Archive for Nico

Interview with Liv Kristine [Leaves’ Eyes]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th February 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

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Valkyrian Music editor Nico catches up Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine for a fourth interview, where the two talk about the new Leaves’ Eyes album Symphonies of the Night as well as Liv’s recent collaboration with Savn and keeping to the tradition, a discussion about Game of Thrones as well.

Nico: It’s nice to meet you again Liv, how are you doing?

Liv: Nice to meet you. I’m very good, how are you?

Nico: I’m pretty good, thanks.

Liv: That’s good to hear.

Nico: First question is a bit of a generic, obvious one: how has the tour gone so far?

Liv: Absolutely amazing. We played in Nottingham last night. It was our first time in Nottingham and we had a fully packed venue. It was such a warm welcoming. And Cardiff was great as well. Really really nice. So this was such a nice beginning of 2014. 2013 was so busy, really busy. So being back in the UK is just lovely.

Nico: Good to hear. The new album Symphonies of the Night focuses on female figures from both history and literature. How did this concept come about? Because it’s not a concept that is usually found in the metal scene.

Liv: Well that is probably due to the fact that I’m writing all the lyrics. I’ve always been interested in languages, literature and Viking mythology as we talked about last time in the last interview. But this time I thought that Symphonies of the Night has a very strong and delicate side to it. “The Beauty and the Beast” concept is very very strong on this album. Eileen’s Ardency and Saint Cecelia were the first two songs composed for this album and there you go: you have two female characters already. And I thought “all right, this is a very good starting point!” I told my band members and they were like: “yes, lovely! We’ll go for that!

Nico: It’s an interesting concept. It’s somewhat fresh and new for the metal scene as well, which is good because today there are a lot more females who are becoming fans of metal, whereas back in the ’80 it was more male-oriented.

Liv: Yes, definitely!

Nico: Obviously now you’ve got more bands with female vocalists showing up on the scene. Obviously you guys in Leaves’ Eyes, Epica, Nightwish et cetera as well as lesser known bands like Aonia, Hell City from Belgium, Azylya from Belgium, Ex Libris from Holland et cetera. While we are on the topic of the new album, how’s the reception been from both the media and the fans?

Liv: It’s been fantastic. It feels very comfortable to stand where I’m standing with my band right now, and also last year we had our 10 year anniversary. Before starting to compose new songs, in 2012, we all sat down and talked about what to do and what concept, musical direction and all that. And I just said ok, we have a 10 year anniversary so feel free everybody to let in any influence you would like into music. And that’s what happened: we just went with the creative flow. We’ve been very open minded about this production and I think that was a healthy and sound way to do it. So it feels great and the feedback from both press and fans, friends all over the world has just been fantastic. It sums up all the good things about Leaves’ Eyes. Some journalist said, and to me as well, that it’s the perfect beginning of another 10 years of Leaves’ Eyes.

Nico: Personally I enjoyed the new album. It’s something different, compared to previous Leaves’ Eyes albums.

Liv: It is!

Nico: Like Vinland Saga and Njord being more Viking influenced and Symphonies of the Night focuses on something completely different to many people. Folk would be possible, I don’t know if that’s the correct term to use.

Liv: Yes I know what you mean. Me and my band members, we saw how the creative process went on and how the album came together. We saw that there was a new direction to it, with many new elements in our music. A new concept, new lyrics and all that. But still, it’s Leaves’ Eyes! That’s the good thing about it! We don’t have to invent ourselves again because I’ve been around for 20 years and the members even longer. Everything is based on experience and love towards music. That’s it.

Nico: That’s the way to go. Speaking of Leaves’ Eyes, Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity have been touring together recently. How did this idea occur?

Liv: I think it’s a nice idea, it’s a good idea. Although it’s tough to do double time every night. It’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat. Atrocity’s latest album Okkult is a pure death metal album and I think that’s a very nice contrast in the live program. I enjoy that more than Atrocity playing Work 80 because I don’t think that would fit so well with Leaves’ Eyes.

Nico: You’ll be playing the 70,000 tons of Metal festival soon. Are you looking forward to that?

Liv: Very much! I’ll be travelling with my whole family so I’m really looking forward to that.

Nico: The last two interviews have always ended up with something regarding Game of Thrones, so to stick to tradition: what’s your favourite moment in Game of Thrones?

Liv: Oh I can tell you what was not my favourite moment! That was the final scene of the last season: The Red Wedding. I was shocked!

Nico: When I read it in the books I was picturing so many different ways that they could do it in the television series and they just completely shocked me. They did it so brilliantly.

Liv: Yeah, absolutely. It’s brilliantly done but I didn’t want it to be that way! *laughs*

Nico: Rob Stark is young, a bit arrogant and stuff but they could’ve at least spared him for a little bit longer.

Liv: Exactly. My favourite moment… Hmm… There are just too many of them. I really love the series. But still, I was shocked after the final scene of the latest season. I couldn’t sleep! *laughs*

Nico: Just for the fun of it, another Game of Thrones question: if you could write a song about any event in the Game of Thrones universe, which one would it be and why?

Liv: Oh I would love to write a songs about the wolf pack. The boy seeing through the eyes of the wolf.

Nico: I think that would be pretty cool actually. On to the last question. You are appearing on Savn’s debut album, which is making it the first ever collaboration with a band with your sister Carmen. Are you looking forward to it?

Liv: I’m really looking forward to it. Carmen had the idea to do a project next to Midnattsol and she gathered some very good musicians: some of them are from Sins of Thy Beloved. They came to Germany to Mastersound studio to record the first album and Carmen joined me for Eileen’s Ardency. I said in return I will join you on a song of your choice. That was a very nice thing. I’m looking forward to the album. It will remind you of the early Theatre of Tragedy days.

Nico: Sounds good.

Liv: Yes, very good.

Nico: I think I speak for a lot of fans of Liv Kristine when I say that we are looking forward to it.

Liv: Thank you very much.

Nico: You’re welcome. Thank you for your time and I hope you have a good show tonight.

Liv: I hope you will enjoy it too! Although it’s pretty cold out tonight, I think we will be sweating since we have a full house. I’m really looking forward to it. Thank you so much for being here.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

 

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Interview with Alexander Krull [Atrocity]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

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Nico got settled down in Manchester earlier this month for a chat with Alexander Krull, the voice of Germany’s death metal powerhouse Atrocity.

Nico: Nice to meet you Alex, how are you doing?

Alex: Nice to meet you. I’m fine. Fantastic tour in the UK. We’re happy to be back.

Nico: It’s been a while since Atrocity last played the UK. Has the Atrocity fanbase changed since you last were here or is it pretty much still the same?

Alex: The people we met before appeared at the show, so they are pretty much the same. I think they all liked the new album, the Okkult album. We got some really good feedbacks so we are happy that we were able to do this tour. On the other side we have been touring through many countries with both bands, Atrocity and Leaves’ Eyes, like 40 countries or more. It’s a little bit of a pity if you have a circle consisting of studio, album, touring. But maybe one tour is not happening and you go on tour with the next album, so there can be a long time in between.

Nico: If you were booked to play a festival and you get to play only one Atrocity album, which one would it be and why?

Alex: At the moment, the Okkult album. Obviously because it’s the brand new album and the songs are doing very well, so that would be the choice of the moment.

Nico: Speaking of festivals, does Atrocity have any festival plans for this year?

Alex: Yeah, it’s still in the making, but bring us back to the UK if possible!

Nico: I’m sure something can be arranged, maybe Bloodstock?

Alex: Yeah that would be awesome! We’ve played there with Leaves’ Eyes, it was amazing, it was really good. Yes maybe somebody wants to bring us back with Leaves’ Eyes or Atrocity, I don’t care!

Nico: Let’s hope so.

Alex: I mean, there are festivals coming up but I can’t tell which ones. Two new ones are coming up soon on Facebook or the page, you will see.

Nico: Okkult was released last year like you said, and it’s the first part of a trilogy. Have you started on the second part of the trilogy?

Alex: Yes, actually we recorded one song before we left for the UK. But it will take a while. I mean, we will play after this tour in North America and Puerto Rico for four weeks. That’s the situation we are in now : we are touring and playing festivals. After North America we are going back to Europe so there will be time to write and record songs. But it’s also cool to grab the energy from the shows, the experiences that we have, to write new songs.

Nico: I imagine it’s still a bit early to be talking about the second part of the trilogy, but what can fans expect from the second part?

Alex: I think you ask this question is because we have had a lot of changes within the bands history and diversity in music. But the Okkult concept is based on this epic backstory let’s say, like we have on the first album. I think we are going to keep that style which is already quite diverse. I’ve heard from some press people that they were a little bit afraid that people would not understand everything on the album. They were a little bit like ‘what?’. It’s up to the fans and I think it’s good to have a diverse album. So we are going to follow in the footsteps of the first one and develop the style. There will probably be some changes, we don’t want to be a boring band. We’re always looking for new challenges.

Nico: Are there any releases by other bands that you are looking forward to this year?

Alex: Let me think..there are a few but the thing is, I’m not sure if they are going to release next year or this year. Who’s releasing something?

Nico: There are a few bands, it’s hard to keep track of it all to be honest.

Alex: You know, who announced they were going on tour with a new record.. Was it Live or whoever? Not a metal band but I would love to see a new album of them too.

Nico: From previous interviews with Liv, I understand that you are a Game of Thrones fan. If you could be any character from the Game of Thrones universe, who would it be and why?

Alex: Wow. Okay, I think the character is dead already! Ned Stark.

Nico: Good choice! Apart from the fact he’s dead…

Alex: I didn’t read the books but yeah, that was not like in other movies… [makes chopping movement with hand] over-out!

Nico: That was one of the most impressive moments for me in the Game of Thrones universe, apart from the Red Wedding.

Alex: Yeah, the Red Wedding, I saw some reactions to that on the internet.., It was quite heavy.

Nico: It was brilliant how they did it on TV especially if you read the books as well. Because I knew it was coming so I was like “no no, not this season, not this episode! Do it another time! Please for the love of God!”

Alex: [laughs] Yeah it was quite interesting to see some reactions when they cursed the directors: “ how can they do that, the characters die!”. It’s written in the books, so..

Nico: Some fans take it a bit overboard so..,

Alex: Yeah I’m looking forward to watch the new season. I think it starts in april? Yesi *two thumbs up*

Nico: Thanks for you time Alex, I hope you have a good show tonight.

Alex: Thank you!

Nico: You’re welcome.

Alex: See you guys!

Atrocity online:

http://facebook.com/AtrocityOfficial
http://twitter.com/atrocitypage

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Interview with Phil Cross [Continents]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18th November 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Phil Cross - Continents

Nico catches up with Continents frontman Phil in Bridlington, on the band’s UK tour, to discuss the new album, Idle Hands, touring, the music scene in Wales and Phil’s porn star name.

Continents online:

http://continentsband.com
http://facebook.com/continentsband

 

Interview with Liv Kristine [Leaves’ Eyes]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 17th October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Liv Kristine is best known for her work as the vocalist for Leaves’ Eyes and former singer for Theatre of Tragedy. As well as fronting one of the most iconic symphonic metal bands on the scene, Liv is also a solo artist and has collaborated with a number of different bands including Cradle Of FilthAtrocityDelain and most recently she appeared on the track The Lay Of Our Love, which is featured on Tyr‘s new album Valkyrja.

With the release of Symphonies Of The Night just around the corner and a UK tour confirmed for January 2014, Nico catches up Liv Kristine to discuss all things Leaves’ Eyes as well as popular TV series Game Of Thrones, her solo project and rumours about Leaves’ Eyes appearing at the next Dames of Darkness Festival…

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you doing?

Liv: I’m good thank you. It’s been a busy day, but in a positive way, you know. Lots of interviews and we’re rehearsing because we’ll be playing the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium in a couple of days. I’ll be there with my solo band on Friday and with Leaves’ Eyes on Saturday so yes, we’re busy!

Nico: Sounds like you’ll be having fun though. Is there a meaning behind the title of the new album Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: Um, a meaning or the concept in general?

Nico: A bit of both really.

Liv: Okay, well we came up with the title pretty late in the recording process. I actually had a song called Carmilla from Sheridan Le Fanu’s horror novel from 1871. So the song, which came to be titled Symphony of the Night, was originally titled Carmilla. But we were discussing the title within the band and we weren’t really sure. What happened was pure luck: I was typing an interview and the journalist was asking me about my influences and I mentioned Tchaikovsky, who wrote the Symphony of the Swan Lake and I thought that’s it! This is an album of eleven symphonies of the night, so there we go! So Carmilla is still the main character in the title song, but the title got changed. Things happen, we are a very creative band.

Nico: I was listening to the previews of Symphonies of the Night that Napalm uploaded to YouTube earlier. There is a definite evolution in the band’s sound, changing direction compared to previous Leaves’ Eyes albums. Is this what you were aiming for with this album, and will this be a future direction you will be taking for future releases?

Liv: Well, I’d rather put it this way: Leaves’ Eyes isn’t a planned thing when we start composing. We throw everything into pre-production and what was already there, were two songs: Eileens Ardency and Saint Cecilia. They just didn’t fit on the Meredead [released in 2011] album when it comes to atmosphere. So they weren’t leftovers but they were on no album after the release of Mededead,  so we decided to start working on them. And then we realised that this was a good point to start from. You know, this year we have the anniversary of 10 years of Leaves’ Eyes so we have experienced a lot of being on the road, and all these albums we released and we’ve gathered a lot of experiences. For most of the band members Leaves’ Eyes is twenty, twenty five years of experience. Everything is there on this album, you won’t miss anything. It’s a very powerful album, I agree on that.

Nico: On previous Leaves’ Eyes albums the use of different languages made an appearance on the tracks. Will this be the same with Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: On Symphonies of the Night we’ll have modern English of course, Shakespearean English, some Norwegian, a little bit of French and a little bit of Irish. That’s five languages, I think on the Njord album we had eight languages and on Meredead six languages. I just love languages and I studied linguistics for years so it’s something I really like doing.

Nico: What would you say is the track that stands out on the new album?

Liv: Well that’s the most tricky question you could’ve asked me. Right, um.. This morning in my car I was listening to Ophelia, which is the final track of the album. Of course it’s Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius, in Hamlet. That’s my main character, and Ophelia is a quite straightforward and rocky song. It might sound like it doesn’t have a complicated structure like for example Saint Cecilia or Nightshade but Ophelia was the second to last song we recorded. We needed quite a lot of time for Ophelia to finish it in the way we wanted it. All of us: Alex, my husband, our producer, Thorsten my red-haired guitar player and myself are perfectionists. It’s great to have our own studio because then we can keep working until the three of us are satisfied. Ophelia was a tough one but I think it turned out great and at the moment it’s my favourite, if I’m allowed to have one.

Nico: You recently featured on The Lay of Our Love which is on Týr’s latest album Valkyrja. What was it like, recording that track with Týr?

Liv: Actually, I recorded my vocals here in our studio in Germany. But every time I think about doing a duet it’s always the music itself which decides. If I like the song I’ll do it. Heri from Týr helped me out in Wacken last year when Leaves’ Eyes headlined Wacken Open Air. He helped me out on Solemn Sea, one of our tracks. So when Heri asked me ‘Liv would you mind? I have a duet and you would fit very well on it’. I just loved the song and I have good news because we’ll be shooting a video clip for that track in a month! I’m really looking forward to that, it will be in Belgrade.

Nico: Ooh, excellent! I’m looking forward to that. With the recent collarboration with Týr, do you think it will help expose Leaves’ Eyes to Týr fans and Týr fans to Leaves’ Eyes?

Liv: I hope so, I really hope so! If Heri wouldn’t mind, we should tour together some day cause I think we have a potential common fanbase. The thing is, Leaves’ Eyes hasn’t toured a lot in Scandinavia. We should to that very soon, especially in my homeland. Týr is very well known in Scandinavia so that would be an absolutely amazing package.

Nico: I completely agree. A Leaves’ Eyes/Tyr tour would be amazing.

Liv: Thank you. We now have told the universe.

Nico: Speaking of touring, Leaves’ Eyes is scheduled to return to the UK next year in January with Atrocity and Pythia. Are you looking forward to the tour? Which cities are you excited about?

Liv: Absolutely! We toured the UK and Northern Ireland last year with Firewind and that was absolutely amazing. We played at places where Leaves’ Eyes had never played before and for Firewind as well it was absolutely amazing. I remember Cardiff very well because I spent a couple of months there when I was an exchange student. So Cardiff is pretty well-known to me. But of course Manchester is always packed, London is always packed. We will play in some of the venues we played with Firewind as well. We’re building up a fanbase in those places so I’m really looking forward to be back over there in the UK. We have an amazing fanbase in the UK and Northern Ireland. I was really surprised to see that there are so many fans who know about our music in the UK, and many journalists as well. I’ve had quite a few UK interviews this week so that’s good.

Nico: Last time I interviewed you, which was in Manchester last year, when Leaves’ Eyes was there with Firewind, you mentioned that you were a fan of Game of Thrones. So, if you could be any character from the Game of Thrones universe, who would you be and why?

Liv: That’s an even trickier question than the one you asked me before! Oh dear, oh dear… I’m not really sure. It must be Daenerys. Well okay, she’s blonde so it should be her.

Nico: She’s a good, strong character.

Liv: She’s great, she’s amazing yes.

Nico: Going back to touring, are there any future plans for you to tour your solo project around the UK?

Liv: I hope and pray that there will be next year because it’s certainly time to play some solo shows in the UK as well. The only shows I have this year for Liv Kristine, for my solo project, is Nagold in Germany and Pratteln in Switzerland. So those are the two gigs, but they are exclusive gigs. Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity will be touring most of the rest of the year so we will be very busy. China, Taiwan, Thailand, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium. Lot of things happening! The end of December is the right time for exclusive solo shows but the UK, 2014..let’s cross our fingers.

Nico: That’s what I’m hoping for.

Liv: Me too.

Nico: Speaking of shows. I’ve heard a few whipserings around the internet from associates of mine that Leaves’ Eyes might be playing the Dames of Darkness festival in the UK next year. I was wondering if there is any truth to this?

Liv: Wauw, I mean that would be absolutely killer! It would be fantastic. Well you know, bookers know things before the rest of the band does so..let’s make it happen.

Nico: I hope it does happen because Dames of Darkness this year was phenomenal and it would be so much better if Leaves’ Eyes was playing it.

Liv: Thank you, thank you very much! I’d love to be there.

Nico: Last question. This is a fan question, asked by April Mccaffrey: if you could have a superpower, which one would it be and why?

Liv: A superpower… Okay, you took me by surprise there! When I was a kid I always thought it would be fantastic to be able to look into the future, to know what is going to happen. But I’m not sure if I need that anymore. It’s a very good question actually. Sometimes I wish I could change things for the better of it. Sometimes, especially when it comes to children and children suffering on this planet, it feels like we are just sitting here being comfortable and warm while on the other side of the planet children are dying because of hunger. That’s when I think I would just like to be able to beam myself to that place and do something. Maybe that’s a project for the future. If I ever get tired of playing gigs and singing that would be something I would like to do, to be part of helping projects concerning children who are suffering on the other side of the world.

Nico: I wasn’t expecting that answer. You’re certainly a kind and caring individual. Thank you for your time Liv, I hope you have a good night.

Liv: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure talking to you again. Take good care and hope to see you in Manchester in January.

Nico: You too, Liv! Have a good night!

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.com
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

Interview with Martijn Westerholt [Delain]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 17th May 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Delain recently headlined the Dames of Darkness Festival in Bilston, near Wolverhampton and Nico was able to grab hold of the band’s founding member, main songwriter and keyboardist, Martijn, for a chat about all things Delain, the band’s recent move to Napalm Records and other things.

Nico: Hi Martijn, it’s nice to finally meet you. How are you doing?

Martijn: I’m fine, I’m great thanks.

N: Good to hear. Our first question actually comes from a fan: which albums have inspired you to become a musician?

M: That’s a good one..Well I don’t know if albums triggered me to become a musician, but my first albums I bought were We Can’t Dance, by Genesis, an album from The Police I think. And slowly the music became a little bit harder and noisier. So it just evolved like that.

N: In your opinion, what are the best and worst parts about being in a band?

M: The best parts are that you meet a lot of people from a lot of cultures. You come in a lot of places. It’s not like people think, that you do a lot of sightseeing, because most of the time you don’t have time for that. But in general of course you do see a lot of places and that’s very nice. Perhaps the best thing about being a musician is that if you write music, it ends up on your album and you see an album being born. That’s terrific, that’s magic. And that’s one of the best parts I think. The worst is that its hard work and you have to be creative with financial means. It’s a lot of pressure. People always have an opinion about you or about your music so you have to deal with that otherwise you shouldn’t be a musician. I think that’s the bad thing.

N: Delain’s most recent two albums, We Are The Others and Interlude have a more accessible sound than the previous two albums. Do you think this is the sort of sound Delain is going to be going for in the future?

M: To be very honest, it’s not that we do something like that deliberately; like ‘okay let’s make a softer album now’. For example with Interlude we had a lot of material which we didn’t use yet and we had a lot of requests from fans asking for releasing a DVD, releasing special material and that’s what we did. Coincidence had it that this was more of the softer material. And with our last full album We Are The Others, we just went with the flow and it can be open to use grunts again in the next album for example. I just don’t know, it’s about what comes out of your mind and then we go with the flow and see what happens.

N: Earlier this year Delain signed to Napalm Records. What were the reasons behind moving from Roadrunner Records to Napalm?

M: Well, Roadrunner was bought by Warner, like the big label who people also know from movies for example. Their music department is Warner Music and they bought Roadrunner. They fired a lot of people and I actually saw this label going down, which was a shame. They originated in Holland actually, they were a really big label, a really good label. But when we released We Are The Others there was a transition going on and for us it was really, really bad. It were really hard times and fortunately at a certain point we were free to go. And then we talked to a lot of other labels and we ended up with Napalm because Napalm thought the same about what direction we wanted to go. It was the best deal and I think this label fits us really well. We are also as of yet still very satisfied to work with them and from what I understand also the other way around. So it’s good that we changed.

N: Recently you [Delain] released Interlude and just last year you released We are the Others. Have Delain started writing any new material for the next album?

M: Absolutely, we’re very busy with that right now because we would like to release a new album beginning 2014. Then we’re going to play with Within Temptation. It would be very nice if we can release around that time. On the other hand you can never control a creative process. You can stimulate and guide it to a specific direction and the more time you have to write the faster it will go of course. But it’s going to be a challenge to get it done but we’re working on it. So we’re writing new material as we speak.

N: Will there be any main concepts within the new material, like with We Are The Others it was celebrating being different and not being part of what society classifies as the norm.

M: In general we do aim to have a general theme in an album, but we’re not there yet. So for now I don’t know, I just don’t know.

N: Obviously big things have been happening for Delain this year: signing to Napalm Records and being announced being to tour with Within Temptation early next year. What does it feel like to suddenly have a huge buzz around you since the release of We Are The Others?

M: That’s of course very good, it’s always good for a band to have a big buzz going on. Actually, last year was very difficult for us when we were still at Roadrunner. I even thought about quitting completely because what we wanted with that album didn’t happen. People who we worked with for a very long time were going and now it’s completely turned around, flipped over to a very positive vibe and it can go very fast. I’m very happy about that and it supports the band members as well of course, having this buzz going on. I’m really happy with that.

N: When it comes to writing new material, where do you draw your inspiration from?

M: It can be a lot of things. It can be a song I heard, a movie I’ve seen. Most of the time it’s just feeling like writing and then things come out. There’s not really a concrete thing which makes me write. It’s just a general urge to make some music. Most of the time we’re together: me, Charlotte and our current writer Guus. We work together on it and it just happens.

N: Which band, excluding your own band Delain, would you say is your favourite on the symphonic metal scene at the moment?

M: That’s a good one! I’ve always been a fan of Nightwish. I’ve been a fan of the writing of Tuomas, so I would say Nightwish.

N: Are there any other plans for Delain this year besides playing at Dames of Darkness and playing the Metal Female Voices Fest in Belgium in October?

M: We’re doing a really special show, it’s actually our last show, in November in Holland. That’s going to be a really special one with special effects, guests etc. And we’re going to do the support tour of Kamelot for the US in September. And then it’s writing and recording new material.

N: Out of the two current tours that you’ve got coming up, which one would you say is the one you are looking forward to the most?

M: That’s a good one..I think our special show is one I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to all of them actually. And I’m looking forward to the tour for the US because I like the country a lot. And I’m looking forward to seeing new places so I look forward to that as well.

N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

M: The soundtrack? That’s a good one…That’s a difficult one…I think We Are The Others would fit a movie very well. So I would take We Are The Others but if I have to choose one movie now… Perhaps a Marvel movie, like The Avengers or something like that, or Iron Man. I would like that very much.

N: Sounds like good choices. Do you have anything you would like to say to our readers before we finish up?

M: I hope that they like our latest release very much. I hope they can enjoy it and I hope to see them soon at a show. That would be nice.

N: Thank you for your time Martijn, have a good show tonight.

M: Thanks a lot!

 

Delain online:

http://www.delain.nl
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Interview with Atrocity

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 17th April 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Atrocity have been smashing their sound in the ears of listeners – both willing and unwilling – since 1985 when the band first formed. With the release of their eighth studio album, Okkult, just around the corner, Nico grabs hold of the band and gets the info on the latest album, amongst other things.

Nico: Okkult will be dealing, lyrically, with occult magics, conspiracy theories and other concepts. What inspired the band to write about these subjects?

Alex: Well, Okkult features some very obscure stories actually. I was always very much into history, legends, myths and the dark backgrounds and secrets of mankind and researching them from different sources. The idea to start the Okkult trilogy came up after the release of the Atlantis record [2004]. The research of the Atlantis secrets have been very inspiring, so the next step was to make an epic trilogy about the mysteries of the world. An even bigger challenge and concept, this is why we decided to make an album trilogy. Yes, the lyrics relate to occult magic, mysterious places, conspiracy theories and mysteries that are still unsolved. Actually it’s great to take the listener and ourselves on a heavy trip through the dark and mysterious tales, happenings and places of all times. We digged out some very obscure stories like the super sinister lady La Voisine (we use this pronunciation of the name). This song tells a dark chapter in the history of mankind. It’s set in Paris of the 17th Century and is about Catherine Monvoisin, which was known as La Voisin, as a witch and poisoner. She told the fortune for money, selling poisons and love potions, magic plant and broke off unwanted pregnancies. She and the former priest Abbé de Guibourg celebrated black masses, where also infants were sacrificed which she had previously bought from the poor people. The blood of the children they used as ingredients in potions, too. She was booked by many members of the nobility, among others, the mistress of King Louis XIV, Madame de Montespan, who wanted to get through the black masses more power and influence in society. Madame de Montespan used the potions in order to get the love of King Ludwig upright, and she mixed the potions in his food and drink. There were rumours that members of the nobility were killed by poison, and so research was driven. One day a young woman from the aristocratic circle close to King Ludwig died. Then investigations were intensified to find the poisoners’ source and to smash the conspiracy. La Voisine and other witches of the Paris witch circle were arrested. Due to the good contacts with the mistress remained La Voisine long spared from torture. Nevertheless, she was sentenced to death at the end in the: Affaire des Poisins. La Voisine was executed. Later, they found the remains of 2,500 infants in her backyard of her house, and so after La Voisine‘s death, the entire extent of her cruel deeds were obvious. The paradox of the story: It turned out that the young woman died of natural causes and she was not poisoned, like many other nobles.

Nico: Speaking of occult magics and all topics related to them. What are your personal thoughts and views on the occult?

Alex: Like I mentioned, I’ve always been into dark topics and the obscure side of mankind’s history in connection with strange, supernatural or unsolved backgrounds and events! The occult is really fascinating to myself and probably many other people. I find it a superb way of “switching off” daily life stress digging my nose into heaps of books and sources of this kind of literature. And this topic is not only about black magic like many people think in nowaday’s society. There was a period of time when science had to do research and works in the shadows because religion condemned it as the “devil’s work”. An overall important aspect in Okkult is the intersection of power, politics and religion in our world. Because religion and superstition occur exactly where the man pushes his knowledge to its limits, primal fears  can take control over the mind. This concludes in a policy based on the principle of fear. Religion and politics play on the fears of the people, thus they control. For mankind the greatest fear is darkness. The best example is processed in the song Masaya (Boca del Infierno). The cave system of the volcano in Nicaragua Masaya was regarded as an input for the indigenous population in the dark underworld. To ward off evil spirits, there were rituals of human sacrifice. When the Spanish conquerors emerged in Masaya, there was a cross erected to exorcise the devil. The Spanish conquerors thought that this was one of the entrances to hell. Two completely different cultures with different languages and peoples, and yet a common fear…

Nico: How do you feel that Okkult will differ from previous Atrocity releases?

Sander: From my perspective, no Atrocity album has ever been similar to another and the band have always just did artistically what is in the heart with really no boundaries or rules.  I think this album is in a way coming full circle and reconnecting with the metal roots of the band. In my opinion this album feels maybe like a logical step forward from the Atlantis album and I think it’s a mix between the classic death metal albums, the Atlantis record and new added influences that go from black metal to modern sounding metal. It’s also the best and heaviest sounding production on an Atrocity record ever.

Tosso: On Okkult there are some elements in which can also be found on the first two Atrocity albums, like 5/4 bar blast beats, et cetera. But all in all the intention was to make lyrics, artwork and music fit together very well… to obtain this kind of “okkult sound”. Moreover, it is a question about a basic band concept. There are bands being very happy doing the same music for decades. I don’t think that’s the concept of Atrocity. Nevertheless, the Okkult trilogy will have a clear line in all three parts. So Okkult II and Okkult III will certainly follow the paths of the first Okkult album.

Nico: Which tracks do you feel stand out the most on Okkult?

Alex: Tricky question. If I were to choose a track that represents the complete core and idea behind Okkult, the song Pandaemonium stands out for me due to its epic but at the same time brutal character. It is viciously aesthetic in every aspect. Well, it’s hard to say anyway.

Sander: I rather think of the album as a whole piece, every song has it’s own feel and atmosphere and it’s own identity and has it’s own role to play on the album musically and lyrically. I think that makes the album special although the songs differ they still are part of one homogenous soundscape.

Nico: Kate Halliday provided the finishing touches for Okkult, what was it like working with her? And do you feel that her experience has added new dynamics and feeling to Atrocity’s sound?

Alex: The cooperation with the Canadian sound designer Katie Halliday (SAW movies) was supercool, she made some really dark atmopsheric sound effects! We met Katie on tour in Canada. As we told her about the Okkult concept, she was excited to take part in such a huge metal production. As she is a big metal fan, too.

Tosso: We wanted to have a very dark atmosphere on the album, just like in the great old horror movies. You find these elements in the orchestra on Okkult and of course also on Katie’s great sound effects, that she contributed to the album. If you just listen to the opening track of the album “Pandæmonium” you’ll get an idea of what I’m trying to describe. It leaves a hell of impression on the listeners!

Nico: What song do you feel defines Atrocity as a whole?

Tosso: I guess you need several songs from the different periods of Atrocity if you want to describe or sum up all facettes of the band. My personal top 11 would be then: Blue Blood, Deep In Your Subconscious, Necropolis, BLUT, Calling The Rain, Love Is Dead, The Great Commandment, Reich of Phenomena, Relax, Call of Yesteryear, Pandaemonium.

Alex: Yes, I agree. These songs represent the varied side of Atrocity very well! Reich of Phenomena and Pandaemonium are both of my fave songs of the band, they perfectly reflect the combination of epic brutality! To put our compositions and albums in an over-all view, past to present, I think Okkult contains many elements from our musical past, especially the very heavy stuff from our 1990’s album releases but also Atlantis. Death by Metal is the best example for that: Our tribute to Death Metal actually contains the main riffs of the song, which I wrote originally in 1991 and also brand new riffs! So Okkult combines our roots with new musical ideas, and this is simply a new era for Atrocity after such a long history of challenging metal music! Anyway, I would like to mention Blut because it has put a mark on me, personally and artistically. Blut reminds me of our video shoot on the Corvin Castle in Transylvania. We did some research for the location for the video shoot and arrived there one night after driving the whole way by car during extreme Romanian winter landscapes on terrible road conditions. Instantly there was an eerie atmosphere in the castle and we had the feeling of not being alone. I needn’t say more, it still gives me the creeps. Moreover, the video shoot months later was very strange, too, to say it straight. It is said every room has its own history with its own soul. Some things can not always be explained scientifically. I am a so called atheist and still believe that there is definitely more things to this world, we can’t easily detect with our senses completely. Atrocity is a band who stand for revelation of mysteries, surprises, extremes and contrasts. You might actually get blown away, hehe.

Nico: Do Atrocity have any plans for a UK tour in support of the new album?

Tosso: We had many great shows in the past with Atrocity. I remember great shows in the UK already on my very first tour in 1994 when Atrocity toured with Obituary through Europe and the UK. So hopefully we get a chance to be back in the UK.

Alex: The UK death-metal scene of the 90s is one of a kind. By the way I organised the first Euro Death Metal Festivals and the our first Euro tour together with UK legends Carcass in 1990. Great times! And yes, bring us back, we would love to tour the UK again!

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Tosso: The Okkult album would be a cool soundtrack for one the old Vincent Price horror movies… That would be an awesome combination.

Alex: Vincent Price, yes, killer idea! The first Nosferatu movie by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and the remake with Klaus Kinski is in my view one of the highlights in dark horror movie productions. Love the vibe of these classics!Why not putt Haunted by Demons in one of these movies? Haha, I guess Todesstimmen would be a perfect match for a Horror movie trailer!

Nico: What are your thoughts on the current metal scene? And do you feel its changed since the formation of Atrocity?

Tosso: I think it changed a lot. Metal has developed many different sub genres, which is cool on the one hand, because you have a colourful scene. We gave our input to open the scene up a little more. On the other hand sometimes I miss new bands that every metal head can identify with. The technical progress and internet have also changed things pretty much. Its very easy nowadays to record music on your own and put it on the internet, especially for young bands. But the negative aspect in my opinion is that too many new albums sound like the same and musicians lose the relation to their instruments. Atrocity started as an underground band with no commercial intention, just excited to play their own music, I think that helped to form the character of the band.

Nico: If you could go back to when you first became a musician and give yourself any advice, what would it be and why?

Alex: Time runs fast… We’ve gathered a lot of experience through a great number of cooperations, connections and friendships. Generally said, a good and solid basis both within the band, and between band and so-called “partners” is, in my opinion, based on values like honesty, trust and fairness, which my band mates and myself always have struggled to keep upright. These values are incredibly important to me, personally and professionally. It is something I have always fought for, and that’s my main advice to myself, my friends and band mates and everybody else. I just can’t accept unfairness, a thing that also has infected the music business more and more over the years. Besides that, do the music you love – and that’s what we always did!

Nico: This one is a fan question. Have you ever considered doing more extreme metal and has it ever appeal to you?

Tosso: If you listen to the Okkult album, you will realize that this is definitely one driving force in this musical trilogy: We enjoy writing and playing extreme and brutal metal music. So, to answer your question, yes, we consider and will play more extreme metal on the Okkult trilogy.

Nico: Another fan question and probably the strangest I’ve ever had to ask. This one is for you, Alex. How did you get your hair so long?

Alex: Well, I guess it’s due to the good genes, haha. My father is turning 85 and still has thick hair. My wife keeps complaining about the high amount of hair products that is needed every week, haha… Not really, just kidding. People actually ask me always for advices, and it’s a simple answer: Don’t cut your hair, switch hair products. My son is about to break the record, though: he is nine and his lion’s mane has already reached his waist, for the second time in his life!

Nico: Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Tosso: Thanks for the interview and keep it Metal!

Alex: Thanks to you and to all our fans – hope to see you on tour soon!

 

Interview with Fabio D’Amore [Serenity]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Fabio D’Amore has been the bassist for Serenity for three years now and has featured on their last album, Death & Legacy as well as their upcoming masterpiece: War of Ages. Nico catches Fabio for a quick chat about the upcoming album and the recent addition of Clémentine Delauney to the band.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name?

Fabio: Serenity is a sci-fi movie, based on the fanta-western TV series called Firefly. It’s an awesome movie, and the also the TV series is incredible.  When the band was put together, the influence of “Firefly” on our artistic work was huge, so the the logical result was taking the name of the spacecraft as the band’s name.

Nico: What are the main themes and concepts of War of Ages?

Fabio: On War of Ages we developed once again our historical themes, as we did on Death and Legacy, our previous record, but this time we focused on different points of view, and different stages. We talked about characters such as Elizabeth Bathory, Henry VIII, Napoleon, Nero, Beethoven, and so on. The lyrics are telling the stories of these people, that for good and bad influenced our past, the past of the whole humanity.

Nico: How do you feel War of Ages differs from the previous album, Death & Legacy?

Fabio: Musically the two albums are different, especially concerning their structures: Death and Legacy was a long album, with many long songs, and lots of interludes, kind of like opera you have to concentrate on each single detail. War of Ages is a direct album, shorter and effective songs, no interludes and passages in here, somehow catchier and yet fluent.

Nico: Clémentine Delauney joined Serenity earlier this year. In the past, the band have used guest female vocalists, is there a specific reason for recruiting Clémentine Delauney as a permanent member of the band?

Fabio: Clémentine started touring with us during the Out of the Dark tour 2011. We’ve been touring with previous female singers in the past, and all of them have been great and we’re still thankful for the jobs they offered Serenity. Clémentine just fit perfectly when we played a trial show earlier in September, before starting that upcoming tour, and we were all really satisfied. We all improved together and she continued performing for us for
all other shows we had, and we found natural to start discussing about her joining the band permanently. It came naturally, from both sides.

Nico: How do you feel the band’s overall sound will change now with the addition of Clémentine?

Fabio: I wouldn’t talk about changement, I’d better talk about improvement. As stated before, our sound and our shows together got better and better, and we definitely found the right formula with her in the band, where the new songs find incredible improvement and the old ones got a new life and a stronger sound.

Nico: What song do you feel defines the new album, War of Ages?

Fabio: That’s a difficult question… But perhaps I’d say the brand new single Wings of Madness. It has everything of the band’s skills : heavy riffs, great vocal melodies, bombastic sound and groovy parts.

Nico: Are there plans for a UK tour later this year?

Fabio: First we’ll have a show in London in some weeks, and we are really looking forward to this, since the UK has always been great for us. Just think about last year’s headlining tour, where we were able to play in London and Cardiff. We’ll for sure have some other shows in the UK later this year.

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Fabio: Mmm… That’s again difficult…I think each member of the band would have a different opinion and answer! Come and ask us directly after our show!

Nico: Serenity have been on the scene for a decade, how do you feel the metal scene has changed since Serenity formed?

Fabio: There’s definitely a saturation of offer in the market, and it’s still increasing. I think there’s too much and less quality lately… That’s also a reason of the whole industry’s decay and I am not completely sure this will ever get better again.

Nico: All the members of Serenity live in different parts of Europe, does this make it more of a challenge when it comes to song writing and studio work?

Fabio: It’s definitely challenging! Organising rehearsals and scheduling song writing and studio sessions have been more difficult lately. For three years, we now have to organise our activity, basing also on transportation issues, and gathering everyone’s plans. But it’s working fine, although it’s still difficult to handle, from time to time.

Nico: On the note of the members coming from varying parts of Europe, have the language and cultural barriers ever been an issue for the band?

Fabio: Austria, Italy and France are of course countries with many differences. In the beginning it may be difficult, but you have to give it time to get used to each other, and I can now say it’s not a problem at all. Sometimes you learn from each difference and you can enrich our own background, so I think it’s an added value.

Nico: Which musician, living or dead, do you hold the most respect for and why?

Fabio: Freddy Mercury – he’s still the artist and frontman that changed the life of many other musicians… His voice, his artistic soul, his performances have been lessons to learn for everyone of us!

Nico: What song do you feel defines Serentiy as a band?

Fabio: I don’t think there’s only one song that can tell what Serenity is. I’d say each album we released is very different and there’s something that makes our sound.

Nico: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Fabio: I’d like to thank everyone is reading now this interview and I’d like to invite you all to our upcoming tour: we’ll bring along the best show possible and you’ll get to know this new and fresh album War of
Ages
. You’ll love it!

Serenity’s new album, War of Ages, is due for release on 22nd March via Napalm Records.