Interview by Jessica Clingempeel | October 10, 2019
You have been pursuing music for awhile now and are ready to record and get your name out there. What kind of music are you planning to do, or will it be a mix of different genres?
Joanne: I’ve been recording since 2008, my current songs can be heard on YouTube, and for purchase on Apple iTunes and CDBaby. My genre has been rock but coming back after 6 years and a new producer, we are in the goth metal genre and will keep it that way.
You use the phoenix a lot in your music, with it being your first song, and also the name of your album. What does the phoenix symbolise to you?
Joanne: This is my first song after 6 years. The Phoenix is my favorite as it will be the album title as well. The Phoenix is a Greek mythological creature that arises from it’s own ashes. For me it symbolizes that I’m back, resurrected and better then ever and is a song basically on vengeance on whoever did me wrong, as can be heard on the clip.
Who are you working with to produce your album and are you signed to any label yet?
Joanne: I’m not signed yet, but I’m working with a very known producer who’s worked with big names in the industry. He’s brilliant and such a badass lol. His name is Mo from Firestarter Recording Studios.
Do you write your own lyrics and where do you draw your inspiration from?
Joanne: Yes I write my own lyrics. My inspiration comes through life, others and simply when my head is flooded with lyrics that’s when I write.
You are a huge fan of both rock singers, Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel. Have you thought about recording a cover song by one of them?
Joanne: OMG YES!!!!!! That would be awesome!!
Being of Greek heritage, can we expect any Greek lyrics in your music?
Joanne: I’m Greek and Italian, but I do have a Greek song written that was never recorded and I don’t know if I will as it’s a very personal song of someone passing away and how I learned things from them. So that one may stay “in the drawer” for now. I want to focus on my English songs. But stay tuned cause you never know!!
You are also into acting and have landed a role in the show Blacklist. Have you done anything else and/or are auditioning for any other roles?
Joanne: Besides the Blacklist I was on the Village which was cancelled after one season. Currently a script is being written for a possible movie based on a true story and I’m waiting for that script to be done to read it and see if we can pitch it to the right producers and directors and such. Fingers crossed!
Apart from the acting and singing you are also a mother of two boys. Do you find it difficult some days juggling everything or does it come easy for you?
Joanne: Basically both of my boys are in school all day so the days I’m off it’s easy. But when it comes to acting I have to be on set extremely early and don’t get home til late in the evening or night depends. That’s when it gets tough. But luckily I have my mother to come and take care of the boys if I have an acting job. So it works out.
Other than acting and music, what are some of your other hobbies?
Joanne: I love cars always have since a little girl so I’m really into that – I’m a gearhead lol, spending time with my family, reading, cooking, and watching certain shows I’m hooked on. That’s about as boring as I get lol
If you had to pick just one musician to do a duet with, who would you choose and why?
Joanne: Tarja because she’s always been one of my inspirations and when I met her she even told me not to give up so who knows what the future holds? Hopefully one day I can make my dream a reality.
What would you like to say to the readers?
Joanne: I’d like to say to my current fans thank you for supporting me and to the ones that don’t know me yet, I hope that they will take the chance to visit and “like” my page on Facebook (facebook.com/joannemarianiofficial) as well as Instagram joanne_mariani_official but more importantly to check out my music and please do buy my current songs, stay tuned for the finalized Phoenix song and I would appreciate their support. Thanks so much!!!!
Dutch symphonic metal group Within Temptation are back with their seventh studio album, but word these days is that they no longer refer to themselves as ‘symphonic metal.’ RESIST takes their traditional habit of incorporating various genres into their music and multiplies it by a thousand in the form of a ten-track album. Not a long enough album for you? Surprise yourself. The content of the tracks may be enough to satisfy you the same way a longer album would, especially with songs upwards of nearly six minutes. Whereas listeners are right to expect metal, symphonic metal, and goth metal, RESIST offers up something we may or may not have noticed in their previous work: a focus on electronics and some underlying pop influences roughed up into an interesting presentation into the rock scene.
Opening this newer sound is THE RECKONING featuring Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach. An interesting duet that could arguably be the strongest track of the album, depending on who you ask. The war-tone of the track features an almost trumpet-sounding overlay that sounds roughed up to fit in a traditional rock form, and the method just works. The blend of clear vocals from Sharon den Adel mixed with the darker tone from Shaddix is the highlight of this track, but there is much to love from the entirety.
ENDLESS WAR is immediately different, but the listener would have to pay close attention to pick up on one of the used instruments here: there is an underlying piano that can be heard in the outro, but upon a few listens and some straining, exists underneath the rest of the surprisingly smooth mainstream take.
RAISE YOUR BANNER featuring Anders Friden of IN FLAMES goes back to the established war-tone we started with in The Reckoning. If the concept of the album is to push back against the forces holding us down these days, this song captures that perfectly. We have a guitar solo in this one (which we lack on most, if not all other tracks) that very much pumps the energy into the concept. Sharon’s voice really brings home a sense of power and resistance that gives the album a great kick with RAISE YOUR BANNER, especially with her Mother-Earth style outro.
The ever-popular SUPERNOVA, which fans in Europe got a live taste of during their 2018 tour, hits square in the chest as one of the most powerful songs on the album. Even the instrumental is enough to reach up and slap you in the face, demanding you tell it the main genre it is reaching for and feeling rightly accomplished when you can’t. With Supernova, Within Temptation has taken different genres that one might cringe to hear together and blended into something that offers such a pleasant surprise that we’re sure even Within Temptation themselves are pleased. Based on fan reaction, it could even be the band’s most popular song on the album.
HOLY GROUND takes a different turn and brings the listener a sense of what ‘angry Sharon’ would sound like. While the chosen vocal style may not sit well with some, the lyrics and message make up a song that could very well be open to interpretation from the listener. A sense of electronics overlay this track with what sounds like a go-to formula for the chorus. All in all, 50/50 for who will like it and who won’t, but a powerful track nonetheless.
IN VAIN is arguably the most “pop” track on RESIST. It follows a very simple structure both musically and lyrically, full of repetitions of instruments that have the song blending into something generally unmemorable. The lyrics are predictable and simple, but sometimes simple is better. While it isn’t the strongest song on the album, it certainly isn’t the weakest, and could lend to some light listening when the listener isn’t looking for something too intense.
FIRELIGHT, a track too dark for Sharon den Adel’s solo album MY INDIGO, was roughed up and placed on RESIST. As a stand-alone track, it is beautiful and haunting and the lyrics lend to an interesting take on pain and life. Does it fit with RESIST and its concept? Some say it could, but if it were trying to be as bold-faced as the other tracks, the resounding answer would be no. The ‘dark pop’ tones are an interesting choice for the meaning of the song, however, and if a listener who may not like it tied to RESIST can separate it and treat it as a stand-alone or a B-Side to MY INDIGO, it may have a lot of potential to be great.
MAD WORLD can be considered another one of the most “pop” tracks on this album. In the reviewer’s opinion, it’s the weakest on the album, though I highly encourage everyone to give it a chance. Public consensus is that it actually isn’t and that it’s enjoyable. Like IN VAIN, it seems to follow a simple, repetitive formula, but consists of lyrics that aren’t all that memorable. You may or may not be humming it to yourself later. Another 50/50 on whether or not the listener will enjoy.
There are certainly hints to Sharon’s father’s passing on this album, but none highlight it more than MERCY MIRROR. A ballad of sorts, Sharon delivers lyrics of grief and loss, and it definitely hits home. A song everyone who has experienced some kind of loss can relate to, it has the potential to be the strongest in terms of genuine emotion. “It’s a wicked game life plays,” indeed.
Finally, TROPHY HUNTER comes to a pretty close tie with SUPERNOVA as being the strongest track on RESIST. It’s certainly the heaviest next to The Reckoning, especially with the guitars becoming audible once more in the beginning and the drums reminding us, “WE EXIST!” Paired with a memorable bridge and a fun chorus to sing, and Sharon den Adel’s voice soaring above and taking the listener hostage for the whole 5:51 song, it’s a winner that was definitely best saved for last. Ending on a heavy note to remind us who they are? A pretty Within Temptation thing to do.
The biggest argument with this record looks to be the lack of guitars and the muted drums. Metal fans may be disappointed, as this album explores many different genres and blends them together into one sound, and the songs themselves have the tendency of all sounding the same at times. Overall, however, if treated like the experiment Within Temptation meant it to be, it is a truly fun album to listen to in order to get your energy flowing. Its Top 20 chart rankings all over the world say that much!
Interview by Jessica Clingempeel with small contribution from Josh Becker 1/10/2019
Ailyn, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us. How have things
been for you?
dear, thank you for taking your time to do this. Things are very good, thanks.
mentioned recently you were struggling with depression, and other issues. We at
Ethereal Metal know this all too well as we suffer with bipolar, depression,
etc. What helped you cope and get through the dark days and have you been able
to overcome your depression?
I think what helped me most was to keep working on music, having some guest
shows and having some time for myself away from all the last years drama. It’s
been quite hard to go through everything and it took me a lot of time, but
step by step I think I’m getting back to myself, or at least it’s what I always
try. As I have diabetes and it’s normal to get depression every now and then.
also have struggled with Type 1 Diabetes since the age of 7. As someone who has
seen the toll diabetes has taken on many family members, how do you keep
positive while having a very negative disease?
As far as I can remember I think I
took it in a positive way. When I was hospitalized I got a psychologist to
check out on me and he told my parents I was perfectly fine. My dad also had
diabetes, so he and my mom were very good explaining what happened to me and
how should I take care of myself. At home I was always treated as a “normal”
person. Especially my mom, she wanted me to learn how to grow up and be an independent
woman and how to survive on my own. She didn’t want me to be a spoiled child
and always tried to avoid having people around me influencing me in a negative
way. During my entire life I had to fight not just against my illness and the
complications it brings over the years, but against people who are telling me every
single time they can that “I can’t do “this”, or “that” because of my
illness"… Luckily my parents and my sister wasn’t like that, they always
supported me on every decision I made about my career. My mom always taught me
that being ill doesn’t make you less capable than the people who are actually healthy.
And it makes me sad to see there are so many people who still have this preconceived
ideas thinking ill people are not able to do a normal job. I don’t know if my positivism
is something I learned over the years or if I was actually born like that, but it
keeps me going no matter how difficult things can be. It makes me want to show myself
and others that it doesn’t matter what they think, I can do it!!! And it is why
I always fought very hard to be known as the person I am, not the girl "who
is ill”. My diabetes it’s something I have to live with, but it doesn’t
describe who I am.
mentioned you did some collaborations which includes Pierre le Pape of Melted
Space and Débler. What other bands have you been working and/or touring with?
Yes, besides Melted Space and
Débler, I worked with bands like Serenity, Diabulus in Musica, Mago de Oz,
Sebastien, Secret Rule, Enemy of Reality, Vivaldi Metal Project and some others
I cannot mention until they announce it. On tour I’ve been as a guest with
Secret Rule, Melted Space and in a show with Mago de Oz, Débler and Leaves
Regarding your solo project, you have been busy writing lyrics. Is there a
certain theme to the lyrics, will it tell a personal story?
Well to begin with I might say right
now I’m actually writing for two different projects ;). Talking about my solo
album, at first I thought about making a concept album, but while I was writing
I realized I needed to write about my personal experiences. It was a very hard
at the beginning… After my mom passed in 2016 and everything it followed after I
felt so lost that I didn’t even know what to write or how express myself. I
felt myself frozen and empty, like there was nothing I could or want to share
with others. And then when I finally could start writing down my emotions I realized all the lyrics were very dark, sad and depressing that I decided I
needed to stop writing for a while until I felt ready to write about other
things too. Even though I think it’s ok to write about sad things, I don’t want to
make an entire album talking about the same when there are so many things to
write about it.
another interview, you mentioned that people may be disappointed as you may not
be going the symphonic metal route and that this project is under
experimentation as far as sound. Many in the metal community tend to like when
artists play around with music and not stick to one particular genre, Tarja is
a fine example of this. Is it safe to say this project will contain a variety
of metal elements and maybe even other genres?
Yes, I would think so. You know, if
it’s good I like to listen to any kind of music genre. So for this project my
idea is to do something mixing everything I like and see if it works. Since I
started singing until now I’ve been influenced from many different musicians so
I want to use everything I can.
Any thoughts on duets or guest musicians for this solo album?
have an idea about some guests I would like to invite for this project.
Actually one of the guest I thought about was Anders Fridén from In Flames, but
then I saw that Within Temptation were faster 😉
would be one of your most memorable highlights of your career?
I would say it was when I got
contacted from “Mago de Oz” to sing in their album “Finisterra Opera Rock” in their
song “Astaroth” and after that being able to join them on stage and perform
with them. I grow up knowing their name and their music, so for me to be
contacted from them was a big thing.
there any point of your career that you regret and/or wish you could do over?
Not really. Of course there’s some
“projects/jobs” I did in the past that makes me feel a bit
uncomfortable, sometimes I think about it, and I regret I put my energies on
it. But then I stop and think about it and realize that everything I did
(doesn’t matter how good or how bad the experience was) made me be who I am now
as an artist.
mentioned being a huge fan of video game soundtracks and anime, given the
chance would you ever consider working in the world of video games and/or
sure!! I love video games and anime music. And of course someday I would love to
sing a song for any video game, for example like Final Fantasy. Actually
there’s some anime (Spanish version) where I put my voice in it many years ago.
is your favourite anime to watch, game to play, and/or soundtracks to listen
I’m a bit old fashion, so my favourite
anime to watch is “Touch” (known as Bateadores in Spain) from Mitsuru Adachi.
For the game, right now I keep playing Diablo III. But many years ago I was
very into playing to the Final Fantasy or Metal Gear Solid. As for the
soundtracks, I like many of them, from video games, movies, animes, etc.
there any artists/bands you find yourself listening on repeat lately?
Yes, it comes depending on my mood.
If I like something I listen to it until I get tired of it and then I find
something else to listen until I get tired again and again. Right now I’m with
Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds
someone starting out in the Industry, what advice do you have that you wish was
given to you?
Well maybe it sounds a bit brutal to
put it like this, but I wish someone had told me before in this “music world”
friendship doesn’t exist. Everyone is “nice” while you have something to offer
and when they think they can’t get anything from you, everyone runs away and
it’s like you never met them before. With this I don’t mean everyone is bad, in
all this years I met very nice people too. But you know, everyone wants to be
known, famous, everyone wants to have success on their careers and their dreams
and there’s a lot of rivalry. It’s also known that artists are known to be
egocentric (some are very egocentric, some others less). But being egocentric
doesn’t make you a bad person, the problem is that sometimes this ego can make
you do bad things you wouldn’t do in other circumstances. So I guess that would
be my advice. Enjoy and have fun but remember, at the end of the day your true
friends are those who have accompanied you through the good times and the bad
that you have been all over the world, what country has the best food?
Oh wow, this question it’s very
difficult to answer!!! I couldn’t choose just one country. I was very fond of
trying traditional food everywhere. Now I have to be careful as I have allergy
to gluten, so it’s not that fun anymore ;). But everywhere I went the food was
is it about Norway that keeps you from moving back home to Spain?
Norway is a very beautiful country,
I really love it here. I love my country too, I don’t forget my roots, but the
life quality I find here I don’t find it in Spain. I am a quiet person and
believe me it’s very quiet here and very safe. I can go out alone in the night
without fearing for my life. Of course you can never be sure that nothing will
happen to you, but I can go for a walk being 99% sure that I’ll be safe. Also,
I’ve been living in Norway for 8 years and I made my life here, so I’m not
going to push everything away and go back to Spain, because I like what I build
here. Maybe someday I will move back to Spain or maybe not, none can say.
you still visit friends and family in Spain often?
much as I would like, but yes I visit my sister every time I can. I try to go 2
times a year, but sometimes it’s not possible and then I just go once. I would also
love to go visit my friends. Every time I have plans to go to Spain we try to schedule
the holidays at the same time, but it’s not that easy so it’s been quite long
since I had the chance to see them.
you have the time, are you still taking singing lessons?
Lately I couldn’t take lessons and I
really miss it. But the periods I can’t take lessons I check for videos on
YouTube that might help me to learn new things. There’s some nice channels out
year, you performed the song Imaginary World with Italian metal band Secret
Rule- I have to say, you and Angela have great harmonies in that song, and your
voices mesh very well together. Are there plans to release any more music or
work on any more projects with them in future?
Thank you!!! Well for now there’s no
plan to work together in another project with them, but I would love to if
someday there’s another chance. They are great people and very fun to work
you are performing someone else’s work (like a guest on an album,) do you find
that you are limited in your range, or do you have free control on what notes
you want to sing?
That depends of with who you are
working with. Some bands tells me, “this is my song, just sing what I tell you
to”. And other bands say “here you have, fell free to change what you need to
change and do your thing”. Of course when you have to do exactly what you are
told sometimes you can feel a bit limited. I love when I can decide how to
sing, not because I think the melody I get isn’t nice, but because I can chose
the way I sound better which is nice for me and for the band itself as I can do
a better job.
your collaborations, such as with Secret Rule, did you have any input when it
came to lyrics or composition?
all the collaborations I always get the final result. I always get the music,
the lyrics and the vocal lines I have to sing. And as I mentioned before
sometimes I’m ask to sing it as it is and sometimes I’m able to change my
would your ideal band be in terms of vocals, guitar, bass, drums, etc.) Roy
Khan, perhaps? 🙂
Oh yes, you know me well, I do love
Roy Khan voice and singing!! But for this I would probably say Freddie Mercury,
Slash, Yoshiki Hayashi (both on drums and piano), John Paul Jones and Lindsey
Stirling. Wouldn’t that be amazing!?