Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Michelle Loose from Brave. On June 1st the compilation double cd “Demonic and Divine” is released by Femme Metal Records.. The cd is to support the Macmillan Cancer support and Cancer research UK. Brave appears with the song “Driven”. This song originally appeared on the album “Monuments”. Brave is a Progressive rock/metal band from Washington DC (United States). This interview is with Michelle Loose, who is responsible for the keys and vocals.
For starters: How was the gig with Cynic in Springfield?
It was amazing! Definitely a dream come true to play with Cynic. We’ve been huge fans of theirs since the early ‘90’s. They put on a great show. They are so good live, so talented.
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
I’ve always loved music and singing but I never dreamed that I would actually be a singer. I’m a pretty shy person so I never imagined that I would actually sing in front of people. I was really forced into singing for the band – but I’m so glad that I was!
Who are your favourite singers and musicians?
Tori Amos probably tops my list. Other singers/musicians include Lisa Gerrard, Ann Wilson, Geoff Tate, Ray Alder.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I’ve really been on a proggy metal kick lately. I listen to a lot of different bands but right now I’m really digging Dream Theater, Cynic, Fates Warning, Metallica. I also frequently listen to The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, Genesis, Faith No More, Tori Amos.
Did you sing in any other bands before Brave and do you any other bands right now?
We were previously known as Arise From Thorns which includes the same core lineup of myself, my brother Scott Loose on guitar and drummer Trevor Schrotz. I did a brief part on a demo before joining AFT for another band but that’s really it. I’ve done a few recordings here and there for other artists including Power of Omens, David Gallegos, While Heaven Wept and Project Failing Flesh.
You also play piano. What do you prefer, singing or playing piano?
I probably prefer singing. I feel more confident singing rather than playing piano.
You have been active in Brave (and Arise From Thorns as the band was called in the early days) since 1997. What are the highlights for you so far?
We’ve had some really great live performances opening for bands that I’ve longed admired like Fates Warning, Cynic, Lacuna Coil, Opeth and others and that has been amazing. We’ve been so fortunate to get on these gigs. I’d also say that meeting and working with so many other music lovers has been wonderful. I never would have had these experiences without being in the band. We’ve truly met a lot of great people, fans and professionals.
And did you have any negative experiences?
We have had some not so good live performances, nothing terrible but some nasty club experiences. Overall we’ve been extremely lucky and fortunate not to have too many negative experiences.
Why did you choose Brave as the name for your band?
We decided to change the name from Arise From Thorns back in 2000 because we wanted a less dramatic and more memorable name. There were a few serendipitous events that took place with the word “Brave” and it’s always had personal meaning for me. I have to remind myself to be ‘brave’ daily whether it be in my regular day to day life or when singing in front of people. I try to be brave and grow personally and professionally all of the time. It’s a strong word with powerful meaning.
How would you describe Brave’s music? Because Progressive Rock/Metal covers a lot of music these days, from Stratovarius to Epica.
We’ve always been somewhat difficult to pigeon hole in terms of labelling a specific style. We have our moments when we are more on the prog/metal side of the spectrum but we also have songs that would be considered slightly more contemporary or commercial sounding. We try to really vary up our style and sound. We don’t think about what kind of music we want to write, it just comes out the way it is and we keep it that way. For us the joy in writing music is writing whatever we want and not creating any musical boundaries.
And what makes Brave different compared to all the other female fronted bands in the world?
I would say that our sound is unique, passionate and dynamic.There are definitely a lot of female fronted bands out there so we stand out amongst all of the bands with our own sound.
Can you introduce us to the other members of Brave?
Scott Loose: Guitars, founding member of Arise From Thorns and Brave - Matt Kozar: Guitars, joined Brave in 2007 and has been a wonderful addition to the family both personally and musically. -Trevor Schrotz: Drums, founding member or Arise From Thorns and Brave. - Ben Kelly: Bass, joined Brave in 2003 and has been a long time friend of ours and a great addition to the band – Suvo Sur: Violin/Keys, joined Brave in 2003 and has really defined our style with the added instrumentation of violin. Suvo is an amazing musician and we’ve so enjoyed working with him.
You and Scott are brother and sister. Does this make things easier in the band or not?
Fortunately we get along pretty well so there are no dramatic family fights or anything like that. I find that we are both really on the same page musically so I think that helps to have that connection. I’m also married to our drummer Trevor so it’s definitely been a family affair for a long time.
Why did Brave choose the song “Driven” for the “Demonic and Divine” album?
That’s one of our favourite songs from our recent CD “Monuments”. It’s fun, heavy and uplifting so we wanted to include this on the compilation.
And how did you (the band) got in touch with Femme Metal?
I believe my brother Scott actually started talking with them. Caz and everyone at Femme Metal have been wonderful to work with. We were honoured that they wanted to release a 10 year anniversary CD for us.
Is song writing teamwork in Brave or is there a mastermind behind the music?
Mostly it’s a team effort, we all add our own spices to the mix if you will. Most of the main riffs and ideas are written by Scott but we all get to add our own styles to each song. It’s definitely a collaborative effort.
Washington D.C.’s progressive/rock band Brave signs deal for a 10 year anniversary album with Femme Metal Records from England. The album, entitled “Lost in Retrospect” ,will feature selected tracks from all of the Brave and Arise From Thorns (former band name) albums, including some songs that are long out of print. “Lost in Retrospect” was released February 20, 2009. Brave‘s singer Michelle Loose said about the album: “We are very excited about this collaboration for a 10 year anniversary CD with the new record label, Femme Metal Records. We can’t believe we’ve been making music together for 10 years now and are glad to be able to re-release some of the older songs that have been long out of print. We are so happy to be working with Femme Metal Records and thank you for your support with this collaboration.” Can you tell us something about the songs on “Lost in Retrospect” ?
It was a hard decision to select songs from the last 10 years. We really just picked out our favourite and most meaningful songs to us and narrowed the selection down to what we could use with the time that is allotted for CD. We then picked songs that we though would flow well together and this is what we came up with. It’s a good overview of AFT/Brave over the last 10 years.
What is the idea behind the title of the album?
The title is actually from the song “Lost in Retrospect” which was on our CD “Waist Deep in Dark Waters”. That song was written by a dear friend of ours who was also in our band at the time, Tom Phillips from While Heaven Wept. The title seemed to work perfectly for what we were creating.
And what is your favourite song on “Lost in Retrospect” ?
Probably “Candle in the Dark”.
What are Brave’s plans for the future?
We have a few live performances coming up so we are focused on those for now. Eventually we’ll probably write again and go from there.
And the last question: Is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Please feel free to check out our music samples at www.myspace.com/braveband if you’d like to check us out. Thank you so much for the interview!!
Label : Massacre Records
Review by Tony Cannella
It is hard to believe that it has been 13-years since Helena Iren Michaelsen first burst on to the metal scene as the female vocalist for Trail of Tears and singing on their excellent “Disclosure in Red” debut. From there she released an album with the band Angel (not to be confused with 1970s arena rock outfit of the same name), before finding her home fronting Imperia. The band released their debut “The Ancient Dance of Qetesh” in 2004, followed that up with “Queen of Light” in 2007 and now have finally issued their long awaited third album “Secret Passion”. “Touch of Your Hand” is a great opener and one that sets the tempo straight away. Helena is in fine form vocally throughout the 60-minute playing time of “Secret Passion”. You have to respect the depth, character and emotion she is able to convey with her voice. She can go from an operatic style to more of a mid-level range, whatever the song calls for. “Secret Passion” is next and slows the pacing down a bit at the start before slowly picking up steam and settling into a steady groove that helps to elevate it into being one of the best songs offered up here. Other highlights include: “Fragile”, “Out of Sight”, “Let Down”, “Violence”, “Hold On”, “Greed” and I could go on and on. “Secret Passion” is concluded with “My Sleeping Angel” a song that sees Helena dueting on the track with Everon vocalist Oliver Philips. The digi-pack features the bonus track “Mistress” which is quite an interesting song.In my humble opinion, “Secret Passion” is Imperia at their best and one of the best things that Helena Iren Michaelsen has recorded in her long, distinguished and underrated career.
Rating – 95/100
- Touch of Your Hand
- Secret Passion
- Out of Sight
- Let Down
- Like Rain
- Hold On
- Missing It All
- My Sleeping Angel
- Mistress (Bonus Track)
- Helena Iren Michaelsen – Vocals
- Jan Orkki Yrlund – Guitar
- Gerry Verstreken – Bass
- Steve Wolz – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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