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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Gig Review & Photos by Erwin van Dijk
Epica has released their new album and this evening is more or less the release party. And because Epica is sponsored by Jägermeister the first 200 visitors will get an Epic USB stick full of exclusive, rare and previously unreleased Epica stuff. Also, the band will play the entire “Design Your Universe” album at this gig. Like Kamelot and Megadeth last year the venue was indeed sold out and this resulted once again in a queue from the doors of the Paradiso to the Leidseplein (Leiden Square) The last time for me at the Paradiso was for CHIC and Jello Biafra. Jello Biafra is the legendary singer of the Dead Kennedys and CHIC is a funk/disco/rock band from the seventies. Two cool bands but the opposite of Epica so to say. This was the second time for Epica at the Paradiso. The first time was supposed to be released on DVD but all we got was a book: “The Road to Paradiso”. This was years ago and the band has grown since then. Kingfisher Sky is a nice band who had the honour to be the opener tonight. Every band in Holland will sell thesouls to the devil to do a Paradiso gig so this was for Kingfisher Sky the opportunity of a life time. The Paradiso might be one of the most prestigious venues in the Netherlands, it does not have the biggest stage and with seven band members and your own drum kit and keyboards next to all the gear Epica uses the stage was very cramped. But Kingfisher Sky managed to squeeze six songs in the little time they had. Kingfisher Sky had barely 30 minutes. To save the Polar bears there was no light on stage - good for environment but not for us. But there were no budget cuts concerning the use of smoke machines and this gave the gig a mysterious feeling which suited the music. Kingfisher did a good gig but personally I would not be in their shoes this night. Epica is way out of their league and even a band like Within Temptation should be worried right now with this new incarnation of Epica. In short, Kingfisher Sky is an ‘art house movie’ while Epica is popcorn entertainment for the masses.
Maaike, who plays the cello said about this gig: “Supporting Epica in a Sold Out Paradiso really was one of the best things happening in 2009, we had a blast and in our opinion it was over far too soon. Thanks Epica and Epica Fans”. From the first notes it was clear that this gig would contain the usual ingredients: smoke pillars, firework, flamethrowers, etc - enough to start World War III Visually it was a very entertaining show to see but, more important, the songs from Epica’s latest album are strong enough to keep their own against all that visual violence. Not many bands dare to play their entire album live (and if they do, like Iron Maiden, there is a lot of critic and / or negative response) but Epica got away with it. And Medusa, who the true Epica fans will remember from the 2008 autumn gigs, says : “We had a great time, it was very crowded and hot, but of course we added some heath as well :)”. Medusa would also show up at Metal Female Voices Fest, together with Floor Jansen. Like Jello Biafra a month earlier Mark did a crowd surf but while Jello did the full round from stage to bar and back again Mark vanished somewhere midway into the crowd. And the Jägermeister girls also had a small appearance on stage with an air pressure cannon designed to shoot t shirts into the audience. Funny enough a lot of those shirts ended up on stage again. Poor marksmanship I guess. A word about the album: Like the latest Leaves’Eyes I would say it is a save buy for the fans. It has all the ingredients for an Epica album and the fresh blood from the God Dethroned boys makes it more metal. Epica did not reinvent themselves with this album. They took the best parts of their music and improved them even more. And, if I am really honest, this gig was better than the one at Metal Female Voices Fest.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Mark Jansen from Epica. The band Epica does not really need an introduction. 2009 was a busy year for the band. Epica did a festival tour this summer and released a live album,“The Classical Conspiracy - Live in Miskolc, Hungary”. Even better is the news that Epica will also release a new studio album in October. This interview is with Mark Jansen, the mastermind behind Epica.
Did you always wanted to become a guitar player and singer?
No, I wanted to become a cyclist and I also have a master degree in psychology but none of these made it to a profession. When I was 15 years old I went to a show of the Dutch death metal band Gorefest and from that moment on I knew I wanted to be on the stage as well. By then I didn’t have the intention to become a singer. I started playing guitar and that was fun enough but when the male singer of my previous band After Forever left I started singing as well.
And did you have any other bands before After Forever?
No, After Forever was my very first band and Epica my 2nd. I never played in any other band.
How do you see yourself, as a guitar player that can do some grunts or as a singer who also can play the guitar?
As a guitar player that does some grunts as well. But above all I see myself as a composer who plays the guitar (… and do some grunts as well haha).
And did you follow any singing/grunt lessons?
No, it was more or less trial and error, grunts should not hurt your throat but everybody who tries to grunt for the first time won’t feel comfortable doing it, you just need to find the right way and there you go ;-)
What kind of guitars and amplifiers do you use?
We just signed an artist deal with V-empire guitar amps, it’s a Polish company and they make damn good amps. We were using Mesa Boogies before and they were good as well but when you have the possibility to sign a deal and get all these great amps for free you just have to grasp that chance with both hands :)
To what kind of music do you listen yourself and what are your favorite bands?
I often listen to bands which I liked when I was a teenager: Dream Theater, Megadeth, Guns N’ Roses etc, it brings back nice memories. A band that I discovered 5 years ago and listen to a lot is Opeth. Besides that I also like to listen to film scores and classical music.
Is it difficult to combine Epica with your personal life?
It’s a challenge and I need challenges in my life. My girlfriend lives in the US, so you can imagine it’s not easy to combine, but nothing is impossible. At the moment we are 1 year and 8 months together and we see each other quite a lot in spite of the distance. Besides making music, we also manage the band ourselves, we don’t want to throw money in the pocket of a lousy manager. The disadvantage is that there’s a lot of extra work. But I still manage to have some free time and during this free time I like to enjoy the beauty of nature, sport and watch football ;-)
What are your favorite Epica songs?
It’s hard to choose as I like many of them. But if I’m forced to make a selection with a shotgun pointed on my forehead I would say: “Cry for the Moon” (“The Phantom Agony” - 2003); “Consign to Oblivion” (“Consign to Oblivion” - 2005); “Fools of Damnation” (“The Divine Conspiracy” - 2007); “Kingdom of Heaven” (“Design Your Universe” - 2009)
I think that the trouble with Transmission Records was without doubt a negative experience for Epica. But what are the highlights so far?
There are many highlights, to name a few: - Lowlands and Pinkpop, playing these great festivals in the Netherlands were highlights; Wacken Open Air (2009) Germany, for me a dream come true to finally play the biggest metal festival of Europe; - “The Classical Conspiracy” and the show itself with orchestra and choir, the biggest highlight so far; Signing with Nuclear Blast, the record company I always wanted to be on since I started playing guitar; Being the first metal band from abroad to play in Tunisia, people were crying of joy, I will never forget that.
And do you have any updates about the Transmission Records situation?
Yes, the label owner signed a deal with Nuclear Blast to re-release the old albums and the previously unreleased “Live in Paradiso DVD”.
Epica has two new band members now, both from God Dethroned. The God Dethroned music is very different from the style Epica has. Will the new blood in the band have much influence on the new songs? This is because I’ve noticed at live gigs (like Wâldrock) Epica has far more energy on stage.
You’re right, since these two guys joined us we are a way more energetic band, not only music wise but also the stage performance has become more energetic. The guys have also an influence on the songs as everybody in the band influences the songs so some differences are due to them. But I like it this way, new blood means also the chance to integrate new elements (like solo’s) and we did :)
Where do you get the inspiration for the music and lyrics?
Inspiration is a fantastic thing, you don’t know where it comes from and what causes it, it’s a mystery ;-)
What is the idea behind the name of the album?
“Design Your Universe” basically refers to the capacity to take control over your own life and create your universe. Many people don’t live their dreams as they think it’s unrealistic and out of reach. I am one of the many prooves that you can succeed, don’t fear the unknown and take risks :)
And can you tell us something about the songs on “Design Your Universe”?
We went quite deep into the details this time. We want to make improvements on every album and as “The Divine Conspiracy” got great critics by press and fans we had to come up with something better this time and that’s quite a job! haha. So we worked our asses off to try to make an even better album. My favorite song is “Kingdom of Heaven” a very long song but we managed to keep it interesting, long songs can easily get boring but I think we finally found the perfect ingredients for the longest song of Epica ‘till now.
Three songs on “Design Your Universe” are a part of the “A New Age Dawns” saga. This saga has now six chapters. What is the relation between the “Design” chapters and the “Oblivion” chapters?
The relation is that we need to make a change, we lost contact with nature, each other and the earth. We need to get rid to some of our addictions which will destroy us in the end. Like our addiction to earn more money than our neighbour, money is the “antichrist” of our civilization..
You have also recorded a song with Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica. How was it to work together with him?
Great, we toured with Sonata in Europe and asked him one of these days if he would be interested to record a song with us. Fortunately he was and with his very unique voice he lifts the “White Waters” song to a next level.
There are plans to record DVD at the Metal Female Voices Fest in October. What can we expect?
We will record DVD material, so whatever turns out great will reach a future DVD but if we’re not satisfied nothing will happen. The facts are that we are gonna do a big show there, probably the biggest we have ever done. So probably you’ll find at least some of this footage on a future DVD together with other concerts. MFVF made advertisements with the message that we will record a DVD there but we don’t want to disappoint our fans as long as we’re not sure.
Besides the upcoming tour, what else can we expect from Epica in the future?
We don’t look to much ahead of us, so I don’t know but until the summer of 2010 the whole schedule is fixed already so for like 1 year we know already what to do haha.
And the last question, is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Erwin, you covered it all :) Thanks a lot!
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
Forget all those Cristina Scabbia & Lacuna Coil look-alikes from Italy. If you want to hear some old sckool metal from that country that would make Doro or Sabina Classen proud you should give the band White Skull a try. No soprano vocals or sweet elven maidens onstage with this band. I saw White Skull a few years ago at the Metal Female Voices Fest and they were one of the highlights today (the others were Girlschool and Izegrim).
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
Well, from what I can remember, when I started listening to heavy metal music I was about 16 years and I imagined myself running on a stage like Bruce Dickinson, hehe! That’s probably the dream of many young metal heads. Btw, then I started learning guitar and I found my own style on vocals just many years later.
Did you have any other bands before White Skull?
Yes, but as I said before, I was playing guitar. I played in some underground bands of my town, sometimes on guitar, later on vocals, and sometimes both on guitar and voice. Everything is good to make experience!
Who are your favourite singers?
Bruce Dickinson, Bobby Blitz and Ronny James Dio.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I love and listen mostly to thrash metal (‘80s Bay Area bands) and classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Scorpions.
What are your other passions besides music?
I love reading books and watching horror films. I like being scared!
And is it difficult to combine White Skull with your personal life?
No, luckily my job gives me the chance to plan my time in an independent way.
Besides White Skull you are also busy with your mail-order shop (see www.over-zone.com). What made you decide to start your own mail order shop specialized in old school metal stuff from the eighties?
Thanks for the question about it. I’m into the ‘80s style since I was young and I also worked with a business partner in a rock-metal shop for several years. After making enough experience in it, I was in need of independence and I also found out that she wasn’t the right person to share my work with. So I opened my own on-line shop and finally I could put my own style in it! It’s been a great satisfaction and I hope to support the old school style as long as possible, also for the young generations.
Do you think that metal as genre and life style was better in the eighties than today?
Surely it was better in the eighties. Everything was new, and you had to make sacrifices for your passion in Metal. Now everything is much more simple, you can find everything on-line, Mp3, information, shops… So it’s also less strong than before. And then, today many pubs and clubs are closing or just stopping to let bands play. It’s very sad!!
Unlike most female singers today (who try to be the next Sharon den Adel or Cristina Scabbia) the way you sing is more in the style of Sabina Classen from Holy Moses. Since this is not the most gentle way to tread your vocal cords, what do you do to keep your voice in top condition?
Yes it’s not a gentle way at all, haha. I’ll be honest I’m doing very few things for it: just concentrating in the right breathing and rehearsing at home to find the best position of the sound in my mouth or head, or nose.. I’m sorry, I haven’t got time for vocal lessons at the moment.
How did you became a member of White Skull?
Oh, totally by accident! I wasn’t following the band in the last times, so I didn’t know that they were searching for a new vocalist. One night I met Danilo in a pub and he just asked me what I was making in music now. He only knew that I was playing guitar in some local bands but he didn’t know that I was singing too. So he simply asked me to make the proof with them.. I did it one week later and here I am.
And since you are not White Skull’s first singer, was it necessary to adapt the songs to your voice?
Of course it always happens, when one vocalist comes after another (or two!!) and he has to perform songs that he hasn’t composed. That’s a old story! I’ve tried to do my best, but it’s natural that I prefer singing my own songs, I haven’t got problems in telling it.
What are the most memorable moments for you with White Skull? We are a band and a family as well, so every time we go out and play, we have very good time together, in total harmony and fun. I can remember when we played at the MFVF in Belgium. We arrived to the place the day before playing, so we had all the day and night to relax and touring around Bruxelles. It was like a little holiday and we really had fun (especially with food and beers!!) I have seen White Skull only once, at the Metal Female Voices Fest of 2008. How do you look back at that festival? Oh, I didn’t read this question when I told you about it in the previous one! As I told you, we really enjoyed that little tour and also the organisation of the Festival has been good and kind with us. I only have to say that we were the only True Metal band, that day. The other bands played mostly gothic or doom or some new metal, that’s not my genre. It seems difficult to find female metal bands in classic heavy metal! Luckily at the end came the Girlschool with their funny and old school rock’n roll, hehe.
We are a band and a family as well, so every time we go out and play, we have very good time together, in total harmony and fun. I can remember when we played at the MFVF in Belgium. We arrived to the place the day before playing, so we had all the day and night to relax and touring around Bruxelles. It was like a little holiday and we really had fun (especially with food and beers!!)
I have seen White Skull only once, at the Metal Female Voices Fest of 2008. How do you look back at that festival?
Oh, I didn’t read this question when I told you about it in the previous one!No problem :)
As I told you, we really enjoyed that little tour and also the organisation of the Festival has been good and kind with us. I only have to say that we were the only True Metal band, that day. The other bands played mostly gothic or doom or some new metal, that’s not my genre. It seems difficult to find female metal bands in classic heavy metal! Luckily at the end came the Girlschool with their funny and old school rock’n roll, hehe.
Can you introduce us to the other members of White Skull?
Tony Mad (Rhythm Guitar) and Alex (Drums) are the founder members of the band. Later, after other mambers, came Danilo Bar on the solo guitar and me on voice and finally Jo on bass. During the story of the band there have been several line up changes. For example, Alessio Lucatti (Keyboards) has just left the band due to employment purposes. It’s not easy to find the right people to play with, sometime for personal reasons, other times for a different style in composing ad taste in music, or simply for problems in the job. Now we hope to last many and many years like this!
Who is responsible for the music and lyrics in White Skull?
The music is composed by all of us, sometimes all together, other times working on one’s idea or riff. When each song is ready I write the lyrics and the melody for the voice.
And were do you and the band get the inspiration for the songs?
We all listen to metal since years and years, so I think that our inspiration comes in a natural way from all the bands we love. Though, ‘cause we have different taste in music (I’m mostly into thrash metal, for example), at the end everything mixes together and that’s the way how the White Skull current style was born.
“Forever Fight” is White Skull’s latest album. Is “Forever Fight” a concept album or are it thirteen individual songs?
I’d better say that they are 13 different songs, linked together by the same historical period (the end of the Roman Empire of Occident). Some of the songs tell about the same story (for example, “Boudicca’s Speech” is the prologue of “A Mother’s Revenge” and other songs talk about Attle and the Huns). But in the end it’s not a real concept album.
How did the press and the fans received the album?
Well, I can honestly say in a good way. I’m happy about the result. Of course there will always be who prefers the old WS style or members, but it’s natural and it’s not a problem. Everyone has his own taste in music and you can’t say anything, everybody is right. The important thing is that fans come to our shows and at the end they are really happy and come to talk with us with much excitement. And this is the biggest satisfaction for us!
Since “Forever Fight” was released in 2009, are you already working on a new album?
We’ve been busy with the live shows since now, so we’re planning to start the new album around this summer but with no hurry. There’s nothing worst for a musician than being late and having to write songs as quick as possible. We also live in different and also far cities, so it’s not easy to meet each others and play together, so the times are a little longer than normally.
If you look back at “Forever Fight”, are there things on the album you would have done different now?
This is my first album with WS and I’m much attached to it. So, even if nothing is always “perfect” and you could always improve it, now I wouldn’t change a single note in it.
And what are White Skull plans for the future?
Going on with the live shows and starting the composition of the new songs as well.
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Oh you’ve already asked a lot, hehehe! :)
One can never ask enough questions :)
I can only add that WS is a band with a strong passion for the true heavy metal and we do nothing if we don’t like it in that moment. We’ve done sacrifices like many other Italian bands to have the chance to play around, in a bad period for heavy metal music. Our only interest is passion and not business! Keep the Metal alive, guys.
Interview by Erwin van Dijk
Dawn of Destiny is a German power metal band and was founded in 2005. They have done numerous gigs since then (mostly in Germany). With their latest album “Rebellion in Heaven” I think it is about time to do some gigs abroad. Or at least an interview. Usually we interview the females of the band so this interview with Jens Faber is a first.
The first question: how did your album release party with guest (& my friends from) A New Dawn go?
It was a very nice evening with hours of good music, friendly people and many drinks.
You are the bass player of Dawn of Destiny and that makes you the Steve Harris of the band. Who are your favourite bass players and to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I listen to nearly all kinds of metal. I like Helloween as well as Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish or Nile. I must confess that I do not care so much about who might be the greatest bass player because the songs are much more important to me but I think Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and John Myung (Dream Theater) belong to the best.
Did you have any bands before Dawn of Destiny or are you currently in other bands besides Dawn of Destiny?
There were probably rather more projects than real bands that I played with and currently there is nothing more than Dawn of Destiny.
What do you prefer: The traditional four strings on your bass or five?
By now I prefer five strings basses because it gives me more opportunities to vary my sound and my play.
And what kind of bass and amplifier do you use onstage?
I use a five string Grass Roots (ESP) Bass and a Line6 amplifier on stage. I am satisfied with both of it.
Power metal and Germany are almost identical in the world of metal. Why is this kind of metal so popular in Germany?
This kind of music has its roots in Germany. Helloween played that style first and some many followed. Maybe people in Germany still like tunes and melodies with high screaming voices and fast double bass attacks but I think it’s similar in other countries like Greece, Italy or Finland.
And what makes Dawn of Destiny different from all those other Power Metal bands?
We have a different approach concerning songwriting. We do not use the classical structure with Verse and Chorus. Furthermore we have more influences than just power metal because we like to express different feelings and emotions within our music. We want to create our CD’s diversified and obviously it was proven to be right considering the reviews we got for “Rebellion in Heaven”.
Another ‘German’ question: how big is metal really in your country? We foreigners know Germany mostly from all those festivals like Wacken Open Air and this might give some the impression that one out of five Germans is into Metal. Is metal really that big in Germany?
As far as I know metal is more popular in Finland (related to the population). In Germany metal was big in the 80’s and almost dead in the 90’s. By now Hip Hop is unfortunately the most popular music in Germany.
Does the album title (“Rebellion in Heaven”) have any special meaning? Some lyrics deal with a examination of God, so we thought this title would be fitting. Besides it just sounds cool to us.
Some lyrics deal with a examination of God, so we thought this title would be fitting. Besides it just sounds cool to us.
Is there one mastermind behind Dawn of Destiny’s music or is song writing teamwork?
No, I am the only songwriter but we all discuss the songs and the other members share their ideas to change some arrangements.
Can you tell us something about the songs on the album?
There are 14 songs and most of them sound different from the others. We have classical power metal stuff like “Angel Without Wings” or “Days Of Crying”, some heavy thrashing parts like “Inquisition” or some Gothic influences like “Tears”.
Your debut album is called “Begins” which is of course a perfect name for a debut album. What have you done different compared to “Begins” while writing and recording “Rebellion in Heaven”?
There are not so many differences between both albums. To me “Rebellion in Heaven” is the consequent continuation of “Begins” with the difference that we had a producer (Siggi Bemm) this time.
And the artwork: How did you get in touch with Mattias Nòren?
We found some very good material on his website and asked him to work with us for our first album.
Can you tell us something about the other members of Dawn of Destiny?
Tanja Maul– Vocals
Tanja and me make music for nearly six years. When we met each other she liked everything in music – everything but Metal!! Seemed to be a misunderstanding that we did not want to have a female singer and she did not want to sing in a metal band but it worked. Contemporaneously she sang in an a cappella band which has been a total contrast to our kind of music. Tanja has a very strong will and would do nearly everything for DOD. Her voice is crystal clear and enhances the emotions in our music perfectly.
Veith Offenbächer – Guitars
Veith is an extraordinary guitarist and a very pleasant character who fits perfectly to DOD. He was the latest member and joined us during the recording session of “Begins”.
Dirk Raczkiewicz – Keyboards
The ‘Grandfather’ refered to his age with a good sense for nice tunes.
Ansgar Ludwig – Drums
Maybe you wouldn’t expect him playing drums but he has very fast feet and a heavy groove.
What are Dawn of Destiny’s ambitions for the future?
We want to spread our name all over the world and maybe there is one day a chance for touring the whole world and selling enough CD’s to make DOD a full time living! We had several fantastic experiences and will always remember that.
And, the last question, is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Not really. We thank you for the interview and hope that we could advise the reader of our band.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Daniel Håkansson, the guitarist and male singer from Diablo Swing Orchestra. When a reviewer writes a review about a relatively unknown band he or she will try to compare the music with another band operating in more or less the same genre. You can say a lot of things about Diablo Swing Orchestra but they certainly do not sound like your average metal band. This is good because there are already enough copycats and faceless bands in this world. Diablo Swing Orchestra adds a new chapter in the long history of hard rock ‘n’ metal.
Before we start a question about the bio: most bands have a simple bio but Diablo Swing Orchestra has a nice fairy tale in the style of Hans Christian Andersen. Who wrote it?
I did… but I merely wrote what we found out. I really wish I could take credit by saying we made it all up. Would be a nice movie, don’t you think?
Nobody can accuse Diablo Swing Orchestra of being predictable. Where do you get the inspiration for the songs and the music?
It’s a bit different with this album and the last one where I wrote pretty much everything. Me and Pontus (guitar, vocals, FX) did most of the writing together on this one. But everyone was more involved in the arrangements/writing on this album. We learned a lot while recording the last album which came in handy when putting these songs on tape.
And how would you describe Diablo Swing Orchestra’s music?
A god description I read somewhere was : It sounds as if Danny Elfman collaborated with System of a down and got Maria Callas behind the microphone.
Did you always wanted to become a guitarist and singer?
No not really, I wasn’t that interested in music until I turned 16. But because of my upbringing and my mother was an aspiring opera singer I got it from an early age anyway. Guess it was bound to happen but I just had to figure it out myself.
How do you see yourself, as a guitar player that can sing or as a singer who also can play the guitar?
Well, I first and foremost see myself as a songwriter and the guitar is just the instrument I use. But I’m more of a guitarist than I singer. I wasn’t even supposed to sing in this band at all. If just happened since some verses/choruses didn’t fit Annlouice’s voice on the first album. But it turned out I worked great as a contrast so we have incorporated more male (not just mine) vocals on the new album.
What kind of guitars & amplifiers do you use?
We actually use custom made guitars from Henrik Jansson in Stockholm. When it comes to amps we both have Peavy amps.
To what kind of music and bands do you listen yourself? Oh that’s a long list. To make it easier I’ll just write what I listen too at the moment: Kroke – Awesome Balkan folk band. This is the only band I’m playing in at the moment, I have played in other bands in the past but nothing serious really. Since it’s not my full time it does take up a lot of my free time but I’ll keep doing it as long as it’s fun. Even if no one would want to listen I’d still write songs. We felt that the name sums up the feel and sound of all of the songs in a good way. This is your second album. What have you done different compared to the debut album? We came better prepared this time around and we had rehearsed the details in the arrangements. We had also done better pre-production recordings and prepared special klick tracks containing all the tempo shifts. Then of course we wrote better songs =) He did a lot for the sound on the record. We had some ideas where we wanted to take the album and he picked up on them in a very good way and manage to turn into something even better.
Oh that’s a long list. To make it easier I’ll just write what I listen too at the moment: Kroke – Awesome Balkan folk band.Was Diablo Swing Orchestra your first band and/or do have other bands right now?
This is the only band I’m playing in at the moment, I have played in other bands in the past but nothing serious really.Is it easy to combine Diablo Swing Orchestra with your personal life?
Since it’s not my full time it does take up a lot of my free time but I’ll keep doing it as long as it’s fun. Even if no one would want to listen I’d still write songs.What is the idea behind the name of the album?
We felt that the name sums up the feel and sound of all of the songs in a good way.
This is your second album. What have you done different compared to the debut album?
We came better prepared this time around and we had rehearsed the details in the arrangements. We had also done better pre-production recordings and prepared special klick tracks containing all the tempo shifts. Then of course we wrote better songs =)Why did you choose the In Flames studio? (besides the fact it is located in Sweden)
He did a lot for the sound on the record. We had some ideas where we wanted to take the album and he picked up on them in a very good way and manage to turn into something even better.
Can you tell us something about the songs on the album?
If I am to say something general about all of them it would be that they are all more thought through in terms of arranging. We also had a lot of production ideas in the writing process. They may also come off as a little more weird than then songs on the debut at a first glance.
What is your favourite song on the album and why?
It kind of shifts from day to day but I’m really pleased with how “A Tap Dancer’s Dilemma” turned out.
How was the album received by the press and fans?
As it is to be expected the reactions have been mixed but the majority seems to think that we have taken a step forward with this record.
The cover art by Peter Bergting: who usually does book covers and graphic novels. Why did you / the band choose him for the artwork?
He did the cover for the first album as well and he’s a great artist and a friend of Andy.
What are the highlights for you with Diablo Swing Orchestra?
Two gigs I remember as being particularly awesome are the Summer Breeze 2008 and Mexico City 2009. That and of course recording and releasing our two albums.
And do you have any negative experiences in all those years with Diablo Swing Orchestra? Nothing juicy but I guess waiting for flights, busses etc can be a drag sometimes. We’re working on new songs but taking our time, since the main goal at the moment is to play live. Would also be great to put out a video for one of the songs but we’ll see about the financials for that this time around. No, I think you’ve covered most of it. Links
Nothing juicy but I guess waiting for flights, busses etc can be a drag sometimes.What can we expect from Diablo Swing Orchestra in the future?
We’re working on new songs but taking our time, since the main goal at the moment is to play live. Would also be great to put out a video for one of the songs but we’ll see about the financials for that this time around.And the last question, is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
No, I think you’ve covered most of it.
Interview & Photos by Erwin Van Dijk
It is a Within Temptation reunion day at the city of Haarlem tonight. Delain and Kingfisher Sky are both spin offs from Within Temptation, the biggest of all Gothic and female fronted bands in Holland. Sadly Delain has an unpredictable photo policy at their gigs. Sometimes you are allowed (or tolerated) to shoot a Delain gig but often you are not. Epica has a similar behaviour towards this. Goth knows why. Maybe their ego? That is why I try to avoid these bands but Kingfisher Sky will be a good opener today so I took the gamble. The Patronaat started in an old shabby building held together with gaffer tape but somewhere around 2005 it was replaced by the new building with much better facilities. As a consequence the venue can book now a lot of bands that used to play in Amsterdam like Dimmu Borgir or the upcoming Pagan Festival in September with Unleashed and Korpiklaani. Just a few days ago The Patronaat won the “Best Dutch Venue” award. The reason is quite easy for me: good facilities, friendly staff and more important: a well oiled organisation. The only disadvantage of the Patronaat you will find when you stand at the edge of the stage in the main hall. There is a small electric cable pit for all the equipment which has never been cleaned since the opening of the venue. After four years it is the most disgusting place in the entire city. To quote Bones from Star Trek “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it!”. As with the album release party at De Melkweg (Amsterdam) the two video screens did not add much to the gig because they are to small and located at the far left and right of the stage. With the Cradle of Filth & Moonspell gig last week in the city or Rotterdam there was one large stage filling video screen that functioned as a nice back drop. The mayor difference between Epica and Delain is that with Epica the visual part of the show and the special effects outweighs the musical performance live. With Delain it is still more about the music and less about how it looks on stage. I hope it will stay that way. But Delain still wanted to do something special so they had to improvise. Unlike Within Temptation or Epica the Delain crew still has no pyro license so we have a bubble machine as visual effect. WOW! The set consisted of songs from the debut album and “April Rain”. Personally I like the songs from “Lucidity” more than the new work and judged how the audience reacted I am not alone in this. The “April Rain” songs lacks the varity “Lucidity” had. I know Delain wants to sound like a real band but “Lucidity” was a one time kick in the face because it was never meant to be a ‘band’ but a project.
With “April Rain” all the ‘Youthfull Enthusiasm’ is gone and replaced by solid assambly line work. Currently Delain is sponsored by Jägermeister but thank Goth there were no Jägermeister wallpapers in sight today. Or the Jägermeister promo team which consists of (very predictable) good looking girls (The Jäger Mädel in good German) who always appear to be a little lost during metal gigs – like at the Melkweg gig. Those chicks are most likely plucked from the pages of some modelling agency. And because money is money Charlotte is sponsored by an Italian fashion make – up brand called PUPA. Not that Charlotte needs to be covered in thick layers of plaster (unless she is going to be a Kiss tribute band singer or will start a black metal band!) One more thing: Delain showed some footage of a violin cello on screen while playing a sample.N ice, but I thought it was also a bit cheap because Kingfisher has a real violin cello on stage. If I was the boss of Delain I would have asked Maaike to do that part because all the cello stuff was already in place that day. Opener Kingfisher Sky only had about 30 minutes for a show and that was more than enough to convince the audience. Although I would not have minded to see them a bit longer than half an hour. Their take on this genre is much different than most other bands these days. Judith has a voice which does not sound like another ‘Kate Bush on helium clone’. More rock and soul. Same goes for the music. Kingfisher Sky is closer to bands like Autumn, The Gathering and Stream of Passion than Delain and Epica. Since bands like Autumn, Cardamon and Skytah are also going this way with their music you can almost see this as the next step of the Gothic genre. In short: like their die hard fans these musicians have grown up, leaving Delain for the younger generation. Conclusion: Kingfisher Sky did a good gig but lacked the time to get the audience with them. Delain gave a solid performance but they should watch out for Stream of Passion who are also about to release their newest album.