Interview by Erwin van DijkAn in-depth chat with Chiara, the soprano singer of the well-promising Italian Gothic Metal band Lust for Oblivion about their debut demo “Black Moon” and their musical future. Did you always want to become a singer?
I’ve always loved music and my first experience with it was at the age of nine, when I started playing the piano, but I’ve always loved singing, too, since when I was a child, so, some years ago, I started taking opera singing lessons.And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I listen to classical music, especially opera and piano compositions and also to metal music.And who are your favorite bands and musicians?
Bands like Dark Tranquillity, Moonspell, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Tristania are my favorite, but I’ve surely forgotten some…obviously I adore Tarja Turunen!!!! My favorite classical musicians are W.A.Mozart, F.Chopin and K.Orff.
Interview by Erwin van Dijk
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. Godyva appears with the song “My Inner” on this album. Godyva is a Gothic Metal band from Bari, Italy. The band was formed in the year 2000 and has released two albums and a demo cd. Godyva’s latest album was released last year and this album also includes the song “My Inner” that also will be featured on the “Demonic and Divine” album. Lady Godyva was a noble woman from England who lived a thousand years ago (c. 997 – 1067) in the city of Coventry. She is most notable for riding naked through the streets of Coventry. By doing this she gained a tax remission from the high taxation imposed by her husband Leofric, the earl of Mercia. And with success. “Godiva” or “Godgyfu” means “God Gift” in Old English. This interview is with Lady Godyva, the singer of Godyva.
For starters: what is your real name?
My real name is Cristina Argese, my surname sounds like the river Arges where Dracula’s wife died, this is what the legend of Dracula tells. His wife killed herself throwing in the waters of the river Arges and subsequently the river was called the Princess River. Cool!
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
Yes! When I was a child I always dreamed to sing with David Bowie or Freddie Mercury! I wished to be their chorist on tour, hehe!
Who are your favourite singers and musicians?
My favourite singers and musicians of my childhood were the White Duke and Mr. Mercury and his band Queen as I said before; when I was a girl I loved Maria Callas, Dead Can Dance and Lisa Gerrard, Peter Murphy, The 3rd and The Mortal, Katatonia, Sarah Brightman, Sade, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Paradise Lost, Metallica, Korn, Slayer, Queensryche and more but now in this moment of my life I’m really in love with the voice of Nevermore, Warrel Dane (his last solist album is fantastic), I like Porcupine Tree too, Avantasia, Scar Symmetry, Soilwork, In Flames, Entwine, Samael… But Paradise Lost and the voice of Nick Holmes will be forever my favourite.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Death, Thrash, Metal and Gothic Metal very often but sometimes I like to listen to ambient or new age music to relax myself.
Did you sing in any other bands before Godyva and do you any other bands right now?
Before Godyva I sang with a band called Aragon. The line-up included two singers, male and female and I used to sing like the Opera. Now I would like to dedicate myself only to my band Godyva, but maybe in the future it could be possible.
Speaking of side projects: you have recorded a song with the Thrash Metal band Methedras (also from Italy) for their latest album “Katarsis”. This song is called “Nightmare”. How did you got in touch with this band and what have you learned from this experience?
Methedras are friends for me. They asked me to sing on their latest album after their listening to the song I sang with Necrodeath, on their “Draculea” album. They stayed impressed and so they asked me to sing the song “Nightmare” on their new album. A link to the band.
Why did you choose Godyva as the name for the band?
I was a young girl when I decided to choose this name for my project and I remember that I was reading the story of Lady Godiva during a reading of an old book of my grandmother. I was spellbound of this heroin so brave that used her naked body to win against her unfair husband. She was the first feminist! She was a woman with no shame! She embodied Eva before the original sin. I would like to be naked all time, especially in this warm period (sometimes I really hate dresses and all accessories I must wear!) but I cannot do it, what a pity! hehehe!
How would you describe Godyva’s music? Because a lot of people will assume you will sound like Lacuna Coil because Godyva is Gothic oriented with female vocals.
I think that Godyva are similar to Lacuna Coil because the female voice but there are a lot of bands in the world with a front woman that could be similar too. I like Lacuna Coil, they are a great band and I’m really happy for their worldwide success and fame, but we are different, we use to play and to compose in a personal way in my opinion. It’s easy to say “You are like Lacuna Coil!” because we play metal with a front woman and we are Italian but we don’t want to be a copy of an other band, we want to be Godyva and “nothing else matters”!
And what makes Godyva different compared to all the other female fronted bands in the world?
I think every voice is personal and unique in the world, also your voice is unique! It is scientifically shown that the voice is as unique as the iride of the eye and the digital imprints. And every voice has its own ability to transmit emotions, so the ear of the listener decides what it is or it is not pleasant. Also the personality of a singer and of a musician makes the difference, but i don’t like to compare myself or my band to the others.
Who are the other members of Godyva?
Botyz Beezart – keyboards
Botys is the principal composer of the band, he mixes melodies of the keyboards to all guitar’s riffs really in a particular and special way. Maybe it’s his work the real difference in our band.
Anto – guitars
Anto is the aggressive characteristic of Godyva, he is the guitar that I have always desired to mix aggressiveness with romanticism.
Nick Barrah – bass
For a long time he does his beautiful job for this band. He is an essential musician with a great personality.
Enyo – drums
A drummer precise and progressive from years he is the rock of hour sound.
Why did Godyva choose the song “My Inner” for the “Demonic and Divine” album?
We have chosen this song because in that period we released the video of “My Inner” and we wanted to promote this song one more time in a compilation but we are sure “My Inner” is a song that younger fans appreciate and we believe in them.
And how did you (the band) got in touch with Femme Metal?
Femme Metal is a fantastic store managed by serious people that sell our cds, and so they asked me to take part to this compilation and i said “Why not?”. I really hope this compilation could help this cancer research in UK.
Is song writing teamwork in Godyva or is there a mastermind behind the music?
As I said before Botys is the principal composer, so I can say that he is the mastermind about the music but also with all our help. In our latest album Anto has composed with him some songs among which “My Inner” and I have written with him “On the Floor of Ice” and “Mary in Blood”. All vocals and lyrics are only my work.
Can you tell us something about the songs on “Planetarium” ?
“W.A.I.H.T.L.I.H” is the intro and it’s the same music of the outro but you can listen to this intro in the opposite verse with the sound of tears that fall. Because of this you read the title like an image in the mirror. “The Ark” is The first song we have composed for this album and so we chosen it for the opening track. Instead “Innocent” is one of the two songs that sees the collaboration with Mike Tarantino (Natron). Here you can ear how the new guitarist Anto makes the difference with his style and his composition support. “Mary in Blood” is a romantic song that speaks about Maria Magdalena and her love. “Deep Inside” can be deceitful because it seems an happy song instead it speaks about one love that wants to last up to the end, together, both in the same grave. “Planetarium”, it’s simply the title track; we adore this song. It’s the second one composed for this album and we think it is a complete and refined song. “My Inner” :I like it, I like it, I like it. The most powerful song of the album and the most appreciated by the metal kids. We released the video of this song. You can watch it on our MySpace page, YouTube official page, official website and on Rock Tv. “Black Door” also is one of the most difficult song to sing on this album. The ninth song is “On the Floor of Ice” I like to call this one “the liquid song”, because it speaks of water (our life), deep blue sea (I love swimming) and ice. “No Fault” sees again for the second time Mike Tarantino as special guest! I like so much this song for that style typical of the Eighties, and we feel nostalgic for these years. Back to romaticism with “God Is Fallen” that speaks about our own fallen idol. And here we’re at the end with “H.I.L.T.H.I.A.W.” (outro) : a yearning and suggestive closing recited. This is an outro, but we use it as the intro for all our shows. As a treat for our fans we’ve decided to include a special version of “Innocence” as an acoustic version like happened the last time in “In Good & Evil”.
And what is your favourite song on this album?
My favourite song on “Planetarium”? The title track! In reality I have two or three favourite songs on this album: “Planetarium”, “Innocent” and “My Inner”.
And what are the differences between “Planetarium” and “In Good and Evil” ?
The difference is the guitarist and obviously all guitars you can listen to. Our ex guitarist Frahn left the band some months before the recording of “Planetarium” so we chosen Anto as our new guitarist and we were sure that he would have done a good work in the studio giving more aggressive sounds to the songs of Planetarium. The other difference is that we are grown now as musicians and composers so we can offer an album more mature and enjoyable than “In Good and Evil”.
What are Godyva’s plans for the future?
We want to play music all over the world, there is a booking agency in USA that wants Godyva there, so I hope it could be happen very very soon. But at the same time we love our country so we will continue to show in Italy. We will be in Czech Republic on the 11th July to play on the stage of Prestenice Open Air Music Fest and the headliner of the event will be The Rasmus. We are working on new songs now but we don’t want to say more about a new album now. We have to still promote “Planetarium” now.
And the last question: Is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
I think you have done all good questions. Thank you for this funny interview and I hope to see you again. Cheers
Review by Tony Cannella
The melodic Gothic Metal band Vespera was formed in 2005 and released their first demo in 2007. Now this band from Romania has just released their debut album titled “Desert of the Real”. The 2-minute intro “Overture (Cupid’s Birth)” opens the 43-minute which leads us into the Gothic Metal bliss of “Mary of Bethany”. This is a great melodic tune with an instantly memorable and likeable chorus that sticks in your head long after you’ve heard it for the first time. The duel male/female vocals provided by Dorin Panduru (he also plays guitar) and Teodora Barla are very well done and one of my favorite parts of “Desert of the Real”. Dorin’s vocals are pretty clear sounding, whilst Teodora has almost a Cristina Scabbia thing going with her style. The next track “Fame” is highlighted by its heavy stop/start guitar riffing and a cool main riff that permeates the entire song. This track turned out to be one of my favorites. “Behind My Smile” is next and has a dreamy vibe which sees Teodora taking the lead for the majority of the song. The vocals are split pretty evenly throughout the album. Other highlights includes: “Close to Madness”, “Point in the Circle” and the final number “Afterglow”. On “Desert of the Real”, Vespera delivers a pretty cool debut with both Gothic and Electronic influences present. There is undoubtedly a lot of potential to be heard within the walls of this debut, which I am sure will be delivered upon on future releases.
Rating – 78/100
- Overture (Cupid’s Birth)
- Mary of Bethany
- Behind My Smile
- Close to Madness
- Through the Neon Lights
- Desert of the Real
- Your Weakness
- Point in the Circle
- Teodora Barla – Vocals
- Dorin Panduru – Vocals & guitar
- Andrei Calbajos – Keyboards, synth & samples
- Vlad-Ioan Popovici – Bass
- Razvan Moca – Drums
Interview by Si Smith
Grayceon are the perfect blend of metal and classical – with a mixture of jazz, doom and prog thrown in. Proving suitably elusive to pin down, they nevertheless have managed to land a deal with Profound Lore records and a third album that has blown the critics out of the water. We spoke to front-woman and cellist Jackie Perez Gratz.
First of all, thanks for this interview – and welcome to Femme Metal.
When I first bought your album I was, to be frank, quite overwhelmed. The balance between the beautiful classical element and all the other influences thrown into the melting pot is what really impressed me. It would be so easy to get it wrong, to overdo one element at the expense of another. How on earth do you get that balance “just right”?
All three of us have large variety of musical influences that often overlap but it gives us a large collection of styles to choose from when writing songs. I don’t want it to sound contrived because we don’t sit around and decide which element we want to use just to mix things up or keep the balance right. The balance happens naturally because we are always trying to make the songs challenging and fun to play for ourselves. If all our songs had only one or two musical influences we would probably get bored and not want to write as much. If that were the case, we would be much more easy to label as [insert given genre here].
The cello sound is particularly deep and sonorous. Do you have to adjust the cello in any way to fit with the metal parts?
I have spent a lot of time getting my cello tone right to fit with Max and the type of music we play. It tends to be a bit more punchier and grittier than I would normally like the cello to sound if playing solo, but in the context of Grayceon it works well. I try to make it not overpower the guitar but still cut through and, of course, still sound like a cello and not like another guitar. I also put a lot of thought into what I should play during the very metal parts, I like to mix it up. Sometimes more chugs are needed to make the section over the top metal so I’ll join in with Max, but sometimes a smooth melodic or dissonant line over the top of pinch harmonics will be more interesting and unexpected for a metal section. It really just depends on how I’m feeling that day.
Photos by Dary Darko
Interview by Si Smith
Intro by Miriam C.
It’s time again to give space to the British symphonic rock band Winter in Eden, after the 2010 debut “Awakening” it’s time to talk about “Echoes of Betrayal”, the new album out on Lycan Records, so we took the occasion to ask some questions to Vicky Johnson, their singer. Let’s see what she tell about this second platter and some band novelties.
First of all thank you for doing this interview and a big welcome to Femme Metal Webzine.
My pleasure! Thank you for asking me!
We don’t get that many gothic metal bands hitting the limelight from England – is there much of a gothic metal scene there?
We get described in lots of different ways, as we are at the softer end of many categories, so I feel that it would be unfair to comment about the whole of the gothic metal scene in general. But, from my experience, it is difficult for artists like us in England. It is an underground scene really….
The title Winter in Eden sounds like it should be self-explanatory. Could you tell us a little about the concept for the band and the band name?
The idea behind the name is to reflect the music; light and dark, orchestra with rock, masculine and feminine. Essentially, contrasts!
Your first full-length album “Awakening” was released in 2010 – how was this received by the press and the public?
It was received extremely well by the press and the public, which we were overwhelmed about.
Has your approach to recording changed much since the first album?
Yes, hugely… Steve (Johnson, my husband) has started to use real orchestra samples (on the keyboard tracks) and writes parts for many different instruments now, so there is a much denser sound. Also, we all feel much more comfortable, so we say what we feel and are not afraid to experiment a bit more. I guess we are starting to find our sound, and although the actual process is the same, we have paid closer attention to the orchestration in the mix.
Your voice fits the genre so well. Tell us a little about your singing experience.
Thank you! I guess I began singing when I started playing the piano; when I was 5 years old? I wasn’t keen on playing the classical pieces I was supposed to be practicing, so I started to write my own songs and sang to them. I sang at school and church but never had any formal training as such. It was really when I went to secondary school that it became more serious for me. I wrote my own song as part of a music project and sang it to get the idea across. I was then asked to play keyboards in the school band that Steve was in, back then. I sang along to one of the songs….. Then stopped playing keyboards and became the second singer in that band. I was 12 at this point and we played everywhere from shopping centres to care homes. When I left school, Steve and I played as a duo and worked full time for a few years as musicians. We didn’t do it all the time – we didn’t really do anything musically for a few years, until the predecessor to W.I.E. got going at least, but it was a great grounding!
Has the band’s line-up changed much since the early days?
Only slightly… Wayne, our original drummer, sadly had to leave earlier this year, due to illness. We are very lucky to have Steve Hauxwell join us now, as our new drummer. That is the only change in the line up.
Let’s talk about the new album. After the orchestral intro the first song begins very boldly with a solid rocking sound. “For the Few” is an excellent opener. What does it feel like for you to sing a Winter in Eden song like this?
Thank you! I really enjoy singing this song and love the way it kicks in after the gentle start. I love to sing all our songs, of course. But, because I am one of the songwriters and the main lyricist, I already have a huge connection with each song. I guess only I really know the true meaning behind each word that I write, so it can be very emotional if it is a personal subject. It does give you a real kick when a song goes down well and you receive positive feedback, especially when people identify with the songs. “For the Few” is about the Battle of Britain and one of our fans even made a video to reflect the lyrics to it….! It never ceases to amaze me what loyal fans will do for you.
One of the highlights of the album is the “Awakening parts III, IV, V” sequence. As the Awakening saga began on the last album with parts I and II, could you tell us more about the story?
“The Awakening” is the story of a woman being abused and how this has affected the rest of her life. She simply cannot escape from it. Although there is hope, from the end of Chapter 1 and 2, that she can finally move forward and start again, the hope disappears in Chapter 3, as she has done something that she deeply regrets. It is kept open as to what she has done and that was deliberate.In Chapter 4 she cannot live with the guilt and commits suicide. Chapter 5 is the time to reflect, with the idea that she may finally be at peace. However, the track is called “Descension”, so it is not clear if she is going to heaven or hell!
Many of the lyrics on the album seem to come from a dark or melancholy place. Where do you find your inspirations?
I find inspiration everywhere! It can be a personal experience, something I have seen, someone else’s experience, a documentary, a film or pure fantasy. However, it’s not necessarily a reflection of my personality. I find writing lyrics gives me the opportunity to air thoughts, concerns and frustrations that I otherwise would not be able to air, so I guess it is a good stress release for me? It helps my daily life remain positive!
You must have been very happy to receive a 9.5/10 for that first album review! And to get onto Classic Rock’s Track of the Day is a great achievement too. If there was anything you would like to achieve with this album, what would it be?
Yes, we are very happy with the review and getting “Track Of The Day”, especially with “Lies”, which is slightly different in style from the other songs that we have written. Our continuing aim is to increase our profile and ultimately make this a full time concern. At the moment, playing in Europe is our next big goal.
I see you are signed up for the Whitby Vampire Ball!! That will be a blast. Have you plans for festivals and/or a tour to support the album? If so, what can we expect from a Winter in Eden performance?
We are very excited about that gig! We played a few dates earlier in the year to support the album release and have a few more dates planned later this year as well. As for festivals, we just played the Cambridge Rock Festival again, on the Classic Rock Society stage as main support to Kyrbgrinder, and it was a fantastic show with great support!! Really enjoyable!
Apart from the singing, are there any other sides to Vicky Johnson that we would not otherwise hear about? Do tell!
Where to start! I do like to keep a lot of my personal life private, but I guess a few people are starting to find out that I am a solicitor. People never expect that, so I usually get an interesting reaction!
Anyway, thanks so much for giving this interview. We wish the band all success in the future.
Thank you very much for your support!
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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