Interview : Barbara Schera Vanoli – Dama




Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi

Dama is a gothic Italian band that is moving its own first step in the metal music business. I had the chance to exchange some words with the beautiful frontwoman, Barbara, who has explained me a little tricky things about her band and her passion for music. Follow with us what this wonderful lady told in the interview that follows here.

Hi Barbara. Welcome to Femme Metal. How are you doing?

Hi Roberta! I’m fine thanks and happy to talk to you..

You are the singer of the gothic italian band called Dama, band that was born in Milan, after a meeting you had with the drummer Pierfrancesco Tarantino. Could you please tell something more about you and on your band, for those who still don’t know your music?

Sure, the Dama project is born in lately 2007 when Pierfrancesco listened to a few of my songs and asked me a collaboration. we officially formed the band when the keyboard player and sound engineer Danilo Di Lorenzo, the bass player Roberto Gelli and the guitarist Cristian Comizzoli join in 2008. During that year we released a promo called “Dama” and we worked on the idea for our debut album “Eirwen” and here we are.

Talking about the name of the band: Dama is the name that you wanted to create for the band and I know that you’re a fan of gothic churches. What could you tell about it? Why have you decided this name?

I am a real lover of gothic cathedrals dedicated to Notre Dame. I studied their history, architecture, spiritual meanings, symbology and I visited most of them in France during a summer. When I came back from that journey I was totally in love and I decided to celebrate them calling my band Dama. I think Dama is an evocative word that well represents the world I was creating that period.

Before creating Dama, were you working with other bands or were you already thinking, in the early 2007, to create your own band?

I had a band in 2003 called Veil of Maya with Emanuele Rastelli from Magnifiqat, we played and wrote songs just for fun. Emanuele pushed me into writing and in 2004 we recorded a demo. One of those songs, “Alba”, written by my dear friend Federico Rebusso who played guitar in Veil  of Maya, has been rearranged by Pierfrancesco and included in “Eirwen”.

Dama is not related to the metal world, but it is closet to a gothic rock sound, influenced maybe by some female fronted bands. Do you agree with this? Which words describe best the real Dama sound?

Yes, The Dama sound for this album is a mix of gothic, rock and also a bit of pop. It has something of the melodic symphonic metal from the north of europe too. We’ve freely used all the ingredients we needed to describe the world I got in my mind.. and that’s the result.

A few months ago, on June, your debut album “Eirwen” was released for Ravenheart Records. The album is based on gothic rock, symphonic, maybe also a bit “pop” sound, if we could say so. What was the feedback from fans about this record? Has it got good reviews?

Well, I can proudly say that “Eirwen” has got good good reviews, it has been the top album of SpazioRock in August and foreign people have appreciated the italian part of the album too, that was a challenge! I think that our artistic intent has been well perceived and the “Eirwen” world now has a lot of inhabitants:). What we’ve read mostly is that this album has a unique and elegant sound, and someone wrote I am a poet;) . I guess we could say that the feedback has been positive!

The title of the album, “Eirwen”, initially, only by reading, reminded me of something related to the Celtic worlds; but where does this name really come from and why have you guys chosen this for your debut album?

When we had to decide on the title of the album, I asked myself which language would have been the best since it is both in Italian and English, we thought that it had to be something which could be read in both languages or which on the other hand, shouldn’t be of any of the two. Given my passion for the the celtic world, I decided on an word with a celtic origin. Eirwen means “white snow” in celtic and is composed from the word “eira” which means snow and “Gwen” which indicates white and everything which is pure, absolutely the perfect title!

The album consists of “two sides”: “Immaginario”, which mainly contains tracks written and sung in Italian, and “Imaginary”, the English side. Why did you choose to re-propose the same songs in English? What did you want to bet when you recorded the album?

We only wanted to play what naturally came from us.. when I write the songs at the piano they come out with a linguistic identity; Some of them come out in Italian, some in English and I know that some can be played in both languages and some absolutely not. And that’s what happened. Italian is a beautiful and evocative language and it’s been fundamental to create the “Eirwen” world.

Who of you does it write the music, basically? Which has been the resounding part of recording this album? How much of yourself is there in the record?

I wrote all the music and words by myself at the piano, except the music of “Alba” (“Breaking Dawn” in the english part of the cd). After the composing step we worked in studio together where the magical mind of Pierfrancesco has created all the arrangements. Finally Danilo as our soundengineer has refined the original intentions working on the sound. We’ve had great, great moments! I can tell that in this record there’s all of me thanks to my partner’s work.

What does it mean, for you and the guys, this album? What is its real meaning?

“Eirwen” as I said is a world, a world made of ice, passion, love, whispers, woods, nights and rebirth. A story of an “emotional defreezing” through the rediscovery of love. It’s been a deep and intense work for us… I think we’ll remind those days forever!

You’re the main writer of the lyrics. Where does the inspiration come from, in order to create a very good lyric?

Inspiration comes from life, experiences I live and fantasies I have… The books I read help me to find my own way of writing too. For example the song I called “Eliot” has been inspired by Thomas Stearns Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland”. I write instinctually, words and music often come out together… even though sometimes, when I define the lyrics, I get stuck with a word for days!

How many autobiographical sides are there in “Eirwen”?

“Eirwen” is completely autobiographical

Last year, your first videoclip has been released, “Regina d’Inverno” (very nice video). What can you tell about it?

Thank you! I loved the shooting, it’s been a great day! We were in a suggestive place in the reserve of the casentinesi forests, the director Stefano Bertelli has made a very good work and we ‘ve had a good time. The location was perfect for the atmospheres of “Regina d’Inverno” and helped me to feel in the right mood to perform.

In this album, there’s also a song by Madonna: “Live to Tell”, rearranged in a gothic key. Why did you want to make this song?

I decided I would be an artist the first time I saw Madonna performing live.. I was 6 or 7. I’ve been loving “Live to Tell” since I was a child and this cover is a tribute to an artist who enhanced my passion for art during the childhood.

Barbara, I should say that I’ve been quite impressed by your voice. How did your music education/music growth happen?

Thank you again Roberta, I began to approach the piano when I was about 11 and at the same time I discovered my voice and I tried to compose my first songs. I took my first modern singing lesson when I was 18 and I’ve never quit!.

I know that you had the great pleasure to cooperate with Anastacia. What can you tell about this cooperation? Which are your impressions about it/about her?

I’ve written and performed the main part of the soundtrack of the movie “All You Can Dream” in which Anastacia played herself but I’ve never met her personally. I guess I’ll have the pleasure to know her when the movie will be released in theaters in April. “All You Can Dream” is a family movie and I’ve had to write songs really far from my “artistic habits”, it’s been funny… as a songwriter I love writing for different situations and for different genres, it tastes like playing different roles for an actor.

Have you ever thought of cooperating with some other musicians in future? Who would you like to cooperate with?

I love to have the opportunity to collaborate with other good musicians ’cause it always allows you to learn new things. Recently I’ve recorded a song called “Berenice” for the death metal band Wake Arcane which will be included in their debut album “The Black Season”. For the future I’d like to collaborate with a foreign artist or band, I really, really would love it!

Which are the bands or the musician that have influenced you the most and that, now, still influence your music tastes?

Tori Amos and Kate Bush above all! I obviously love female fronted bands as Evanescence, Within Temptation, Epica, Nightwish, The Gathering and Lacuna Coil. I am an omnivorous listener, from classical music to grunge.. I love russian composers in classical and on the other side indie bands and songwriters from all over the world. I got an open approach, everything touches my emotions is welcome to my playlist!

Now that the album has been released, will you focus yourself on some other new project?

We are working on a soundtrack for a book of a young italian writer, it’s a very interesting project! You’ll listen to our new song called “Echoes” soon, I can’t wait…

Thank so much, Barbara, for the very nice chat. You have the chance to speak to Femme metal users and to Dama fans. What would you like to say?

Thanks to you and to all the Femme Metal Users! Have a great 2012 and Keep supporting Dama!



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