Interview by Andy Axworthy
Based out of Nice in France, Kerion are a symphonic metal band intent on putting their own brand of Heroic Fantasy back into the genre. With one album “Holy Creatures Quest” under their belt, Femme Metal caught up with singer Flora Spinelli to talk about the band and their new release, “The Origins”
Hi Flora and welcome to Femme Metal.
Kerion has been together since 2002 – can you introduce the band members to us?
In the very beginning of 2010, Sam, our drummer, moved away and left the band. Since then, Antoine joined us. So, now we are: Remi: Guitar – Sylvain: Guitar – Stephane: Bass – Antoine: Drums and Me: ) How did you end up becoming the group’s vocalist?
I was a high school friend of Rémi and he asked me to participate to the choirs on the firsts songs (demo) and then finally singer’s position was released and he asked me to take it.
Although back then I had no experience in singing, I accepted because we had a lot fun and I always liked his compositions.
You already have one album, “Holy Creatures Quest”, under your belt. How would you describe the band’s sound to someone who had never heard you before?
To give a short description of the sound, I’d say that it’s very eclectic: it can go from very soft piano ballads to very fast guitar saturated marches. Otherwise, we try as possible to avoid repetitive munchkin instrumental parts. I think that when you listen to our music, if you close your eyes it’s easy to feel as if you were in a fantasy movie. We are big fans of Heroic Fantasy and even if some people say that it’s “a simple concept”, we don’t care. Some bands are talking about politics issues, war and love and do it very well. We are talking about war, courage and friendship but with elves and monsters ^^
You have just released your second album, “The Origins”. How was the launch and how do you think it has been received by your fans?As we were negotiating with labels since falls of 2009, we were quiet well prepared. All promotion pictures, websites and CD cover were ready far before we sign with Metalodic Records, so it wasn’t a big rush. Concerning the sales, pre-ordering was quiet successful and now the distribution is getting better and better (some people don’t buy online). And last but not least, former fans seem to like it (as far as we can know) and some new fans join our forum or Facebook page, mainly to share positive feelings!
The new album is based around your previous demos, “Conspiracy of Darkness” and “The Last Sunset”. How did it feel to revisit this earlier material once again?
For myself, I was a little afraid in the first time because I wasn’t the singer on the first demo and I feared not being able to assure. Then, I just did it my own way. About the old “Last Sunset’s songs”, I was really happy to sing them once again. Furthermore, except for “Time of Fantasy” lyrics were different, the story was changed and it sounded far more professional than in 2005! I think that it was almost the same for Remi, who was excited to play again his first compositions with an actual sound.
How difficult was it to decide which songs from the demos were included and/or rearranged for “The Origins”?
Both albums are based upon the heroic fantasy “Staraxis” trilogy by Chris Barberi who also wrote the lyrics. How does Chris fit into the Kerion family?
Christophe is one of Remi best friends, so it was pretty easy !;)
Rémi has joked that there is a touch of George Lucas about releasing “The Origins” (the first two parts of “Staraxis”) after “Holy Creatures Quest” (the final part). How did that come about?
Many books or movies uses this kind non-chronological order but for Rémi, the absolute reference is Star Wars, so any way of comparing his work with the masterpiece of George Lucas is good. May the force be with us!!
On “The Origins” you have once again enlisted the help of Phil Giordana (Fairyland) with arranging the choruses, Yann Baresi as a guest vocalist and Will Lievin behind the mixing desk at Harkam Studio. How important to the band is this continuity and stability during the writing and recording process?Phil is a friend of the group for a long time now and he has a lot of quality, and experience, quite as Will who made a great work on “Holy Creatures Quest”. Then it is quite naturally that we still appealed to them. In France we say: We don’t change a team that wins!
We know each other, we know what kind of result can be expected!
Not just a new album but also a new label. What does it mean to Kerion to be signed to Canada’s Metalodic?
It means a lot because Maxence from Metalodic Records gave us a chance and he believes in us. We see almost every day new results of the good job he does for us, he’s always available and thanks to him Kerion can be listened all over the world!!
You are playing some acoustic shows in France in October. What are your touring plans beyond that and can the rest of Europe or the world expect a full tour at some point?
As I explained earlier, we didn’t have a drummer for months and we had to refuse some invitations but now, Antoine is ready! We’d like really to play in the other cities more often but it’s sometimes rather difficult financially. So we try to target really and then sometimes it is the dates that don’t suit to our work or our family life…. Grrr… but for “The Origins”, we all planned to go to meet more our public and to make more concerts. We are in connection with several other groups and try to organize some shows (Paris, Marseille, Nancy). But If the transport can be taken, be sure we are ready to go where you want:) (if somebody hears my call ^^) But of course, if we are asked to play in a festival or something like this, be sure that we will be there, because we know it’s a chance to play with other bands who have more experience!
Talking of playing live, what would be your dream line-up for a Kerion gig?
I would like so much to sing with Floor Jansen, yes I know it’s arrogant and it will never happen but I can dream ^^ Or, I’d like to sing with Daniel Gildenlow!! The best singer in the world! And there are so many bands I would like to play with that I cannot number all of them.
What interests or hobbies do you have outside of the band?
Well, in the daily life, I’m rather commonplace, I grumble about anything like other girls I suppose (I am told in the ear that I grumble more than the other girls…), I like going to the cinema, watching series (fan of HIMYM, Scrubs etc.) listening to a lot of music obviously, seeing my friends, be with my husband, sport, remains hours on internet and gardening. Yes, Rémi and the boys call me “hippy” all the time because in the daily life, I am rather “peace and love” and more “flowers” than “Gothic depressive”. ^^
If you were not Kerion‘s singer, what would you be doing instead?
It’s a very good question because when I wonder: if Rémi never asked me to sing, well, maybe I shall never have tried to sing, I do (because we do not live on the music) and the good that music makes to me, I thought that I would not have stopped Tai Jitsu and I would be black belt by now No, actually I don’t know. I would have continued my life as usual. When we don’t know what we could have done, we don’t miss that, do we?
You have already provided a guest vocal on Fairyland’s “Score to a New Beginning”. Do you or the band have any other collaborations or side-projects in the pipeline?
At this time we don’t have any collaboration to other’s project planned, but we have some ideas about guest singers for our next album… but shhh it is a secret ^^
Thanks for taking the time to talk to Femme Metal, Flora – any last words or thoughts for your readers?
First, thank you very much, it was a very interesting interview!!!! I hope my English is understandable :p and I hope that by reading me, some people will be curious and buy our album.
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
Demon Lung. They’re one of the newest doom metal bands in Vegas, but they have already made a name for themselves, playing some very important gig already. Having just released their first (after a series of demos) EP, we are now ready to interview their singer Shanda, to hear what, apart from powerful screams and lyrics, they have to say about their music and their city.
So, Shanda, tell us your story, let us know a little bit more about yourself!
First of all, I’m very flattered to be asked to do this. Our drummer and I share a love of the euro-goth bands like The Gathering, Within Temptation, Delain, etc. I have read interviews from your site before, and to be included with such amazing female vocalists is very cool.
What is the story behind the name “Demon Lung”? Does it refer to your lungs?
I wish I had demon lungs! The name actually comes from a friend of ours who is the hardest partier I know. After a night of binge drinking he always starts to cough so heavily we named it the demon cough… which turned into the Demon Lung (taken from the Electric Wizard song). When it came time to name the band, it’s just seemed fitting.
Why choosing a word from the ancient Greek language as a title (For the ones who doesn’t know ancient greek, a “pareidolia” occurs when our brain creates human bodies or faces from random elements and it’s often used in optical illusions)?
The titletrack of our EP is based on the movie “Prince of Darkness”. In that film it is discussed that Satan lives “in the smallest parts, in the atoms”. It is kind of a figurative type of pareidolia where you see the devil in matter or anti-matter.
This is your first EP, but you, as a band, have recorded an impressive number of demos (about 20, if I’m not wrong). How hard was to choose only 4 of those songs for your EP, were there some songs that were about to be put in the EP but then eventually didn’t make it? Can we expect another EP with another 4 of those “discarded” songs from the first one?
It wasn’t hard to choose the four songs because they were basically the last four we wrote. The others were the evolution of our sound. We are influenced by so many styles of doom metal that we weren’t sure which direction we were going. The last ten songs are when we really started honing in on our sound, which is mostly influenced by Candlemass. We still play some of the other songs live, but I don’t think we’d ever release them.
How was your attitude towards this first EP with your band mates? I mean, in your biography, you say it’s “bullshit-free” doom metal! What were your purposes, and what do you feel you’ve achieved recording these 4 tracks?
Our main goal was to make something we’re proud of. We are metal fans and the idea of creating something half-ass was not an option. We put a lot of time and energy into this EP, but in the end it was all worth it.
More importantly, what would you like to achieve as a band, or as an individual, in the future?
We are striving to make better music every day. We have grown so much in the past year as a band it is scary. We made the EP ourselves, completely independent of anyone else. That was a huge goal for us. Personally I feel that I have grown as a singer and frontwoman. So we would like to continue these things on a larger scale.
Also, I must compliment with you for your very peculiar voice, which is really beautiful. What feedbacks that you’ve received played an important role in developing your vocal style? Is there “something” you remember which was a special moment in your training, something that made you say “Ok, I wanna sing like this”, or “Damn, I haven’t thought about this before! I should work on this!”?
Thank you so much for the compliment, I’m extremely flattered. My band mates have a huge role in the direction I go with my voice. Especially during recording, Jeremy (our drummer) will have me try things that feel unnatural to me. After a few tries, I am doing something I never thought I’d be able to do… it’s awesome.
You played your first show almost exactly one year ago with Demon Lung. I guess you can totally remember it. So…how was it? How did you feel? Were you extremely excited and willing to rock or extremely tempted to jump off the stage and run away screaming?
It’s crazy it’s only been a year; so much has happened that it feels much longer. I was extremely nervous that night. I didn’t move or look a person in the eye. Luckily, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable on stage.
How easy is for a doom metal band to get noticed and to play some gigs in Vegas?
We were noticed by a promoter named James Eirikr in Vegas early on. Dude is like the godfather of the metal underground here. He put us on some high-profile shows and really believed in us. He never wants anything in return, he’s just a massive metal fan and we thank him every chance we get.
More generally, how is the musical scenery in Vegas?
It’s better than it has ever been. Metal has never been huge here in Vegas though. With the exception of the legendary Goatlord (who were massively ahead of their time), there hasn’t ever been a doom scene here as far as I know. The Vegas doom scene currently consists of us and our friends in Dead Neon who are “post-apocalyptic doom”. We are very close with them and share the stage as often as possible. We are meeting tons of kids at the shows that are very much into doom and are starting their own bands, especially other females! I would love it if Vegas became a haven for doom like the Palm Desert scene did for stoner rock in the 90s.
Any plans on recording an LP soon?
Absolutely. We are always writing and demoing new songs. As of now, we hope to have a full LP ready by early 2013. The timeframe all depends on if we get a label to back us or not. We also have an outline for a concept album that we will definitely be doing in the future. It’s going to be a large undertaking though, so we want to make sure that we are a little further along before we start piecing it together.
Can you tell us something we should look forward to, like, for example, a tour? Are there any places you’d like to play in particular?
Our first video is being made as we speak. Dustin Mills, the director of a great film called Puppet Monster Massacre is doing it. It should be released around the end of June. As far as touring goes, we will be making a run down the west coast probably this summer. We have gotten a great response from Europe and it would be a dream come true to play a festival in 2013.
Thank you very much for your time, and…good luck!
Thank you! I love your website and that you are promoting female-fronted metal!! Please keep up the great work!
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