Andrea Casanova – Rainover

Interview by Ed MacLaren

The creation of new music can demand years of patience and perseverance in the face of adversity in order to bring a distinct musical vision to the masses. For Spain’s Rainover, this long road to fruition could be summed up in the title of its new album, “Transcending the Blue and Drifting into Rebirth”. A potent mixture of gothic atmospherics and intense melodies, Rainover’s debut guarantees a powerful and emotional listening experience. Vocalist Andrea Casanova took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to Femme Metal Webzine about the genesis of the new album and the transcending and rebirth of the band.
 
Hi Andrea! Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine and congratulations on the new album!

Hello Ed and Femme Metal Webzine readers! Thank you so much for your interest and your great words on our work.

“Transcending the Blue and Drifting into Rebirth” is quite a mouthful for an album name. How did you come up with the title?

(Laughs) Yes, we know it’s a long name. Initially, we were thinking of going a bit simpler with it, but then Carlo Bellotti, our producer and also the head of our label, Wormholedeath Records, suggested we go with something that would help distinguish the record – something unique to match the rest of the material. We definitely took the advice and what we basically did was develop the initial idea we had into a more elaborated one.

It’s definitely a very prog rock kind of title. Is there a concept behind it?

I hadn’t thought of it that way but I like the idea since I also like that style! Yes, there is a concept behind it. In fact, every aspect in the record – the artwork, title and promo pictures are linked and created to reflect a topic that underlies a big part of the record and its lyrics which are cycles in life. We wanted to express the idea that everything in life is about cycles, for instance, water and rain which is even at the name of the band, about dying and starting again, so that even at the end of the longest blue path there might be a light if you look up to the sky, figuratively speaking, and every end, every death, is an open gate to a new beginning. That’s the message. This is also meaningful to us as a band since the album was recorded just coming out of an important line-up change, vocally, so in a way this was also a rebirth.

All these elements are found in the cover art of the album created by the great artist Mario S. Nevado – his artist name is Aégis. We chose it not only because it’s beautiful but also because it is perfectly able to depict this idea represented in some of the most significant lyrics in the album.

While TBDR, at first listen, comes across as a gothic metal album there is really a lot more depth to it. How would you describe your music and the sound of the album to a first-time listener?

I’m glad you can see this! Well, nowadays you have to choose a tag to market your music and we chose gothic metal because this is where we’re coming from, late 90s gothic metal music. It’s an essential part of our influences and the style we feel more identified with. We definitely think our music may resemble that kind of atmosphere more than anything else, but we are conscious that there a lot more flavours in our songs as well, and that’s maybe a reason why it is kind of hard for me to describe it.

On the one hand, you get the more melancholic or dark tunes that are more easily related to classic gothic metal, while on the other hand you get catchier, livelier tunes like “Dust and Dawn” or “H2SO4” that probably tend to escape that classification. All of this is mixed up with other influences, such as some symphonic or electronic elements for instance, and then a powerful and modern production.

I would probably focus on what it transmits and say it is intense, powerful, yet very melodic and evocative music with both dark and light moments. Maybe it’s a bit of “back to basics” as well. We don’t get lost in big symphonics or over-complicated instrumental parts that could add little to what the song really is but go straight to the feelings, quite in that old 90s style I talked about before.

Was there a specific goal you wanted to achieve with this your first album? Do you think you succeeded?

I don’t know if we could say we had a specific goal in making this album other than making the best work we could and creating something we could feel proud of and people could relate to. As to having succeeded, we are definitely satisfied with how the album has come out in the technical and musical part of it, even though there’s always room to improve – which is good!

As for reactions on it, we are actually very pleased to find people who have a special appreciation for our music already, which gets us in awe every time. Heck, we even have a “Rainover team” group on Facebook created by fans to promote us! Some people are just awesome. Regarding the press, most of the reviews have been pretty good and we’ve been selected as band of the month or even release of the year in several publications which is impressive. And we’ll keep working to get this as far as we can, of course.

The music on TBDR has a modern dark gothic sound to it but your voice brings a refreshing – almost late 80s – alternative rock feel to it. It’s always a good thing when a female vocalist in a metal band can go her own way and not simply emulate her contemporaries. Especially in gothic metal where female vocalist archetypes are few. Was that a conscious thing on your part or a purely natural expression?

Well, thank you! That is probably one of the best compliments you can give me (laughs) since what you hear is simply what I am. Singing is to me an experience of self-exploration, self-realization and expression of my true self so trying to sing a certain way that wasn’t natural to me wouldn’t make any sense, either to sound like someone else or to avoid sounding like someone else –it’s just the way it is!

That doesn’t mean I don’t have my influences, some conscious and some unconscious, and some more evident than others, or I don’t model my voice a bit depending on the style, but I always just try to sing with my true voice and give what the music asks me for. It’s really a combination of many things: experience, training, feelings, influences, the state of mind you’re in and, of course, the anatomy and voice you’ve been born with. Lastly I’d say that, for a singer, the only healthy way to go is using your real, natural voice.

Rainover was in a bit of a jam when you were brought on a few years ago. What was the situation in the band when you joined?

They were intensely looking for a new female singer since they had decided to part ways with their long-time singer only some months prior to recording the new album. I guess it was a pretty uncertain time for them. This was a drastic change happening at an important moment for the band, a decision taken at the risk of maybe missing the scheduled recordings and the work done until then like having the album gone through preproduction and all, because you just don’t choose a new singer overnight. It’s an important move and lots of requirements must be met, both musically and personally. I was put in touch with them by a common friend and, after a couple of auditions and some talking, I was happy to know they had chosen me.

What were your feelings about joining Rainover considering the state the band was in at the time?

I was just really excited at the thought of finally joining a band that played one of my favourite musical styles in a professional way, with some pro recordings so close in the pipeline. Actually it was a big moment for the band, and despite the obvious difficulties, I could see they were pretty excited about the new possibilities brought by the change and the challenge of working to build an album again with a new vocalist, in a rather short time span, while we were still trying to get to know each other.

Honestly, I also had to give it some heavy thinking because it meant a big deal of commitment and willingness in every sense, mostly because of the new album and everything it meant. I was also in a busy time, with my studies half-way done and just getting out of another project that was emotionally important to me. So I found it hard to get involved with anything. I remember I’d been offered other musical projects by that time, which I had turned down, but I just realized this was the opportunity I had been looking for for years, so I submerged myself fully into it. Now I’m so glad I did!

Where did you see you could make a difference with the band?

I thought they needed someone to front the band with character and enthusiasm, fresh air, and probably a voice that would complement better their new, more powerful compositions. I also really wanted to make sure that they understood my vocal and musical style before accepting me, because I would never ever want to be in a band as a main project where I couldn’t express myself freely in the musical field. Well, I do know they also did some research about me so that they would not be wrong in their choice. (Laughs) Although they confessed to be pretty convinced just after the first audition!

What did they see in you as a vocalist?

From what I know, they wanted a powerful, dynamic, and above anything a personal voice capable of leading the music with a strong character of her own, all with the right technique and a fitting style. They also wanted a vocalist who could give a solid live performance both vocally and in terms of presence on stage, someone to participate actively in the musical and lyrical composition as well as in any other aspect of the band with a hardworking, trustworthy and positive attitude. I guess they found all of this in me, since they chose me!

Can you introduce us to the rest of the band?

Of course! They are Anthon Lo on guitars, Arturo Hernández on keyboards, Quini Pelegrín on drums and Antonio Perea -we call him just Perea – on bass and male vocal duties. Those are my guys!

How would you describe the working relationship of the band? Does everyone have a role and sticks to it or is it a fully interactive creative unit?

The band involves an enormous quantity of work, also out of what is strictly musical, so for most things we try to distribute work to those more fitted for each thing.

For example, Anthon does all of the band’s video material since he’s studied for that and actually works at that field. Perea’s in charge of the audio engineering part when there’s an issue or we are recording demos or whatever, and he also works on designing promo pictures, t-shirts and stuff. Arturo has classically been the most productive one in terms of music composition, although Perea and Quini also wrote a lot for the album, and lately it’s become more of a team work, but he does keep the record for now. (Laughs)

As for me, apart from writing lyrics, melodies, and being active in the overall composition of new songs, I take care of the general organization of the band and of everything that has to do with the Internet: social network management and interaction with fans; all kind of international relations with managers, festival organizers, press, label; promotional activities such as interviews and more. There is also the packaging and shipping of the orders in our online store. I’ll take the opportunity to name it here: www.rainoverwebshop.bigcartel.com. It’s a big part of what I do with the help of Quini, who in fact also writes lyrics and creates concepts for our music together with me. Our label Wormholedeath is in charge of the digital and physical distribution of the album, except from what’s in our own Web store, so they deal with a big part of the bureaucracy, luckily, and also work on promotion through their associates Skillbooking Presenta and other companies they work with. As for shows, we don’t have a live manager so this is more of a common work we all do depending on our contacts and such.

Every album is a birthing process. How would you describe the pregnancy and the labor?

It was pretty long and tortuous. It took us almost three years to have it officially released since we recorded it. At some moments, everything seemed to go wrong: we spent a long, long time in the mixes to find the one we liked. We started working with a studio for the master and, after months of waiting and trying, we eventually had to look for another one because we couldn’t find a common ground for the kind of sound we wanted. We were close to trouble at the CD printing as well. And then there was the paper work.

So some parts were honestly a bit of a nightmare. The good thing is that we learned a lot from that, and it made us see just how stubborn, patient and determined we are in order to stay in this hard, hard world of the music business. We are also self-demanding and picky – I am, particularly – but that’s how you get a great work: paying attention to all details and being a perfectionist. It was actually funny that you asked it to me like this since, actually, I used to refer to it as “the longest pregnancy EVER”. (Laughs) We had to throw some humour at it, didn’t we!

What was the highest high and the lowest low of making the album?

Some of the higher points to me were the recording period – with some lows, since those were intense days, you know – particularly the last day when we got to listen to what we had just recorded; receiving the first “right sounding” tunes and the first artwork and cool band photos; finally getting our creation in the form of a physical album and, undoubtedly, showing the fruit of our work to the public for the first time – something that makes it worthwhile every time. I’d also highlight the knowledge we gained from the complete process.

As for the bad side of it, you can imagine from what I said before: lots of months in the dark, waiting, experiencing again the failure of something that would once again go wrong inexplicably. At moments we kind of lost hope, we just felt like we were stuck in an ever-waiting situation in the middle of nothing. Our only distant guiding light was knowing that our contract with Wormholedeath Records was waiting for us when everything was done and we knew that we could finally show our work to the world, regardless of whether it was sooner or later. We just had to make it through all the downsides.

What are you hoping listeners will come away with after listening to the album?

I just hope that they find something to connect with in an emotional level, something that can get us a little place in their hearts. Knowing that someone is moved by our music is the biggest reward we can get.

How did you get into singing and what made you move in the gothic metal direction to express yourself vocally?

I don’t think I can pick a point in time where I got into singing since I always loved it. I joined my first choir at the age of 6 and that is where it all started. A bit later, my father bought an audio recorder for me and I’d spent all day recording little songs of my own about the most random things. (Laughs) I participated in different choirs, and did solo songs, all in studio and live and in different styles during those years. I got into the world of bands and metal at the age of 15 after listening to my first band in the genre which was Within Temptation. I then went on to listen to some darker music, more classical gothic and doom metal, so I guess I do have those influences in my vocal style and personality.

I’ve also been involved in music academically as I studied musical theory and oboe for four years in the Professional Conservatory of Music – alongside classical and flamenco dancing. (Laughs) But I was never too keen on the oboe so I finally dropped it. At the age of 18, I started receiving singing lessons, firstly classical and then modern, all of which also helped me forge my musical and vocal personality.

Rumor has it that you’re a lawyer as well as a metal vocalist. How do those two manage to co-exist as part of your everyday life?

(Laughs) I see you got your info right! Well, yes. Or should I say, kind of. I finished my university degree in law last year and now I’m more than halfway of a master in advocacy, but I’m not practicing yet, and I’m honestly stilI not sure whether I’ll finally take advocacy from the many outlets I can choose, coming from the law degree.

Combining the two is pretty hard already, time-wise, even if I’m not practicing yet. I should also add that I’m very self-demanding in the academic area and studies have always come first, even if that made me feel a bit frustrated at times for the lack of time to dedicate to music. On a side note, I was also bit concerned about how my musical activities would be perceived in the formal, serious law field, but I didn’t get any negative reactions so far!

I guess you would be the one to review the contracts! 😉

Yes, I am the one to nitpick at this! (Laughs) Well, it’s an important matter for a band so having somebody who has studied law on board is a quite a useful and valuable thing, although I’m not specialized in this particular field now, and our label deals with a considerable share of the paperwork. I guess it’s nice to actually have someone in the band who can translate the cryptic writing into something understandable to the rest.

Do you anticipate a time where you’ll have to give one up?

I’d pick music over a “normal” job any day because it’s in my blood, heart and spirit, and it makes me vibrate in a way nothing else does. But, apart from the fact that living off music is highly difficult, I also know that both activities help me keep balance between my two sides: my artistic, free and crazy-emotional self and my serious, thoughtful self.

I actually like to do things which are particularly demanding intellectually and I believe in the sacrifice and responsibility that is needed to learn and to get the best results and the best of yourself in that kind of work. Not that music doesn’t need a sacrifice or intelligence, of course, but it’s a different type of it. Because of this, I know that I wouldn’t have been happy just neglecting my studies and just dedicating myself to the band. So, until this point, I’m happy with everything I did.

However, lately I’m feeling more than ever the need to start letting my artistic pulse out fully after so many years so dedicated to my studies. I guess I need to readjust a bit and find a way to get time for music and all the other artistic activities I always enjoyed doing like dancing, writing and painting.

Where do you see the band musically in five years?

I guess it’s too soon to tell, but I also wonder myself seeing that we are a bit double-faced, with the dark side, if you want to call it that, and the upbeat one. For now, the new songs combine again these two streams, but things might change a lot in the process. We’re creating a new song that sounds quite different, more “open”, and I’m loving it. The thing is that we’re kind of broadening our horizons progressively and just playing what feels right with no tags in mind other than being true to our feelings and therefore, our sound. Actually, TBDR was already more varied than anything the band had done before. This said, I don’t see us playing something radically different and I’m sure the stress will always be put on emotions and atmosphere.

What are the bands plans for the summer? Local gigs, touring around Spain?

We are having some shows around our area and booking some more for autumn, some of which might, if we’re lucky, get us to some places we’ve never been before. We’d actually love to play more than we do, but the state of the scene isn’t as good as it was years back and getting gigs far is fairly complicated for a rather small band like us.

Apart from this, we’re preparing as well an important project for the band: the shooting of the first Rainover video clip! We are working now to complete the needed budget and get more defined ideas, as we’d like to schedule it for late summer/early autumn. In the meantime of all of this, we are composing some new tunes as well.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to Femme Metal! Any last words for the fans?

Sure! First of all, I’d like to thank you, Ed and Femme Metal Webzine, for the interest in Rainover and the time and work invested in preparing this great interview.For the fans, I’d like to thank them wholeheartedly for all their support and just encourage them to keep it up, since they make it all worthwhile every time and help us greatly achieve all our goals, step by step. And for the rest who may not have heard of us yet, I’d ask them to give us an opportunity to get our music inside their ears! Thank you!

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