Interview by Alessandra CognettaAnaè is the lead singer of the French metal band Adrana, a combination of progressive metal, heavy metal and classical music, enriched by a strong literary component. The mix of different influences as well as forms of art makes Adrana a unique musical experience and we’re here to find more about them. First of all, welcome and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Anaè. How has 2012 been for Adrana so far?
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to present our music and artistic work! I am really thrilled! The year 2012 has been fairly quiet so far. After the release of “The Ancient Realms” and the first part of the French tour we were given a little time to work on new songs, work toward a movie clip and prepare a surprise regarding our future gigs to all of our fans!One of the things I enjoy the most about your music is the “story” (I won’t dare to call it a concept because in my opinion it’s far more than that) behind your whole production. Can you describe for us the main themes of Adrana‘s adventures?
We would like that it becomes much more than a concept. We are working on it, but we are still far from what I wish to do in terms of total art (featuring theater, music, stories, dance, and a whole fantasy world). Our music tells the adventures of the warrior princess Adrana desperate to reclaim her fallen kingdom. It contains many elements of heroic fantasy like the character’s actions or places in a rather dark atmosphere, darkening progressively with each new album. Although the story revolves around a princess, this one is more gloomy and sanguine. There are many battles, betrayals, murders and unmentionable secrets that punctuate the epic story of Adrana. Adrana talks about the difficulty of bringing people together in their diversity, and the difficulty to win the trust of others. Adrana shows us that very often we find ourselves alone with our destiny. Finally, this quest leads the Princess to ask the recursive question as to whether the pursuit of a right cause, right as it is, justifies having to kill thousands of human and nonhuman creatures to get there?We know what influenced your music, but what influenced your lyrics? How were Adrana and her Ancient Realms born?
The band name was invented, without special intention by Ludo and Maxime (guitarist and drummer, the founders of the band). They then included Grhyll, our keyboard player, and me to write the story. The first songs whose lyrics had no relationship between them (stories of vampires, putrefied nymphs, or warrior princess), have become the pillar of the epic story of Adrana. Now, Grhyll has taken charge of the story and I work exclusively on writing lyrics around the story created by Grhyll.
You are the main voice of the Realms. Do you feel like a third-person narrator or do you see things more from the princess’s point of view? What do you think we could (and should) learn from such a strong character?
According to the songs, sometimes I become the third-person narrator, other times I adopt the perspective of Princess Adrana, a witch, a succubus or other characters. This change of point of view allows us to describe to the listeners the story in its entirety, revealing the feelings of the princess Adrana, but also those of her enemies and thus to not always look at the Princess Adrana as a hero. We all have a hidden darker side in each of us. The character of Adrana may in some respects be seen as a model in her strength of character, her will and her determination. This character also reflects the human condition, be us man or woman. Like a mirror of our soul, Princess Adrana reflects our moments of doubt, our fears, our aberrations, our insanity and our hate. We don’t live in the same society or in the same time period as Adrana, but the society in which we live very similar to Adrana’s: the same wars, the same eternal desire for power, the same religious questions, the same blindness. The difference is that Adrana is often bolder than we are ourselves.Let’s get a bit more “technical”: can you tell us about your voice? Its type, your training, tips… what does singing mean to you?
Singing is a real passion for me! Moreover, it’s a real reason to live, and a way of life! But I’ll try to not be too talkative. Well, I’m a lyric soprano. I started singing when I joined Adrana in 2005 and I started taking lessons at the end of the year 2005. I continue to take singing lessons and also I give lessons. We never stop learning, and the more you learn, the more you realize that we still have much to learn. What is magic with song is that it engages both body and mind; heart and soul! We must have the technique to know how to sing, it is undeniable, and it takes a lot of rigor, but we must never forget to sing with our soul! Moreover, it is our mind, and our personality that shapes our singing: our past experiences, our feelings: good or bad … This is what makes the quality of a voice, what makes a voice is unique. Singing is to give oneself entirely to the other, we leave nothing hidden. The listener takes the time to listen to a voice knows everything about us: who we are, what we say, and also what is hidden. It takes a lot of sensitivity to sing. I do not really have any advice to give except to sing with your heart and not to lie to yourself. With my singer friends, we have often thought that the more we advance in singing, the more we explore our personality, our identity. It is emotionally painful, but so liberating! Since the dawn of time people have sang. Singing also brings people together, it has often been at the heart of all societies: ritual songs, religious songs, birthday songs, national anthems … We sing at any time because singing gathers the world together and singing helps us be in good health, so my advice would be: Sing!You come from a family deeply involved with jazz music and you are a classically trained singer, so… what got you into metal and with Adrana?
I was passionate about metal music before being interested in classical music and opera. As metal is often inspired from many classical music pieces, I moved logically towards it later. During my adolescence, I loved singing “Enter” or “Mother Earth” by Within Temptation as well as “Prison of Desire” by After Forever. One day I said, “what if I look for a band for fun”!? I filed a few ads in music stores, Adrana auditioned me and I was in the band. Nothing too exciting really :-).Since we’re talking about backgrounds, what about the other members’ ones? Introduce them to us!
I’m surrounded by four great men & great musicians! The founders of the band are Ludo (guitar) and Max (drums). Grhyll is the keyboardist and inventor of the epic Adrana and Emeric is our bassist. All of them are extremely different as people and musically. In Adrana, everyone listens to various kinds of music from pop to extreme metal to rock, jazz, progressive metal, classical music, trip-pop etc…
All of them also have a very different view of music. It gives a very eclectic mix and it’s really exciting! This is what makes the strength of the band! They are lovely even if they are a bit annoying sometimes * laughs * they are boys! They are like brothers for me! We share our passion for music for more than 7 years now; it’s a great life experience!
You are a singing teacher yourself and part of a choir in Tours (please, correct me if I’m wrong). How do you combine these activities with Adrana and what do they add to your personal experience as a singer?
To me, being a singer is a real lifestyle; you feel it from the inside! It changes your behavior and your way of seeing the world, you become much more serene. I have not given my life over to singing yet, I have other passions, but singing is so fascinating that I need to transmit this passion and share it with everyone. I haven’t finished learning, because it’s a very large subject, but it was indispensable to share the way I think about vocals. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a voice and a personality develop, it is a great satisfaction! I also learn a lot about every singer I receive in class! Not just in regards to singing and music but also about life, and about human beings. Adrana isn’t a professional band; we do not earn money with our music. It’s not my job, so I have a lot of time off and I can focus freely to other activities.I must say I loved your photoshoot! The setting really helps one getting into Adrana‘s particular atmosphere. Where have those photos been taken? And who designed the beautiful medieval costumes?
The pictures were taken in an ancient underground dungeon, the dungeon of Montbazon, France. We have the chance to live in the Loire valley. There are wonderful castles and monuments near us! The atmosphere that emanates is magical! The photos were taken by French photographer Franck Boucher. Part of the musicians costumes were purchased on the internet, the other part were put together by the costume designer and the actors of the dungeon of Montbazon whom we sincerely thank. The dress I wore in this photoshoot was made by a young student costumer for Parisian theaters, Anais Matthieu. Now, I am working with Vanessa Lauriola, a talented corset maker and costumer who made the red dress I wear on stage.There are bands that have brought their concept albums to the next level, like Within Temptation did with their latest album and comic book, “The Unforgiven”. Do you think “Adrana” could come to life in other ways besides music and how would you wish it to be?
A novel is under development, but we don’t know when we will be able to release the first volume! Editing a comic book also interest us, but it is not currently planned.Adrana’s latest album, “The Ancient Realms”, came out in September 2011.What has been the response from fans and reviewers (in comparison with the one for your previous album, “Perturbatio”, too)?
The album received greater distribution than the first because we are distributed in Europe and Japan. We were very pleased to be able to share our musical work beyond our borders! We received many congratulations and encouragement from our fans and reviewers! They particularly welcomed the maturity of our work and the passion with which we wrote this album. We still have a long way to go and hopefully we can move as far as possible in our musical quest with Adrana!What can we expect from Adrana in the future?
A third album, darker, more progressive, more worked, highlighting the diversity of our musical influences and many concerts including a tour with the Tunisian metal band Myrath happening very soon!Thanks again, Anaé! You can leave a message for the fans and webzine readers here, if you want. I wish all the best to you and Adrana, hope to see you soon on tour!
Thanks to all of you who support the metal scene, for the great thing it is! Thank you for your musical interest! It is not the musicians who create the metal scene, but the audience that comes applauding them! You are the soul of this music! And never forget, believe in your passion, believe in yourself! Never give up on your dreams! We are expecting many of you at our upcoming concerts! If you have any questions about our music, our universe, do not hesitate to send us emails to email@example.com, we will answer you with pleasure! Alessandra thank you for this great interview! Your questions were exciting and are worth talking about for hours! Thanks to Femme Metal Webzine for your work and your passion, you do a great job!