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Dec 27, 2012
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INTERVIEW : Sean Pollacco & Diane Camenzuli – Weeping Silence

Interview by Miriam C.

Soon I’ve have heard that Maltese Gothic Doom Metal Weeping Silence band have had a major line up change I’ve contacted the band and write down like hell this interview. I’m proud to offer the first exclusive interview the new singer Diane Camenzuli but beside this I’ve haven’t forgotten to investigate more about the third album “For the Unsung” that sees the guest starring of Draconian singer Anders Jacobsson. To know more simply scroll down. Enjoy!
 
Hi Sean, first of all welcome to Femme Metal Webzine, how are you?

Thank you for the interview Miriam. I’m fine, hope the same for you and the reader of Femme Metal webzine.

Sean, would you mind giving me some biography infos for the users that don’t know Weeping Silence?

Weeping Silence was formed in the late 90s and developed from a slow tempo doom female fronted band with the release of “End of an Era” (2008), then symphonic/gothic metal with the release of “Theatre of Life” to a present gothic/doom metal band with the latest full length album “For the Unsung”.  As is expected with a band that has been around for some time, we have gone through some line-up changes, the latest being a vocal replacement. Weeping Silence is currently signed to Ravenheart Music Records and operates with Limelight Productions for non-exclusive concert booking in Europe.

So, your third album is out on Ravenheart Music and is called “For the Unsung”. Can you tell us more its genesis?

The album is a reflection of the members’ thirst to play gothic/doom with an aggressive edge. The insertion of male growling is an obvious indicator, but the riffs just sound heavier and more powerful, with several slow tempo passages. We wanted to do something that hits the core of the music we like and at the same time sounds modern.

“For the Unsung”, it gives me an impression like something obscure and unfinished. What does the title mean for you, what did the band want to express?

The album is dedicated to all contemporary heroes that go unnoticed in the world. They do not have monuments erected in their honour or wear medals. They are the everyday people who comes to a cross roads and chooses the path they feel is right with courage. This idea can be transposed to many life situations, and the idea is for everyone to see it from their own perspective.

Also what infos can you reveal about the album cover? It’s enigmatic…..

The artwork captures the theme of “For the Unsung” in the form of the Greek myth of the Coronides who in self-sacrifice saved the people from their doom. The Coronides are the two comets on the artwork, who are the daughters of the god Orion. They offered their lives in sacrifice to save their people from the plague. The gods were so touched with their humanity that they transformed them into comets to shed their eternal light. It is not a very popular myth when compared to others but it is a good representation of ‘the unsung’. This artwork was done by Jan of Darkgrove, and we feel it looks very nice, especially on the digi-pack edition.

On “Love Lies Bleeding” Draconian‘s Anders Jacobsson participates as a guest star, when was the first contact with him and how’s working with him?

Anders appears as guest singer on “Love Lies Bleeding” and “The Search Within”. Joe knew him through Facebook, then I got to know him over the internet. He’s a great guy really. To be honest, he could have easily said no to our request for him to feature, but he chose to do it even though we are not as famous as Draconian. This shows he loves the metal scene and is not a big-headed person. We respect him a lot. He did his vocal parts at Dead Dog Farm Studio in Sweden.

Also for “Love Lies Bleeding” you have shot your first videoclip, can you tell us more about it? How’s was this experience?

This was a great experience. We did not have a great budget, and between us and the label we thought of shooting this video because we know how powerful YouTube has become. The experience was a blast! It was shot in summer, so you can imagine the heat. As a band, it really brought us together, and individually we realised how far we want to go in this scene. It was an eye-opener as well as a good experience.

Between “Theatre of Life” and “For the Unsung” passed only 1 year from the publication, do you notice (or better) are you able to notice any differences?

The difference is noticeable to anyone who has both albums. It is true that the release dates are close, but “Theatre of Life” was recorded in 2006 and released in 2011. So the music is much older than the release date. “For the Unsung” was composed between 2007 and 2011, and released in 2012. So the difference in composition time is more obvious to us!

Joseph and Rachel have recently left the band. And on Facebook you have already announced that you have found a new female singer, mind you give the honours and present her?

We wish Rachel and Joe all the best with their future projects. The new female vocalist is Diane Camenzuli. She is 24 years old and ready for your questions!

Diane, welcome, I assume that this is your first interview that you ever made, how do you feel? Excited? Do you have any curiosity to share about yourself rather you prefer doing a detailed presentation of yourself?

Hi Miriam, thank you for the interview. Actually, I had some interviews about my music career in general, but this is my first interview regarding Weeping Silence. Yes, I am very excited about this new phase in my life. I have been into rock and metal for many years but never managed to settle down, the main reason being the difficulty to find musicians who are truly into the genre. Joining Weeping Silence is a challenge that has energized me like never before. All the band mates are on the same wavelength as I am, and I can feel a lot of positive energy between us – something I haven’t felt for a very long time since my involvements in bands. The teamwork is fantastic and I can already sense the need & the will to create music & performing on stage with such great people.

How do you feel replacing Rachel after so many years that she was in the band? Do you feel any pressure?

I know how much Rachel is loved and have only respect for her achievements.  At first it was overwhelming and I cannot deny that it took me sometime to absorb what just happened to me. I had to make several adjustments to my new life such as cutting down on working hours. Having said all this, I can finally say that now, I have summoned the strength and courage to deliver at this new level of me.

A little bird told me that you have musical training, can you tell us more about your musical background?

To become a band member of a gothic metal band was a plan that had been in my mind for many years. Whilst awaiting the right opportunity to come my way, I used the time I had to learn more about music in general, to take piano and voice lessons, find my natural voice timbre and write a lot of lyrics. This was crucial and it is how I got to know myself better musically. It was the many rehearsals, auditions, live showcases, music courses and music lessons I attended, that helped me develop my voice & that thought me how to take care of it as much as possible.
How did you come across Weeping Silence? Did you know before someone from the band or did you simply apply for the position?
Being a fan of Weeping Silence myself, I saw their post on facebook and thus applied for the position.

For what the little bird  told me you’re really enthusiastic and you are already doing rehearsals with the band: how hard is it to get started in a band that already has an “internal” equilibrium?

I am getting along extremely well with them. I had never experienced such teamwork. They are all committed, hard-working and open-minded. Their support has also been very encouraging.  I feel that my life is finally falling into place.
Instead let’s talk about your personal tastes, what are your private passions?
I have always been interested in make-up and costumes. I love dark photography and gothic culture. Having said this, my greatest passion still remains that of being a singer-songwriter. It is a great way of expressing my feelings to the extent I want to, without harming anyone or anything.
Sean, what are the future project for Weeping Silence?
The future projects are definately composing a new album, that we hope will see the light of day in 2014. Between then and now, we will also be playing as many concerts and festivals as we can! All this should keep us busy!
So, Sean & Diane, we’re at the end of the interview, please greet freely our user on Femme Metal Webzine and speak you soon!

We would like to thank the fans, Femme Metal Webzine and its readers who have always been behind the band giving us much support. We will be hitting the stage in 2013 and maybe we’ll get the opportunity to meet some of you. Until then, visit our FB page, see what’s brewing, and hit the like button: www.facebook.com/weepingsilence
The new album and earlier releases are available from the band’s e-store on the website www.weepingsilence.com . Thank you for the support!Thank you very much Femme Metal readers, fans of female-fronted metal and metalheads in general all over the world! Keep it metal and hope to see you around someday! Thanks Miriam for this interview – Cheers to all!! Sean & Diane

 

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Links

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Dec 3, 2012
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Interview : Loo – Maledia (2009)

 

 

 

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.

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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.

 

Links

MySpace * ReverbNation * Facebook * Site

Dec 1, 2012
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Lunocode – “Celestial Harmonies” (2012)

Label : Spider Rock Promotions

Review by Tony Cannella

The Italian heavy prog, power metal band Lunocode, introduced themselves to the metal world via their debut 6-song EP in 2011 called “Last Day of the Earth”, now they return with their debut full length “Celestial Harmonies”. Even though there are less songs here than on their initial EP, “Celestial Harmonies” clocks in at about 57-minutes long, not bad for an album that only has 5-songs. Yes, Lunocode are most definitely prog metal, but you will definitely also find some power metal influences as well, as the pounding guitar driven opening track “Sin Cara” more than proves. Lunocode slows things down a lot with an acoustic version of “Heart of the World”, a song which appeared on their debut EP. The next track “Indifference” is almost 10-minutes long and one of the proggier tracks on “Celestial Harmonies”. This features an incredible melody and manages to maintain a hard rock edge with a thundering guitar riff that is pretty consistent throughout the song. This song also includes a guest appearance by Olaf Thorsen from Labyrinth and Vision Divine. Next we have “Misty Visions of an Ordinary Day”, which once again slows the pace down a bit – aside for some blasts on heavy guitar. This leaves us with the epic – and I do mean epic – prog metal masterpiece, the 29-minute “The Origins of Matter and Life”. This is a brainy, concept song that is divided into six parts and undoubtedly the most grandiose thing the band has done in their short career. Throughout this masterwork of a song, some of it is reminiscent to movie soundtrack music; it definitely has got that feel to it. With “Celestial Harmonies” these Italians have really out done themselves, especially on the amazing final track. Lunocode have set the bar incredibly high for future releases, but for now in 2012, they have released an album that they can and should be proud of.

Rating – 86/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Sin Cara
  2. Heart of the World
  3. Indifference
  4. Misty Visions of an Ordinary Day
  5. The Origins of Matter and Life ( I. On  Matter and Mind; II. High; III. The Cosmic Architect; IV. Tree of Life; V. Crossing the Line; VI. Albert II)

 

Line Up

  • Daphne Romano – Vocals
  • Paride Mazzoni – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards
  • Giordano Boncompagni – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
  • Francesco Rossi – Bass
  • Perseo Mazzoni – Drums & Vocals on “Albert II”

 

Links

MySpace * Facebook * Twitter

 

Nov 5, 2012
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Interview : Julie Westlake – Hydrogyn

 

 

 Interview by Ed MacLaren 

 

Harkening back to the heavy metal heyday of the 1980s, Kentucky’s Hydrogyn are keeping the sound alive with its raunchy guitar crunch combined with the powerhouse vocals of singer Julie Westlake. On their latest release, “Judgement”, Hydrogyn keep one foot in the past while looking directly into the future, putting a modern spin on a classic metal sound. Julie took some time to talk to Femme Metal about image, the lasting influence of hard rock and how sometimes one good guitarist is all you need.

It’s clear from the opening riff of “Lost Reality” that Hydrogyn brought the metal on “Judgement”. The guitars are beefier and the overall tone of the album is heavier. You guys really mean business!

Yeah, you’re right. It wasn’t anything we did as a plan – it’s just the way it happened. Jeff Westlake has always liked the real heavy guitars but I don’t think until this recording we had the drummer he felt he needed to back that guitar tone up. He really likes Joe Migz’s drumming and he said it really helped to bring out the heavy playing to its full capacity this time around. I like the heavy stuff as well so for us this was a great blend of melody and heaviness so to speak.

Hydrogyn plays blues-based hard rock but you’re getting progressively heavier with each release. Even with the increasingly “metallic” influence, you’ve never compromised your hard rock core. Did you have a clear idea of where you wanted to take the music when you hit the studio?

No, not really Ed. We go into the studio with a theme in mind for every CD – we almost always have the CD title in mind before Jeff and the guys start putting the music together. We don’t do anything that is pre-meditated so to speak for the songs. Nothing like, this one’s going to be heavy or this one’s going be this or that. Jeff has many different sides to him as a writer, as do I, but we just have this certain thing we do as Hydrogyn and we let it take its course without planning in advance.

Are you still working towards finding the perfect Hydrogyn sound?

No, not really. I think we have established, as you stated earlier, our base sound. Outside of that, however, we are always looking to push the boundaries in different directions. One thing I’m proud of is the fact that we have not made CDs that sound like each other. Each release has progressed from the previous ones and has its own character and that’s very, very important to the band to be able to accomplish that on every recording. That’s something we do consciously in the process. Someone will say, that kind of sounds like such and such, a part from such and such a song and then we go…well that’s gone… on to the new part. *laughs*

You and guitarist Jeff Westlake are the nucleus of Hydrogyn (sorry, bad pun!). How would you describe your relationship? How has it evolved over the years?

Besides the fact we tend to fight like cats and dogs during the writing and recording process, we do pretty good together… *laughs*. We both are pretty intense at times and sometimes butt heads a bit. But for the most part, we’ve done well together over the years and have become a stronger team during the writing process and work really well together.

There aren’t many bands making the kind of music you’re creating right now. They’re either going in a more pop rock direction or towards a more extreme metal sound. There seem to be very few straight-ahead hard rock bands out there. Why do you think that is? What is the attraction of that style of music for you?

It’s just what we do. If you look at all the fans that go to the festivals and how people like Dio, Heaven and Hell, Maiden, Whitesnake – the list could go on – and continue to pack places, there’s a big call for it. I’m not interested in extreme metal and I’m not interested in pop music per se. I’m interested in good songs and something I can relate to. If something extreme would come up in the process, that’s fine if we can make it a great piece and the same goes for pop-oriented rock as well. If it works then it does but as for the screaming from beginning to end I can’t give that more than five seconds but I do think if you mix that extreme stuff in properly to what you do – like we do – it can work. Now this is strictly my opinion but I see those crowds of people packing places for that type of music – melodic heavy rock – and as we have seen with Ronnie James Dio’s passing, someone is going to have to fill that void once these guys are no longer with us and I would love to fly that flag. I’m not saying we’re like them – we have our own sound and that’s a fact – but we are a heavy band and if you strip the vocals away the band is killing it. The added vocals make it melodic, and that I love, as do the guys.

It’s amazing to listen to your vocals on “Judgement”. There are few singers that can command a vocal like you do. There’s real attitude in your voice –a power and vocal control that permeates tracks like “Self Destruct” and “Medicate”. But at the same time, you can give a track like “Gold Dust Woman” an emotional root that’s essential to the believability of the song. Have your vocals always been so confident? What has changed in your voice since the early days of Hydrogyn?

Thank you, Ed, for those comments. It hasn’t always been that way. The voice has always been there but it wasn’t until I met Jeff Westlake and Jeff Boggs that I really started taking singing in a big direction. I always wanted to sing professionally but hadn’t done so until those two pulled me into Hydrogyn. We’ve done a ton of music together over the past eight years but Hydrogyn is what did it.

I spent all of 2003 building my voice up in strength because Westlake said it had to be done. When we started doing that, I sang in a tuning that was much lower than the standard we work in now. Over 2003, I built that power and strength but I don’t think it really took hold until we went in to do “Bombshell” with Michael Wagener. My voice has gotten much stronger since then and now I feel like I can hang with anyone but it did take some time. Also, singing rock, you either do it or you don’t and there’s no hiding behind anything so it was sink or swim and sinking was not a choice. *Laughs*

Vocally, today’s women in metal and hard rock have arguably developed into two main camps: the corset-wearing soprano singers and the unbridled screamers. Your voice doesn’t fit into either group. It has power and an excellent clear tone – a distinctly American style – in company with vocalists like Pat Benatar and Anne Wilson. Do you ever see a resurgence of your “classic rock” vocal style?

I don’t know. Has it ever really gone away? I like Anne and Pat but I look more to Ronnie or Rob Halford for what I do. I’ve always heard that I don’t have the typical “girl” voice which is very cool to hear. I can also do a lot of different things but my voice is my voice. I didn’t try to be that way or model myself after anyone in particular. I released a solo CD in February of a bunch of stuff from country to rock to gospel just to show the different things I like and do but I love to rock. I am not much on the operatic stuff that is out there and I’m not about any pitch correctors on my voice either. I am just blessed with a clear powerful voice and I love it.

You perform and belt out your vocals like a true rocker. You would never think that your background is in country music. How does a country princess end up a metal queen?

*Laughs* Well, again, blame Westlake and Boggs. I’d stumbled onto Westlake in a studio in Ashland, Kentucky to do a demo and he was the engineer in there at the time. So I did the singing and he and I started working together on writing material but I was still in country. One day he and Boggs approached me and said we have a gig in 14 days and no singer –think you can try to do it? I said yes so they made me a CD of 40 cover songs ranging from AC/DC to Dio, Whitesnake, Priest, Heart and on. I was like, wow I don’t know. So what I did is learn the melody of the songs and then taped 40 songs worth of lyrics to the stage and did the show. It went over so well that I decided to keep going with it and here we are today. I love to sing anything but I love to rock the most.

With all the success of “Judgement”, in other ways it was a difficult year for you and Hydrogyn. You gained and lost a potential guitar match made in heaven with ex-Megadeth guitarist Jeff Young. It looks like the dust has finally settled from that failed collaboration. What have you learned from the experience?

That having one guitarist is plenty good enough *laughs*. You never know how things are going to work until you try it, and some may refer to it as a match made in heaven and others or myself may say hell. *laughs* Sorry. Needless to say, it just didn’t work for us, for me, for whoever. I’m just glad it’s over and we’re able to move forward with the release. Lesson learned. Why fix it if it’s not broken. We’ve been playing with one guitarist for a couple of years now and that’s how we’ll continue on for the duration.

Legendary producer Michael Wagener has been a great friend of the band since “Bombshell”. How has your relationship with him impacted the musical evolution of the band?

A lot of ways. Just his support has been enough but the biggest way is probably that Jeff Westlake has been mentored by him as an engineer and music producer since 2005. That has been the biggest impact of all I think. The last two releases, “Deadly Passions”, and the new one “Judgement”, have had three songs on each produced by Michael and the others by Jeff. Jeff has learned so much it’s amazing. Reviewers have said they can’t tell who did what because it all sounds so good and that’s huge for us and especially Jeff. Jeff is also building a new studio as well as he’s busy with other bands all the time so the relationship with Michael has been big on many, many levels but the bottom line is that we love the guy.

You managed to score Doug Pinnick of King’s X to perform on the track “Big Star”. How did he get involved in the “Judgement” project? You must have had some high expectations for the result. So how did he do?

Well, he did great! *Laughs* We’ve known him since 2006 as King’s X works with Michael as well so that’s how it came about. Jeff Westlake had mentioned it one day to Jeff Young and so Young contacted him and the rest is history. He’s unreal and soulful and a great player as well so he did the male vocal part and the bass line for the song. We love it.

You release regular albums with Hydrogyn and tour extensively. It doesn’t leave a lot of free time yet you still found time to record a solo album. Why did you decide to step outside your comfort zone with the band and do something on your own? Did you have a creative itch that couldn’t be scratched within the confines of the band?

Yeah, I do in a way. I’ve had so many comments made about the “country” background and friends and family asking me to do some stuff along those lines that I decided to do it. This solo CD is basically for them and I have another one on the way that will be more of what I want to do which again is different than Hydrogyn. Westlake and Boggs are working on a side project too called Ura-Kia and then Westlake has another one as well called Slave Train. These will all see release in 2011 and another Hydrogyn record as well. Now that’s a lot but it’s the way we love it. I really don’t have just one comfort zone. On the solo release, which is called If Ever a Day, I do country, rock, gospel and the title cut is a bit of a jazz/blues tune that I wrote so it’s a bit of everything. The next one will be more of a rocker.

You’re no stranger to singing cover songs – you’ve had at least one cover on each Hydrogyn album. As a cover expert then, what’s the attraction to putting a cover song on an album when you could be adding another original track?

You hear songs you like and you catch yourself singing them and then you go, “Wow I‘d like to do that!” So we do! On “Judgement”, we have fans asking for “Gold Dust Woman” as a lot of people have heard us doing that one in acoustic settings so we did it for the fans. “Assault Attack” from the Michael Schenker Group is done because I love the song and so do the guys, so we did it. We could always write another song to put on the CD but those cover tunes are for us and we enjoy them a lot.

What’s the criteria for selecting a good cover song? You’ve performed covers by everyone from AC/DC to Alanis Morissette to Fleetwood Mac!

Just loving the track. We did “Back in Black” in our live show when we met Michael and he said can we please record that and we said sure. I think the only cover song we have done that had some resistance to it is “18 And Life” because Westlake hates the song. Other than that, we have a vault of cover tunes recorded just waiting for their time, so to speak. Now “Assault Attack” was my idea but it took no time for the guys to jump and do it. That’s been one of Jeff‘s faves since it came out in 1982.

“Big Star” was part of your original “Best Served With Volume” demos from 2004. Why did it take so long to formally record?

We also recorded it for the “Bombshell” sessions and it made the live release of “Strip’em Blind Live” in 2007. We just love the song. Westlake wrote it in like 1999 and we said this song has never had an official release so we reworked it a bit and then got Doug involved and it just came out so good that it finally got the green light.

Do you have any other great tracks lurking in the Hydrogyn vaults that are waiting to see the light of day?

Yes. A ton actually and Jeff would kill me if I said what. We’ve been talking of releasing a cover CD so for now I have to keep mum.

Fashion alert! OK now, is that really the “Bombshell” outfit you’re wearing on the “Judgement” cover?

Yep, sure is. I thought that since the album title was “Judgement”, and that a lot of people have judged myself and the band since we started with the “Bombshell” album, that it only made sense to be viewed with the same outfit that started it all.

How much does your image play into your music?

I think this industry is a lot about image. So a big part of what we do with my image is about marketing. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the music; it’s just the role and persona I play on stage.

Look at any Hydrogyn album cover from “Bombshell” to “Judgement” and anyone can see that you play the role of the “rock vixen” to an extent. How much of that image is you merely expressing your own sexuality or a facet of your personality and how much is a product of women having to play that role in hard rock/metal music to be successful?

With the album covers, the pictures are supposed to represent the title of the album, not what or who Julie Westlake is. What I wear in the pictures on the covers is not always what I wear on stage. I don’t think it’s necessary that I have this particular image, it’s just the image I choose to represent each album.

Has your image had any negative impact on how seriously people respond to your music? Is there a stereotype you have to constantly fight against?

I wouldn’t say negative. Some people don’t like it but you’re not going to make everyone happy. I’m here to hopefully make people happy with our music, not with my clothes. If they don’t like the image, then they can close their eyes because the music is still good.

How do you see your image evolving as Hydrogyn becomes more and more established?

You never know. Again, a lot of it has to do with the album title and how it influences me. Of course, fashion is always changing, so you just never know what I will do next.

You’ve battled in the business and media trenches for many years now. Do you have any advice for young women aspiring to a career in music?

It’s really tough. You have to be willing to work long and hard for it. Don’t expect things to happen fast. It’s a long road and a lot of work and it’s important to create thick skin because people are always going to be tough on you no matter what.

When will you be hitting the road to tour behind “Judgement”? Is the focus going to be on the United States first and then head over to Europe?

Hopefully in the spring. We’re trying to focus more on the States this time around but also feel that Europe is such a strong area for us and we love our fans so much there. So, hopefully we will be able to hit both next year.

What can longtime fans expect to see in your new live show?

One thing you can always expect is a very energetic show. Our live show now consists of a variety of songs from all of our previous albums, as well as a few cover tunes along the way. And then, of course, we always take time after the show to spend time with our fans and we really enjoy meeting everyone.

(Famous) Last words?

I guess I would have to say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. In this case, an album. Let the content decide whether or not you’re a fan, rather than making assumptions based on an image of someone you’ve never met.

 

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Sep 19, 2012
admin

Interview : Flora Spinelli – Kerion

 

 

 Interview by Andy Axworthy

 

 Based out of Nice in France, Kerion are a symphonic metal band intent on putting their own brand of Heroic Fantasy back into the genre. With one album “Holy Creatures Quest” under their belt, Femme Metal caught up with singer Flora Spinelli to talk about the band and their new release, “The Origins”

Hi Flora and welcome to Femme Metal.
Kerion has been together since 2002 – can you introduce the band members to us?  

Everything started in Nice with a teenage instrumental band of progressive metal called Kirlian, formed by guitarists Rémi and Sylvain, bass player Stephane and drum player Sam, whom were all childhood friends. After high school, the band split because of moving to other cities by most of the members. But Rémi, who composed all the songs, didn’t give up and decided to form a band of symphonic metal. In 2002, lyrics writer Christophe and I joined him to form Kerion. After some years of hard working, it appears that we had a concept album ready to be recorded. Rémi then made contact back with his old friends. Sylvain and Sam who were back in Nice accepted to join. Stephane was still living in Paris but visited us as often as possible during six months before moving back definitively. In 2007, we were all together and “Holy Creatures Quest” was released.
In the very beginning of 2010, Sam, our drummer, moved away and left the band. Since then, Antoine joined us. So, now we are: Remi: Guitar – Sylvain: Guitar – Stephane: Bass – Antoine: Drums and Me: )

How did you end up becoming the group’s vocalist?

I was a high school friend of Rémi and he asked me to participate to the choirs on the firsts songs (demo) and then finally singer’s position was released and he asked me to take it.
Although back then I had no experience in singing, I accepted because we had a lot fun and I always liked his compositions.

You already have one album, “Holy Creatures Quest”, under your belt. How would you describe the band’s sound to someone who had never heard you before?

To give a short description of the sound, I’d say that it’s very eclectic: it can go from very soft piano ballads to very fast guitar saturated marches. Otherwise, we try as possible to avoid repetitive munchkin instrumental parts. I think that when you listen to our music, if you close your eyes it’s easy to feel as if you were in a fantasy movie. We are big fans of Heroic Fantasy and even if some people say that it’s “a simple concept”, we don’t care. Some bands are talking about politics issues, war and love and do it very well. We are talking about war, courage and friendship but with elves and monsters ^^

You have just released your second album, “The Origins”. How was the launch and how do you think it has been received by your fans?

As we were negotiating with labels since falls of 2009, we were quiet well prepared. All promotion pictures, websites and CD cover were ready far before we sign with Metalodic Records, so it wasn’t a big rush. Concerning the sales, pre-ordering was quiet successful and now the distribution is getting better and better (some people don’t buy online). And last but not least, former fans seem to like it (as far as we can know) and some new fans join our forum or Facebook page, mainly to share positive feelings!

The new album is based around your previous demos, “Conspiracy of Darkness” and “The Last Sunset”. How did it feel to revisit this earlier material once again?

For myself, I was a little afraid in the first time because I wasn’t the singer on the first demo and I feared not being able to assure. Then, I just did it my own way. About the old “Last Sunset’s songs”, I was really happy to sing them once again. Furthermore, except for “Time of Fantasy” lyrics were different, the story was changed and it sounded far more professional than in 2005! I think that it was almost the same for Remi, who was excited to play again his first compositions with an actual sound.

How difficult was it to decide which songs from the demos were included and/or rearranged for “The Origins”?

Humm… In fact, the idea to rearrange our first demos is not very old. Rémi asked me once which songs I would like to include if one day we made an album with our first demos. And except for “Dwarf Quest” I totally agreed with all of his choices (Dwarfs are great!!! :p) 

Both albums are based upon the heroic fantasy “Staraxis” trilogy by Chris Barberi who also wrote the lyrics. How does Chris fit into the Kerion family?

Christophe is one of Remi best friends, so it was pretty easy !;) 

Rémi has joked that there is a touch of George Lucas about releasing “The Origins” (the first two parts of “Staraxis”) after “Holy Creatures Quest” (the final part). How did that come about?

Many books or movies uses this kind non-chronological order but for Rémi, the absolute reference is Star Wars, so any way of comparing his work with the masterpiece of George Lucas is good. May the force be with us!!

On “The Origins” you have once again enlisted the help of Phil Giordana (Fairyland) with arranging the choruses, Yann Baresi as a guest vocalist and Will Lievin behind the mixing desk at Harkam Studio. How important to the band is this continuity and stability during the writing and recording process?

Phil is a friend of the group for a long time now and he has a lot of quality, and experience, quite as Will who made a great work on “Holy Creatures Quest”. Then it is quite naturally that we still appealed to them. In France we say: We don’t change a team that wins! :D
We know each other, we know what kind of result can be expected!

Not just a new album but also a new label. What does it mean to Kerion to be signed to Canada’s Metalodic?

It means a lot because Maxence from Metalodic Records gave us a chance and he believes in us. We see almost every day new results of the good job he does for us, he’s always available and thanks to him Kerion can be listened all over the world!!

You are playing some acoustic shows in France in October. What are your touring plans beyond that and can the rest of Europe or the world expect a full tour at some point?

As I explained earlier, we didn’t have a drummer for months and we had to refuse some invitations but now, Antoine is ready! We’d like really to play in the other cities more often but it’s sometimes rather difficult financially. So we try to target really and then sometimes it is the dates that don’t suit to our work or our family life…. Grrr… but for “The Origins”, we all planned to go to meet more our public and to make more concerts. We are in connection with several other groups and try to organize some shows (Paris, Marseille, Nancy). But If the transport can be taken, be sure we are ready to go where you want:) (if somebody hears my call ^^) But of course, if we are asked to play in a festival or something like this, be sure that we will be there, because we know it’s a chance to play with other bands who have more experience!

Talking of playing live, what would be your dream line-up for a Kerion gig?

I would like so much to sing with Floor Jansen, yes I know it’s arrogant and it will never happen but I can dream ^^ Or, I’d like to sing with Daniel Gildenlow!! The best singer in the world! And there are so many bands I would like to play with that I cannot number all of them.

What interests or hobbies do you have outside of the band?

Well, in the daily life, I’m rather commonplace, I grumble about anything like other girls I suppose (I am told in the ear that I grumble more than the other girls…), I like going to the cinema, watching series (fan of HIMYM, Scrubs etc.) listening to a lot of music obviously, seeing my friends, be with my husband, sport, remains hours on internet and gardening. Yes, Rémi and the boys call me “hippy” all the time because in the daily life, I am rather “peace and love” and more “flowers” than “Gothic depressive”. ^^

If you were not Kerion‘s singer, what would you be doing instead?

It’s a very good question because when I wonder: if Rémi never asked me to sing, well, maybe I shall never have tried to sing, I do (because we do not live on the music) and the good that music makes to me, I thought that I would not have stopped Tai Jitsu and I would be black belt by now :D
No, actually I don’t know. I would have continued my life as usual. When we don’t know what we could have done, we don’t miss that, do we?

You have already provided a guest vocal on Fairyland’s “Score to a New Beginning”. Do you or the band have any other collaborations or side-projects in the pipeline?

At this time we don’t have any collaboration to other’s project planned, but we have some ideas about guest singers for our next album… but shhh it is a secret ^^

Thanks for taking the time to talk to Femme Metal, Flora – any last words or thoughts for your readers?

First, thank you very much, it was a very interesting interview!!!! I hope my English is understandable :p and I hope that by reading me, some people will be curious and buy our album.

 

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