Lunatica vocalist, Andrea D?twyler
Interview By Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Frontiers Records for the promo pictures.
Thanks to Stefan at Atenzia records for the help with the interview.
Here comes an interview with Andrea D?twyler, singer for the Swiss band Lunatica. They have recently released their second album FABLES AND DREAMS on Frontier Records. I?ve asked her a bit about the new album but also some general questions about the band as well.
Would you like to tell the readers a bit about Lunatica?
Lunatica has its home in the German part of Switzerland and was formed by Alex (keyboards) and Sandro (guitar) in 1998. After a long search for a lead singer I (Andrea) joined the band in October 2000 and we immediately began with the recordings of our debut album “Atlantis” which was released in April 2001. After a few changes we have now found our permanent line up with Andy (guitar), who is a member since the beginning and the new guys Emilio (bass guitar) and Ronnie (drums).
Why the name Lunatica, does it mean anything special?
One night Sandro and Alex sat together and were looking at the moon through the windows. Sandro, being Italian origin, suggested to call the band Lunatica. This name contents “luna”, which is the Italian word for moon and it can also mean being a bit crazy. They both liked also the sound of the word.
When was your debut album “ATLANTIS” released and how much did the album sell?
We released “Atlantis” in April 2001. At that time we were very proud to hold our first album in our hands. It was produced and paid by ourselves. Soon the first 500 copies were sold out. like that we had to press it again. I would say we almost sold 2000 copies in Switzerland.
How was the response from the media on the album?
There was not much response. We had no label at that time and we only had played a few concerts before the release. It has been reviewed at some Swiss webzines and in our only Swiss metal magazine “Metalworld”. The reviews were ok though we are not satisfied at all with the production of this album.
Have you done any live touring yet?
Until now we have played only in Switzerland but we are about to change that. A small tour in Europe is planned for next year but I can say nothing concrete at the moment.
Was “ATLANTIS” also released on Frontiers?
No, and it is not planned to be. You can get it only in Switzerland.
You have been chosen as “best new-comer band”, in what magazine was that?
It was in 2002 after the biggest metal festival in Switzerland which is called “Metal Dayz”. The audience elected us after this three days to be the best newcomer of the festival.
In the meantime we were newcomer of the month in the German metal magazine “Metal Heart”.
You come from Switzerland and the only bands I?ve known of from Switzerland, until now, are Krokus. Do you have a big metal scene in your country?
The Swiss metal scene is quite big and is supported by clubs and several magazines but radio and television do not support very much that kind of music, except you are a chart breaker, then they have to play your music. The clubs do a lot for the scene and help also unknown bands to find an audience. And we have a single Swiss metal magazine : “Metalworld. It has become very professional through the years because the people who work there sacrifice their free time for their passion.
Are you big in your country compared to other European countries?
It depends how you look at it. We are surely not that big as Gotthard who is mentioned in the daily press and gets appearance in TV. But we are known in the Swiss metal scene and our concerts are well frequented.
How long did it take to write your new album “FABLES AND DREAMS”?
Alex and Sandro began with the compositions for the new album after the release of “Atlantis which was in April 2001. First we did a pre-production in Switzerland in a studio near our hometown. We started in march 2003. We first had the problem to pay all the recordings because at that time we had no record company in our back. Both albums, “Atlantis” and “Fables & Dreams” were paid by ourselves and this time we took a risk in spending a lot of money for the production because we wanted a good product who could persist at the international market. As any musician knows, producing an album never goes without problems, be it a broken harddisc or lost traces that have to be recorded again. Like that we could go to Gate studios Wolfsburg only in September 2003. Then we released the album in February 2004 first in Switzerland.
The bio says that on this album “the songs are better developed and the band had more time to compose and arrange them”, does that mean that you?re not content with your debut?
Yes, that’s true. The songs are not bad and I still can stand behind them but the production is really bad when you compare it to the new album. We recorded it ourselves and we almost did any mistake that you can imagine. We recorded that stuff within one week! Perhaps we can rerecord it someday.
Who has written the music and lyrics on the new album?
Normally Alex and Sandro meet each other and try out some ideas, or somebody records an idea at home. Then it is presented to the band and we work it out together. Everybody can bring in his ideas like that with a guitar part or a vocal line. We finish it in team work. I write the vocallines and the lyrics.
What are the lyrics about? I?ve had the impression that this is a theme album, is that correct?
No, it is not a concept. There are lyrics on the album that are pure fantasy such as “Avalon” which is based on the novel “The mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley or “The Spell” which tells us from a fight between a siren and a sailor. There are others like “Still Believe” or “Fable of Dreams” where I want to give a positive message to the people: Believe in yourself, realize your dreams. But be respectful to other individuals. It is a mix of Fantasy and impressions of the daily life.
In which studio is the album recorded?
We recorded the album at Gate Studios Wolfsburg, Germany.
Why did you produce the album by yourself?
We did not produce it but pay it by ourselves because we had at that time no record company. Our producer was Sascha Paeth.
The famous Sascha Paeth has mixed and mastered the album, how was it to work with him?
Working with Sascha is a pleasure. Everyone at Gate Studios is very friendly and we had a lot of fun together during the recordings. Most of the engineering was done by Olaf Reitmeier who did a fantastic job and could give us some good advises. Sascha directly says when he doesn’t like something in a song, but you are free to change something or not. But if somebody with that big experience says: “I would do this differently.” you believe him. Nevertheless he really dives into the songs and he tries to find the production that fits to the band, which is always different.
Is the song “SILENT SCREAM (04)” a re-recording of an older song?
Yes. We tried to show how good the old songs could sound with a new arrangement and a good production in recording “Silent Scream” again which you find also on “Atlantis”. It turned out to be almost a new song. like that we decided to put it also on the album.
Are you content with this album or do you feel you should have done anything different with it now that you look back on it?
In my opinion it sounds very professional and can persist at the international market. The songs are more worked out and this time we had more time for the arrangement. You can hear that. Everything sounds more matured. We are really content this time.
Why have you chosen to make the intro of the album to a whole song?
It developed itself into a whole song. First Alex just had some ideas for the intro and then he worked out the ideas and the orchestral arrangement with Domenico Livrano, a friend of us who helped us also with the preproduction.
How has the respond on “Fables & Dreams” been in your country?
The response was very good. We got directly into place 13 of the Swiss internet selling charts which was a great joy to us. We had also very good reviews in “Metalworld ” and the Swiss webzines.
Have you read any reviews from the rest of Europe on the album?
Oh yes. We got reviews from all over Europe. Most of them were very good but there were also some not so good. But that’s ok. People noticed the band and the album and that’s important for us. We got also many e-mails from fans all over the world. It was very exciting and it shows that we are on the right way.
Who has done the cover of the album and was is the thought behind it?
The cover artwork was created by a professional graphic artist called Philip Wehrli. We told him to do something about fables and dreams and he listened to the music. We let him do that freely, he just presented us the result and everybody in the band liked it. It contents a hero, saving a maiden from a dragon. This is a very old picture that Philip put in, I even don’t know the artists name. But it reflects very subtitle the title “Fables & Dreams”.
Do you have any particular favorite song on the album?
I think everybody in the band has his own taste and it can also change from week to week. To me personally it’s at the moment “Elements” because it is a very melodic and manifold song. There are changes between quite passages and hard riffs, I like that a lot.
You are described as symphonic metal with female vocals, I would rather describe you as a mix between symphonic metal combined with melodic hardrock. How would you describe your music?
We always describe our music as melodic metal with symphonic influences. We don’t want to limit ourselves by a label that somebody else has given us. Perhaps the next album will content less symphonic elements. We don’t feel the need to do only symphonic metal but we will surely keep the faith to our style.
You are not a complete band on the album ?cause you have a session bassist in Olof – is he now a full-time member or are you looking for a bass player?
We are happy to have found now Emilio Barrantes. he takes the part of the bass player and is a new permanent member of our band. He is a really cool guy and fits perfectly to the band. At the times of the recordings we had no bass player and like that Olaf Reitmeier from Gate Studios recorded the bass.
Why have you chose to call the album “FABLES AND DREAMS”?
I think everyone should have dreams and believe in them. It makes you go forward. It makes your live richer. Fables are stories that are told from one generation to the next. I always loved to hear old stories from my grandmother. Every period had its fables and its dreams and this will go on. We thought that this title would fit perfectly to our music.
How does the co-operation with your label go?
They are doing a good job for us and care a lot about their artist. We are content with the co-operation.
Are there any plans on going out on the road now that the album is out?
We plan to do a little tour across Europe next year but there’s nothing concrete at the moment. We are also in discussion with other bands.
What is the difference between having a man compared to a woman on vocals (besides the obvious things of course)?
I think it gives always a softer touch to the music. We got good feedback also from people that normally don’t listen to metal. Of course it depends also from the way how somebody sings. When I think of Arch Enemy… The statement I first gave is not true anymore.
Do you have any idols or role models that you look up to or finding inspiration from musicwise?
The influences are manifold. Each of us has also a different musical taste. That goes from Elvis to Metallica to 80’s pop to death metal to movie soundtracks. I think all of that flows a bit into the songs.
How do you comment the phrase “A new symphonic metal sensation?” In the info note?
It was our record company that put also this sticker on the album. We were a bit amused because normally we are more modest. On the other hand it gives you a certain pressure for the next album, to fulfill the big expectations. We just go on playing the music that we like and hope to establish ourselves in a niche between the other great melodic metal bands.
When can we expect a third album from you?
We have reserved the studio for November 2005 to record the new songs. That means a new album will follow in 2006. We have already many ideas for the new songs.
2004 is coming to an end, what are the plans for Lunatica during ’05?
The first goal is to play outside of Switzerland and we are going to realize that soon, I hope. Then we have a lot to do with writing the new songs and the preproduction.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Many greetings to the readers of metal-rules.com. Thank you very much for the big interest for our new album. We hope to visit also Sweden next year. We wish you a happy 2005, take care.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thank you very much for the interest.
More info about the band: