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miércoles, 23 de mayo de 2012

Interview with DANI NOLDEN, the voice of SHADOWSIDE

OXIDO- Hi Daniela, it's a pleasure for us to make this interview with you. First at all, we know that SHADOWSIDE was formed ten years ago, but you're the only founder member that remains in the band. Has it been so much difficult to find the definitive line up?
Dani: In the beginning, yes... but the biggest problem was to find people my age at that time that were ready for the job. When we first started, the band's age was between 14 to 17... it's extremely hard to get such young people to commit, to stand the pressure and to keep it together. It's easy to believe you're on top of the world when things are going great and it's easy to lose it when things aren't going so great. And the guys didn't know how to handle it so as Fabio, our drummer, says... it was only natural selection. Fabio has been playing with Shadowside since 2002 and he recorded the debut album so I consider him as a member of the first real lineup. And I don't think it's a coincidence that we didn't really start touring and getting a lot of international attention until 2007, which is when we found Raphael and decided to make things happen. That's when we found the core of this band, with Fabio, Raphael and myself, we have a lot of trust in each other and we know none of us are going anywhere, we're not leaving the band and we don't have any plan B. Shadowside is plan A, B and C (laughs). And it's extremely hard to find a line up like this... there's always someone involved with side projects or has other plans and it always ruins the band. We are all very focused and I feel blessed that Shadowside isn't just about me anymore. We are a real band now thanks to this lineup.
OXIDO- You are native of Santos. How can you say about the Heavy Metal scene of your city?
Dani: I'm glad to say it is coming together again. A few years back it used to be very active, just like it is now but there was a lot of competition going on... bad competition. Bands were doing everything they could just to ruin other bands' reputations. Nowadays I've been noticing a lot of group action, bands helping each other, playing lots of shows together. It makes me really happy. We're trying to put together a show with the legendary Vulcano and a newcomer that I really believe in, Hugin Munin. It's going to be a blast if it happens!
OXIDO- Your debut CD, "Theatre of Shadows", appeared in 2005. But SHADOWSIDE has a previous demo, registered in 2001. Why passed four years between both registers?
Dani: We got signed pretty quickly after that demo but we had lots of problems with that first label. They blew so much money on parties and bad marketing strategies that they forgot they had to release materials before the money ran out. They went bankrupt before they even managed to release any albums whatsoever. They had great intentions and ideas but unfortunately that mess made many bands quit and a few who didn't never managed to recover from those inactive years. We managed to recover because we were a new band, it was easier for us to start from scratch than for those bands that had been on the road for 10 years already. First we were kept waiting for about a whole year while they were still trying to keep the label going... we weren't allowed to finish the album because they wouldn't pay the studio. Then after about that year they gave up but then we couldn't finish the album because someone had to pay the studio... and we couldn't afford it. It took us another year to save enough money to finish recording Theatre of Shadows... that whole thing happened from 2002 to 2004. Then we finished the album, found a new label and released it in early 2005.

OXIDO- Which are the differences between your first and second álbum, "Theatre of Shadows" and "Dare to Dream"?
Dani: On Theatre of Shadows, we were doing our best to sound like our favorite bands. We were very young and very naive so we were afraid to try new things... sometimes we would let our personalities shine through and would have ideas that sounded nothing like our favorite bands but were scared to use them simply because we couldn't compare them to already successful formulas. We wouldn't risk too much for pure inexperience. On Dare to Dream, we went the opposite way: we wanted to sound nothing like our favorite bands because we felt we needed to find our identity. We wanted to know what Shadowside was. And Dare to Dream was extremely important for us because it helped us find the right way, it showed us where we wanted to go which ultimately made us create Inner Monster Out.
OXIDO- How can you describe a live gig of your band?
Dani: Intense! Fans are sure to leave one of our gigs with a feeling of a great party, they'll leave feeling lighter because they'll unleash all their "inner monsters" at our shows. We're that explosive, energic type of band that wants to have a great time on stage, we don't care to make you think we're great musicians, we just want to make you leave thinking it was an awesome show. We love playing live and it shows!

OXIDO- Which are your favourite female singers and why?
Dani: I don't really have many favourite female singers... I grew up listening to the guys. When I first heard of female fronted Rock and Metal, I was already in a band, my singing style was pretty much developed and of course I think some women sound great like Tarja, Doro and my favourite of all, Lana Lane, but I often catch myself tending to listen more to male than female voices. It's not even that I don't enjoy a female voice when I listen to it, it's just that I like more bands that happen to have male singers fronting them. I usually pay attention to bands first and then the singer.

OXIDO- Is still hard to be a frontwoman of a Heavy Metal band? Or is it a
machist prejudice of the past?
Dani: No, not at all. I never felt any prejudice whatsoever. It doesn't exist anymore. Doro must have fought a hard battle but nowadays... I really don't believe in prejudice against women anymore, at least not in music. Us ladies are allowed to do whatever we feel like... we get to choose between having children or not, getting married or not and having a career or not. People still get a bit surprised when they hear a female fronted band but that's because there are way more male fronted bands than female fronted bands. We're still a bit of a rare breed (laughs). But I never saw a music fan saying "I refuse to listen to a female Metal singer because women shouldn't be in a band". And if there really is anyone capable of saying that... well... that's not even someone that should be taken seriously. Real music fans may sometimes not like female vocals but that's a matter of taste. Usually when they hear a female voice that doesn't sound much like a female voice, such as myself or Angela Gossow, then they like it so it's not really about having a problem with women. It's all about the music these days. If a fan likes what they hear, they won't care if it's a girl or a guy singing.
OXIDO- We know that SHADOWSIDE went into an european tour supporting W.A.S.P. two years ago. What can you tell us about that important experience?
Dani: It was a great experience especially because we got there expecting hell (laughs). We were so positively surprised we talk about it until this day... before going on tour with them, we heard so many stories about W.A.S.P. and Blackie Lawless that we were terrified to say the least. We were even scared to say "good morning" to the guy. However we saw that so many things are exaggerated and some other things him or his crew had reasons to do what they did. With us, everyone was great... their crew was extremely helpful and respectful and Blackie is a reserved man, however he always treated us kindly. We were always allowed to do our soundcheck properly, had everything we needed available for us, I have nothing to complain about, only to thank because they opened doors for us in Europe. The shows were fantastic... we had such a great time with the fans! It was great to find an audience that was completely unaware of Shadowside and let them discover us live, where we feel most comfortable and we also had the opportunity to meet some fans that already knew us and had been eager for the chance to catch us at a show, such as some people in the UK that were armed with t-shirt and CDs when we arrived at the venue (laughs). It was awesome indeed, 2 months of living and breathing Metal and partying.
OXIDO- Now, you have a new álbum on the road, "Inner Monster Out", produced by the well known Fredrik Nordstrom, and with some very special guests. How did SHADOWSIDE got that possibility and what can you tell us about it?
Dani: We are all big fans of Fredrik and always wanted to work with him... to be more specific, we were already considering asking him to produce us since we started writing Dare to Dream but we felt we weren't ready for him at that time. He's the type of producer that won't work with bands he doesn't like and he's always working withsome pretty big names so we thought he wouldn't be interested in working with a Brazilian up and coming band and we didn't want to close that door. So we waited and this time we felt we had the best material to date and that we were mature enough to step into the "big league" so to speak. I sent him an email showing some of our previous works and asked if he was interested in producing our new material and he said yes. Through him, I asked Niklas Isfeldt to sing on the album as the title-track Inner Monster Out is about more than one person... it's that Hannibal Lecter/Dexter type of story, where you have an investigator chasing a brutal killer and becoming more and more like that monster due to having to understand his reasons, his drive. So we needed one or two people to sing with me, because it would be stupid for me to sing different characters by myself, or I'd have to change the story... so we also asked Bjorn because we felt his voice would fit perfectly what we had in mind for the melodies. Mikael was a huge and very pleasant surprise... we became friends with Anders of Dark Tranquility during our stay in Gothenburg and he came to visit us in the studio when Bjorn was recording... he brought Mikael with him to meet us and right there, on the spot, he decided he wanted to join the party too and recorded some growls. We had a great time that day in the studio and had the opportunity to really collaborate with everyone. They weren't simple hired guns, we encouraged them to adapt the melodies and bring a little bit of their personalities into that song. We also had Niklas' collaboration on A Smile Upon Death, since he helped write the chorus. It was very inspiring to work with them.

OXIDO- Which are your expectations about "Inner Monster Out"? Will be a hard work to be the successor of "Dare to Dream"?
Dani: I don't think it will be that hard because we really worked to please ourselves on Inner Monster Out... so whatever happens, we already feel accomplished. Basically we wanted to create an album that we all enjoyed listening to and performing as well... otherwise even if people thought it was a great album, we wouldn't feel as happy with it nor proud of it and then even if the CD became a big hit, we'd still have that feeling that we could have done better. So we didn't think about any of that at all. We didn't think of our previous albums' success, we didn't care about sales, we felt that success would be a natural thing if we came up with a great album but most importantly, if we were happy with it. I believe it worked because everyone seem to agree that this is the best album Shadowside ever released. I know it will be a challenge to top it on our next release but I'll worry about it then (laughs). Right now, I just want to enjoy Inner Monster Out and the fact that we're getting a lot of new fans with it and pleasing our old fans at the same time.
OXIDO- How is the Brazilian Heavy Metal scene today, after the great success of bands like Sepultura or Angra, years ago?
Dani: There's a lot going on, there are shows nearly every week all over the country. Sepultura continues to do well and we are kinda following their footsteps regarding success in the United States since we just achieved the 5th position on CMJ's Loud Rock charts, meaning we were the 5th most added band to the radios in the USA that week, pulling a tie with Pantera's new song. As far as I know, Sepultura is the only other Brazilian band to ever achieve something like that so we hope this will not only help Shadowside but also open doors for some other bands that deserve it, like Dynahead.
OXIDO- Some weeks ago, a SHADOWSIDE gig in Buenos Aires was announced, but we knew it wasn't true. Can you explain us what happened?
Dani: That promoter basically lied not only to us but to the fans as well. He contacted our management about a Shadowside show in Argentina but he never closed the deal. Never signed a contract or anything but started promoting and announcing the show anyway. Our manager told him to stop promoting that fake, unconfirmed show, he said he had stopped it but he never bothered to tell fans he never had that show booked. Then we found out he stopped actively promoting the show but he never clarified the situation with people. They were posting flyers, asking us for information. Some argentinian press thought the show was going to happen... he never bothered to inform them either. Then there was an attempt from our management to clean up the mess and book a real show but he kept stalling, lying, making promises. We couldn't allow our fans to be misled like that so we warned people not to buy any tickets unless they saw a concert listed on our website. We are very disappointed and hope a real promoter can help make a Shadowside show happen in Argentina. My parents were there on vacation and Raphael was there not too long ago, they all love it there. I can't wait to play there!

OXIDO- What do you know about the argentine Metal scene? Do you like any argentine band?
Dani: I know Rata Blanca but I'm looking forward to hearing more bands from Argentina. Maybe when we're touring there we'll get to have some bands sharing the stage with us and I'll be able to find out more about the scene there.
OXIDO- Which are your future plans for the rest of 2012?
Dani: A lot of touring, we'll definitely spend 2012 on a stage! While we're promoting Inner Monster Out worldwide since it was just released in Europe, North America and Japan, we'll be playing a lot around Brazil, hopefully other latin american countries as well and then it's likely that we'll hit Europe and North America again. We'll play a lot, that's for sure. It's also very likely that we'll end up writing new material on the road if we go on another long tour but we're really focused on Inner Monster Out and playing live now.
OXIDO- Dani: Thanks a lot for your time and your answers. Is there anything that you wanted to add?
Dani: I just wanna thank you for having me and hope you all liked Inner Monster Out! Play it very loud and hope to see you at a concert in the near future, singing Angel with Horns with me, with your horns way up... take care!

Interview by Javier Parente, for OXIDO.-

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