Each month, as we slowly approach the FemME festival in Eindhoven, we shine a light on one of the acts that will be playing there. This month we present a band that just graduated from the Metal Masters school, the worlds first true Metal education. And this band is already making big waves! Meet Laura Guldemont from Shadowrise!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, and to invite us to your album presentation! And of course, congratulations on finishing your education! Are you looking forward to tonights show?
Yes, we are looking forward to it! It’s of course nice to be able to play in a nice venue like this, and actually, of all the exams, I’m the least nervous for this one.
Really? How’s that?
Yeah, because, that’s what you’re supposed to be good at, right? So yeah, it’s probably going to work out.
It’s also part of the gig, absolutely.
Yeah, it’s just a gig, so to say!
And it absolutely is a nice venue. It’s a venue with a big history here in the city. Tonight it’s not only your graduation, it’s also one of the launch parties of your EP Escape From Shadow Island. This is the second night, how did the first night go?
Oh, it was nice! We actually played at Attitude Fest, so there were lots of people that we didn’t know, so it’s really nice to hear that some people are really a fan of our music now. I think it went very well!
I can imagine you got some new fans. It’s a really great release, I loved it. It has a good sound.
Nice, thank you!
The EP has only been available as of this week, and it’s already been received very well by fans and critics alike, something to be proud of. Can you tell us a bit about the EP and the songs on it?
Actually, a lot of the songs were written by Daniel, he writes a lot. He has a lot of feelings towards situations, from which he writes things. For example, he went through a bit of a hard time and that’s where all the dramatics about escaping came from. His feelings correlate to what he writes, lyric wise.
So it’s really a personal EP in that sense?
Yes. It’s not that if you look at the lyrics, that it’s fantasy, but it comes from real feelings.
That’s another question I had by the way, the name Shadowrise, is that based on the fantasy books with the same name by any chance?
No, no, it’s actually just a name.
Alright, just a coincidence then. I was really blown away by the sound and energy on the release. There is a lot going on in the songs, and it takes a few listens to really be able to comprehend the sound. How does a song like that get written?
Actually, like I said, Daniel does all the writing stuff. He writes it in Guitar Pro, then we as a band go play it, and sometimes we change things around a bit as we go. For instance when the drummer wants to add a few actions or change a timing or something like that.
So it’s mainly his songwriting, and you guys perform it?
Yeah. And then sometimes he goes back to the Guitar Pro after that. He does almost everything in there. So that’s basically how it works.
Okay! Do you write anything yourself?
Yes I do now. I joined the band in August and everything was already written by then, so I only changed a few of the vocal lines, so they would match my vocals better.
Of course, that’s your part, that makes sense.
Yeah. So, I write lyrics and I write vocal lines, and sometimes I hear what Daniel makes and I think, hey, that guitar line is actually a great vocal line. Can I keep it for my vocals? So yeah, it’s like that. I also talk a lot with Roman about the vocals, about the lyrics actually.
You were the latest addition to the band, right? How long were they a band before you entered?
Before I entered, they started I believe, if I say it right, 2009. But I’m not sure.
Okay, that’s quite a few years!
Maybe it was a bit later, I forgot actually. But they started at school to do something useful for one of their classes.
Wasn’t it a bit hard to join a band that has already been together for such a long time? To find your way into it?
I actually knew them already, because they’re also here at school, so that wasn’t that hard.
So you already listened to the material, knew the people?
Yeah I already knew them, and then I heard their singer was quitting, and I thought hey, I like their music, so why not.
That makes you a very busy girl so I’ve learned. Do you have two, or three bands right now?
I have my own band called Generation lost, and that’s just writing. It’s not going very fast, development wise. That makes it doable to combine it with Shadowrise. I’m also in a choir and that’s not doing anything at the moment, and Robbie Valentine is actually something where I just join the set when I have the time, and most of the time I can join them. So that’s all okay.
You’re also performing with another band tonight, right?
Yes, that’s also a school band called Rosewood.
Alright, busy busy! If you had to describe the sound of Shadowrise to someone using only song titles and other band names, how would you do that?
*laughs* well I’m not very good at remembering song names, but I think Wintersun, Symphony X… I actually listened to Nostradamus by Judas Priest and thought hey, that actually sounds similar. *laughs* And of course there is some neo classical stuff going on in Shadowrise, so it’s not really surprising it’s a little bit alike.
Great choices! You are one of the first bands to come out of the Metal Factory education here in Eindhoven. I was pleasantly surprised by all the big industry names that back this school, since I had not heard of it before. That’s strange in itself maybe *laughs* Can you tell us a bit about the education, what do they teach you?
I think that if you’re going to do a course like this, it’s mostly because you want to become better at what you’re doing, and probably also because you know that if you’re doing something like this, you will get to know a lot of people that want kind of the same things as you.
You get to know the scene.
Yeah, you get to know the scene. So it’s really nice you can do that here. You learn a couple of things that every music school teaches you, like theory, history, business related things like contracts and stuff like that, but when you play metal, there are a lot of techniques you don’t use as much in other genres. Where it comes to vocals, that’s of course grunting.
They teach you how to keep your voice safe while grunting, I suppose?
That’s a very useful lesson.
So that’s the reason you want to go to this kind of school, because a lot of Metal related things aren’t taught in Jazz or Pop or even Rock.
And you mentioned history lessons, is that metal history? Do they teach you about Black Sabbath and such?
Yeah, mostly! *laughs*
Yes that’s really nice.
I should sign up *laughs* What do you feel was the best lesson you learned here?
I guess that when I first came here, I didn’t really know what you’re supposed to do if you want to play a gig, or what you need to do to make an album, things like that. And I got a bit more of a grasp on the bigger picture now, of what you have to do to get your band started properly. That’s nice.
That sounds like very useful information, absolutely.
Yes, that’s very useful. I’ve always been in bands before I came here. Most of these weren’t really working towards something, you know? You need to kind of make a planning for your band, to be able to really get the most out of it.
It’s hard these days to start a band and to promote your music, and even harder to make a living that way. But you came out swinging, you’re on all digital distribution networks with your EP.
Yes, we are on most online distribution networks.
iTunes, Spotify, it seems to be everywhere. Good job! What other bands came out of your school so far? Which do you think are the best?
That would be Facelifter, they are doing very well. They play Death Metal with a bit of a Core element to it. That makes it a bit difficult for me to really understand their music, but I really like what their frontman does. He is really good at giving his audience a good time, even if it’s not really your music, do you know what I mean? So I really enjoy their shows. Then there’s Sisters of Suffocation, they have the same problem actually. It’s also this brutal kind of Death thing, you know? It’s really cool that it’s an all female band. Then there’s Extremities, they are more into a kind of more modern like Core-ish, progressive-ish thing and you can say they’re really technical in a good way.
So there’s a lot of variation as well here, I understand.
Yeah, you have a lot of variation.
Metal is a really wide genre. There are a lot of different types of metal.
Would you recommend this education to other artists?
Yes. If you’re into Metal, it’s the best.
Short and sweet. Great. You have been very publicly active for a starting band. This might be something you learned during your education as well, to be out there, to be seen and heard. You are also one of the finalists of the FemME battles, of which we are a media partner. That’s how you got on our radar as well. How were the battles so far, is it a tough competition?
Yes I think it’s tough, because you never know if the jury will like you. You can have two great bands, and still be judged on your genre alone. It’s difficult in that way, you can never be certain, so we try to get as many people as possible to the gig now.
Yeah, get some support in there!
I understand that. It’s a fun competition. And the prize is nice as well, I hope you get further ahead in the competition (EDIT: They won a spot on the FemME event!).
I hope so too! *laughs* We really hope so.
If you look at the competition, do you think you have a big chance at winning?
Yes, I think so.
That’s the right attitude! In it for the win. And then we turn on the TV here in Holland, and we see you on the mainly pop-oriented show Idols. How did that happen?
Sadly I’m still not allowed to talk about my Idols adventure, because of the contract I signed.
That’s a shame. I’ll just skip the Idols questions in that case. I thought it was really surprising to see you there. I also took a look at your Facebook page and I saw an extremely pink picture. Is it safe to say you have a softer side next to your metal side?
Yes, I guess so. Absolutely *laughs* It’s not that I’m a very girlish person, but I do have my moments.
You are not only the female lead in Shadowrise, you’re also the lead singer of Generation lost, as you mentioned earlier. That’s a very different kind of project. What can you tell us about the sound of that band?
We actually want to combine a few things you hear in Metal, and a few things you hear in Pop these days. There’s a lot of electronics going on in Pop and we wanted to do kind of the same with Metal. Of course there are already a few of those kind of bands, like Amaranthe does a bit of that. Celldweller is another example of a project like ours. It combines different elements into something new.
I saw a lot of influences on the list on the band page. One of those was dubstep, which is a really popular kind of music these days, but it’s not really I’d think of combining with Metal. I thought it was a surprising list of influences.
Actually, dubstep is already being used by Skrillex and Korn, but of course it’s something totally different than what I would do with my vocals. I’m still experimenting a bit at the moment. At the moments it’s mainly electronics with a bit of Metal guitar here and there. I’m trying to create a bit of an atmosphere like you have in a movie, if you get what I mean. I like that kind of stuff.
Very cool! Soundtrack metal!
Yes, kind of! But then only a bit in between songs, so you do actually have real songs.
If you were to write a soundtrack, what kind of movie would you choose?
I would choose a movie like the Hunger Games, for example. Or maybe even the Transformers.
Those are surprising picks! Most Metal bands usually choose a horror movie when asked this question. I’m pleasantly surprised by your choices!
It doesn’t necessarily have to be that creepy for me, do you know what I mean? I prefer it more cinematic I guess.
Great answer. Your role in the Generation Lost project, would you say it’s bigger than in the Shadowrise project?
It is a little bit bigger because I have a bit more creative input. I really can’t compose, but the the guy that’s helping me takes my input and tries to help me make it into a song. That’s kind of how that project works.
It seemed to be a bit more your own project when I compared the band pages and had a look at the material you’re creating. It looked like it had your stamp on it a little bit more.
Yeah, I guess so. That’s probably true.
Do you have any news on a possible release for that project?
No, not right now. It’s much more difficult for me to write for this project, than any of my other projects. No one really lives near me.
I understand, that makes it harder to write.
Yes it’s harder if you can’t really write and work on it on a regular basis. It will take a while longer for this one.
Well with the internet it’s possible these days. I write for a Russian band myself, that I’ve not even seen in real life yet. The whole internet thing makes it a bit easier to create.
So, where do you go from here? What’s next for your bands, and what’s next for Laura?
Once I finish my studies I’m going to give some vocal classes and things like that. I’m going to see if I can start giving private lessons under my own name, perhaps for a music school or something like that. I’m also looking into the possibility to do some modelling, I think that would be cool to. To have a little bit of variety. Where it comes to the bands, we are working on an album with Shadowrise, we already have three songs in progress. It will sound like the songs you already heard on the EP, it will be a little like that. We’ll probably have about twelve songs and we will try to bring a bit more variety in that as well. Maybe a ballad, maybe an instrumental track, but we will build on the sound we already have.
Alright! It’s a great distinctive sound already, so I’d say, don’t change too much. How is the inspiration in the band at the moment, are there a lot of ideas for the new album?
Short answer, but a good one. It won’t take long to write in that case? *laughs*
I don’t know, maybe a year. The thing is, we want to bring in more detail. We already have a few songs, but to make them as detailed as the tracks on the EP, that will take a bit of time to do. I don’t know if that will go very fast.
I can imagine. There is indeed a lot of details in your songs, but that is also one of the things that makes the EP fun to listen to multiple times. You always find something new in there. We would love to see you perform a bit more. Do you have any tour plans?
We do have tour plans for the end of the year, from October till December, but during the summer there’s not much going on performance wise.
So it’s holiday first, celebrate finishing your studies and then go back out there. Sounds like a good plan. I saw someone suggesting Wacken to you on your Facebook…
Yeah, we’re going to try that I guess but Wacken sounds like something where we’re not going to be able to play until we have a couple of more albums under our belt *laughs*
*laughs* well, it’s a fun festival, ever been there?
No, but I am going this year! I heard stories that it’s really awesome. Even the campsite alone.
It is, it’s huge. They also have a Metal Battle every year at Wacken, where you can win a spot at the festival. I’d say try that next year!
We probably will. This year there wasn’t any, actually.
There wasn’t? I’m surprised.
This year it was in the Caribbean actually *laughs*
I haven’t been there for way too long. Do you have any tips for starting Metal artists that did not have the solid Metal education you had?
I think you should just go out there with your music, just play and know you don’t only learn from trying to be a better musician, you also learn a lot from just playing. Just write some music and go out there and play, you know?
Get experience, get on the stage, get heard. Great advice. Final question, do you have any last words for our readers?
Eat cookies, they’re nice
*laughs* I like that. Thank you very much to take the time to talk to us. We will be checking in with you again when you finished your album, enjoy your show tonight!
Metal On Loud!