Interview: Ivana Sataić (email@example.com)
Xandria is coming from Germany and since 1997 present its vision of symphonic metal. Bend has recently with the new singer Manuela Kraller released new album named „Neverworld’s End.“ About the new album and everything what is going on with Xandria we talked to band’s founder Marco Heubaum.
VENIA: At the beginning, how would you introduce Xandria to people in Croatia? Your fans know the story behind the band, of course, but for you personally what Xandria represent?
MARCO: Hi people inCroatia! You love heavy, bombastic music with a cinematic atmosphere and a female singer? Then check out our new album – you could like it!
VENIA: Can you briefly introduce band members?
MARCO: We are 5 members, starting with Gerit on the drums, followed by Nils playing the bass, Philip and me on guitars and Manuela, our new singer.
VENIA: For those who follow bands work since the debut album was a kind a mysterious process of choosing a new singer. What can you tell about the whole process and when was decided Manuela will take the position of lead singer?
MARCO: Yes, we had really bad luck cause we had to search for a new singer twice in 2 years. This was really no fun, I can tell you! We already had one for some months and some live shows, but then it also didn´t fit, so this one also left us. But in the end we found Manuela in September 2010, and she is even more the singer that fits us than anyone else, so in the end it was a happy end!
VENIA: Your new album ‘Neverworld’s End’ is the first one with Manuela behind the microphone. Were there some differences in making this album if you compare it with creation of your previous albums?
MARCO: The work began while we had singer one, then it went on with singer two, and has been finished with singer three – really odd… but to be serious, the work for the new album started with a vision in mind how it all should be sounding finally, including the style of the vocals, so at least the work with the voice was not the problem, cause from the beginning on we searched for exactly the voice we had in mind for this concept, so the songs itself did not have to change when we found a new vocalist. It was like putting the last, perfectly shaped brick into the wall of sound then.
VENIA: What can you tell about the songwriting process, what inspired this album and how does the typical Xandria song come to life?
MARCO: For me as a songwriter, it is this way: The songs start as ideas in my imagination, and then I try to make a song of what I have in mind, but just for myself, recording it in my home studio and working on it. When I am satisfied with it, I show it to the other members and we begin to arrange it together, everyone bringing in his ideas. When someone else writes a song, it is almost the same, the other way round.
VENIA: What inspire your music, which bands/artists you admire and how do you see the development of your band since your first album ‘Kill the Sun’ to ‘Neverworld’s End’?
MARCO: The influences nowadays come from metal bands we like, this time many classical metal bands like Judas priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica or Pantera, but also film scores and traditional music. We have a predilection for Celtic and Arabic stuff as our fans know (laughs).
In the beginning, when the songs for the debut album have been written, the influences came from these dark metal bands of the nineties, mainly Tiamat or Paradise Lost in their “rock” phase in the late nineties. Musically rather simple and atmospheric. Great for me, because as a musician and songwriter I was just at the beginning of everything and going a more “simple” and effective way did accommodate me much. But I always have also been a fan of more heavy, complex stuff and this time I challenged myself to go this way more. I had to learn a lot about it, and “Neverworld´s End” is the result.
VENIA: What would you name as Xandria’ best and worst musical characteristics?
MARCO: I think our good sides have always been catchy melodies and creating atmospheric stuff, but I would consider as bad that we never really pulled one thing through to the end and sometimes got stuck doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But this is over now, our new album is an absolute clear statement for symphonic metal, driven to the very max of it, as far as we could go at all events!
VENIA: Female fronted symphonic metal bands has been very popular in the last 10-15 years. What would you name as the secret of this success?
MARCO: I think it is fascinating for the people to see some long haired berzerks together with a fairy kind, beautiful lady, playing music that also can be described as “beauty and the beast” in many cases. But there are a lot of good bands, they create a fascinating atmosphere and write killer songs, this in addition is surely appealing, too.
VENIA: Xandria is lately compared to Tarja Turunen’ Nightwish era. What do you think about this comparisons and, as some critics claim, do you agree Xandria would lead symphonic metal genre now when Nightwish (it seems) is slowly leaving this kind of expression?
MARCO: We just followed our passion for bombastic metal music and if the result is fascinating people the same way this awesome Finnish band does, we take it as a compliment! We like Nightwish very much, too, and of course they have also been an influence for us. But every categorization or classification we have to leave to the people, I think this is not up to us!
VENIA: What do you consider as your greatest musical achievement at the moment?
MARCO: To bring on some symphonic metal that is really symphonic and for instance really metal with our new album that we all consider as our best so far!
VENIA: Now when the new album is out what are your plans for the future? Can we expect to see Xandria live on stage sometimes soon?
MARCO: We are very busy planning live shows for this year, we want to play live as much as we can – so watch out for Croatian dates, we would really love to see you all then!
VENIA: In the end, is there some message you’d like to send to your fans inCroatia?
MARCO:All our best regards to you people inCroatia, hope to see you soon! Keep the scene alive!
Official web: www.xandria.de