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Interview with Christina Kalantzi, Dakrya vocalist PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 11 March 2011

Fairly new on the female-fronted metal scene, Dakrya is one of those very unique metal bands that add other elements of music to their repertoire. They recently released the album Crime Scene on Sensory Records in the USA.  One of the “voices” of Dakrya is female Christina Kalantzi.  She took the time to give us some insight into the workings of the large ensemble of Dakrya and their theatrical techniques.

USA Progressive Music: Have you had any vocal training?

Christina Kalantzi: Yes, I had vocal training for a few years. I still try to keep my voice in a good shape and I’m always glad to discover Christina Kalantzinew potentials on my voice. I think the more you work on it the more you get. Also, I try to explore new styles of singing and sing different kinds of music.

USAProgMusic: How did you decide what kind of vocal style you wanted Dakrya music and Crime Scene to feature? Were you trying to sound like anyone particular?

Christina: Actually, I didn't have to decide anything as the lyrics and the music of Crime Scene put me in the right mood immediately. The vocal styles in this album are quite diverse. There are parts where with Thomais [Chatzigianni] we sing in a more jazzy way, while in other parts we are more lyrical, more aggressive or even cynical. Of course we had in mind that Crime Scene is kind of a theatrical play and through our vocals we tried to interpret our roles and point out the meaning of every word in it. I didn't try to sound like anyone and I avoid doing that, because finding my own identity as a singer concerns me a lot. But I guess that during this process, of finding my own voice, I had different influences.

USAProgMusic: How long did it take you to record the vocals for Crime Scene since there were so many voices?

Christina: Before getting into the studio, all the vocal arrangements were done, so we just had to concentrate on our performance. Of course we had some last minute changes and left some space for improvisation, because during the recording fresh ideas may show up and you have to cease the inspiration of the moment. Along with Thomais and George, we were really focused on it and we are very satisfied by the whole outcome. So, it took as about a week to record the vocals, but it could be less if we didn't have to deal with some unexpected illnesses...

USAProgMusic: How did the concept for Crime Scene come about? Was it based on anything (a book, movie)?

Christina: Actually the concept of this album isn’t based on any book or movie. Crime Scene is actually a metaphor about the world we live in. So simple and so complicated at the same time. A person has to change so many faces in order to obtain a “socialized” and “normal” image, that if you think about it a little bit… we all look psychotic. In Crime Scene we improvise against reality!

USAProgMusic:  Have you tried to recreate Crime Scene live?  If not, is this something the band wants to do in the future?  Would it be like a concert or a musical with actors?

Christina: This is what we try to do at the moment. In a few days we have our first live performance since the release of Crime Scene and we want to present to the audience something more than a music concert. We'll turn the stage into a ''crime scene'' where we'll be both the ''criminals'' and the ''victims''. It will be something between a concert and a musical with many surprises that I can't reveal... As for the actors, we're not gonna use any, as we thought it's time for us to reveal to the audience some other aspects of our talent... so people you'd better get ready! In the future maybe new ideas show up and enrich our performance with new elements.

USAProgMusic:  Have you thought about creating a film version of Crime Scene?

Christina: This would be really wonderful I guess, but no! We don’t have the budget to do something like that yet… Who knows, maybe we’ll do it in the future!

USAProgMusic:  How has the reception been for Dakrya, being that it is so unique from most metal bands?

Christina: The truth is that we didn't expect it to that level, but the reception for us was really overwhelming. Especially for Crime Scene, which is even more experimental and unique than our first album Monumento, we received a lot of great reviews, with a few exceptions that found it quite weird and difficult to listen to. We are always excited to receive people's support on every new step we make and find out how open minded the audience can be. We believe in what we do and that gives us the urge to move on.

USAProgMusic: What was your personal experience with metal music?  Are there any metal bands that are major influences?

Christina: I came across metal music during my high school years and I’m a big fan since then, although rock music, especially from the ‘70s and ‘80s is really my cup of tea. I've been to numerous metal concerts and I’m always fascinated by the power that metal has. Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson have been a major influence for me, and also Nevermore and Psychotic Waltz.

USAProgMusic: Do you think that women have a more difficult time being recognized in the metal genre? What have been your own experiences with being a female singer in a metal band? Have you had to overcome any challenges or discrimination being a female lead singer?

Christina: Maybe at the beginning of the so called ''female metal'' scene, things were quite rough for women. Until then playing metal was a privilege mostly men had, so it reasonable to confront women with some kind of resentment. But I think women proved through the years that they deserve a place in the metal scene, with bands like Nightwish leading the way. Personally I never faced any discrimination or problem with my reception from the metal community and definitely from my band mates. Don't forget that Dakrya is a half-female band!

USAProgMusic: Although metal seems to be very big in Greece, there still is not a lot of music coming out of that country.  How do you fare in your own country?

Christina: It's a fact that Greece has a big metal audience and also there are numerous bands that play metal. But only a few, like Rotting Christ made it until now outside the borders of the country. This is really sad because there are many bands here that know how to play metal, with fresh ideas and work really hard for it. Hopefully this will change, and during the last couple of years I came across some really promising signs coming from Greek bands. As for Dakrya, the Greek audience has been very supporting, but it's up to us to spread our music further than Greece and  we are gonna work on it.

USAProgMusic: Are you working on your next album yet?  If so, will it be another concept album?

Christina: Yes, it is definitely going to be a concept album. In fact, all of Dakrya’s albums are going to be concepts. This is the only way we can put all this “theatrical” style we want into our music. SophiaX has come up with a few ideas about the next albums, but yet nothing is for sure. We are planning to work on new songs and ideas during the summer. But I can tell you that the next album is also going to be different, as we always try new things and experiment with our sound.

USAProgMusic:  What kinds of challenges have you faced having such a large ensemble (7 band members)?

Christina: The major problem we had to face until now is finding a stage big enough to hold us all! We are all friends with each other and hang out together all the time. We try to be honest, and share our thoughts and opinion about everything that has to do with the band, and we respect each other as persons and musicians as well, and so we work it out. The only thing that can give us a hard time every now and then is when it comes to co-ordination matters.

USAProgMusic:  What are the future plans for Dakrya? 

Christina: At the moment we are planning lots of concerts around Greece and a European tour is the next step. We're going to grab every opportunity to present Crime Scene live, as we enjoy playing every song in it and we think people are going to enjoy it too. I want to thank you so much for this interview and for your time!

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