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La-Ventura Interview

Present - Toine van Poorten (Metal Maidens) members of LA-Ventura
Interview took place in the Netherlands
January 2008

It’s always nice to introduce another talented Dutch band to you. After hearing the debut album "A New Beginning" of LA-VENTURA, our radar detector for talent immediately turned red-hot. Meaning that this band has created an album far above the average quality, we normally hear. All the more reason to introduce this new Dutch melodic metal band to you. Vocalist and frontlady Carla Douw, former ORPHANAGE drummer Erwin Polderman and bassplayer Mike Saffrie were very kind to answer all our questions in the interview below. We welcome you to the world of LA-VENTURA, where a ‘new beginning’ starts…


Toine:  When was LA-VENTURA founded and can you please introduce the band members to us?

Carla Douw:  "The full line up was formed in 2006: Carla Douw on vocals, Erwin Polderman on drums, Mike Saffrie on bass and Sascha Kondic on guitar."

Toine:  Who came up with the name LA-VENTURA and why did you actually choose this name?

Carla:  "After we discussed a lot of potential names, LA-VENTURA was eventually chosen. Later on, we discovered it meant ‘luck’ in Spanish .It has proven to be a very fortunate name for us, because we have had our share of luck already!"

Toine:  We know that Erwin Polderman comes from ORPHANAGE. Did any of the other members play in other bands as well, before they joined LA-VENTURA, and if yes, in which bands did they play?

Carla:  "Well, we all have had our experience in bands and several projects, but at this moment LA-VENTURA matters."

Toine:  Can we see LA-VENTURA as the next in line of never-ending female-fronted gothic metal bands, like WITHIN TEMPTATION, AFTER FOREVER, EPICA, etc.?

Carla:  "Only the future will tell how successful we will be. If we have luck on our side…."

Toine:  Is it still possible for a band to be original, in a time where there is an overflow of bands? And in which aspect does LA-VENTURA differ from the rest of all these other bands?

Carla:  "I think we are original in our own way. Of course there is enough similarity in this style of music, but we did and still do give it our own twist."

Toine:  How would you describe your music yourself?

Carla:  "It is dynamic, groovy and very catchy. As a vocalist; I try to bring in a lot of melody and to write catchy choruses."

Toine:  Who can we see as your musical influences and maybe we can also name some influences of each band member individually here?

Carla:  "Over the years many bands, singers and musical influences helped me to become the singer songwriter I am now. I could name some like ALANIS MORISSETTE, TORI AMOS and LACUNA COIL."

Toine:  How did the press react on your debut album so far?

Carla:  "We received a lot of positive reactions on our debut from the press, media and music industry. Not only the Netherlands, but also the UK, USA and Belgium have shown great interest."

Toine:  Were there any negative reactions as well, and if yes how do you deal with negative criticism in general?

Carla:  "We do take all criticism seriously, though we realise that there will always be people with a different point of view. I think everyone is allowed to have their own opinion."

Toine:  In my opinion, the album becomes better and better, as it progresses. Meaning, that you saved the best songs for last. This in contrary to most artists, who usually start with their best material first. Did I get that right or am I the only one, who has this opinion?

Carla:  "We choose the order of the tracks very carefully, but did not save the best songs for last. However, we did want to give the album a strong end by building up the songs in progression towards the end. Guess you like the progressive/real metal influences in our songs. That is great to hear!"

Toine:  Can you tell us how your created the songs/ideas for this album? Please tell us about your writing process and its different stages.

Carla:  "The writing of the album was certainly a band process based on blueprints and ideas. Each member contributed their tracks and the songs were building up and layered until it had grown to be a satisfied composition."

Toine:  Why did you release the album independently? Didn’t you want to be rejected by record labels, or do you want to hold all the cards in your own hands, so you don’t have to make any concessions how it would sound?

Mike Saffrie:  "We had gone our separate ways with the old label and wanted to make our release date in October. A lot was riding on the date: special location for the showcase, media known about it, fans were waiting for our album, etc. But most of all, we as band wanted to show everybody, that we can get things done and have the album released on the date we had set."

Toine:  Wasn’t it extremely difficult to do everything by yourself, and what was the most difficult part of the making, recording and releasing of "A New Beginning"?

Mike:  "We are fortunate to know so many professionals in the scene. I only had to call them and set the timeline for them and work progressed rapidly. The hardest part for me was to control the process: we only had three weeks to mix and do the mastering on the CD to make sure the manufacturing could be done, so the stock could be delivered at my doorstep a week before I had to ship a batch to our promotion manager, who needed at least three to four weeks to get as much out as possible in the media so reviews and all could come in around the release date. In the meantime, artwork had to be ready in the three weeks of mixing and all, finances had to be ready, a video had to be shot with all the logistics involved, etc. You could imagine, that when the CDs were delivered, I then only knew we could make it yes or no with the promotion and all the stuff for the release date in October….. That my friend is what you call a stressful period!"

Toine:  Who writes the lyrcis for LA-VENTURA and what are they about?

Carla:  "I wrote all the lyrics of the album. Some were old lyrics, that I wrote earlier on and others were written especially for this album. I used various subjects like things that occurred in life, some social political issues and dealing with the past."

Toine:  You were also responsible for the artwork on your debut CD. Where did you get your inspiration and did you somehow have any experience already in painting, drawing or creating some kind of artwork?

Carla:  "The artwork is done by the Croatian artist Dalibor Marinkovic. We spotted his work on the internet and contacted him. He is a very talented and professional artist and it was a pleasure to work with him."

Toine:  What’s your fave LA-VENTURA song and why?

Carla:  "One of my favourite songs is "A New Beginning". It’s a song with a strong message and good melody lines. There is also a lot of room for the vocals in it and I can express my feelings fully, when we are on stage. I can see and hear often afterwards, that it touches people. For me, this is one of the highlights in the set."

Toine:  How important is the internet for a band like LA-VENTURA and where can people find you?

Carla:  "Yes, the internet proved to be an excellent way to promote the band and its music. It has helped us build up a good network of contacts from all over the world. An important website is MySpace http://www.myspace.com/laventura, along sides our official bandsite http://www.la-ventura.com (which is going through a complete overhaul at this point)."

Toine:  Do you do all the internet stuff yourself as well, or do you outsource this job?

Carla:  "So far, we maintain the websites ourselves."

Toine:  Do you have other hobbies or interests besides playing music in a band?

Carla:  "Well, most of our time we spend on LA-VENTURA at the moment."

Toine:  What can people expect from the live shows of LA-VENTURA?

Mike:  "A lot of energy and a lot of atmosphere. Though you may not like the music, I think there is a lot more to enjoy when seeing us play."

Toine:  Do you use any show elements during your live gigs?

Mike:  "Well, we are performers first on stage and second musicians for most of the audience. They want to see you work on stage, to get that energy flowing and have that chemistry with the audience. If the music sucks, but you performed your ass off, people still can say that it was a good show, very enjoyable hahahahaha!"

Toine:  Do you play any cover songs on stage, and if yes, which covers do you play?

Mike:  "We did play covers, but now we more and more play our own music and we will add some new stuff in the set in a few month time."

Toine:  Erwin, haven’t people asked the band to play an ORPHANAGE song (or two) every now and then?

Erwin Polderman:  "No, they have never asked us, and if so, who should do the grunts?:)"

Toine:  With which bands did you share the stage already? Did you learn anything from bands like ASRAI or AUTUMN?

Mike:  "We shared the stage with a lot of bands already, like AUTUMN and ASRAI and we will continue to play with other bands in the future. As far as learning from other bands, it is just something that goes without saying. You see the good and the bad, you maybe even get an idea to work out yourself, but the main thing stays the same: you are what you are as a band with its own face, so let’s keep it that way!"

Toine:  Are there any funny stories to tell our readers about things that happened on stage or during the touring?

Mike:  "Well… euhm…. I don’t know whether I am allowed to tell all of these things…if you know what I mean! I really want to stay part of the band and do not want be kicked out, because I said something about that bassplayer, that always seem to break things even on stage like his guitarstrap, ‘cause he wanted to look ‘cool’ for a photo - stupid! O, shit now I did tell you something…oh well.. I know this bassplayer very well, so he will forgive me!"

Toine:  With which band would you like to go on tour, if you could pick any band of your choice?

Mike:  "For me, bands like KILL SWITCH ENGAGE or SEVENDUST are favourites or even MACHINE HEAD, though it would be hard to get in their tour program. But we can dream, right?! Maybe a band in our style of music would be WITHIN TEMPTATION, because then we could do the really big venues and all, coooool!"

Toine:  What was your most important gig so far?

Mike:  "Our release party gig for our closest friends, family and fans. Though it was short, it was very sweet! I had a great time, but also knew the importance of the gig."

Toine:  Did you already play outside the Benelux, and if yes, where was that?

Mike:  "No, because what’s the point? The album is not out there and no promotion is done at this point. You have to built a case first to make things happen. We have parties interested abroad and when the album is out and the media has picked us up, gigs will follow."

Toine:  What are the future plans for LA-VENTURA?

Mike:  "That’s a lot to mention right now. All I can say is, that we have signed a new contract. Making the States the primary market, but in the whole of the process the CD will be released and available/distributed worldwide. This means touring for us in the States, shooting a new video, doing promotion all over the place, etc."

Toine:  Carla, do you think, that women in rock and metal still need the kind of recognition ‘zines like Metal Maidens give to them?

Carla:  "I really appreciate all the support of devoted people in this music scene. E-zines like Metal Maidens help us women, a lot (…but then again us women do like attention very much…)"

Toine:  Carla, do you also play an instrument, next to singing? If yes, which instrument do you play?

Carla:  "I also play flute and a little bit piano."

Toine:  Erwin, why did ORPHANAGE disband in your opinion, while they were at the peak of their success?

Erwin:  "I have read on the internet, that there was lack of mutual trust. I though the peak of ORPHANAGE's success was at the time of the "By Time Alone" album. Correct me, if I'm wrong…."

Toine:  Do you know, if Rosan van der Aa (former ORPHANAGE singer) is still active in the music scene?

Erwin:  "I don't know. From a friend I heard she has three kids, so she must be pretty busy."

Toine:  Are you still a member of SILICON HEAD, or is this also part of the past now?

Erwin:  "I quit SILICON HEAD, shortly after I quit ORPHANAGE. Both bands were a great experience."

Toine:  Are there any important gigs on the agenda for LA-VENTURA?

Mike:  "Not right now, because we have to keep our agenda open for the States, but that doesn’t mean that we stopped playing here! When the dates for the tour(s) in the States are confirmed, we can plan the rest of the year for gigs in the Benelux, probably the UK also and then we see. Just check our websites."

Toine:  We noticed, that you are playing in Zierikzee (Zeeland area in The Netherlands) with DELAIN in March. How important is it for you to play this part of the country? LA VENTURA has certainly put Zeeland on the map again….

Mike:  "First I have to correct this: DELAIN will not able to do the gig, but we will do the gig with KINGFISHER SKY instead. Wherever you do a gig, you have to have support. For us, Zeeland was and still is our base, our home ground. We have built our fanbase here and this is now growing to other parts in Holland, as well as in Belgium."

Toine:  Do you have any goals set for LA-VENTURA?

Mike:  "Goals come and go with the progress a band is going through. Goals have to be set to get things done and along the road they get changed or sharpened. Let us just see what the future will bring now we have signed a licensing deal!"

Toine:  What are your plans for the next LA-VENTURA album? Are you most likely going to release it independently again, or are you looking for a suitable record label to release your second album?

Mike:  "All of this is just hypothetically, so I can’t answer this. What I do know is this: when opportunities come on our path; we damn sure are going to look into them!"

Toine:  Do you have any personal messages for our readers?

Mike:  "Thank you all for your support we have had in our first year in the professional scene. We owe a lot to our fans and the industry/media (like yourself), who believe(d) in us and gave us a chance. We hope in the future we will keep the support and grow alongside you all.You make things happen for LA-VENTURA! Thank you!"

Toine:  The last words in this interview are for Carla, Erwin and LA-VENTURA…..

Carla:  "Thank you so much for this interview. Your support is most appreciated!"

Check out the band at: http://www.la-ventura.com

Website: http://www.metalmaidens.com

Metal Maidens website