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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
All Beauty Must Die (via Interview : Jin-In Cho – Krypteria « Femme Metal Webzine)
Interview by Miriam C.
The Dutch musical revolutionaries are back with “Disclosure”. Elegant, subtle and refined as their style asks. Lone gone are the days when TG used to make your head bang, define them some little genious is so predictable but TG never stops to experiment itself. Everytime that they release a full lenght album is like putting a stepping stone on their long career, also they never stop you to surprised you (see the resuscitated The Gathering ‘92 line up gigs). And this matters we have asked some questions to the (once was a) newbie singer Silje Wergeland and to Réne Rutten for some expectation about TG ‘92.
Hi Silje first of all thanks for accept this interview. At the end of August/early September your ninth album “Disclosure” will be out. What you can share about its genesis, when you have nail down your first lyric?
Hello! I started writing down lyric ideas for this album some time ago, I think 3 years maybe (I guess right after “The West Pole”), and has been an evolving process since.
“Disclosure” was, in some ways, anticipated by “Heroes for Ghosts” in 2011. Why this choice? And also what you can tell us about the videoclip backstage and preparation? And what about its story?
Yes, we wanted to release this song last year to give a little teaser from the album. We all love this song, and it was one of the first songs we finished totally for this purpose. It is reflecting the atmosphere of the album, so it was a good teaser to go public. Regarding the videoclip it was originally meant to be done in Holland, but we decided in the last minute to do it in my hometown Bergen in Norway due to the script. The band flew in Dutch director Marcus Moonen, and we hired a Norwegian producer, who together with me and my boyfriend arranged for locations, car, styling, crew etc to be ready when Marcus arrived. It was all recorded during 2-3 days. We had a lot of locations so it was a busy busy time, very fun though! Very happy with the result. The video and the song shows a love story that ends with a break up.
I’ve imagined that being your second album that you’ve recorded with The Gathering you feel more “relaxed” and you don’t feel the pressure (I mean all fans eyes’ are not pointed at “who will be the next singer” fact). Thinking backwards did you have find something that worked better this time compared with the last recording session/album “The West Pole”?
Yes, for sure. It is all about the music and the new album this time, which is a relief hehe;-) We as band members knew each other better both in person and musically, so it was an evolving process where we worked on the songs more together from the start. It was also a lot more relaxed and we took the time we needed, and never rushed things.
“Disclosure” is such an elegant and profound title. Who came out with it and what’s the meaning in your point of view? What you want to “disclosure”?
I think “Disclosure” reflects that we’re making a little statement with our music, constantly showing we are developing and changing musically and doing it because we want and need to. And this album shows that the Gathering is all about music, making music we like. Also the lyrics are quite personal, honest and pure about life and dealing with heavy episodes I’ve and we’ve experienced in life.
“Disclosure” is coming with a 10” EP vinyl called “Afterlights” : why remake this songs that are already present on “Disclosure”? And what’s their main differences?
3 songs are also on the CD/LP but we did the ‘mixes’ ourself to give it another touch… and they are really different that the album versions. Only “Meltown” is a edit version.
Also connected to the previous question : why don’t publish this release in CD format like for “City for Above”?
It’s a extra gift for the people who will buy the full packages, maybe we gonna release it on a CD with extra songs or remixes, but that is still a idea.
In your opinion/idea what the meaning of the cover album, but before this (congratulations for it, I really like it!) who’s the author and is it connected with the lyrics? It was random the choice of the cover to be in steampunk style?
Thank you, we love it too!:-) It is made by Carlos Vergara Rivera, a very talented Chilean artist. We have been in touch with him for some time and followed his art as he has sent us pictures he’s done. We already started thinking about using drawings and artificial artwork for “The West Pole”, but found the perfect picture for that album in a real photo. This time Carlos presented this artwork for us after we talked to him about a possible collaboration, and we all fell in love with his picture immediately. For me it reflects the beauty of expressing your heart and mind with art and music. It is something beautiful and fragile about it, messy but also very clear and atmospheric with many layers, just like our music.
Reading the tracklist, the fact that hit me so much is “Gemini I/II”. What you can tell about these songs, are entwined in each other and why split in 2 parts?
Frank made this song, sent us a demo version like “Gemini II” with only strings. We all loved it immediately. I made the vocals on top of it. After some time the song developed more and more as a band song while the other band members worked on the song as well and “Gemini I” was born too.
I know that you’ve replied maybe a million of times but in which status we must consider your previous band Octavia Sperati?
Hehe, no worries. The status is basically that the band is not active and there are no further plans with the band. We are still very good friends, but everyone has started on other chapters in life with other bands, family or studies.
Now for René : I’ve noticed that The Gathering 1992 are come back to life, when is born this idea and also how did you felt play with them after so much time? Also never thought to record a live album of the recent played gig, sort of an official bootleg? Does this “collaboration” is something occasional or must expect something (I mean for a real record)?
Réne: Playing again the first gathering album is just for fun, we started with this idea because a friend needed help with a benefit show, and we all said yes! Let’s do it for the fun! And when we announced it we got 6 more shows to do. Maybe we gonna record one club show and release it as a TG92 Live record. In 5 years form now we will come together again, but for now we have no plans for a new record with TG 92.
Now what are your next planes?
Réne: Our next plans are for The Gathering 92 line up to play some shows in September and right now we are doing a lot of interviews for the release of “Disclosure” in September and then we’ll hit the road again early 2012 to finally play the new songs live. Can’t wait!!
Thanks for both you and Réne for replying our questions. Please greet your fans as you want!
Thanks for your interest and reading this and for all the superb feedback and nice comments about our two singles released from “Disclosure” (“Meltdown” and “Heroes for Ghosts”)! Hope you like the rest of the album just as much!
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
Maybe you don’t know them, but these boys (and their very talented female singer, Adriana), have toured all over Europe, and they’re surely proving abroad that Italy has something to say, also musically. With their strange, experimental rhythms they’ve made their way into many clubs and musical scenarios, and they’ve also composed some scores for some short or independent movie. We asked Adriana, their singer, to tell us more about this constantly growing band, with such a mysterious and interesting name.
Welcome, Adriana; first of all, tell our fans something about yourself!
Hello, well “I really have nothing to say, but I want to tell it all the same”.
We know that all of you, before becoming a band, were all friends. So…when did it come to your mind to say “Let’s put up a band!”? And how was it at the beginning?
During the high school I was playing with Salvio (the drummer) in a band and Davide and Maurizio (bass and guitar) were in another band. When these experiences came to an end and we understood that we had common ideas and intentions about music, so we decided to start with the Mantra. Everything happened in a very natural way for us. We had some line up changes, at the very beginning I just played guitar, then we became an instrumental band and after few months -during a recording session- we realized that I could have been the singer.
The Mantra started in 2008 their “professional” career, but you, Adriana, when did you start to sing? You started as a child?
I’ve been singing for about 3 years in a children choir and then in a polyphonic choir when I was a child, that’s where I had my first (and last) lessons of music theory and vocal technique. The repertory was classical music such as the Verdi’ s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven symphonies. I stopped for a long period since I started my first band in high school, at 14. After that I’ve been “mute” for a long time, 5 years. I started to sing again with the Mantra, with a different consciousness and perception of my voice, now I want to study again.
What’s the story behind your strange and very long name?
Our name is a collage of different words and ideas that we consider important and inspiring. We are not used to reveal everything, we can tell you that “spotless” comes from the title of a famous movie (and the verses of a poem), “mantra” comes from the fascinating oriental culture.
You published with Aaaargh Records a 2-track vinyl. Why this choice, to make a vinyl instead of a CD? And, I must say…I love this choice, seriously. I really, really like vinyl. Good job!
First of all, we liked the idea to produce a beautiful object, something that you would like to have in an historical moment where buying a record is not the only way to listen to music. A vinyl has a strong appeal and feels more “material” to us. We also liked the fact that you have to put the record on the turntable, sit down and listen, it’s THE physical support. It helps to recover a quiet and almost sacred way to listen to music, something that with mp3 and streaming is going to be lost.
You composed various scores for different short films. How was it? In which way it differs from composing your own music for your own albums?
It’s a completely different work. When you compose music for a movie you have to be delicate, not too invasive and super accurate. You have to add beauty or suspense or happiness or anything else useful and blend it with images and words. It’s not just about yourself. It’s been funny and instructive, we learned how to afford technical issues about timing and dynamics and also experimented a new fascinating way to communicate something.
How was to start touring with God Is An Astronaut, after having published only one record?
Well, unfortunately we have been never touring with God is an Astronaut. We tried hard but for several reasons, we couldn’t. We had to play in UK and USA when they have been touring in Italy and we never found an easy way to arrange some shows together. Too bad. :)
What can you recall about your appearance on television, here in Italy?
We found that, unless you are overexposed (that is not always a good thing), TV doesn’t change your life. Live shows are the most important thing to do for an important growth, it’s real life. We have been in the RAI.tv homepage -the Italian State channel- for a week, we had a good feedback and several passages on media, it’s an important step but not the signal of a big success. It has been anyway an amazing goal and we don’t think it’s a bad thing, maybe it means that in some areas of music business, music is still important and not everything is depending from massive advertising and promotion.
You toured a lot, in Europe and in America. Can you tell us how fans from one “zone” to another are different from each other? I can’t remember who, but someone once said that, from nation to nation, fans “smell” differently. What can you say about that? Strange, isn’t it?
Of course we found that. UK, USA, Italy, Greece, every country (and city!) a different reaction. Most of the time very good, luckily; it also depends from the venue and the situation. I don’t want to be superficial, but I can say that generally in USA people are very interested in live music, they buy records and if they come to your show is because they want to listen to you. In UK people got stuck that we came from Italy, and had a very good reaction to our music defined “different” - even if they are an expert audience. Greece has been a surprisingly good experience, there are many interesting bands and everyone is very professional. Italy, well, the situation for music from the inside doesn’t look wonderful, but sometimes we cannot judge if we are directly involved. I can say that there’s less people going to the concerts, maybe because of crisis or lack of good venues but the few that are withstanding are the best, Italian people is fantastic and we love it from the bottom of our hearts. Anyway it’s matter of feelings and they change every time, not just because of the country. Meeting people is one the best part of being a musician.
How is working with such an important label as RareNoiseRecords?
Rare Noise Records is one of the best things that happened to us. They help us to build little by little our future and our dreams. We feel grateful and honoured to work with such professional and passionate people. Giacomo, the owner, is an amazing person and during these years he became more than a “boss” for us.
Your style (as a band, but also as as singer) is very close, in certain ways, to Radiohead’ s one. What influenced your style most?
I’ve been listening to tons of classical, jazz and 70s prog and rock music during my childhood without being conscious of it, now I found that influenced me a lot. As a teenager I started with hip-hop till I met the Nirvana, they opened my ears to the world of rock and alternative music. Now I can say that during the years I’ve become (as the rest of the band) a 360° music lover, I listen to all kinds of music and artists. I don’t have a definitive guide or model, I try to learn from the others and then forget, sing with my mind empty. In the last weeks I’ve been listening a lot to Hindi Zahra and Sufjan Stevens. Among female singers I love Billie Holiday, Beth Gibbons and Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill and.. they’re definitely too many. :)
How much is voice important for you, what’s its role in music, for you? Do you view it only as a way of delivering a message, or you think it’s an instrument itself? I’m referring to Jonsi’s (Sigur Ròs’ singer) point of view in this case. He considers voice a musical instrument itself, and he invented a new language, called “hopelandic” in order to deliver a message using not words, but sounds which melt perfectly with the music in Sigur Ros’ songs.
It depends from the genre and from the song, and -as a consequence- of your necessity. The voice is like an instrument but with an immediate communicative power, because of the possibility to use words and words are important to me. This is the reason why people listen in first place to the vocals, usually it’s the primary melodic “instrument” and it speaks, literally. I adore the album “( )” and I like the Jonsi’ s vocal approach as I consider it an instrumental album. In my personal opinion I think that every part must work perfectly with the others, everything in service of the song itself.
Moreover, do you think we should expand our vocal capabilities (like Jonsi, for example, or, if you know him, Demetrio Stratos), or is voice already well used, and we should leave it just like this? Is it right to explore voice, or maybe, sometimes too much experimentation leads only to confusion?
Of course, never stop improving yourself. Demetrio Stratos was a phenomenon, a unique case and an amazing talent. One on a million. For mortals like us, experimentation is positive as it leads to discover your limits and your possibilities. Singing is like a research on yourself, you can always find something new about your voice and you as a person. I also believe that it has much to do with your mind, it’s psychological. Personally I love melodies and I don’t consider myself an experimenter, but I believe that studying and working on sounds and different ways to use the voice increase possibilities to make your ideas, your intuitions become something real, concrete and beautiful at their best.
Thank you so much for your time, and…good luck!
Thanks to you for your interest and the beautiful interview. For everyone who’d like to contact the band email firstname.lastname@example.org we are always happy to be in touch with people.
Interview by Marc “Peston” Sels
Elis is a band from Liechtenstein and was formed in 2003 after the split from Erben Der Schöpfung. In 2006, on July 8, their vocalist Sabine Dünser died of a celebral hemorrhage. She was replaced by Sandra Scheleret, well known as guest-singer on some Samael-cd’s and ex-vocalist of Dreams of Sanity. It is with this Austrian musician that I had this interview.
How is the Beauty and the Beast tour going?
The tour was really nice! I think it is very rarely that you have so many nice people together without any exception. We enjoyed it a lot. I even had the chance to join Atrocity for the tour as a guest vocalist. This came very surprising as it was a spontaneous idea, but I had lots of fun.
Can you tell us something about the new album “Catharsis”? Some favourite numbers?
“Catharsis” is very important for me, the reason is that it is like a new chapter, a new beginning for me. About a year and a half before I joined Elis I got the diagnosis Morbus Hodgkin which is a kind of lymph node cancer. In the months that followed I had to go through chemo- and radiotherapy, and it was a very hard and harrowing time for me. I completely changed my way of living, and since then I see things totally different. When I started working on the vocals for “Catharsis” all these feelings broke their way to the surface, and so most of the lyrics are very closely connected to what I experienced at that time. All songs are very dear to me but I guess my favourite numbers are “Firefly”, “Mothre’s Fire” and “Das kleine Ungeheuer”.
Was it hard to replace Sabine, emotionally and musically talking?
Yes it was hard, I think for all of us. When somebody passes away so young and so unexpected it is hard to continue. Although we really liked eachother a lot from the beginning on, for me it was difficult to find my own place in the band, and for the guys it was hard to start a new chapter. We took some time to find together. Musically wise it was not that difficult because Sabine’s lines are nice to sing and her lyrics touched me a lot, so I feld connection to the songs very quickly.
Is it easy to produce the same sound on stage as on the albums?
No, I wouldn’t say so. In the end it is very difficult to get a good live-sound. Mainly it depends on the sound engineer, and we are not often able to bring our own one.
“Griefshire” was a concept CD. Isn’t it difficult to play some songs live, or don’t you use these songs on stage?
We are playing the “Griefshire” songs life, but never in the context of the concept. It is not so difficult because we see each of them as an indipendent individual, with it’s own message. For example “Show Me the Way” has a great statement.
With the digipack edition of “Catharsis” comes a DVD from the gig at the MFVF 2007. What memories you have of that festival?
It was very touching because the audience welcomed us so well. The were happy with us that Elis is back on stage again, and we felt very comfortable that evening. I’m happy that this was the concert that was recorded for the live-DVD!
The band keeps the tradition of putting a few German songs on the album? Do you think non-German fans can enjoy this?
We hope so! Just see how people can enjoy Rammstein…hehe In the end the German language simply has a very different sound than English and it is tempting to use it as a stylistic device.
You also sing in Siegfried. How do you keep both bands apart?
As Siegfried was not so active in the last years there was never any problem for me. It is just coincidence that both albums were released at the same time. I do not do the lyrics for Siegfried and just contribute some vocal lines, so there is no “creative problem”;). It is very nice to have the chance to show also another side of my voice, and the guys from Siegfried are really cool people, we have lots of fun when we are working together!
Is Elis, like a red somewhere, from the Greek Elis, land of Helia, or is there another explanation?
The name comes from the poem from an Austrian poet (Georg Trakl) “An den Knaben Elis” (to the boy Elis). Sabine made a successful song about this when she and the guys still were calling their band Erben der Schöpfung. They then decided to rename the band after this song.
What are the plans for 2010? Touring? A new cd? Etc…
So far nothing concrete but we are working on this! Touring would be very nice and of course we have to work on new material.
Interview by Robin Stryker
Femme Metal is here with Seven Kingdoms, a power metal band from Florida that ROCKED the stage last night at the Mid-Week Mayhem show at ProgPower.
Hi guys! We were obviously blown away by your announcement last night that Seven Kingdoms will be opening for Blind Guardian on their North American tour. Please tell us about that.
Camden: You start, Keith. What do you feel, man?
Keith: It feels good!
Sabrina: It’s an opportunity that we used to dream about and say, “Yeah, one day we’ll do that!”. But we never believed it.
Camden: It’s funny, I used to joke with Kevin that our first tour was gonna be with Blind Guardian because that was the most RIDICULOUS scenario I could ever possibly think of. And then, it’s just funny that “Hey Kevin, we’re going on tour with Blind Guardian!”
Keith: Blind Guardian has been one of our biggest influences and has been Kevin’s favourite band since he was like 16. And it’s always been one of my favourite bands, so it’s an honour.
Is this going to be Seven Kingdom’s first big, nationwide tour?
Camden: We did a stint in Florida that was just playing as a glorified local band for seven days. It was tough, with barely any people coming and still paying for it.
Sabrina: We had a bunch of good bands with us. It was pretty much like a week-long party, is what it really was.
Keith: It was fun.
Camden: It was fun. I had actually booked a tour package of locals and it was Seven Kingdoms, From the Throne (a melodic metalcore band) and Demise of All Reason which is just a ridiculous death metal band. I booked them because they were probably all the best bands in the genre in their own rights from Florida and they work hard. Sadly, neither of those bands exists anymore. I mean, I actually fed and got gas for three local bands through Florida … basically through three shows with the guarantees. Yuengling went to the bars and put drink specials up and got T-shirts printed for us that we still sell. (laughs)
Sabrina: Yeah, we’re still trying to get rid of them.
Camden: But yes, this will be our first legitimate tour.
Let’s rewind a bit, since we jumped into the interview without everyone first introducing themselves. Please introduce yourself and tell us what equipment you rock on stage.
Keith: My name is Keith Byrd and I’m the drummer. I play on a new Yamaha sparkling oak drumset.
Camden: I always say that I live vicariously through Keith because I always wanted to be a drummer.
Kevin: My name is Kevin Byrd, I’m a guitarist. I play an ESP guitar with Engl Powerball amp heads.
Sabrina: I am Sabrina Valentine and I sing on a Sennheiser microphone with a Shure in-ear. I like to stick gems and glitter over everything I have. J
Camden: My name is Camden Cruz. I play Bernie Rico Jr. guitars and Krank amp heads.
Kevin: Yes, “Seven Kingdoms” is much more power metal, as opposed to “Brothers of the Night” which was death metal influenced and more thrash. Of course, there is thrash and some death metal on the new album, but it is more melodic power metal.
Keith: Before “Brothers of the Night”, me and Kevin had just joined, and we didn’t write any of the songs except for “Blackwater Rush”. Camden and Bryan had them all written. We just came in, learned them, played live and went to the studio. On the next album, was when we all collaborated.
Camden: “Seven Kingdoms” is what happens when you actually try. I mean “Brothers of the Night” was literally me and in our off time trying to write … the drums were fake, the guitars were recorded at my home with a computer mike that was the size of my thumb. We took it to Morrisound Studios because Jim can fix anything, just because he is JIM MORRIS.
Sabrina: A very awesome guy!
Camden: We tell him that he is a living musical deity in every interview that we ever do.
Sabrina: You want to know how much Camden likes Jim? He made a shirt that says “Jim Fuckin’ Morris” and wore it to the studio.
Camden: And on the back it says, “You’re out of tune”. Jim can be listening to a full mix and say, “The bass is out of tune”. You drop all the tracks and sure enough, the bass is a quarter-step flat. He has got ears like a dog. It was just a fun project. No one in Florida does that kind of music or even attempts to do it. We could start seeing the reaction in people live, sort of like “Oh this is pretty cool!” So, I wanted to get a little bit more serious with it, especially after seeing what Kevin and Keith could do. I sort of thought to myself, “I just wasted some money at Morrisound on that first album”. Nevertheless, we got serious. At that time, Bryan really didn’t want to be serious, so he left. It was funny, I actually started dating Sabrina three or four months beforehand and had no clue that she could sing … not even one slight clue that she could sing.
How, then, did Sabrina wind up as your vocalist? Sabrina, it seems from your MySpace that, when you first stepped behind the microphone, you felt very nervous and uncertain about becoming a singer.
Sabrina: It’s a totally different style. I have grown up as a bluegrass and country girl and with Christian-oriented music, and had never heard any of this type of music. Right now, everything is still brand-new to me. It’s like, I’ve never even known that this music was out there because I was in a little bubble. The Christmas of 2008, Bryan quit seven days before we had a show at either the Dungeon or Pegasus Lounge. (I don’t remember exactly which venue it was). Then Camden said, “We need a singer”. He had been messing around on the computer one time when I was over there … I think it was the part for “Open the Gates”.
Camden: No, it was the part in “Somewhere Far Away” before the solos. The ooooooooo parts. I was like, “Okay, it doesn’t take lyrics. You’ve got ten minutes, I wanna try this”.
Sabrina: Camden was like, “Let’s see what you can do!”. And I just did something.
Camden: And it sounded exactly like it does on the record.
Sabrina: Camden’s mom walked in, and she was like, “Camden, I think it’s obvious, what are you doing?!?”. I just ooooo’d, that is all I did.
Camden: It was just timing. Bryan didn’t want to do it because he had other things going on. Bryan did most of my Florida Power Fest stuff while I was here in Atlanta for ProgPower, so I’m still really good friends with him. It was perfect timing … it just lined up. We went to karaoke and Sabrina goes up and sings Journey. You know when you see something and it just clicks? You’re rubbing your hair back, like “Oh my God, why didn’t I already know about this little unpolished gem?!?”.
Sabrina: I had never done anything like that before. Karaoke bars were the only places I ever sang, besides in church. That was it.
Camden: I thought I had a crash course in doing this because I’ve only been doing this kind of music since the beginning of Seven Kingdoms in 2007. I was in a breakdown band before that. I just didn’t really want to do it anymore. This girl right here, she has gotten the crash course of all time.
I will say that one of the interesting things in reading the reviews of “Seven Kingdoms” is that your music is compared to Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall and Amon Amarth, as well as Sabrina’s layered vocals being compared to Paul Stanley of KISS. Normally, with female-fronted groups, there is a predictable group of bands — Within Temptation, Nightwish, Epica and Lacuna Coil — that everyone is compared to.
Camden: Yeah, I read that review comparing Sabrina to Paul Stanley. That’s what happens when you put Sabrina and Jim in a room for ten minutes and we don’t have time to do backing vocals over it (laughs). So we’ve got to make it sound good as we are running out of time. I guess Paul Stanley did that at one point on a KISS record.
Do have any thoughts on why it is that Seven Kingdom is compared to the core power metal bands, with gender being taken out of it? People obviously comment on the fact that Sabrina is a woman. But when they are talking about the music, the comparisons are to male-fronted bands.
Keith: It’s like we play male-fronted music but we have a female singer.
Sabrina: That and because my background is something else. I seriously would be one of those singers who could go to a karaoke bar and imitate ANYBODY in that karaoke book. And I could sing just like them. It was to the point that I didn’t even know what I sounded like. All of the influences through my entire life are in my voice … it’s like everybody in one. That’s why everybody has a hard time saying what I sound like.
Camden: Keith and Kevin are power metal elitists. They don’t listen to anything but that. So, we live, breathe, eat, and defecate power metal. Seriously!
Keith: We started out with Metallica and Slayer. Me and Kevin were into thrash metal bands, then went onto Iced Earth and Blind Guardian with the epic-ness. We just mashed it all together.
Sabrina: It’s everything we like, combined in one album.
Let’s talk some about the writing of the album because I understand that “Seven Kingdoms” was more of a collaborative effort that “Brothers of the Night”. So, who did what?
Sabrina: It was sort of a family event.
Camden: Me and Kevin babied the guitar stuff … he had an idea, I had an idea, make it work. He’d say, “I think we should change this” … it always works. I would say, “I think we should change this” … it sometimes works.
Kevin: We would come up with an idea and present it to the rest of the band. We would all then work on it. There was certain stuff that we wrote individually.
Keith: Kevin did most of “Into the Darkness”; Miles did most of “Eyes to the North” and Camden did most of “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothes”, “Seven Kingdoms” and “Somewhere Far Away”.
Sabrina: Then Keith and I worked together on “A Murder Never Dead”. He did the piano, and I did the lyrics.
Camden: I’m trying to figure out what is the most collaborative song on that record.
Sabrina: It’s got to be “Open the Gates”. We all sat down and were in the practice room for I think five hours writing lyrics.
Camden: We had written that song with Bryan, but we had to re-do lyrics. That was our first time and we were like “Oh my God, we have got to do lyrics. None of us know how to do lyrics”.
Keith: That was the first time we really ever wrote lyrics because Bryan usually wrote all of them.
Camden: He is a great lyricist, a fantastic lyricist.
So who did most of the lyrics on “Seven Kingdoms”?
Camden: I wrote a lot of them. Kevin did some, Sabrina did some. And everybody had their part in changing little things here and there. Especially now, where we’ve started brainstorming ideas for the next record … when Kevin presents an idea, it is damn close to perfect. Seriously, we’ll just put, “Keith: cymbal grab here and put hits with it” or some ridiculous thing.
Keith: Anything to make it bombastic.
Camden: We’re lucky because I click with these guys good and I’m pretty sure that they click with me.
Sabrina: They are to the point that they don’t even have to talk.
Camden: We are to the point now that it just happens. “Oh, try this one tiny little thing..” and that’s it.
“Brothers of the Night” was inspired by George R.R. Martin, the writer of the fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” …
Camden: I will totally take credit that we did that before Blind Guardian did! I will milk that until the edge of time.
Hear that, Blind Guardian?!? The “Seven Kingdoms” album also has strong fantasy themes like the Norse myth about the revenge of Rangnar’s sons. Is this a concept album?
Keith: Bryan wrote the last album, which was a concept album.
Camden: It was the album to the first book of that fantasy series.
Keith: The “Seven Kingdoms” songs that we wrote, we tried to make up our own kind of story. We didn’t want to stick with the same concept (with our name being Seven Kingdoms), so we used a different story.
Camden: We had to stick with the same name because we had been a year-and-a-half into it already. I don’t want to say that it is generic fantasy, but it is very open. I like doing lyrics that people can take a lot of different interpretations on. Because then it makes people think.
Sabrina: When we started this album, we wanted a new beginning. We feel like “don’t every let anybody hold you down”. So there are a lot of songs on there that are us sticking up for ourselves.
Camden: It’s power metal. You’ve got to have the fairy dust, swords and castles. You got to have some of that stuff. It’s not cool if you don’t have that.
In your own minds, do you have a over-arching story for “Seven Kingdoms” as a whole, or is each song its own story?
Camden: It was cool for me because I’ve never written lyrics before. My mom is a fantastic writer, so there has got to be something in my blood. (Or not, someone tell me please). It was a challenge and I like challenges. I did “Seven Kingdoms” and that took me a full year. We did the whole album and then the song “Seven Kingdoms” I worked on the entire time before presenting it as a whole to these guys. “The One Who Breathes the Flame” actually happens before “Seven Kingdoms” takes place.
Keith: There are a few songs on the album that are a concept and tell a story. But we put songs in the middle, talking about whatever makes you happy. Enpowering songs.
Camden: Yeah, nothing negative. You can get what you want from it, pretty much. I take from it: Do what you can do. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, because you can. Work hard to do it. Just because we live in America, don’t tell us we can’t make it in power metal. Plain and simple.
Keith: Two years ago, Camden was always saying, “We’re going to play with Blind Guardian”. And I was like, “You’re so fucked, Camden!” (everyone laughs). And two years later, here we are.
Sabrina: When Kevin got the phone call, I think he hung up on Camden.
Did he think Camden was just yanking his chain?
Camden: Of course! I have ridiculous scenarios that I work hard at to make happen and if it doesn’t happen, the worst they could say is “no”. If they say no, then I’ll work on something else. I remember calling Kevin, and he said “I’m not believing it until I see the paperwork” and then he changed the subject. Alright, I can’t argue with that.
Keith: I won’t believe it until I am on stage with them.
Camden: We still don’t believe it and are dishing out money to something that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve got contracts for it and I’ve got itineraries for it. But it hasn’t happened yet. I’m sure the first day we show up, it’s going to be like “WHOA!!!!”
Blind Guardian is playing some BIG venues.
Camden: I think the biggest one on the road is a place in Canada that holds 2100 people.
Sabrina: Apparently, one of them looks like an opera house. It’s BEAUTIFUL.
Camden: Yeah, it’s gorgeous. There are some of these built in the early 1800s places … just massive.
Sabrina: If you go online and see the venue …
Keith: Perfect for power metal!
Camden: Perfect for Blind Guardian.They can’t just play in a normal venue because they are BLIND GUARDIAN. If Hansi is listening, I heard they turned down the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. That would have made everything in this band a lot easier, because power metal would have been famous in the United States. And then we wouldn’t have had to bust our necks to get there. Why did you do that, why?!?
Sabrina: They didn’t have enough time.
Keith: But then, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We really appreciate Seven Kingdoms donating a song to the “Beauty and Brutality” charity compilation released by Femme Metal Records. Why did you pick “Somewhere Far Away” as your track?
Keith: That song, whenever we played it – at least from what I’ve seen – that seems to be everyone’s favourite song. Everyone I’ve showed it to, it seemed to be their favourite.
Sabrina: It was between “Somewhere Far Away” and “Into the Darkness”. Those are the two that everyone seems to respond to.
Camden: It’s the opening track! It’s heavy, fast, catchy, and power metal. Probably what you are going to hear on the next record is more stuff like “Somewhere Far Away” and more epic stuff like “The Bloody Meadow” from the first album or “Seven Kingdoms” from this one. Just basically take all the good parts from this record, add some spice of new stuff, and basically just improve over all. We have some new stuff we’re already working on. Our goal is to completely blow the doors off of anyone that listens to it. We are going to try to make it ridiculous. Actually, “Into the Darkness” is on the ProgPower compilation that people will get at the show. I’m curious to hear the remaster because apparently they remastered it.
Keith: You learn something new every day.
You are starting with your first tour being with Blind Guardian. What is the next milestone for Seven Kingdoms?
Keith: Edguy, Manowar!
Camden: Manowar? Yeah right, Joey DeMaio would probably charge us $100,000 to play one show with them.
Sabrina: Oh my gosh, if we could Edguy or Avantasia, I think we all would just faint on the floor.
Camden: I want to play Wacken in the next three years. That’s my goal, to get us on Wacken in the next three years. Somehow, someway, I will figure it out. Maybe if we impress Hansi enough he will hook it up? I will buy Hansi as many Star Wars dolls for his Christmas tree as he wants, if that happens!
Sabrina, how about you … what is your ultimate, when you can just dream big?
Sabrina: Since I was three years old, the only thing I wanted to do was sing. And pretty much, if we can sing successfully and play successfully and be happy in what we do, that is all I care about. If people like our music and we go far, that is amazing to me. But as long as we love what we are doing, that’s what I want for us. I have no idea how to comprehend what is going to happen. I’m not used to this at all … I’m used to being in karaoke bars, and that’s it. People cheer at karaoke bars, but they’re all drunk. So, it’s like I go to a show and people are still drunk, but they actually LIKE the music. I just want people to like it, and I want us to go far. That’s all I can ask for.
Kevin, in your wildest dreams, what would be your biggest goal?
Kevin: I guess the Blind Guardian tour. A huge European tour would be amazing. That would definitely be a dream come true. For a dream line-up? Blind Guardian, Avantasia, those are some of my favourite bands.
Sabrina: We kind of surpassed everything. That’s what you do, you reach for the stars. And I guess we caught one with Blind Guardian.
Last, but certainly not least, Keith?
Keith: I’ve had these goals set since I started with the band. My first goal was to record an entire album at Morrisound, and it happens. Next, I wanted to go on tour with Blind Guardian, and it happens. So I’m trying to think of what I want next.
Have you ever thought that you might be the good luck charm for the band? Would you like to wish that I win the lottery? That would be REALLY nice, actually.
Sabrina: I wish we could get somewhere by somebody actually helping us. I got in a car accident and have no money and Camden got a pay cut.
Camden: We’re strapped for cash. I don’t even know what I would do, if one day we got a label to pay for our record or we were able to sell enough CDs to just go to Morrison and do what we like … for free.
Sabrina: We were so excited last night because we had a dressing room and it was like 3 metres square. But we were so excited because we had a DRESSING ROOM.
Camden: Oh my God, someone gave us a CASE OF WATER.
Keith: We got a Post-It Note on the door with our name on it too.
Sabrina: And then they brought in free beer. We were even more excited.
We are coming to the end of our time together. Do you have any final words for your fans at Femme Metal Webzine?
All: Thank you!
Sabrina: Please come support us.
Camden: Please buy a CD on the road because otherwise we’re not going to get from point A to B.
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.
Interview by Connie Bach
Raven Tide offers an energizing, yet soothing blend of driving guitars with a strong bass line, and balanced orchestra. The result is dark, warm, dreamy, and flowing.
Hello, Cheryl. “Ever Rain” is an awesome EP. I can’t wait to check out the new album.
Hi Connie! I’m very glad that you gave me the chance to talk about raven tide and it’s awesome to hear such good words about our songs!
What’s going on with the band these days?
Good question Connie!! This is a very intensive period for us. We’re trying to find the better way to promote “Ever Rain”, choosing few but relevant events where we can show what raven tide really is. We’re also working for new songs and our days are full of studio sessions and writing. It’s not easy, in fact, to spend energies in the right way, especially when you have so much to do in so little time!!!
Raven Tide has been featured on several compilations. “Doom Revealed” will appear on “Beauty and Brutality” and “Lucifer Bliss” appears on “Rock for Haiti”. I love the charity aspects to these two compilations. What made Raven Tide decide to contribute?
It’s wonderful. I think the idea of creating compilations of good music and use the cash to charity is a wonderful initiative. In fact, you get a double benefit. For the bands is certainly an excellent opportunity for visibility and expression, while using the music and its power, you bring more people to a social problem, making them participate by simply listening to a song.
in the past we have often thought of organizing lives and events for a charitable purpose but it is not easy for band to be able to set up this type of event…so when the opportunity to participate in this initiative came, we didn’t think twice!! Especially when it comes to a quality product like “Beauty and Brutality”.
Raven Tide is such a young band, yet has such a polished sound. What brought the members and their various skills, together?
Indeed, although the moniker Raven Tide is dated 2009, all of us for many years were part of a previous musical project, a tribute band that has enabled us to acquire over time a deep musical and personal understanding and improving through long live experience. Over time, of course, came the need to express ourselves with original music and create something where everyone could put their ideas and influences.
Turning to the recent release of your EP, it is a lovely taste of what is to come in the future. The name Ever Rain suits it. Where did the name come from?
Ever Rain was, in truth, the first moniker of the band, replaced with Raven Tide for reasons of homonymy with another band. After this, we decided to use it anyway, as the title of our first EP, maintaining continuity with our first idea. The reason for both names is, however, to evoke a particular image that remains a feature of all our work.
MySpace says that “Ever Rain” is a preview of a full-length album in the works. Why did the band decide to release a “preview”? I love when bands do that, it is kind of like the smell of baking before the bread comes out of the oven.
To be honest, we’ve never thought of “Ever Rain” as a preview…. it was simply a demo cd to present what we are. Then, he started receiving more and more confirmations becoming an EP and with the precious support of our promotion agency (Alkemist Fanatix Europe) was distributed in most of Europe and the major online music sites overseas. It was a good surprise!
I love the song “Lucifer Bliss”. What is the story behind the lyrics?
The message of “Lucifer Bliss” is that everyone in this life hae to face bad moments and suffering and sometimes, when the pain get deeper, there’s an instant in which we wish to get heartless and we’re tempted to lose ourselves denying the good we have inside. I guess is another way to describe the fragile nature of humanity, and the constant danger to fall down to Lucifer. Especially in these violent days, it seems easier for us to forget what’s important in our existances. Sometimes lucifer may seem enchanting but if we look inside ourselves, love is always the better way…How did it come about that you and Joe Bardazzi worked together? His growls and clean vocals are demonic in feel, perfect for “Lucifer Bliss”.
This sounds like “the answer is in the question” Connie!! Since the writing of this song, Lucifer was a sort of dialogue between good and evil. We were looking for a voice that was deep and strong enough to play the “lord of night” part. So, during a live show in a pub of our town, we listened Joe’s performance and we just undesrtood he was perfect! We talked with him right that night and he was immediately ready to go! Amazing!
“Stillness” is purely orchestral and is a nice opening. Why did Raven Tide decide to include a bag pipe solo in this song?
It gives it a lovely celtic feel. We really think that bagpipe sounds are extremely powerful and absolutely perfect for an “ouverture”. “Stillness” in a sort of hymn, where we’ve tried to mix our gothic inluences with the idea we have to create something new using electro samples and movies soundtrak effects. We’re really happy you like it!!I have the feeling that live shows are pretty explosive. What is one experience you will carry with you from performing for the rest of your time?
Well…thinking about it, I can’t really say which of my live shows I will carry with me forever…
each one have won a special place in my heart, ‘ cause everytime there’s a different mix of sensations and everytime you get back home with a different vision…
What I know is that I’ve always done my best to reach the heart of people, no matter if i was on a little stage of a little town or in front of the crowd of a great location.
I must admit that I’ll always remember our shows at Alcatraz in Milan. We performed there before Raven Tide’s birth with the tribute band and it was exciting, I was scared to death before my entry on stage!!! Now i’d be very happy to back there and present Raven Tide…who knows???Where is the one place you dream of performing at? What makes it special in your mind?
Oh …I really adore big festivals like Rock Am Ring, Wacken etc…
I think it’s a common dream for rockers to sing in front of such a crowd but personally I also think that nothing is more evocative than an acoustic set with an elegant design, soft lights and contact with the people. We’ll try to provide both experiences with our music, just keep on follow us!!!
I’ve always been music addicted. I’ve always “needed” music. At fourteen I completed piano and composition studies privately, then i’ve been part of a poliphonic choir as half soprano for 8 years. During that period i’ve always had experiences in rock bands, as singer or playing piano then it came the tribute band and finally… Raven Tide.
“Ever Rain” brings amazing images to mind. I’d like everyone in the band to contribute to this one if possible. What is the symbolic value of music? Why is it so valuable?
I think it is undeniable that music is an indispensable element in the lives of everyone. It’s like a constant soundtrack that follows us even if we don’t pay attention or are busy in our business. It has the great power to communicate with our intimate and it does so without barriers, nothing can stop it. I think this is the great magic of music.Shark: Hello Connie, is a pleasure to talk with you! Well, I agree with Cheryl about the importance of music, personally I could not think of my life without music, is simply a great form of expression, perhaps the most universal.Mark: …and even more understandable. Only listening it can give strong emotions but even more amazing is when you can create music!Fred: …especially when you realize that what you wanted to convey through your work came straight to the heart of someone. This is fantastic.
“Ever Rain” is a great taste of what is to come and I’m definitely excited. Cheryl, thanks for your time. It’s been wonderful talking with you.
Thank you so much for this special occasion Connie!! It was great to share with you part of our world! Thanks to femme metal for the wonderful work and for believing in us! The Raven Tides promise you all big news shortly! Keep on following us and…stay metal!!!
Interview by Connie Bach
Here is a band with quite a strong, distinctive voice. Exoterik’s brand of metal blends raw power with sweetness, with element blending fluidly with the rest and yet standing on its own two feet.
Hello, Anneka. Hope your summer is going well. What is Exoterik up to these days?
Exoterik are very busy behind the scenes at the moment. We’ve just released a free single “Revive” for people to download and share amongst friends with a video to accompany it. We’re also in the process of planning and shooting out next two videos with a view to releasing the next one around October/November time. This will again be as a free download. And on top of that we also have quite a few gigs booked for around the UK.
I love the lyrics to “Butterfly in Your Hand”. Where did this song come from, and why was that the one Exoterik decided to contribute to “Beauty and Brutality”?
“Butterfly in Your Hand” was written mid-way through the songwriting process for the current album. The lyrics can be interpreted in many ways and it’s always best to get what you want out of them as opposed to me telling you what they mean to me. Although, at the time of writing the song we were all feeling a little exhausted and frustrated at focusing every ounce of our energy and being into the band whilst feeling that other people put barriers and obstacles our way to try to trip us up. The song is a slight dig at the backstabbing and two-facedness of the music business. If you had one song that was the most personal for you, which would that be?
Good question. I suppose I’ve spent so much time with the songs that I’ve become a little numb to them and I sometimes have to remind myself why we felt compelled to write them in the first place. “Butterfly in Your Hand” is an obvious choice, as it was a way of lyrically venting out our frustrations about certain types of people in the music business. “Uninvited” is another personally favorite, as myself and Tom wrote it very quickly and it just seemed to flow out of us with no effort at all. Even when we were writing it we could hear the drums and electric guitars in our head. We just knew what was needed for this track and it was exhilarating to hear it come to life.Since “Butterfly in Your Hand” is Exoterik’s second release after “Don’t Swallow”, what goes into creating one really polished track? What is the process like? I mean it is clear that certain members contribute certain aspects but how hard do you have to work individually as well as collectively to produce the music that you do?
It’s like the old saying goes – “You’re only a strong as your weakest point”. It’s very important to all have the same goal and the maximum time, effort and energy to put into the band. Each of us play our own important roles within Exoterik and each are gifted in different ways, whether it’s writing a song or marketing the band. We all live, eat and breathe Exoterik and that’s what’s kept it alive for seven years. Even when the band seems quite on the outside, I can guarantee you that we’re working our arses off behind the scenes! As for writing and recording a “polished” track – It really comes down to many factors. The song writing must be great, the lyrics must be memorable and the melodies must grab people. Even with this all in place, the song can still be killed in the recording process. As artists, it’s incredibly important to us to have our music recorded, produced, mixed and mastered in a way that gets across our sentiment and most importantly in a way that represents the band, our music, our talent and our vision for the song. It seems that the UK’s metal scene is reviving in comparison to the U.S. In what way, would you say this impacts the public’s feedback?
We’ve never had the opportunity to tour Exoterik in the U.S. so it’s difficult for us to put a perspective on the differences between the two audiences. However, there seems a definite divide between the U.S metal scene and the European one. It’s even noticeable between the UK and the rest of Europe. However, in the past few years festivals such as Download, Sonisphere and Bloodstock have really helped to raise the profile of metal in the UK.
I’ve watched Exoterik perform online and the crowd seemed pretty wild. What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done to show support?
We recently had a fan get our band named tattooed on his arm to show his loyalty and appreciation for Exoterik. That was really cool and we felt quite humbled by the gesture. It was such an honor for us to feel that we’d made such a difference in his life that he felt compelled to get a lasting impression of us to carry with him everywhere.
For that matter, what kinds of fans does Exoterik’s music seem to connect with the best (meaning within the obvious genres)?
I hate “pigeon holing” our fans. We hate being distinctly categorized as anything as a band and I wouldn’t like to do that to our fans. After gigs when we get to talk to fans, it becomes apparent that they are quite varied. Some are metal-heads whilst others prefer rock. Some are still at school whilst others are nearing retirement. We really do seem to have a broad fan base and we seem to appeal to a mixed group of people which is fantastic and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Moving on, how did you, Tom, Darren and Steve become Exoterik? How have the four of you grown?
Myself, Tom and Steve are the founding members of Exoterik and Darren joined us around two years ago after our bassist left the band. We’ve definitely developed as a band throughout the years and when we look back at how we were when we first started we’ve definitely changed and progressed. I think that experience is the key part to our development – whether it’s from the countless gigs that we’ve played or travelling abroad to record material to spending days and nights living in the band van whilst touring the UK. It’s all part and parcel to being in a band and molding us to who we are as individuals and as a unit.
Where are your future goals, as well as the band’s?
It’s very important that we all share the same goals within the band. Of course we’d love to be an over night success but that rarely happens in the metal scene and I think it’s very important that a band should have to work hard and truly deserve the success that comes there way rather than it being handed to them on a plate overnight. We always like to see ourselves progressing and never halting or taking steps backwards. When I look at where we were this time last year I ask myself, how have we progressed and improved ? What have we done within this year that we have never done before ? At this current moment in time I can say that we have 3 new singles with videos to accompany them, which is something very new to us. We also have a publishing deal with LoveCat who are in talks with television and movie companies about placing our songs in their projects. We’re gigging further afield throughout the UK and we continue to expand our fan base. So far, so good!
Have you become what you had in mind when you became a singer, Anneka?
I can’t say that I ever really had any particular preconception of what I wanted to be like as a singer. I can’t even say that I ever decided to sing – I simply always have! I’ve always enjoyed singing, for as long as I can remember. The enjoyment I get from it, and the seeing the enjoyment it gives others, is what keeps me going from strength to strength and spurs me on to push myself a little further every time I sing.
How did you also take over keyboards for Exoterik?
I originally started out as the keyboard/vocalist in the band. Keyboards was a focal point in the band when we first started Exoterik, although we now tend to pre-record them for live performances so that I can engage with the audience more rather than being stuck behind a keyboard. I’m only 5’1’ so I very quickly get hidden behind a stack of keyboards! However, I still play and record them the studio and occasionally live. It’s something that is often used in the song writing process too.Finally, this is something I’d like you all to contribute to, if possible. What is the symbolic value of music, and how did you come to realize that (at what point)? What could it do for us all, potentially?
I have always thought of music as a universal language. It is something that touches every person’s life, from the modern Western world to African tribes and so on. Music has a place in everyone’s lives. We can all find a song that stimulates memories, that makes us smile, that makes us cry and that we simply never tire of hearing. We may not all share the same tastes in music but that’s what is so great about it. Music gives us an identity, a connection with others. Following your favorite band and meeting others who share the same passion for them can really give you a sense of belonging. A little community. And those people may not talk the same language but they can share the same emotions that the piece of music or band evokes. I think that’s truly inspiring and I love being a part of it. Thanks a lot, Anneka, both for the interview and also for Exoterik’s contribution of “Butterfly in Your Hand”. Hopefully we’ll see you here in the States soon.
The pleasure’s been mine. Thanks for interviewing me and I hope it will encourage people to check out Exoterik and download the free single from the website: www.exoterik.co.uk.
Photos by Stuart Glossop
Label : Fastermaster
Review by Tony Cannella
The band Betty Poison are a lot different than most of the bands we are seeing come out of Italy these days. They play a hybrid of post-grunge, alternative, punk and metal. Their sound is almost like a cross between L7 and Hole, so you can pretty much figure out where they’re coming from musically. In fact, they were recently chosen by Courtney Love to open some shows for Hole in Italy. Betty Poison has actually been around for a few years and “Beauty Is Over” is their 2rd album. The band are fronted by singer/guitarist Lucia Rehab (you’ve got to love that name), and there is very little subtlety attached to this 16-song, 53-minutes worth of music that Betty Poison presents here. Most of the songs are pretty short and to the point. Beginning with “Bad Boy Snuff Toy”, Betty Poison presents an in your face sound with plenty of attitude and power. “What About You” is straight-forward and has a punk-like feel to it. Betty Poison also manages to slow things down on darker songs like “July” and “I’m Still a Slut” (which gets my vote for song title of the year). Make no mistake about it, these songs are not soft, ballad type songs, they are only slower in tempo but still maintains the bands alternative sound and a wall of guitars. There is nothing sweet or sentimental on “Beauty Is Over”at all. “Beauty Is Over” is as straight-forward and hard hitting as it gets. The great thing about metal is that it can go in so many different directions; it is not a limiting art form at all, like some people claim. Betty Poison is proof of this and “Beauty Is Over” is an album that probably won’t appeal to traditional metal heads, but fans of the alternative side of the genre should love this.
Rating - 70/100