Tanya Rizkala Agostine – EPIC

Interview by Miriam C.

Strong of their debut album “Like a Pheonix”, the Canadian, American and Lebanese hard rock band EPIC already piqued the interest of the specialized press for their impressive power. For EPIC‘s members is not the first rodeo because the quartet is drawing on years of successful experiences. Before leaving to you Tanya‘s replies, I’d like to point out that “Like a Pheonix” (whose album was compared by Tony in his review to “early female fronted AOR band pioneers Saraya and Harlow“) was mixed by one of the best AOR producer/musician out there now, Italy‘s Alessandro Del Vecchio. If you’re familiar with the musical genre , you know what to expect – if not, well, I hope EPIC will be the start of a new musical adventure.

Hi dear Tanya, how are you? Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! EPIC has recently released via Escape Music your debut “Like a Phoenix”. For our readers that don’t know your history, would mind to tell us how you got together?

The guitar player Mario Agostine and myself started working together in our late teens. We have written and composed numerous rock songs together and we have also released a fusion/rock album. We formed our first rock band back in 1993, released several singles, changed countries, had a few members come and go till we settled down and formed EPIC in 2012 with the current formation.

“Like a Phoenix”, as announced before, is your first full-length. Would you mind to introduce us to how the album got created?

All songs are composed and written by Mario and me. We started working on new material early on. We then started releasing songs as EPIC, single after single and we kept playing these songs at every live performance. The recording process followed and it was done in a few months.

According to our reviewer Tony, “Like a Phoenix” can be closely compared to early female fronted AOR band pioneers Saraya and Harlow but in truth where do the band influences lie?

It’s only natural for any rocker or reviewer to find in EPIC similarities from early classic rock female fronted bands since there aren’t many today; the female fronted bands today are more into the symphonic/metal genre. I like Harlow, Saraya, Vixen etc.. but I, personally identify myself vocally, mainly with the one and only Ann Wilson from Heart, the female Rock pioneer who paved the way for female rockers all over the globe and who displayed an iconic and unique timbre/voice, most importantly grand vocal technique and abilities! Then you have these amazing female rock vocalists that followed such as Cher, Robin Beck, Alannah Myles, Melissa Etheridge, of course without forgetting the one and only the bluesy voice of Janis Joplin who started it all. However, I mostly identify with the male giants of rock ’cause I am more of a hard/heavy metal rock singer with a wide range and my main influences also span from my main man David Coverdale to Steve Perry, Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner, Steven Tyler, the late Steve Lee, Eric Martin just to name a few.

The album was mixed by one of the best AOR/hard rock producers out there, Italy‘s Alessandro Del Vecchio. How did this collaboration born?

Our dear Alessandro was introduced to me through a friend in common. Needless to say that we clicked immediately. I then introduced him to the guys. Naturally, there was a lot of back and forth between all of us but Alessandro not only made the mixing process a very pleasant one, he also added his magical touch and positive vibes which put every artist at ease every step of the way. He knows how to relieve artists from any creative tension and he guides musicians in a very fluid and peaceful manner! It is such a joy to work with Alessandro; every musician’s dream collaboration! We hope to have another fruitful collaboration with Alessandro in our upcoming album too.

From what I can get, EPIC is based in Lebanon although it features an international line up. Would you mind to present us your members and, out of curiosity, how do you manage to coordinate everything?

The guitar player and I are Canadians, the drummer is American but all four of us are of Lebanese descent, we’re currently based in Lebanon as it is much closer to Europe where the rock scene is very much alive, much more than the North American one if I may say so.

Now, I’d like to focus on you, Tanya, what you can tell us about your musical background?

As a vocalist I have started really early, at 11 years old as a soloist at Church, then moving on to artistically directing the choir. I have performed live many setlists of different styles, ranging from blues, jazz, oldies/pot pourri to pop, divas, disco, operettas in several languages and in the most famous clubs; I also starred in musical comedies both in Canada and the US. I lent my voice in various musical projects, albums, commercials etc. I had the priviledge to share the stage throughout the years with renowned international rockers and artists of various musical styles both locally and internationally. However, my main and most passionate love has always been dedicated to Rock Music!!

I’ve also learnt that, back in 2007, you published your solo album “Rouh”. Do you have any further information to add about it? On top of that, are you working on something new?

Mario and I always wanted to tackle fusion Rock including our Lebanese/Middle Eastern roots. We started working on that project back in 1993 before Led Zeppelin‘s “No Quarter”, but we had the chance to release it online after many years, only in 2007. “Rouh” did really well with the singles even entering the Top 10 chart at No 1 for months in a row! Just recently, in August 2016, “Arabian Nights” from the album “Rouh” itself, has been ranked at No 1 in the Broadjam World Top 10 Chart. We are currently working on EPIC‘s 2nd album.

Where can your fans catch you in the next days? Do you have any plans for a tour?

We would like to tour but we are busy writing and composing songs for our upcoming album. We just came back from Germany last June. On the other hand, we can announce that we will be playing at the HRH Festival in North Wales in March 2017. We will announce other live concerts dates in due time. We hope to see you there.

So, Tanya, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!

Thank you so much my dear Miriam for featuring me and my band EPIC in your prestigious Femme Metal Webzine and for helping rock artists like us carry the flame of the melodic/classic rock genre! Mostly, thank you for giving us, the ladies of rock a distinguished spot in your webzine and for empowering us as female rockers in the international rock scene next to our male rocker colleagues. Last but never least, a big shout out to your beautiful rockers/readers! Keep the flame of love, passion and rock ‘n’ roll alive in you! I wish you my dear Miriam & Femme Metal Webzine continuous rockin’ success! \m/

 

Links

facebook.com/epicmusicband

epicband.net