Interview by Laura MedinaYour Last Wish is a female-fronted Melodic Death Metal band from Montreal, Quebec. “Desolation” is their latest album that was released via Maple Metal Records. Fronted by female vocalist, Roxana Bouchard, who adds to the whole mix her own spin of extreme, heavy death metal-like vocals that gives Your Last Wish a “power-push” that woman can sing and front metal bands just like the guys! I got the chance to chat with Roxana about “Desolation”, the band’s current musical direction, memorable touring moments and so much more. So without further ado, I present Roxana Bouchard from Your Last Wish. Hi Roxana, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. Thank you for allowing us to interview you today and I hope you are doing well.
Thank-you very much for the opportunity.Could you tell us a little about yourself and your band, Your Last Wish for our readers?
Well first of all, I am not an original member of the band. Guitarist Jean-François (JF) Gagné is the one who started the band back in 2003. During that time the lead signer was a guy, Martin Lalonde, but he had to quit the band because of health reasons. I went for an audition for a position as lead singer in 2009. They accepted me, and so here I am.“Desolation” is your latest album that is out now released via Maple Metal Records. What can we expect to hear on this release?
It’s a mix of different styles of metal; sometimes you can hear a little bit of thrash metal… death metal… Swedish metal…kind of….it’s a mix of all these genres. With a female singer, it’s very easy to be compared to Arch Enemy, but our sound is quite different from that band. But I am always very flattered to be compared by some critics to Arch Enemy because Angela is a very good singer and front-women so… RESPECT! But in my case, I perform a different range of vocals, with no clean singing; just brutal highs, and guttural lows, hehe! For the music part, there are some wicked guitar solos performed by David Gagné (HolloW, Blackguard) to bring some melody in all this chaos. David did a fantastic job and helped the band reach another level of performance on the album. Not one of the songs sound exactly the same, and it’s for metal fans who like: At the Gates, Black Dahlia Murder, Arch Enemy…etc.How would you describe your band’s current and future musical sound?
Well Laura, You are the first person to which I have decided to share this breaking news. There is a big change in the future of Your Last Wish. First, guitarist Jean-François Gagné has retired from the band, so that means we no longer have an original member in the group. He was also the main composer so now, David Gagné (no relation) will take his place to compose the material and we have recruited another rhythm guitarist, Victor Mattos from the Brazilian metal scene, but who lives in Montreal. We will continue to do shows and tours for this album but there is a chance that Your Last Wish will be reborn using a new name, but we are not certain about it yet. Now that we are a different line-up, of course our next album will not sound exactly the same as “Desolation”.What lyrical theme or subjects inspire you when you begin writing new material for example, on future album releases?
Human beings! Usually, I like to write about the human species, because there is so much to tell, and their twisted minds just fascinate me.“Autistic Mind” is your latest video taken from “Desolation”. If I am not mistaken, you take the readers or listeners through the eyes of a child with Autism. Could you explain the meaning behind the song and how this song came to be?
This song was written by Jean-François, and the kid he is talking about is his nephew. He was really interested and curious about autism, and because of that he wrote an inspiring song about the subject.What are your current plans as of now that “Desolation” has been officially released worldwide and you have already performed quite a few shows since the release?
We unfortunately lost our drummer (Gabriel Choinière-Fortin) just after this release so… we had to cancel a few shows. Finding another drummer ready to go on stage took a lot of our time, and we had to turn down a few offers for shows. But now we are back on stage and our new drummer Steven Vaccarella is doing a really great job. His youthful spirit has motivated the band, and this is just what we needed. Now, we only have to prepare Victor Mattos for our future shows, and everything will be back to banging heads live!Roxana, would you be able to tell me about some of your favorite songs from “Desolation”?
I don’t really have a favorite one, but I have a special taste for those in French! “Le Pacte” was very hard to compose, and during the time we were in the studio, it was exactly the same time as when the Quebec students protested against the University tuition rate increases in 2012. The event was called the red square symbol and le printemps érable. I was looking at all this uprising on TV and I was so happy because for the first time Quebecers took a stand against it, so I had to write something about it. But I had to make some discretion about it, because not all of the band members wanted to take part in it. “Mutation” is my vision of the end of our race; the song that took me sooo long to write. I don’t know why, haha. I had some image in my mind and I couldn’t really find the right words, but 12 hours before I was going to record it, I did eventually finish it, hehe, well done. Finally, I personally like “Creep” because it was the first one I wrote for the band. It’s kind of personal, because it’s all about conspiracy! It’s all about our world.Bob Skelton designed the album cover artwork for “Desolation”. When it comes time to design the album cover artwork, how was the artwork decided and agreed upon within the band?
Dave introduced Bob Skelton to Your Last Wish. Bob is the make-up artist for HolloW and did brush painting for years. He loves metal music and we knew he could paint a good picture of what this album is all about.
I know your band is based in Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Do you have any future plans to tour outside Canada, like for example, maybe Los Angeles, California?
I would love it! I have done small tours in my life, but not as a singer; just as a merch girl, which is totally different; but I really want to get out on the road with YLW, hehe!Do you have any future plans on touring to promote your latest album release?
With Victor, we are looking to go to his country (Brazil) and of course to see our French cousins (France). These are our immediate plans abroad for now, and we are working hard on it. Our next show this February, will be taking part in a Battle of the Bands competition to play the biggest Metalfest in Quebec, HEAVY MTL 2014.Do you have any memorable concert experiences that would like to share with us if you’d like?
Yeah! With Kalmah in 2010; it was our first big show and for the first time people just discovered us. We took pictures with new metal fans, and signed our CDs for the first time. That was an awesome experience!What could fans expect to find, see or hear during one of your concert performances?
A lot of energy! I am moving a lot on stage. I am not one of these kind of girls who wanna to be cute and scream; the kind of girl who prefers not to move too much because of her dress and hair, nahhh. I am the one who is on stage because I like metal, I like screaming, I like performing. I wanna share the passion of metal with others, and it feels so good when you scream, it makes you feel alive. Laura, the best moments you can have on stage is when you see the crowd responding to you! When you see that, you remember why you work so hard and why you are doing this! And THIS is fucking METAL!!!Roxana, you are currently living in Quebec but you were born in Peru. What was the transition like moving from Peru to Montreal, Quebec?
Wow hahah. I never thought I would be asked this question hahaha. Humm, I was born in Peru, I was an orphan, I never knew my real parents. I stayed with different families, and finally I was adopted by a Quebec family from Lac-St-Jean and I grew up there. I was young, but it changed something inside of me for the rest of my life. When you are adopted, you have this emptiness and this weird frustration inside of you, and I think that screaming metal helped me a lot in this case. Before you ask me this question, NO I don’t speak any words of Spanish. Only Quebec French and English that’s it! HahahaDo you have any musical side projects are you currently involved in at the moment?
I can’t tell you yet, but I may play guitar in another band, nothing is sure yet… we will see.Your vocal range is mainly a variety of death metal-like vocals. Can you tell us a little about how you prep your voice for a concert or for when recording in a studio?
Before I didn’t do many warm-ups, and it’s actually when I went to the recording studio that I saw how important it is to prepare your voice well. During the last months I have been working on Tibetan overtone warm-ups, and it’s just amazing that I can hear the big difference it makes on my guttural screams. Before I go on stage, I do stretches, some push ups, and running everywhere hahaha. Other bands look at me weird or follow me hahaha, but it works!“Desolation” was recorded, mixed and mastered at Badass Studio in Montréal by Jef Fortin, who has produced albums for bands such as Blackguard, Nordheim, Unexpect. Your band has also produced this album yourselves if I am not mistaken. How did you approach Jef (Fortin) to help mix and master “Desolation” and what was the experience like working with such a well-known producer?
Well, we played with Anonymus (Jef Fortin’s band) before, and JF had the opportunity to talk with him. They had a meeting together, and because of his reputation in producing we worked out a deal with him. He has done an awesome job of producing for many talented Quebec bands, and so we knew the end results would turn out just great!If you could play at one metal festival anywhere in the world, which festival would you choose to play at and who would love to join on stage with?
Well… Wacken of course, but we have alot of work ahead of us to reach that level; plus Hellfest in France, and Female Metal Voices Fest in Belgium would be awesome too.Roxana, do you have any last and final words you would like to say to our fellow readers, your loyal fans, and thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us at Femme Metal Webzine today! It was a pleasure once again to speak to you and wishing you all the best of luck in 2014 and more!
Heavy metal brothers and sisters, thank-you so much for your support, and stay tuned for breaking news on our Facebook page. A lot of change will be coming for us in 2014, but it’s only a new beginning! We look forward to play in your hometown, and it will be a pleasure to meet you all and have a few pints! Cheers!