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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Interview by Danny Robertson
We caught up with Dani Nolden, singer for Brazilian heavy power metallers Shadowside, to get a glimpse into the band’s history and talk about the new album “Dare to Dream”.
How did it all get started - who initially formed the group?
We pretty much got started as a garage band that wanted to have fun and register permanently some ideas we had. We were good friends that had never played a real gig, had never recorded a CD, we were very inexperienced, very naive and didn’t have much in mind regarding what we would do with the demo in hands. We would always joke to each other about being rockstars someday *laughs*. But we didn’t really know much about the music industry or what we really wanted to achieve. However, after we released that demo EP, we got so much attention from the press and from people that we saw ourselves in the magazines as a very promising band and our 6th show as a real band was supporting Nightwish in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in front of 7000 people that went just crazy. It was a bit too much for some of our members since we were teenagers… kids, if you wanna put it that way. Some thought making music seriously and professionaly was too much of a responsability and decided to quit. Another one got a bit carried away with all that and thought he was already a rockstar *laughs*. So I’m the only one left from that original lineup. I managed to keep myself together because I surrounded myself with friends and family who would help me keep my feet on the ground. We were just starting out - as we still are, so there’s a lot of work ahead before we can say “we did it!”. I found Fabio shortly after we started so I consider him as being with the band since its birth. Since then we’ve toured with Helloween, co-headlined concerts with bands like Kittie, Divine Heresy, Metalium, so it’s been an awesome ride so far.
Who/what were the group’s main influences back then? Are they all still a source for inspiration?
We never had one or more set influences, we had the bands we listened to more but they haven’t changed much since then. We are all into more or less the same thing - everything *laughs*. We all love from 80’s pop like Duran Duran to Slayer. Some of our favorite bands are Deep Purple, Judas Priest… but at the same time we all dig different stuff. Fabio’s favorite bands are Tears for Fears and Slayer, mine are Disturbed, Rammstein and Skid Row, just to name a few. Raphael is really into Pantera and Scorpions. We all like all of those bands but we don’t have the same favorite bands and definitely not the same influences. I think what influences us is everything we listen to combined with our own personalities. We just try to make sure we do not sound like other artists so we don’t think of anything in specific that we want to sound like.
What was your local scene like back then? Did it take long for you to get noticed?
No, not at all, we didn’t expect anything that happened to us back then. Let’s put it this way, the scene back then in my hometown was boiling water. We had a large number of great musicians and bands so we thought it’d be harder to get noticed but we packed a 500 seat venue on the first show we played in Santos, that’s how fast things happened for us. That kinda set fire on the scene and even more bands started activities. There’s still a lot of talent alive here. The old venues were all shut down though. We still have places to play because we don’t have to play only Rock venues anymore back home, but young bands that haven’t proven they can draw a crowd don’t get to play at a decent place and rarely get attention. We always try to pick at least one band from Santos to support us whenever we are in town.
How would you say that the new album compares to your older material? Has much changed?
We want to give a new direction to our sound, I mean, we want to keep focusing on our style, but, this time, we also want to make it more experimental. Heavy guitars with modern synths and an alternative, powerful bass. Some has definitely changed as it’s only natural to evolve and modify some things with time but the essence is exactly the same. Energy, intensity, anger, passion - it’s all there. The heavy guitars are there as well as the catchy melodies. We just decided we didn’t want to sound like other bands and go 100% for our own identity. Nowadays we are a more mature band, we aren’t afraid to try and rely on our own personalities anymore, that’s why we’ll dare even more on the next record! We found our thing, we’re a raw Metal band, Hard Rock influenced, that plays music to make you bang your head and go crazy. We don’t really want you to come out of one of our concerts thinking “wow they are great musicians”. We just want you to escape your reality for those 2 hours, scream your problems out and just have fun.
How long did it take to write and record the new album, “Dare to Dream”?
Not long at all, we recorded the whole album in exact 23 days. Maybe a month more writing it. There wasn’t much time to really think hard of what we were doing because all our plans changed pretty much on the last minute. We had plans to write and record in like 6 months, no rush but right as we started the songwriting process, “Theatre of Shadows” was released worldwide. We had no plans for that record anymore as it had been out in Brazil for a while already. So we had to prepare for the first U.S. tour at the same time as we were working on the new album. In the end that was the best thing that could have happened to us because it kept us from overthinking arrangements and changing stuff that didn’t have to be changed and also kept the live feel that we wanted. We just trusted our guts and went along with it.
Are there any main themes or concepts which run through the new album?
There’s no real concept, lyrics are simply based on real life situations that happened either to me or to people close to me. ‘“In the Night” is about a secret relationship when one of the parts isn’t interested in keeping the secret anymore. I took the humorous approach and told the story of a woman, probably in PMS, going absolutely nuts and threatening to tell all *laughs*. Lots of people have seen themselves in that situation or know of someone, sometimes it’s an office relationship that’s not allowed, or dating someone much older or much younger or simply dating someone already committed that’s promising you things. “Baby in the Dark” is about a friend of mine who was desperately trying to fit in. He wanted to be loved by everyone so he would mold his personality according to the group he was currently in. He ended up not knowing who he was anymore and for a while I had lost one of my best friends. Nowadays he’s back to his old self but lots of people just become generic and boring. I don’t mean generic regarding looks, anyone can look and act “normal”, you don’t have to be eccentric to be special, you can if you want to, but you don’t have to. But you always should stick to what you are. “Dare to Dream” is that song to push you, to make you believe you can actually achieve stuff if you try. You might not reach every single thing you wanted but you’ll never achieve anything if you don’t try. And the end result will surely be better than what you had before you started out. Whether the dreams are of a job change, a trip or being a Rock musician, anything is possible.
You recently shot a video for the track “Hideaway” - how did that go? Where and when can we expect to see the video?
That was a lot of fun, we are still to record the second part of the video in the next few days, that will “test” me as an actress, you’ll be able to tell me how I did very soon *laughs*. It will be very intense and dramatic. First part was the band playing and we were asked to make it angry and very energetic. We recorded at an old warehouse and the place was huge, we thought the whole area was abandoned but it turned out there was this building right behind the warehouse. Fabio’s drums were really loud and people got so mad because of the noise that they called the police on us. We are very proud to have annoyed our neighbors *laughs*. The video should see daylight in early February. I can’t wait to see it finished!
What would you say have been your biggest achievements, or favourite moments as a band thus far?
All the 5 U.S. tours, the 2 Spanish tours, all the big concerts we’ve played as well. Being on the road is always fun and whenever we are all together, I always have a great time. We were recently one of the top 5 best selling Metal bands in Brazil, along with Iron Maiden and Heaven and Hell so that was a huge achievement for me. We also were picked as the best band in Brazil in 2009 by Roadie Crew magazine, which is currently the most important one here.
What are your future goals?
To keep making music, keep touring and take it as far as possible. We’re not nearly done yet! *laughs*
Who are your favourite current acts?
I’d say Disturbed and Rammstein… they’re not exactly new bands but are some of the non-80’s bands that I’m really into.
What’s next for the band? Where can we expect to see you next?
Hopefully you’ll see us touring the U.S. and Europe at some point this year, not only in places we’ve played before but also some new ones as well. We’re also going to play Brazil and who knows where else! After that, we’ll go back to the studio to work on new material. We won’t stop in 2010, whether we are on a stage or in the studio, we’ll be extremely active.
Any last messages for people?
I hope you all started 2010 well and that you go for your dreams, believe in them and try to make them real. Hope you like “Dare to Dream”, it’s a very honest and straight to the point album. If you don’t, just listen to it louder and you will automatically start to bang your head *laughs*. I’ll see you all on the road at some point… when I do, show me your horns! Cheers!
Interview by Si Smith
Although Dakrya is derived from the Greek word for tears, there is nothing weepy and morbid about this group of theatrical musicians! Dubbing themselves “The Charlatans” and branding their new album “an avant garde metal freakshow”, this septet of metal magick brings you the thrills and spills of the stage alongside the sparkle and allure of the circus. I spoke to two of the leading talents, Christina and Thomais….
First of all, thanks so much for this interview and greetings from all at Femme Metal. You call yourselves collectively the Charlatans. I gather that this is a old 16th century reference to “a flamboyant actor; one who attracts customers with tricks or jokes”. How well would you say this describes your little theatrical troupe?
Thomais: Well our little concept is based on this kind of twisted circus world. It’s a different but yet the same aspect of seeing the world we live in. It helped us connect with the character each one of us had inside … and bring it to life… Each one of us has its own unique and important role to play within this world.
Christina: We use our music to attract ”customers”, in our case the audience, and through the cheerful circus themes and musical theater atmosphere we try to introduce them to the ”Crime Scene” which is the world that we live in. Our lyrics speak of dreadful stories where money, ego, and fraud are the driving force of our society. So I guess we are Charlatans, we trick people to attract them to our world!
You burst onto the scene in 2008 with “Monumento” which was an invigorating mix of religious and operatic imagery. In contrast the theme of the new album is described in the opening song as involving “a dazzling haze of criminal minds; riddles, traps and horrible crimes”. How did this concept for the new album arise?
Thomais: It came really natural I would dare to say! Just look at the world around you… the whole album theme is vital and you are a part of it as well… it is the everyday things we have to deal with… people hiding behind masks feeling artificially beautiful, a world based on creating fear and insecurity… it was really easy for us to evolve with this concept.
Before the release of the full-length itself came the single “The Urban Tribe” as a download. In what ways did you feel that this was a representative track to put out as a single?
Thomais: First of all I believe that this track shows our new style and sound in many ways…the one that could hold the listener by the hand and make him enter our new world step by step and become familiar with the new things we wanted to express.
Christina: ”The Urban Tribe” is a song that reflects the change in our musical style in the best way in our opinion. Also we all love it! It’s a powerful track, a combination of jazz and swing elements with metal riffs and strong lyrics that holds the essence of the album.
Many of the lyrics of the new album involve jugglers, clowns or mime artists. Your vocals too are extremely theatrical and effectively express different nuances of emotion. What are your musical and/or theatrical backgrounds?
Thomais: Well I started my studies in the vocal area as a classical/opera singer (exactly what I do in “Monumento” album) but I’ve always had the craving of experimenting with my voice… the sound and color of it. I had a great love for dance and theater as well so musical theatre came across my way and I started searching and expanding my potentials as a singer in this field… I guess that helped me to discover my demanding little dark twisted character in “Crime Scene”!
Christina: Actually I have no theatrical background, never took any acting lessons or participated in a theatrical play. As for my musical background, I started singing since I started talking! I took singing lessons for many years and before Dakrya I was in another metal band. But I believe singing and acting are strongly connected, and many times you are called to play a role when interpreting a song. So I think it would be very useful for me and probably any singer to take some acting lessons.
The “roving” rhythms of tracks such as “The Urban Tribe” and “Camouflage” are highly reminiscent of the recent achievements of bands such as Diablo Swing Orchestra. Where would you say your influences are, as musicians, vocalists and performers?
Thomais: I think that the fact the seven of us has so many and different influences and sounds we like to listen and experimenting with gives this rare and weird sound. Of course we love bands such as DSO and Unexpect, but speaking for myself I really love soundtracks, alternative music, jazz, blues, and artists that love to take their sound one step further and create different and unique worlds like Tool, Porcupine Tree, Shining… there are so many I could name right now… I also have many pop – electro and industrial favorites, folk and world music as well… there are no limits in what I listen to, it depends on my emotional state every time.
Christina: We all like Diablo Swing Orchestra and I guess their sound was a great influence for us. As for me as a vocalist, my influences are quite diverse. From Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin to Bruce Dickinson! I love soul music, blues and jazz, while musicals like Chicago give me ideas about my stage performance. I want to find my own identity as an artist and i always have my eyes and ears open during this way.
The album slows down a little for “Inertia” then bursts into life again for the arrival of “Dramatis Personae”, which swells up like a Final Act before the ending of the play. In what ways does this song encapsulate or summarise some of the main themes of the album?
Christina: ‘‘Dramatis Personae” is actually the Final Act, as it reflects the main reason for the fear, the consumerism, the corruption and generally the madness that composes today’s life and were mentioned in the previous tracks. We all play roles, we are actors in a play we don’t really know the scenario, but have to improvise every time for our own advantage or the advantage of those above us. As the song says if you want to survive ”play your role right!”
You have recently been signed by Sensory Records, the same label as bands such as DSO, Wuthering Heights and Circus Maximus. In what ways (if any) has this changed the way things are done in Dakrya? In what ways is the label supportive of you as artists?
Thomais: Well we are satisfied that this cooperation came up! We have the right promotional support and many chances to take our sound beyond the borders of our country. We feel very proud sharing the same floor with so talented artists and it has helped us focus more on our targets for the future.
Christina: We are very glad we had the chance to be signed by Sensory Records. They have appreciated our work from the beginning and they support and promote us a lot, especially in the USA. So as far as we are concerned we try harder to do everything with professionalism and become better musicians and performers through a lot of work, so that we can return their trust in us.
By now you will have just completed your first February show in Athens alongside Psycrence and Allen’s Hand. Please tell us how the show went!! What were the highlights for you?
Thomais: We had such a really nice time and enjoyed ourselves a lot!!! It was the first time that we played for the Greek audience after so long and introducing the brand new concept and album to them was pretty challenging… it came up more like a theatrical show in the end! I was very exciting feeling this live contact with the audience again!!!
Christina: Yes, we had our first show in Athens on February after the release of our new album ”Crime Scene” and it went really great! We enjoyed it a lot and I think the audience enjoyed it as well. We had the chance to play in a great venue, the sound was very good and generally we didn’t face any problems or misfortunes. As for the audience I think the whole show, with our performance enriched with theatrical elements came as a surprise to them!
The whole Dakrya experience must be very daunting to recreate in the live environment. How on earth do you all keep track of all the elements involved? This surely must involve a lot of practice….
Thomais: Yeah it takes a hell of a practice!! Haha… well every rehearsal is a small show for us… cause as you very correctly said we have to give this sense of theatrical experience to the people that will give it a try and check us live. We also have this need of creating a vital world to bring those characters we get to play, into life. So we came up with lots of ideas and combined them interactively into our show…
Christina: Yes, the truth is that it’s really difficult to recreate live the whole concept of ”Crime Scene”. When we do our rehearsals we practice on everything. It’s kind of preparing a theatrical play where we have to take care of the costumes, the stage scenery and our whole performance apart from playing music and singing. Every song is a story we want to tell people and we enrich it with theatrical elements. On February’s show the audience took a small taste of what is coming up because we’re still working on it and try to make our stage performance better and make a step forward all the time.
I imagine it must be good for morale to have more than one vocalist up on stage at any one time. How does the dynamic work between you two? How do you manage to encourage each other when things get rough along the way?
Thomais: Well it was a spiritual kind of bonding that we shared from the very beginning… We managed to work perfectly together and had many ideas on how to create styles and melodies within the songs. We came to the point that we can choose the parts that Sophia gives us to work just by instinct. I feel that without each other the whole concept wouldn’t be whole… I would feel incomplete as a voice and theatrical character if Christina wasn’t there; knowing how important we are to each other encourages us and gives us strength for the show to go on!
Christina: We work perfectly together and sharing the stage has become something essential for us. Actually we can’t imagine Dakrya with just one of us! I think we complement each other and we manage to create a balance on stage. We always help and support each other and for example if I forget any lyrics, Thomais is there to cover it up and this can be a great relief!
With all the different ideas that make up a Dakrya album, how do the creative roles divide up between the band members? How does the average track get written?
Thomais: Each one of us created his own character and gave it personal characteristics. The average track and idea is written by SophiaX and then all of us are involving our ideas and colors in it… she gives us the toys and then we play haha… then the roles and their development are take their natural way I believe due to the fact that we are not only band mates but very close friends, we know each other’s way of thinking and there is a bidirectional trust in between us… so we always respect each other’s “sound space”.
Christina: Usually SophiaX is the one that composes the music and writes all the lyrics. So after the main directions from SophiaX, we all have the chance to add our own ideas and improvise on our instruments. Along with Thomais we get the music and the lyrics and then we make the vocal arrangements with SophiaX helping us especially when it comes to matters of expression and interpretation of the lyrics.
Finally, it would be great to know if you have any hopes of aspirations for the future of Dakrya. Or for yourselves as individuals? Is there anything revealing you would like us to know about yourselves before we close?
Thomais: We are planning to have some shows here in Greece and hopefully abroad, because we will be entering the studios once again soon!!!
Christina: What we really want for the future is to keep playing music that expresses us and making albums like ”Crime Scene” which we feel very proud of. We are planning to have more live shows around Greece and abroad and we want more people to enter our ”freakshow”!
Thank you so much for taking part, really, you guys do a great job, and we at Femme Metal wish the album and the Charlatans all success in the future!!
Christina: Thank you as well for your support and this great interview! We hope to see you all soon on stage!
Interview by Connie Bach
Heavy and intense, Swedish Melodic Metal Disdained’s lyrics, pacing and style are distinctive and they draw you in, holding your attention. Let’s give in with the interview with Thérese.
Hi, Therese. How was your summer?
Hmm…Very busy indeed! My summer has been fantastic, thanks! I have been spending a lot of time in the studio recording Disdained’s debut album “Kill My Only Enemy” that are to be finished before the end of this year.The recordings consumed almost all spring and summer but the result is stunning! We also did a few smaller gigs and participated in the music competition “Emergenza music festival”, which is one of the biggest music festivals/competitions around, besides Idol, hehehe. We did really good and won the Stockholm finals and reached the second spot in Sweden as best live band. We also, or I mean Niklas and Johan H, received a really cool price for best guitar performance and won a fat Marshall rig! We also performed at the festival “Sweden Rock Festival” which is one of the biggest rock/metal festivals in Sweden at the moment. We had a really good time hanging out with fans and other cool people and the gig went really good. We received a lot of appreciation and respect from the audience, both directly after the gig and through e-mail the weeks after. It was a great feeling and we feel very humble to get that kind of response, also it makes us really on fire and we want to give more! Except that I enjoyed hanging out at Sweden’s best metal festival, Metaltown!
So everyone, why choose metal? What is the background each of you brings to the band?
Therese: Since childhood my mum and dad raised me in to a world filled with rock and metal music. I feel lucky to have parents that listened to bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Queen and so on. So as a child I had no choice, it was rock that was played in the house, no escaping there! As a teenager I started to explore a heavier and different side of the music I was raised up with. I started to listen to bands like Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Korn and Meshuggah and these bands still means a lot to me. Today I’m really fond of bands like Rammstein, In Flames, Slipknot, Disturbed and Katatonia. These bands really give me the rush today and they are also important inspiration when writing music. There is however another part of my musical side that really loves folk music and pagan tunes, this is something special to me and it always make me completely happy. Actually Disdained is my first band I’ve been in. I have a little different background compared to the guys in the band. My musical background started in my early years when I sang in a choir and also had musical-theater as a subject in school. After moving to Stockholm I started my theatre and musical studies, later I took a higher course in the musical subject at Kulturama, which is the biggest center for aesthetic educations in Sweden. This led me to work at a theater in Stockholm for three years. After a long break I met with Micke “INK” Östling, the guitar player of Lizette &, and I started to do troubadour gigs with him. After one gig I met Henrik and Niklas who asked me if I was interested in joining there new project as the female singer. I accepted and this collaboration led into the start up of the new band Disdained, the rest is history.
Niklas: I’ve been in love with the metal music genre since the early teenage ears. At 15 I started to listen to bands like Metallica, Sepultura and Megadeth and not shortly after I started playing the guitar since I wanted to be like them, you know, rocking on stage. Metal music gives me a kick, or a rush even, that feeling can’t be compared with no other music genre. This intense feeling for the music also brought me to playing in a band, at first it was a struggle of course with different constellations and learning the instrument and such. Later I joined the power metal band Insania (Stockholm) that I came to stay in for almost 10 years. After my power metal journey with Insania, I wanted to go back to my roots with heavier music. I started up the band Disdained together with Henrik Juhano (Insania, Stockholm) and Therése and today I feel that we are indeed fulfilled, both in regard to constellation and sound.
Tomas: The metal music was something that really attracted me from a young age. The first album I bought was a vinyl version of Twisted Sisters “Stay hungry”. I listened too much of the bands that were popular back then like WASP, Motley Crue, Skid Row and Kiss. I started playing guitar at the age of 13 since my younger brother had started taking lessons, so I got influenced by that. I did fast become better than him and he did eventually stop playing. I didn´t end the more I learned, the more I got determined to learn and play songs like my idols did. I started playing with a few smaller bands that were not that skilled and at some point I joined a band that needed a bass player. From that point I did basically stick to playing bass only. After a few years my musical taste had changed a bit and I listened much to bands like Helloween and Iron Maiden. It was more technical and I did evolve as a bass player playing these kinds of songs. At the age of 19 I joined the first constellation of what was to become Insania (Stockholm). We called ourselves Purgatory and played Helloween and Iron Maiden covers. After a year or so I was fed up with it since the same songs were played and no new were written. I played with a few other acts during the years that followed and then in May 1997, at the age of 22, I rejoined the mates from Purgatory that now also changed their name to Insania (Stockholm). During the 11 years I stayed with the band we released 4 records worldwide and played at many greater festivals. The peak of the career was when we went on a European tour in December 2007 as a supporting act to Ensiferum. Before I went on the tour I had also received an invitation from the guys in Disdained where former Insania members Niklas and Henrik played. They needed a bass player and they asked if I would like to play with them also. I was curious about this since it was something new for me musically and also that I had to play with a 5-string lower tuned bass. Back then I didn´t see Disdained as my main act and I gave them the time I could when not playing with Insania. In February 2008 we decided in Insania to take an indefinite break from playing and that led me to play more with Disdained. As I saw that Insania was not about to start playing soon again I decided to leave Insania and chose to see Disdained as my main act. That is something I do not regret today and here I am today creating history with Disdained.
Johan H: It all started by looking up to the older guys that were cool skaters that listened to bands like Accept, Tank, Saxon, Motörhead and Iron Maiden. It wasn’t though until later when my brother’s friend told me about the “worst band ever” that sounded like pure thrash that I had to buy my first full price album, which was very expensive, just to check them out! That’s how I came in contact with Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets”. I had just started to play the guitar and Metallica opened up a whole new perspective since the songs were more complex and had no real boundaries. And that’s what I really love about metal! It’s the musician’s ultimate playground. You can make music without thinking about the form and go from a sweet lullaby to all hell breaks loose in the same song if you like. My path to Disdained is quite long and we have now known each other for little more than more than a year. To make a long story short I started playing guitar when I was 14 years old. For roughly a year I explored my limits playing by myself in my room to “find my own style”. My brother, who was a lead singer, then asked me to join his band. After a few years my brother left the band I took over the vocals, we changed the name and became more and more progressive exploring different types of rhythms under influences from bands like Dream Theater and Pantera. The magical breakthrough never came and the band was split up. For years I kept wandering about playing in band playing different types of music just for fun, but one day I saw an ad that Disdained was looking for a new guitarist. So I listened to the music on MySpace and what I heard appealed to me. I’ve finally found kindred spirits that share my musical point of view to make the best melodic metal with rhythmic and progressive elements.
Johan P: Ever since I started listen to metal back in the late 80´s, listening to bands such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, I have been a sucker for metal bands with interesting drummers. I mean, Nicko Mc Brain doesn’t disappoint anyone, does he… Anyhow these days I tend to listen more to bands like Dream Theater, In Flames, Soilwork, Korn and such and I think all the drummers in each of the bands are awesome. Metal music really appeals to me because of its intensity and the energy it delivers. My musical background is slightly different than the others because I attended Eskilstuna municipal school of music at the age 8 to 18. Through the years I got to play everything from marching band and concert band to blues. Later I moved to the southeast of Sweden playing mainly rock music influenced by Sabbath, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. If we at occasions didn’t have a singer we went on playing instrumental improvised rock/metal/whatever until there was a new constellation. Playing and making music with Disdained and hanging out with the guys is really a special honor and I’m glad I had the guts to apply to their add a few years ago.
Why did Disdained call this release “Longing for Serenity”?
Niklas : The name “Longing For Serenity” reflects nicely Disdained’s over all lyrical content. Since the songs often are very personal and rather dark, the wish or struggle for peace of mind, sort of got summarized in that song title. Also at the time of the recording of that particular song, we thought that “Longing For Serenity” was the best song we had recorded at the moment. The song itself was written to send a massage and to make people stop for a moment and think of what is going on in the world with trafficking and organized transnational crime.
Therese, can you tell me a little about the band’s history before this release?
Since the start up in 2005 we have been trying to find the right sound and the right musicians to work with. Today we have the best constellation and with our upcoming debut behind us I feel very confident and positive. As any new band we have been working our asses of to get recognized or at least seen in this “noise” of thousands of bands. But with hard work you sometimes get rewarded, often not in money tough, hehehe. In the past we have released one demo that contained tree tracks. This demo was used for different purposes but mostly for promotion on MySpace and for concert booking. Thanks to that we received different great offers that led to several gigs both in Sweden and Finland, in the later we were the headlining act two years in a row at the outdoor festival “Harvester Rock Festival” that among others have had acts like Paul Di’ Anno, U.D.O and Machinemen. In 2008 we preformed at the Swedish festival “Vadstuck”, there we opened up for the Swedish gammy winner Mustasch. One other important gig for us was actually this summer where we preformed at the “Alarm Stage” at “Sweden Rock Festival”. This gig was especially fun since this stage was for femme metal bands only. It is really fun to see that interest and commitment in Sweden indeed. Disdained have during the years received a lot of radio time both in the USA as well in England. We have done a few interviews that have meant a lot to us. For example we did one for Muen Magazine (USA) and another big interview with an Venezuelan magazine where one of our songs got featured on a compilation CD included in the magazine.
Disdained contributed the title track from “Longing For Serenity” to “Beauty And Brutality”. Why did you choose to contribute this particular song, in comparison with the others on the album?
Niklas : As said in the earlier question, this was the song we wanted to use because we felt that I it had a strong message, also, at that time, we thought that “Longing For Serenity” was a good song that represented the band’s musical style well. We really like the other songs but we feel today that this EP marks a earlier sound of Disdained, even if the EP was released just recently. Today we have evolved and have some nice surprises in our sleeves for all the ones who like Disdained’s metal.
What’s up next for Disdained?
Niklas : Conquering the world of course! Hehehe… Seriously, we have been working hard all spring and summer recording our upcoming full length debut “Kill My Only Enemy” and the process is not over yet. The album is in this writing moment in the mixing and the mastering process and so far it sounds awesome! We are also working with the amazing digital art artist Lady Symphonia which is doing the album cover art. Then of course we will try to find a suitable record label so we can reach the femme metal-fans in a wider scale than earlier. We will also start to look into booking some concerts and festivals for 2011, we hope that all will go as planned.
“Longing for Serenity” is the EP available on American Amazon. Is this part of the original album “Kill My Only Enemy”, or has this plan changed in any way?
Niklas : The EP is available on American Amazon, yes. The track ”Longing For Serenity” will be on the full length album “Kill My Only Enemy”, however with a face lift.
Do any of you have any side projects, or hobbies that are important to you outside of the band? A little about them…
Johan H: At the moment I don’t have any musical side projects. There is unfortunately no time for that. I spend my spare time with my wife and children unless I’m playing floor bandy, watching movies or partying with the band!
Therese: Besides Disdained I do a lot of troubadour gigs both for fun and for an extra income. When I’m not working with music I am a person that loves being out in the nature and I do not hesitate, if there is time, to go away fishing for a while. Another big hobby of mine is attending to my orchids or watching movies. I often watch between 2 to 4 films every week. I also enjoy reading a good book or just hanging out with my friends and have a nice tasting beer or a smoky single malt whiskey.
Johan P: Right now I’m studying business development within retailing so the days are really filled for me. But I try to get out as often as I can to ride my mountain bike. I also take the time to hang out with my kids. It’s a real treat.
Tomas: Disdained is my only band I play with right now. Seeing I do not have all time in the world having 2 young sons and a family to attend to. In my spare time I really enjoy watching sports, football foremost and I also enjoy going to gigs with my favorite bands. I am much into computers and play an online game from time to time. Weekends I do often go and meet my friends for a drink or just do something fun. It is not seldom that I go to Niklas’s place and we listen to good music, have a bunch of good ales and single malt whiskeys.
Niklas: Well besides the music that takes almost all of my free time, I have a strong interest in the nature. I’ve been studying biology and earth science for some years now and I really love being out in the green, it gives me peace of mind and a lot of happiness. I also like going to concerts, watching movies at home or at cinema, reading, Photoshop stuff, gaming horror games on my PC, Single malt whisky and American ale, this last thing I share with all the guys in the band, surprise huh!!!
Therese, what is your dream performance? What venue, what bands would you play alongside, and what would make it stand out as the single best concert ever?
I would really like to perform at the Swedish festival Metaltown. Besides all the awesome bands that perform there it is a really cool environment to be in. It’s located on a pier in the metal town of Sweden, Gothenburg. Everything in the surrounding environment is made of concrete and steel! Another cool festival would be Wacken Open Air since it is one of Europe’s biggest festivals and of course Metal Voices Fest where I think we would fit in nicely. There are a few bands that I can’t get enough off and I would die to support them on tour or just a single gig. These bands would be Rammstein, Katatonia or maybe In Flames. I’m not comparing us to be at the same level as them of course but a Disdained concert is not only about the music itself and then nothing more to it but we also want to give the audience an experience where we are acting and interacting with the music we deliver. Rammstein is that kind of band that always delivers a complete genial and carefully prepared show and therefore is a band that inspires us.
Where would you say your lyrics come from, on an emotional level? Which song would you say exemplifies this the best?
Niklas : Our songs are often, almost always, about emotions on a very personal level but the lyrics can also be about real life experiences, personal or seen from another person’s perspective. We seldom write fictive lyrics, like fantasy stuff but of course a feeling or a dream can be put in another context than the actual feeling itself, that is one of the great things when writing songs. The best songs to exemplify this would probably be the dark songs “Numb” or “Trust” on our upcoming album, but if we have to mention a song from the EP it would probably be “Until My Last Breath”.
Why has the Internet been an asset, or a detriment, to the spread of your music and the income it creates?
Tomas : Since we are not a big act (yet) in any way we really benefit from the internet. It is a great channel for us to advertise ourselves and let people from all over the world get in touch with us and our music. We use web pages like MySpace and Facebook frequently to inform about the latest news from the band. The songs are distributed via Spotify, iTunes and other MP3 downloading sites, so that spreads our music also and creates a small income.
To wrap things up, is there one thing each of you would like to say to all your fans?
Niklas: Thanks for giving us your time reading this interview and I hope it was of interest. Hope to see you on a future gig or tour. Cheers to you!!!
Tomas: I would like to thank all of those that have been to our gigs supporting us, also those that has written to us and given us praise for our work. Since the record is not released yet I can´t say thanks for buying it but I will urge you to give it a shot and listen to it since I truly believe that it is something you may like if you are into bands that are in our genre. As a last thing I wish all of you a great time and remember all: Metal is the law!
Johan H: If you like heavy and melodic metal, check out our debut “Kill My Only Enemy”. Cheers!!!
Therese: Live each day as it was your last!
Johan: I’m really grateful to everyone, supporting us in the way they can.
Interview by Connie Bach
Of course I’m looking forward to them! Those dates are just the beginning of our longer European tour. Check out the dates at our website. It’s gonna be a blast!
I’m watching the video for “Smell the Party” and it is quite entertaining. How was it put together?
We just invited bunch of fans, started jumping up and down and filmed it all. So basically we just drank beer, acted stupid and had fun! :)
Where did the inspiration for “Smell the Party” come from?
It’s a story about a day when you decide you stay home and take it easy but somehow you smell the party and… the rest is more senseless random behavior. The story of my life.
“More Senseless Random Behavior” is the band’s fourth release. How would you say Vanity Ink has changed and grown since the first day of recording all those years ago?
Ummmm… hard to say. We’re older and wiser. Well, at least older. :) I don’t know… why fix it if it ain’t broken? We’re just cranking out the tunes we love and having a good time. It’s that simple.
How did “More Senseless Random Behavior” come together? Did it become what you and Vanity Ink intended?
Yeah, it did. We recorded it in Finland at the countryside, far away from civilization in the middle of nowhere. Nice and easy.
What has the feedback from fans been like? What goes through your mind when the entire audience knows the lyrics?
Heh, do they know? Well, maybe some do. Of course it’s flattering if the audience is singing along. I guess the feedback’s good if people keep coming to see your shows. :)
What do you have in mind for your future goals? How do they contrast to those of Vanity Ink?
To have as much fun as possible until the end of the world, which is coming in 2012 as I’ve heard. :) The fun includes Vanity Ink so there’s no contrast.
How do all the band members bond and connect beyond the music?
We hang out together a lot. I love those stupid guys! :)
Turning to your personal career, how did you become a singer and rock vocalist?
I’ve been singing all my life. As a kid I was singing at home all the time. So I guess this is the thing I’ve always wanted to do.
What is the most important thing that you keep in mind when writing music?
I try to keep my mind open and just go with the flow. Too much analyzing is always bad, you just have to let it go and see what comes up.
Annabella, how do you view your own vocal style, in contrast to other vocalists?
I don’t like comparisons. Everyone’s doing their own thing. I just sing from the heart and try to get some emotion in the songs. And the balls! You gotta have the balls whatever you do.
I know your MySpace says that there are too many influences to name but I’d like to know what inspires and influences you the most in your music, as well as the other members of Vanity Ink?
This has been asked a lot and we’ve always answered that it’s the life we live that inspires and influences us the most. Things we do and see. Of course we also listen to music all the time, from punk to rock and metal and back.
Label : Ravenheart Records
Review by Tony Cannella
From Malta, Weeping Silence first formed way back in 1995. In 2008 they released their full-length debut titled “End of an Era” which was followed in 2009 with a 4-song promo CD. Now the band returns with their sophomore effort dubbed “Theatre of Life” and to say that this band is really starting to come into their own is an understatement. Musically, “Theatre of Life” hones Weeping Silence’s Symphonic Gothic metal style and sees them take what has begun on their 2008 debut to the next level. Also taken to the next level is their songwriting, which continues to grow and flourish. Although there are only 8-songs on “Theatre of Life”, the whole thing clocks in at a healthy 47-minutes, and while musically there are some dirge-like moments, there are also times when the band speeds up the tempo a bit, often times throughout the course of the same song, (the excellent “Within White Walls” is a perfect example of this). Lead vocalist Rachel Grech continues to establish herself as one of the unheralded voices in the Femme Metal genre and she is only getting better. The title song “Theatre of Life” is one of my favorites and it features a choir on the chorus that definitely gives it a ‘theatre’ vibe and highlights the huge-ness of the song (this track also features a cool solo at the end of the song). The track “Season’s Journey” begins as a ballad before the heavy riffs comes crashing in. Still this is a slower song tempo-wise and singer Rachel does another great job on this one, at times she kind of reminds me of Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation, but only at certain moments. Fans who were lucky to snatch up their 4-song 2009 promo CD will notice that those four songs appear here in re-recorded form. The whole thing is pretty consistent throughout starting with the opening duo of “Of Light and Shadow” and “Dark Waters” and concluding with the 7 and a half minute finale “Innocent Cries”. The band also manages to work in choirs and symphonic parts to go along with the heavy doom style riffs. How Weeping Silence has managed to fly under-the-radar these last few years is beyond me. Hopefully with the help of “Theatre of Life”, this is one band that will not go unnoticed for much longer. They have the talent and skill to really make a mark in the metal world.
Rating - 92/100
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The long running Norwegian Symphonic/Gothic Metal band Sirenia has always managed to write good songs, going all the way back to their 2002 debut, “At Sixes and Sevens” right on up through their excellent 2009 release “The 13th Floor” – which was the first album to feature new vocalist Ailyn. Now, the band returns with their fifth full-length release “The Enigma of Life”. Sirenia has always done a great in incorporating choirs and symphony elements into their music and “The Enigma of Life” is no different, they also don’t stray too far from what their fans love about them. As on their previous album, vocalist Ailyn does a great job throughout the course of “The Enigma of Life”. The melodically charged opener “The End of It All” begins things, with a big symphonic arrangement and a wickedly infectious chorus and melody. That is pretty much what you can expect on “The Enigma of Life”, plenty of well written songs, with thoughtful and articulate lyrics. Morten Veland adds his vocals (both harsh and clean) to the mix at certain points throughout the CD. “Fallen Angel”, “All My Dreams” and “Darkened Days to Come” are three more highlights, while the album is concluded by my favorite song “The Enigma of Life”, which ends the CD on a definite high. It is good to see that Sirenia continues to grow and mature. With Ailyn firmly entrenched now and fitting in quite well in the vocalist role, “The Enigma of Life” is sure to please die-hard fans and just may acquire Sirenia some well deserved new fans as well.
Rating - 87/100
Review by Tony Cannella
Following on the heels of their excellent debut, “Cynic Sister”, the powerhouse U.K. trio Le Monnier returns with their sophomore effort, “Russian Doll Life”. I have no idea what the title means either, but I can say that the second Le Monnier album is as potent, infectious and like-able as their first. “Russian Doll Life” comes out of the gate fast and furious with opener “The Beginning”. The riffs come in waves and the unique vocals of Alex Le Monnier lead the way. Next up is the first single “Con Amor Siempre”. This song slows the tempo down a bit, but not the quality as this was an excellent choice for the first single. The infectious “On That Road Again” is next and features a chorus that is so damn catchy that you couldn’t get it out of your head if you tried. This song is definitely among my favorites. Also one of my favorites is the sensitive ballad “Say Who You Are”. Aside from her huge, goose bump inducing vocals, Alex also proves what a talented lyricist she is. This is definitely something that comes from the heart. Other highlights include: “Home”, “Haunt Me”, “Fall Away” and the awesome “Mediocre Me”. There is something wonderfully retro about Le Monnier. They seem to be influenced by 70s hard rock, while still managing to sound important and relevant in 2011/12. For fans who liked their debut effort, “Russian Doll Life” from Le Monnier should absolutely satisfy your hunger for good, strong melodic rock with memorable hooks and songs. Alex and crew deliver just that and more. This is one band to watch in 2012.
Rating - 90/100
Review by Tony Cannella
After their impressive debut, “Cynic Sister” which was released in 2009, the U.K. based power rock trio Le Monnier will finally return with their sophomore outing in September called “Russian Doll Life”. Until then the band has released a new single called “Con Amor Siempre” as a precursor to their newest release. “Con Amor Siempre” starts off rather quietly before quickly evolving into a fantastic guitar dominated heavy rock track. Vocalist Alexandra Le Monnier has certainly done an excellent job with her vocals, and musically the band is simply on fire. Although, “Con Amor Siempre” lasts only about 3 ½ minutes, it certainly gets the job done in building anticipation for “Russian Doll Life”. “Con Amor Siempre” is a hard hitting, exercise in heavy rock that bodes quite well for their impending second release. Ordering info can be obtained through the official Le Monnier web site. Support this band, they deserve it!
Rating - 90/100
Interview by Scott Johnson
Doom metal, the side of music that expresses the deepest of human sadness and despair. We all have been there and we all can relate to these feelings. What better way to express this side of the human heart than to incorporate these feelings with the powerful driving rhythms of metal. Since the mid- 90’s Weeping Silence has been showing us how doom metal should be done. The driving heavy guitar riffs mixed with the ghost-like vocals and keyboards set the mood for anyone who has suffered from the pain of loss and hopelessness. I had the pleasure of talking to Rachel Grech of Weeping Silence. Join me now as we enter the Theatre of Life.
Hello Rachel, it is so very nice to have you here at Femme Metal Webzine today. First of all I would like to say thank you for your time and it is my honour to have this chance to talk to you. So if someone walked up to you and said I really like Weeping Silence but I don’t know anything about them what would you say. How would you describe the music of Weeping Silence and what would you tell them about your music?
First of all thank you so much for this interview Scott! It’s a pleasure. Well, if someone came up to me and said that they really liked Weeping Silence it would be awesome! Let me tell you a little about us. There are seven of us in the band; Angelo on drums, Sean on bass, Manuel and Mario on guitars, Alison on keyboards, Joseph on growls and myself vocals. Although the band started off playing mainly atmospheric doom metal, our style has now evolved into what could be described as atmospheric, gothic metal with doom influences.
What subjects does Weeping Silence as a band like to write songs about?
Well, up until recently I wrote most of the lyrics. I think I tend to write about feelings that are most predominant at the time. The experiences one passes through in life are reflected lyrically. Hopefully, this is also something that others can relate to.
Do you think it is a challenge to write songs of such great sadness and hurting and do you ever have a hard time singing them on stage? I have often wondered how a singer could sing songs about very personal topics and not revisit the pain from those moments and it would be hard to sing them live.
Music is such a wonderful means of expression and I find it is a coping mechanism which helps you deal with sad experiences and things in life which are not easy to comprehend. With regards to singing them on stage, yes, you do revisit the pain however this brings out more emotion. Dealing with these emotions helps you grow stronger too. Perhaps this I can explain better with “Tell Me Why” from our album “End of an Era”. On the other hand, “Theatre of Life” is more up-tempo and lends itself well to live performance. The new material is more aggressive than “Theatre of Life”. Joe joined the band on vocals too, so I’m not alone up front anymore.
So how many albums does Weeping Silence have?
There was a demo EP way back before we became a FFM band. Then the first album was “End of an Era” followed by “Theatre of Life”. There is another album in the making too!
Can you tell us about the new material that Weeping Silence started recording this year?
Well, the new songs have more of a doom inclination and are more aggressive. Joe joined as growler and this gave us the opportunity to compose songs that allow for interaction between lyrical characters. The music has grown more dynamic I think and we are moving forward into the style with a more contemporary feel. We’re pleased that Anders Jacobsson of Draconian will feature as guest vocalist on two songs also. The album is being produced by Brett Caldas-Lima of Tower Studios (France).
Is there a title for the new album?
Well there is a draft title, which is not official. We wish to listen to the album after the mastering process before deciding on a definite title.
I read that there will be the use of male backing vocals. Are they clean vocals or growls?
Joe’s a growler. He sings on all the eight songs that will feature on the upcoming album. There will also be an intro to the album that I only sing on. Anders features as growler on the songs “Love Lies Bleeding” and “The Search Within”.
What made Weeping Silence choose the doom metal style of metal?
Doom metal has an emotional aspect that differs from many other styles of metal. The lyrical experience hits to the core of human nature and gives space for hope too. The band members are also into all sorts of doom styles and therefore it was evident that the doom style would infiltrate into the musical compositions.
Who are your music influences and what kind of music do you listen too? What could we find on you MP3 player?
Ah, this is hard. Many of the guys listen to Opeth, Draconian, Anathema, Katatonia and so many others. I like listening to all melodic female metal bands. At present I have Within Temptation, Paradise Lost, Therion, Ozzy and Adele amongst others on my Mp4.
Did you grow up around music? When did you start singing?
Well, my parents were into Pink Floyd and a lot of other classic rock, we always had music playing at home. I remember singing to “All About Eve” over and over again! My brother introduced me to metal and we used to club together and buy albums such as Queensryche, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Doro and others. Sadly he passed away in 2001 and our album ‘End of an Era’ is dedicated to him.
Where did you have your training?
I was always singing at home but I started singing in public later in life. I never had any formal training however I’ve picked up things along the way from various choirs etc.
Do you think it makes a difference being a male or female in the music business? What has been your experience?
Hmm, I suppose it does. Some people just do not consider female fronted bands but then on the other hand you get support from female oriented organisations such as this one. I was the first metal female vocalist in Malta and it was quite daunting in the beginning. Although I get so much support from all the other members and we work together well as a team.
What advise would you give to a female musician that is just starting out in the music business?
Don’t be afraid to get out there. Work hard but most importantly remember to enjoy every bit
Can you tell us some of the places that Weeping Silence has played shows at?
We have played mostly local concerts and festivals, including the Extreme Metal Assault in 2011 and the Malta Doom Metal Fest some years ago. This summer we played with The Shiver from Italy too. We have also played gigs in Manchester, Birmingham and Bradford. Appearances are planned for 2012 in Italy and Ukraine’s Doom Over Kiev Festival too … … hopefully others.
What are some of your favourite memories while being in Weeping Silence? Do you have any good road trip stories for us?
Oh my goodness! Yes, there are quite a few but most are too embarrassing to talk about here!!
Do you think it is hard being on the road with a bunch of stinky males? Does it help you to have Alison as a travelling companion?
Ah, it’s not that bad, I think I must have built up an immunity by being stuck in our rehearsal room (which is not that large) during the sweltering hot summer months. And it’s great to have Alison for some female back-up!
Is there a tour planned yet or is it still to early to say?
It is too early to talk about tours for 2012. However, there are a few dates being planned in Italy for sure, which might take the form of a mini-tour… we’ll see! We’d love to play in Germany and The Netherlands, so hopefully we will make our way there someday soon!!
Ok, so looking through the eyes of a most passionate fan of metal, what would you say your greatest fan moment has been so far? Who are some of your personal music heroes that you have met?
Well it was awesome to see Paradise Lost here this summer as I am a big fan. Also we played with To-Mera in the UK. My personal music heroes are Sharon Den Adel, Simone Simons, Sarah Jezebel Deva to name a few, but sadly I have yet to meet any of them. Perhaps my luck will change. You never know eh?!
And one last question for you. This is a fun one. Ok so if Weeping Silence were a comic book, what would the title be??
Well we’re too many people to be a comic book. I think we’re more of a film-compatible bunch. So, I’ll challenge you on the comic book parody and say “What Dreams May Come” the 1998 Robin Williams film based on the novel. Yeah I guess that film sums us up well. We have worked so hard for so long and we were always pushed by a wish to do something worth a listen in the metal scene.
I have really enjoyed our time together and before we close, do you have anything that you would like to add?
Thank you so much for this opportunity Scott, I hope you and the readers of Femme Metal Webzine will enjoy listening to our music. Please visit our websites/pages and leave some feedback, we would love to hear from you! Look out for our next release and of course. Stay metal!!
Label : Life on the Moon Records/Cargo Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Talk about a long break between albums. It has been 19-years since Fiona Flanagan released her last album “Squeeze”. Now she returns with a brand new album “Unbroken”. This one kind of took me by surprise since I had no idea that she was planning a comeback, but it was a pleasant surprise at that. As soon as the first track, “Loved Along the Way”, kicks in, it’s like an old friend has returned and it is the perfect track to announce to the world that she’s back. The song has all of the great qualities that represented Fiona in the 80s. Tons of melody, a gritty hard rock guitar riff, a memorable chorus and just a kick ass vibe. This is just the type of hard rock music you just don’t find that much anymore, which is a shame. The second track “Broken” is possibly even better than the first, with Fiona’s raspy vocals and another rock solid guitar riff. “Unbroken” includes a cover of the Pat Benatar song “Shadows of the Night” which was very well done and definitely lived up to the greatness of the original. “This Heart” is a great ballad that features a duet between Fiona and Robin Beck and it became a huge highlight. “Unbroken” closes with the emotional “Everything You Are”. Other highlights include: “I’ve Released You”, “Wild One”, “Salt On My Wings” and “I Love You but Shut Up”. This is just energetic, fun, hard rock music, and it doesn’t try to be something it’s not. The thing that I really liked about “Unbroken” was that this is most definitely a Fiona album. This is not Fiona playing what is trendy or the big thing of the moment, this is Fiona as her fans remember her, she is not going after the trendy fan base, it is most definitely for her fans. After listening to “Unbroken” it is a welcome return to form for one of the most criminally underrated artists of the 80s.
Rating - 90/100