Guitarist/bandleader Rex Zeco – Nightqueen
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Massacre Records for promotional pictures.
FOR QUEEN AND METAL is the debut album from the goth/fantasy act Nightqueen that comes from Belgium. I hooked up with guitarist and bandleader Rex Zeco in order to talk about the brand new album, about the band, the past present and future. If you’re into goth music with female vocals and fantasy influences be sure to check out Nightqueen.
Hi Rex ,how are you today? Ready to kick off the interview?
Sure, just shoot !
FOR QUEEN AND METAL is the name of your debut album which was released earlier this year for how long did you work on the album?
Well, since we have our own project studio, there was no time pressure. You have to know that we all have a daily job and could only work on the album in the late evening. So it took 6 months to record the album. We had a lot of fun during the recordings, experimented with the keyboards and drums and also made some small mistakes. But that’s normal for the first album. We became more experienced and will not make the same mistakes for sure 🙂 The more because we are going to work with Christian Moos in Germany. He is a experienced producer (Imperia, Blind Guardian, Everon …) and already worked with us on the video of Diamonds and Rust.
And that was a whole different sound as on For Queen and Metal !!!
Were there many songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
Yes, we had a lot of material but had to choose carefully to get a good balance of songs in the album.
Is all the material new or have you re-used any songs from your demos?
9 songs were old material; songs the fans already knew from our concerts. Also Massacre asked us to re-record 3 songs from the former demo EP. Only Secret of the blind man is a new song. For the next album most of the songs will be very new. Only Queen of the Night (first NQ song) will appear restyled 🙂
Who writes the music and the lyrics? What are the lyrics about,it feel like the lyrics are inspired by the fantasy genre?
It’s is me who write all the material and the lyrics. Mostly the lyrics are about social abuses in our society sometimes interweave into a fantasy story.
Where does the title FOR QUEEN AND METAL come from and does the title have any special meaning to you and the band?
It has a special meaning for the band and its fans. It’s a kind of cult song with a lot of truth in it. I’m also a big Bond fan. So For Queen and Country became For Queen and Metal with the whole story of the feelings of the average metalhead in it.
Who’s done the cover art-work? What do you think of it?
We contacted Jan Yrlund (Imperia) for the Job. I was certain that he was the right man for this job. The result was a typical Nightqueen artwork. You may be sure that Jan will also do the artworks for the second album. Great work, really !
What did the fans think of the teasers you published on your MySpace site?
The real fans already new the songs of the album. The teasers were meant for those who didn’t know Nightqueen at all. We received very good reactions on those teasers.
I know that another guitarist makes a guest appearance on what song and who is he?
I asked Marcel Coenen (suncaged) to do some guitarwork on the album as a guest. He did well. Marcel is a wizard on guitar and very inspiring to us.
Have you shot videos to any of the songs? If so which one and could you tell us what it’s about?
Yes we recorded Lady Fantasy as a video. In all media channels together, the clip has been seen over 25000 times, ’till now.
You can find it on youtube.
Are there any plans on shooting more videos from the album?
No, there is no budget for that. We’re focusing on the second album. Normally there will be video’s for that album.
Did you throw a releaseparty for the album?If so when and where was it and did you perform live?
We always perform live, using totally no backing tracks. Everything is real with, even the Queen’s breasts 🙂
The release party was last may in our Hometown with some good guestbands (Rebel Yell, Sons of Irah and Pulver One) We played the complete album with a lot of show, flames and pyrotechnics. And we had a great audience too !
Are there any differences in how you’re treated by the foreign and the native press? In the way they write about you I mean?
Yes, in Belgium and Holland the press is treating us like a local band. That’s quite normal. But in other countries like Greece, Spain, Italy etc the take us serious. Too bad we couldn’t get there for a couple of gigs.
In retrospect are you happy with the outcome of the album or do you feel that you should have done anything in a different way?
Well Massacre did its work promoting the album. But there came less reaction for concert work. We contacted a lot of foreign bookers, but they all said that they had enough bands 🙁 We hope for a changing with the release of the second album which will be quite a difference with the first album.
Do you have any songs on the album that are your favorites?
Every member has his own favorites. For Keely it is Screaming for Mercy, for me it always will be Lady Fantasy because of the fantastic memories writing the song 🙂
How would you like to describe what kind of music Nightqueen plays?
Very Female fronted symphonic powermetal.
Who produced and mixed/mastered the album?
Daniel en myself produced the album. William an Philip Weinhold helped us with the rhythms.
Have Weinhold produced any other well known acts?
No he have not.
In which studio was the album recorded?
It was in our own studio. So we could work without any pressure.
Was any of the members part of the mixing process together with Tony DeBlock?
No and that seemed to be a problem regarding the result of the album.
Do you think that you’re going to work more together with Weinhold and DeBlock in the future?
Certainly NOT. Both persons have their quality but Nightqueen
needs a more experienced producer for our sound. Diamonds and Rust (clip on youtube) is a good example for what’s a good sound for us. This song was produced by Christian Moos. The guy is magic.
Was it for the band to get a record deal?
We were dealing with several companies but at the end we chose for Massacre.
How come you chose to sign with Massacre Records?
They had the biggest name of all the companies we spoke with.
Are you happy with the work M.R have put into the band and the album?
Yes and NO. The communication could be much better 🙂
For how many albums are you signed for at M.R?
Just for one album. Since the album sells good, MR is interested to the next album too. Well we’ll think about it. First we’ll see that we get the second album ready and than we’ll see what we’re gonna do 🙂
Is M.R distributing the album worldwide or only in Europe?
I know that the album is released in Japan as well what does the Japanese think of Nightqueen?
I really don’t know, never spoke a Japanese.
Is it possible to download the album legally? If so where?
Yes, on Itunes and Amazone and also on our site and the site of Massacre.
Are currently working with any booking agency or management?
That’s a whole story and we’re getting sick of it. We had several bookers but they all promised us the 7 heavens but at the end they did nothing. We’re still looking for good and honest(do they exist?) bookers in different countries. So spread the word.
When and where was Nightqueen born?
It started as a joke and timesharing between my wife and I.
How come you wanted to put together a band and was it given from the start that the band was going to play this kind of music?
In the beginning we played more covers and made some songs in 80’s style. But with time we introduced the symphonic part of our music. It was more modern and more the music I liked.
What’s the story behind the bandname? I know that the name is of a double nature?
Nightqueen is the tale of the Queen of the Night. All her dreams and adventures are written in the lyrics. The first song for this band I made was Queen of the Night, this song will be re arranged for the second album.
Were you active in any other band before forming Nightqueen?
Yes I played in the 80’s in several local bands. After that I didn’t do anything in the music for twelve years. Because I started my own medical company in homecare and also had a brainstroke; so I was paralyzed for a while and had to learn playing guitar again. Hard stuff really.
Is the current line-up the original one? If not which members are the original ones?
I am the only original member.
Is the line-up a solid one now?
We just had some changes. Daniel (keyboards)decided that he only stays in the band in the studio and as producer. So we had to look for another keyboard player for the live performances. And also, Alan Rawson left the band and is replaced by guitar wizard John Melfice. Both new members will be introduced very soon.
How come you chose to take on aliases? On your website I see that you have names like The Wizard,Black Night and Brave Knight?
That’s about the band filosofy. We have our Majesty the Queen and Her Knights (nightqueen) and for joke we gave each others a knight-name.
Have you done a lot of live shows since the beginning of the band?
There were a lot of shows through the years.
Have you done any touring out side Belgium so far?
No and that’s because some slimy bookers made false promises
I hope they’ll rot in Hell !
I know that the band recorded a Christmas single,what was that?
Another joke. During the recordings of For Queen and Metal we suddenly had the idea to write a christmas song. Just for Fun. It seems that our fans like it 🙂
Do you have a big and loyal fanbase home in Belgium?
Well since the release of the album the fanbase is growing. In our hometown and surroundings we’ll get recognized by fans. It’s a beginning.
The last 5 shows we noticed that there were fans coming from for in Germany, Sweden and Italy to see us performing in Belgium. Unbelievable !
Why did it take you so long to release the debut album?
That’s because we had no time pressure in the studio. And also we could only record on particular days after work. We all have a job with big responsibility and couldn’t spend time in recordings each day.
What artists and band are the source of inspiration for you and the band?
Since I am the main songwriter, it’s normal that I’m inspired by the big bands from the 80’s where I grow up with : Accept, Maiden, Priest, Queensryche and Helloween.
Was it clear from the start that the band was going to have a female singer?
Yes, because my wife was the first singer I wrote the songs in female style.
How’s the climate for metal in Belgium at the moment?
Very Lousy !
Belgium is a country for music morons who mostly like pop, R&B dance etc. It’s hard for a mainstream metalband like us to get our chance on the big festivals here. Also Belgium has no real club scene. That’s why the does only a 10 gigs a year.
Do you think it’s important to be a part of all the various social forums in the internet?
Yes, I think it’s the future. Social evolution is going that fast that we normally have to sit a couple of hours a day behind our computers making publicity for the band.
Do you get a lot of mail from fans? What’s the most common question you get from fans?
The main question from fans from out of the country are : "when are you coming to our land ?" That’s a million dollar question 🙂
Other questions are more private things like every band gets them. The most silly question was from a girl who asked me if my wife could be angry if she comes over to give me a blowjob.
My answer was that she better came over and asking my wife by herself 🙂
Have you performed at any festival so far?
Yes this year we played at the PPM-fest in Mons (B) together with Accept, Sonata Arctica, Evergrey, Hell … great experience. And also on a couple of smaller festivals.
Do you have more shows scheduled for the summer?
If so where are you going to play?
There are a lot of festivals in negotiation but I can’t confirm at the moment.
Do you see Nightqueen conquering the North American or Asia market in the near future?
I hope so. It’s hope that keeps the band alive.
Are you currently working on new material for the next album?
Yes and it will be a bang ! More guitars and still symphonic.
Less hard but more heavy and including some great ballads.
What are the plans for you and Nightqueen during the rest of 2012?
Recording, writing, having fun, teasing the Queen and doing some christmas shows.
Could you give the readers three great reasons why they should buy FOR
QUEEN AND METAL?
Read the Greek press and you’ll find out. For them Nightqueen is the next generation of powermetal. Also our Queen singer is NOT sopranic but sings with the balls of a horny horse. Very strong.
Well,that was all for me for this time. Thanks a lot for taking the time making the interview and I wish you and the band all the best in the future. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with the readers and fans?
Send my greetings to every metalfan, even to those who don’t know us our hate us. We’re one family. Hope to see you all soon.