LEAVES’ EYES — the German/Norwegian band formed by ex-THEATRE OF TRAGEDY singer Liv Kristine Espenaes Krull and members of ATROCITY — has set “Symphonies Of The Night” as the title of its new album, due later in the year via Napalm Records.
A new LEAVES’ EYES video, for the song “Melusine”, featuring footage from live shows, tours and festivals like Wacken Open Air in 2012, can be seen below.
Interview by Ed MacLarenBarely into their 20s, Germany’s Voices of Destiny has a musical maturity that belies their young years. With their shining debut, “From the Ashes”, Voices of Destiny is packed with massive chops and soaring vocals that match many of the premier symphonic metal bands you’re listening to right now. Vocalist Maike Holzmann joined Femme Metal to talk about the creation of “From the Ashes”. Congratulations on the new album! With Massacre Records no less. How are you and the band enjoying the ride so far? The feedback must be excellent.
Working with Massacre and all the great people we met during the recording process is awesome. Of course, we got some positive reviews and comments on our homepage, but we can’t tell how often the album is sold by now. We will know better in a few weeks.“From the Ashes” is a very multi-textured album that draws you in deeper each time you listen to it. There’s a lot of detail happening musically. What’s the key to maximizing the “From the Ashes” listening experience?
Maybe just sitting down and listening to the album carefully and consciously. If you read the lyrics while listening this might also maximize the experience. You can interpret them and find out how they fit into your life.What’s really impressive about “From the Ashes” is the number of potential singles: “Ray of Hope”, “Return from the Ashes”, “Apathy” and “All Eyes on Me” are all standout tracks. Each song on the album can stand on its own as well as a cohesive part of the whole album. Was that the band’s approach during the songwriting process?
Yes, indeed. We didn’t write the album as a concept album. Some songs already existed for 2 years or longer. But we thought they’d fit the album as well. Every single song is good on its own but concerning the whole album they reach another level somehow.
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.
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
Interview by Ed MacLaren
Brazilian thrash rockers, Shadowside have spent the last five years defying conventional definitions of a female-fronted band with their searing brand of metal. With their third album, “Inner Monster Out”, a hard driving riff-fest fueled equally by hooks and hammers, Shadowside is determine to stand toe-to-toe with the best of ‘em. Vocalist Dani Nolden took some time to talk to Femme Metal about drastic changes that resulted in a creative leap forward, the band’s work ethic and the dangers of letting her inner monster out.
You’ve unleashed “Inner Monster Out” upon the world and our ears haven’t stopped bleeding – it’s a fantastic album. You’ve really raised the bar on this one.
Thank you! This album was kinda like a “do or die” thing for us. We had to top ourselves, not because the fans said it or the press said, but we felt we needed that. As a band, you have to always search for the very best you have to offer and keep people interested, surprised. The band was in agreement that in order to surprise and impress people we would have to impress ourselves and come up with something even we didn’t know we were capable of creating. We had a great time bringing it to life and after we were done, we were absolutely sure this is the best album of our careers so whatever the results and whatever people’s opinions about it could be, we were happy as musicians. Fortunately, people love it as much as we do so that tells me to always trust our instincts and do what we enjoy doing! There’s always people to listen to what you play if you put your heart into it.
The band sounds like it’s firing on all cylinders musically and vocally. It must be a great feeling when you’re recording an album and everyone on the team is playing at the top of their game.
It is – no doubt about it. It’s easy to perform your best when you don’t have to worry about whether your band members will be able to deliver or not, or whether you’ll have to fight for the musical direction of the album at the end of the day. I knew they’d do a great job and they did. I could go out during the day sometimes and not have to sit there through the recordings of everything because I had complete trust in them, you know? We didn’t have to monitor anything, just like when they didn’t feel like watching me record, they didn’t have to. Sometimes they’d just go play videogames but not because they didn’t care, just because they knew I’d never come up with something they wouldn’t like. Raphael recorded lots of guitar solos while everyone else was asleep (laughs). It’s amazing to work like that… We were absolutely at ease and every step of the way was extremely fun!
Lyrically, “Inner Monster Out” is pretty intense and the music reflects that intensity. What took Shadowside in such a heavy direction on this album?
Before we even started working on the music, I was already playing with words a little bit… I like starting with titles and topics to write about and go from there and everything was very deep, introspective and personal, sometimes kinda dark as well. I wasn’t unhappy at all though, the band was doing well and everything was great, I was just taking a dive inside my own head and into anything that made me think. When we started working on the music, everything came together like magic. My songs were intense, the songs the boys wrote were intense as well and when we started working on them all together, they got angry, heavy, full of life and I thought they were perfect for those topics I had been playing with in my head. The songs got more mature so the lyrics had to follow and thankfully, that was exactly how I wanted to explore my lyrics writing this time. It was like everything was meant to be, you know? Like we were all reading each other’s mind and looking at the same direction. We kept it fun and melodic but we wanted it more aggressive. We wanted to capture that intensity that we have on our concerts that makes people and ourselves go crazy and unleash our “inner monsters”!
You changed your recording methods as well for this album didn’t you?
Dramatically. Not only the recording methods but the writing methods as well. We used to book a studio and get a producer, then we’d go to the studio in the morning, record for 12 hours a day and then go back home and do the same thing the day after. By the end of the recordings, we were all worn out and sick of the album to the point that we’d let some things slide just to be done with it. That’s not ideal but it’s what happened. Then after a few months, we’d all sit and talk to each other about all the things we wish we had done differently. This time, we went to Sweden to work with Fredrik Nordström as our producer and he has a studio with all living facilities in it. He has beds, a kitchen, bathroom so the 4 of us lived in the studio during the recording. Literally. Fredrik worked for 8 hours a day but he’d let us use the studio 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So we could just wake up, go to the studio, play with the songs, experiment with them and just have fun. When we were tired, we’d leave it for a while then go back to it but there was no pressure. When it comes to recording, we just made sure that everybody in the band was happy with the songs at all times. We have very distinct tastes within the band and we figured that if we could create something interesting for the four of us, it would be unique and different with a lot more chances of pleasing people. We also did everything together. No song sounds exactly like the demos each of us brought to the studio. We all arranged everybody’s instrument and no one was overly sensitive about it. We’d use whatever good idea, so I wrote some guitar riffs, Raphael and Ricardo wrote some melodies, Fabio directed some of my vocal recordings. We happily worked as a team.
What’s your Inner Monster and what does it take to bring her out?
(Laughs) You know what… my Inner Monster ALWAYS comes out at the worst possible moments and it can often cause embarrassment to myself and to others (laughs). The “Angel with Horns” describes my personality well… I’m usually sweet but can be a little evil at times. And it usually happens when I’m actually trying to be nice… a while back I hosted a tattoo event and one of my favorite tattoo artists in Brazil was judging the tattoo contest. He’s over twice my age and winked and flirted with me during the whole event but still I didn’t want to be mean so I just kept my distance. After the event was over, he came over to talk, gave me a card and I ended up opening my big mouth to pay him a compliment and instead said a “Dude, I’m your fan! I followed your work in surf magazines since I was a little girl!” (Laughs) He got so uncomfortable that he immediately left and I wasn’t even trying to be a jerk, I think it’s just natural in me (laughs).
The title track features Björn “Speed” Strid, Mikael Stanne and Niklas Isfeldt – a unique cast for a unique song. I guess the boys did alright on this one, didn’t they?
Hell yeah, they did great! I expected nothing less than great since they are all amazing singers but they sure did even better than what I originally had in mind. What I like the most about how the song turned out is that all the voices on it are so distinct but they all fit. It was an honour for me to perform alongside those guys. And it was great fun to take them outside their comfort zone and let them bring their own personalities to Shadowside at the same time.
Have you thought about expanding the writing style in “Inner Monster Out” and writing some longer pieces for multiple singers like a sort of “metal opera”?
There are no plans to do that right now but then again, we never make any plans. We just let things happen. Some of our fans asked us why we never had guest musicians before the “Inner Monster Out” album, the truth is that just now we wrote a song that actually needed more people singing, in this case to match the story. So while we won’t force the songwriting in the “metal opera” direction, someday it might just happen that we write a long song that we feel multiple singers should lay their vocals on. It’s surely something we would do if we all liked the song and felt it has the Shadowside energy.
Shadowside started very strong out of the gate and hasn’t looked back since. How were you able to reach this level of popularity in such a short time? Was it the music? The energy? The timing?
All that plus the hard work, I guess. I actually think the timing was horrible for us because Shadowside started when female fronted metal became popular, especially Nightwish. So there were hundreds of bands appearing every day trying to be them and lots of people thought we were just another clone band. That slowed us down a little because lots of potential fans would come across our ads on magazines or interviews or people talking about us and would say “I won’t even bother checking out this band because I don’t like these Nightwish clone bands” when we were nothing like them. It took time for them to understand we had our own thing going on and it was very different from what everyone else was doing. Many liked the music a lot when we first released a demo and I honestly didn’t expect that much. But I think we had such a positive energy on stage, we love what we do a lot and that’s usually contagious. We used the Internet a lot. We kept in touch with our fanbase through MySpace, through Orkut, which is very popular in Brazil. The work in this band never ends, there’s always something to do either regarding the music or band business, we don’t take time off, we don’t need vacation. Our holidays are the tours! We play when we’re sick, unless we absolutely cannot perform. I sing unless my voice is gone, the boys will play unless they can’t move. Fabio played the drums with a broken finger on the European tour with W.A.S.P. And being in a band is what we love the most in our lives and that shows through in the music. Sometimes the music is good but the band isn’t fully committed to making it a success or they just record, upload the music to their website and hope things will magically happen. We searched for success and are still searching. In the meantime, we keep trying to improve as no matter how good you are, there’s always something to fix and you can always be better. That’s the key to success in my opinion… respect your fans and do not stop working.
How do you respond to that kind of early success? It must be tempting not to mess with a formula when it’s working but then again where does that leave you to grow?
That’s exactly what we think. After we released “Theatre of Shadows”, which received high praise in Brazil, we had that discussion for the first time. Should we continue what we did on “Theatre of Shadows” or should we keep exploring? I believe that if you don’t surprise your fanbase, they’ll eventually get bored and you won’t reach new fans either. Then when “Dare to Dream” was really well accepted even though it was a big change from the debut album, we got even less afraid to try new things. We keep the band’s roots, of course. The energy is there, the melodies are there, music comes before musicianship, but why not try new things we learned or that are very different than what we grew up listening to? We need to shock people, we need to wow them, otherwise we just give them more of the same and they’ll go look for the freshness elsewhere. It’s a real challenge to do that while still maintaining Shadowside‘s identity and I love it, it challenges me as a musician and I think the guys will agree with me on that. That’s how we responded to that success… we felt that if we didn’t top ourselves, nobody would be impressed either and instead of getting cocky thinking we are the next big thing, we got humble and thought we should work twice as hard to actually deserve all the praise we received.
In Brazil, Shadowside is a big deal. What are your goals for expanding that popularity beyond the Brazilian borders?
We just hope to go as far as we can possibly go. We’ll tour a lot, keep in touch with our fans online, I think the Internet is a huge tool that many musicians still don’t know how to use very well. Now that we have history to show in our own country, we’ll try achieving the same things worldwide.
How does Shadowside differentiate itself from its Brazilian metal contemporaries? What do you do to make Shadowside unique?
There’s nothing specific that we do, we just don’t label ourselves at all. Many people call us a power metal band but we don’t so we don’t get trapped in the genre. If we wanna play something that sounds more like thrash metal, we can. Why not? So we mix together thrash metal, power metal, hard rock, modern stuff, whatever we like and try to make it flow together naturally. But we don’t think, “We HAVE to add all these elements.” We just have so many different influences inside the band and we don’t necessary try to sound like them. Raphael likes Pantera and Fabio likes Slayer, but they don’t wanna play Pantera and Slayer, they wanna play their own thing so when they start playing together, something interesting and unique comes up. I notice most people starting a band look for band mates with the same tastes as theirs. We embraced and used our different ideas, views and tastes. I don’t think you’ll ever see Shadowside changing the lineup due to musical differences.
Many female power singers look to male singers as influences instead of female ones. Are you the same way?
I am, but that’s only because I grew up listening to the guys. When I was a child, I listened to what my parents listened and that was Queen. Then my cousin showed me Guns n’ Roses and Skid Row. After that school friends showed me Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. By the time I found out about females in rock and metal music, my voice and musical personality were pretty much formed. Nowadays I like many female singers, a lot. I love Lana Lane‘s voice for example and if I had heard that woman singing when I was a child and early teenager, she would have definitely been one of my major influences. The Skunk Anansie singer is amazing too. I like unusual, unique voices, male or female.
You sing like a force of nature. Where does all this power come from? Did your voice always sound like that?
It must have been all the screaming I did when I was a baby (laughs). But it did, yes… it was always quite loud and strong, it was way easier for me to learn how to scream and power sing than to sing like a girl (laughs). Until not much long ago, I had trouble singing songs written for female voices or holding back on volume. I only realized it wasn’t common for a woman to sound like this when I noticed how much it surprised people. Before that it was just natural, a voice that I hated but it was the only one I had (laughs). So I worked with it.
Even with all that vocal aggression, you can still soften up your voice on tracks like “A.D.D.”. It’s a beautiful contrast. Have you thought about using that part of your voice more extensively?
Now that I learned how to do it, yes (laughs). Maybe not too much more because what I really love to do is let it all out but it’s always important to be able to perform different things. Like you said, that contrast can be interesting. I want to have a range of choices regarding what I can do with my voice so the band’s creativity doesn’t get limited, you know? People might see more of that soft and beautiful stuff if it fits the music in the future or maybe until then I’ll learn how to do something that I never tried before and mix that all together!
Americans can get a little jealous when the top European femme metal bands pass over North America heading to South America. What is it about metal that South Americans respond to so well?
I think it’s the passion… metal is such an intense genre. I’ve seen grown man cry when hearing their favorite song. And not a love ballad, an all-out metal tune and the guy is there, screaming, fists in the air, tears rolling down his face and his kid on his shoulder with a band t-shirt! And South Americans are very passionate people, warm-hearted so it hits us right in the guts. It’s purely about the music, because most Latin Americans don’t speak English at all. But they know what everyone’s singing about, you bet they know… they feel it.
You’ve made several visits to North America and Europe as well. How do the crowds there differ from those in South America?
Eastern Europeans and Latin Europeans, like Italy and Spain, are very similar to what I’ve seen here. They go absolutely crazy! In North America and countries like Germany and Finland, I noticed people tend to watch the concert more but once they decided they like you, they start screaming and responding really well when you try to interact with them. When we played in Finland for the first time, they were insanely quiet and we thought they hated us! I was afraid to ask them to scream and throw fists in the air because I thought I’d just look dumb there doing it by myself (laughs). In the middle of the set list, I thought to myself, “To hell with it if I look like a fool, let’s have some fun!” (Laughs) To my surprise, they started following me and came to talk to us after the show and said they liked it a lot, so I think it’s just a matter of getting used to the local behavior. My experience is that Latins and Eastern Europeans respond to the music faster and in a more intense manner, but North Americans, Germans, Finnish, Estonians, British… they will come talk to you a lot more, buy a CD and tell you personally what they thought of your music. That’s not always the rule though… We had some of our loudest crowds in the UK, they were just as intense as the Lithuanian, Spanish, Hungarian, Italian… maybe they like us Brazilian folks (laughs).
What kind of relationship do you have with your fans? How important is that relationship to the success of the band?
I’d say it’s key to the success of any band. You have to respect your fans and be good to them. Send a personal message every now and then to those who are more active on your social networking websites. Take some photos with them after the show. If there are too many of them, organize meet-and-greets before the show. Give them something nice and for free when they like you so much to the point of buying your entire discography and a t-shirt on top of it. Don’t ever forget the fans put you where you are. That’s the relationship we have with them. Musicians want people to understand how hard it is being on the road but we also have to understand that the fan might never have another opportunity to come close to you and take a picture with you. They wait hours in the cold for you sometimes. A little respect and appreciation is always in order.
With the new album out, a tour is a forgone conclusion. The live sound is going to be crushing with these new tracks. What can the fans expect on stage?
A band that’s on fire! The mood inside the band has never been better and we wish we could play the whole “Inner Monster Out” album live, along with the best of our old material and that’s just what we might do on our headlining shows! We love to play and interact with the crowd, sing for them and with them, the new material is sounding extremely intense and the old stuff is sounding heavier live since we end up playing them the same way as we play the Inner Monster Out tracks. It’s a show to head bang and go insane!
Where is the “Inner Monster Unleashed” tour going to take you?
Everywhere we’ve been so far and beyond, I hope! We’ll play everywhere we can, we were waiting for feedback on the album to make plans and it seems the fans and press really approved this material so it’s time that we start getting this show on the road. And hey, that’s actually a cool title for the tour… can we use it? (Laughs)
(Famous) Last words?
“He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, the very first inspiration for the Inner Monster Out concept. My own… “Dare to dream, it just might come true!”
Interview by Robin Stryker
Femme Metal spoke with Leeni-Maria Hovila, frontwoman of Finnish extreme fantasy metal band, Kivimetsän Druidi, six months ago. Since that time, the band has completed a massive North American tour and released its sophomore album, “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge” (Century Media 2010). We are delighted to chat with Leeni-Maria again and get caught up on Kivimetsän Druidi’s whirlwind of activity.Hello, Leeni-Maria! We’re glad you could join us today.
First things first, please tell us about Kivimetsän Druidi’s new album, “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”.
“Betrayal” is our second album — the first in which I have made most of the lyrics, and the first in which we have tracks composed also by our drummer Atte and lead guitarist Rinksa.
If you had to describe the new album’s sound in three words, what would they be?
Massive, symphonic, complex.
The title, “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”, has a nice ring to it. Where does the name come from?
It is simply a summary of the things and ideas happening on this album.
From earlier interviews, it sounds as though the band was not completely satisfied with its debut album, “Shadowheart”. How much of the harder, more aggressive sound on the new album comes from a natural evolution in Kivimetsän Druidi’s music, versus lessons learned from the first album?
The compositions are all natural evolution which was not even as fast as it would seem by listening to these two albums. All the elements of the tracks on “Betrayal” were already present in the few new songs of “Shadowheart”, but most “Shadowheart” tracks were both very old and some very new material which sound quite different from one another. On the other hand, the harder, more aggressive sound in general is all about making “Betrayal” sounding how we wished “Shadowheart” would, so that was about a lesson learned.
As I understand it, you are a classically trained soprano. Did you ever consider pursuing a career in opera, instead of metal?
I don’t have a great desire for that. The opera world seems a rigid place to me, also I do not have such a big voice. If I do classic genre and I do study it at the present, I am a lied-oriented performer, that is an other-than-opera- kind of classic vocal style. I see myself in the future as a performing cross-over soprano artist, who is most probably chronically broke.
Would you introduce your bandmates, and tell us what you like best about each person?
Joni Koskinen is something of a leader amongst us, if at all it can be said that we have one. I like and sometimes even envy his confidence. He is one of the two of our main composers, who used to do all of the lyrics in the past. He is a founding member and does the growls as well as rhythm guitar. Antti Koskinen, the former’s little brother, is our keyboardist and the other main composer. Antti is also a founding member, is somewhat multi-talented, and is very much self-educated as a musician. He is very empathic. Rinksa, our lead guitarist, is also a founding member, although the original idea of Druidi was Joni’s and Antti’s. But Rinksa has been aboard from the very beginning. He is quiet and conscientious. Simo-Pekka, our bassist, is big and reliable and older than his young years would say. He is always sensible, speaks the utter unquestionable truth, and others never have to worry for him. But, if he gets hungry and there’s no food around, you’d better come up with some. Quick! Atte, our drummer, is as far as I remember the last line-up change before myself. He is very good in his area, and the only member besides myself who has at least some classic studies. He used to play the faggot – hold on, I have to check if that, in fact, is how it is written … err, no. I meant to say fagotto. Or bassoon, my dictionary seems to claim they mean the same. Atte is funny. The joker of the band. And open-minded.
“Shadowheart” was inspired by a fantasy story that Joni has been working on. What is the inspiration for “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”?
I think it still is the same story actually, regardless of the fact that most lyrics are mine or even the fact that most stories of those lyrics I had thought about well before I joined the band. I simply decided — when Joni said I should try writing lyrics and I decided I should try using my old ideas — that fine, now all these things are going to happen in the world he made to happen and that’s it. And the truth is that in those stories, both the ones Joni wrote and the ones I’d had in my head before, some very basic things always remain the same. It is the nature of stories regarding where and when they happen. The same things, the same big truths always are the ones that people write stories about or fight wars over. Love. Honour. Justice. Betrayal. Ideals, be they false or true. Religion is the only “big thing” we haven’t touched and have no desire of doing so in the future, but I think that if you take religion down to the little pieces to find what it has eaten, what you will find are all those smaller things I already pointed out and some more of their kind. Like pride. Fear. Especially fear.
You wrote many of the lyrics for “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”. Does singing your own lyrics feel different than singing lyrics written by someone else?
Yep. I sometimes feel pretty stupid about them, and this time I can only blame myself.
Are you a fan of fantasy? If so, what is your favourite work of fantasy?
Indeed I am. From the works of Tolkien, I prefer “The Silmarillion”. The first books I ever read from the genre were the first “Dragonlance” trilogy. Perhaps my all time favourite is Orson Scott Card’s strange little one-of-a-kind story “Hart’s Hope”.
Is “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge” mainly for fantasy fans, or does it have broader themes with universal appeal?
All the themes in our fantasy, as well as fantasy stories in general, are ultimately universal. They are always about the same things which make people move: love, ambition, ideals — betrayal, justice, revenge. Among others.
If you could select any Kivimetsän Druidi song for a soundtrack, which song would you choose and which movie would you put it in?
“Desolation: White Wolf” would be my pick — actually, we made a video for that one lately. Hasn’t been published yet. Don’t know about the movie, though … maybe it hasn’t been made yet. Maybe we should make it. A full-length Kivimetsän Druidi fantasy adventure.
Most of the songs on “Shadowheart” are in Finnish, while most of the songs on “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge” are in English. Was the language switch intentional or happenstance?
Happenstance, actually. I sort of regret that, and hope to make more Finnish ones on the Number Three, whenever that may happen.
In November 2009, Kivimetsän Druidi performed at the Heathenfest Tour in North America, playing 20 different cities and covering 15.000 kilometres in the nightliner. What stands out in your mind from the tour?
Hollywood Boulevard. Giant turkey legs. Helmuth of Belphegor making me drink whiskey. Hilly views. Ridiculously good-looking night liners. Sushi places in NYC. A university campus cafe in Cleveland. Being slightly afraid at Detroit.
When you have a hectic tour schedule far from home, do you do anything special to make sure you stay sane and healthy?
Stay in my bunk whenever I feel bored. Go for a walk outside the bus when possible. Alone! Always, always have good and reliable ear plugs which damp out as much of surrounding noise — preferably talk — as possible. I can’t always go for a longer run, sometimes I just jump or run on spot in the backstage or the hall before audience is let in. I go out, if only around the corner, to get a cup of coffee and look and listen to the local people.
Just reading about Kivimetsän Druidi’s schedule in 2009 – a Russian mini-tour, writing songs for the new album, recording, going on the North American tour, and back into the studio to finish recording – exhausts me. Were you able to relax some after all that?
We did a little too much relaxing in the summer when we were supposed to be writing songs — or at least I did a little too much “relaxing” when I was supposed to be writing lyrics — so we ended up having to hurry in the studio, again. But it was not too stressing. It’s not that all the band activity was overwhelming. It is this stupid thing called “normal life” like going to school, having to work alongside the school, paying the bills, having at least some hobbies and getting to see friends that makes things difficult.
What are the band’s plans for the remainder of 2010?
Promoting “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”, doing as many shows as we can, perhaps getting to make a tour later in the autumn, also we have already lightly touched the idea of the Number Three Album if and whether there’s going to be one. So writing new songs.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Leeni-Maria. Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?
Beware of fragile old bearded guys in strange looking clothes. They are bound to be wizards or something of the kind. Do not piss them off. Come check us out live. Get the new album, it really rocks. Rock ‘n Troll.
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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