Interview by Robin Stryker
Femme Metal chats with Edera, vocalist and lyricst for Italian metal/rock band Domina Noctis, about their sophomore release “Second Rose”. Read on to learn what the moon, Cher, poetry and a love of contradictions have in common.
Hi Edera, please tell us about the newest release from Domina Noctis, “Second Rose”.
I would define “Second Rose” a melodic rock album a twist of electronic sound and some metal grooves. For us, this album is a sum of all our influences, from dark/pop/rock music of the 80’s and early 90’s, to metal; we’re definitely inspired by Paradise Lost and Katatonia just to name a few.
The ten-track album includes covers of two iconic songs, “Because the Night” (Patti Smith – 1978) and “Bang Bang” (Cher - 1966). Why record covers, and why these particular songs?
We love to find some covers that fit to our sound. Covers are an incredible source of inspiration and we always learn a lot more about music every time we play a cover. We all in the band are huge listeners of music of any kind! That’s why our covers are from different scenes and years.
Which songs have the most personal meaning for you?
“Exile” is definitely the song that moves me everytime I listen to it! It’s a song about those times in life when you’re feeling fragile, like you need to heal some wounds, so you need to be alone and you feel comfortable like that, but you also need a lot of patience from the people you love, to gather some force inside and the be born again. It’s a message of hope.
How has Domina Noctis‘s music evolved in the three years since releasing your first full-length album, “Nocturnalight”?
When we recorded “Nocturnalight” the songs included in the album were sounding “old” yet for us because the whole recording/mixing process lasted 1 year and of course the style and sound of a band evolves in 1 year. Recordings are a true “gym” for a band and for each member. You learn a lot, and hopefully, you improve. So, during the promotion of “Nocturnalight” we were still playing live some of the songs that have been included in “Second Rose”, as we couldn’t wait to have a feedback about them. “Second Rose” is a rock album, we focused on the structure of the songs and on the arrangements, with the precious help of our producer Cristiano Santini from Black Fading (our label). We wanted the songs to sound solid yet full of emotion, rock and melodic, dark yet full of light too, because we are like that, we have both sides.
Can we expect a third album? If so, where are you in the process of writing and recording it?
We started to write new stuff during the recordings of “Second Rose”, we’re now working a lot on the new songs and we love them!
Please introduce the other four members of Domina Noctis.
Asher plays guitar and composes most of the music; Azog plays bass; Ruyen plays synth & piano; Niko plays drums.
Are you or any of your bandmates involved with other bands or side-projects?
Asher plays drums in Forgotten Tomb and in Whiskey Ritual and Azog often plays as a live sessionist for Whiskey Ritual; Niko plays drums in the band Noctiluca. Ruyen is currently working on some compositions and he’s planning to record a promo cd very soon for his new side project. And about me, I’m working on an acoustic live set project along with Azog and Ruyen, way too soon to say more anyway.
In addition to being a musician, you are also a photographer and graphic artist. Have you been able to use your talents as a visual artist with Domina Noctis?
Well I guess I have the bad habit of doing too many things! I love to “move” through different art “levels”… I’ve been creating the artwork of all our CDs, band merchandise and band logo too. I like to express the same concept through music and through visual arts too, and I had the chance to do so during the creation of “Second Rose” CD layout, digitally working on a self-portrait I took some years ago.
References to the moon appear in the band’s former name -The Moontower- and current name (Latin for the moon), the title of your first album, song lyrics and your artwork. Does the moon have special significance for you?
We feel very attracted by the moon, a sacred symbol that reminds of feminine, poetry, night… I think we’re definitely “moon worshipers”!
The phrase, “I love my contradictions”, is intriguing. What does it mean?
I know it may seem just a contradiction itself! Okay, maybe it’s just insane, or maybe not, but anyway I believe that sometimes we should learn to love ourselves as we are, in our complexity, trying to understand that we’re made of many shades, white, black, and many tones of grey. It’s such a revelation when we finally are able to accept these apparent contradictions, only when we’re able to say “I have white parts and black parts and grey parts because that’s what I am, that’s human” and then we start to love those different parts.
If I understand correctly, you write the lyrics for all the songs and Asher writes the music. How does this collaborative songwriting process work? Lyrics first and then music, or vice versa?
Usually, Asher composes some riffs, he tells about his ideas and all together we have a session in the rehearsal room. During this session I try to sing whatever it comes to my mind, and write down a draft of the lyrics. Then, as soon as the melody takes shape, I work more specifically on the concept, to make melody and words fit together. Then we always work together on the song structure and on the arrangements. I have to say that in some of our latest compositions we tried to work in the opposite way: I’ve been singing a melody, and after the guys worked on the arrangement of the song.
Asher and you have been musical partners since Domina Noctis began a decade ago, yet your musical influences (and perhaps even taste) seem worlds apart. Does this ever create conflict, or does it make life more interesting?
Asher and I have different yet similar taste as music listeners, for instance there is a lot of music that we both love, yet sometimes for different reasons. As composers we are really lucky because we both have a precise idea about how our songs have to sound like, and this idea has been evolving through the past 10 years, but I can say it has been a co-evolution for sure, because we rarely “argue” about songs! We always try to make the song to sound in a way that pleases both of us.
Congratulations on having your poems published in the anthology, “Carmen Nocturna”. In what ways are writing lyrics and poetry similar or different?
Thank you! I had the chance to gather some of my poems in this little book “Carmen Nocturna” and I was really happy about that. I really love “minimal” poetry, I usually write really short poems. Writing lyrics and writing poems are two really different things to me. When I write lyrics, I always write words and melodies together. It’s very hard to tell what I feel inside, but it’s like specific words in my mind need a melody, and the melody needs some specific words, and suddenly they find each other fitting. I love this mysterious process.
Many years ago, you said that Domina Noctis probably would not perform songs in Italian. Now that you’ve written poems in Italian and been a guest vocalist on In Tormentata Quiete’s new album, has your opinion changed?
My collaboration with In Tormentata Quiete has been a beautiful, inspiring and really interesting experience for me: to sing in Italian was a new challenge and the songs were really beautiful. Still, I’m not convinced about writing my own lyrics in Italian, I’m not sure that our language would fit to the sound of Domina Noctis. Anyway, maybe we’re going to make some experiments. Who knows?
How did your collaborations with In Tormentata Quiete, Kalevala and Dark Princess come about?
I’ve got in touch with Antonio Ricco, composer of In Tormentata Quiete, many years ago via email, and we traded our demo CDs. After a long time, we got in touch again and he asked me to sing some songs in their album. I was really happy to have the chance to make this collaboration, I love to try and express myself in different ways, and as I said it was a great experience. Kalevala is a folk metal band from our city, the band members are all friends of ours and I had the chance to play with them as a guest in some acoustic set concerts. I love their sound and folk music in general, and I hope to have the chance to sing again in the future with the band. About Dark Princess, after the reprint of “Nocturnalight” in Russia, we got in touch with the label of this band and they asked us to have a mini tour with them in Russia. It was a great experience for all of us, it was really great.
Italy is home to many exciting new female-fronted bands from every subgenre of metal — Elegy of Madness, Exilia, Winter Haze, Lunacy Box and Raving Season, to name just a few. Has the metal scene changed for the better? Do you think female musicians face different challenges than all-male bands?
Good bands are so many and female fronted are more! Sure, there are many challenges that a female fronted band have to face, like defying the commonplaces, like easy comparisons to famous female fronted bands, and for what concerns Domina Noctis, trying to break the cliché that female vocals + distorted guitar is gothic metal. I can’t stand this pointless reasoning, but anyway there’s a lot of people who don’t care about this stuff, and we’re glad to have those people as followers!
We’ve talked a lot about Domina Noctis and other artistic pursuits. What is your favourite way to just kick back and relax?
When I need some relax, I often watch a movie along with my boyfriend Ruyen, on the couch! I love cooking too, I find it really relaxing (when I’m not in a hurry)!
Thank you taking the time to chat with us today. Any last words for your fans?
We’re focused on the composition process right now and we’d like to make some prerecordings as soon as possible to work better on the arrangements of the songs. Anything more than this will be appreciated!
What are Domina Noctis’s plans for 2010?
Thank you very much Robin for this nice chatting, I’d like to invite all our followers to join our newsletter on www.dominanoctis.it and to take a look to the following links (please add us to your friends list!). Thank you for the support! Horns up! Stay free!
Italy’s Winter Haze play straight up, no frills symphonic power metal and man are they ever good at what they do. The band have just issued their debut release, “The Storm Within” and it is 10-songs and 47-minutes worth of high class power metal that is really a joy to listen to. The band are fronted by Giorgia Marra on vocals and she proves to be a solid front person for this group of Italians. She is joined in Winter Haze by: Raffaele Albanese (Guitar & Vocals), Lorenzo Solazzi (Bass), Stefano Bottarelli (Keyboards) and Matteo Rossi (Drums). The ominous intro to opening track “Trail of the Wolf” kicks things into gear and right away to listener is drawn into the pure sonic energy that is on display here. A strong opener that is a good indication of what Winter Haze is about. Giorgia Marra‘s vocals are steady and they provide a good front person for fantastic musicianship that the band members display. Her style is more of mid-range, classic metal approach. “Eyes to the Dawn” kicks things up a notch and really races through your speakers. One thing you will notice about Winter Haze are the heavy keyboard influence played by Stefano Bottarelli. The keyboards are well done and they are played just perfectly and add a great dimension to the songs. “White Witch” begins with a nice piano intro before taking settling into a cool mid-tempo power metal groove. The band is also bolstered by the solid guitar work of Raffaele Albanese. “Deconstruction Of Mind” is one of the heavier tracks that are offered up here. “Unme” is just an aggressively powerful track that is probably my favorite and Giorgia Marra turns in probably her finest vocal performance. Male and female vocals are mixed together quite flawlessly here and it adds another dimension. Other highlights include: “Event Horizon” (cool instrumental), “Darker World”, “Innocent Dream” and “Neverland”. Musically the band brings to mind the likes of Rhapsody, Stratovarius and Kamelot.It is getting a bit redundant these days to talk about the many great bands coming out of Italy, but the fact remains that they continue to produce and give us many great metal bands and now you can add Winter Haze to the list. “The Storm Within” is just a fantastic power metal opus that is a must for any fan of the genre.
Rating – 80/100
- Trail of the Wolf
- Eyes to the Dawn
- White Witch
- Deconstruction of Mind
- From Here to Eternity
- Event Horizon
- Darker World
- Innocent Dream
- Giorgia Marra – Vocals
- Raffaele Albanese – Guitar and Vocals
- Stefano Bottarelli – Keyboards
- Lorenzo Solazzi – Bass
- Matteo Rossi – Drums
Label: New Model Label/Black Fading Records
Review By Tony Cannella
The strangely monickered band Lunacy Box hail from Italy and they play hard-edged rock/metal, but other than that they are tough to describe. They incorporate a number of influences from heavy pop to alternative and of course rock and metal. The guitar riffs are trance-like and ethereal and the overall musicianship and draftsmanship of the songs are very good. The band is fronted by female power vocalist Ms. Larsen. Cristiano Santini (Guitar), Andrea Bastoni (Bass) and Davide Furlani (Drums) complete the line-up. The opening track “Wrong Lane” starts off heavy and then changes tempo for the first verse. Vocalist Ms.Larsen has a unique voice that is well suited for what is going on musically. This is pretty cool tune, that has a cool dark and mysterious vibe. A good start. Next is “Save” and it keeps the mood alive and is one of highlights. The track features a heavy riff and a catchy melody, that really makes the song. “Love to Hate Me” is next and it is a very edgy track brimming with attitude and rebellion. “Broken Dreams” is just a straight forward down and dirty rocker of a tune that starts off with a heavy, funky riff and it has a great chorus. The 1-minute track “Nice Shot prelude” leads us into the biggest surprise on the CD a cover version of the song “Hey Man, Nice Shot!” originally done by Filter. The band really do an excellent version of the song and it is one of the highlights. That is not to say that Lunacy Box can’t write their own songs. They write very well a fact that is evidenced on such songs as “No Turning Back” and “I Think I’m Done”. “Hide” offers a change of pace from the hard driving mayhem, it is a really pretty ballad that has plenty of heart and emotion behind it. The awesome closing number “More Than I Do” is the absolute highlight for me and a fantastic way to end things and leave the listener wanting more. It has a dark and dreamy vibe to it and creates just a cool atmosphere. It looks like Italy has given us another fine band, although this one differs greatly from many of the symphonic metal bands that are coming from that part of the world. Lunacy Box portray a bit of a dark vibe and they certainly have no-nonsense approach that is very admirable. The CD is relatively short at only 38-minutes long, but it is the quality of the material not the quantity, and on these 10 songs, there is plenty of quality. Lunacy Box are a band that can appeal to many different music fans, all they need is to be given a chance.
Rating – 75/100
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