Thursday, June 14, 2007

SpecMusicMuse Has Moved

Yep, it can now be found here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Interview With Victoria Mazze

The Divine Madness is a Goth Metal band in California that adds a Pink Floyd-ish feel to their music. I had the honor of interviewing their vocalist, Victoria Mazze (via e-mail like all my interviews). And before certain female readers of my blog make their remarks (you know who you are): I did behave myself! Honest! (Well, mostly...)

The Divine Madness has an "Alice in Wonderland" thing going on. How did you come up with that idea?

We’ve always loved fairytales but there was something about the white rabbit…for us, it is one’s imagination; as a child it is enormous and then through life you seek to recapture it, when you finally do, you see it for what it is, sweet, small, delicate, and something that you have to protect. That is how the idea for the video came about…

After watching the music video for "Closer", I have to admit that I'll never be able to think of the Queen of Hearts the same way ever again.

(laughing) Yes, we gave the Queen of Hearts a makeover. She became the nemesis; the alter-ego; bathing in a bath of ash, wilting flowers, and candles floating aimlessly. A tortured soul that takes her aggression out on imagination.

What makes your concert performances stand out?

Well, each show is different. Sometimes we perform with the whole band and then other times we just do an acoustic show. I think at the rock performances people really respond to how massive, full and seductive the band is; we have a lot of intensity and everyone in the band is a top notch performer. Some people have said that it reminds them of seeing No Doubt before they were famous. The acoustic show is great because it really gives me a chance to connect and really showcase the colors of each story and to hear the songs in a different way.

Have you heard of the Podsafe Music Network, and if so, have you thought about a couple songs on it?

Hell ya. It is great. We actually do have some music up there and podcasters regularly play our stuff.

What's your favorite SF, Fantasy, and Horror books/movies? And have any of them influenced the band any (other than Alice in Wonderland obviously)?

We love anything with imagination that creates its own world; Anne Rice novels, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Guillermo Del Toro, Star Wars, Mary Shelley, Willow, Michael Crichton, Star Trek, Tim Burton, Bram Stoker, Alfred Hitchcock, Baz Luhrmann, Peter Chung, Pedro Almodovar, the list goes on.

What's down the rabbit-hole in the near future?

Hehehe…wouldn’t you like to know! Well, I can only say that we will make the journey as gentle and painless as possible. We are working on our new album, another video and are also going to descend on Texas for a cable show TV appearance in Dallas and South-by-Southwest in Austin . After that, we’ll see what the future brings us.

Stamp Out The Rate Hikes

Monday, April 30, 2007

Interview With Aesma Daeva

Earl Root and John Prassas of Aesma Daeva took time to do an interview, where we discuss the band and its future, the Podsafe Music Network, plus the pros and cons of being an Indie.

What's the concept for Dawn of the New Athens and how did you come up with it?

Earl Root: I thought of the idea because at the time when we actually got to record the album...we were basically a brand new band.....with a newfound clarity and energy. I also pondered on our past releases and their direction, title, and ideas. It seemed like a logical continuation in the progress of the band. A natural progression forward with new ideas while still maintaining the adding of the 'old' that is still a core essence for Aesma Daeva.

"Since the Machine" has a touch of Orwell to it. How often have ideas in stories influenced ideas for songs?

John Prassas: Lately I have been more influenced by stories and the world around me rather than what is happening in my personal life. On this album there are only a few songs that are influenced by a story in one way or another. "Bluish Shade" has some reflections from the book The Last Temptation of Christ Also “Hymn to the Sun” has the odvious paetheon references in it. Otherwise Michael and I adapted a lot of his own poems for songs. "D’Oreste" - has a story behind it as well but I did not write that one. ;)

Aesma Daeva went through a few female vocalists before Lori Lewis. How has that affected the band's sound over the years?

JP: Well in the past I did not really get to work with the singers. So I had to write in a somewhat conservative manner. If I was going to do something experimental I needed to have things set up in the song so that I could remove the section if it did not work because that singer may be busy with something else for a long time etc. As I started to find singers to work with I think the songs improved because I was able to write for the strengths of that individual singer. Also someone to bounce ideas off of is nice. I think it is important to write for what/who is available. No use in bitching that the right singer was never available, etc. Anyways to sum things up the addition of a singer who is more involved with the music from the beginning has made A.D. more of a band than say a project.

Now that Classical and Symphonic Goth Metal is becoming so vast and diversified, where do you think this style of music will be in the next 5-10 years? What do you think future bands in the same genre will need in order to compete?

JP: The future - There is always a chance this music could be like grunge. I have no idea what bands will need in the future. I have never really thought in terms of style when it comes to writing music. I am always searching for new ways of creating music. So I think the band will always be going as long as the members are interested. When it comes to popularity. I feel a good bit of that depends on having the right marketing machine behind you etc.

What's the biggest challenge for Indie labels, and what are their perks?

ER : The perks are easy...if you make a sale you get more of the money. Your flexibility is also a perk...for you make the rules and you call the shots. The challenges are numerous....from paying for your own studio time to the near impossibility of putting together a 'real tour' of your own to just getting the artwork together. If you look at any "bigger" labels now in the underground scene....many of those were very tiny indies when they started...they got lucky (or smart) and
signed some bands with real selling power. It takes money to make money and it all works together, from magazine ads to tours to distribution. That is probably the key deciding factor is getting your product out to the masses.....and the more money you have...the easier it is to make that visible. Having distribution that gets your music to more people is definetly a perk for being on a bigger label and a challenge for an Indie.

Speaking of getting products out to the masses, have you looked into contributing songs to the Podsafe Music Network for podcasters to play them on their shows?

JP: Yes - just am waiting to get a confirmation e-mail from them, I believe. In the last month or so I have been listening to podcasts often. I am a bit scared at the postings I have been reading from labels--that people are not buying cd's....

I guess we will see.

What's in the near future for Aesma Daeva?

JP: Writing a lot of acoustic music at the moment. Also working on more arrangements of cover songs and finishing up an album of songs all based on 1984. We have been asked to go on tour with Therion and also to go on a seperate tour with Virgin Black and Trail of Tears as well. Hopefully all of that will work out.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Aesma Daeva - Bio

In addition to the interview that will get posted tomorrow (of course I'm making you wait! My Evil Twin is in ascendence! MWAHAHAHA!), here's a little bio the band sent me to share with all of you:

Aesma Daeva formed out of the early collaboration of N Copernicus (production) and John Prassas (guitars, composition) in LaCrosse Wisconsin circa 1988. Their original projects saw them working together on a remix of "Darkness" for COP International compilation disc Diva-X-Machina II. As their project began taking a new shape, a second new track "Stay," caught the eye of Adrian Hates (Diary Of Dreams) at Accession records Germany, who published their first full length album "Here Lies One Whose Name Is Written In Water." At this point, Aesma Daeva, the operatic, symphonic, metal band, took official shape. The original female operatic vocals were performed by Rebecca Cords all composition and guitar was performed by John Prassas, with production and other work done by N Copernicus.

After the release of their first album, Rebecca Cords departed from the band and Melissa Ferlaak (along with two other temporary vocalists) began recording with Aesma Daeva for their second album "The Eros of Frigid Beauty." After the release of Aesma Daeva's second album "The Eros of Frigid Beauty" in 2002, demand for live music soon drove John Prassas to find musicians capable of portraying the complex music best on a stage.

In January of 2002, John Prassas asked Earl Root to play guitar at his side, Craig Ohren to offer drum assistance (while also tweaking some older songs' drum pieces), and Melissa Ferlaak to sing for live performances. The new album “The Eros of Frigid Beauty” was released on Root of all Evil records. Things quickly increased when Aesma Daeva played Metalfest in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Such popular metal magazines such as Unrestrained!, Terrorizer, and Metal Maniacs deemed Aesma Daeva "One of the Highlights of Metalfest 2002." Later, in August of 2002, Aesma Daeva journeyed to Mexico for Festival Obscuro IV (presented by Dilemma Entertainment) to play along such acts as Tristania, Maldorar, and HIM.

In 2003 John decided it was time for the band to move to a new level. Writing began for a new album to be produced by Grammy award winning producer Neil Kernon. Many set backs and line up changes happened during this period. The last line up change which may have spelled the end for aesma daeva was on October 11, 2005 when singer Melissa Ferlaak announced she was leaving to join the Austrian band Visions of Atlantis. Her final show with Aesma Daeva was in December 2005 at the Star Central club in Minnesota. The concert was filmed for the DVD, Last Rites, which is currently set for 2006/2007 release.

After the Departure of Melissa Ferlaak the search for vocalists began. With previous songs being written specifically for Melissa's voice. Time was needed to find a new soprano and learn the strengths of the new soprano's voice. Within a few months new found vocalist Lori Lewis proved to be the best compliment to the band. With her knowledge of many different styles of music and much thicker voice which cut through the guitars aesma daeva quickly rose to their highest level in ages.

Aesma Daeva's new album is scheduled to be released in march 2007. With mixing and recording being handled by grammy award winning producer Neil Kernon ( Nevermore, Hall and Oats, Queenreich). The album will mark a new era for Aesma Daeva in their quest for high quality original material.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Adventures in Scifi Publishing and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore Podcast Together

Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, the only specialty bookstore of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery literature in San Diego, has joined forces with the Adventures in Scifi Publishing podcast.

San Diego, CA April 25, 2007— Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, the only specialty bookstore of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery literature in San Diego, has joined forces with the Adventures in Scifi Publishing podcast to bring listeners worldwide interviews with bestselling authors and publishing experts.

Mysterious Galaxy bookseller Samantha Wynns will join producer Shaun Farrell as co-host of the podcast, adding her expertise in these genres to his own. Together they will examine the publishing industry, discuss genre literature, interview bestselling authors, introduce listeners to new authors, and broadcast Mysterious Galaxy Author Signings with some of the most famous and prolific authors in the business.

In October 2006, Shaun Farrell began the Adventures in Scifi Publishing podcast to share his passion for writing, publishing, and science fiction/fantasy literature. Having previously conducted interviews for Far Sector SFFH, Shaun secured interviews with some of the most respected authors in the field, including R.A. Salvatore, Kim Harrison, Timothy Zahn and Robert J. Sawyer.

Shaun says that "Mysterious Galaxy has always supported my podcast and my writing. It's wonderful to officially solidify our relationship in this way. It will make it that much easier for us to share our love for great story telling."

Maryelizabeth Hart, owner and Publicity Manager of Mysterious Galaxy, adds that "We always enjoy our author's great discussions and readings, and are thrilled that through these podcasts, readers who had a conflict and could not attend the event will still be able to enjoy them as well."

For more information about the partnership between Mysterious Galaxy and Adventures in Scifi Publishing , please contact Shaun Farrell.

About Adventures in Scifi Publishing:

Adventures in Scifi Publishing is a free weekly podcast covering science fiction and fantasy literature. The show features interviews with bestselling authors, new writers and publishing experts.

About Mysterious Galaxy:

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore specializes in science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery titles and has served San Diego since 1993. Learn more about their services at


Shaun Farrell, Producer and Co-host
Adventures in Scifi Publishing

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Aesma Daeva - Dawn of the New Athens

The first song opens with a voice as beautiful as a Tolkien Elf, then heavy guitar riffs follow that makes you want to headbang out in an open glade, with a mood and atmosphere that makes you feel like you're living in Ancient Greece. And the first song on Aesma Daeva's Dawn of the New Athens, "Tisza's Child," is only the beginning. There are only nine songs, but with each one running an average of five to six minutes, you still get your money's worth. I will warn you however, you may be left wanting more.

Lisa Lewis's soprano vocals fit perfectly with the meaningful lyrics ("Artemis" is a song about struggling with living a spiritual and artistic life in a material world, and "Since The Machine" is Orwellian in its warnings of where today's society is heading) and musicial stylings of the electrical, percussion, and wind instruments. Easily the best CD I've listened to this year, Aesma Daeva, is a band to watch for. Like Epica and Nightwish, Aesma Davea's music will not only please Metalheads like me who also appreciate a little Classical but also please anyone who appreciates brilliant music regardless of personal musical preferences.

Coolest Part: Hands down the first two lines in "Ancient Verse" (right along with the rest of the song). And no, I'm Not telling you what they are. You'll just have to get the CD and find out for yourself. Yes I'm being evil again. What did you expect? Okay fine, I'll entice you with the first line: "Once there was myth and mystery...."

Gripe: I want more, dammit! MORE!!! A double-CD set with DVD concert footage might satisfy my hunger. Might.

Best to Listen to While Reading: 1984 - seriously. Or any heroic, epic Fantasy/SF. Tell you what: break out your dusty copies of Homer's Iliad and Odessy while you listen. And Paul Levinson's The Plot to Save Socrates works fine, too.*

Format: Audio CD

Release Date: 2007

Label: pnevma

Price: $14.99

*I fervently deny any knowledge of Paul Levinson owning a time-machine and dragging Homer and Orwell to the present time-line to help him bribe me with chocolate chip cookies to plug their fiction. Nor do I know anything about so-called "witnesses" getting disintigrated by an anti-matter rifle. Lee S. King's space monkeys did it--they're guilty of all of it. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!