"Is a journey inside human fears",was how Sonia Siccardi, better known in the world Metal as Sonya Scarlet, leader of Theatres des Vampires, mentioned as the creators of Vampiric Metal, defined to us the concept of the new album, "Candyland", released now the 14th of October.(Versão em Português) In this conversation with Road to Metal Sonya told us more about the album, her way of composing, the theatricality of her performances, her very unique way of dressing, the lyrics dealing with esotericism, occultism, fantastic stories, the dark side of the literature, and also her more personal side, the woman who takes care of her body, who has engagement in social causes, and more, as we recall the moment she became the only singer of the band, marking a new era for theTDV, and they have now 22 years of career, and will surely come many more, after all, vampires are eternal! Check out:
RtM: Hello Sonya, thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about the new album, and also bring a little more about you and the band to the public in Brazil, for old fans, and surely new people who will know TDV’s work.
Sonya Scarlet: Thank you Carlos for your interview and support.
RtM: Let's start with the new album? The band always showed evolution in every new album, bringing new elements, and in "Candyland", we note more electronic elements, for example. What else of new elements would you say you add on the new album? What may surprise fans?
Sonya: The new album continues to maintain the melancholic and damned atmosphere of previous works but its sound is more more direct, decisive and violent. "Candyland" is an aggressive album with a strong personality with a powerful guitar sound but it’s not only that. There are also moments of calm which envelop the listener in the arms of an endless melancholy, a feature that we continue to love totally.
|"...Surely different from the previous works, cause different was the attitude and the way of work but still keeping our style...cause mind and heart are always in the vampiric mood."|
RtM: "Moonlight Waltz" was my favorite so far, but "Candyland" is very close to take its place! It is difficult for an artist make comparisons between your albums, but analyzing in terms of sound, composition and production, you would say "Candyland" can become the most successful album, and considered the apex of the band so far?
Sonya: Yes, it is really difficult to compare two different album like "Moonlight Waltz" and "Candyland".I think thay are just different cause different is the inspiration that drove us to arrange it and different are people that worked on it. Our producer Christian Ice and me, together with the band, worked hard everyday on "Candyland" after our split with Fabian, who decided to leave the band to follow his private interest and private life, still keeping a strong friendship with us. So we started from a different point of view, no more from the keyboards atmosphere but from my lyrics, arranging on them and on the rhythm of my words the whole album. So, what came out was a really powerful sound, with great guitar’s riffs , surely different from the previous works, cause different was the attitude and the way of work but still keeping our style...cause mind and heart are always in the vampiric mood.
RtM: How surged the idea to approach this issue on Pennhurst Asylum. Where did you get the sources to research the story more deeply?
Sonya: I have always had a particular interest for interesting and scary stories, about mysterious and abandoned places and about human madness and diseases. Some years ago I saw a documentary about a place that I knew before, that story was unbelievable, the story of Pennhurst Asylum and I was shocked once again to listen to that real story. At that precise moment I decided the album title and the mood of the whole album.. i decided to give back the voice to all people that suffers for their mental problems..that are closed in their own words...in their mind..forever lost.
RtM: I would like you to tell us a little more about the lyrical concept.
Sonya: In details, the name of the new album is inspired by a Pennhurst room, different from all others, with colored walls and bars on the windows. A room described as hell on earth by the inpatients of that infamous asylum, where for decades adults and children with severe mental problems where hidden away from the public eye.
A sad but alas true story, and the patients themselves renamed that room - with its brightly colored walls from which nobody could leave - Candyland.
Candyland is a journey through the corridors of the asylum, through the dread of those who - locked away inside the bulwarks of Pennhurst - were left to live in the lone company of their deepest and most harrowing fears, told through their words, accompanied by their cry of desperation.
Never to be understood. Never to be free. Never to be truly alive.
|"A sad but alas true story, and the patients themselves renamed that room - with its brightly colored walls from which nobody could leave - CANDYLAND."|
RtM: At first impressions, when the album title was released, and the allusion to the Asylum Pennhurst, I thought it is a concept album about the events there, but I saw then that there are other issues, such as "Resurrection Mary" for example, which deals with an urban legend from Chicago. The themes of the lyrics have any specific connection? I see that there are many implicit things in the songs.
Sonya: It was surely my strongest inspiration for this album but it was not the only one.
"Candyland" is a journey inside human fears... we all have something that scares us ....that we cannot fight because, at the end, it is part of us...something linked with our child fears, it is our dark half that screams...and sometimes we cannot control it...and we have to walk outside..in the dark side of the world, outside this society....every song has it’s own story, its own obsession....I go from human fears to licterature, the dark side of licterature such as the "Masque of the Red Death" of E.A.Poe ("Seventh Room"), to Coleridge. “Opium shades” is my homage to Coleridge...I lost in his opium delirium while he was writing his Kubla Khan..
"Resurrection Mary" for examples is inspired by a real ghost story of Chicago area. Since the 1930s, several men driving northeast along Archer Avenue between the Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young female hitchhiker. This young woman is dressed somewhat formally in a white party dress, and is said to have light blond hair and blue eyes. she wears a thin shawl, dancing shoes, carries a small clutch purse. When the driver nears the Resurrection Cemetery, the young woman asks to be let out, whereupon she disappears into the cemetery...Each song has its own story...a really dark story..
|Making off "Morgana Effect " video|
Sonya: I’m happy that you love these songs…they represent the gothic side of this album.
"Candyland" was the first song we arranged for the new album, everything started from there…
the song is about that damn room seen through the eyes of a child ... a child who has been abandoned by her mother in that awful place and that, year after year, has seen other children die around her.. that world of pain and colored walls becomesmaller day by day ..the walls seemed to gather around her because the girl had grown up ... but no one could escape from Pennhurst.., even she.
"Pierrot Lunaire" is a deeply sad song and tells the story of a pierrot who would like to give a smile to the people around him, but because he is different from all others, having that so amazing sadness inside his soul, the normal people ignore him... leaving him alone..but he wants to give himself to the world, and he decide to rip his heart from his chest..painting a smile on his face with his blood... but people run away screaming…
"Parasomnia" is a smash on your face, fast and crazy… the song is about a man who is afraid to fall asleep because in his nightmares someone tries to kill him, he's in a room of the mental hospital and draws crosses on the wall to mark the time and the passing of the days...without never sleep. Parasomnia is the night terror, the unconscious fear..
RtM: "Seventh Room" is also a song that I would like you to tell us more about, including on the participation of Fernando Ribeiro.
Sonya: I always loved Moonspell , they are a great band. Fernando has a great voice and he is an amazing frontman, so I decided to contact him. Fernando is really a kind person and a real professionist. He was happy about this new collaboration, as all the great artist he loves to share and to try new thing with music, and he did an excellent job sending me a so nice video about him recording "Seventh Room" track. A nice surprise. It’s a great honour and pleasure having his voice on our last work. About the song, it is ispired by the Masque of the Red Death of E.A.Poe.
RtM: And about the visual, and more theatrical elements, for the tour of this new album, what are you preparing?
Sonya: We are working on it, I'd like to make a long video to be projected on stage during the concert with strong images and also other stuff I have in my mind.. but, let’s see! I hope you will see our new show soon.
RtM: Besides Gothic Metal, the style of the band normally is referred as "Vampiric Metal", including cited as the creator of this style. What do you think about this tag? Tags and subgenres are more negative or positive?
Sonya: I think tags help people to find things they like. It is not bad . Actually I’m just learning to use them on our social!! I’m not that good and I’m still trying to understand how they work!
It is like a too tight dress that we try to put ourselves necessarily ..but the reality is that you can not describe the music in one word or in a tag. behind every band there are ideas, people, different influences and years of work
RtM: And your interest and connection with the theme of vampirism? How did surge your interest in it, and also the opportunity to use this theme in a band?
Sonya: I have always been interested in gothic novels , occultism, vampirism and everything from the dark side of the world and from the invisible world, since I was very small. When I entered the band I found people who shared the same interests and it was perfect. there were no coincidences. Coincidences do not exist.This was the fate. So I used the things I love to write my lyrics , inspired by licterature, art, poems, esoterism..
|"I could freely express myself in the lyrics and in music and we are here, after many important albums, ready for the release of "Candyland". I’m proud of my band ."|
RtM: When you became the only singer of the group, the band ended up taking a new direction in terms of sound, you saw as a need to raise the band to another level, or was it a natural evolution of what was happening? Could you tell us more about how this transition was at the time?
Sonya: That was definitely been a very important moment in our career. after our split with our former singer we decided to take two different ways.We have decided to go on with a more gothic metal sound, closer to our attitudes and our personality. That was a moment of a great change for our band. At the beginning we looked for a new male singer, then the band asked me to become the only singer of the band. they said it was the best choice at all. It was an unforgettable moment, inside of me I had conflicting emotions, on the one hand I was very happy and grateful to the band for giving me that trust, on the other hand I was afraid, afraid to face that important change, I was afraid to fail. But It was been so natural instead, I could freely express myself in the lyrics and in music and we are here, after many important albums, ready for the release of "Candyland". I’m proud of my band .
RtM: The Theatres des Vampires, was also developing a more accurate and scenic visuals, and you sure are largely responsible. I'd like you to tell us more about it, these scenic and theatrical elements you use, you studied acting as well? And how it was emerging your very characteristic manner of dress, and thus incorporating the band these theatrical elements?
Sonya: I never studied acting but I was for many years a classical dancer. I know the stage well, the first time I got on stage I was 5 years old. dance has taught me to express myself with the body, with movement, with the facial expression.. about clothes I have my talented fashion designer, Katja, from DIKTATOR FASHION LAB. Besides being a dear friend of mine , Katja is really a talented designer, the best at all, and she knows every millimeter of my body and every song of Theatres Des Vampires... she knows my personality and she knows how to manages to create for me the perfect outfit, giving me the chance to express myself totally and to represent my music in the best vampiric way!
RtM: And to keep all this energy on stage, as well your characteristic sensuality, what precautions you take to keep your fitness and beauty? Well, being a vampire, I believe it is easy to remain always beautiful and full of energy! He he
Sonya: To be forever young you have to really work hard instead! He he
I love to take care about myself, I always go to the gym cause I’m a very sporty person and it’s so good for my body and my soul. It ias important for my equilibrium otherwise a become too nervous probably.. I love trekking, skiing and doing all the sports that came in your mind...even surfing..but I'm not that good in this ... indeed I am always a vampire!
RtM: And your expectations about the future?
Sonya: I hope I can continue what I'm already doing, I am grateful and proud of what we reached today, and I want to thank all the people and fans who believe in us, if we are here today to do this interview, with a new album, is only because of you all. I hope to go on in the best way , spreading our music all around the world.
RtM: Groups of 70’s, like Alice Cooper and Kiss raised to another level this question to turn a rock show into a spectacle, and since then always appear interesting representatives, like TDV, King Diamond, Rammstein, Ghost and also your fellow Deathless Legacy . How do you see this scenario today? What younger bands do you think have incorporated best this question to give something more to the audience?
Sonya: I think that every band has its own personality and must express it as they prefer. There are bands that love to have a great visual effect and other bands that focus on the music without caring much about the rest, , both of which are perfect. everyone has to do what he feels and what he thinks and always being himself. for us visual is a very important part cause it is part of us, of our way of being, of what we want to convey to our audience. We want to embrace our fans in a kind of amazing nightmare.
I love all the bands you named and I love their shows. I think today taking care about the image and the music is important. But most important thing is to have something to say, a personality and a great sound.
"To be forever young you have to really work hard instead!
I love to take care about myself, I always go to the gym cause I’m a very sporty person.... Indeed I am always a vampire!"
Sonya: honestly we did not realize that all these years have passed !!! We have certainly seen many changes in our band, both as line up like that musical evolution but honestly our resources and energy will never run out, I personally am already thinking about the nextalbum, about which issues will inspire me, to create new lyrics... I love to start everything from the beginning once again...this is a bloody train that never stops!!
RtM: You're also a person engaged in social projects, I would like to tell us a little about.
Sonya: Helping those who are less fortunate than us is very important and gives a different meaning to life. We realize that real life is another, it is different, it is made of thousands of little things that, in our selfishness , we can not even see in this society. we were born in the lucky part of the world even if we cry every day and we are never satisfied .I have seen many poor countries, I have seen children rummaging in a big garbage dump in Nicaragua , searching for food and looking for objects to sell, I saw destroyed countries like Nepal after the earthquake that foundations like jay nepal, of which I am part, are trying to help day by day working with nepali people, with their hands in the mud to help those people.
|"Helping those who are less fortunate than us is very important, and gives a different meaning to life.|
Sonya: I think there are lot of amazing people all around, I’ve been so lucky cause I met many of them..what scare me lot of is probably the new generation...they have no idea about the world, the music, the life itself..they just follow new trends without believing in something.But not all of them are the same. I know many youg people that are really smart , and many of them follow Theatres des Vampires, great guys! Proud of you!
RtM: And when you're not involved in musical projects, what you like to do in your leisure time? Reading, travel, cinema?
Sonya: I love movies but I hate going to cinema...and I never go! I hate to sit close to people I don’t know cause for me, watching a movie, is a relaxing moment, so I prefer to do in in my house, with my friends and lot of beers...and blood! The thing I like most is travelling and visiting different countries everytime but a beer with friends is one of the best thing at all. friends and family are really important for me.
RtM: And a tour here on South America? We hope that this time be realized, because in 2012, unfortunately you have been prevented from landing in Venezuela, affecting the entire tour here in South America! Did you received some explanation for such an attitude of the authorities of that country?
Sonya: Unfortunately, the cancellation of the tour was caused by the inability to get in venezuela. we were stopped at the border and forced immediately to turn back doing so 24 hours of flight. Honestly I do not want to talk about it, it was been such a bad situation and I really hope to not see these kind of things again. Anyway, after that we came again to South America and in Brazil too after some months and it was amazing. Now, we really hope to come back next year with our new album candyland. We’re looking forward to come back to Brazil and Latino America!
RtM: Sonya was a pleasure talking with you, and bring some news to your fans here, and show a little more about you and the band for potential new fans! Success, and we hope to see you here in Brazil soon!
Sonya: Thanx guys for your interview. Today I’m really happy cause in a couple of days there will be the official release of Candyland . I know this interview will be published after it but I want to share with you my feelings…we worked hard 3 years to do it and finally, here we are!
So, I really really hope to go to Brazil guys, we will try to do our best to come again. Thank you for your attention and for your support! BLOOD IS LIFE!
Interview: Carlos Garcia, with colaboration of Raquel de Avelar
Sonya Scarlet Official Facebook
Theatres Des Vampires Facebook
Interview: Carlos Garcia, with colaboration of Raquel de Avelar
Sonya Scarlet Official Facebook
Theatres Des Vampires Facebook