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For the ones that still haven’t listened to the new Amberian Dawn singer, (Capri Amberian Dawn), I totally recommend you to check out her awesome live cover of Skid Row’s hit “18 and life” performed this past December 31 at Jack The Rooster in Tampere, Finland. Video attached in the post. For more news see @ http://www.femmemetalwebzine.net/2013/01/07/video-new-amberian-dawn-singer-covers-skid-rows-18-and-life/(via Video: New AMBERIAN DAWN Singer Covers SKID ROW’s “18 And Life” « Femme Metal Webzine)
Photo by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Gig Review by Marcy Bell
It’s clear: Epica and Italy are entwined. The concert at the Alcatraz in Milan on the 27th October was a huge success for Simone Simons and her fellows. Stage B was almost full, there were more fans and friends than in the previous tour. As in 2008 Epica were supported by the Finnish Amberian Dawn and in this new tour also by the brand-new German band: Sons of Seasons lead by Oliver Palotai. The Dutch band presented live some songs of the new album “Design Your Universe” but most of the show was made with hits from the past such as “Black Infinity”, “Cry for the Moon”, “The Phantom Agony” and “Consign to Oblivion”. The gig started with the new “Resign To Surrender” and then it went into the old mood with “Sensorium”, hands up with Simone and the whole band with the beginning of “Quietus” and then the Oriental style of “Fools of Damnation”. It was time for “Design Your Universe” and the first single “Unleashed”, the beat of Ariën on drums started very loud running through “Martyrs of the Free World”. Epica’s classic “Obsessive Devotion” led the central part of the show, as it’s always a pleasure listen live this song with Mark on growl and Simone running back and forth the stage in a seven minutes Epica-old-style-vibes. “Tides of Time” showed all the deep and sweet part of Epica with Simone solo in all her vocal talent and Coen on piano: a moment that gave you shivers on your spine. The band went again on stage with the last three songs: “Black Infinity”, “Mother of Light” and the techno-version of “Phantom Agony”. The latter was an enjoyable surprise for the crowd that started dancing with color lights as in a dance floor. Good point for Epica indeed. The encore was with “Cry for the Moon”, “Sancta Terra” and the final “Consign to Oblivion”. The show was good, the crowd really enjoyed it and finally we can say that Epica are improving themselves live in every tour.
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 Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Gone Til Winter is a melodic metal band from Manchester (UK) with some progressive and power melodies embodied in the sound. Still “unknown” to many people, this band is trying to enlarge their music and trying to get a name all over Europe. With a new album that will come out this year, Gone Til Winter is proudly spread the word and for this reason, we met Talena Cuthbert, the vocalist of the band, who kindly presented the band and said something about her future goal. Check it out!
Hi Talena, today you’re our guest on Femme Metal. First of all, how are you doing? Would you like to introduce yourself and the band, saying something about your biography, how were this project born for those people who haven’t had the chance to get in touch with your music?
Hi Femme Metal! We are: Talena Cuthbert (Voice), Jonathan Gruzelier (Guitar), Rosie Smith (Keyboard), Shirezy (Bass) & Ollie (Drums), collectively known as Gone Til Winter. Jonathan & I started this band about 10 years ago now. I have always been in bands from about the age of 13…It is totally in my blood to perform so I don’t think I’ll ever be stopping! If you are searching an in-depth biography, check our site :)
Gone ‘Til Winter comes from Manchester and that mainly plays melodic metal, but your influences also involve the most various genres like progressive, power and gothic. What were your biggest influences?
Gone Til Winter has evolved quite a bit since the beginning, seeing many lineup changes as well as a darker, heavier sound wash over us. We now like to describe ourselves as UK Dark Melodic Power Metal. We have so many influences from many different genres, I guess because we all are in to slightly different things. Some examples are Iron Maiden, Katatonia, Led Zepplin, Heart, Skunk Anansie, Kamalot, The Mission, Opeth, Warlock and so many more!
“Deconstruct The Season” was the first EP and it got lots of positive reviews. Did you get the same “treatment” with the self-titled EP and with the record “The First Season”?
Yes. Both have had mixed feeling but generally people are very positive…even people that aren’t it to metal have said they like it!
From “Gone Til Winter” you’ve published the single “Hear Me” and it has been recorded a video clip for it. How have you lived this experience?
We all really enjoyed making the music video for “Hear Me”. It was something that none of us had ever done before so we were quite nervous but it was so much fun too!
A new record is scheduled to be out this year and it will be called “Hiding from the Sun”. What can you tell about it?
This new album is what we have all been waiting to do! It is a dark, powerful heavy moody album, full of great riffs melodies and an atmosphere that will leave you with goose bumps. We are all so excited about his as we are doing it all on our own – no record company telling us what we can and can’t do – so it is exactly who we are!
Along with the official release of the new record, it is also schedule a tour in the UK. Would you like to tell us something?
We are hoping to put together a UK tour for May 2013 and then maybe get a few shows in Europe too.
Your sound is quite influenced by bands like Lacuna Coil, Nightwish and Evanescence, just to name a few. What did cause this choice? They are so famous bands in the metal panorama scene…
We don’t ‘choose’ what we are going to sound like as our song writing process is very embryonic. We are all individually influenced by many different bands and we write the songs all together. I hope that each listener finds themselves hearing many influences of their liking.
Listening to “The First Season”, I’ve noticed a few influences related to prog and medieval melodies, especially in “Distant Places”… but I’ve also seen that that are some softer songs as well. What could you say about the recording process of this album and what about the music and lyrics instead?
“The First Season” is a mixture of earlier Gone Til Winter songs…something for the fans. The first two tracks (“Solemnise” and “Heat Signal”) are the most recent, both being recorded as demos in 2006. We were hoping to put these two songs on to our self titled EP but they never made it on there. They are probably the most heavy songs on the album and defiantly leading toward the sound that we now create. The next three songs (“Kill Me”, “Utopia” & “Deep Sleep”) were all recorded in 2004. They were the first three songs that we ever recorded! It was with the original members of the band. The last three songs, the acoustic tracks (“Distant Places”, “Release –Acoustic” & “Constant Retreat – Acoustic”) were recorded around 2005. Jonathan & I went through some pretty tough times and ended up writing “Distant Places”. We decided after a while that we would like for our fans to hear this as it was such an emotional thing for us to do, so we recorded all three acoustic tracks.
Inspiration is something that is quite “difficult to get”. How do the music and lyrics branded “Gone Til Winter” come to life? Do you also make that so-called team work or does each band member do his own work?
To start off with, one of us will come up with an idea – a riff, a beat, a lyric – and then we throw it at the rest of the band. Sometimes we’ll go away and work on parts on our own but mainly all the music is jammed out. Lyric wise, I do like to take myself away from everyone else and write. The lyrics are sometimes quite personal so I need to get myself in to the right frame of mind to get the creative flow.
The artwork of the album is very curious. I don’t know the reason why but in a first moment, it reminded me the artwork of the movie “The Silence of the Lambs” :) Who has taken care of the cover of this record? What is the concept that is behind that image?
Actually for “The First Season” we ran a competition in schools and colleges across the UK for someone to come up with the artwork. We thought it would give up coming artists a chance to showcase their work!
In this record your potential is clearly visible and I assume that we will hear from you soon in future. Have you already decided your next goals? I know that you’ll play somewhere in the summer season…
We are all taking things one step at a time. We are really looking forward to the summer show across the UK before we take a break to get our new album finished off.
As I mentioned before, you’ll play at Bloodstock on August 11th. What can you tell about this gig? I know that lots of your fans are waiting for this moment for so long…
We are so excited! We are playing on the New Blood Stage (unsigned artists). Because of the buzz that always seems to surround the New Blood Stage there is always going to be an element of pressure to deliver the best you can. I’m so looking forward to it though, hoping to release our sound to a much wider audience!
If I’m not mistaken, you’ve also signed a deal record with Headroom Records. Are you still working with this label at the moment or are you searching for something else?
We signed a licensing deal with Headroom back in 2008. They were very good with us, getting our music video made and getting our first release out there. We are no longer with Headroom Records. Everything we do, we do on our own so it does take a lot of time, but I am so proud of where we have got too.
Ok, let’s change the topic for a while. Along with Rosie Smith, your keyboard player, you’re the only woman inside the band. How do you face this situation? Do you manage to assert your own opinion among the guys?
Always…I am the boss! Haha! The guys in the band are great. We all have equal opinions and we are all equal in the decision making too. It is very difficult being in a male dominated industry so even the guys in Gone Til Winter feel the frustration that us ladies get when confronted with discrimination. We are like a family really. All best friends with no egos, it’s great!.
Talking about fronted female bands: is there any band you would like to start a collaboration with or would you like to work with?
I would love to collaborate with Heart. Ann & Nancy Wilson are amazing!
Thanks so much for your willingness. You have carte blanche to share some words with our readers and your fans. See you soon :)
And thank you!
Review Gig & Photo by Tony Cannella
You have to give it up for Doro and her band. It doesn’t matter the size of the venue or the size of the audience, one thing you can always be certain of is that the band will give a maximum effort always. You know that if you buy a ticket for a Doro show, you are going to come away having experienced a great performance. Whether it be in front of 80,000 metal maniacs at Wacken or a club size crowd like tonight’s performance at the Webster Theater Underground in Hartford, Connecticut, you won’t be disappointed - and I can safely assume that on this night, no one was. Support came from two very impressive bands. The first of which was the newly signed to Metal Blade Records Ravage from Boston, Massachutess. They performed songs from their impressive debut CD “The End of Tomorrow”. Their style is traditional power metal with thrash elements and it was quite energetic - they even played a cover of the Judas Priest tune “Nightcrawler” that really went down well. They were followed by the all female band Jaded also from Boston. Both bands did such a great job in getting the audience amped up for Doro - I definitely wouldn’t mind checking out either band again some time in the future. Good stuff! After a brief intermission, it was indeed time for the metal queen to take the stage. After a short intro, the band absolutely attacked the stage with opener “I Rule the Ruins”. This is a song that band use quite often to open their shows and it is easy to see why. It is just a great adrenaline fueled number that always manages to set the right atmosphere. The band followed that up with an energetic version of the classic Warlock track “Burning the Witches” which of course went down awesome with the fans in attendance singing word-for-word. “You’re My Family” from the underrated “Warrior Soul” was next and this song has the potential to be a fan favorite for a long, long time to come and a staple of her live sets, judging by the overwhelming reaction of the audience. From there the classics kept coming in the form of “True as Steel” and “Fight for Rock” with “Night of the Warlock” from the great new release “Fear No Evil” sand-witched in between.
“Celebrate” - another new one - really got the audience going and this is another one that has the potential to be a crowd favorite. The set list featured a pretty good cross section of material from Doro’s career, like “Unholy Love” and the guitar driven classic “Metal Racer”. Other songs that were played, “We Are the Metalheads” (the official Wacken theme), “Breaking the Law” before the classic “All We Are” closed the main set and is always a highlight for any Doro performance. The band returned to the stage for the encores “Earthshaker Rock” and “Hellbound”, before bidding us good night for the final time. Long time members Nick Douglas (bass) and Johnny Dee (drums) are always reliable - they always give solid, energetic performances and are a perfect compliment to Doro’s powerful vocals. For this tour, the band is completed by two new members: Harrison Young (keyboards) and ex-After Forever guitarist Bas Maas, both proved to be great additions to the line-up. After having seen the band perform live many times, I am always amazed at the sheer ferocity the band exhibits, at each performance. They really do own the stage and it doesn’t matter - big crowd or small crowd - the audience is always going to be entertained. At this point Doro and band are such a potent live machine that I would put them up against just about any other band or artist. That’s a debate for another time, but one thing is for certain - on this night, Doro rocked the hell out of Hartford.
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.
Interview by Robin Stryker
It was my profound pleasure to interview Charlotte Wessels and Martijn Westerholt, the vocalist and founder/keyboardist of Dutch symphonic metal band, Delain. Happily for me, the band was in my hometown of Atlanta for their U.S. debut at ProgPower USA. After fortifying ourselves with some Italian food, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
Charlotte and Martijn, of course, did all the work – even taking turns later in the night interviewing each other, whilst I sat back and giggled. (I swear it was their idea). Read on to find out what happens when band members, who are good friends in real life and extremely funny in person, get to turn the microphone on each other.
Hello Charlotte and Martijn! Last time Femme Metal talked with Delain in late 2009, you had recently headlined at Metal Female Voices Festival and were starting your tour with Sonata Arctica. Since then, you have released “April Rain” in the U.K., done headlining tours and have just performed at Wacken Open Air. How was Wacken?
Charlotte: It was awesome. Yeah, it was really great. We played at the Party Stage and there were lots of people there all cheering.
Martijn: And it was a PARTY! We were very surprised the party stage was called the “Party Stage”. It was amazing.
And that was just one of a lot of festivals that Delain was at this year, right?
Charlotte: We also did Sonisphere in the UK, which was REALLY amazing. I guess that was one of my favourites as well, next to Wacken.
Martijn: Mine too, absolutely.
Now, having sampled festivals all over the world, what has been the one where you thought everything just came together – the fans were on, the equipment was working, everything was perfect?
Martijn: We never had that. (laughs)
Charlotte: No, we’re still waiting for it. I mean, it’s taking FOREVER.
Martijn: (laughs) I’m just kidding, of course.
Charlotte: I guess Lowlands in 2009, which was really awesome. It’s a Dutch festival and I’ve been going there every since my parents allowed me to go to festivals, basically. Then, finally to be up on the stage there. And it was a good show, too!
Martijn: It was a really big festival with something like more than 50.000 people.
Charlotte: I think even 60.000.
Martijn: I think it’s one of the biggest in Holland. So, everything went perfect, and it was a really, really good show.
I understand that after ProgPower, Delain will make its first appearance in Mexico and Brazil. Do you have anything special planned for those shows?Charlotte: The fact that we will be there is kind of special. The special thing for us about Brazil and Mexico is that they were one of the first countries who had a really loyal and active fan-base. A few of the first fan-sites that popped up were the South American ones. And then you hear all the stories from other bands that it is crazy and wild over there. So I think we are as much looking forward to how they are going to be, as they are looking forward to how we are going to be. Martijn: Yeah, absolutely! And of course, you’re going to hear Charlotte talking Portuguese and Spanish.Charlotte, have you memorized some phrases and basic greetings? Charlotte: I actually contacted some fans … like “Oh, it would be so nice if I could say something!” … and sent them some stuff that I would like to say. I’m going to practice with them. I’m always trying to do that. And if I don’t get to memorize it, then I’ll just secretly write it on my hand. (Oh no, I’m telling my secret!)Martijn, how about you, or are you going to phone it in?Martijn: Yeah well, I don’t look forward to it. I think it is an average tour.Charlotte: Just another day at the office for Martijn.Martijn: But TOTALLY the other way around. It’s already great tour right now. We didn’t even play yet and it is already great being here in the States. I’m really looking forward to South America. As Charlotte said, we heard a lot of positive, crazy stuff from other bands there. And it is also always a really good sign if you have already developed a fan base and you didn’t even release anything yet or play there. So they deserve having us there, and we are really looking forward to it.
You’ve got very little time between ProgPower and Mexico, but have five days between Mexico and Brazil. Have you pencilled in some fun while you are there, maybe some sightseeing?Charlotte: We’ve had a lot of fun today!Martijn: We’re taking the car from Mexico City to São Paulo, so we needed five days. (laughs) No, we’re not. We have a couple of days off and we are going to do some sightseeing in Brazil.Charlotte: Destroying some more pools on the way over there.Martijn: Yeah, exactly!Charlotte: We’ll enjoy ourselves.I was really interested to read on Delain’s website that October 29th is actually the last show in Holland before the new album. Where are you on the new album?Charlotte: We are writing it. We have some songs and ideas for songs and we are hoping to get into the studio and get on going with it really quickly.Martijn: When we are back from this tour, actually the biggest part of the writing starts then. Then we really are planning to do a lot of stuff. Charlotte: We are going to lock ourselves in together.Is that what it takes when you are writing? To just step out of your lives and hunker down to write?Charlotte: If you have unlimited time, I don’t think you would need it. But at this point, we want something to happen fast. So, it is just making the circumstances to write more optimal.
Martijn: And it is also very easy if you sit together, to develop the style you want to do. Because you always want to innovate a little bit. When you are on your own, you cannot do that. So you need to be together for that. We have a lot of activities normally … without writing even … so it’s very important to really focus on it and don’t have any distractions. So we hired a small farm house in Holland and we are going to write and hope something good comes out of that.Charlotte, when you first started with Delain, a lot of the material for “Lucidity” was already written and you were doing vocal lines. And then in “April Rain”, it was much more collaborative. Now that you have worked together on two albums and know each other’s style, what is the process like? Charlotte: Actually, a lot of parts stay the same but some things change as well. I guess we are still working the same way. It is just that you get together earlier in the process, which makes it easier to respond to each other. At least for me, I like it better. I mean, the filling in the gaps on “Lucidity” was really cool but it’s richer to be there from the beginning and see how everything develops.
Martijn: Which I think we have to look into, if that is the most efficient way. But that is something for the future. Also still, the way of working is still moving. And that is good, because we are still exploring.
Your bass player, Otto der Oije, is a VERY recent addition to Delain. Would you tell us a little about him?
Charlotte: He was with us for the first time at the headline tour in the U.K. earlier this year.
Martijn: This felt like … I don’t know if it is also an American saying, “a lot of the lottery”. Something like that. What is the American saying?
Charlotte: Luck of the draw, that’s it.
Martijn: Exactly. It’s really great … really, really great with him.
Martijn: Because you achieve it yourself. But you also achieve it because of the people who visit you and who buy your stuff. They also achieve it for you, and that is very important to keep in mind.
Speaking of that, you spend A LOT of time on social media … you tweet, you write tour blogs, you’re taking pictures and posting them. “Here is where we are, here is what we’re doing, here is my kitty, here is what is going on in my life”. How do you keep that up when you are on the road, recording, writing music and living your lives?
Martijn: It is especially because of Charlotte, I think.
Charlotte: Actually, I went into the whole thing kicking and screaming, when they said, “Now you also have to do Twitter”. Of course, I liked the social networks and everything that is on there and it offers a lot of possibilities. But it wasn’t until the Twitter thing that I actually got really ADDICTED. But, it’s actually the most short and effective and fun way to get in touch with the people who like to follow you. Because, even if you are on MySpace and want to answer everybody, you can’t. With Twitter, it’s just 140 signs and you have a really short connection to everybody. It works, you know? You see that people actually FOLLOW you and you get kind of a gratitude for letting people know what you are doing.
Martijn: It gives energy.
Charlotte: That makes me feel happy. It’s like kind of a confirmation that what you’re doing is cool. I mean, of course, you don’t need other people to say that, but the fact that they do is fun! My parents ask me when I’m on tour, “You’re going to tweet a lot, right? We want to know what you are doing”. Sometimes my parents are like, “Hey, I read on Twitter that you are eating healthy foods”.
Martijn: It is also a blessing because I’m SO bad, I suck so much with this stuff. I want to get to answer but I sound so bad. It’s also a guy thing … I have a feeling that girls are better at this kind of stuff. Set aside that. I don’t want to blame it on the general male side and have to blame it on myself.
Charlotte: Actually, I never heard the thing that girls are more computer nerds than guys. I never heard that one before. (laughs)
Martijn: Not really computer nerds. I mean like being thoughtful about having good contacts. That’s what I mean. It’s good that Charlotte does that.
I’m curious about the extent to which the art history degree Charlotte is studying now colours your lyrics writing? The lyrics in “April Rain” have a very strong visual element.
Charlotte: When “Lucidity” was recorded, I wasn’t at university yet and was 17. So that wasn’t like an influence back then. The lyrics for “The Gathering” were written by Guus and there were some songs written by another guy who had some really poetic stuff on there, which was really cool. I kind of needed a dictionary for some it, though. They are not my words but I was in a band with him before and he really influenced me in the way you look at lyrics. Still, it is a very different kind of lyrics than ones that I would write.
Martijn: But also very complicated words sometimes.
Charlotte: They were REALLY good-sounding and with a really good metronome to it. They were really well thought over and excellent. But it is still different when it’s your own thoughts put to words. And from that, I think it has changed much from “Lucidity” to “April Rain”. I guess those are a little bit more personal. But on the other hand, when you are talking about really regular things — like things that happen to you in day-to-day life — it is interesting to put them in a different kind of form. If you look at the art history study, it helps to have a different way to say something. Like if you are looking at “Virtue and Vice”, it is about the virtues and the vices. You are talking about wanting to be something better and reaching out to them and saying, “I wish I was more like this virtue, or I wish I didn’t have so much of that vice in me”. It is just a more interesting way to say actually the things that I guess everyone thinks about every once in a while. So you keep them lyrically interesting but still comprehensible.
I’m feeling kind of lazy. So Charlotte, why don’t you ask Martijn some questions. And Martijn, what would you like to ask Charlotte? The ruder, the better actually … please do my job for me. J
Charlotte: (laughs) Martijn, what have you got in your suitcase right now at this tour that you are really ashamed about?
Martijn: That’s a good one! So, whatever I answer will be bad. I’m a totally boring guy if I have nothing and that’s not good. OR I have something really strange, which is also not good. So, I’m screwed both ways. Let me think, what do I have in my suitcase that I’m afraid might be found and am ashamed about?!? I think I’m a boring guy.
Martijn: No, actually.
Charlotte: Ah right, it’s the first day of tour.
Martijn: I think I wipe my ass very well. You asked for it!!!
That is SO being published.
Martijn: No no no no, don’t publish that! Don’t put that on the record … “wipes his ass very well”. No, I really, honestly, cannot think of anything. Actually because my bag was stuffed with a lot of equipment.
Charlotte: That is true. We didn’t get to take a lot with us, so we didn’t get a chance.
Martijn: I have a book of Napoleon and some history. I’m a real history addict, so I know exactly who is there on the walls. (Points to pictures of monarchs and military figures in the restaurant.) But anyway, to answer your question, I’m boring.
Martijn, what embarrassing questions might you have for Charlotte?
Martijn: Actually, I’m even meaner. I want to know …
Charlotte: He’s going to ask something that he already knows, that is really embarrassing. And then he is going to ask it anyway.
Martijn: No no no. What question would you REALLY hate to get in an interview … where you think, “Oh no, not THAT question!”
Charlotte: “What’s your favourite colour?”
Martijn: That’s a little bit disappointing.
Charlotte: I was just trying to keep it safe.
Martijn: Yeah, because she had her period back then, and she was very annoyed. This kind of stuff.
Charlotte: Exactly, exactly. Probably those kind of things. Or people who ONLY ask things that are in our biography at the website. Because then you just know, you didn’t do your homework. That too.
Martijn: Okay, your turn I guess. If you have another.
Charlotte: My all-time favourite question, which I was asked once by a Japanese guy, and it is the weirdest question I ever got. If you were a fish, then what kind of fish would you want to be? They actually asked me this. I was like, “Salmon or tuna, salmon or tuna, salmon or tuna, salmon or tuna …?”
Martijn: I would like to be a dolphin.
That’s not a fish, dude.
Martijn: That’s true, that’s true. It’s a mammal.
Charlotte: A starfish is cute, like a little starfish.
Martijn: A brown starfish. No, I’m more into lobsters, but that’s not a fish either.
Charlotte: Man, know your animals!
Charlotte: What about the Nemo fish. The Nemo fish is cute.
Martijn: That is gay. I think I would like to be a …
Charlotte: … you’d be an eel.
Martijn: An eel, yeah! Or a herring.
Last question and then “goodbyes” to all.
Martijn: What do you like about the lyrics of “The Gathering”? (sinister laugh)
Charlotte: I like the fact that no one until today has really figured out what it is about. Yeah, that is what I like most about it, I guess. And the lyrical theme is quite cool.
(Martijn continues laughing)
Charlotte: Asshole. (laughs)
Do you have any last profound and deep words for your friends, admirers and would-be stalkers at Femme Metal?
Charlotte: Please stalk us. We need the attention, especially Martijn.
Martijn: Don’t read this interview more than once.
Actually, read it again but backwards. It’s much more profound.
Charlotte: Yeah, there are hidden messages!
Many thanks to Charlotte, Martijn and Delain’s tour manager Rik for being charming dinner companions and utterly gracious throughout. Our thanks also to Dave at EarsplitPR for arranging the interview.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Carie from AnsoticcA. AnsoticcA is a new female fronted band from Germany and The Netherlands. You can describe their music as a cross between gothic and progressive metal. This interview is with Carie van Heden who joined the band at the beginning of 2009.
Did you always want to become a singer?
I can’t remember a time before I wanted to become a singer. One of the first things I can remember is that one day my parents bought a cd player. I don’t know why exactly, but my father also got one of those real cheap microphones, which made it possible to sing along with the music. Quite fast I found out how to plug this thing in, so that I could listen to myself via headphones. Whenever I was alone at home and no one could hear me, I sang all of my favourite songs - guess I really got addicted to it. That’s how everything started.
And how did you end up in the music business?
Music was always my passion. After I finished my economic apprenticeship I felt that it was time to live my dream and study music with all the consequences. By means giving up a well-paid job and moving to a new city. I thought if I’d fail I still could go back to work in my old business, but if I wouldn’t try to make my dream come true I would probably regret it for the rest of my life.
Who are your favourite singers and musicians?
It’s not easy just to name a few cause there are so many… Singers: P!nk, Skin, Sharon den Adel, Melissa Etheridge, Adam Levine, Anouk, Nelly Furtado, Beth Hart, Eric Martin, Christina Aguliera, Stefanie Kloss, Sandra Nasic, Marta Jandova and more! Songwriters: Alanis Morissette, Michael McDonald, Elton John, Bruce Hornsby, Ingrid Michaelson, Jack Johnson and more!
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Bearing my last answer in mind you will notice that I don’t have a classical background as many singers of the gothic genre have. When I got in touch with music I listened to pop and rock music. Since I started studying at the Rockacadmie I found it interesting to learn more about music of other genres and I also started to listen to various musical genres as soul, gothic, hard rock & metal, funk, RnB or blues. On my iPod playlists you can find a lot of female fronted bands but in the end I like music that touches me - the genre or whether it is sung by a man or a woman doesn’t really matter to me.
You study at the “Rockacademie” in the city of Tilburg. For the people who do not live in The Netherlands, what is the “Rockacademie”?
Unlike universities or musical high schools where you can study Jazz or classical music, at the Rockacademie it is possible to perform in several musical genres such as Rock, Funk, Pop, Metal, Punk, Soul or Hiphop. When you successfully absolve the Rockacademie you get the Bachelor degree of Arts (Music). In the first year you gain some basic skills which you need if you want to go on with the study. After that you have to choose a specialization such as sound engineering, session musician, management or education. Even a combination of several specialization is possible - as long as it is realizable. Usually the study takes 4 years. Probably I will finish my study in February after 3,5 years.
AnsoticcA is not the only band you sing in. You are also quite busy with Jigger Skin? Is it difficult to combine your study and singing for bands with your personal life?
If you’d take a look at my time schedule you could get the idea that this girl is quite busy. Yes, it is difficult to have a personal life beside “all that music”. I tour around South Germany with Jigger Skin and travel back to the Netherlands every weekend. Whenever there’s a time slot I join Maarten and Adrian in the studio in the near of Berlin. Still I write my own music and I am busy with finishing my songwriting study at the Rockacademie. There is not much time left for spending evenings with my friends, playing handball or visiting my family. But for me music belongs to my personal life. I found a way to make everything work and wouldn’t want it any other way. If I should give someone an advice how to handle such a life I would say: buy an organizer and schedule all the things you have to do, but also all the things you love to do. Enjoy life. That’s what gives you energy even for the things you have no choice but to do.
And do you have any other bands or projects besides AnsoticcA and Jigger Skin?
My main band is AnsoticcA but as long as it’s possible I’m still involved with some other bands and projects. I’m the female singer of Jigger Skin, I have my own project which I sometimes play gigs unplugged with and I’m a member of the Popchor TF a pop choir in Germany.
And since Jigger Skin is more pop and rock oriented, do you use your voice in a different way than with the gothic AnsoticcA songs?
When you sing in a cover band as Jigger Skin you have to sing songs from various genres. That requires the use of different vocal techniques. Imagine I would sing “Open Your Eyes” of Guano Apes in the same way Nena sings her “99 Luftballons”. It wouldn’t work… But what makes the Gothic songs in comparison to the pop/rock repertoire of Jigger Skin so special is that you have to use a lot of vocal techniques in one song. In the studio Maarten really tries to get the best out of me. That challenges and pushes me.
How did you get in contact with the boys from AnsoticcA?
I’ve know Maarten from the popchoir I sing in. I heard that he was starting a new project and that he was looking for a female singer but I didn’t expect that to affect me one day. After auditioning some singers, Adrian and Maarten called me asking, if I wanted to join the band. They looked for someone with a more powerful voice who at the same time would also be able to sing the softer parts of their songs. First I thought they were joking. My voice couldn’t fit that kind of music. But I was completely wrong!
What is the idea behind the band name?
Actually the name came from a friend of ours - while listening to some of our first recordings he said “this sounds like Ansotica” - and so the name was born - with one more “c”. It is the name of a goddess that has been worshipped around the area of Croatia. It is comparable to the Latin “Venus”.
How would you describe AnsoticcA’s music? Because Gothic & Progressive covers about everything with a guitar, bass and drums and female vocals these days.
Our music is very epically arranged with a truly guitar oriented approach - extremely powerful and rough but at the same time deeply melodic and emotional. The songs are catchy and our sound is unique. You will easily recognize it any time.
And what makes AnsoticcA different compared to all the other female fronted bands in the world (especially in Holland)?
Sure! I definitely belong on stage and I can’t wait till we get ready to bring our music to the people. We are planning to start the tour in spring 2010 after the release of our album. Our management is already in contact with a booking agency for the Benelux, but we also want to tour in Germany and the rest of Europe.
And, if so, are you looking for additional members to complete the line up?
We are currently looking for a drummer and a bass player - so feel free to write us if you are interested in doing live performances with AnsoticcA…
Is song writing teamwork in AnsoticcA or is there a mastermind behind the music?
Adrian and Maarten are the two minds behind the songs - but you can truly say they function as one mastermind. Their creative potential is tremendous and they both claim that they have never had so much fun writing music also thanks to Rockfeld Records, the studio that makes everything possible for this project.
Can you tell us something about the songs AnsoticcA has posted on Myspace?
“Our Time” - A very epic and also slightly progressive piece, the lyrics can also be seen as a metaphor for what we expect from the future
“I’m Alive” - A song about staying strong when everything around you seems to fall apart
“Silent Tears” - A song that turned out to have a quite noticeable pop influence but hell we like it
“Rise” - A ballad but also not a ballad; listen to it - crank the volume up and listen to the whole song … you will know why
And what is your favourite song?
Hard to tell because every song is like our own child. But if our life would depend on that decision - it would be “Rise” - the song embodies nearly everything that makes the sound of AnsoticcA - but all the other songs do that too.
You are also working on an album. What can we expect?
You can expect 13 pieces of epic gothic metal that will shatter the scene. But seriously, the album is the essence of what we have always been dreaming of - doing powerful epic metal that touches the listeners - hopefully this is what we will achieve.
What are AnsoticcA’s plans for the future?
Next year we would like to bring the whole thing onto the stage, feeling the energy of the audience and getting more intense with every note we play - we really can’t await to play live after the release of the album
Review by Marcy Bell - Photo by Amarildo
Belladonna are back in the UK after their previous exhibitions in London as headliner at Erotica 2007 and at The Fly in 2008. Their Rock Noir takes them to the intimate venue of Upstairs at The Garage in London supported by Birdeatsbaby and Maleficent. There’s a kind of curiosity to watch live the five guys from the romantic Rome. The gig starts with Dani’s guitar intro and the opening honour goes to “Alchemical Romance”, also the first track on “The Noir Album”, Belladonna’s new work. Luana is leading the stage perfectly with her uniform and the typical red roses on her microphone. The “Pyromantic, mysterotique, visionoir” tale of Belladonna is acclaimed by the crowd, a mixed of Italian, British and European fans and friends, the well-know Belladonna Family. The power of Belladonna music is already high with Dani outstanding riffs on guitar, Alex heaviness on drums, Tam authority on bass, Alice sweetness on piano and Luana seductive voice and manners. It’s time for William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” that introduces “Love Me Till I Die” anand the dream goes on with “Beyond the Realms Reason”. Luana takes her hat off and shows all her sensuality ‘cause “Lust Never Sleeps” arouses the crowd. The beat is faster and the audience enjoys the show. The intimate moment with “My Golden Dawn” is a private affair between Luana and Alice, a duo that leave the crowd breathless and with shivers on their spines. Then Belladonna are back heavy with “Till Death Do Us a Part”, the first single out in the UK, also played by Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden singer) in his radio show.The stage is still hot and Luana drop her jacket ‘cause t’s time for four songs drawn from “Metaphysical Attraction”, Belladonna debut album. The first one entered in the Grammy Award Ballot in 2008 and it’s “Foreverland”. Luana dedicates the song to a special guest in the audience: Mr Michal Nyman, a true inspiration for the whole band. Then “Mystical Elysian Love”, “Resurrect My Soul” and the peak raises the top with “Black Swan”, the other Grammy nominated song. Belladonna leave the scene with the dreamily “Phoenix Rising”, a potential hit single contained in “The Noir Album”. The audience would like an encore and the band is back on stage with “Password to Heaven” that really closes the overwhelming Londoner gig. A special mention to the down to Hearth behaviour of the five guys form Rome that after the show enjoyed their time with fans and friends signing autographs and shooting pictures with them.