Interview by Erwin van Dijk
On June 1st the compilation double cd “Demonic and Divine” is released by Femme Metal Records. The cd is to support the Macmillan Cancer support and Cancer research UK. Godyva appears with the song “My Inner” on this album. Godyva is a Gothic Metal band from Bari, Italy. The band was formed in the year 2000 and has released two albums and a demo cd. Godyva’s latest album was released last year and this album also includes the song “My Inner” that also will be featured on the “Demonic and Divine” album. Lady Godyva was a noble woman from England who lived a thousand years ago (c. 997 – 1067) in the city of Coventry. She is most notable for riding naked through the streets of Coventry. By doing this she gained a tax remission from the high taxation imposed by her husband Leofric, the earl of Mercia. And with success. “Godiva” or “Godgyfu” means “God Gift” in Old English. This interview is with Lady Godyva, the singer of Godyva.
For starters: what is your real name?
My real name is Cristina Argese, my surname sounds like the river Arges where Dracula’s wife died, this is what the legend of Dracula tells. His wife killed herself throwing in the waters of the river Arges and subsequently the river was called the Princess River. Cool!
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
Yes! When I was a child I always dreamed to sing with David Bowie or Freddie Mercury! I wished to be their chorist on tour, hehe!
Who are your favourite singers and musicians?
My favourite singers and musicians of my childhood were the White Duke and Mr. Mercury and his band Queen as I said before; when I was a girl I loved Maria Callas, Dead Can Dance and Lisa Gerrard, Peter Murphy, The 3rd and The Mortal, Katatonia, Sarah Brightman, Sade, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Paradise Lost, Metallica, Korn, Slayer, Queensryche and more but now in this moment of my life I’m really in love with the voice of Nevermore, Warrel Dane (his last solist album is fantastic), I like Porcupine Tree too, Avantasia, Scar Symmetry, Soilwork, In Flames, Entwine, Samael… But Paradise Lost and the voice of Nick Holmes will be forever my favourite.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Death, Thrash, Metal and Gothic Metal very often but sometimes I like to listen to ambient or new age music to relax myself.
Did you sing in any other bands before Godyva and do you any other bands right now?
Before Godyva I sang with a band called Aragon. The line-up included two singers, male and female and I used to sing like the Opera. Now I would like to dedicate myself only to my band Godyva, but maybe in the future it could be possible.
Speaking of side projects: you have recorded a song with the Thrash Metal band Methedras (also from Italy) for their latest album “Katarsis”. This song is called “Nightmare”. How did you got in touch with this band and what have you learned from this experience?
Methedras are friends for me. They asked me to sing on their latest album after their listening to the song I sang with Necrodeath, on their “Draculea” album. They stayed impressed and so they asked me to sing the song “Nightmare” on their new album. A link to the band.
Why did you choose Godyva as the name for the band?
I was a young girl when I decided to choose this name for my project and I remember that I was reading the story of Lady Godiva during a reading of an old book of my grandmother. I was spellbound of this heroin so brave that used her naked body to win against her unfair husband. She was the first feminist! She was a woman with no shame! She embodied Eva before the original sin. I would like to be naked all time, especially in this warm period (sometimes I really hate dresses and all accessories I must wear!) but I cannot do it, what a pity! hehehe!
How would you describe Godyva’s music? Because a lot of people will assume you will sound like Lacuna Coil because Godyva is Gothic oriented with female vocals.
I think that Godyva are similar to Lacuna Coil because the female voice but there are a lot of bands in the world with a front woman that could be similar too. I like Lacuna Coil, they are a great band and I’m really happy for their worldwide success and fame, but we are different, we use to play and to compose in a personal way in my opinion. It’s easy to say “You are like Lacuna Coil!” because we play metal with a front woman and we are Italian but we don’t want to be a copy of an other band, we want to be Godyva and “nothing else matters”!
And what makes Godyva different compared to all the other female fronted bands in the world?
I think every voice is personal and unique in the world, also your voice is unique! It is scientifically shown that the voice is as unique as the iride of the eye and the digital imprints. And every voice has its own ability to transmit emotions, so the ear of the listener decides what it is or it is not pleasant. Also the personality of a singer and of a musician makes the difference, but i don’t like to compare myself or my band to the others.
Who are the other members of Godyva?
Botyz Beezart – keyboards
Botys is the principal composer of the band, he mixes melodies of the keyboards to all guitar’s riffs really in a particular and special way. Maybe it’s his work the real difference in our band.
Anto – guitars
Anto is the aggressive characteristic of Godyva, he is the guitar that I have always desired to mix aggressiveness with romanticism.
Nick Barrah – bass
For a long time he does his beautiful job for this band. He is an essential musician with a great personality.
Enyo – drums
A drummer precise and progressive from years he is the rock of hour sound.
Why did Godyva choose the song “My Inner” for the “Demonic and Divine” album?
We have chosen this song because in that period we released the video of “My Inner” and we wanted to promote this song one more time in a compilation but we are sure “My Inner” is a song that younger fans appreciate and we believe in them.
And how did you (the band) got in touch with Femme Metal?
Femme Metal is a fantastic store managed by serious people that sell our cds, and so they asked me to take part to this compilation and i said “Why not?”. I really hope this compilation could help this cancer research in UK.
Is song writing teamwork in Godyva or is there a mastermind behind the music?
As I said before Botys is the principal composer, so I can say that he is the mastermind about the music but also with all our help. In our latest album Anto has composed with him some songs among which “My Inner” and I have written with him “On the Floor of Ice” and “Mary in Blood”. All vocals and lyrics are only my work.
Can you tell us something about the songs on “Planetarium” ?
“W.A.I.H.T.L.I.H” is the intro and it’s the same music of the outro but you can listen to this intro in the opposite verse with the sound of tears that fall. Because of this you read the title like an image in the mirror. “The Ark” is The first song we have composed for this album and so we chosen it for the opening track. Instead “Innocent” is one of the two songs that sees the collaboration with Mike Tarantino (Natron). Here you can ear how the new guitarist Anto makes the difference with his style and his composition support. “Mary in Blood” is a romantic song that speaks about Maria Magdalena and her love. “Deep Inside” can be deceitful because it seems an happy song instead it speaks about one love that wants to last up to the end, together, both in the same grave. “Planetarium”, it’s simply the title track; we adore this song. It’s the second one composed for this album and we think it is a complete and refined song. “My Inner” :I like it, I like it, I like it. The most powerful song of the album and the most appreciated by the metal kids. We released the video of this song. You can watch it on our MySpace page, YouTube official page, official website and on Rock Tv. “Black Door” also is one of the most difficult song to sing on this album. The ninth song is “On the Floor of Ice” I like to call this one “the liquid song”, because it speaks of water (our life), deep blue sea (I love swimming) and ice. “No Fault” sees again for the second time Mike Tarantino as special guest! I like so much this song for that style typical of the Eighties, and we feel nostalgic for these years. Back to romaticism with “God Is Fallen” that speaks about our own fallen idol. And here we’re at the end with “H.I.L.T.H.I.A.W.” (outro) : a yearning and suggestive closing recited. This is an outro, but we use it as the intro for all our shows. As a treat for our fans we’ve decided to include a special version of “Innocence” as an acoustic version like happened the last time in “In Good & Evil”.
And what is your favourite song on this album?
My favourite song on “Planetarium”? The title track! In reality I have two or three favourite songs on this album: “Planetarium”, “Innocent” and “My Inner”.
And what are the differences between “Planetarium” and “In Good and Evil” ?
The difference is the guitarist and obviously all guitars you can listen to. Our ex guitarist Frahn left the band some months before the recording of “Planetarium” so we chosen Anto as our new guitarist and we were sure that he would have done a good work in the studio giving more aggressive sounds to the songs of Planetarium. The other difference is that we are grown now as musicians and composers so we can offer an album more mature and enjoyable than “In Good and Evil”.
What are Godyva’s plans for the future?
We want to play music all over the world, there is a booking agency in USA that wants Godyva there, so I hope it could be happen very very soon. But at the same time we love our country so we will continue to show in Italy. We will be in Czech Republic on the 11th July to play on the stage of Prestenice Open Air Music Fest and the headliner of the event will be The Rasmus. We are working on new songs now but we don’t want to say more about a new album now. We have to still promote “Planetarium” now.
And the last question: Is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
I think you have done all good questions. Thank you for this funny interview and I hope to see you again. Cheers 😉