Label : Curved Air Records
Review by Matteo Bussotti
Curved Air‘s foundation goes back to 70s, and many people remember them as one of the most important band in prog/folk rock at those times. So…do Curved Air have the right to come back now, in this time full of commercial, “easy listening”, electronic and computer music? Yes, they sure have. “Live Atmosphere” is a CD from old rockers for old rock lovers (like me, for example); if you hate 70s prog-rock, you’ll surely not enjoy much this album, I can tell you, and you can stop reading this review here. If you haven’t stop reading…well done! I can assure you that “Live Atmosphere” is worth at least a chance, but let me say that you’re not going to listen to it only one time. If you love the genre, you’ll love this album. Curved Air‘s song are perfect in their “old style”, they truly are beautiful. From “Marie Antoinette” to “It Happened Today” you can feel every musician’s experience in his own field, you can hear how every one of them contributes to create the perfect melody, harmony and sound in every song, with beautiful solos for every instrument, played with a grace only found after years of practicing, on and off stage. You’ll get caught up in every song’s melody, with Sonja as your guide with her beautiful, deep and very powerful voice; it’s amazing how se hasn’t got any worse since her younger days, instead she’s more confident with her voice, and she holds all the audience in her hands like a puppeteer with his puppets. Every member of the group is special in his way, and not mentioning every one of them would be a crime. As I said before, Sonja simply shines with her beautiful voice. Kit Morgan is capable of creating the perfect solos with just the right notes: he’ll leave you amazed not for his speed, but for his style, which is even a more important thing for me. Florian‘s drumming is always as it should be: powerful when it’s needed, softer when you just need to create atmosphere. Chris Harris‘s bass pumps up the tempo, defining all the variations and all the various rhythms; needless to say, Chris and Florian work perfectly together. Paul Sax gives us some really astounding violin melodies, giving that gracefully powerful imprint to all the songs, contributing to make Curved Air‘s sound even more beautiful and complex. Finally, Robert Norton‘s keyboards…well, you may not notice him all the time, but if you listen carefully to all the songs, you’ll notice he’s always there, keeping all the pieces together, and believe me, without him, none of the songs would be the same. So…what do we have to say about this album? It’s a rare masterpiece. Apart from the songs, its beauty resides in the capability to bring back to glory 70s prog rock, which so many people around the world love so much. I was very pleased, while listening to this album, to discover that we have also nowadays bands such as Curved Air. They are there for every one of us, to let us not forget from where real music comes from, and that old music (and musicians) still has got A LOT to teach us.
Rating – 85/100
- Atmospheric Overture (Intro)
- Marie Antoinette
- Hide And Seek
- Back Street Luv
- It Happened Today
- Atmospheric Overture (outro)
- Sonja Kristina – Vocals
- Kit Morgan – Guitar
- Chris Harris – Bass & Backing Vocals
- Robert Norton – Keyboards
- Paul Sax – Violin
- Florian Pilkington- Miksa – Drums
Interview by Andy Axworthy
When you read that a band is by turns described as epic, symphonic, power, progressive and classic metal all in the space of a few paragraphs you might be left wondering whether such a broad approach could dilute the end result. Ivory Moon is one such band, however one listen to their latest album and it’s easy to hear why in this case, the whole is greater than the sum of those descriptive parts. To find out more about this promising Italian band we caught up with new vocalist Gabriella Aleo to find out a little about her and about the rocking new release, “Dark Time”.
Hi Gabriella and greetings from all of us at Femme Metal. How are you today?
Hello! Thanks for this interview, I welcome the opportunity to talk about me and the music I was involved from yesterday to today.
You’ve recently taken over female vocals for Ivory Moon. Can you tell us a bit about your background and of how you became a singer?
I have always supported my singing talent, heading for perfection in this art that is very complex today. I’ve been singing since I was a child but my serious studies began at age of 20. I studied opera singing at the Conservatory of Music and I have never stopped since then. I teach singing to children. Singing is an integral part of my life, I could not deny it.
You’ve come from the more classical side of singing. To us it seems like a world of difference between an aria like Habanera and full-on rock song like Apocalypse. How do you adapt to mixing up these vocal styles?
Opera and gothic are different, but they live parallel inside me. You have to know well the two musical paths from their technical point of view, and above all you’d be thinking wider than just those who sing only classical or rock. I have always been living with two musical souls. The mixing of the two genres should be done with care. I tried to be not too opera singer using a language more suitable for “Dark Time” and his genre.
You’ve also indulged your inner Electra, recording “Tutte nel cor si vento…” from Mozart’s Idomeneo. How did that experience differ from working with Cristian Ice at Temple of Noise on the new album “Dark Time”?
There were two different experiences but both constructive. Music is what really matters, if it makes you feel good.
You share voice duties with Sandro Manicone. Do you both bring different ideas to the vocal parts or do you work together and adapt the style and harmony as the song writing and recording progresses?
Me and rocker Sandro Manicone are also friends in everyday life. We met even more by sharing this experience together. He is a great musician, composer, arranger and good singer. Along the way he helped me a lot on the side. In the past I had a brief stint with a heavy metal band: Zero Kelvin. I then absorbed part of the language back in this new project after so many years. We have given our voices to the songs of “Dark Time”, we have not dealt with the processing of the texts. Sandro is a complete musician and also took part in the arrangements and musical choices.
We’ve mentioned Sandro. Could you also introduce is to the rest of the band and tell us a little bit more about each of them?
I’ve been knowing the band for a very short time, so I can say very little about them. What is sure is that I am sharing this experience with veterans for the fans of this genre. I am a newcomer, they instead go way back so they had plenty of time to design and create this music.
“Dark Time” had its digital release on the 1st October. How do you feel now it’s out there and how do you feel it has been received by your fans?
I was very pleased and surprised by the performance of “Dark Time”. “Dark Time” is my first record, so I’m glad to have left traces of me in music. The fans do not even know us, but they will be able to do it very soon.
The album itself is a blend of classic metal styles from power through to operatic yet it still has its delicate moments. It is consistently good throughout with tracks like “Soul Disguised” and “The Merchant of Venice” especially standing out. What was it like for you to go from recording and putting down your parts to actually hearing the finished songs? Was there a defining moment for you?
Certainly for me it was a challenge to face this genre. I loved this genre for a long time so I tried to absorb all possible shades. Recording for us means converting our ideas into music. The most important moment was when we heard all the mastering, and we listened to all of our work, all our dreams and our thoughts.
How about sing-writing duties? Do you all get a say in how the song ideas develop? How does a song like, for instance, “Out of Control” come together?
I’m just a performer who sings with passion and love for music, and then a popularizer. I never ventured to write texts. Everyone has their own role. Ivory Moon lyrics are written by the other members of the band.
Is there a story or theme to the song writing on the album? Where do you and the band draw your inspiration for the songs?
We took inspiration on actual topics of today’s life: The crisis, rupture, rebirth. These were the pillars of “Dark Time”.
The album launch gig is on the 7th December. How does it feel to get “Dark Time” out there in front of alive audience and what are you looking forward to the most on the night?
“Dark Time” will debut on Dec. 7 at the Jailbreak in Rome. We’ll expect a good audience who can give us the right boost within this new work. I hope it could bring so much magic in everyone’s hearts.
What about your own personal soundtrack? Who or what do you listen to when you’ve got some time to yourself?
My soundtrack is “Nemo” from Nightwish. I put this song as a ringtone in the phone : ) When I have time I use to listen to different musical Opera, Loreena McKennitt, Epica etc.
What would you be doing if you did not sing? What hobbies, passions or ambitions do you have when you are away from the microphone?
I can not see myself without music… I have several passions: I like to paint, I’m not an intellectual but I’m reading a literary work of Proust, sometimes I play games with Sandro Manicone and I love to walk my French Bulldog Morgana and take long walks in nature. I like to meet up with a few true friends and my family. I would love to travel every year….
Now you’ve taken this step from the light of opera to the dark side of metal what would you say are the main differences for you between the two styles of music? Does either genre have something that can be used and sits comfortably with the other?
The difference in the two genres is absolutely singing style. I think mainly you need to have a good voice, educated in classical singing and in the modern one, in order to obtain a good result. I always followed both the roads. In vocal symphonic rock you have to play a lot with the expression and sometimes the listener can be confused by a hybrid between an opera and a metal singer!
What can we look forward to beyond the launch gig? Are there any plans to tour with the new album? What next for you and Ivory Moon?
We’re busy with this every single day. It is not an easy time for music here in Italy. We hope that we may get some specialized major label interested… it would be a dream.
Thanks for takine to chat with us Gabriella. Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans and readers to wind this up?
Ivory Moon strongly hope “Dark Time” can be appreciated both in Italy and abroad. Greetings to all!
Interview by Ed MacLaren
From her groundbreaking contributions to the seminal goth metal band Theatre of Tragedy to even bigger success fronting the eponymously named Leaves’ Eyes, Liv Kristine is one of a few women who have truly earned the status of femme metal icon. With the release of her third solo album, “Skintight”, Liv continues to offer fans a new and diverse musical perspective along with her unique vocal skills. Femme Metal had the privilege to speak with Liv about her creative process, the secrets to her longevity, and her dreams for the future. Congratulations on the release of “Skintight”! It’s another fantastic showcase of your creative talents. Listening to a new Liv Kristine solo album is always an interesting pleasure. What you hear is always unexpected but at the same time it’s totally you.
Thank you so much! This album is me, straight from the heart, just very down-to-earth, natural and personal. It really deserves the title “Skintight”.
Your solo efforts don’t come along that often – although in your defense you’re a pretty busy woman. What happens that points you down the solo path? Does the mood just overtake you and you have no choice but to focus your creative energies in that direction?
My solo work and Leaves’ Eyes have the same status for me, however, I’ve needed more time in between the releases of my solo albums than when it comes to Leaves’ Eyes releases. There is no explanation for this “rhythm”, though. My first solo album “Deus ex Machina” was released eleven years ago, the second one “Enter My Religion” in 2006/2007. However, “Skintight” is my most personal album so far and the one I appreciate the most. I need my solo albums next to Leaves’ Eyes. I never plan an album, the songs, or the percentage of slow and fast songs. I just compose it and record it and then when it’s released, the audience decides what to think of it. I hate trends and forced ideas. I’m glad my record label trusts me and lets me do my own thing and follow my own instincts. “Deus ex Machina” is probably the one album that had the most influence from the label, external producers etc. and it mirrors a very young “myself”. I hate the picture on the cover, though! Something went wrong when printing the booklet, I guess. “Enter My Religion” is the album that celebrates the freedom I felt after winning my artistic freedom back after a terrible time spent in court. And I was happy becoming a mother! With “Skintight”, I have taken a big step and gained more independence and self-confidence. It feels really good to release this album, and I am really looking forward to my next one!
What was your goal when recording “Skintight”? Did you accomplish what you set out to do?
I was aiming at one thing: making an album that’s ME – just listening to my inner voice. Concerning the song-writing process for the album, I never really “plan” a production. Most ideas just appear unexpectedly, like for instance when I wake up early in the morning at 6.a.m., or perhaps they come along with a glass of red wine when all is quiet in the house. I always carry a little book for notes with me, just in case. The next thing is to call Thorsten and meet up in the studio, which is, luckily, close to where we are living.
The lyrics on “Skintight” are very personal reflections for you as are your lyrics for Leaves’ Eyes. Do you have a different mindset when you’re writing for one or the other or does it all come from the same place?
My solo work is where I put all my childhood memories, my experiences being a young woman, ideas about love, marriage, memories from travelling, and becoming a mum. Leaves’ Eyes has a special concept to every album and I sing in up to seven languages. All lyrics on “Skintight” were written in English. I guess it’s just a matter of feeling comfortable in my own artistic “expression” both lyrically and musically.
“Skintight” is a Liv Kristine solo album but you’re working mainly with Thorsten Bauer and your husband Alexander Krull from Leaves’ Eyes. For a solo effort, why did you decide to keep your collaborations within the “family”?
As I already mentioned, I only want to be independent being an artist, so I would chose any label that would let me do whatever I want, in my own studio, with the musicians I choose to work with myself. I don’t care so much about what the trend is like; I’d rather listen to my inner voice and pay attention to my artistic development and my own goals.
Did the writing and recording experience evolve differently than working with Alexander and Thorsten on “Skintight” than on a Leaves’ Eyes project?
The composing period and recording period of “Skintight” was much, much shorter than any Leaves’ Eyes production. The complete production of “Skintight” was stripped down to a few instruments to make the album warm, focused and intimate. That was my thought from the very beginning.
Was it still essentially a mutually collaborative effort or did you ever have to put your foot down and say, “This is my album and we’re doing it this way !”?
This time we did it MY way! I am so grateful that Thorsten, Alexander and my label supports me doing this – achieving my goal!
Does releasing a solo album give you an opportunity to indulge your diverse musical influences in the context of your own music? “The Rarest Flower” has a wonderful Tori Amos flow to it.
Thank you, that’s a really nice compliment! I have a varied taste in music: Coldplay and One Republic in the car, Black Sabbath at every party, Tori Amos when relaxing, Edvard Grieg when cleaning, Amorphis when typing interviews and Madonna when cooking! Tori Amos inspired me to record in the way we did. I think she’s a genius!
“Skintight” gives you an opportunity to make use of your full vocal range in a more “natural” sounding environment. As a singer, was it a specific goal to experiment with your voice on this album and try some things that just didn’t “fit” Leaves’ Eyes?
First of all, Thorsten (co-song writer), Alexander (husband and producer) and myself, rebuilt one of the recording rooms so the engineer and the one being recorded are in the same room. The room also has a fantastic view out on the southwestern forests and wine yards! Both music and voice were recorded in a “one-take” procedure to keep the songs real and natural, like Tori Amos, because we wanted to intensify the emotional flow in a natural way. I hate recording little bits and pieces and making pauses between verses and choruses. I would like my friends and fansto hear that this is me. I really don’t need to polish my vocals, nor my identity.
You’re releasing “Skintight” at the same time as the special edition of “Njord” and on the eve of a Leaves’ Eyes tour of the United States. What was the rationale of releasing the solo album now instead of waiting until next year and back it with a solo tour?
I was just eager to have it released as “Skintight” was completed in January 2010. I just couldn’t wait! “Skintight” along with “Enter My Religion” and “Deus ex Machina” gives you three full albums of solo material.
Do you think that you’ve established a unique identity for yourself as a solo artist separate from being the lead singer or Leaves’ Eyes or Theatre of Tragedy?
If I take a look at the progress between all my albums, I feel good about it. Album by album I’ve become more independent and gained more self-confidence. After “Deus ex Machina”, which ended in a terrible court case, I have learned to speak out when I feel that something is not all right, fair, or my taste. “Enter My Religion” was a very important step towards freedom for me after a very tough and exhausting period, the ups and downs with Theatre of Tragedy and endless touring. I have been around for 17 years now and I can thank my friends, fans and family for that!
It’s also been 15 years since the release of Theatre of Tragedy‘s self-titled debut “A Distance There Is” still gives me chills every time I listen to it. An amazing vocal performance! Do you ever reflect on the progression and evolution of the musical genre you helped define? Did you have any idea it would explode the way it did?
That’s really a wonderful compliment, thank you from the bottom of my heart. No, we would never guess back in 1995 that we would be the trigger and founding band of such an explosion in metal – creating a new metal genre. At first, we were really screamed at by music journalists for mixing extreme contrasts of beauty and the beast in metal, however, the metal fans voted for us to become the band of the year, best new comer a.s.o. world wide. Then the explosion came! Some time ago, I met Tuomas from Nightwish. He really made me blush, he said, “There would have been no Nightwish without you”. That went straight into my heart!
You’re considered one of the definitive voices of the metal genre – gothic or otherwise – often imitated but never duplicated. Your musical contributions helped open doors for many women to express themselves musically in a genre then dominated by men. Did you think, at that time, that women would ever become such a fixture on the metal scene?
I had no idea! I am so glad that my members of Theatre of Tragedy back then let me step out of the background-singer position and into the front-vocal position! I guess that was the important step to take.
With more and more female-fronted metal bands appearing all over the globe, is there any advice you could offer any young woman wanting to strap on a corset and jump onstage?
Speak out for yourselves and listen to your inner voice! Do not pay so much attention to the money and the fame, because it can hurt you really bad! Be yourself! Be creative, always develop! And stay healthy.
You were still a teenager when you started performing professionally and even now you are still able to keep your music relevant with a fresh perspective and point of view. How do you do it?
I’ve always had a great passion for music and art in general. I was born with a very creative mind and a voice that can do multiple things. Moreover, I take good care of myself, stay in shape, and have a very healthy living style. I’m 34 now and just won a 10 km run in south-west Germany and my winning time was the best I ever achieved. That’s nice! Being a mother also gives me so much power in my daily life. Having my own wonderful family is the greatest luck on earth! I consider myself a very lucky person: I’m able to combine family and music! I never earned the big money, however if I ever do, I have huge plans. My ultimate goal with my solo work is to sell “millions” of albums so I can start my own foundation, helping children in need worldwide. Moreover, I’m dreaming about starting a bilingual/trilingual music kindergarten for kids with special needs and abilities, children that have a “handicap” somehow and do not fit into the typical, official kindergarten concept. Music can help these children in a social, psychological and physical way and they have so many “hidden” abilities that we need to discover and trigger! This is only possible in such suitable, loving and stable surroundings like a “special” kindergarten or school. This is my dream for the future.
You’ve had an incredibly diverse and prolific career. Are there any songs from any stage in your career that hold a special place in your heart? What makes them so special?
“A Distance There Is” (ToT), “For Emily” (Leaves’ Eyes), “Irish Rain” (Leaves’ Eyes), “Blue Emptiness” (Liv K.), “Twofold” (Liv K.) and “The Rarest Flower” (Liv K.). They’re special because they’re all linked to happenings in my life and they make me cry every now and then. It’s like holding up a mirror to my own emotions.
What next for you after the Leaves’ Eyes US tour? Will you try to do some “Skintight” promotion in the new year?
My next tour will probably be an acoustic tour, some shows in December and the rest next February or March, in intimate locations, with chairs, candles… Let’s call it “A Night with Liv Kristine”. I will bring three musicians and play songs from my solo albums, some acoustic Leaves’ Eyes pearls and maybe “A Distance There Is”. Vocals, guitars, piano and percussion.
(Famous) Last words?
“My greatest luck is to give some happiness and love to others”. This is what my mother always told me and she is so right! Through my art, I am able to do this and my fans and friends have made my dream come true. I have the best fans in the world! Thank you!
Photos by Stefan Heilemann
Interview by Danny Robertson
Introducing Lateless, the metal quintet from Russia who released their second EP “Breath Again” earlier this year. Here we catch up with them to discuss a little about their history, their influences and their future plans.
How did the band first form?
Nataly: Originally the idea of collective creation was appeared in 2007, but together we were gathered only in February of 2009. On the first rehearsals our guitarist Vyacheslav has strummed a melody which other participants began to develop. During the second rehearsal we have been already working over almost ready composition, witch has been burnt so naturally. It was “Breath Again”. I think, it is possible to consider that it was a start line.
Yaroslav: The idea of creation of group at us was for a long time. Only in the beginning of 2009 we managed to all to gather and try the forces. All of us for a long time each other knew and consequently already nominees of musicians have been completed. There was the most important question and who will sing? And here on one of concerts our guitarist Vyacheslav has acquainted me with Natalia and through not which time, we have broken to rehearsals.
Would you say those same influences still help to shape the new material?
Nataly: Yes, of course. However, we are not standing at the same place. Music is alive being. It varies, it adapts to new conditions, it develops and improved. Lots of our tracks are not similar against each other as sometimes happens in families – brothers and sisters are very different they have different characters and absolutely different appearance.
Yaroslav: Initially nobody influenced us and I think, as now influence of whom or is minimum. When we only started to rehearse and think out tracks, we had no special concept, as well as that we will do, all is pure intuitively. I think that that moment will come soon that we already will start to influence some groups. Though it is unconditional in the world there is a weight of talented collectives. It is necessary to think. Now there comes autumn, and this season to me always the beginning-middle of September was pleasant especially. It such sad and melancholic, moderately depressive and romantic. I like to sit one not far from the house in park before lake, on to dream, on to think. The loneliness moves me to musical progress in respect of a music and material writing. Sometimes also I am am attacked by depression and I forget about all.
What are your aims? Is there a longtime dream you’d like to fulfill?
Nataly: To subdue the Everest and to make travel around the world. As to music … I am still in that fine condition when music is a language with help of which you can express your private world, tell something that is very important for you. As a matter of fact, I think that it is the highest creativity point from which the majority of musicians are begin, as paradoxical it isn’t be. But then become sad processes which put commercial success above internal freedom. I understand that it can seems very fondly, but, to my mind, the sense of creativity is consist of freedom of expression. And, of course, at is great happiness when your inwardness are understood and divided, when with the help of your imagination and your self-expression you can open something new to other people, and together you find the way to your own internal free “I”.
Yaroslav: Is more whole at present not so much, but they are. To write down an album, with a good and qualitative sound, the material at us is ready also I think that in the end of autumn in the beginning of winter we will sit down in studio and we will write down it. We will search in parallel publishing label, most likely the European. At us in Russia they are not professional enough. To win back concerts in support of an album. And further it will be visible? As to my dream, of what I can dream at me there is a favourite group in which I play, people with which it is pleasant to me to work.
Some bands prefer not to be pigeon-holed – are you comfortable as a band with specific labels? What genre of music do you most feel comfortable to be associated with?
Nataly: To tell the truth, as for me the classification has not got enough value. Of course, there are a lot of rules, subtleties and cunnings in the process of record of any music direction about which professionals know. That’s why the label for me an indicator of the sound’s quality, at first.
Yaroslav: We against stamps and a cliche over music, same first of all art. I am imposed by many styles and directions, now they will be not listed. As to labels, a situation simply pitiable. All of them by and large are not professional, a maximum that they can make it for group to print circulation of an album and to make T-shirts. What promo actions other, concerts and rounds in I will take albums are not made. At us it is a lot of groups and the majority of them is not necessary and a penny, 80 percent of groups are not professional, have no sufficient records and other. Not on think that it because of crisis so was always. As to us that we without a label, also I wish to address to all who reads this interview. We are ready to cooperation, write to us, we will be glad to contact.
Which current acts do you admire most?
Nataly: Inspiration is rather changeable woman. There are a lot of positive in my life now, and it helps me to write. Last text has turned out very sensual. It is possible to tell that the sensuality is inspiring me now.
Yaroslav: As to inspiration it comes spontaneously and unexpectedly. I as on the author of music I am influenced by very many things, it can be both weather and the feelings, any experiences, actions. And many other things that is in human consciousness.
What were your last 3 CD purchases?
Nataly: Ho! It was Oper “Aida”, Black Sabbath “Paranoid” and soundtracks from Tarantino’s films.
Yaroslav: Recently I not so often buy CD. Certainly it is bad, but I download music from the Internet, so much groups are simple because for about one hour and you do not know what to expect from their material. To download and listen easier, if the material clings me, I will go and I will buy CD. That I have got last three CDs, it were Amorphis, Long Distance Calling and perhaps Endless Journey.
What’s next for the band, where can we expect to see you in the coming months?
Nataly: We are planning to act in Murmansk the next month, and also we are planning to act in Saint-Petersburg, on a warming up of remarkable collective Amorphis, whose latest album was amazing. Respect!!!)
Yaroslav: Plans for the nearest some months the such. Now we prepare for several big concerts in the autumn in Russia. We will have a presentation of ours ?? “Breath Again” in the city of Murmansk in the north of Russia, its landscapes are similar to the Norwegian fjords. Then we play with Amorphis in St.Petersburg at them one concert in Russia in support of a new album. That will be further while foggy.
Any last messages you’d like to send out to people?
Nataly: Hope to see you soon!!!!
Yaroslav: First of all I wish to thank Femme Metal Webzine, and also in particular Miriam, for the shown interest to us. Listen to good and qualitative music. We hope for the further cooperation with you. Greetings from Russia.
Interview by Danny Robertson
Industrial quartet Lahannya are about to unleash their new album “Defiance” upon us. We spoke to frontwoman Lahannya to discuss the new material, and the future.
What initially inspired the story behind “Defiance” and last year’s release, “Welcome to The Underground” ?
Well Danny… Like the prequel told on “Welcome to the Underground“, our 2008 EP, “Defiance” is set in a future distopian Britain, which has evolved into a total surveillance society as a result of severe terror attacks. The protagonist of the story is a resistance fighter who is plagued by feelings of guilt and anger for having inadvertently contributed to the rise of this brave, new Britain. The setting of “Defiance” is mostly inspired by current political and technological developments as the UK is slowly turning from one of the most liberal countries in Europe into a surveillance state par excellence. With 5 million cameras CCTV is omnipresent and DNA details pertaining to over 5 per cent of the population are held in a national database as a tool in combating terrorism. Biometric ID cards are already being introduced and more and more government databases are being centralised resulting in our private lives becoming increasingly transparent. It might not be long before we are forced to make difficult choices affecting our principles and lifestyles. The storyline of “Defiance” imagines what those choices and their consequences might be?
How long did it take to put the whole album together?
Basically, although we wrote a couple of the songs from “Defiance” while still working on “Welcome to the Underground”, the real song writing work for this album only started in September last year. All in all, it took around a year to put the new album together.
Was it a conscious decision to make this album more rockier?
The majority of songs on “Defiance” deal with betrayal, hatred, the consequences of difficult decisions and revenge and, when the lyrics deal with such strong emotions then the music has to follow suit! “Defiance” has become our darkest and most aggressive release to date because of it. I must say I very much like the direction it’s taken and absolutely love performing the new songs live!
Will the story of the resistance fighter be continued on future releases?
Let’s see? I’ve really enjoyed writing songs that follow a storyline, creating the right setting and putting every song into a context. For me the story is definitely not finished yet because it ends with a terrible betrayal and declaration of war…. so I am very much looking forward to working out the next instalment and finding out myself what happens next to my heroine and her companions…
Many labels have been applied to your music in the past, but how would you describe your sound?
I’ve given up describing our sound because it combines influences from quite a variety of genres and therefore doesn’t neatly fit an obvious description. In the press, we’ve quite often been compared to Evanescence and Lacuna Coil, which is very flattering but quite misleading in my opinion. The best and certainly most innovative comparison to date came from “Heavy”, the third biggest metal magazine in Germany, who said our sound was “a mixture of Zeromancer, Pain and Madonna”!
What influences you the most, musically and non-musically?
Lyrically, I take a lot of my influences from what is going on around me and from my own experiences and emotions. Since our last couple of releases were set in a futuristic Britain I’ve also done a lot of reading up on socio-political issues and took inspiration from science-fiction literature. Musically, I was probably subconsciously influenced by everything I like and have been listening to – whether I wanted to or not. Over the last couple of years I’ve been listening to a lot more metal, which I am sure has left its mark on my song writing and the overall, general feel of the album.
Which current acts do you admire most, or feel you have most in common with?
There are a lot of great bands out there – I have a ton of respect for System of a Down, Rammstein and The Prodigy for being incredible live bands and entertainers…. But, there are also lesser known bands that I really like – Sacred Mother Tongue I saw by pure chance on their first London show and I’m sure they’ll be going places in the metal world and The LoveCrave from Italy are definitely the most fun band out of all the bands I’ve ever played with recently! Meeting other artists and bands is actually one of the most enjoyable aspects of what I do. For the upcoming German and UK tours I’ve personally selected 90 per cent of the support bands in each city, which involved sifting through a lot of MySpace profiles before contacting the bands I liked best. Now I am looking forward very much to seeing these bands live because I really love their music and hope our fans will enjoy my selections as well.
Are there any upcoming acts or releases you’d like to recommend to people?
Yes… Although it’s not really a new release and the band is no longer a newcomer, I would very much recommend that people check out Mankind Is Obsolete’s album “Trapped Inside”. For me it’s a great industrial rock album with a perfect balance of heavy guitars and electronics, with some amazing vocals and creative lyrics. It’s such a shame that the band is not better known, they definitely deserve to have international success!
What have been your personal career highlights thus far?
Playing this year’s Wave Gotik Treffen in Germany and Metal Female Voices Fest in Belgium; both were absolutely amazing experiences and career highlights for me personally. The other highlight was the release of our second album “Defiance”. A lot of sweat, blood and tears went into it and holding it finally in my hands was an incredible feeling!
What are your current aims for the future?
Like all bands I suppose, I’d like to start playing larger venues in the UK and Germany where we perform regularly and then, extend our tours to the rest of Europe. I’d love to play live shows in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy, where I know we have fans… We keep getting asked to play in their countries, so I hope to be able to do it very soon!
What’s next for the band? Whereabouts will you be touring in coming months?
Having played six festivals this year, we’re finishing 2009 with a 15-date German and UK tour going to great places like Sheffield, Leeds, Glasgow, Nottingham and London as well as Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg. All the dates are on www.lahannya.com. We haven’t really started making concrete plans for next year yet because the current one has been keeping us so busy, but I’d definitely like to continue touring, playing festivals and start writing new songs too….
Any last messages for people?
Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far – see you on the current tour! Check www.lahannya.com for the dates!! – Cheers!!
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