Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Still unknown by someone, but slightly known, the gothic band from Ferrara Levania emerges this year on the international metal scene with the first full length album, released by Wormholedeath/Dreamcell 11, trying to get step by step the way to success. Femme Metal has had the opportunity to have a nice chat with the cheerful and friendly frontwoman Ligeia, who took us into her world and told us some juicy news. Our interview below!
Hi Ligeia, welcome to FM. Let’s start this interview saying that you’re the female singer of the gothic band from Ferrara (Italy) called Levania. Could you please introduce us the band and give us a short biography for those people that still do not know anything about you?
Of course! I’ll be glad to introduce my band to the Femme Metal’s fans! First of all, thank you for this interview! I’ve been following this webzine for years and it’s a little dream that become true…! The band was formed several years ago. The other guys of the band had this dream.. but all of it started like a game.. you know.. We want to play music and for many years they played just for fun. Two years ago they played these songs for some people who suggested them that they may try to be serious about it. So our songs are literally the result of our dreams.
As I said, you play in a “small and young music reality” called Levania, which has started to “get famous” also thanks to Wormholedeath/Dreamcell11 that signed a record deal with you last January. Would you like to tell us how did this music adventure happen?
Ehehehe!! Personally I came into this gig a bit by accident! But the same was for the other guys of the band and the same for me, it’ s a dream that came true! Wormhole is the label of one of my favorite group, Theatre des Vampires!!
With this label, you had the chance to release your debut album, “Parasynthesis”. I assume that this was your first time in a studio to record your songs. What could you say about this experience?
This was my first experience at all! Previously I only studied singing for years with a teacher, but only for myself. Last year it was a very troubled period of my life seriously, it was a very difficult year for me, I was completely in the midst of trouble when they called me to audition for Levania. I felt alone, abandoned and a little bit depressed. I had just split up from a relationship that was important and one day an old friend call me and said “There’s a band looking for a singer, wanna try?”. It has been a real breath of fresh air. It literally pulled me out of my troubles! I owe everything to the band. Only two weeks after entering in the group I was catapulted into the recording studio with produced Frank Andiver. And it was my first time in a recording studio. It has been an invaluable training!!!! This experience gave me so much. I literally married the cause of the band, and I can say that although I am in the band for just over a year, the band feels like part of me. The boys gave me confidence and invaluable friendship.
I had the opportunity to listen to the album, but I have to say that I didn’t find so many things described as “epic gothic music, son of the Scandinavian death metal”. Have you been inspired by some of the “founder bands” of this music genre or have you wanted to experiment a couple of different sounds on this first record?
This album is so varied! It encompasses many different sounds! “Eroica”, for example, has an epic medieval atmosphere; instead “Narrow” is very gothic. You know… it’s hard to define us. Epic gothic is the more accurate definition… If you really want to label us. Every song starts by a little dream, little fantastic story brought forth by our fantasies. Our music has a personal touch but actually in this album we are still searching for ourselves, our precise identity of a sound. We’re finding it, in fact our next pieces exploit harsher sounds, as in “Narrow or Sybil”.
“Natural Motion” is the only track that has a Latin part. Why have you chosen of writing some parts written in this ancient Language, following Epica’s wake?
Eheh, it isn’t the only song with Latin.. even in “Narrow”, where I sing a poem of Catullus. Also in the next album (we are working on it right now) there will be a lot of Latin and Greek. I tell you a little secret: I’m a classicist and a teacher. I teach these languages. I love those languages and I think that are so exotic. They fascinate me. They are exotic because they belonged to so ancient people that we can only study and dream about … I spent all my life studying this ancient culture. I don’t know Epica’s lyrics, but I’m happy to have something that unites us!
In this album it’s possible to listen to the male clean vocals (in the track called “Basteth’s Kiss”) and it’s quite rare to find a band who use a clean male vocal in a gothic band nowadays, because as you know lots of metal bands are used to use the scream and the growl in their songs. What’s the reason about this choice?
A simple reason: we like it! Originally there were three singers in the band: clean male, female and growl. Still, the keyboardist, sings even growl, and luckily he very good clean voice as well. The other two singers left the band shortly before entered the recording studio. Some songs were meant to be sung by clean vocals and female. We had to completely rework the songs when I came along. In some we have replaced the clean vocal with growl, but … “Basthet” could not be changed. I still remember the day when Still and I started to write the new vocal line! It sounds so good with his clean vocals .. why not use it?
Have you already got to see the results obtained with the sales of the album? How was your full length received from fans and media? Have you got good reviews?
Not yet! But we’ve sold all our copies. On the whole we have got very good reviews. Sure, there are observations, some have compared us to Nightwish (which left me quite perplexed, but also flattered) but in essence we are very happy that our work has been accepted! Reviews have confirmed things that we already thought, about the sound, and in fact our next job will be much “harder”, almost electric! We’ve read all of our reviews, and put word around all over the web!
How does a work labeled Levania come to life? Who is the major composer inside the band, that person that writes the music, the lyrics and so on, but above all, where do you take your own inspiration for the songs?
Maybe! The major composer is the keyboard player, Still. He lives for music. Literally. Every moment he can, he takes out is keyboard and writes music. He is a very closed and private person, he expresses himself through music. Then the songs go to the bass player, Andrew, who puts the bass line, then to the guitarist and finally to me. I take care of the vocal lines (so if you do not like them, you with whom you have to complain). Maybe each song may have more input from one member or the other, but they generally a joint effort!
I’ve read over the Internet that you’re currently working on the new album and that you’ll film a videoclip at the Certosa cemetary in Bologna, which is a quite curious location to shoot a video! Could you please mention something about it?
Of course!!! We’re so excited for this project! We’ll shot the video clip at the end of August. Now we are writing the plot, looking for some stuff, deciding the clothes(mmmh… really only me, for the clothes I meant). It’s the only location possible for the right plot execution. It’s already been made, isn’t it? But I love it! I’ve a big skull’s collection in my house, and I’m very delighted for this location! We thanks the city of Bologna for letting us use the cemetery for this. The most spectacular thing is that we have been allowed to use the cemetery after dark! Our guitarist, Nick, who is a bit superstitious, at beginning was not very happy to play in a cemetery! but now he is stoked like us!
Let’s talk about the latest band activities: I’ve discovered that you have composed the soundtrack for “La Riviera degli Esarchi”, which was presented in Roma on May 23rd. How was working for such a project? How did you feel like?
I’m grateful for your question!!! It was a very exciting experience. We worked with a team of University professors. it’s a completely different way of working and thinking about music. Minimalist composer Stefano Jannes appears as well on the soundtrack having worked on another part of the music. We had to make our own version of a traditional song from Venice: the song is called “The Great Turkish” and we have proposed it in a philological way but with a gothic sound. It was a very rewarding experience and we have to thank Professor Cavallini which allowed us to take part in this project.
Is there something new for the band, at the moment?
Heheh, yes indeed! We have recently undergone pretty heavy changes in the line up. The guitarist who has recorded the guitar in the album has left the band for personal reasons, while the drummer who founded the Levania moved to Ireland to work. The two new members, Nick on guitar and Moon on drums are already fitting perfectly in Levania.
Now that you’re album came out, will you have the chance to schedule some live show?
Yes, but at the moment we’re working hard on the new album, the second. We’ve composed about 15 new songs. We’ve only one live show, on the 18th of August. We are playing at Notte Bianca a Monghidoro and in September we’ll play in a festivals organized by the gothic webzine Gothic World, but for now I can not reveal too much, since it is still in planning stages.
Thanks so much for your time Ligeia and for having allowed us to have this interview. We give you the chance to say something to Femme Metal readers and to your fans, that are waiting for you out there…
It was an honor for me to be interviewed by you, since I’m one of your most loyal followers! For years I have been following blindly your webzine with your interviews and articles! Thank you very much and I send a big kiss to all who follow your webzine like I do!