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!!
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