black Death” and “Dies Irae Pt.1”. Folk-Metal is a sometimes polarizing metal genre and I don’t see Scythia really appealing to fans outside of said genre. Still, “…Of War” features plenty of strong material that will please the many in the Folk-Metal crowd.
Rating - 70/100