Ravenheart Music: Interviews
Achilla is a London based Metal Band fronted by the lovely Martamaria (pictured) from Hungary. I caught them live in March supporting Delain at JBs in Dudley, while I have recently become a good email buddy of Martamaria too. I just had to ask for an interview and here it is.....
Hi Martamaria, thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you. I must admit to enjoying seeing your band live a while back at JB’s in Dudley supporting Delain. Can you tell me how all you guys came together?
Hi Dave. Thanks a lot for the nice words! We really enjoyed supporting Delain on their UK tour; you are bringing up some wonderful memories! With Achilla it all dates back to Autumn 2006, when Nightwish were looking for a new singer. After my first rough demo passed the 1st round of selections, I was given the opportunity to meet Nightwish, which happened to be at Abbey Road Studios, as they were recording Dark Passion Play! For the occasion I decided to put a proper band together, to record a second better demo, and to hand it in to Nightwish personally. By now it’s obvious that in the end I wasn’t taken, but I found I loved the chemistry with the band I put together, so we decided to carry on and to write original stuff! Like most of the bands, at the beginning we went through few line-up changes; Vincenzo (drums) and Daniele (guitar) joined the band in the first half of 2008, and Gus (bass) joined in Summer 2009. With the line-up finalized we were ready to do an album!
Your single ’Arashi’ is a good one to my ears, melodic and catchy. Can you tell us about the name ’Arashi’?
It is Japanese for storm;)
And being an ex weatherman, perhaps I should have known that :) Anyway, presumably, the single is a taster to the forthcoming album. Have you any label interest for the album, or do the band intend to release it themselves?
We have self-released the single, but our goal with ’Timeless’, the album, is to get it licenced by a label, in order to expand our exposure and touring opportunities. At the moment several copies are already on some good labels’ tables…
Would you like to tell me what type of music the listener can expect to hear on the new album?
We like to think about ourselves as a heavy rock band with some extras. We have many progressive, gothic and symphonic elements to our music, but they are related to the songs’ arrangements and embellishments, and not to the songwriting itself. I’ll give you an example: if you take any of our songs and you skim it down to just chords on acoustic guitar and vocals, the result would still work! It would basically sound like a simple acoustic rock song, and its ’soul’, or ’core’ would still be there!
Can you introduce us to the other members in the band?
We’re a pretty international band; Daniele Panza and Vincenzo Infusino are from Southern Italy, Gus Macricostas is from Greece, and I’m Hungarian. Daniele wrote and arranged most of the music on the album. His musical background is pretty vast, from classical to blues, from classic/prog rock to progressive metal. He always says that what counts is not the genre, but the song itself; in other words a great song could be arranged in any genre, and still be great! Vincenzo is Daniele’s perfect ’accomplice’! His musical background is immense, and his influence on the band’s sound goes far beyond drumming! And at last there is Gus, who with his solid Steve Harris influenced bass playing, brings Daniele and Vincenzo’s ’madness’ back to earth, glueing everything together!
You Martamaria have got yourself into the Guinness Book of Records. Would you like to explain :) ?
Roland Szentpali, a Hungarian classical prodigy, discovered my ability to sing from the man’s bass through all the vocal ranges far over the highest coloratura soprano, so I attempted to break the Guinness Vocal Range World Record and I succeded!
Cool!! And how do you look after that awesome voice of yours?
I avoid extremes (too hot or too cold). I warm up gently and I don’t overuse my voice.
What is the bands plans regards touring in support of the album?
For the next few months we’re planning to have several short UK tours in order to promote the single and to increase our fanbase. As we aren’t planning to self-release the album, touring in support of the album will hopefully be dealt with by a label. Anyway, I’d say that we aim to finally hit Europe next year!
And how do you feel the female fronted genre is shaping up? There certainly seems to be a buzz being created around the genre at present?
Well, female fronted rock/metal has been around in the musical underground for about 15 years I believe. We should thank the relatively recent success of Nightwish, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil, whose hits have become proper classics, for making the genre jump to the foreground, and for opening plenty of doors for us upcoming bands!
One can only assume that buzz is being helped by us here at Ravenheart and the lovely people over at Femme Metal. How do feel about being the front lady in a band? I am sure the guys all look after you.
We all look after each other, and I’m a tough girl. In the end it’s about hard work and common goals, and I am not less than the hardest working man.
When you are chilling out, what type of music do you like to listen too?
Alice In Chains, Alter Bridge, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode, Pantera and many more. I also still listen to a couple of Hungarian rock/metal bands from my teenage years, Edda and Pokolgep. I am very open to everything and I really welcome suggestions!
And who at the moment would you consider to be your fave artists?
My all times favourite are Depeche Mode, but if I had to choose between heavier and more modern bands, I’d go for Alter Bridge, Dream Theater, Firewind and Godsized.
If a promoter came up to you and said you could tour with any band or artist you so wish, who would they be?
I’d say Firewind!
I gain the impression that you are a busy person, but do you have any time for spare time activities/hobbies?
I do, but not as much as I would want to :) I love reading, socializing, watching movies and helping people (I am an ex nurse :) ) We’ll be playing a couple of charity festivals organized by Oxjam in October (Neath 14th, Guilford 23rd), which is something I’m really excited about, because it combines my two passions, music and helping people.
Looking ahead to 2011. What are your band's plans?
Releasing ’Timeless’ and touring, touring, touring!
Thanks Martamaria for this interview. Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the people out there who are reading this?
Thank you so much for your interest, your feedback, and your energy! You are shaping us too and that is way too important! So please keep in touch, write to us and feel free to talk to us at the gigs! And our myspace by the way is www.myspace.com/achillamusic
(Oct 4, 2010)