Interview by Ary G

The corresponding commitments seem not to stop the couple (only in professional terms) Kiske/Somerville, that, after almost five years of silence, comes back with the second album of this project. On the occasion of the upcoming release of “City of Heroes”, we had the opportunity to have a chat with the beautiful Amanda Somerville about future plans and this brand new, highly anticipated record.
Ciao Amanda 😀 Ary’s here! Welcome back to Femme! First of all, I’d like to congratulate with you and your husband and I’d like to congratulate for the baby! 😀 We’ve discovered that you’ll be a great mom so congrats, really I guess you’re super happy!

Ciao Ary! Thank you for having me once again. 🙂 And thank you for the well wishes! Yes, Sander and I are very happy.

Ok, let’s start our chat talking about “City of Heroes”. After four years and a half and after a long wait, the second Kiske/Somerville album is finally out! We know that, due to your live schedule with Trillium and to Michael’s live activity with Avantasia and Unisonic, this album has been on hold, but it’s now finally here. Would you mind describing this brand new baby?

Yes, it took a while. “City of Heroes” is an emotional and in general uplifting album that’s more rock than metal and is pretty straightforward. I believe it’s just a more mature album because the entire team knows more what to expect from one another. Michael and I have worked together closely and in person for several years now, also touring with Avantasia. Mat and I have also worked a lot together on various projects, including the Rock Meets Classic tours. I think the “machine” is simply more well-oiled and that adds to everything.

The first record got a lot of positive feedbacks back in the days. Was this second effort well received? What kind of feedback did it get? I’ve noticed that it got a lot of enthusiastic reviews as well!

Fortunately, we’ve gotten a lot of great responses and people seem to like this album even better than our debut, so that makes us really happy! I always want to grow as an artist and so that’s the best feedback that you can get when someone thinks you’ve improved on something they really liked in the first place!

Talking about the record, I know that the process was kinda different this time around. You’ve said that there were a sort of work flow, you knew your team and, compared to the previous work, it was way easier to work with these musicians. What could you tell us about the creative process of the record?

Though it spanned quite an amount of time, it was pretty simply, really. I received the demos from Mat and would rehearse and work them out a bit, send some suggestions or we’d Skype about details, then I would record my parts. Michael sang his parts later, then everything was put together and the finishing touches were added. Of course, this went on over a period of months, but it’s basically how it went!

Even if he wasn’t present both in the videos you’ve released and in the promo pics you took, we know that your husband took part in the songwriting process for the record. He especially wrote the song called “Breaking Neptune”. What could you tell us about the work you’ve shared together?

Sander and I started out as colleagues in music, so we are a great team on that front. Since we’re married, of course, it’s nice that we not only live together in a wonderful relationship, but we work well and have fun together making what we both love best: music. Regarding “Breaking Neptune”, we were actually commissioned to write a song for a kind of punk alternative shoegazer band a few years ago and that was one of the songs coming out of our writing session. We revisited the song while we were writing material for Kiske/Somerville and both said how much we liked that song, but it needed to be re-worked to fit. So Sander re-played and re-arranged quite a bit of the music, I did a bit of a makeover on the lyrics to make it into a duet and wrote a new bridge and voila! It became the song it is now. 🙂

The last time we’ve met in Milan you’ve mentioned that you were working on “City of Heroes” and that you were looking forward to work with Michael in order to bring something to the table. How did you work together this time around, since this album is very vocal-oriented? If I’m not mistaken, you’ve also told me that you first met him on the set of the video for “Silence”

We actually just communicated from a distance, emailing and phoning here and there about the songs. It’s so difficult to coordinate time to actually be in the studio together and everyone has a different work pace, so we recorded all of our respective parts in our own home studios. Still, it’s always fun to receive the final mixes and hear how everything comes together, like magic!

Later on you’ve had the chance to share the stage together at Wacken Open Air on the occasion of the tour you had with Tobias Sammet and Avantasia and, two years later, you had a worldwide tour. You’ve also played in Italy that year! What do you remember about that experience?

Avantasia is always a special experience and being in Italy is very dear to my heart! I love my Italian Somervillains and they always make me feel so warm and welcome. That show was awesome and the fans really energized us!

Glancing at the past, would you have ever thought that there it would have been a second album for this project?

Yes, definitely. Things went so well the first time around, it was only a question of time.

Would you mind rubbing up/refreshing our memory and telling us how were you asked to join this project along with Michael Kiske?

The decision to do this duet together actually came from Serafino Perugino, the owner and chief of Frontiers Records. He commissioned Mat Sinner to produce the album and find a partner for Michael and Mat asked me. After I heard some of the demos, I was really excited about being the other half of the duet!

Is there a particular track you feel more connected to on this album?

Of course, I always have very personal connections to any songs that I write, so “Breaking Neptune” has a special meaning to me. However, I made all of the songs on this album like my own in finding a role for myself in them and also finding each song’s individual voice, so they all have a place in my heart!

Talking about your other projects, do you have some nice update to share with us concerning the new Trillium album and your next solo record?

Well, my time is currently even more limited than usual because the biggest project I have going on is preparing for my baby to arrive this summer! Sander and I are very excited and this is our first child, so there’s lots going on in our nesting and ready-getting. As I mentioned, the biggest priority for me right now business wise is getting my solo album finished, then I’ll be starting work on a new Trillium album. I’ve got some other things in my magic hat of ideas, but I think it’ll be a while until I can get to them!

Talking about touring instead, we know that you’ve embarked on another tour after the one you’ve shared with Anneke Van Giersbergen and indeed you’ve continued your live activity with Rock Meets Classic. You’ll have just 2 exclusive shows this summer with this project. Will we ever have the chance to see back again in Italy with one of these projects, or better with all these projects of yours?

I actually won’t be doing the Rock Meets Classic shows this summer because they’re just a couple weeks after my baby is due. I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again in Italy someday with either my solo work, Trillium or Avantasia!

I’d like to thank you for having allowed us this interview. As our tradition wants, we let the interviewee the chance to share the final words with our readers and your fans of course! Again I’d like to congratulate with you and, as usual, I’ll wait for you with open arms.

Grazie to you and all of my Somervillaini!! 🙂 I hope you had fun reading this and hope to see you soon again in your beautiful country! xo


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Miriam Cadoni
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