domingo, 31 de julho de 2016

Interview - Secret Rule: Melodic Metal, Talent, Creativity, and the Society Victim of the "Machination"

The beauty and the nice side of this music scene is that, even against various obstacles and factors, such as economic, local and trends, as well as lot of bands struggling for their space, there are always new names, new ideas, trying to make music with quality and identity, and with this kind of thought we have SECRET RULE, from Rome (Italy), that is releasing their second album, "Machination" (Scarlet Records) (with the title and first track inspired by the movie "Ex-Machina"), confirming the high expectations of their debut in 2014, with "Transposed Emotions" ( Rock Records Sector), and bringing even more personality, and a new line-up, with the addition of musicians known on the scene as Sander Zoer (Delain former drummer) and Henrik Klingenberg (keyboards, Sonata Arctica), and special guests on some tracks.    (versão em Português)

We chatted with the lovely and talented Angela Di Vicenzo (who is a vocalist, in my opinion, in a level at least close to names like Anneke or Cristina Sccabia), who told us a bit more about the band, the new album, career and aspirations and Secret Rule's expectations. Certainly a pleasant surprise in the Metal Music's scene with a creative and catchy sounding, and great lyric content! Check it, an also become a "victim of the 'MACHINATION' ", in case, the band's new album :

RtM: Hello Angela, thanks for your attention, and congratulations for the new CD! Let’s talk about the new album and some more things about you and Secret Rule?
Angela Di Vicenzo: Hello Carlos! Sure, it's a pleasure to talk with you.

RtM: For this new album, the band had changes in your line up, with Sander Zoer and Henrik now in the band, which in my point of view, have contributed a lot in the new album sound. Tell us a little morehow the opportunity arose to have them in the band, and what they added in musical terms?
Angela: After the first album, we continued to have problems with the drummer. I had a contact with Sander Zoer and speaking with him I asked him if he was interested to play a song as guest on our album. I sent him the whole album in preview and he proposed us to play all songs! We were very happy of this proposal and so excited we thought to try to look for also a real keyboardist! So we contacted Henrik and we asked him if he had the pleasure to play on our album, or as guest on one song or play on the whole album if he was agree. He was happy to play the whole album, so he played all keyboards less the electronic loops made by Andy (Andy took care of all keyboard parts in the first album). It was awesome listening the songs after their job. 

RtM: Yeah, a great job, and, of course, there is the experience of both.
Angela: An incredible job! They have added a great value on the album but the most important thing for us was they have believed in us. They recorded the parts each one in the own studio. Then at the end of December, we met them in Holland during the shooting of the music video "You're the saviour" and it was thrilling doing this experience all together. They were very professional but also simple people, as if we were friends for a long time.

" ...a "main woman character" positioned out from the mirrors, while her image is crumbling in the mirror, symbol of vanity and appearance, some of evils of this society." (Angela, about the cover art)
RtM: Talking about the new album, "Machination" I would like you to tell us about the choice of this theme for the title, and also about the first track, "Ex Machina" (listening to the song, we noted some sections and effects that brings a "mechanical" climate), I see that you found inspiration in today's society, where it seems that relations between the people nowadays are more cold and distant, with people arrested in social networks.
Angela: The spark that lighted on my inspiration was the movie "Ex-Machina". The first track of the album is about it and the main theme turns around the actual society. A society based on the appearance where many people are in running to stay young. A society where who has the power has the control of all the instruments for our daily use and through them collects more data is possible about our actions, movements, habits. I could say that the value of these data is taking the place of the oil..

RtM: You're right, our life is all exposed on net! Something I wanted to comment, is the beautiful album cover, I would like you to talk more about it and about the elements present there, the two mirrors, black wings ... etc
Angela: Usually we give a preview of the album to our graphic designer Simona Saccoccia and we stay in wait to seeing her proposals. This time when she listened to the album, immediately she has imagined a "main woman character" positioned out from the mirrors, while her image is crumbling in the mirror, symbol of vanity and appearance, some of evils of this society. She is aware of her position, she knows that she was imprisoned from a mechanisms that brings the humans to give importance to trivial. Then we find a nature made of trees that were born from a motherboard, something programmed from someone, who manipulates the world and hides the cages to entrap us. Behind this element there is a great gearwheel that moves all this, "machination". Also this gearwheel is crumbling because the woman is free now and shows us what is the truth. 

RtM: Very beautiful! And you was a photographic model on the cover art too!
Angela: It was Simona who thought to use my image for the woman on the cover art, she came at my home with clothes and the camera to shoot the picture of me. She had everything in her mind!
This cover art is rich of elements, but you think that instead recently, a reviewer (for another webzine) has only looked at my tits and he defined the cover art "a dirty cover art"... I wonder, who is really "dirty"?  Poor man victim of the “machination”! (lots of laughs)

Cover Art Making Off
RtM: I can't believe in some people!!Well, let’s talk about the new songs. The song "The Saviour", which was also the first track and video that you have used to present the album, is one that has elements that, i think, are more present in it, like most vibrant movements, faster songs ( "Short Stories” and “You're The Player” are also in this line), with great chorus and catchy melodies. I would like you to talk about this tracks. 
Angela: I think that the "Love" is a very complicated thing!! LOL!! So, in "Short Stories" I imagined all those people who don't believe anymore in love and choose to live just the moment without bonds. An hitcher of emotions, that when meets someone else, takes what he can and then he/she will have already forgotten his/her name and face.
In "You're the Player" the message is simple: Did you ever ask yourself, if you're doing all you can for obtain what you desire? In this song I would like to give to the people the strenght for reaching out their dreams without never surrender.

RtM: To complementing, in "The Saviour" at the end of the video, also has a message that says "Dedicated to All Those people who have lost Their future, Their dream, Their own life, in the name of nothing."
Angela: "The Saviour" is a song I wrote after the attack to the Bataclan. Obviously there are many people that every day lose their life for different reasons I can't accept but in that occasion, I thought to all those people that were there for passing a nice night with the music (I felt myself more emotionally involved) and were killed in a too brutal way, this touched me. So the sentence to the end of the video is dedicated to all those people that every day lose their life (and so their dreams, their future) because of a stupid power's interest, a reason I can't accept.

"...So the sentence to the end of the video is dedicated to all those people that every day lose their life (and so their dreams, their future) because of a stupid power's interest, a reason I can't accept." (About the video and song "The Saviour")

RtM: "Foolish Daisy" also brings new elements, and is among my favorites too, brings Janneke de Rooy (from Paper Doll Decay) on  growling vocals, and an excellent work in Riffs, and the music have really cool and interesting variations. I would also like you to talk more about it, including your lyrics
Angela: At the beginning, the growl parts were been thought from Andy and sang by him (in an horrible way) for joking. But when Sander Zoer has listened to the rough mixes, he proposed us to do them sing from Janneke De Rooy and so it was. I'm very attached to this song. I wrote it in 2005. I dedicate this song to all those who fail to accept themselves as they are and looking to become someone else. So I do a compare between a foolish daisy that dreams to be a rare black rose, telling her that she is special and unique and without her the lovers can't play with their heart (loves me, doesn't love me, doesn't love me...). Each of us is special and has a reason to be in the world.

RtM: I would like also to comment on "I Will" and "I Have the Sun" are also among my favorites, although I really liked the whole album. The first has very heavy sections, and incredible  keyboards; already the second reminded me a little Lacuna Coil, and is a modern music with electronic elements very well placed, and great vocal lines (well, something recurs throughout the album), and I see that are good examples for who wants to know the band, modern  music, creative and with several surprises
Angela: I wrote "I will" in a precise moment of my life when all my family continued to ask me when I would stopped with the music and I would started a family. So I always answered "Yes, I will" but it was funny to see their faces. (Obviously I won't stop with the music, is my life).
I love a lot "I have the sun", I love the dark atmosphere that came out. Really in this song I imagined of the aliens. Since I was a child I lived strange experiences during the night and I wanted think that maybe they could be caused right from the aliens. The aliens that try to steal the "soul", the only thing they don't have.

RtM: We could talk individually to each track, but to conclude, I would like to mention two in which you show a lot of emotion, "The Image" and "Mother" in vocal lines really touching and beautiful, and "The Trap", which has many electronic elements , and you use more  "aggressive" lines and a certain sarcasm and sensuality, showing all your versatility, always conveying the mood of the song to the listener.
Angela: I'm very satisfied of "The Image", I experimented for the first time a new way to sing, especially on the strophes and I was really excited when is came out the refrain! In this song I thought to all those teens who don't accept their image, it's very difficult become adults.
"A mother" is a song I wrote for my best friend, like a sister for me. We met in a difficult period for us, so we became immediately friends. We spent an year almost every day togheter. Then she became mother of a wonderful child and we have no more time to spend togheter as before but our bond will stay very strong forever.
When I listened to the instrumental song "Your Trap" I said to Andy: "Are you crazy?" LOL!! But the song was very funny so I tried to put on a melody and it is came out with a voice a little bit sensual so then, I thought to an appropriated lyric. I thought to all those sly women who catch less sly men in their trap! :D

"The spark that lighted on my inspiration was the movie "Ex-Machina". The first track of the album is about it and the main theme turns around the actual society."
RtM: Your first album, "Transposed Emotions" already had this mixture of elements of Metal, Progressive, Electronic and Pop, for example, but I believe in "Machination" you go to another level, with even more personality already shown at the debut, and one of the main differences I felt is that the songs are more melodic and catchy, with even more striking lines, and the most varied arrangements. I would like you to comment on that and the differences you see between these two works.
Angela: Basically the first album included all my old songs I wrote ten years ago, but I never found a valid band to work on them (less "I don't wanna be", "My Doors" and "The Sin" that were new songs). So ten years ago, I was a different person with a different inspiration and skills. The world was a little bit different as well. The making of "Machination" instead was really exciting for me, because after many years I could express myself with my actual skills and inspiration. Today I'm most mature than ten years ago and in a song, the melody, the lyrics and the versatility of the voice do a great difference.

RtM: This variety and creativity that we find in "Machination" turns it in a very special album, with each song having different elements, bringing dynamism, resulting in a work that is a pleasure to listen from start to finish. I would like you to tell us about the album's songwriting process, how works the creative process within the band.
Angela: I think that what you listen on Machination is the result of different influences we have, as I already told you. We listen different kind of music and we love to push all together, sometimes when we listen a demo we've just done, we say "Oh my God! Is it not too crazy?", generally Andy guides this game...but on the basis we love melodic metal sound, rock our music probably will always have this characterization.

RtM: I read an interview with you in which you have said: "Is not important how many notes it's possible to sing, but in how many ways you can do the same note." It's a very cool statement, because the first time I heard the Secret Rule, called me a lot of attention the way that you sing, with much feeling, interpreting each song, passing the mood and feeling of each. So, tell us a little more about how you started in music, and how you've been honing your style?
Angela: When I started to study singing about 15 years ago, I was a powerful voice but I was not able to control this strength and to put in my voice my feelings. I'm always been very shy, but also a lot angry! But when I started to study with my actual Vocal Coach Francesca Tenuta, she was able to bring out from me all my feelings, my passion and she showed me how is possible to sing the same note in different ways relative to the feeling you want to give to the listeners. So we experimented a lot on this way and you can listen to the result on "Machination".

"We listen different kind of music and we love to push all together, sometimes when we listen a demo we've just done, we say 'Oh my God! Is it not too crazy?'"
RtM: And what musicians or singers you point as influences?
Angela: I love a lot of voices from different genres. I can give you these names: Anneke Van Giersbergen, Anouk, the Anathema's voices (Vincent, Danny and Lee), Alanis Morisettes, Dolores O'Riordan, Gwen Stefani, Sharon Den Adel and others. So maybe I might've taken some trait from them but anyway, I always tried to keep my identity.

RtM: And how did the Metal and Heavy Rock came into your life?
Angela: When around my twenties I went to live alone in Rome and I met a guy that invited me to go to a Metal concert. They were the Stratovarius, and I fell in love with Metal Music!

RtM: While we're talking about how you started your career in music, tell us a little about how the Secret Rule emerged.
Angela: Michele and Andy have known each other since 1987 and they used to play together in a band called Martiria. They had the idea with the first drummer (you never known), to found a new band with a fresh and modern sound. I met Andy about twelve years ago during a temporary project where I had the chance to appreciate his talent and his way of playing. Sometimes during the years Andy called me to ask if I was free to join a project together, but I was loosing my time (unfortunately) with other musicians. But I knew that sooner or later we would have done something together and in fact, at the end of 2013 he called me for speaking about a new project. He sent me the instrumental songs of "I Don't Wanna Be" and "My Doors" and I went to rehearsal with my melodies of these two songs. It was immediately love! In that occasion I met Michele for the first time :)
"We have to reap all our deeper feelings to express ourself. It is not easy. I think it is the bigger problem for many musicians."

RtM: Speaking about feeling, I see a lot of bands now worry too much about technique, music with instrumental intricate, expensive productions, but can not make a song that touch the listener, or bring memorable melodies or great choruses. How do you see the music scene today, what elements do you think important to stand out in this scenario?
Angela: Wow! It's an hard question. I think that many bands write music with too many idols in their mind. This is good when you have to improve the own technic, such as is useful the study of the composition and of arrangements of great songs (or the vocal technique, in my case, of great singers), but then we have to reap all our deeper feelings to express ourself. It is not easy. I think it is the bigger problem for many musicians. Another important point is the music market and the way in which the majors work. Now, I could say a very banal matter, but today is more easy to push a band that's a copy of another more famous, instead to push a new sound. So, many musicians could think that playing in the same way of other bigger band is an easier way to reach the top. Maybe you understand that I'm not very happy of this scenario  :) But I'm always very careful to new bands or new things.

RtM: And the expectations for the new album, and with this new line-up, will bring to Secret Rule in the future?
Angela: We're putting all ourself in this project and we're working very hard on it all the time. But unfortunately it not depends just from us. There are labels, promoters, venues, booking agencies, promotion agencies etc.. many factors determine the success. Often many bands lose a lot of time, long years (and money) in the wrong hands so we have to be careful. In each case, we'll continue to play our music forever, it's our drug :)

RtM: Angela was a pleasure, congratulations for the great work, the band is walking in a very good direction! This final space is for you to send your message to readers.
Angela: Thanks to you for the space and the support you gave us..and thanks to all those people who will listen to our music. We invite you on our official website to check our next gigs, we'll go around the Europe in July and August. We wait for you on the road and on our social pages.

Interview: Carlos Garcia
Photos: Secret Rule's Archives

Secret Rule Facebook
Read "Machination" Review

"The Saviour"
"I Don't Wanna Be"
"Secret Place"

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