Interview by Miriam Cadoni
An old saying says that there’s two without three… but two times in one year sounds already exceptional. After the release of her EP, the German heavy metal singer Doro is back with a special release called “Magic Diamonds – Best of Rock, Ballads and Rare Treasures” which is a best of that features more than 4 hours of material including 56 songs included in 3 CDs. If you want to put like this, this is a special treat for the upcoming Christmas and for her fans as well. Let’s read together what the Queen herself has to say about it. Enjoy!
Hi Doro, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine, how are you and how this precarious and strange period is treating you?
Thank you so much for having me. It’s great. Actually, we had planned a lot of touring both in festivals, Europe, South America and Australia too. Everything was supposed to be start in March but one by one, it was canceled or postponed. Then, the festivals followed and of course, nervousness took place. Consequently, everything got one more time postponed for later in the year, but, nothing happened.
Of course, it was really shocking and we try to make up with a couple of drive-in shows which turn out to be quite the adventure and something quite different. I have to admit that it wasn’t like playing in a festival but it was a new challenge and we loved it. At least, we managed to play and see each other together between the crew and the band. After a long while, we felt like we had something to do and we were able to connect with the fans. It was really awesome.
Then, I went back to the studio and I went through my archives and considering the period, I thought that recording together with the band will be physically impossible due to their different locations spread between Italy, United States and The Netherlands. So, out of my archives, my idea was to create a best of to be published through my label Rare Diamonds Productions which was founded a couple of years ago because I got back all my recording rights between 2000/2010. My intent with this label is to make available once again some out-of-print releases such my old albums and my DVDs. The first release was one of my old German albums, “Fuer Immer”.
So, the best of that you are referring to is called “Magic Diamonds – Best of Rock, Ballads and Rare Treasures”. In truth, when did you start to collect all this material for this release? Because it’s really a gigantic project. It features 4 hours of material including 56 songs included in 3 CDs and in a quadruple vinyl set...
Yeah, yeah. Actually, I started by picking up my favorite 15 songs and then, of course, there were more and more songs coming while I was listening to my archives. You know, I started to think like there were some fantastic songs and some alternate versions too. So, I just had to re-record a couple of songs in the studio and we mixed some live songs like “Revenge”, “Raise Your Fist”, “Rare Diamonds”, “Make Time for Love”. I had a lot of live performances which are highlights from earlier days. At the end, it started with 15, then 25, then 45, then I maxed out the CD capacity because usually are 78 minutes per CD available.
The final result are 56 songs of which I really love them all. And even aren’t all, I still have a lot of songs which are really great but maybe in the next 5 years, I can release the volume 2. Over the years, I collected so many songs, records which out of them, there are so many versions, including unreleased versions. Personally, it was a lot of fun to going through these archives in which I would never ever done if I was busy touring because I’m too much focused to think about the shows and the fans.
Due to the current situation, I really free to concentrate on this project and it was great to think back to all these memories with many other artists such as Pete Steele and Lemmy. Even the one that it features Blaze Bayley on “Bad Blood” and it reminded me about the first 20th anniversary show that I put together. Of course for me, all the shows are highlights but all the anniversary shows are special. I think, that these 56 songs condensate a lot of stories behind each of the featured song. I even asked the fans which songs they would like to listen to and they started to propose me songs like “The Fortuneteller” and “Angels Crying” and subsequently, I started digging until I found some amazing versions of them.
Which is your favorite memory out of the entire collection of songs present on the boxset?
Oh, that’s easy to answer. It was my collaboration with Lemmy. He was my first duet partner and I always loved him so much, we were great friends. Then, in 2000, we recorded two songs together: one of these, “Alone Again”, it was recorded on his acoustic guitar and the other one was Motorhead‘s classic “Love Me Forever”. I particularly love this one because we recorded it by the late guitarist (who recently died from an heart attack a couple of months ago) Bob Kulick in his studio.
Actually, he was one of my friends of mine with which we had planned some projects in the works. However, we spent something like two or three weeks recording in Bob‘s studio and Lemmy would never sleep. Though, after a long recording session, I wanted to drive him home and at the end, we ended up driving the whole night randomly while listening to music in the car. He always brought his favorite CDs and sing along. Then, what’s happened next is that we went straight back to the studio. For me, this experience represents a total highlight and after that, our friendship became even more deeper.
Musically speaking, then it followed our duet present on “Raise Your Fist”, which was the song “It Still Hurts”. However, until the very end, we were best of friends and I would say that all this to me represents my personal, favorite highlight during a friendship because when you love someone, that was awesome. We had such a great time together and the fact that he was my first duet partner, it was all extra special.
You have mentioned before your label Rare Diamonds Productions and I was wondering to know why you did opt for this solution? I mean, if I am right the Nuclear Blast Record deal is still there, exactly?
Yes, yes. All the new songs and new records will be released by Nuclear Blast. But the time when I was signed onto both SPV and AFM which was between 2000 and 2010, I published a lot of records and filmed a lot of DVDs whose rights came back to me. So, all the records wouldn’t be available and I’ll be terribly sad if these record were not anymore available because they have all really beautiful songs.
Consequently to my rights’ acquirement, I have found my own label which gives me the opportunity to release special editions as vinyls, picture discs and all these stuff for die-hard fans collectors. I love vinyl and I’m a collector myself and I know how to treat the collectors with something special. Also, Rare Diamonds Productions gives me the chance to make available once again all my records published through AFM and SPV. Mainly, the main reason why it was established was for take care of part of the back catalogue.
Even if, Phonogram, now Universal Music, together with WEA for “Love Me in Black”, they still hold the rights of my albums, we’re in talks to see if there is the possibility to publish a vinyl edition of that album because it’s one of my favorite too. Hopefully next year there will be published. And also, this label offers me the chance to do something on the side. I must admit that’s pure fun. There’s any pressure as when there’s a new record in the pipeline. Instead here, it’s just straight-to-release and it’s totally nice [laughs].
Let’s stay that you have a new job on your hands…
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I couldn’t take care of the label while I was busy touring and for me, the tour is everything. But now, due to the Corona pandemic, I wasn’t able to play a lot, I started dedicating myself to other things. For example, other releases such as this best of, that took almost between to 5 and 6 months because as I said before, some songs were re-mixed, re-recorded and completely re-mastered.
For instance, if we consider the live versions present on this record, there’s always something to fix such as too much feedback, the guitar is out-of-tune, or the PA malfunctioning. So, each song required a long fixing process and I was able to do everything at the RockCity Studios. Actually, it’s not the first time that we use that studios because my previous record “Forever Warriors, Forever United” back in 2018. Indeed, the band loves that studio and sometimes we practice too. It’s located in Solingen, near Duesseldorf and the engineer is Carsten Steffen. He’s a great guy and he was completely working day and night for working on the process.
Luckily, I’ve found someone locally and not someone that is located at the other side of the world. Usually, I love to work in New York and New Jersey but now, I cannot go there. Then, I have my great friend and former The Sister of Mercy guitarist Andreas Bruhn in Hamburg with which we did a lot of stuff together. Of course, we would like to do more and at the state of the situation, now it’s impossible to travel there. Usually for a release like this, I would go on a promotion in both The Netherlands and Belgium and set up something, but now during the day, I’m taking care of my mom which is 87 years old and she cannot go out while during the night, I try to make the best of it by working on the music.
Also, this release are be published in three different versions which include the 3 CDs digipack, 3 CDs Box and the 4 Vinyl Box. However, the 3 CDs box are released with a parfum both for him and both for her plus a fan scarf. How did you come up with this crazy idea?
I love creating boxsets and in particular, the die-hard fans want to own something special. This time, I was thinking what to feature and since I love parfums, especially when we are on tour for two- three months for making a bit nicer the air on the tour bus. Actually, the idea of including a personalized parfum is old because it has been laying around since 1993. I wasn’t aware of all the regulations but back in the 90s, I began to mixing together perfumes and oils.
I had always different guests living at my apartment such as musicians or road crew members and while they were asleep, I was busy to search to the perfect fragrance. Usually in the morning, I have achieved something nice and my guest were always noticing my fragrance and started to be interested to it. In the end, the issue was that I was always ruining it with a drop of the wrong essence. If back in the 90s, I was playing with it, now I have found someone professional who can seriously understand this matter.
Firstly, I wanted to create a fragrance only for ladies but considering that many women don’t like to wear a perfume, it can be simply collected because the bottles are cute and they look really nice. Then, I went in my office, with the final outcome of the perfume and together with the people that help me to run the label, I was wondering what we should have put in the box for men.
So, this male employee, by watching the bottle of the parfum, suggested to me the idea of including a male version of it. Subsequently, we created de eau de parfum for men. Though, it didn’t see coming the fact that the men version has a great demand that the woman one. Considering that I wasn’t even sure that would have worked out, this completely caught me by surprise and by now, that edition is almost sold-out.
Usually, you expect that woman go completely crazy for a parfum…
Totally, totally. The fact is nobody except me and the guy that works with me for the label, have experienced their fragrances. However, what I can say is that the one for women smells heavenly. It has vanilla fragrance and when you wear, it puts you in a great mood. As well as the one for men, it’s gentle and it doesn’t have a strong fragrance. At the end, they are both quite unisex because it’s up to the personal taste. Personally, I love also wear the men eau de parfum too.
Additionally, I know that there’s a the 4-vinyl version too which includes a Bonus CD…
And a poster. Even if we forgot it write it in the advertising, there is that too. There’s even a scarf. There are a lot of goodies. You know, we you have to create the ads, nothing is manufactured and it’s better not to mention it because it might be that during the production something can go wrong. The same is for the vinyls.
Seeing how is developing the current situation, sometimes the factories were closed and we were really nervous about it. Also, during this pandemic, a lot of people is working from home and this slows the whole process. So, we were really hoping that it was getting out in time.
What the future holds for you and despite the whole tour plan which we already aware that won’t happen, how the whole pandemic has impacted on your general plans?
We are trying to stay connected with our fans which for me is really important. Also, we are in the middle of the preparation of a streaming concert where everybody is at home while I’ll just go to the studio. This show will be in collaboration with one of the big German radio station, Rock Antenne. It’s not a normal concert and as I said before, everybody will be in their little homes. This show will be entirely streamed for free. Aside from music, in this period where the big talk is only COVID 19, there are still other problems that don’t even get addressed and together with other artists, I was asked to participate to an project where I sung a few covers to raise awareness for the Rain Forest.
Then, I’ve recorded few songs for Megadeth‘s bass player David Ellefson for his solo album “No Cover”. There are featured a lot of musician and I sung Motorhead‘s “Love Me Like a Reptile” and Queen‘s “Heart Sheer Attack” which it has been released as we speak. Despite all, I’m trying to keep myself busy. Then, for the future, I hope we can go on tour next year again and that would be great. We are all just waiting for a vaccine that hopefully works. If not, we’ll figure out what we can do and one of the possible solutions is scheduling more drive-in shows. Again, it was totally different and it can be compared with a normal show but it was nice.
Besides, the last show we played was a beach chair show and the promoter rented out an entire hockey arena where people could sit, drink beer, have a good time, sing along, stand up and rock out with us. It was totally a COVID 19 safe environment. At the moment, many people are coming up with ideas and proposing alternative solutions on how to play concert safely and I’m looking forward whatever is allowed. So, we are definitely trying to make sure that we can play live in different forms too. At the end of the day, I love new adventures because it keeps always interesting. Though, safety comes always first, that’s important.
Thank you so much Doro, for taking time for doing this interview. Thank you so really much!
Please stay safe and thank you, thank you, thank you. Talk you guys very soon or hopefully, live. Stay strong. Fuer Immer!