INTERVIEW: Berenice Musa (Tears Of Martyr)
With their excellent sophomore release entitled “Tales“, Tears Of Martyr return to the gothic metal scene with a bang! The band’s lead singer, Berenice Musa, was kind enough to answer our questions about the new album and also about herself and music in general.
Metal Divas: Congratulations on your new album. What’s the feedback so far?
Berenice: Thank you! So far we are having really good reviews not only from the media but also from the fans and we can proudly say that the feedback is being very positive.
Metal Divas: It’s been a pleasure listening to “Tales” and reviewing it. Can you tell us any details about the writing process?
Berenice: In the past Miguel Angel , our guitarist and singer together with me, was the main composer. But for “Tales” the four of us contributed with our own ideas, which I personally think was very enriching and positive for the final result. After sharing all our ideas the next step was to select the ones we liked most and started working on them and developing the songs. Last step was the lyrics.
Metal Divas: To fans of “Entrance” like myself I would say musically your album has all the known Tears Of Martyr components but with a better production. Do you agree and what did you do different this time?
Berenice: We did our best with “Entrance“, it was an important milestone for Tears of Martyr as it was our full-length studio debut. The essence of “Tales” was already there in “Entrance” but we are now more mature in terms of song writing. We have learnt a lot with the production of Enrik Garcia (Dark Moor) in “Tales” and also from the very good job Luigi Stefanini from New Sin Studio did. Every detail has been polished and treated with care thinking the overall result. The orchestra has a better integration with the rest of the elements just as we have always desired and thought it should be.
Metal Divas: There is a wonderful, mysterious and almost supernatural atmosphere in “Tales”. Are there any references to the occult?
Berenice: There are some references to the occultism and there is a lot of space for the ‘unknown’ in our lyrics, anything related with mistery, the unsual and the occult is a big source of inspiration for us.
Metal Divas: In my review about the album, I wrote that it could be “the soundtrack to an infernal gothic ritual”. Is it wrong to label Tears Of Martyr as a gothic band?
Berenice: I don’t dare to say if it is wrong or right to label Tears of Martyr as a gothic band. I believe that every person has its own point of view and its own way of understanding things. For you we are a gothic band but probably for other persons we sound more like a symphonic metal band. I prefer that people like our music , no matter which label they give us.
Metal Divas: Berenice you have a lovely voice and you are one of the most trained singers in the metal scene nowadays. Could you describe your journey to be an artist?
Berenice: I started to study classical singing in Gran Canaria and afterwards I finished a Bachelor of music in Classical Singing in Codarts Rotterdam Conservatoire. At present I continue studying and improving.
Metal Divas: You guys have been together as a band for over 15 years, however this is your second studio album. What kind of difficulties you had to overcome?
Berenice: In our case the band was formed in the nineties in the Canary Islands, Spain. Distance was a key factor (2.000km away from Spain mainland) and being a ‘not so popular’ band made it even more difficult to play for a wider audience . It is not easy to stay motivated under these circumstances so the band suffered a lot of comings and goings of members, making it difficult to work in a long term basis. After some demos and compilations (and a lot of struggling), in 2007 we moved to Madrid and that definitely helped us a lot, giving us the chance to record our first full-length “Entrance” in 2009.
Metal Divas: Back to “Tales” for a bit. Can you tell us more about the lyrics, if there’s a subject or a theme in the album?
Berenice: “Tales” could look like a conceptual album but it is really a compendium of stories, where each song has its own identity and could stand by itself from the others. During the composition process and after few songs were completed we realized this was the connection between them, so we decided to complete the book with all these tales. In the album you can find many tales categories ranging from just original characters like “Golem“, “Mermaid and Loneliness” or “Fallen Hero“, to stories inspired in classic novels and poems like “The Scent No. 13th“, “Lost Boys” or “Of a Raven Born“. There are also songs inspired in some stories and legends from Spain, like “Vampires of the Sunset Street“, “Ancient Pine Awaits” or “Wolves and a Witch“.
Metal Divas: According to your opinion, what’s the real essence of “Tales” and your music in general?
Berenice: The things you see in Tears of Martyr now, the essence, was already there when the band was formed in the mid nineties. I could say we are now more mature, and we are able to express our feelings with more precision and knowledge. We treat both music and lyrics as a whole thing and we try to express and present those feelings to the listener.
Metal Divas: How about the album cover and the artwork? Who’s idea was it what’s the story behind it?
Berenice: The cover art was made by Adrian, our bass player. He has always been a very talented painter, so we came around with the idea he could go ahead with the cover this time, it was kind of a family business hehe. After some draft ideas he finally showed us the concept where the writer is sitting in his chair, all his tales coming out of his head and tormenting him, and we really liked it, so the ‘face’ of “Tales” was finally sculpted. I think he really did a great job and all comments are very positive so far.
Metal Divas: I really like all the songs, however “Lost Boys” and “Fallen Hero” are the ones repeating in my iTunes playlist. Can you please talk a little bit about each one?
Berenice: “Lost Boys” is a song inspired by the story of Peter Pan , though it is a metaphor as the lost boys are other boys. It has a more tragic and darker background, closer to the Tears of Martyr style. “Fallen Hero” tells the story of a chosen one within the particular universe of Tears of Martyr, it’s the story of someone who gives everything ,even his own life, and fights against powerful forces in order to save the life of millions.
Metal Divas: Correct me if I am wrong but you recently went to Portugal and shared the stage with Therion. How was that?
Berenice: You are right! For us it is always a great experience to share the stage with big bands and this time we were really excited about the idea of playing with a band like Therion. It was great they are all really nice people, but for me the best part was that we had the chance to play in front of a big crowd and how they gave us such a big support and warmth during our concert.
Metal Divas: Are you going to promote “Tales” with a tour? Do you have any shows booked?
Berenice: There are no confirmed dates for the festival season and at this moment we are looking for promoter to work with. It will be great to schedule some dates after summer so we will be able to tour consistently with “Tales” and share it on stage with the fans.
Metal Divas: And how’s the relationship with your new record label? Are you guys satisfied so far?
Berenice: After all the hard work and effort we put again this time for “Tales” it was a great reward for us to have the confidence from Massacre Records, a label with a very important space reserved in Metal History. We are really satisfied and happy with the business relation set with them and the work they are doing in promoting and selling our album.
Metal Divas: Did they had to do anything with your new video for Golem? And by the way what’s the concept behind the video?
Berenice: No , they actually didn’t had anything to do with the video. The storyboard was originally made by Miguel Angel and the production by “El Ojo Mecánico“. The concept of the video and the song as well is about freedom , believing in oneself and following your own path.
Metal Divas: Being a Spanish band and considering the financial dexterity and problems in Europe at the moment, what do you think about the future of Tears Of Martyr?
Berenice: We are aware of the current situation , but we prefer to be positive and we see us on tour and sharing “Tales” around the world, that would be really awesome for sure. Music means a lot in our life and we really enjoy it, so it is great when we are given that chance. We are thinking in new ideas as well and we don’t dismiss the idea of recording our next album in 2014.
Metal Divas: Well Berenice, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. Metal Divas would like to wish you best of luck and much success. The final words belong to you.
Berenice: Thank you for the interview and cheers to all Metal Divas readers! We hope you like “Tales” and hope to meet you all on tour soon!
Tears Of Martyr is:
Berenice Musa – Soprano
Miguel Angel Marqués – Guitars & Vocals
Adrián Miranda – Bass
Doramas Párraga – Drums