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30th May 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: Your original vocalist, Telya, left in June last year. Why did she leave the band?
VYNCE: Ah, that's a good question! The life of a band is difficult and, sometimes, there are some tensions. There were some tensions, not that important, but we talked about that and she seemed to prefer leaving the band and trying to make some other music in other projects, maybe more ambitious.
(Vynce Leff on the progressive element of Whyzdom's music)
"Some progressive bands live on the fact that they show how complex it is. That’s the exact opposite of what I try to do as a composer. I’m trying to provoke emotion with complexity as a tool but not as a result."
Clémentine Delauney & Vynce Leff in action at the Femme Metal Festival, Birmingham, UK, 30th May 2011
Photograph copyright © 2011 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Whyzdom Official Website:
Daughter of the Night - Demo EP (2008)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Vynce and Clémentine for their time
From the Brink of Infinity (2009)
Whyzdom Official MySpace:
MD: More ambitious?! Whyzdom seem very ambitious!
VYNCE: Well, you're still ambitious but you have to realise you're just metal and ambitious would mean you want to live with the music. You can't live with metal. She's an actress and I think she wanted to go professional. You need to do something for a living and maybe that was part of her decision.
MD: [To Clémentine] You joined the band in December last year?
MD: It says December in the band bio on your website.
VYNCE: Officially December, but the decision was made late October.
MD: [To Clémentine] Okay, so have you been given free rein to change any of the vocal parts from the album when singing live to fit your own voice?
VYNCE: Nooooo!
CLÉMENTINE: Not really.
VYNCE: No. I’m a dictator!
VYNCE: No, I’m not!
CLÉMENTINE: The thing is, I didn’t feel like changing anything. People knew the songs this way and they were just perfect this way. I had nothing to change.
VYNCE: And we don’t want to change the album because we have to work on the second one and we don’t want to lose any time on the old songs. What’s done is done. It’s in the past. A very good past, a very good moment, and very good songs I think, but now we want to work on the new album with songs adapted to Clémentine’s abilities.
CLÉMENTINE: It was also a personal challenge to be able to sing the previous songs the way they were.
MD: Did you have to adapt your singing style in any way?
CLÉMENTINE: I had to improve! [laughs] I had to improve and, yeah, the many rehearsals we had together, the many sessions we did working together really helped me interpret the songs the way I do it now. I think they should remain the way they are.
MD: So do you always try to have a live choir on stage at shows?
VYNCE: Yes. We do try but, in some situations, it’s simply not possible. For example, we opened for Tarja last October and the remaining room on stage was so small; it was not possible. Sometimes promoters say we haven’t got time to set everything up and only have a space of two square metres. So sometimes it’s not possible but, when it’s possible, we do it. Today, we have three singers with us.
MD: Does it ever pose a problem for soundchecking too, like at festivals when there are quick changeovers between bands? Is it more difficult to get a good sound?
VYNCE: Yes, it’s very difficult.
MD: Do you always have your own sound engineer on the desk then?
VYNCE: Yes. But it is difficult. Thirty minutes, it’s not resolvable, but we’re gonna do it.
MD: If you had an unlimited budget, what would be your ultimate stage show? Would you want a full orchestra up there with you?
VYNCE: Of course we want a whole orchestra! We want the London Philharmonic Orchestra, of course!
VYNCE: Yes, if we had more of a budget then maybe an orchestra would be cooler. Actually, we have very little money and we have very little promotion to make ourselves known so it’s really difficult. I think that we would benefit from having somebody to take care of us. Actually, I am the one who takes care of many, many things, including promotion, some sound engineer stuff, roadies… I would like to have a very nice video clip but we’re gonna do it.
MD: I’ve read on your website that there’s a new album due this year – how is that progressing?
VYNCE: We are in the recording process. We’ve already recorded the drums and some guitars but, as I say, it takes time. I have to finish the arrangements for the orchestra parts which also takes time.
MD: So do you anticipate a release later this year?
VYNCE: We hope at the end of the year. All the compositions are finished so the songs are there and ready. We just have to record and mix and master. So we hope by the end of the year.
MD: Regis and yourself composed the debut album but is it a bit more of a band effort this time?
VYNCE: Yes. Definitely, yes. Regis made more songs, we will have songs originally composed by Marc, the keyboard player, and a song by the bass player. The drummer is working more with me to set up everything so it’s more of a band effort.
MD: [To Clémentine] So have you had an input in the songwriting?
CLÉMENTINE: I think, this time, when I joined the band many songs were already written and the vocal lines as well but we adapted it. I can always have my point of view because if I have some ideas then he’s open to it.
VYNCE: Clémentine is a great pianist and she’s a very good composer. Every time she plays piano and sings along, I love it. I think we will have her enter the composition process for the next album. I hope so.
VYNCE: We’ll try.
MD: So what can people expect from the new album? Is it going to be a similar kind of style and much the same as the first album or is there any progression in your songwriting and sound, would you say?
VYNCE: It’s the same style, always with an orchestra. It’s philharmonic metal. Of course, songs are different - maybe more energy and a bit heavier, and a bit more progressive and complex. So we hope that the audience will be receptive to it.
CLÉMENTINE: On the other hand, there are very catchy melodies as well that really stay in the mind. There is one song we’ve played just once on stage and people have already said – “I need the new album because I can’t get this song out of my head!” So we have those two aspects – catchy melodies and, on the other hand, very rich music.
VYNCE: It’s quite complex music. Even with the first album.
CLÉMENTINE: It was already complex.
MD: That’s a great quality about the debut album because it’s a good balance between progression and accessibility with the catchy melodies. You don’t go off and do too many technical things. There are some technical, progressive parts but it’s still good songwriting as well.
VYNCE: That’s very important with what you say. We try not to make it apparent. Some progressive bands live on the fact that they show how complex it is. That’s the exact opposite of what I try to do as a composer. I’m trying to provoke emotion with complexity as a tool but not as a result.
MD: Yeah, that’s a definite strength of Whyzdom in that you put in the progressive parts but it’s never overdone so it stands out as such.
VYNCE: Thank you! Thank you!
MD: You have the orchestral parts on backing tracks at gigs so does that make it difficult to play any new material live before you’ve actually recorded it?
VYNCE: Generally, I prepare the backing before so they are ready, but it will be different on the album. It’s quickly done. Actually, we will play one or two songs off the new album tonight and it’s a really quick orchestra. I did it very quickly as a draft.
CLÉMENTINE: We can do the idea.
MD: Which when it’s loud and in your face live, it won’t notice so much if it’s just a rough idea.
MD: Not that I’m calling it rough as I haven’t heard it yet… it might be the best thing I’ve ever heard!
MD: My final question – for people who will be reading this interview and have never heard of Whyzdom, why should they check you out?
VYNCE: You’ve never heard philharmonic metal…
CLÉMENTINE: … like this before! [laughs]
VYNCE: You have never heard philharmonic metal. It’s real metal with a real orchestra and you have to test it. Give it a try – ‘From the Brink of Infinity’ – then, if you like it, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it, then come and enjoy with us.
MD: Right, thank you very much for your time.
VYNCE: Thank you.
CLÉMENTINE: Thank you.