Interview by Lindz Riot
Progressive metal has finally started to emerge to the forefront for metal the past few years and finally from Lille, France we have Heonia! Breaking away from traditional metal and band styles, Marieke and Thomas wanted to create something new for metal without borders. Their debut release “Winsome Scar” is piece of mind for the metal head who is searching for something new and abstract while it sticks to strong metal roots. We are here with their powerful singer Marieke to hear Heonia’s story.
I’ve listened to your newest release “Winsome Scar” and it’s great stuff! It’s very different from most metal but in a good way. How did Heonia come to be?
Thomas and I were in a band playing only covers before. When the band ended, we decided to create a new band playing its own songs and then, Heonia was born. The other members arrived from February to July 2006. And Cléo, our former bass guitar player, was the last one. In June 2009, Cléo quit the band and Christophe became the bass player of Heonia.
So how did you and Thomas come to agree on your sound and style? What is it like when you two write together?
What was the whole experience of recording “Winsome Scar” like? Could you give us some background on the process and experience in the studio for Heonia? The recording of “Winsome Scar” is one of my best memories with Heonia. And I think it’s the same for all of us. Is there something better for an amateur musician to live like a professional during two weeks? During this period, I had only to think about how I will pass emotions through the lyrics of Heonia’s songs. It was a really exciting period although it was quite hard because we had only two weeks to record the entire album. So we recorded “Winsome Scar” in July 2009 at the studio Hangar à Son in the North of France. Then, during more than two months, we worked with Bertrand Charlet, the sound engineer, on the sound of the album and the mixing. In February, we went to l’Autre Studio near Paris to master the songs. Finally, we worked on the artwork with a professional from Evilcampbell.com. It has been a long process but each part was very exciting and interesting!
And what has your response been like so far to releasing the album? What have friends, family, and fans said?
We have had only good responses to “Winsome Scar” from friends, family and fans so far. We know that our songs are not perfect, it’s a first album but people seem to appreciate our music and that’s what is important. A surprising thing for us is that there is not only one song people prefer to the others. Some prefer “Broken Toys”, for others it’s “The Chase” or even “Mirror of Life”.
So being from Lille, France, what is it like to live there? What is the music scene like? The music scene and even more so the Metal scene is really active in the North of France even if the number of places where we can play is quite low.There are a lot of Female fronted Metal bands in Lille and we appreciate that the atmosphere between the bands is really good. I think we have played with almost all the Female fronted Metal bands of Lille and it has always been a great experience. We have a lot of fun together.
That’s so awesome to hear! So from the time you began performing in 2007 how would you say Heonia’s live performance has changed from then to now?
I think everybody is feeling better and better on stage. Sharing our music with people who came to see us is becoming easier as our number of shows grows. We feel free on stage so we can deliver a lot more energy and people seem to receive it well!
I noticed you have listed Heonia similar to Opeth and Epica on some websites. Have these band’s styles really influenced Heonia?The bands we have listed influence more or less Heonia. The members of the band have a wide range of influences and we can find them in a sense in Heonia. I think, musically, the biggest influence is Progressive Metal, so yeah, bands like Opeth… Concerning Epica, actually we are inspired by this kind of epic songs even if it’s really tiny in our music. For my way of singing, I’m more influenced by bands like Lacuna Coil…
So for you Marieke, when did you become a singer and what is your musical background?
I started playing music at the age of 12 or 13 with clarinet so nothing really Metal!
With my Nirvana years I tried to learn guitar but I was not very good… At the same time, I’ve always sung in my bathroom, in my room… When I was 19, some friends of mine who were in a pop-rock band proposed me to become their second guitar player and to add some voices on their compositions. I was really, really shy and it was difficult for me to sing in public. But after some months, I became more confident and I was more the singer of the band than one of the guitar players…When this great experience ended, I decided to really learn singing and that’s how I became a singer. Where you in any previous bands before Heonia? What was it like?
As I said, I began in a pop-rock band of friends named BOD. We were playing covers of Placebo, Radiohead, Muse and some original songs too. It was really a funny period, we were really good friends with the same passion for music. After that, I tried several bands but we were not on the same wavelength. Then I found Chimeria, a cover band of Progressive Metal in which Thomas was the lead guitar player. We played together one year. When we decided to split off, as Thomas and I wanted to play our own compositions, we decided to create Heonia.
Who are some of your favourite singers and bands? Wow! There’s a lot! I will only site a few!
My favourite Metal singers are Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist), Serj Tankian (SOAD), Robb Flynn (Machine Head), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)…My favourite bands are Lacuna Coil, System of a down, Machine Head, To-Mera and also Diablo Swing Orchestra, The Agonist, Dirty Little Rabbits, Opeth… And for non-Metal Bands: Portishead, Björk… Wicked! I like the added Trip hop element. Do you have any hobbies or side projects that you do either than music?
Actually, I’m finishing my PhD in Finance. I hope it will be my last year so I don’t have much time for other projects. I play keys in a new death metal band with Thomas and Damien. I hope also to be part of a doom project this year but it’s not sure at the moment.
Very cool! What is next for Heonia in 2011? What are some of your hopes for the future of the band? In 2011, our aim is to promote “Winsome Scar” on stage perhaps in some music festivals we hope. We will also work on new songs, more powerful I think. We want to see a lot of head banging during our future shows!!! Our hope is to find a label or a distributor for “Winsome Star” in the future and to continue playing our own music on stage!
Well thanks for your time to do this interview Marieke! It was a pleasure and wishing you and Heonia all the best for 2011 and beyond.
Thanks a lot for this interview, I hope my English is not too bad… And thanks a lot for your support and for supporting Female fronted Metal scene!