Interview by Matteo BussottiAfter the release of their first full-length, “Schuld”, Molllust are now ready to answer some questions; so we couldn’t let escape this chance to ask the newest, most interesting “opera metal” band! Well…there isn’t much to say, since Janika explained pretty much all we needed to know (and even more!) in the interview…so…we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Hi Janika! Welcome to FemmeMetal! How are you feeling now that your first album has been finally released?
Hallo Matteo! My feelings concerning the album are a bit hard to describe. Of course, I was very proud to hold it in my hands – but there is much more. All the memories related to the CD – the time in studio, the rehearsals, the meetings with our designer – the joyful moments, when we had a good take in studio. And also the sorrows, when something didn’t work as planned. The fear to send a work full of personal emotions out into the world – and the hope to reach people who feel like me when they listen to the music.
Why did you choose the “opera metal” genre? I mean, it’s a very peculiar genre, similar but different at the same time from the classic “melodic/symphonic” metal we’re used to hear about!
Because this is the music that speaks out of my heart. I was just searching for the right instruments and musical ideas to express myself. Similar to a painter who chooses the colors for his painting. My roots are in the classical world and I like the soft, touching moments inside the huge variety of dynamics and the dramatic. In addition, I was fascinated by the abilities of metal music to express aggression, power, pressure. So I chose on each passage the musical language that seemed the most appropriate one to me.Talking about your musical genre…does everyone of you come from a classical background, or not? Is there anyone who was “new” to classical music before entering into Molllust?
No, not all of us are classical musicians. Sandrine, Johannes and I grew up with classical music. Lisa found her love to the cello while listening to Apocalyptica, but then got into classical music as well. Frank and Tommaso have no classical background, they were involved in different rock projects instead. In the rehearsals, it was an interesting mixture to work on the songs with such different perspectives. I think the music got even richer because of that.Talking more specifically about YOUR background…how was your childhood? At what age did music enter your life (and I guess it never left!) ? Was it immediately clear to you that you would have sang in your life, or did this came up later to you?
Music didn’t really enter my life – it was always there. As a baby, I refused to sleep without getting sleeping songs. I started to sing my first songs as soon as I was physically able to manage it. I loved Christmas carols and there even exists a recording of me singing at the age of two years. But I didn’t think about becoming a singer that early. At first, I wished to be an actress, later I wanted to become a pianist. As a young adult I finally got an idea how my voice could develop and changed my plans.When did you meet the other members of Molllust? Were you already friends before creating the band?
No, I didn’t really know them before. Frank was the first one I met. We were both at a Christmas party and started to talk to each other eventually. I was searching for a guitarist at that moment and he mentioned his guitar skills. So he had my whole attention that night. We found Sandrine, Lisa and Johannes with announces at music platforms in the Internet. Tommaso is a colleague of Frank at work, so Frank asked him to join us when he got to know he was an experienced drummer.
What can you tell us about the other members? How did everyone of them affect Molllust‘s final sound? Did someone of them come up with any idea you would never have thought about during the making of the record?
I think Frank influenced the final sound the most. He is responsible that “Schuld” is longer than 35 minutes. In the beginning he convinced me quite often to give the music more time to develop and to repeat some parts once more. I also used some guitar riffs of him for the songs. Tommaso‘s influence will be heard on Bach con fuoco – he really improved the Molllust drumming style with his ideas. In general, I really have to mention our producer, Andy Schmidt. He listened carefully to our music and had many great ideas to create a great sound and to stress different instruments in certain parts. This made the music more transparent to the listener.What’s the best part of “Schuld”, in your opinion? You can answer with a song, or a special moment you remember, or the creative process, or the photo shoot, the cover, the…the food you ate while recording it! Everything!
This is really, really hard to say. But I think it was the moment when we finished the recording of the vocals and we listened the very first time to all the instruments together. The mix still wasn’t perfect, of course, but we all got an idea how it would sound alike and that it would really become a great work. I was pretty exhausted, but unbelievably proud.How’s the fan reaction to your music? Do they understand it, do they support you?
Our fans love what we do and support us with their cheerful feedback. But the world doesn’t only consist of fans, of course. There are also many people who don’t find access to our musical world – this makes me a bit sad. I see the amount of fans grows slowly day by day, therefore I am full of hope for the future.When a band’s making a record, you always encounter people who tell you “you should do this way, or this way, or this way”, or something like this. Can you recall the best suggestion someone gave to you while recording the album? And…maybe also the worst one? (Don’t worry, you can simply tell me the suggestion, you don’t have to tell me WHO gave you that!)
The best suggestions came from our producer Andy Schmidt. For example, while we were recording “Erinnerungen” Frank (the guitarist!) and Andy convinced me to cut the guitar out into the verses. It’s somehow funny that two guitar players convince a classical musician to remove the distorted guitar from a part – but for the dramaturgy of the song, they were absolutely right. Bad suggestions we didn’t get while the recording was in progress.How’s singing “opera”? I mean, in a normal pop/rock song you just have to hit the right notes with a pretty “normal” voice and sing some meaningful (hopefully) lyrics, but I think opera pushes forward one singer’s limits, it’s more emotional, you have to sing in a completely different manner from pop, rock, or also traditional metal. What can you tell me about this? Have you noticed some differences between “opera” singing and “traditional” singing (even if opera singing is, in fact, the more traditional way of singing)?
We shouldn’t judge about modern singing styles. There are musicians that just sing without any technique, yes – but really good rock and pop voices are trained as well. Regardless which style you are singing, you always have to develop your breath control to be able to sing powerful and with rich nuances – even when you use extreme vocals like growling. The difference is that untrained voices have a chance to get famous in modern music while they won’t get a job in opera business. To sing opera means to put all my heart and body into the voice. I feel it in my whole body and it is such a great feeling of joy when your voices develops and just seems to carry your emotion. I can’t imagine living without singing, it is a great gift from nature.How’s your attitude on stage? Do you tend more to a “classical” way of performing…or more to a metal one?
It depends on what we are playing, where we play and what our instruments allow us. In general, I would say it is a mixture. The dressing of the ladies is classical, the men look more metallike. Our movements vary – we always try to express ourselves not only in the music, but also in the stage performance. Some songs need headbanging, some need just little, soft movements. We always try to keep the balance.Well, Janika, thank you so much for your answers! I hope to see you soon in concert!
Thank you, too! We hope to come to Italy one day and to meet you there!
Photos by Frank Helbig -Photography 7tes-laboratorium.de