Label : Underground Symphony
Review by Tony Cannella
The veteran Italian Melodic power metal band Skylark returns with their ninth album. It is hard to believe that this band has been around this long, but since their inception Skylark has maintained a certain level of consistency that their fan base has come to love. Skylark also returns with a new singer. She is an American named Ashley Watson and she makes her debut on their new album “Twilights of Sand”. Skylark is primarily known for their conceptual “Divine Gates Trilogy”, and “Twilights of Sand” has some of the same traits that “Divine Gates” had. The new lead vocalist Ashley Watson fits in quite well with the rest of the band. She’s got a likeable voice and she would not sound out of place singing in a pop band, but she also handles the heavier material quite well. In addition to Ashley, there are also a number of male vocalists who takes part as well as some other female vocalists – it really would have been helpful to have a bio sheet, because it is hard to decipher who sings what but I am pretty sure Ashley Watson handles the bulk of the female vocals. The intro track “The Tears of Jupiter” kicks things off and leads us into “The Princess and Belzebú”. This is an ok song, but I am not sure if I like the male vocals here. The female vocals are good but the male seems a bit out of place. Other than that it is a pretty up-tempo song. “She” is next and has a pounding classic power metal vibe. The next track “Love Song” is really not a love song (in fact the chorus says “This is not a love song”) and it has a really fast tempo to it and is one of my favorites. There is some other pretty cool material on here like “Tears”, “Lions Are the World” and “The Wings of the Typhoon”. Another one of my favorites instantly became “Aitakatta” I have no idea what the title means, but it is such a departure from the rest of the album. It has a fast up-tempo, bouncy and happy vibe to it. The epic 10-minute track “Little Girl” concludes this album which clocks in at almost 80-minutes. “Little Girl” features the best of the male vocals on this album in my opinion and has a classic rock feel to it. The limited edition comes with a bonus CD featuring alternative, unreleased and different takes on some of the material. Skylark has already become a hit in Japan. Let’s hope that the rest of the world will give this band a chance too.
Rating – 78/100
- The Tears of Jupiter
- The Princess and Belzebú
- Love Song
- Lions Are The World
- The Wings of the Typhoon
- Sands of Time
- Mystery of the Night
- Road to Heaven
- Believe in Love
- Follow Your Dreams
- Little Girl
Disc 2 (Limited Edition)
- Aitakatta (2nd Version)
- Follow Your Dreams (Female Voice Version)
- Time (Remastered Version)
- Faded Fantasy (Remastered Version)
- Symbol of Freedom (Featuring David DeFeis)
- Follow Your Dreams (Male Voice Version)
- Song for a Day
- Aitakatta (Karaoke Version)
- Sands of Time (Demo Version)
- Symbol of Freedom (2nd Version)
- Night of Pain (Featuring Fabio Dozzo)
- Eyes (Video Version)
- Ashley Watson – Vocals
- Fabrizio Romani – Guitars
- Eddy Antonini – Keyboards
- Roberto Potenti – Bass
- Federico Ria – Drums
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Dama is a gothic Italian band that is moving its own first step in the metal music business. I had the chance to exchange some words with the beautiful frontwoman, Barbara, who has explained me a little tricky things about her band and her passion for music. Follow with us what this wonderful lady told in the interview that follows here.
Hi Barbara. Welcome to Femme Metal. How are you doing?
Hi Roberta! I’m fine thanks and happy to talk to you..
You are the singer of the gothic italian band called Dama, band that was born in Milan, after a meeting you had with the drummer Pierfrancesco Tarantino. Could you please tell something more about you and on your band, for those who still don’t know your music?
Sure, the Dama project is born in lately 2007 when Pierfrancesco listened to a few of my songs and asked me a collaboration. we officially formed the band when the keyboard player and sound engineer Danilo Di Lorenzo, the bass player Roberto Gelli and the guitarist Cristian Comizzoli join in 2008. During that year we released a promo called “Dama” and we worked on the idea for our debut album “Eirwen” and here we are.
Talking about the name of the band: Dama is the name that you wanted to create for the band and I know that you’re a fan of gothic churches. What could you tell about it? Why have you decided this name?
I am a real lover of gothic cathedrals dedicated to Notre Dame. I studied their history, architecture, spiritual meanings, symbology and I visited most of them in France during a summer. When I came back from that journey I was totally in love and I decided to celebrate them calling my band Dama. I think Dama is an evocative word that well represents the world I was creating that period.
Before creating Dama, were you working with other bands or were you already thinking, in the early 2007, to create your own band?
I had a band in 2003 called Veil of Maya with Emanuele Rastelli from Magnifiqat, we played and wrote songs just for fun. Emanuele pushed me into writing and in 2004 we recorded a demo. One of those songs, “Alba”, written by my dear friend Federico Rebusso who played guitar in Veil of Maya, has been rearranged by Pierfrancesco and included in “Eirwen”.
Dama is not related to the metal world, but it is closet to a gothic rock sound, influenced maybe by some female fronted bands. Do you agree with this? Which words describe best the real Dama sound?
Yes, The Dama sound for this album is a mix of gothic, rock and also a bit of pop. It has something of the melodic symphonic metal from the north of europe too. We’ve freely used all the ingredients we needed to describe the world I got in my mind.. and that’s the result.
A few months ago, on June, your debut album “Eirwen” was released for Ravenheart Records. The album is based on gothic rock, symphonic, maybe also a bit “pop” sound, if we could say so. What was the feedback from fans about this record? Has it got good reviews?
Well, I can proudly say that “Eirwen” has got good good reviews, it has been the top album of SpazioRock in August and foreign people have appreciated the italian part of the album too, that was a challenge! I think that our artistic intent has been well perceived and the “Eirwen” world now has a lot of inhabitants:). What we’ve read mostly is that this album has a unique and elegant sound, and someone wrote I am a poet;) . I guess we could say that the feedback has been positive!
The title of the album, “Eirwen”, initially, only by reading, reminded me of something related to the Celtic worlds; but where does this name really come from and why have you guys chosen this for your debut album?
When we had to decide on the title of the album, I asked myself which language would have been the best since it is both in Italian and English, we thought that it had to be something which could be read in both languages or which on the other hand, shouldn’t be of any of the two. Given my passion for the the celtic world, I decided on an word with a celtic origin. Eirwen means “white snow” in celtic and is composed from the word “eira” which means snow and “Gwen” which indicates white and everything which is pure, absolutely the perfect title!
The album consists of “two sides”: “Immaginario”, which mainly contains tracks written and sung in Italian, and “Imaginary”, the English side. Why did you choose to re-propose the same songs in English? What did you want to bet when you recorded the album?
We only wanted to play what naturally came from us.. when I write the songs at the piano they come out with a linguistic identity; Some of them come out in Italian, some in English and I know that some can be played in both languages and some absolutely not. And that’s what happened. Italian is a beautiful and evocative language and it’s been fundamental to create the “Eirwen” world.
Who of you does it write the music, basically? Which has been the resounding part of recording this album? How much of yourself is there in the record?
I wrote all the music and words by myself at the piano, except the music of “Alba” (“Breaking Dawn” in the english part of the cd). After the composing step we worked in studio together where the magical mind of Pierfrancesco has created all the arrangements. Finally Danilo as our soundengineer has refined the original intentions working on the sound. We’ve had great, great moments! I can tell that in this record there’s all of me thanks to my partner’s work.
What does it mean, for you and the guys, this album? What is its real meaning?
“Eirwen” as I said is a world, a world made of ice, passion, love, whispers, woods, nights and rebirth. A story of an “emotional defreezing” through the rediscovery of love. It’s been a deep and intense work for us… I think we’ll remind those days forever!
You’re the main writer of the lyrics. Where does the inspiration come from, in order to create a very good lyric?
Inspiration comes from life, experiences I live and fantasies I have… The books I read help me to find my own way of writing too. For example the song I called “Eliot” has been inspired by Thomas Stearns Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland”. I write instinctually, words and music often come out together… even though sometimes, when I define the lyrics, I get stuck with a word for days!
How many autobiographical sides are there in “Eirwen”?
“Eirwen” is completely autobiographical
Last year, your first videoclip has been released, “Regina d’Inverno” (very nice video). What can you tell about it?
Thank you! I loved the shooting, it’s been a great day! We were in a suggestive place in the reserve of the casentinesi forests, the director Stefano Bertelli has made a very good work and we ‘ve had a good time. The location was perfect for the atmospheres of “Regina d’Inverno” and helped me to feel in the right mood to perform.
In this album, there’s also a song by Madonna: “Live to Tell”, rearranged in a gothic key. Why did you want to make this song?
I decided I would be an artist the first time I saw Madonna performing live.. I was 6 or 7. I’ve been loving “Live to Tell” since I was a child and this cover is a tribute to an artist who enhanced my passion for art during the childhood.
Barbara, I should say that I’ve been quite impressed by your voice. How did your music education/music growth happen?
Thank you again Roberta, I began to approach the piano when I was about 11 and at the same time I discovered my voice and I tried to compose my first songs. I took my first modern singing lesson when I was 18 and I’ve never quit!.
I know that you had the great pleasure to cooperate with Anastacia. What can you tell about this cooperation? Which are your impressions about it/about her?
I’ve written and performed the main part of the soundtrack of the movie “All You Can Dream” in which Anastacia played herself but I’ve never met her personally. I guess I’ll have the pleasure to know her when the movie will be released in theaters in April. “All You Can Dream” is a family movie and I’ve had to write songs really far from my “artistic habits”, it’s been funny… as a songwriter I love writing for different situations and for different genres, it tastes like playing different roles for an actor.
Have you ever thought of cooperating with some other musicians in future? Who would you like to cooperate with?
I love to have the opportunity to collaborate with other good musicians ’cause it always allows you to learn new things. Recently I’ve recorded a song called “Berenice” for the death metal band Wake Arcane which will be included in their debut album “The Black Season”. For the future I’d like to collaborate with a foreign artist or band, I really, really would love it!
Which are the bands or the musician that have influenced you the most and that, now, still influence your music tastes?
Tori Amos and Kate Bush above all! I obviously love female fronted bands as Evanescence, Within Temptation, Epica, Nightwish, The Gathering and Lacuna Coil. I am an omnivorous listener, from classical music to grunge.. I love russian composers in classical and on the other side indie bands and songwriters from all over the world. I got an open approach, everything touches my emotions is welcome to my playlist!
Now that the album has been released, will you focus yourself on some other new project?
We are working on a soundtrack for a book of a young italian writer, it’s a very interesting project! You’ll listen to our new song called “Echoes” soon, I can’t wait…
Thank so much, Barbara, for the very nice chat. You have the chance to speak to Femme metal users and to Dama fans. What would you like to say?
Thanks to you and to all the Femme Metal Users! Have a great 2012 and Keep supporting Dama!
Interview by Andy Axworthy
It takes a special kind of alchemy to pull off mixing operatic vocals and progressive metal, classical with modern, in a way that stands out within an increasingly crowded genre. To pull off creating gold with your first album is something else entirely. That first album is “Between Life and Dreams”, the city is Milan, and the alchemists… Deva. When this band mentions classical and modern, they really do mean The Teatro alla Scala and the Accademia della Chitarra Rock a Milano. Femme Metal sat down with vocalist Beatrice Palumbo to find out more.
Hi Beatrice, and a warm welcome from Andy and all at Femme Metal.
Your first album “Between Life and Dreams” was released in April 2010, however the band has been together for a number of years. Can you tell us how the band formed and about the other members?
“Between Life And Dreams” is the final step of a quite long walk. Deva, as a band, was formed in 2003 when I met Federico Salerno and Myriam Stallone. After one year Marco Castiglione joined the project. At the time, we had a drummer – Simone Rossi – who was then replaced by Thomas D’Alba in 2007. All these years before the album were spent not only composing and arranging our songs, but also (and maybe mostly) building up the experience that every professional band needs to do something really serious. And we definitely wanted it!
Federico is a talented composer and guitarist (he’s graduating at the Rock Guitar Academy, here in Milan); he knows enough about modern instruments and arranging techniques, he teaches electric guitar in several structures.
Myriam for me is like a sister: two girls in the same band, that’s female power! She’s very creative with the bass, very melodic. She’s also graduated in Philosophy and she’s a very good listener of both Classical and Metal music, especially the modern Progressive Metal projects.
Marco is our “Metal Guru”: name a band, he knows it! His instruments are the synthesizers but he also plays bass and he studied sound engineering and the art of making stringed instruments. Thomas, our drummer and last entry, is very expert about his instrument. he knows everything about drums, techniques and music styles. This is really helpful, it’s like when you can pick from a tray whatever you like! It’s the interaction between five people that makes Deva what it is but I’m sure we’ll talk more about it…
As of then, I focused my life on becoming a singer, but to be honest, at that time, I couldn’t imagine I would have been giving an interview for a metal magazine. Growing up, I kept studying singing at the Conservatory, where I have also started to play the Viola da gamba (I think a good singer should also be able to play at least an instrument) and then Deva came and they changed my life, completely! Now, I live a double-sided life: I keep walking my path as a young solo opera singer and I am the singer in a metal band.The path is difficult on both ways but one helps to be complete on the other and vice versa. The only difference is that the metal world accepts and respects my classical path, while on the other way around, sometimes, the classical world doesn’t accept my decision to be a metal singer. Would you say that this background has allowed you to avoid any preconceptions and enabled you to freely explore and evolve your own vocal style with Deva? For sure, since I joined Deva I have changed the way to see and live my voice. The greatest difference, in my opinion, is that from just being a simple performer of classical pieces, I have also become a writer/composer of what I sing. My greatest discovery was being able to write melodies that could perfectly fit my vocal skills, which is something basically impossible in classical music – you, as a singer, are at the music’s service and not the other way around. You can find pieces that work well with your voice, but would never fit like those you write for yourself. Now, when possible, I often try to read the classical pieces I perform in a Deva key and vice versa. Without my classical background, I don’t think I would have been able to record an album such as “Between life and Dreams”. “Between Life and Dreams” goes beyond the genre’s traditional boundaries with its mixture of styles, influences and subtle complexities. From who and where does the band draw its inspiration, both musically and lyrically?
I’m glad to see that our intention was such clear. The ambition of our project is exactly to go beyond the traditional boundaries and especially those that separate Classical and Modern music. This led us to develop and integrate a complex mixture of influences, styles and sounds. The sounds (and harmony) of Baroque music, for example and its instruments (I play the Viola da gamba, as I previously mentioned) but also Heavy Metal of the origins and Progressive Rock. We are all fans of Metallica, Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, we love Progressive Metal and the female voices (Evanescence, Within Temptation), I personally take a lot from many famous singers (i.e. Maria Callas and Ella Fitzgerald). Also, with regard to the lyrics, there are a lot of inspirations and themes that we like to develop. Federico and Myriam have studied Philosophy for years at the university and they like to discuss the themes of our lyrics during the compositions. This helps us to write deeper lyrics, full of meanings for us and we hope this reaches those who reads them; but it also gives us a clear idea of what we want from the songs we are creating: even the arrangements and the dynamics are influenced by the meaning of the words. You and Federico are the main songwriters. How do you work together to develop and arrange your ideas and what sort of input do you get from the rest of the band? Normally, the first inputs come from Federico or from me – usually a melody with chords but sometimes it has been a riff or lyrics. Then we develop together the idea, whatever it is, generally starting from chords and vocals, until we have a simple structure with verse, bridge and refrain. We always record all these steps. At this point, we elaborate the material with the rest of the band, and it’s altogether that we finally put together the song as it should be… well, almost!The interaction with Thomas is very important not only from the drum lines (he’s very creative, the first time we heard him, he played “Your Voice” with an incredible arrangement, that we liked very much and that it’s now an important part of the song) but also for the choice of the right tempo and the dynamics. Marco gives an essential help in the arrangements and he’s got a genuine Progressive taste when he plays both the organ and the synths. Some of our best ideas are inspired by a keyboard sound. Myriam follows the work almost from the beginning, she often leads the compositions and she helps me and Federico to keep going to the goal, which for our style is very important. We have to think about a lot of things during the compositions and the arrangements, we are not doing “just a song”, we need to make “a Deva song” if you know what I mean. When you write do you ever find yourselves thinking in terms of ‘single’, ‘album’, ‘video’ or even intended audience as a song comes to life, or is just spontaneous? I couldn’t tell exactly what’s the input that generates the composition. I just sit at the piano and play, trying to imagine the feeling that I’d like to catch while listening to what I’m creating. I also had to compose on already existing lyrics, but nobody forces me to respect the scheme, I’m always free to develop my own ideas as I like. Federico thinks often about words and creates the music after the words. But as for most of the beautiful things, many ideas come spontaneous: melodic lines, arrangements, riffs, solos… Images are also very important during this phase. “Out in Fog”, for example, is about a road accident in a dark and desert road. Our intention was to give this image through the atmosphere of the song, with a dark mix and a dramatic climax. We definitely had in mind a focused sequence of events (it could be like an imaginary video, if you want) that led us to certain choices regarding arrangements and song-structure. We also thought about “Your Voice” as the single but, to be honest, this happened after the drums were recorded. It would be easier for us now, without any doubt, to decide to write a single, a ballad, an intro… For all their style and complexity the songs on “Between Life and Dreams” have a very cohesive and precise sound that will easily translate to a live environment. When compared to some of your contemporaries there is a gentle restraint at work that enables the sound as whole to be greater than the sum of its parts. As you are self-produced can you tell us who the production wizard is? Also, how much and how often do you experiment with the instrumentation on a track when you are in the studio?
Well, it’s certainly true that Federico has directed all the work, from the composition until the final mix. He engineered, recorded and edited all the tracks and he mixed this album with Lorenzo Ardoni (our actual sound engineer) and Myriam. But, I think, he would say that the “magic” comes from the interaction with all of us and with Lorenzo for the mix. It’s been very complex: the experiments have been so many, we recorded a lot of additional tracks after the main ones – voices, effects, noises, orchestrations, percussions, instruments… we have actually recorded everything we thought could even only fit or be interesting. Of course at some point we had to choose and a lot of things have been cut out. What’s important for us is the result: as you’ve said, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
On the same subject, I have read that Federico has said it has taken literally years in a cycle of writing, editing, arranging, recording and mixing to get to this stage. The result easily justifies all the hard work but now the cd has been released, do you still feel any impulse to change a track in any way and if you do, how do you let that out?Yes, unfortunately we can’t change anything anymore! …Ok, I’m joking! I think that “Between Life And Dreams” is not a bad result and I’m really happy with what you say about the production, the sounds and the songs. The impulse to change again remains, as this is our instinct. For example, we are now working on an acoustic version of some songs! But we know that we have done what we could (and maybe a bit more), what is important for us is to show our potential: this album doesn’t come out from a “super-studio” but it was expensive, especially in terms of effort and time. Literally years, I confirm what Federico says. And even if I’d like to change some parts, especially now that my voice is stronger and a bit deeper, I still smile when I hear the songs of this album, because I think that, you know, they work!
Talking of the release, how do you feel the album has been received and how as the reaction shaped your ambitions?
The reaction has been incredibly more than what we could ever expect. It’s not a matter of ambitions – we wanted it and we did, regardless of the reactions, because we couldn’t know what would have happened. After the release of the album in Italy and on the web, there has been some sort of word of mouth through websites all over the world. We reached Australia (which is the farthest country from Italy!) in less than three months. Europe, Asia, North and South America, we received a lot of encouraging comments! For us, this is so important! I mean, how could we know if what we were doing would have been appreciated? We couldn’t be sure, we were trying to do something different, something that we were proud of but we didn’t really know what the future could be. And, wow, we still can’t believe it! The tracks on “Between Life and Dreams” are a good balance of style and substance. Which is your personal favourite and can you tell us the story behind the song? I basically change my mind every four/five months… at the moment, my favourite song is “Love and Faith”. This song was conceived seven years ago, just before I joined the project! Myriam had the idea of the bass line that you can hear in the intro of the track, then she and Federico started working on what we could name the first Deva song (as far as I remember, this could be the first song I worked on). After about four years of changes and re-arrangements, when we were all finally ready to face our first album production, “Love and Faith” was still open! The truth is that, in fact, it was complete but it didn’t sound mature, though much older than the other tracks. Things got definitely clear during the recording of the drums and one evening, after the studio session, we found ourselves discussing about it. Somebody, I couldn’t believe it, suggested “we should remove it from this album, it’s a weak song”. Ok, ok, I thought, isn’t there anything that I could do to save it? And the answer is that I stayed all that night in front of the piano, writing a new vocal line for the chorus. There’s a strong link between me and this song, this is why I picked it as my fave! But it’s not an easy choice; I really love all the songs of this album, especially “Dancing Lane” and “Your Voice”… You have made really good use of the Internet to generate interest and contacts that have helped guide you to Orion’s Belt Records, RNC Music and a commercially available album in what seems like a remarkably short space of time. Did you have a strategy and what tips could you give to other aspiring artists looking to make this sort of breakthrough?
The best thing we have is people who believe in us. It gives us a strong motivation, every day. We’ve been very lucky, since we have found Orion’s Belt Records and RNC Music through the web. What I can say is that a deep research, patience and trust in what you are doing are a good way to reach some result. I mean, it’s essential to have a good, a very good idea to take out there but it won’t become something solid all alone. It won’t show itself to the world, automatically! First of all (I’m talking about our experience) and this helped especially after we found a management, we started to work hard on ourselves as musicians and as a band. Our strategy? We thought “ok, what do we need to make Deva a real and effective band?” The answer was on the stage, in the studio and on the web: on the stage, because you need to learn not only how to make a good show but also how to make an original show, that gives a value to your personality; in the studio, because out there is really full of musicians that are better than you, so you have to train hard for hours and hours every day; on the web, we had the simple idea to create a cool MySpace profile, with our best songs (“Your Voice” on top), our best photos and an interesting biography. Then we discovered Nico Spinosa and Ros Manica, in other words Orion’s Belt Records and RNC Music and they strongly believe in the possibilities through the net. Having come this far, how does it feel to be surfing on the edge of the Italia-metal wave? Well, if I have to be honest, I must say that unfortunately in our country there isn’t so much space for Heavy Metal. The media and the biggest clubs are more focused on other genres, which is very annoying because Italy has got a fantastic audience, a lot of people appreciate very much Rock, Heavy Metal and so on! A young band hasn’t got many possibilities to come out, neither to show something new. Even in a big city like Milan, once you have played on these ten /twelve stages, what do you think you will do?
But we can’t complain too much. Talking about Milan, we have simply found the best label for us and great support from Backline (which is among the other things providing Cort basses) and Percussion Village (that provides cymbals and drums stuff). I’m sure that many people, here in Italy, are just waiting to discover what’s under the surface where, I can assure you, there are a lot of very good musicians. Your press release mentions rave reviews from all over Europe and South America. How does this compare to the Italian media and do you find that you are thinking internationally more often than not? The Italian press reflects the mental attitude of all the media: not much space for young bands, they only consecrate who’s been already put on the edge from other countries. A perfect example are Lacuna Coil (they come from Milan too) and I don’t know how many others… because once you are appreciated in the rest of the world, do you think you will care about a country that didn’t believe in you? We are definitely thinking internationally and the results we are seeing are incredible: excellent (and very deep!) reviews of our work, important labels licensing “Between Life and Dreams” all over the world: Soyuz Music for Russia and Ravenheart Music (Plastic Head distribution) for UK and Ireland are already working on it but many more are interested in our project and from Orion’s Belt Records and RNC Music we have some news almost every day! Many Italian reviews (not all!) of our cd are poor, they reveal a superficial listening and a lot of contradictions compared to the other reviews, which sounds pretty strange! But our first review on Mellophonium, an Italian webzine, has been amazing and Metal Maniac, one of the most respected Italian metal magazines, issued a rave review and will publish an interview on their September issue, so I won’t complain
Any dates or tour plans in the near future that you can tell us about? Also, if you could pick any place or venue for a Deva show, where would this be and why?
Well, it would be an honor for us to play on the stage of the Gods of Metal, which is the most important metal festival here in Italy. Or, why not, the Heineken Jammin’ Festival…
Personally, I also have a dream that I hope, one day, could become reality – I’d love to make a Deva concert in a big theatre (maybe like La Scala), with the full orchestra. Who knows what’s on for us, in the future?
With all that has happened so far, do you feel that you are indeed between life and dreams and what plans do you have for the remainder of 2010 and then 2011?
Next months, “Between Life And Dreams” will be released in many countries, so my desire is to reach the USA and Japan as soon as possible. I really love Japan!
Since I’m not able to stop my creativity, I’m working (ok, ok, we all have already started) on new material. I know it’s too early to think about a second album, but… I don’t have many plans for the next period, since we must have a potentially free agenda; you never know what could carry the next call from RNC Music! Beatrice, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers? : )
I really enjoyed this interview: your questions dig deeply into what Deva is or, at least, what it tries to be. I’m really grateful to you and Femme Metal for giving me the opportunity to show your readers our world. I have to say that who’s reading this magazine is learning not only about music but especially about culture and what lies behind a song, an album, a band. This is very rare, so I truly wish you all the best! You rock, guys!
Interview by Connie Bach
“No Tears for You” is featured on the upcoming Femme Metal compilation Beauty and Brutality is an example of the fiery energy that can be felt when listening to Exilia‘s music. I must admit, I was a little surprised by the sound, which is pleasant and strong as hot cider.
Hi, Masha. How is the year 2010 shaping up for Exilia?
Hi, and thanks for your interest in Exilia. It’s going really well, we are happy with our live activity and we are happy about our new release “Naked” that came out on June 2010.
“Naked” was a challenge for us, we never did something like this before it was our first time with acoustic guitars and percussions, the heavy part was to find the best arrangements for guitars in order to keep the power of the riffs in the acoustic side too. The good part was to sing because I could experiment new sound with my voice and give more expression to the lyrics.
This one is totally different! This is a limited edition unplugged cd! Only “No Tears for You” is fully produced, “Naked” is a special thing in our discography.
I love how “No Tears For You” discusses righting wrongs and carrying on. Would you tell me more about the personal story or idea behind those confident lyrics?
It’s a crazy story!! In the song I’m talking to Mr stupidmanthis guy has a record label and that made me lose a lot of time with his stupid tons of words, this people are the ones that destroy music.
They say writing lyrics is like writing poetry. Is it?
Yes, I really really think so.
For those less familiar with the band, Exilia has been around since 1998.They originated in the towns of Milano and Lombardy, Italy. Masha, can you tell me how you personally became involved with Exilia?
I started with Exilia in 2000, I met Alien (our guitar player) in a music shop, I was there to take guitar lessons and after some months we decided to start a band. thats how Exilia came up!
With the departure of your former bassist in 2007, how do you feel it changed the overall chemistry and sound of the band?
We found a brilliant bass player after Random left the band so we didn’t feel any difference in the sound, we had a new positive energy in the band with the new guy so we felt definetely better!
You have been Exilia‘s vocalist for quite some time. What do you use free time for? Do you have any hobbies or musical side projects?
I like jogging, I like swimming, I love to take a walk with my dog and stay in the nature, I practise meditation, I teach vocal in 3 schools in Milan, I do a radio program and further more I have my own side projects where we do acoustic things with 2 amazing guitar players and where I play percussion.
Lots of bands sing in English and seldom use it otherwise. How difficult is it to transition to using English lyrics?
It’s really difficult !!! But I love your language and I try to do my best!
As the vocalist for a metal band and as a woman not from the United States, I’d like your take on the ongoing news coverage of the oil spill and how it reflects your views on American culture?
It’s a big matter and it would be my pleasure to talk about it in a deep way when it will be possible. What I can tell you is that everything that happened made me really sad because this thing destroyed a part of our planet and our nature and it twill take several years to recover from this injury. I don’t think there is a single person to be blamed for this but it’s a whole political and economical system, which we all know is ruled by the seven sisters that are responsible for this catastrophe and not only this.
Masha, thanks for your time and honesty. The lyrics of “No Tears For You”, from Exilia‘s album, “Naked”, are inspiring, as are songs from other albums I have heard. Good luck for the rest of this year and in the band’s future.
Thanks a lot for your support in US. All the best, Masha MysMane
Review By Tony Cannella
Grinning Shadows are yet another metal band to emanate out of Italy. Their new EP is titled, “The New Curse” and it features a pretty cool mix of power metal, and death metal and old school thrash to create a solid demo that the band should really be proud of.” The New Curse” opens things in a loud and fast way. The duel male/female vocals are showcased here as Mario Farina adds his more extreme vocals in conjunction with Silvia Rigoni’s more feminine and powerful style to create a strong opener. The next track, “If” is a complex, heavy track that is one of the highlights. Grinning Shadows, slows things down a bit at the beginning of the next track, “Dirge”. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a ballad, however as the pace of the song quickly builds. The band really delivers on the following tracks, the chaotic “Missing”, “Scars of Remembrance”, “Scarlet” and “Chimera”. “The New Curse” is an impressive clash of styles from Grinning Shadows. While the songs are undoubtedly heavy, there is still plenty of melody to go along with the metal mayhem. Grinning Shadows are definitely a band that come highly recommended.
Rating – 90/100
- The New Curse
- Scars of Remembrance
- Mario Farina – Vocals
- Silvia Rigoni – Vocals
- Simone Cirani – Guitar & Vocals
- Lorenzo Pini – Keyboards
- Daniele Dui – Bass
- Daniele Roverato – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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