Interview by Ed MacLarenThe number of symphonic metal bands on the scene has been building towards critical mass over the last few years. Despite the sheer volume of material released, there are fewer and fewer standout albums. Fortunately, Italy is stepping up to the challenge by bringing us “Enlighten”, the debut from Sleeping Romance. A perfect storm of memorable hooks, driving low end and swelling symphonic flourishes, “Enlighten” is an album that equally captures the ears and the imagination. Sleeping Romance vocalist Federica Lanna got together with Femme Metal Webzine to talk about the development of the new album, touring and the ups and downs of being a young band on the rise. Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine, Federica! Congratulations on the first Sleeping Romance album, “Enlighten”! It’s a great debut!
Thank you – I’m really glad to know you liked it!“Enlighten” has a very mature sound for a new band. How long did it take to develop the songs and record them? How did everyone contribute to the final product?
Well, the writing session started almost six years ago from our guitar player and composer Federico and it ended at the beginning of 2012 when I became the official singer of the band. Then we started recording the album – it was April 2012. We all had different influences that’s why everyone gives a contribution to our sound which is unique. The last singers of the band sang all in the classical soprano style; my way of singing is pretty different. I came from rock bands and I’m the so called “soprano leggiero” and of course it gave to our songs a different “biting” sound.There is a cinematic feel to a lot of the music especially in the intro and outro tracks, “Hybrid Overture” and “Aetenum”. Where do you draw inspiration for your music?
We like to say that Sleeping Romance’s music is kind of “visual” because it’s so evocative. We took inspirations mostly from movie soundtracks, classical music and of course symphonic metal.You had some lineup changes between the recording of your first demo and the recording of “Enlighten”. What needed to change?
Working together is not easy and finding the right members for a band is hard too. You need to find a connection between all this people playing and composing together. So I think that’s why we changed the line-up several times.How important was it to find that “perfect” lineup before going in to the studio to record?
For me it was essential. If they didn’t change singers I would not be here in this moment! (laughs)You only have one chance to make a first impression –in many cases it will define the sound that fans will expect from you for the rest of your career. What was the musical statement you and the band wanted to a make with “Enlighten”?
First of all we did what we love most and we did our best. With “Enlighten”, we wanted to create a suggestive, epic and poetic sound with references to classical music too. We wanted to have an album which really represented us, so that people may know Sleeping Romance in its very nature.What has the fan response been to the album so far?
It was great, over our expectations. Even now people all over the world write us every day asking us to go there on tour. We receive emails full of compliments and words of support. We are so glad about that.
Your vocals are very strong, full and bright. They’re the perfect complement to your style of symphonic metal. What was your approach when developing the vocals for the music?
I worked with Federico in order to create vocals which valued not only my voice but the whole song. We tried different solutions and ranges. Even if Federico’s idea of each song was pretty clear, he gave me keyboard drafts for the vocal melodies and I’ve pinpointed them on the base of my musical sensitivity.The symphonic metal scene is pretty crowded right now with a lot of amazing bands. What is it about Sleeping Romance and your music that makes it stand out from the big bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation?
Well of course our challenge is to be unique and not just a copy of a band which already exists. We think that our influences help us in finding a way which is ours. We are young, and obviously for us it’s an honor to be compared to great metal bands as Nightwish or Within Temptation, but I think that if we were just a copy of one them, we would not find a reason to “exist” and to play our music. We are trying to create a recognizable Sleeping Romance sound.You did some touring late last year – was that your first tour? You guys must have been a little nervous.
Yes, of course we were! I hadn’t eaten for two days before the first gig in Holland! (laughs) It was our first tour and we were so excited. One of the best experiences of our lives.As a young band trying to make a strong impression, what were the most important aspects to preparing for your live show?
First of all, on stage we are really solid, like one member only. We choose how to move or how to look on stage thinking like one member only. We want to give importance to the songs not to ourselves individually. We like to involve the audience in a live show which satisfy your eyes, your ears and your imagination too.Touring with Theocracy must have been a great experience. What were your fondest memories of the tour?
My memories of all the people involved. Support and friendship of each person we met. We have been really lucky. Everyone was great and professional, the guys of Nordic Mission, the Theocracy band and the staff of each festival and gig during the tour was awesome. And what about the audience? So warm, so involved. We loved them.Did you learn anything not to do next time you’re out on tour?
Yes, if you are on tour don’t moan too much. It doesn’t help. Touring is not always easy, but it gives you a lot of satisfaction and if you are travelling with your band, just take care of yourself, don’t forget medicines, blankets, patience and do your job.What touring plans do you have for 2014?
We are planning a few gigs in Holland and Austria and a spring tour in the UK. Crossing our fingers!How is the metal scene in Italy? Any other bands our readers should keep an ear open for?
In Italy, metal is really undervalued, that’s why there aren’t a lot of chances to meet musicians and play with other metal bands. They probably exist but we don’t know each other! (laughs)Thanks for your time Federica! We at Femme Metal wish you along with the rest of Sleeping Romance all the best with “Enlighten”.
You’re welcome, it was a pleasure. Thank you too.