Interview by Si Smith
Intro by Miriam C.
It’s the second time that we give space to Candice Night, the first time it was for promote her debut solo album “Reflections” now it’s time for a new Blackmore’s Night record and precisely is the DVD “A Night in York”. Let’s see hear (or better read) the details straight away from the enchanting and dreamy Candice.
First of all congratulations on the DVD and more importantly the birth of your new musketeer Rory Dartanyan! It must be a great time for the family.
It really is. He is my spiritual, peaceful child. When all else is chaotic in the world, he just grabs your face and looks into your soul and you breathe him in and all is well. I’ve been calling him my zen baby since the 1st day in the hospital. And Autumn LOVES her baby brother. They have an amazing relationship.
The last time we spoke to you was for your solo album. As a metal based webzine we enjoy supporting related genres as well. Blackmore’s Night has always seemed to defy genre definition, crossing several genres. How would you describe Blackmore’s Night music to a newcomer?
It is a variety of fantasy music that incorporates rock, regional ethnic, tavern/gypsy music with ballads, instrumentals and Renaissance music.
This was your first trip back to England for a while. Why did you choose to film the DVD in England?
Our first DVD, “Castles and Dreams”, was shot in a medieval castle in Germany in 2004; the next one was in the Olympia Theater in Paris in 2007. Since then we have put out 2 more CDs and we do a lot of the songs in concert that have different arrangements than what is on CD. So, a haunted opera house in a medieval city seemed like the perfect venue to record and show these newer songs on DVD.
Your set contains a great mixture of slow tracks and upbeat dance numbers. How did the audience respond?
Great. They were an amazing audience. People think that the English audiences will be more reserved, but more people dress up in costume and garb in England than anywhere else. Ritchie amends the set list per night based on the audience’s energy so he’s constantly reading them.
You describe this as a “trip through the ages”. Have you a favourite historical era you would like to have lived in?
I think the greatest thing about living now is that you can choose from the eras that have come before to see what feels right to you and then incorporate that into your life today. I love the romantic visuals and castles from the Renaissance time; the costume and garb of the Victorian era; and the creativity of the 1960’s. And I bring a bit of each of these things into my life now.
As always your outfit is beautiful and really compliments the performance. Is it your own work?
Thank you. I guess it is. I tend to collect things as I go along whether it is from vintage shops, Renaissance faire vendors or gothic shops and piece everything together to make it my own look. It’s like a patchwork outfit from lots of different fabrics.
Despite the grandiose setting you manage to create that intimacy even from the beginning as you tell us about Autumn and how she sleeps and drinks. We almost feel part of the family! Is that intimacy with the audience important to you?
Yes, it is, because our audiences are more than just audiences. I feel as if when they understand us though our music, its as if they understand us deeply- more so than someone who would just have a chance meeting in the street or even who have known us for years. The music level is a deeper level than conversation, so I feel comfortable sharing things with them. I used to say that fans are just the friends we haven’t met yet, and I still feel that way.
You sing some songs form “Autumn Sky” and some from older releases. How do you decide on a set list? Is it set in stone?
Never set in stone. Ritchie changes the set list as we go along and no one ever knows what he is going to play next. He does it based on the audience, on the venue, on how the songs ring in the hall, on his mood. It all depends.
For “World of Stone” you speak of your love for Renaissance music. What is it about this music that captivates you?
It is an honest music. In my mind, it was from when people played for the pure love and passion of the melody. Not to get on MTV or be played on the radio. It’s this passion and mystery that makes it so enthralling.
A magical moment is when Autumn joins you on stage. How has she taken to the minstrel’s life? What did she really think about it?
She absolutely loves it. Loves meeting new people. Stands on the side of the stage and each time Ritchie changes a guitar she says “Now? Dada? Now?”, she always wants to be on the stage! She sings every word to every song, dances and spins in circles and pretends to be the band members or play their instruments months after we are back home. She is a true performer. Perfect tempo, perfect pitch- it’s a little scary.
At one point you duet with a rather male Lady Gaga. Are there any real life collaborations you would like to pursue in the future?
The people I am fans of are the people I’d be afraid to meet in case they weren’t what I thought they were in my mind. I love Don Henley, but I can’t imagine ever recording anything with him. I’m a big fan of the 80’s rock and metal bands too but I think we’re in different world musically – though it did work with Helloween so who knows?
Finally, one theme of the show seems to be “magic is here”. How important is it to find our place in nature and the world? Can music help?
Music can help everything. Help you heal, help you celebrate, help you make it through and help you to dream. Our place in the world helps you to find yourself too and in turn help to heal the world. So it’s all cyclical.
It has been a pleasure talking to you. Thanks so much for this interview.
Interview by Si Smith
From the gothic wastes of Québec, Canada, come a band determind to put some melancholy back in your day – Endless Night cite some of their inspirations as “traumas, suffering, murder and mourning”. Yet one listen to their debut CD “Haunted Lullabies” shows that not all is doom and gloom. There are also some hefty guitar riffs on here and some meaty solos. So what is it that drives Endless Night? I spoke to vocalist and keyboardist Emi to find out…
Firstly, thanks very much for the interview and a warm welcome from all at Femme Metal.
I also want to thank you! It’s an honor to be interviewed by Femme Metal!
Endless Night is a four-piece at present. It can’t be helped noticing however that a lot of the publicity focuses on you – how have you found it stepping into the role of front-person for the band? Is it a role that comes naturally to you?
First of all, I entered the band as a keyboardist. I had no idea I was about to become a frontwoman! But it soon became evident: we needed one. So I decided to give it a try. Since then, I have never stopped loving it! In everyday life, I am calm and introverted but with Endless Night I express myself and rock on! It’s because music is very much like storytelling; and I’ve got a story to tell.
As this is your debut release, many of our readers may not yet be aware of you. Would you like to introduce your fellow band-members to us, and maybe tell us how they all contribute to Endless Night?
Wared is the guitarist. He is the strength in Endless Night’s sound: pure emotions, no futile detours. He pays a huge attention to his sound. He is an excellent organizer and views the band not only as a member, but also with a manager’s eye. Franky is a self-taught bassist. He brings to us an energized and fierce sound. For him, Endless Night is not only about expressing suffering and darkness, it’s also an undeniable effort to bring his passion and music to a higher level. The drummer, Jay, is the most recent member of the band. He’s a well-grown musician we can always count on. He’s been studying his instrument for a long time now and knows how to bring a catchy melody to life. And as the signer, I am the member who is the most in touch with the band’s concepts and moods. Everyone takes part in the songwriting process, but I am the only lyrics writer.
The band was formed “officially” in 2008 with you on vocals and piano. How do you manage to put your all into the vocal performance when you are also the musician at the piano? Does it pose problems live?
I have learned the piano for more than eleven years now, so I am able to coordinate my hands with my voice without any problems. It just takes a little practice. But I don’t find it interesting to see a front person locked behind the keyboard, so we have most of the pianos and choirs on playback. I like to move on stage!
You managed to get a track featured on the World of Glass compilation. In what ways did that help you?
It gives us visibility in a different context than MySpace or Facebook. Because it is an all women-fronted metal bands compilation, our music can be listened to by people who have more chance of loving it but would have maybe not find us without this. It also gave us some contacts with very great people we are very thankful to, Raquel Senra, for instance.
Your debut CD is self-financed, something that is becoming more popular these days. If you don’t mind me asking, what was the most expensive part of the process (just to warn any up and coming bands that might be heading that way) ? What were the main advantages or drawbacks of doing things this way?
The most expensive part of the process were the recording sessions. The main advantage was our independence: we had the choice to do whatever we wanted to with our sound. Obviously, the main drawback is the production’s cost.
On your Facebook page you quote contrasting bands such as Evanescence and Rammstein as some of your influences. In what way do other bands such as these influence your sound?
We draw inspiration form a great variety of bands, because every member of Endless Night has different influences. However, some of these influences are common. These show in subtle ways, sometimes in the musicality of the melodies, in the drum lines, in the “catchiness” of the guitar riffs, or in the visual aspect.
Across the album you seem to have a preference for the lower register in your vocals. How do you think that assists in conveying some of the emotion of the songs?
This low register gives a heavy mood to the songs. It can express anger or sadness. However, since the album recording, my voice has evolved a lot, as has my higher register. But even in high notes, my voice is never crystal-clear, it always keeps a deep, round sound; I’m a mezzo-soprano.
“Hear This Now” is one of your heavier songs. What is it you would like us to hear in this song?
It talks about unhealthy habits that we all have that make our world worse than it should be; that make our world darker and darker, but also, this is one of our songs that, as of today, has been rethought a little bit to be more catchy to make a stronger contrast with the lyrics.
Like many bands before you, you have included a ballad on the album, “Burial (for My Mortician)”. As this is mostly you and the piano, does this song have any particular personal meaning for you?
Yes, it is the first song I entirely wrote the musical parts and the lyrics, as all my lyrics, have a deep meaning. They are basically a story of lost friendship.
As the album is quite a melancholy offering, how would you hope that a listener would feel after listening to your album?
We wish that the listener would enter into our mood and musical environment but not necessarily feel depressed: we only wish the listener to find himself and to travel in our music, so that he lives the story we tell in each song.
Bands often develop and mature as they produce more albums. How would you envisage Endless Night developing by the time of your next release?
Our next release will be less eclectic; it will have a more defined sound. We worked very hard on defining what we want to stand out in our music and in which way we want to tell our stories, but now, I think we have found it. A heavier sound with more catchy vocal lines, less experimental structures and powerful, but not overloaded drum lines is where we have headed.
The band has stated that its intention is “Établir un contraste entre l’enfance et l’horreur, la nuit”…how do you think this album fulfils that?
Lyrically, most of the songs fulfil this goal, for instance, “Trauma”, “Winter Cloak”, “Childhood Prejudice”. Musically, it’s the combination of soft piano melodies with more heavy guitars that brings us there.
I went on to Pixule.com where fans can vote for their favourite band on CD3 of the World of Glass compilation. (of course I voted for you…) The results so far is that you are third from the top!! Far above more “well-established” bands such as Pythia, Echoterra and Ancient Bards, who only managed to scrape 1% of the vote each. How does that make you feel?
Thanks for voting for us! We are pleased to see these results! It shows that we have wonderful friends and fans. We always try to make strong bonds with them, because the human experience is important for us. As I said before, that music can be about storytelling, but it’s also about giving, and we give all that we can!
One final question before we leave: you are a four-piece, but would you introduce us to the fifth member of the band that we see you holding in your myspace photo?
Haha!! This is a little doll we had for a photoshoot and we thought it showed well the innocence and the sensibility of childhood. However, we don’t have it anymore: it has been replaced by a teddy bear with a blue bow. It is on our album cover and I bring it on stage in every show, it is like our mascot! Haha!!
Thank you once again for your time, and we wish you well in the band’s future!!
Thank’s to YOU!!! I wish long life to Femme Metal!
Interview by Robin Stryker
Gritty, Jack Daniels-fueled punk rock is alive and well in London. Nemhain, formed in 2006 by vocalist Amber Erlandsson and her husband, drumming maestro Adrian Erlandsson (ex-Cradle of Filth, The Haunted, At the Gates), have just unleashed their debut album, “From the Ashes” (released 22 January 2010 on Tiefdruck Musik). The band’s name captures the essence of its music perfectly – Nemhain is the Celtic goddess of battle frenzy. And what a frenzy it is! With a pair of oven mitts and a fire extinguisher close at hand, Femme Metal sat down with Amber (aka Morrigan Hel) to get the whole story from the fire-breathing Welsh dragon herself.
Welcome, Amber! Please tell us more about Nemhain’s blues-stained style of punk rock.
Cheers! It’s best listened to when absolutely hammered apparently. We’re loud, confident and wrong!
“From the Ashes” includes a raging cover of The Gits’ “Second Skin” as a duet with Pete Dolving (The Haunted). Why did you choose this song to cover?
It was actually Lakis who came up with the idea. He came to try out for us and said whether he joined the band or not we had to hear this song and maybe cover it. It’s a great song and fits what we’re about. It’s also a tribute to Mia Zapata and The Gits.
Which tracks mean the most to you personally?
They all do really, although my personal favourites are “Clear My Eyes”, “Heroin Child”, “Jane Doe”, “Babylonia”, “Speed Queen” and “Second Skin”.
If I understand correctly, you were in a couple of bands and wrote many of the lyrics to “Girls Like Honey” as a teenager but Nemhain is your first experience with recording and gigging. What made you decide to go for it as a professional musician?
It’s something I’d always wanted to do. I got to my 27th birthday and figured if I don’t make a go of it now I’ll have missed the rock n roll boat for good :S
Would you introduce the other members of Nemhain and tell us a little something about each one?
Lakis (Guitar): Is a strange creature from the planet Lak. He gets tangled in guitar leads, has nearly been run over a few times and attracts nutcases where ever we go. He also likes to pace a lot, especially in confined spaces!
Sam (Guitar): Is currently being taken over by his own beard. He has a talent for scat and does some cracking drive by scatting! He also seems to have a hat fetish and smokes brown roll ups.
Lisa (Bass & Vocals): Has OCD and a herd of wild Shitzus. She seems to attract hairy things. She also has narcolepsy and is made up of really intense energy drinks and the blackest coffee…
Adrian (Drums): Likes to hit things, a violent love/hate relationship with mobile phones, horrendous flatulence and a pocket full of pranks ready to weaken people at every opportunity. He’s also extremely food aggressive, be warned.
Here at Femme Metal, we are suckers for romance. How did you meet your husband, Adrian? Was there a specific moment that made you think, “yeah, he’s the one”?
I was working for Cradle of Filth at a signing when we first met, he’d only just joined the band. He chased me around plying me with Jack Daniels and trying to feed me things. He also fixed my boot which is always a winner. We got married after 7 weeks and now we’re coming up to our 9 year anniversary! J
Lest people think that my dragon remark was rude, you really are a fire performer who has torched the stage with bands like Motorhead, Cradle of Filth and Godhead. How in the world does one get into the fire-breathing biz? Have you had any close calls?
Initially I was just messing around with a load of friends in the park, just for fun. A few years later I met my partner Sophia Landi and she taught me a lot and it all went from there really. When I was learning to eat fire and body burn, I got quite a few burns in my mouth/tongue and on my body but nothing too serious. The worst thing that’s happened is that I ended up with Chemical Pneumonia from fire breathing. I was really sick for almost a month. Fire breathing is pretty lethal and I really wouldn’t recommend it, it can kill you if you’re not careful.
Turning from one type of blistering vocals to another, I understand that you have been working with a vocal coach for quite some time now. What areas are you focusing on at the moment?
I’d never had any vocal coaching other than two lessons with a friend back in 2006 and one three weeks ago with a lady called Tona Da Brett. I’ve got some vocal books and CDs but other than that I’ve just learned through trial and error and believe me there’s been a lot of it ha ha!
Do you play any instruments?
I played violin at school but haven’t touched one in years. I’ve got a lovely matt black Les Paul guitar and a red Zombie. I play mainly for fun and writing vocal harmonies but I’d really love to play live one day when I’m good enough.
With a background as a professional dancer, movie actress, performance artist, fetish model and Domina, you had extensive exposure to bands, performing and the media before forming Nemhain. Do you feel that your previous experience has been helpful?
To an extent it helps with stage fright but singing live for up to an hour takes a lot of stamina which is something I’ve really had to build up. When I first started out, I’d lose my voice but you learn to breathe and use the right muscles pretty quick! It’s either that or no voice.
On the flip side, are you ever underestimated as “just an über-babe propped behind a microphone” (which completely ignores the fact that you write the lyrics)?
Ha ha, propped up! I do tend to prop myself up with my mic stand if I’ve had a few too many I’m sure there are probably plenty of negative opinions out there, but if you let that bother you’ll just end up turning into a paranoid wreck. Anyone who knows me will know the amount of hard work that’s gone into this band, there’s a lot more than just writing and performing. There’s artwork, promotion, booking gigs, organising shoots, the list goes on…
Nemhain and your stage name (Morrigan Hel) are both based on mythology. What is the lure of Celtic and Norse mythology for you?
I was fascinated by the Occult from an early age and part of it involved connecting with aspects of a deity. Celtic mythology is closest to my heart as it all comes from the UK & Ireland. I came across a book which featured The Morrigan pretty heavily & I had some really weird dreams after reading it. I then decided to take it on as a stage name, I think I was about 18 at the time. The Hel part is the Norse Goddess of the underworld and seemed like a good coupling. I used to skive off of school quite a lot as a teenager and spent a lot of my time reading about the Occult and Astrology, writing lyrics, drinking way too much cider and generally being a pain in the arse!
Time for random non-musical trivia … Favourite pair of ridiculously high shoes?
I’ve got a beautiful pair of black leather Alexander McQueen shoe/boots with skull details.
Cheese-toasties or chocolate?
Definitely cheese toasties, preferably with red onion and mayonnaise!!! Chocolate I can take or leave
Favourite piece of weaponry?
I’ve got a really nice, almost surgical style Japanese knife that I love.
Things you love?
My husband and close friends/band mates, my geriatric cat andsnakes. The smell of leather, music, fire, garlic, cheese, chili, travel, wildlife, food, booze, freedom, humour, the ridiculous and a good pub!
Things you hate?
Mediocrity, single white females, insecurity and jealousy are horrible traits, liars. Teddy bears, Hello Kitty, the overly processed, people with delusions of grandeur. Crowds and people who have loads of children without thinking about the consequences and then neglect them.
Causes that are closest to your heart?
Preventing animal cruelty, hate crimes and rape.
Your idea of a perfect day?
Being in bed with my husband
I was disappointed to read that the RockInvasion tour with Nemhain, Black Sonic and Die So Fluid has been postponed. Is Nemhain lining up new gigs?
It was a real shame but it will hopefully be rescheduled for later in the year. We have another tour planned for May with The Cumshots, M.A.N and Superbutt. It’s a longer tour and we’re really excited about it.
What plans do you and Nemhain have for 2010?
Finishing “Murder Mile” our photo studio, finishing and recording the second Nemhain album, filming a new video, tearing it up at festivals and live shows, and draining bars all around the world dry!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with Femme Metal, Amber. Any last words for your fans?
Thanks so much for all the support, it means a lot. Be sure to pour yourself a stiff one (or ten) and play “From the Ashes” until your ears bleed! XxX
Review by Tony Cannella
From Canada, Endless Night was formed in 2008, with their debut effort “Haunted Lullabies” being released in 2009. Endless Night describe their sound as Powerpop mixed with Gothic Metal. I also hear a bit of an Evanescence style in their music. Front woman Emi has a strong voice, that at times reminds me of Amy Lee, but that is only at certain times throughout the 7-song, 30-minute debut. The opener “The Play of Our Agony” begins with a little piano intro before being replaced by a grinding guitar riff, as the expressive vocals of Emi takes over. This opener boasts a steady pace throughout and features a pretty cool guitar solo, courtesy of Wared. One thing that is constant throughout “Haunted Lullabies” is the big, heavy guitar riffs that are present. The one exception being “Burial (for My Mortician)” which is the lone ballad included here. Other highlights included on “Haunted Lullabies”: “Black-Red Blood”, “Hear This Now”, “Winter Cloak” and “Trauma”. Overall, the sound on “Haunted Lullabies” has a live feel to it, which is another point in its favor. Not a bad debut from Endless Night. Since “Haunted Lullabies” was released two years ago, it will be interesting to see and follow the progression of this quality outfit from the Great White North.
Rating – 78/100
- The Play of Our Agony
- Black Red-Blood
- Hear This Now
- Winter Cloak
- Burial (for My Mortician)
- Childhood Prejudice
- Emi – Vocals & Piano
- Wared – Guitar
- Franky – Bass
- Jay – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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