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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Now back in Italy, with the symphonic/gothic metal band Synful Ira and its debut “Between Hope and Fear” out on logic(il)logic. With the singer Letizia, we have discovered that in the first times the band used to be a Nightwish/Evanescene cover band and that Fabio and Marco (respectively guitarist and drummer) are part of 2 different bands like Absynth Aura and Ancient Bards too. In addition to this don’t miss the duet that Letizia has sung with Absynth Aura’s singer Claudia “Klod” Saponi on their full lenght. You love Nightwish, Evanescence and Lacuna Coil? This Italians are just the perfect band for you!!! More @ (via INTERVIEW: Letizia Chiozzi – Synful Ira « Femme Metal Webzine)
Italy’s MY BLACK LIGHT is for sure one of the top bands for this 2012 with their debut album “Human Maze” that was published on MASSACRE RECORDS during this year. Born as a Within Temptation cover band and then developed like a band - about this the singer said : “This first step helped us play together and know each other better and grow up together. But we had so much more to say and show, so after a while we decided to write and play our own music. And you don’t come back when you start!”. They have relesed an album has surprised the whole European press, so our editor Ed take the chance and interviewed Monica Primo, the singer. Want to know more about this band? Simply click below! (via INTERVIEW: Monica Primo – My Black Light « Femme Metal Webzine)
Interview by Vard Aman
In reality, they come from Novosibirsk in the South Western corner of Siberia. In reality, they are a recently formed group of extremely talented musicians who have just released their debut album, called “Carnival of Illusions”. In reality, they play technical Symphonic / Dramatic Metal, and they play it very well indeed! But there is more to Wizardmask than just “reality”, and when you enter the “Carnival of Illusions” you will discover a vast world that they have created: “Here live the dreams. Here languish the hidden wishes. Everything you can keep in your mind is possible here…” I spoke to one of the creators of this fantasy world, Wizardmask’s diva Svetlana Sokolova.
Hello Svetlana, and welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! I understand this is your first interview, we are honoured!
Hello Femme Metal Webzine! I’m glad to be your virtual guest today and give you my first interview! Thanks for making it possible!
You have recently created something that very complex and very powerful. Take us through the creation of Wizardmask?
Wizardmask is a band created by two fantasists: Sergey Amelchenko (music, guitar, conception) and me, Svetlana Diva Sokolova (lyrics, vocal, conception, design). The idea of creating a rock band had come to us long time ago. For many years each of us had been making a beautiful music, which was like missing something, until we decided to write a song together. It was “Marine” composition – the first song which we had made together. The song was done almost in one moment, as if it was waiting for its time to come, and we realized that we can do more. Therefore our debut album “Carnival of Illusions” appeared. The album was released in winter 2011. Official release in Internet was on 1st of April 2012.
Who is in Wizardmask? Have you played in any bands before?
At the moment group consists of 4 people: Sergey Amelchenko (music, guitar, conception), Svetlana Diva Sokolova (lyrics, vocal, conception), Valeriy Fomin (drums) and Ilya Dubrovskiy (bass). Our drummer Valeriy is the only one of us who had performed with other bands before Wizardmask. He’s one of the most talented people of our city, very experienced and professional drummer, who took part in many authors and commercial Siberian musical projects. Other members didn’t have any experience of playing in serious projects, Wizardmask for us is the first experience of playing in serious band.
What is the story behind the name Wizardmask?
As you can see, Wizardmask consists of two words: Wizard and Mask. Wizard and Mask are generalized characters, parts of every creative personality. One of them is creative, fragile, delicate, sensitive, looking at the world in its own way and expressing it in its art. On the contrary, the other one is strong, vivid, energetic, strong-willed, it is able to knock down every barrier, break all stereotypes, create and destroy. Both parts individually are unstable and are in need of each other, when they are in balance, the real magic is born – the art. I think that every creative person has both such parts, some have more of one part, some of the other. What music is born depends on what part is dominant.
How would you define “Dramatic Metal”?
We play in Sympho/Dramatic Metal style. The prefix “Dramatic” shows the sonic picturing of our compositions and its theatricality. We’re trying to create not merely good music, our goal is to create a valuable independent image in a listener’s mind. In this style, as in no other, the ties between melody, arrangement and lyrics is important, no single part can exist without the others. It is very important to hear what exactly I am singing about, telling about, what role I am playing at the moment. In Wizardmask art we make use of synthetic approach to creation of compositions – confluence and freedom, lack of exact regular forms, our compositions are unpredictable in their development, this makes them even more interesting. Every piece of work is a little performance, a fairytale, a sonic picturing story, a scene played by roles, and not only by vocal parts but by all instruments. If you listen to our music carefully, you will feel it and maybe even see it inside you…
Your songwriting style is very technical and detailed on “Carnival of Illusions” and included an orchestra. Tell us a little bit about the songwriting itself and the recording process.
Sergey is writing songs for Wizardmask, thinking over every detail in the sound and the form of composition. Together we contemplate on what the song is really about and what arrangement it should have. Then I think up the vocals line, write vocalization, supporting voices, some melodic turns, I breathe meaning into songs and write lyrics. Sergey makes most of arrangements himself, but in some cases we ask for help from bigger professionals. As you can see in “Carnival of Illusions”, almost in every song there is an orchestra, this is the work of our close friend, Honoured Artist of Russia Vitaliy Vdovin. It should be noted that writing an orchestration part over rock music is a very difficult and scrupulous process, many nuances should be followed. It’s not enough just to write a nice orchestration part, it must be written professionally, without any errors in voice-leading and harmony, it’s an unbelievably difficult toil and it can be done only by an experienced and talented person. Vitaliy has done that brilliantly, he has breathed true symphonic world into our project. It was an important experience for us. We are satisfied with the results. Instruments and vocals were recorded in Novosibirsk studios and Mixing & Mastering was done in the northern capital – St. Petersburg.
What is the theme tying the songs on “Carnival of Illusions” together?
“Carnival of Illusions” is a special place inside every person, it’s the world of mysteries, fantasies and hidden wishes, the world of magic. Spirit of fairytales and dark beauty is running through every song. These are the songs about human’s hearts secrets, about dreams that wait for their hour, about ancient gods, about sins and doubts.
How does your music translate live? Do you play live or make shows often? What is the audience reaction to Wizardmask?
The group has been completed quite recently, and at the moment we have played not very many live concerts. But it should be noted that every new concert of ours is an experiment on our part. Costumes, make-up, stage behaviour, interaction with the public… You understand, right? ;)) In future we want to develop the visual part of our performances and to accentuate our theatricality even more, using decorations, inviting dancers, light specialists and much more. It’s quite expensive, but always interesting. People react well to us. We are open and sincere in our art and I think that everybody who comes to listen to us feels it. Our performances are like our revelation to the listeners, it’s like our friends coming to our house, sitting by a big fireplace and listening to our mysterious fairytales.
What is next for Wizardmask? What are the group’s plans?
We are planning not to stop now but to move on! To perform, to do active advertisement in Internet. We want to tell everybody about us. Also we want to perform a solo concert and to record another album, we have already started to work on it. We are constantly working on new music, and in a year we are going to release a second album, I hope the starts form up right and all our intentions will be realized.
How do your new songs compared with the songs on “Carnival of Illusions” so far? What can we expect from the next album, or is it too early to tell?
It’s too soon to talk about new songs, we don’t want to tell all our secrets. We can only say, that new songs will be “older” and much more interesting. The experience received helps us to develop our work and to open the specifics of our style and presentation of compositions.
What is the Metal scene like in Novosibirsk?
In Novosibirsk there are very qualified bands of different genres of Metal. But unfortunately the very industry of hard rock concerts is poorly developed. There are few scenes suitable for hard sound. Most of such concerts usually are organized in summer at various open-air festivals.
Tell us a bit more about Novosibirsk and what it’s like living there.
Novosibirsk is quite a big city, not so big as New York, of course ;-)) But big enough. There are many sights and monuments. The city is developing intensively in trading terms, growing dynamically, every year a huge number of hypermarkets and business centres are opened, the city is increasing its speed and rhythm of life, fully becoming a megapolis. In the centre of the city there are many cars, hurrying people, while closer to its outskirts, on the contrary, it’s calm and soothing.
When most people hear the word “Siberia” they immediatly think “very cold”. But Siberia is a big place and Novosibirsk is in the southwest. Does it get very cold there?
Sometimes it is very cold, temperature goes below -40 C . This weather usually begins in the end of January and lasts for 3 weeks - this time is called “hard frosts”. It is hard to get used to it, but that’s the Siberian winter - sometimes it can be so harsh! fur coats, fur boots and metro are saving us, because cars may not always start in such a weather. ))))
What do you do apart from the Wizardmask project?
I like classical music, so me and Sergey frequently go to theatres to watch performances and ballets. Often we relax out of town at our beautiful summer cottage. We go in for sports. We work in Design Studio (This is yet another joint project of ours). But Wizardmask art occupies most of our time. We are constantly creating something, carrying a dictaphone with us and recording each and every thought and melody that comes into our head. We are always in pursuit.
Thanks for talking to us Svetlana! You can be sure that we’re going to follow the Wizardmask’s progress very closely in the future!
Thank you for taking interest in our work and for giving us this wonderful opportunity to tell your readers about our project.
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Fronted female world is slowly extending all over Europe, more and more, allowing some more other realities to spread their voice to the metal audience. The band we are going to introduce was born in Sweden a few years ago and, after a few early hitches, it’s having to gain some popularity thanks to the debut album released a month ago and trying to broaden their boundaries. Femme Metal is proud to introduce you all End Of September, that, led by the nice and bubbly Elin Redin, is going to introduce themselves on our Website, sharing some interesting things. That’s our chat! Enjoy!
Hi Elin. First of all, welcome to FM! It’s a great pleasure to have you with us today! Let’s begin our chat talking about your musical activity. Currently, you’re the lead singer of the Swedish melodic band called End of September, which is a “small” music reality that has released its first debut album a few weeks ago. Would you like to share some detail about the band biography?
Hi and thank you! Great to be with you! Well, End of September as a complete band is still a quite new thing actually. I joined last summer and me and Erik continued the search for drummer and bass player together. Bass-Johan we found at a website where you can post adds for musicians and bands. And drummer-Johan was actually a student to a friend of mine. He called me one day and said he had found our drummer and he was obviously right! He came to place late fall last year.
The project was mainly driven by Erik Tordsson, which gave way for the creation of the band in 2009. The former singer, Victoria Sundberg, recorded a demo with him and then she has left the project shortly after the record deal with Ulterium Records. How did you get in contact with this project?
Sometimes it can be as simple as a message on Facebook! And the message was not for me, but for my husband asking him if he knew any female singer who liked and would like to sing in his metal band. Or, if possibly I would have any interest in it. We knew each other briefly from before and Erik actually did not think I was into metal at all. Little did he know…
Shortly after your entry in the band, two other members have taken part in it and they are the bass player and the drummer, both called Johan and after then, End of September rolled up its sleeves and started to work on the homonym record, released on May 2012 for Ulterium Records. How did you feel like working on your first debut album? Was you coming from some other bands or was this your first experience in a studio?
This was not my first time in a studio. But definitely my first time fronting an entire album. I had mostly been helping out friends before doing backing vocals and shorter solo parts. Me and Erik spent two weekends working concentrated together with the vocals, both solo and backing. Coming from an intense every-day life with kids we kind of enjoyed just being away for a while, and being able to work undisturbed. A million takes later and a tired voice we got a great album, and had gotten to know each other a whole lot better as well!
I assume it has been something unique and special for you. Is there any particular moment related to the production of this record or related to the recording process you would like to share with us?
One very special moment for me was before I had really entered the band. After me and Erik first talked about the whole thing for the first time we decided I should do a recording of one of the songs at home, to see if it worked for me and if Erik liked it of course. It was “Waiting for the Rain”, by the way. I was very nervous sending my track to Erik. His positive reaction was such a great relief and a great acknowledgment for me as a singer. I had struggled quite a bit finding my voice in a genre, floating in and out of most. On top of that Erik liked what he heard it was one little silly thing that convinced me to go for it. I had interpreted the melody in my own way in a line and Erik told me he had actually wanted the melody to be that way, but it wasn’t in the recording I had gotten to learn the song from. We just seemed to be on the same track, me and Erik.
As we know, Erik comes from different backgrounds, since he played with other bands in the past before creating this new project, so I think that he brought some influence inside the band. What I would like to know is: what is your musical background? Was there any band (or artist) that has influenced you during your music career?
My family was the first and perhaps the most important influence on me as a musician and singer. Mom sings and dad plays different instruments and one of my brothers plays the bass and my second brother is a true music lover. My stage experiences goes as far back as the age of maybe three or four. And growing up in a wonderfully encouraging environment has really molded me into who I am as a singer today. I’ve been able to just sing, a lot! It was my brothers that taught me to love the hard rock and metal, I’m very thankful for that. I must mention my husband as well as a great inspiration. When I sing with him it just brings a whole new dimension to singing. I’ve listened to so many different band and artists over the years, from Sepultura to Alyson Krauss and the Union Station, I couldn’t possibly single out a few that have had more impact than the others. I guess it has more been the great musicians I’ve had around me that has influenced me the most. A great gift really!
Reading your card presentation, your music is described as “perfect for fans of Evanescence, Within Temptation & Delain”. Listening to this record, I found some little similarities with these 3 bands actually. Do you agree with this statement? Have you taken some little inspiration from those bands? Have you ever had the chance to listen to something about these bands? If so, is there any song you like to listen to the most?
Since uniqueness is what we all strive for I guess it’s a compliment that you don’t think we sound so much alike! And I must be honest with you and say that none of us have been listening to them. Sometimes the comparison comes up just because we happen to be female fronted. But I do have a great respect for them, they’re all very good at what they do!
Aren’t you afraid about the criticism you could get from fans, risking of being pointed out as “clone band of some other famous band”?
All bands and artist have to deal with this matter, more or less. It’s certainly a very popular topic in our genre. And people do this all the time, putting things into boxes, pairing and comparing. It only disturbs me a little when I feel that we end up in the wrong box. But one thing I’ve learned so far is that the sharing of opinions from everywhere is endless, and it’s just foolishness to let the comments run how we should feel about our music.
So don’t you fear the comparison?
Comparisons can actually be very good, especially when the band we’re being compared with is great! So no, I don’t fear it.
The first track of your record is “Isolated” and you also filmed a video clip for this single. Would you like to tell something about it?
We worked with video production company 11 frames, a real win-collaboration we think! For our first video it was important for us to really show who we are, both as bandmembers and feeling of the band and the song. So no fancy side story! Just rocking out with the band! So that was basically what we did during 12 hours. The day after I felt quite okay, still a little high on adrenalin. The day after that the fall was very hard, I tell you! But we really had so much fun recording the video, we can’t wait to shoot another one!
Will you film a second video clip, in order to introduce yourselves in a better way?
We’re planning on releasing some live-video clips of other songs. Hopefully very soon…
The record has been released more than a month ago. Have you already got to know how it was acclaimed by fans and press?
Since we couldn’t hardly have any fans before the release, ‘cause it was kind of the first thing that happened for us, the response after the release has been quite overwhelming. As for the press it has been written quite a few encouraging reviews. I was happy to read the one in here in FM of course! But I would lie if I said that it has been all roses, but that wasn’t either expected.
In my opinion, this is a very good product for a debut album, with a very good sound, great vocals… so I hope that fans of melodic rock metal could appreciate your efforts and I hope they will support you in the best way possible. I think there are some very good songs that are seriously valid and they worth! Is there any song you feel more connected to?
I must say that “Inner Voice”, in it’s quite clear message is one that speaks to me directly. Being about the struggle with the pressure we, especially women, deal with everyday. Feeling the need to look and be in a certain way. It really just says: Be true to yourself, be the one that’s genuinely you!
Certainly, End of September is one of those bands who surely deserve more attention from that audience that loves this music genre, so we wish you to find lots of greatness on your path. What are your expectations for the future?
A lot of stages, and a second album in a not so distant future! On a deeper level I really hope to grow as a singer through End of September as well as really grow together with the guys musically. We started off in a way not many bands could wish for, already having a label ready to sing us. But now we need time to dig deeper into the sound and feel of End of September. I look forward to that!
Any European tour? Or some live show?
This summer we pay a visit to our neighbors in Finland. But look out, there will be more shows to come this fall!
Currently, the band is not as famous as everybody think, but I’m sure that with the official release of your debut album lots of people will pay more attention to you. What is your “modus operandi” to get in touch with people? I mean: lots of “little bands” try to get some attention using Facebook or sharing their own music on this social network to gain more fans… which is your thought about it?
Yeah, you can’t really deny the importance of Facebook and Youtube and other social channels on the net. The ability to come close to the fans, although they live in Indonesia or Peru is fantastic! But despite the many ways today to get your music out there it’s hardly any easier to really reach out to an actual audience. There is just so much of everything! I’m very grateful to have Ulterium Records behind us, helping us to find the right ways in the media jungle.
This was our last question. Thanks for your time, Elin. We give you the chance to share something with our readers and your fans out there! See you soon!
Thank you for having me, it was a pleasure to talk to you!
Label : Rare Noise Records
Review by Luisa Mercier
The Mantra ATSMM is an Italian post-rock act from Naples. They have already released two albums and this is their debut EP, which was recorded back in 2009. In this record we find a foundation made of minimal rock enriched by moody electronic atmospheres that recall Sigur Ros, Bjork and The Gathering (the “How to Measure a Planet” age). The four tracks show personality and a talent that the good production highlight as best as it can. I will mention above all the opener “Helder Pedro Moreira” in which we can perceive the strong influence of the Icelandic little singer in the ethereal, floating atmosphere. “Rooms” is a quiet track, dreamy and very short that introduces “The Fog” which has some similiraties with trip-hop, especially Portishead. It is mesmerizing, that is for sure. Closing track “A Friend with a Knife” is opened by some whispers and Adriana singing a capella. Dissonance, screaming, despair make this song quite gloomy. This EP marked the beginning of an interesting career for this Italian band as we will analyze further with their two full lenghts. Really a pleasant surprise coming from my country!
Rating - 70/100
Interview by Miriam C.
And today with us we have Elizabeth Blackwell introducing us the witch trio Castle. Don’t what is it? Just continue to read the interview and you’ll know more about their new album “Blacklands”!
Hi Elizabeth first of all, thanks for replying at this interview. Would you mind presenting the band with some biography?
The band started with Mat on his own. I know he worked on the songs for the first album for a few years and tried to put a band together to play live without success. When I met Mat about three years ago and heard some of his demos I was knocked out! He may have even set the project aside at that point but at my urging we started to work on putting vocal melodies to what was mainly instrumental music. Shortly after Mat contacted an old friend from Toronto and we recorded our first record never having played live.
What’s the genesis of your second album “Blacklands”? For what I know it was composed in neither six months, right?
The second album was written in period of four months. Mat spent his days working on the demos and pre-production for recording. As he wrote I began to work on vocal melodies and collaborate with him on the lyrics. We were very deliberate on the time table of the albums creation. We wanted it to be alive and have a raw feeling to it, which really captured the essence of the music.
The album title is “Blacklands”, quoting the title in your opinion what are (or where are) the black lands and specifically what you wanted to express with such title?
The Blacklands are a place of void of all spiritual movement and a place that exists on the in between. We felt the music was, as a whole, a description of the space and the emotions felt when entering this place. All the songs are used to paint a vivid picture of this barren existence.
Instead talking of the artwork, we have this queen and the baby near her sitting on a sort of throne but it’s all really confused like was a nebula near the explosion (ok, now I’m letting go too much my imagination).. doing a step back, can do you describe the cover? Also who’s the author? And how, in some ways, is related to the lyrics inside?
The cover art was done by Russian Artist Denis Forkus. We contacted him to create a piece for us and we were fortunate to get him interested in the project. He drew inspiration from listening to our music and reading our lyrics. The picture is actually a sacrificial offering on the witches’ Sabat and the things she uses to draw power. He was inspired from his own research and more specifically Goya’s black paintings.
Since I haven’t the chance to interview you during the “In Witch Order” promo, can you tell us more about its genesis? It took, for what I know, like 5 years, right?
Mat had worked on and off for a period of over four years. The sound developed over time and he had no deliberate intentions while writing. It wasn’t until we met that he decided to move forward with a professional recording.
Talking about the “In Witch Order” art, we have this simply this lawn where some sheep are staying there and on their back there are some rocks lying in distance and on the right side a castle wall. I would add that’s pretty genial, sounds anachronistic but genial. Again what was the target? What you wanted to express?
From what Mat told me, he had that photo from the very beginning of his song writing for the first record and in a way that photo captured the spell of the record.
Maybe I’m doing a difficult questions since for the artists all their songs are like their babies, but you, as the singer and the bassist, where do you feel that you have improved in this second album compared to “In Witch Order”, your first album ?
The feeling I get when listening to this album is energetic, I feel like it takes me to an amazing place. It was not written with a theme but since it was created during a short time there is a underlying feeling that runs through the albums sound. I would say that my singing style is definitely more realized and confident in this album and it complements the music and adversely the music compliments my voice.
Doing some steps back, how you get in contact with Van Records? Your label seems quite interested to promote doom metal acts, if you count that it has The Devil’s Blood in its roster…
I wouldn’t say that Van records targets Doom metal nor would I say our sound is entirely doom. I think Van Records have great taste in high quality music and because of this has some great diversity in the labels roster.
In a musical panorama where a lot of female doom metal/proto doom singers are nowadays coming out, you stand out for your vocal abrasiveness and spit-in-your-face attitude. It’s maybe the thrash influence or its your natural way to do?
I am happy to stand apart from other female fronted acts, and hopefully other musicians as well. My style is completely natural and holds absolutely no fronts, how I act and how I sing comes from deep within myself. If I come across rough and harsh I can admit that as a woman in the metal world I have learned that it is best to face forward with no fear, so I am not afraid to snarl time to time.
Mat, in various interview, uses the terms “witch thrash” and “power trio”, mind giving us your point of view?
We are a three piece and our sound, live, is very big, we have orchestrated our songs to fill the room completely which gives us the powerful effect. “Witch thrash” describes our style and how we play live where we evoke a menacing and wild feeling.
While writing this interview, I’m also listening/watching to your brand new promo video “Blacklands”. Did you have fun shooting it? Can you share with us some details? Also what you can say about the first one “Descent of Man” taken from “In Witch Order”?
“Blacklands” was filmed with Toronto based director Jaan Silmburg of Pistoltrixx. We enjoy working with him and love his filming and editing style. He also directed the “Decent of Man” video, which turned our amazing. We are currently in preproduction for two more videos to be released in the coming summer months. Making videos is a fun way to share and express our music, and it is always a great experience.
Flash question: do you like more the CD format or the vinyl format? And why?
I enjoy vinyl and the ritual in which you listen and flip records; there is something very kinaesthetically pleasing about it. However, I do travel a lot and Vinyl is the less practical listening medium so I take pleasure in the convenience of CD’s.
Well, Liz, we’re at the end, what are the next Castle projects? I hope a live album too..
A live album in definitely in the works for us. Aside from that a North American tour and an EP are due out in time for the coming fall season!
Please feel free to greet our readers and fans as you want at Femme Metal Webzine. Thanks again for this interview, I hope you like it.
I would just like to say thank you for this opportunity to talk about Castle’s music and art and like metal, stay hard!!
Elizabeth Blackwell photo by cloakture.com in Tilburg, NL
Band Logo by Eric Haines Photography
Interview by Miriam C.
If the first interview was a sort of an exclusive, the second one is a confirmation of what’s happened and to get some updates. So in the first episode we left you with an establishment of a label, now we see the album officially released… well, you want to know how the tale ends (or what’s the next projects) just read the interview below with the factotum Tom Simonsen.
Hi Tom, first of all thanks again for this interview and sorry for the delay. As promised time ago, I’m here to asking you the last updates about Omit. For the rest how are you??
Thank you, Miriam! I’m doing great! I hope you are doing fantastic! And don’t worry about the delay. We didn’t have time to write down our answers until now. Better late than never, hopefully. And, as you know, we’ve been working quite a lot on promoting the release of the new Havnatt EP. We’re also quite busy writing and recording new Havnatt material, at the moment, for what’s going to become a full length album. Maybe this new album will see its release this year. Right now, it’s a bit too early to tell, but we certainly hope to be able to release it that soon.
We left us with the upcoming release of Omit and the project of a indipendent/self managed label and for what I see you manage to accomplish both goals. But let’s do a step back, when you have got the idea to create a self managed label? It was like the final solution for publish your music or a way to manage your music as you like it? When have seen that there’s no solution that to found your label?
Well, it wasn’t a last resort. The idea of becoming more independent as musicians has always been lingering in the back of our minds. We just got fed up with the all the evil record contracts we were reading and wasting our time reading. You know, it seems that there is a consensus out there - among all the labels - that when you want to sign a new artist you start the contract negotiation process by showing the artist the bend-over-version of the contract. And If you’re lucky - from the label’s perspective that is - the artist is a real sucker and signs this version of the contract. As a label you now own the artists very name and the rights to everything the artist will ever produce in any context for as long as it’s legally possible. This is what all labels hope for, of course. Otherwise, they would be offering you more decent terms to begin with. They want to rip you off, basically, and it’s obvious if you read these contracts. And that’s a great starting point for a business relationship, don’t you think? And finally, it was this process of getting a reasonable deal for Omit that really pushed us into seriously thinking about starting our own label. We wasted about one whole year trying to reduce the bend-over-factor of various record contracts, but the record companies would not let us own the rights to our own music. And that was it, you know. It was impossible to come to an agreement. And shortly thereafter we started setting up Secret Quarters. At this point we felt that we had wasted enough time and it was about time to just get the music out, you know.
The name that you have chosen for the label is Secret Quarters. Curious name, from where you got the inspiration? You have in project to sing more bands of the same musical field? And if not, why?
I always used the words “secret quarters” to refer to various rehearsal facilities or studios that we’ve been using over the years. It’s sort of become a term for that nondescript location where we make our music. The location isn’t important, you know, it’s the music being made there that’s important. So, why not use those words to name the label as well. You know, in a similar way, the label is just a vehicle through which the music is being made available.
Since I’m really curious and forgive me for this but I would like to know what’s behind a CD and its costs? I’m meaning the press and things like that. When a band decide to self publish an album what’s the costs that have to burden?
Well, I really don’t want to go into too many details of the cost of our own productions. But we are very fortunate, as we’re able to do almost everything ourselves. And we keep the costs relatively low that way. We own our own studio equipment, we have several locations - or “secret quarters” - where music can be rehearsed and recorded, and we do all the recording, mixing and mastering ourselves. If you have to pay by the hour in a hired studio the costs run high very quickly. And the costs for doing the mastering can be really silly, to be honest. That whole thing has become very overpriced. And then there’s the hiring of other musicians, like we did for the “Repose” album. It too has a cost, of course. And so has the printing, pressing and manufacturing of the physical product - CDs or vinyl or what have you. Vinyl production in particular can be quite expensive if you want to make a quality product, so we’ve decided to put that off until a later time. Digital distribution, however, has almost no costs associated with it, except for the fees that go to iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify or any of those other ones, but that’s more on a sale-by-sale basis. So, basically, if you do everything or almost everything yourself, then releasing your own recordings doesn’t have to cost so much. If you go for a digital distribution only kind-of-a-deal then the costs are very low indeed. If you’re not put off by the increase in paperwork, by the fact that you have to make sure that the releases get promoted or by the business stuff you have to deal with, then I would recommend going DIY to any musician. You don’t have to deal with evil labels or record company people. In the DIY musician’s case, the record label is the musician, and the record label really only exists in people’s imagination..
After this 2 questions about your genesis’s label now I want to focus on Omit. How it was the media reception, I mean did the press liked the album?
The press seemed to like it. The number of positive reviews was almost a bit overwhelming.
Back in the last interview I’ve noticed reading now that I’ve forgotten to ask you, a curiosity of mine about the title,“Repose”, is connected with the lyrics inside or you feel it’s the right word for the platter? Just your opinion….
I think the name just sets the right mood for the album as a whole, you know.
Also we must update the infos about your other projects. Any updates to add for Havnatt and Vagrant God? And we must not to forget Skumring, Glade, Dooms Vain and Vali…
Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about almost every project that you mentioned there. And we’ll do it in the order you that mentioned them. Regarding Havnatt: Great to finally be able to properly release the “Havdøgn” EP. I think a half hour of music is a very, very good EP length, and the material deserved to get the proper release treatment and become available to everyone in better audio quality than previously. Now, we’re working on the follow-up release. This time it’s a full length album. How long it will end up being is still too soon to tell. And regarding Vagrant God: The long, long overdue release of the Vagrant God album will be happening this year. And regarding Skumring: We’re still waiting for Vàli to get all the writing done for his new album. He has told us that he doesn’t want to work on two albums simultaneously. And we respect that. We’ve got plenty of other things to do, so we’re not waiting idly for him, you know. And then there’s Glade: Well. Glade was an experiment and we uploaded some preliminary drafts and mixes to the web. We’ve done various other experiments too, that have never made it to the web. Glade was just one of those who did. There are others out there also, that you may try to find, if you’re able. However, regarding Glade, I don’t think there will be any new music written for Glade. You never know, of course, but I seriously doubt it. And finally there’s Vàli: Vàli started writing music for his upcoming album many, many years ago. I took on the job of recording and producing this album about three years ago, now. At that point recordings had already been made in a different studio. We basically started by throwing all those old recordings out and starting again from scratch. After that, we’ve had lots and lots of sessions in the Secret Quarters studio, but I would almost go so far as to say that none of the tracks have been completed this far. He’s still writing new stuff and putting new stuff in. So, at this point there’s no telling. It’ll be done when it’s done, I suppose.
Kjetil, in a recent interview, stated (and I quoth) about a second Omit album “We will eventually begin the writing process for our sophomore album, which is probably taking a more neo-classical turn. We shall see”. In my order of ideas, if Omit should write a neoclassical album should create another different music project for not “confuse” the music genre, hahaha. Back to be serious, I think it’s a great idea, I love neoclassical music and I’m really really looking forward to this album. How you are approching to the writing of this second Omit release?
To be honest, we don’t really have a defined approach or a method that we use in order to make music. It just happens the way it has to. We write what we want when we want, and eventually the music comes together to form “an album”. Our way of writing metal or guitar-based music may differ a bit from how I can imagine that other metal bands come up with their stuff. We don’t necessarily start with the typical guitar riffs and build things around those.
Now speaking of priorities, what’s next?
Next we’re going to write more music! That’s the focus for me, anyway.)
Never thought to play some gigs? Or book a complete tour?
The focus right now is on writing, recording and releasing new music. Rehearsing and gigging just takes a lot of time away from that, and sometimes it costs a lot more than what you get in return. It just isn’t a priority right now. With Omit, especially, it would be a rather huge undertaking. We don’t really want to put any of the instruments on playback, and we really don’t want to cut down on the arrangements too much. To make it work we’d have to be roughly 15 people on stage, preferably more than that. We wouldn’t really be able to perform on the smaller club stages with a band like that. And that makes putting a tour together rather difficult.
For the moment that’s it, I really thank you again for the avalaibility, it really means a lot for me. I think we will speak soon for Havnatt. Lots of love and the best. Again thanks.
Thanks, Miriam! Always a pleasure.
Label : Red Pony Records
Review by Tony Cannella
From Italy (where else?), comes the symphonic metal band TeodasiA. The band is fronted by vocalist Priscilla Fiazza and has just issued their debut album titled “Upwards”. “Upwards” begins with the 3-minute intro/instrumental “Intro-Spection” and then segues into “Temptress” which proves to be a powerful opening number. The next song “Revelations” immediately became a favorite of mine, thanks to the stellar instrumentation and Priscilla’s soaring vocals. That is followed by the monumental song “Lost Words of Forgiveness”. This song sees Priscilla sharing vocals with Rhapsody of Fire front man Fabio Leone – the song has a huge epic vibe to it, and the two vocalists show great chemistry together. This is another highlight. I really like the way TeodasiA uses the symphonic, orchestral elements throughout the album. Nothing is overdone and they don’t rely on the orchestral side of things too much. Everything ties right in with the songs and it complements the music perfectly. Moving on, the ballad “Close Call” brings the tempo down a bit and is a good change of pace from the previous material, but in my opinion it is one of the weaker songs. Other highlights include: “Aurora”, “Eulogy” and the fabulous closing number “My Minotaur”. With “Upwards”, TeodasiA offers the listener a perfect combination of sophisticated, dramatic metal with a lot of melody while still being moody and emotional as well. For a debut, “Upwards” is a great first step. For fans of the symphonic metal genre – and even if you just love good metal – there is a lot to like about TeodasiA.
Rating - 93/100
Label : Simmons Records/Universal Music Canada
Review by Tony Cannella
You can describe the band Kobra and the Lotus in one word. Metal! That’s it. If you want to know what genre or sub-genre to put them in, their self-titled debut album is about as metal as it gets. Hailing from Canada Kobra and the Lotus is a band that fans who have a love for pure metal, should seek out. There are a growing number of current bands who are bringing metal back to its purest form, but with all due respect to some great bands; in fact it is a great movement in the genre but you would be hard pressed to find a band better than Kobra and the Lotus. They have also received attention from Kiss’ fire breathing demon Gene Simmons who signed them to his label. Kobra and the Lotus’ debut album is a relentless metal extravaganza from the word go and the opening track “50 Shades of Evil”. Lead vocalist Kobra Paige has such a huge voice that has so much power behind it that it is right there in-your-face and impossible not to feel it – her metal-ness cannot be denied. Also impressive is the songwriting and the guitar work from Timothy Vega and Jasio Kulakowski. Next is the grinding “Welcome to my Funeral”. The final song is the blistering “Ana of Karmika” which features a galloping Iron Maiden feel to it musically and end things with a bang. The 10-songs on display here are laced with heavy riffs, some great melodic moments and just a huge sound that does more than pay homage to metal of the past – sure those Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influences are there (they have also been compared to the NWOBHM movement, but I don’t really hear it), but the material is far beyond a band that is simply paying respect to their hero’s. Kobra and the Lotus deliver the songs with such sincerity and ferocity. They are the real deal. Highlights include: “Forever One”, “Heaven’s Veins”, “Sanctuary” and “No Rest For the Wicked”. There is really not much more to say about Kobra and the Lotus except for the fact that this is not only the best debut I have heard all year but in a number of years. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love all of the different styles of metal I am exposed to with this gig – and I have had the pleasure of being exposed to many, many great bands, but sometimes it is easy to become jaded, then along comes a band like Kobra and the Lotus who re-ignites my excitement in metal and music in general. This album did it for me.
Rating - 98/100