Singer Maike Holzmann – Voices Of Destiny
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Tom Hack at Massacre Records for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Massacre Records for providing promotional pictures of the band.
This is the second time I had the opportunity to interview the young German goth metal act Voices Of Destiny. This time around I had the pleasure to talk to singer Maike Holzmann. Amongst a lot of things we talked about was of course the brand new album called POWER DIVE but also about the bands plans for the future as well as how it was to record the new disc. I spoke to Holzmann at the same time as they were out on tour supporting Epica and naturally we spoke about the life on the road.
Hi Maike, thanks for letting us do this interview with you, lets begin to talk about the brand new album by Voices Of Destiny called POWER DIVE. How long did it take to get the album ready?
After the release of our first album FROM THE ASHES in 2010 we wrote the new material. The recording process itself took about 6 month, from April when the drum recordings started to October 2011 when I finished my vocals.
From what I read, your debut album released at the beginning of 2011 and the band was back in the studio recording the new album already during the same summer is that correct? You sure work fast
Unfortunately that’s a mistake that came up in the world wide web. Our first album was released in February 2010, so we worked on our new songs for over one year before we started to record it.
Were there many songs that didn’t end up on POWER DIVE?
No there is no extra material. All songs on POWER DIVE were written for this album except of “Red Winter’s Snow II: Prophets of Doom” which is actually one of our oldest songs.
What are the lyrics about and who writes the material?
The lyrics are mostly about very ordinary themes like unrequited love or losing a loved person but there are also some socio-critical songs. The lyrics and the base frame for most of the songs come from our keyboarder Lukas. On POWER DIVE there are also two songs written by our guitarist Chris.
What did the fans think of the song teaser you put out on your MySpace site?
Well we didn’t get any direct response to the teaser but our fans were very excited about the new album and we got positive feedback to the first publications.
Do you think that the band have developed music-wise in between the releases? If so in what way?
Yes I think we developed in the way we wanted it to be. The songs are better structured and heavier than on the first album. Lukas made huge improvements and I think I could get better in expressing the emotions of the different songs.
I think that your music on this album sounds more technical and symphonic than earlier and keyboard player/singer Palme also contributes with more growls than before, what do you think?
I think we tried to focus on emotions on POWER DIVE. We don’t want to be the best musicians ever, but wanted to create music people can identify with. For the songs on this album it meant Lukas supported me with more growling and the guitars had to be more aggressive.
The biography of the band contains the line “There is more variety and heaviness” is that something you can agree with?
Yes absolutely. As all songs on POWER DIVE were written for this album they go very well together but at the same time each song stands for itself. On POWER DIVE you will find more individual songs and you will never be bored.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Voices Of Destiny plays?
I find it very hard to define music in general, but I will try: Voices of Destiny uses just some orchestral elements, the focus lies on heavy riffing, aggressive growling and the expression of emotions.
Who’s done the cover art-work? And what do you think of it?
Jan Yrlund designed the cover for POWER DIVE. We had very long and heated discussions in the forefront but I think everyone of us is very satisfied with the result. It’s different to our first album cover, much more colorful but I think it’s perfect for POWER DIVE.
Where does the title POWER DIVE come from? Does the title have any special meaning for you and the band?
Well when we thought about the album title we wanted to find something that could stand for all or nearly all songs on POWER DIVE. Therefore we thought about the themes on POWER DIVE and found that there were many songs dealing with pushing away or being pushed away by people, leaving somebody or being left behind and so on. In the end we thought that the song “Power Dive” combines these topics very good. That’s how POWER DIVE got its title.
The band have worked with photographer Alex Kuhr how was that? Is it him that took the pics inside the booklet?
Yes all photos in the booklet were taken by Alex Kuhr. We already worked with him on FROM THE ASHES and we loved his work. He is very friendly and funny and always encouraged us to give our best.
Did you experience any kind of pressure from people to create an even better album than the debut?
Of course there were many reviews to FROM THE ASHES were the authors wrote what we had to improve. But honestly we don’t give too much on those reviews. We make the music we want to create and have our own goals. Of course we wanted to improve some things, we are still on the beginning of our career and want to get better, but it’s more the pressure that we set to ourselves than the one from other people that pushes us.
POWER DIVE is also available as a limited edition digipack with a bonus track. What can you tell us about that special song?
It’s one of the songs Chris, our guitarist, wrote. We wanted the album to be at least 55 minutes long, so in the end the bonus track had to be the shortest of our songs to reach that goal. Therefore “Smoke & Mirrors” became the bonus track.
Have you shot any videos for any of the songs? If so, which song, and what is the video about?
We shot a video to “My Separation” till now. It’s just a performance video, so you see us playing. In the future there is another video planned, so you can be curious =)
Did you have a release party to celebrate the album? If so when and where was it and did you perform live?
Yes the release party was on the release date, namely 27th February 2012. We had a live concert in the Four Runners Club in Ludwigsburg where we played the whole album.
Have you read any reviews in media about the new album? Do you care about what critics have to say about your work?
Yes I read some of the reviews but I don’t care too much of them. Sometimes you have the feeling, that the authors didn’t even listen to the album properly but have their opinion of our music in general. I think music is such an individual thing, you can’t trust the opinion of just one person. I suggest everyone should listen to our songs before judging.
Many artists/bands thinks that their latest album is their best one ever, is it the same for you and POWER DIVE?
Well, POWER DIVE is our second album and of course we think that it’s better than FROM THE ASHES cause that’s what we wanted it to be. We don’t want to stay still but improve and we think we reached that on POWER DIVE.
Who produced the album?
The producer is Andy Horn but we did also a lot of work in our home studio for this album.
Didn’t you work with Horn on the debut album as well? How come you wanted to work with him again and what’s his strongest feature as producer?
Yes we worked with him on FROM THE ASHES as well and as it worked out fine we wanted to do the next album with him as well. He gave us useful tips and for me he was very helpful for the vocals. He has very good ideas for backing vocals for example and always pushed me to give my best.
In which studio was the album recorded?
Andy Horns studio is called the Red Room Studios.
Were you all in the studio and recorded your stuff at the same time or how was the recording procedure?
No as I said we did a lot of recording in our home studio. Actually it was just me and Lukas that went into the Red Rooms for the recording of the vocals. We started in April with the drum recordings, Jens and Chris started parallel with bass and guitar. As we all are students we had to do a break in between, keyboards and all the orchestral stuff was recorded in the summer. Vocals were finished in October of that year.
Who did the mastering and the mixing? Was any of the band members part of that process?
We worked very closely with Andy Horn this time, but the main work in mastering and mixing came from him of course.
Are you going to work more with Horn in the future?
Let’s see, what the future brings =)
For how long have you been singing and are you classically trained?
I was singing in my whole life. My family is very musical and I always loved to sing with my mother on the piano. As I entered the band in 2005 I wanted to take singing lessons to not ruin my voice. I took classical lessons until I moved because of my studies. Then I found a teacher that came from the Jazz/Rock. I think she helped me a lot to find my own style.
Can you play any instrument as well?
I took piano lessons but I ended them with taking vocal lessons. Singing was always my passion and I wanted to give all my heart and energy into it.
Have you always wanted to be a singer?
Since I was a child it was my dream to become a singer.
Do you have any singers that you look up to or have been inspired by?
In former times there were mainly musical singers that inspired me. When it comes to metal there is Tarja of course. She inspired me to combine my voice with metal music. Roy Khan, the former singer of Kamelot, is one of my idols, as he combines everything a singer must have or be in my opinion.
What do you think of being a front person in a band? Is it hard to have all the focus on you?
Of course it’s a special position as lead singer of a band. But for me it doesn’t feel like that. When I’m on stage I’m not alone. There are the boys on their instruments and that’s what I like. To be on stage as a band and not as solo singer. I often think people should not forget about the fact that a band consists not only of the front person.
Have you been a part of any other bands before you joined Voices Of Destiny?
No I didn’t. I tried to play with some friends of mine but that didn’t work out.
How did you end up in the band? Did you knew the guys from before or did you go to an audition?
Well that’s a very funny story. I was in search of a band or band members because I wanted to sing in a metal band. In October 2005 I went to a concert where VOICES OF DESTINY played with their former singer and I was very disappointed because I liked the music a lot and I just thought: Oh man, why couldn’t I be on that stage with them!? Just two weeks later a friend of mine told me that they had separated from their singer and I thought this might be destiny 😉 So I wrote an e-mail to them and in the end I came to a rehearsal. Since then we work and have fun together.
Are you involved in writing the lyrics? Is it hard to sing about something that someone else have written?
No the lyrics are completely written by Lukas or Chris for their songs. But it’s absolutely no problem for me to sing something someone else has written. We talk about the lyrics and I interpret them for myself. Most of the time the content is something I can identify with very easily. In the end I make it to my own song when I sing it.
The debut album FROM THE ASHES was released in Asia what did the Japanese fans think of the album?
The response we got so far was great. There were some people even asking us to come to Japan.
Are there any plans on doing promotional visits or tour in Asia?
I think at the moment it’s a financial problem to tour in Asia. But as soon as it’s possible for us, we would like to play in Asia and see our fans over there.
What’s the status of the band on the North American market?
Unfortunately I can’t tell you any numbers. But on facebook many people ask us to come.
Is it possible to legally download your albums anywhere?
Yes of course. You get the mp3-files on our homepage for example. But also on itunes or amazon you can legally download our albums.
I know that the drummer recently left the band, why? How is the search for a new drummer going?
We had to go separate ways because we no longer had the same goals to achieve. On our tour with Epica we have the ex-drummer from Revealing Dawn with us and we will see what the future brings.
You’re going to be on tour with Epica during May in Europe are you exited? What are your expectations on the tour?
Actually we are on tour with Epica right now. We played our show in Zlin tonight and it was awesome. Unfortunately there are just 2 shows left. Of Course we were very excited in the beginning but touring is very cool and we all are very sad when we think of coming home soon. It was so cool to see some fans in Europe and meet people that didn’t know us before.
Do you have any festival shows booked so far?
No unfortunately not. We were too late with our applications.
Are you currently working with any booking agency or management?
Not until now but we are searching for a booking agency.
Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase?
It’s hard to tell. I’d guess in Germany but I’m not sure.
Do you get a lot of mail from fans? What’s the most common question you get from fans?
Mostly the people communicate via facebook with us. And I would say the most common question is: “When are you coming to …” So the people want us to play in their country or city.
Are you currently working on material to a new album?
Yes, we are already working on some new songs.
What do you have to say to the ones who haven’t discovered Voice Of Destiny?
That’s a pity 😉 They should listen to our songs and form a view on them.
Could you give them three reasons why they should buy POWER DIVE?
Well, first of all it’s a great album. The variety on POWER DIVE is large and you will not get bored while listening. Secondly POWER DIVE is an album from a young band that hopes to fulfill their dream. If you like the music you should buy the album to support us. And last but not least the album is very cheap for those who want just the mp3-files.
Finally do you have any words of wisdom for the fans and readers?
If you really like a band and you want them to continue – buy their music and not just listen to it!
That was all for me and metal-rules.com thanks a lot for taking the time doing the interview. I wish you and the band all the best in the future.
Thanks so much.
More info about the band