Interview by Ary R
Young and talented, the Italian band Synful Ira is proud and ready to introduce itself to the European metalheads with their first full length album, “Between Hope and Fear”. After having signed a deal with the label logic(il)logic Records, this sturdy young sextet is ready to enter the International music biz, spreading their own symphonic-gothic metal sound. For the occasion, the lead singer Letizia addressed herself to our crew and she talked about the creation of the project and much more about the band and the record itself.Today Femme Metal puts the lead singer of Synful Ira up. Welcome to our website Letizia and thanks for your precious time and to allow us this interview!
Thank you! It’s really nice to answer your questions and to introduce myself to all the readers!Let’s break the ice starting our chat talking about your band, Synful Ira. It’s an Italian gothic rock/metal band and of course you are the lead singer. Would you like to introduce the band and to tell us how did this project come to life?
I would like to introduce you all the members of Synful Ira:
Bass – my brother Emanuele Chiozzi
Guitar – Laura Balducci
Drums- Marco Renzi
Keyboards- Filippo Mantignano
Guitar- Fabio Balducci, project leader.
After several years playing “covers” we finally made something by ourselves. Fabio put into music the main phases of his life, his emotions, feelings, memories and he created the main character of our album “Between Hope and Fear” by taking out all the emotions people experience during their lives.The band was born mainly as a Nightwish/Evanescence cover/tribute band. How did this choice of imprinting your sound on the wake on these famous bands in a first moment rather than some others?
At the beginning Laura proposed to form a Nightwish and Lacuna Coil cover band and meanwhile Fabio was trying to form an Evanescence cover band; when they told each other about their same ideas to form a gothic-metal cover band, they decided to combine them. This was the germinal try to set their dreams up.
Interview by Danny Robertson
We caught up with Maledia‘s singer Loo to discuss their background, their current album “She and Her Darkness” (released in January 2009) and future plans.
What themes/ideas inspired your lyrics on these songs?
Firstly thanks for this interview. Each song for me is a new journey, when the melody is ready usually I listen to her a lot of times thinking of where it leads for me. On this album I also wrote about some things which happened in our and my life, maybe in some hidden words, using some ideas and symbols which reminded me of some particular sensations. But, I have to say that everytime I have to write new words for a new song, it’s always a new challenge and a new journey through feelings.
How would your describe your sound?
Our sound is very powerful but very, very melodic and emotional. It’s full of our influences, we are five musicians very different to each other, but in love with the same thing – Music .
Which other vocalists do you admire, past and present? Would you say any of them have inspired your own style?
I love a lot of vocalists, but I can say that any of them have inspired my own style. I think that a real artist has to give their personal and own touch to their style, this is the only way to be truly appreciated, judged and loved, not only compared to someone else. However, my favourite vocalist (in the gothic metal scene) is surely Tarja Turunen, she is the biggest voice and personality I have ever seen on a stage.
Who/what are the band’s main influences as a whole?
Many. As I said, our influences are various; in fact each Maledia member has got favourite bands and music background inspirations, very different from each other. But the main influences are Nightwish (Old Style), Cradle of Filth, and many songs coming from the horror dark projects of a lot of movies’ soundtracks.
What normally gets written first – the music or the lyrics?
Usually we write the music first. This part is often “addictive” to the band (except me). I contribute obviously to the creation of the music, but very less in this part, because my real work is the creation of the lyrics and their melody. But this is not the only way we use. I can say that the creation of each newborn song is always different from the past one.
Tell us about the production behind the current album – how long did it take to write and record? Did you experience any difficulties in its’ creation?
It was as difficult as fantastic. It took more than three months to record the complete album with voices and choirs. But unfortunately we met a lot of difficulties in the period after the creation, I mean production itself and in the coming out. It took more than one year to make “She and Her Darkness” available for all our fans. We still apologize for this to all our fans. We hope that the long wait was rewarded for each one of them, I will thank them forever.
The album features a guest appearance from Roberto Tiranti of Labyrinth – how did that come about?
We have always appreciated Roberto Tiranti and loved his voice. He’s a great artist and one of the voices in the Italian metal scene more appreciated in the world. When we got the idea of having a guest on the song “Ti Sento”, I immediately thought of him. He was extremely kind and helpful, and for me it was a great honor as well as a dream come true to sing with him. I thank him again for what he did.
Will you be inviting guests for future releases? What would be your dream collaboration?
Sure, there will be new guests in the future. My personal dream collaborations I think are not very in accordance with our musical genre (joke), but there will surely be, and obviously are a secret.
Do you have any plans or ideas for the next release?
The next release will be available in 2010, the songs are almost ready and we are very proud of them. Our style is changing but remains still as it is known – powerful, energic and melodic. Maybe someone will think it’s more modern, but I can say that is just the Maledia style.
How would you describe your local music scene? Was it easy to build an early fanbase?
Well, although there are (fortunately), many fans (Thank you!!) who supported us always, I must say that unfortunately in Italy the organization of events suited to our kind of music is undoubtedly difficult. In other countries, the scene changes completely. Unfortunately in Italy the metal scene itself is still very much closed.
Which other bands/acts do you feel you share the most common ground with?
A lot, but mainly we feel us very near to all the big bands of underground music, of Italy and Europe.
Whereabouts will you be touring in the coming months? Any international dates?
No date is confirmed at the moment, but we are planning a new tour in the winter.
What are your aims and plans for the future?
Sure the new album, we are working on a lot of it. It will be great and always more Maledia. And a lot of shows, a video and a new single.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Daniel Håkansson, the guitarist and male singer from Diablo Swing Orchestra. When a reviewer writes a review about a relatively unknown band he or she will try to compare the music with another band operating in more or less the same genre. You can say a lot of things about Diablo Swing Orchestra but they certainly do not sound like your average metal band. This is good because there are already enough copycats and faceless bands in this world. Diablo Swing Orchestra adds a new chapter in the long history of hard rock ‘n’ metal.
Before we start a question about the bio: most bands have a simple bio but Diablo Swing Orchestra has a nice fairy tale in the style of Hans Christian Andersen. Who wrote it?
I did… but I merely wrote what we found out. I really wish I could take credit by saying we made it all up. Would be a nice movie, don’t you think?
Nobody can accuse Diablo Swing Orchestra of being predictable. Where do you get the inspiration for the songs and the music?
It’s a bit different with this album and the last one where I wrote pretty much everything. Me and Pontus (guitar, vocals, FX) did most of the writing together on this one. But everyone was more involved in the arrangements/writing on this album. We learned a lot while recording the last album which came in handy when putting these songs on tape.
And how would you describe Diablo Swing Orchestra’s music?
A god description I read somewhere was : It sounds as if Danny Elfman collaborated with System of a down and got Maria Callas behind the microphone.
Did you always wanted to become a guitarist and singer?
No not really, I wasn’t that interested in music until I turned 16. But because of my upbringing and my mother was an aspiring opera singer I got it from an early age anyway. Guess it was bound to happen but I just had to figure it out myself.
How do you see yourself, as a guitar player that can sing or as a singer who also can play the guitar?
Well, I first and foremost see myself as a songwriter and the guitar is just the instrument I use. But I’m more of a guitarist than I singer. I wasn’t even supposed to sing in this band at all. If just happened since some verses/choruses didn’t fit Annlouice’s voice on the first album. But it turned out I worked great as a contrast so we have incorporated more male (not just mine) vocals on the new album.
What kind of guitars & amplifiers do you use?
We actually use custom made guitars from Henrik Jansson in Stockholm. When it comes to amps we both have Peavy amps.
To what kind of music and bands do you listen yourself?
Oh that’s a long list. To make it easier I’ll just write what I listen too at the moment: Kroke – Awesome Balkan folk band.
Was Diablo Swing Orchestra your first band and/or do have other bands right now?
This is the only band I’m playing in at the moment, I have played in other bands in the past but nothing serious really.
Is it easy to combine Diablo Swing Orchestra with your personal life?
Since it’s not my full time it does take up a lot of my free time but I’ll keep doing it as long as it’s fun. Even if no one would want to listen I’d still write songs.
What is the idea behind the name of the album?
We felt that the name sums up the feel and sound of all of the songs in a good way.
This is your second album. What have you done different compared to the debut album?
We came better prepared this time around and we had rehearsed the details in the arrangements. We had also done better pre-production recordings and prepared special klick tracks containing all the tempo shifts. Then of course we wrote better songs =)
Why did you choose the In Flames studio? (besides the fact it is located in Sweden)
He did a lot for the sound on the record. We had some ideas where we wanted to take the album and he picked up on them in a very good way and manage to turn into something even better.
Can you tell us something about the songs on the album?
If I am to say something general about all of them it would be that they are all more thought through in terms of arranging. We also had a lot of production ideas in the writing process. They may also come off as a little more weird than then songs on the debut at a first glance.
What is your favourite song on the album and why?
It kind of shifts from day to day but I’m really pleased with how “A Tap Dancer’s Dilemma” turned out.
How was the album received by the press and fans?
As it is to be expected the reactions have been mixed but the majority seems to think that we have taken a step forward with this record.
The cover art by Peter Bergting: who usually does book covers and graphic novels. Why did you / the band choose him for the artwork?
He did the cover for the first album as well and he’s a great artist and a friend of Andy.
What are the highlights for you with Diablo Swing Orchestra?
Two gigs I remember as being particularly awesome are the Summer Breeze 2008 and Mexico City 2009. That and of course recording and releasing our two albums.
And do you have any negative experiences in all those years with Diablo Swing Orchestra?
Nothing juicy but I guess waiting for flights, busses etc can be a drag sometimes.
What can we expect from Diablo Swing Orchestra in the future?
We’re working on new songs but taking our time, since the main goal at the moment is to play live. Would also be great to put out a video for one of the songs but we’ll see about the financials for that this time around.
And the last question, is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
No, I think you’ve covered most of it.
Interview by Miriam NocturnalConcerto
Well, it’s time for some Italian bands, don’t you think? So I think that we must give to a piece of the Italian metal history called Skylark some well deserved space. History because are rolling down the street from 20 years and like always there’s the right time for some changes and hereby we present the débutant Ashley Watson that, along with Brodo, we will discuss about their ninth album “Twilights of Sand” and some juicy curiosities about the Far East.
Ashley : Hi, I’m doing great, thank you!
Brodo : Hi to all Femme Metal’s readers! It’s great to be here with you.
First of all to whom maybe don’t know really well your band can you present it with a little biography?
Brodo : Skylark has a long history, we are very close to 20 years of activity. As most of the times it happens to a band with a long history, our music style has gone through some changes during the years and every album we have released is slightly different; however, I can surely say that you can always recognize Skylark sound: the strong combination of powerful and fast rhythm session, the extreme melodic vocal lines, the massive use of keyboards balanced with symphonic and neoclassical atmospheres and a touch of Hard Rock. Thanks to this uncommon combination we achieved a great success in some really important market of Far East, including emerging countries like China where we had the longest Pan China Tour for a Western Band, being also the really first one that have played in some of the most important province’s Capitals like Kunming, Changchun or the really remote but famous Harbin. We also getting a more than decent feedback from South America. We are one of the first band, in the melodic metal scene, that decided to have a female singer performing with a full body melodic voice instead of the more traditional male “front-man”. This was a complete different direction compared with the Opera’s style (such as Tarja) that was already really famous in that period.
Ashley, since you’re the last new member, can you talk about you, your musical training. And connected to this, when was your first contact with the Skylark universe? Despite Skylark, what metal bands do you like or you are new to this genre?
Ashley : I started singing when I was just a toddler but my formal vocal training started when I was 13 years old with a vocal program called Speech Level Singing by Seth Riggs. I’ve been taking lessons from SLS teachers ever since. Apart from that, I like to attend vocal seminars in my spare time. I love learning little tricks to help make my voice better. Aside from my formal training, my family is very musically oriented. My Dad was a professional session musician in the 80′s in the LA music scene so I had a lot of guidance from him. My first contact with Skylark was the summer of 2011. We were recording at the same studio and they asked me to sing the hook for “The Princess and Belzebu” and after that, everything just fell into place! As for metal bands, I am pretty new to the metal scene. My family is a country music family (hence the country band in a later question). However, Eddy has definitely gotten me interested in some metal bands, such as Iron Maiden. I love finding new music and I’m always up for new genres. Although I may be new to the Metal genre, I’ve always been a sucker for hard rock like Aerosmith and Bon Jovi and then classic rock like The Beatles. Apart from the hard rock, I listen to a lot of Pop Rock such as Avril Lavigne, The Summer Set, Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers and of course American rock bands such as Paramore.
Ashley, for being so young you’re quite navigate in the show business but the impressive fact that thanks to Gardener Cole you have already recorded an EP with Arrowheart, an all girl country band, what you can say about that experience?
Ashley : Recording with Arrowheart was definitely a great experience. It was a good way to get my feet deeper into the business, and it was an amazing experience working with Gardner. You can always learn something new when working with someone like him.
Well, let’s introduce your ninth album “Twilights of Sand”. What can you tell me about its genesis and lyrics? I know that was recorded in Arizona, USA….
Brodo : “Twilights of Sand” is a record that I’m really proud of. In my opinion, it is, simply, an excellent album, without any “B-side” song. Every track could be a potential single. Even if we released a DVD in the 2009 and a special CD in the 2010, our last standard studio album was recorded in the 2006 and published in 2007. That’s one of the unconscious reason why we wanted to give to our fans something really special. We felt we had prepared 70 minutes of great music so we decided to record in one of the best studio in the world where metal bands like Megadeth, Soulfly and great voice like Alicia Keys have recorded some of their albums. I cannot tell you many things about the lyrics because apart from the main concept (Divine Gates saga telling the marvelous fight between good and evil, White Warrior against Belzebu and so on…) that is again featured in the song “The Princess and Belzebu” all the lyrics are written and cured by Eddy. And he doesn’t speak a lot about it because he thinks that even if every song is born from a personal experience, a personal feeling or a personal dream, everybody has the right and the freedom to exploit his personal view from each songs, creating his own world and feelings.
Scrolling down the site, in the section dedicated to the new album, I have seen that a lot of female/male singers has participated in it. Can you unveil more details about them?
Brodo : Yes, you are right, in total there are nine singers, six female and three male. To tell the truth, nine are the singers present in every version of “Twilights of Sand” but considering all the different versions and their bonus tracks (a full length bonus CD for the European Edition), the number is even higher. Besides Ashley that is the official Skylark‘s singer, the others are guests. The rich 24 page booklet of the album is full of pictures and some special credits about all of them. As it has often happened in the band’s history, the album appears like a rock opera with singers joining us from different States all around the world, covering three different continents: Europe, Asia and America!
“Sands of Time” was written by you, Ashley, what’s its subject?
Ashley : In my mind, the song is about a love interest and how he never really gave me a fair chance. That’s why the main question really pops up; “If I fell in love with the morning sun would you cry” meaning; would you really even care if I fell in love with someone else. However, the song is really up for interpretation so it could be about something totally different to someone else.
I would like do a little step back, because reading your wide discography, the albums that really pop up are the ones denominated “Divine Gates Part”. In a few of lines what you can describe what’s the Divine Gates?
Brodo : The saga started with “Dragon’s Secrets” (even if that one is the central chapter of the Saga). Like I said before this story is about an eternal fight between Good and Evil, the Dark and the Light. Many characters appear in the lyrics: some are related to historical tradition like Belzebu (someone might see a religious view but our intent is only historical) some others are simply our brand new creations. They have been interpreted by skilled and important singers from the Italian and International scene. “Dragon’s Secrets”, “Gate of Hell”, “Gate of Heaven”, “The Last Gate” are all focused on this fighting. But there are single songs connected to this theme also in “Wings” and in “Twilights of Sand” for example. For those who don’t know the story already, I have one suggestion: listen to the CDs and follow all the lyrics. For me, a song like “Light”, that is long almost 24 minutes, is one of the most important chapter in Skylark‘s history.
So, we can say that with “Twilights of Sand” the Divine Gates saga is closed, right?
Brodo : Never say never. There might be some more stories and secrets to tell about the Divine Gates saga! Like I told you before, you can now listen to the song “The Princess and Belzebu”. After the coming and the adventures of the Princess of The Snow it might be the time for a new Princess… The Princess of the Desert.
The thing that hit me so much, being an Italian band, that you have a lot of success in the East Countries like China and Japan. Why such explosion? I know that sounds stupid this question but I still don’t understand what worked so well. If we want do a comparison that’s the same that happened to Lacuna Coil in the USA.
Brodo : I’m sure that our melodies and Skylark‘s sound itself are the secret of this success. In every Skylark‘s song, from every album, it is easy to recognize our sound. As I said at the beginning of the interview, our sound is a strong combination of melodic lines together with wide image keyboard and a fast, strong rhythm session. I like your example, but this aspect of Skylark and Lacuna Coil’s career is different in some parts. After they had signed for Century Media, the record company introduced them to the American market, and, mainly, thanks to the work of Century Media they finally got a good success there. Skylark, in the really beginning of its history, didn’t have any record company in Asia. We didn’t have the support of the traditional music business and its standard channels like magazines or radios; our success was born and grown up straight from fans that imported our album from Europe and promoted our music through different ways like DJ event, listening party and the innovative, at that moment, web. In the really beginning of the 2002 the name of Skylark was already present massively in almost every Rock music’s forum even if just one album, ignored by the press, had made the Japanese domestic market only for a limited edition (“Dragon’s Secrets”). Only in 2003, after almost 8 years and after being number one in the major import album charts (happened for several album), we signed a contract with a Japanese record company and, finally, got access to the traditional music business’ channels. And from that moment we have been increased our fan base even more, reaching really important results.
I’ve seen some funny photos on your Facebook Page about the Japan tour 2011/2012 and you, Ashley, sounds that you have enjoyed it a lot! How the Japanese fans welcomed you and what’s the funny fact/thing that happened to you during this tour that you want to share with us?
Ashley : The Japanese fans are amazing and very welcoming. I can’t wait to do our next tour in Japan. When you are on tour and spend so much time with your bandmates, there is a tendency to play a lot of practical jokes. I was shopping in Japan and bought this really cute hat. I came back from the store and Eddy really didn’t like the hat at all. Since he made it clear how much he hated it, I wore it for the rest of the tour just to spite him. It opened up a whole bunch of doors for funny situations. The band members ended up tag teaming me in the hallway of the hotel and stole the hat from me, holding it captive for the last few days of the tour.
Brodo : Japan and Japanese fans are amazing! The Metal music scene in city like Tokyo or Osaka is an everyday life experience, especially in the evening and night until 5 am of the following day. For those who have never been there is difficult to imagine how exactly it is. In the last years I’ve improved my Japanese language enough to be able to talk with many people there and, in the free time, lead the band to some typical and secluded places otherwise quite hard to be reached and, even if you found them, it would be impossible to handle any conversation without an interpreter. I can consider Japan my second home!
Also sorry if I insist, but I’m really fascinated with all that concerns the East. Any curious facts that you want to share, Brodo? I mean how’s the average Japanese fan?
Brodo : The greatest thing of Japan is that everyone can be a metal fans, from students to bank managers. Also, it’s really not a problem if, for instance, a Buddhist Priest likes Metal. There are many examples of this in Japan and I know a Priest that is used to cleaning up around the Temple wearing Death Metal T-shirts.
On the contrary what didn’t work in Italy? There are a lot of really excellent bands but no one have had the real blast, I mean except for the specialized media, no one promote metal…
Brodo : Italy is a great country for science and arts, most of the biggest artist in the history are Italian or lived in Italy for a long period. Two of the very top artists in the music, John Bon Jovi and Madonna, are clearly from Italian families. Rock music in Italy is not well promoted nor in the center of the global scene. For sure, always regarding Rock and Metal music, there is a big difference between Italy and countries like Sweden or Finland where every good bands have had the support of their country. In the North of Italy there are much more possibilities compared with the South: more music schools, more instruments shops, more concert venues and so on. Before, you mentioned two bands: Lacuna Coil and Skylark, both from Milan. I think it gives a good view of the Italian situation.
Instead talking about tours et similia, what are your next plains?
Brodo : After the Japanese market, where the album has been published in January, “Twilights of Sand” is undergoing a releasing process in the other territories and will be sold in different versions. Soon we will reach 20 years of activity and, of course, we are planning something special for this anniversary. From 1994 Skylark we already released 9 albums and we cannot miss the chance to make 10 albums in 20 years! Our fans we’ll get a special present from the band… really soon!
Well, we’re at the end. Please greet our readers as you want!! Thanks for everything, Brodo and Ashley!
Brodo : Thank you so much, it has been a pleasure to share this time with you and with all Femme Metal readers.
Ashley : Thank you for this interview and all your support. I love meeting new fans so I hope to see all of you on the road or on one of our fan pages. Thanks again!
Label : Santo Grial Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Chances are you have never heard of Spain’s Waldheim. They are the new guys (and girls) on the very crowded underground death metal street. Within this genre it takes something different to stand out amongst everyone else. Here we have your male and female lead, heavy hitting riffs and classical influence sprinkled throughout. Sounds like pretty standard stuff, right ? Harsh male vocals alongside of a softer female voice is nothing new to the melodic death metal genre. Mina and Fitti do a remarkable job together. Their voices naturally bounce off of each other, never leaving an awkward moment behind. Each singer gets around an equal amount of time. Mina provides a softer solo track with “Break the Silence”, which is placed towards the middle of the album to give the listener a short but welcomed change of pace. While there may not be much new here, that should not be taken in a negative light. Both singers are very talented and blend in with the atmosphere without the least bit of struggle. With seven members, one has to wonder how well the band will manage to bring together the many individual parts. This becomes the thing that stands out most over the course of the album – it just works. The guitar moves at an incredibly fast pace and meshes with everything going on. With the neoclassical influences mixed throughout, there is a lot happening here but the chaotic energy is tamed and presented superbly. I usually don’t find myself getting into instrumental tracks too often but “Memories of Fate” provided enough variation and interesting changes to keep me intrigued the whole time. Each track is unique enough to keep things from getting repetitive and makes listening through the album again enjoyable. “Fight Against Time” is a very impressive entry into the world of of melodic death metal. For fans of the genre, there is a lot to take in here. Waldheim has put together a complex formula and executes it at near perfection. Each member provides a significant role at bringing the overall sound together. The band has gone through several line-up changes and it has taken them awhile to get everything stabilized. I am glad they are finally here and the amount of effort and talent put into this recording really shows. The album is well worth the listen and it will be interested to see how the band pushes forward.
Rating – 90/100
- Fight Against Time
- Bridge of sand
- Lost in the Rain
- Break the Silence
- March of Empty Souls
- We Will Fall Together
- Memories of Fate
- Valzer Infinito
- Darkest Room
- Forest Ending
- Noemi “Mina” Mendicote – Vocals
- Roberto “Fitti” Rojo – Vocals
- Mikel “M.I Sword” – Lead Guitars
- Diego D.Hole – Rhythm Guitar
- Jessica – Keyboards, Piano
- Aratz Setien – Bass
- Alex de Benito – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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