Interview by Miriam C.Tystnaden is probably one of so many “underrated bands” Europe-wise, despite having what it takes to hit the big time in this difficult area, also thanks to a constantly evolving fresh and innovative sound. On the occasion of Go4Rock, we had a little talk with Giada Etro, a.k.a. Jade, the new frontgirl of this six-piece band from Udine (Italy), who reveals us some behind-the-scenes-activity about the new album, “Anima” and she also talked about her cooperation with the Croatian doom metal band Ashes You Leave. Maybe I’m asking the wrong person, given that you joined the band a short time ago. Maybe I’m hindering you, but I wanted to know what is your opinion concerning the latest album, “Anima”. What do you think about it?
To me, it’s a wonderful record! I’m very proud to be able to perform myself in it, also because it had a great response with the reviews on a national and International basis. I like the songs, of course I do like the previous albums, although there has been a turning point here: the style is slighty different, but I must say that I’m really happy! My favourite track is “Mindrama”, the second single, it’s gutsy and the album is a truly pleasure to sing.You are the newest/latest member who joined Tystnaden: when did the first contact happen? I’m talking about the first time you’ve contacted the band, obviously, because I do remember that you were already a “live member” in 2013. Is that right?
Yes, I already knew the band members, because I was in touch with Marco Cardona due to an exchange for a show I had to play with my band, Ashes You Leave, and since then we’ve started talking about this exchange. The guys came in Fiume, we went in Tricesimo for the first time, and then the guys had to cope with this setback with the former singer and they asked me to help them out, which I did willingly, because it’s a band that I followed since I was younger, since their first shows and for me it was a great honor to work with them. In the end, this cooperation was born due to a replacement basically and it became an official collaboration. Now I’m the lead singer!The album title reveals something important, something intimate if we want to call it like that. In your opinion, what is the real meaning of the title? Do you think there’s a sort of link with the lyrics somehow?
The title, “Anima”, has been chosen because it’s very intimate, introspective, especially lyric-wise: in fact each song has two self-examining meanings about what are the difficulties, the problems of life, of course, seen by the person who has written these lyrics, but they are absolutely sharable and justifiable. I congratulated myself to the former singer because I really appreciate the meaning of these songs, so yeah, it’s a mirror of a desire to put out what you have inside.I see. To be honest, I also really like the meaning of the artwork. Maybe I do interpret it in a bad way, because in the end, like in a opus, work of art, everyone has his/her own conception, his/her own vision. To me it depicts an angel, what does it represent for you?
Yes, also the position of this angel, this female figure with her hand on her heart reflects indeed what we wanted to communicate with the songs. It’s the exact iconography for the album itself.As I said earlier, besides being the singer of Tystnaden, you also sing in another band, Ashes You Leave. Please satisfy my curiosity: how have you been chosen as the singer of this Croatian band, given that you’re Italian?
It happened thanks to some mutual friend of mine who live in Trieste. I’ve got to know this girl who lives close to Fiume, we became friends and one night, while I was in company with another friend of mine, we discovered that there was a sort of “metal night” in this club called “Palach” and it is located in Rijeka (Fiume), so we mad crazy over that, we took the car while we were in Trieste and we drove to Fiume, in order to see this concert. Thereafter, this friend of mine introduced me to the Ashes You Leave bass player and we kept in touch. The band was okay with the lineup at that moment, but soon after the singer has temporarily parted ways with the guys because of her study and work purposes. The collaboration started right after, the guys were happy about me, they made an audition and there were a lot of singers there, also some local vocalist. I auditioned and to the delight of myself they’ve chosen me and we created our record, “The Cure For Happiness”, released at the end of 2012. Now we are currently working on something new and the former singer of the band has joined again as the keyboard player. What I do appreciate a lot is the collaboration itself, the chemistry we’re building with no competition involve; this is not official yet but we had a couple of shows and I must say that I’m super glad about this Croatian band.You’re both the lead singer of Tystnaden and Ashes You Leave, what are the differences in the local situation? I mean: if you compare the situation the bands have in Italy and the situation that the Croatian bands have there, you see that there are two different attitudes, mentality! I sense that for your own words, but please correct me if I’m wrong!
Of course the economic crisis was stronger there compared to the Italian one, and if you consider that in Croatia the wages are lower and so on… well, that’s the situation! The music scene is a little more supported of course, I mean people attend the shows, while in Italy the organization is sometimes full of holes, patchy…I’m a fan of music, so I do consider myself a real fan of the music basically, but to me the real problem is that in Italy no one thinks that what is wrong could be easily fixed and changed, if only there were the will to do it! All comes down to understand if you want to do that or not, if you’re not willing to do it, cut it out! There’s a lack of will also in trying to think something like: “Yes, let’s try to change a bit, let’s try to propose something that involves local bands”. We’re not talking about big International bands, because it would be quite complicated, but if people started thinking to invest in local bands, it would work and there would be a lot of promotion! This system is not working, it’s falling apart!
Well, for sure the promotion in Italy leaves much to be desired, but I can say that both in Slovenia and Croatia people are willing to attend shows, it’s something that they really feel, independently from the music they do listen to. I think there is less competion. They don’t say “I won’t attend the show because I don’t like that band” and so on.I think that in Italy there’s a lot of envy for what it does concern the local music scene.
Indeed! There’s more culture in Croatia, I mean: it seems that in Italy people attend the show just because of the cool venue, while there in Croatia people go to attend the shows at night without caring about the venue! Don’t you like that music genre? Nevermind! You’re in company of your own friends, there’s a well-established recreational activity there compared to Italy!Ok, for the sake of not straying from the subject, we mentioned “The Cure For Happiness” earlier. Since you were involved in this record, what could you tell me about it?
When I joined the band, everything was almost ready actually. Basically it’s our bass player, Luka Petrović, the one in writing the lyrics, along with Berislav Poje and these two guys are the founding members of the band.If I’m not mistaken, the band is active since 1995!
Yes, next year we’ll celebrate the 20th year of activity and we’re planning something nice…Are you planning to come to Italy?
Eh! As I said before, the chance of playing in Italy is lacking, insufficient! You have to be friends with this person or that person. We had the chance to play there just because of some exchanges we had actually or because of our friendship with other people and the main problem in moving is the refund of expense, because hiring out a van and paying for the gasoline costs way too much, it’s at least about 200 € and if you consider that there are six people involved… you know, it’s an economic loss. I’m not here saying that we have to benefit but… if there were a refund it would be better
What can you tell me about “The Cure For The Happiness”?
The songs and the lyrics have a common thread, even if the genre is very introspective, so the lyrics are very inward-looking. We made the same speech also for “Anima”, but it’s a slightly different thing.Over the years, I’ve noticed that the sound of Ashes You Leave has evolved! The band was more death-oriented at the beginning…
Yeah. The sound was more rough, the songs were longer and the basic structure of the tracks was “random”.The sound of the band took inspiration from The Gathering’s “Always”. I mean: the tracks were very long, very slow, the female vocals were barely used, because of this growler singer. This band had a gradual evolution, development. It started from being a death metal band, and then it became a sort of atmospheric doom band and now it is a more post-rock band. And it has more than 20 years of music activity!
Yes, it’s true. It happened the same for Ashes You Leave, more or less, because in the previous record, “Songs For the Lost”, there are different songs with a pop structure, there are catchy refrains and despite everything, we still have our strong suits that have been mixed in a more pop/rock way, because you evolve and you try to reach a wider audience. It’s easy to change, you can also change if you want to!There is this sort of “comeback to the roots”, well, to the 90s melodies. I’m not referring to the grunge music and so on, I’m talking about doom. I don’t know what do you like the most about the music scene and what do you currently follow in this scene, but lately, after more than 10 years, two great singers came back to the music panorama. They were two of the main protagonists in the doom scene: Vibeke Stene, the former singer of Tristania, and the former singer of The 3rd And The Mortal, Kari Rueslåtten has recently released a record. I’m not sure if we can say that this return, this hesitation could become fashionable, in a way…
Yes, I do completely agree! It’s okay to have this sort of “coming back”, but you also have to keep in mind that a few other bands are using this “old/new” trend: for example, Ghost sounds familiar with that. It’s a “new band” but they come from an “old” period. A lot of things became fashionable once again lately. I can confirm that there was also a comeback to the black metal music. I’ve seen a lot of local bands playing this music recently!What kind of music do you like? Which are the music genres you like the most? For example, I do like Lady Gaga a lot, even if she doesn’t play metal!
Personally, I really like Beyoncé a lot, because of her strong voice and I also like Christina Aguilera. I do appreciate these girl because of the mere technical side, but I think their songs are quite valid. We know that the pop music also sells a lot, it sells millions of copies in music stores so I wouldn’t label those songs as “silly and foolish songs”. I do listen to Epica quite a lot lately, I follow Floor Jansen’s projects…Sorry if I’m interrupting you, but that’s the perfect timing for the following question. What do you think of Floor Jansen as the new Nightwish singer? I know that somebody will surely dislike this question, but I felt the need to ask!
Well, I think that the major problem is that whoever loved Nightwish has appreciated/loved the band because of Tarja, so in people’s opinion Anette wasn’t the right one and I think that everyone will think that no one is the right person for the band. Am I wrong? But as you see, the band turned on a dime, I mean: instead of finding a clone, a sort of “Tarja‘s copycat”, it found a pop singer (Anette Olzon). I think there was a comeback with Floor Jansen on board now, because Floor has a sublime operatic vocal technique, technically she is better than every single singer out there! Tarja was a really good soprano, Floor is a great soprano, she has a very natural voice, she has an additional value! Of course everything depends on the listener as well: for example, a lot of people do listen to Iron Maiden because of Bruce Dickinson, some other prefer to listen to Paul Di Anno. To me, Floor Jansen is the best singer ever in this music genre and she is now a full member of the most famous band of this music genre, symphonic metal, so it’s a winning match. In my opinion, everything she does is awesome, I am a fan myself and I think there’s nothing better, but you know, the average fan liked Tarja and will still keep on listening to her!Ok so you like Nightwish. What other bands do you like?
As I was saying before, I do like Epica a lot, I like Blind Guardian, Dark Tranquillity, Carcass… I listen to almost everything, or at least what it concerns metal! I also like pop music, as I was saying and recently I did listen to Scar Symmetry, Avenged Sevenfold, Soilwork while I was driving but if you mention those bands who say that their sound is “contaminated”, I do reply that I don’t like them. Lately, some friend of mine asked me to give a listen to Asking Alexandria… I don’t like this band. I do appreciate the effort in trying to evolve the sound but I think it’s way too extreme here!When did you start listening to metal music for the very first time?
I’ve started listening to metal when I was 12-13 years old (seventh grade), I started listening to Oasis, Metallica and thereafter I’ve started to listen to the pre-recorded cassette, the tape cassette, I saved money for that and gradually I’ve started to listen to Hammerfall, Dark Tranquillity, trying to listen to everything basically. I’ve played the electric guitar, I took classes for three years and I played both Carcass and Death, because I wanted to play complicated stuff.Ok, we are at the end of our “in-depth” chat. I want to thank you for having allowed me this interview. This is the last question I want to ask: what are the next future projects with both the bands you sing in?
We’re planning to record the new Tystnaden album, in fact tonight we will introduce the audience two brand new songs, here, live. As I said before, for what it concerns Ashes You Leave, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary next year and we’re trying to plan a huge show, in which we’ll propose again some ever classic song and of course we will take into consideration to record a new album as well.I assume you’ll ask the previous band members to take part in the anniversary show, right?
Dunno, because they are not in the band anymore, they parted ways with the band a long time ago. I don’t even know where are they now. Maybe some of them will join us, let’s see! As far as I am concerned, I knew that the guys from Ashes You Leave were talking about making an upcoming album…Are you still having a record deal with Rock N Growl?
Ashes You Leave has a deal with Sleazy Rider right now. From my point of view, we’ve reached a very good record deal, in fact this label has printed again the album “Songs For the Lost”, which is a record that was sold out. I remember that there weren’t so many copies of that record and I’m glad that the label decided to offer some other copy, because nowadays it’s almost impossible to find this album over Ebay or over the Internet. It’s a very good album so if you own it, you have to keep it for yourself. It’s a very likable record, absolutely!I see. Is there any tour date scheduled at the moment?
We’ll see. I think that Ashes You Leave will not be active until next year, because we were building our own rehearsal room, so that we can have our own “home base” there, with a small recording studio. However, we will not have any date with Ashes You Leave until 2015, while Tystnaden will play a show in October in Zagreb, we’ll play with a few friends of ours, another Croatian band, Kryn and then, we’ll have a show in November at Rock Town in Cordenons and at Ego in Savagnasco at the end of the year.
Jade’s photo by Geromix
Band photo by ISO Records