Tristania (Mariangela Demurtas)The die is cast: after some violent aftershocks, Norwegian pioneers of gothic metal are finally coming back with their sixth studio album, "Rubicon". One month before the release of an album which will mark an authentic revolution in Tristania's music, SpazioRock has reached the band's new singer, Marianagela Demurtas, a Sardinian native girl, to give its readers a straight-out chat on the new album and the refound harmony among the Stavanger-based band. Besides, you'll find an exclusive description of the new tracks inside the interview. Enjoy the read!
Article by Marco Belafatti
Publish on: 27/07/10
Hi Mariangela, welcome to SpazioRock. What's the weather like up there? In Italy it is extremely hot... Did you get used to the Norwegian climate?
Today it is raining in Norway, but usually the sun is always shining and the weather is fine, the temperatures never reach 30 degrees. So, everything's going great but I miss the Sardinian climate and its shining sun, that's obvious! As for the winter chill, I think it won't be that easy to get used to it..."Rubicon", the sixth Tristania album, is on the doorstep. Do you feel satisfied with the work done so far?
I'm completely satisfied with the work we've done so far. This has been an unique experience for me, it has allowed me to cope with other points of view, both musically and culturally speaking. As a matter of fact, I think that by adding new elements and styles we gave Tristania style a concrete push, even though the band never really betrayed its own personality and uniqueness.Mariangela, we know that you spent a lot of time in the studios during the last months. As far as the songwriting is concerned, how important was your contribution? Are there any songs which you worked on more actively than on other ones?
I entered the studio in february and it all has been so constructive. There are tracks on which I worked more and other ones in which you can barely hear my presence. I usually try to write my own vocal lines for the songs, but someone else might come up with a better idea and I'm always glad when such things happen. The songs I worked more actively on are "Protection", "Exile", "The Passing", "Amnesia", but to a large extent I could also add "Illumination" and "Year Of The Rat", as well as "Caprice", "Sirens" and "The Emeral Piper".How did it feel to share this experience with such a great artist and producer as Waldemar Sorychta?
"Rubicon" was produced by Anders and Ole and co-produced by Waldemar. Working with a talented and expert producer who knows how to emphasize your potential at the very best always represents a singular experience. Indeed, Waldemar is reliable in the gothic metal genre, the one which Tristania came from. Besides, he's a very nice and friendly guy who shared some good moments with the band, even during the breaks between a recording session and the following one.Soon as you joined forces with the band, Tristania underwent many internal changes, which spread confusion among your most loyal fans. Was there a time in which you thought you could lose their trust?
We always cared about our fans, but it's up to them to understand the situation, to believe in the band's potential. I think that a real fan should always put his trust into his favourite band and expect a constant improvement from it.Who are the permanent members of Tristania now?
Kjetil and I (vocals), Anders (guitar and growl), Ole (bass and backing vocals), Gyri (second guitar), Tarald (drums) and Einar (synth).The change of vocalist in one of the most famous and appreciated metal bands, I mean Nightwish, has led to an impressive split among the supporters of the old vocalist and those of the new one, especially if we consider that there's an evident difference between thier respective styles. This was a split which proved not be useful for anyone, especially for the newcomer... Are you afraid the same (sad) thing could happen to Tristania? I suppose you already had a chance to see the reactions of the fans...
I joined the band while the previous singer was already gone, I pulled up my own sleeves and helped the group to regain its force and find someone to start it all back. I gave all myself and all my passion for music, I don't think any negative influence from the outside will ever have an influence on this, or at least I think I can handle such a situation with patience and strength. I truly believe in my own artistic personality, in my musical spontaneity.It's been three years since your arrival; I suppose the dynamics within the band have fixed. It sounds a bit obvious, but I would like to know your opinion about the way Tristania's music has changed since that day. Do you think "Rubicon" will be following the same path of "Illumination" or will it offer us a completely new version of Tristania?
If you consider that nowadays the whole band is writing songs and that all the new members brought some kind of innovation, you can easily imagine that this album will definitely have a different sound. I think that this album, as every other Tristania album, has a great personality and an exceptional style. We included some symphonic elements, which have been used by Tristania in the last ten years, for example.What can you tell us about the title of the album? Is there a particular reference behind this name?
The title refers to an historical event from the Roman era, when Julius Ceasar, at the end of the Gallic Wars (58-50 BC), crossing the river Rubicon with his army (on the borderline between the Empire and Cisalpine Gaul), expressed his rebellion against the Roman state, as he had been informed about a plot against his life organized by the roman senate. The notorious proverb "the die is cast" comes from that. "Rubicon" indicates a point of no return, the irreversible. Most of the songs deal with the idea of never giving up in front of irreversible situations, such as death, and finding the strength to go on.Would you like to give us a sneak preview of all the tracks on this new album?
YEAR OF THE RAT
This song is about betrayal and rupture, it deals with the fear of revenge coming from uneasiness and anxiety.PROTECTION
"Protection" is a song inspired by a real event. I wrote the first sketch when I heard that the mother of a friend of mine had died of cancer. After writing down the melody, Østen wrote the whole lyrics, rendering the actual meaning of my words. This is the story of a mother who tries to comfort her daughter after her death, striving to let her know that life goes on, encouraging her to find the strength to carry on.PATRIOT GAMES
The story described in this song is a mixture between reality and fiction, between computer games and real war stories, inspired by the memories of an American soldier who wrote a letter to the band where he told how, during a mission, he could find relief and courage thanks to Tristania's music flowing into his headphones.THE PASSING
I saw an image while I was creating the melody for this song: a soldier experiencing the passage from life to death, laying on a battlefield waiting for his moment. As some parts of the lyrics were written, a friend of mine came up with beautiful ideas; I decided therefore to write the song with him. Later on, Tarald wrote the refrain. These lyrics show a desperate request for help and salvation.EXILE
This song is about a worn-out relationship which is coming to an end, the desire of a different partner, an image stuck on someone's mind. With this song we reached a good compromise between a powerful chorus and progressive symphonic elements.SIRENS
This track has to do with isolation, crossing the borders of what is common.VULTURE
"Vulture" is about fighting against someone's betrayal and selfishness, a person blinded by greed. It is one of the most metal-oriented tracks on the album.AMNESIA
This song describes a broken relationship, from the point of view of a girl who was brought to discouragement by her weakness. As she sees the fragments of her beautiful memories, she tries to disguise reality to save what's left.MAGICAL FIX
The condition of a confused mind facing the separation of body and soul after an imminent death. In spite of the disillusion she often had to face in her life, she tries to convince herself that she will keep walking her way. There are moments in life which seems to be impossible to stand, "Magical Fix" makes everything possible.ILLUMINATION
This songs describes the similes between the Christian right wing and the Islamic radicalism, two sides of the same coin.Do you think it is still reasonable to associate the band with the gothic scene? What do you think of the current scene?
Tristania has always been associated with the gothic style and always will be, even with a different sound or new members. The band never denied its own roots and never went petty. I think the scene is still alive, but you must be able to reinvent yourself to get farther.What about your own musical taste? Is there any recent album you would like to suggest to our readers?
Well, this is a tough question! I really enjoy listening to many different kinds of music. I can easily switch from Tracy Chapman to Combichrist or Rob Zombie, from Diamanda Galás to Robben Ford, from Dead Can Dance to Kate Bush, from Mars Volta to Opeth, while listening to Devin Townsend and some portuguese fado (nice taste, ndr). Let's say I always like changing direction and discovering new music.A personal curiosity. In the last days I saw a video on Youtube in which you sing a song by Jeff Buckley with Danny Cavanagh from Anathema on guitar. First of all, that was a great cover, very deep and touching! How did you meet Danny and why did you choose to record a cover of this song?
Thanks for your compliment! I met Danny through Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, who I already knew. Steven showed him a video in which I was singing "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak and Danny proved to be interested in a collaboration, since he really enjoyed my performance. I kept in touch with him and together we decided to work on some songs, also because I really like collaborations. Thus, after deciding with Daniel Cardos (an incredibly talented portuguese drummer, but also a great producer) to work together on some songs, Danny decided to join us as well. We met in Portugal, where we recorded some tracks all together. Here we decided to improvise a cover of "Grace" and since we were happy with the result we uploaded the video on Youtube. Jeff Buckley is one of my favourite singers.Mariangela, that's all for us, thank you so much for this exclusive interview. Please leave a message for our readers and all the Italian fans of Tristania.
I would like to thank all the people who believe in the band and in its comeback, in our music and our new album, I wish to see you at one of our next concerts! Remember that I keep the Italian flag flying, because I love my country and all of you there!!! Bye Bye!http://www.spaziorock.it/intervista.php?&id=227&eng=1