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SinHeresY Interview

SinHeresY Interview 
September 12, 2013 (via Skype)

Generally, albums with equal doses of clean female and male voices are not at all to my taste. The combination of voices seems to infuse the music with a cloying quality that curdles my ears and spikes my misanthropic danger zone. But hot damn, after listening to only half of Paint the World, the debut album by the Italian metal sextet SinHeresY, I scampered off to ask Bakerteam Records for an interview with female vocalist, Cecilia Petrini. Dive in for an in-depth discussion of SinHeresy’s new album, Cecilia’s abiding love for Queen, crazy tour stories, and much more!




Sonic Cathedral:  Welcome to Sonic Cathedral, Cecilia! First things first, would you give us a short introduction to SinHeresY?

Cecilia:  Hi! SinHeresY is a symphonic metal band from Italy, although sometimes “symphonic” is a restrictive term to describe us. We are a six-piece band with two vocalists (a male and female), guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. Then for the new album, we also made a collaboration with an arranger and composer, so it’s like a seventh member of the band. We come from Trieste, which is a city in the northeast of Italy.

Sonic Cathedral:  Is that why SinHeresY have done gigs in Slovenia, because the border is relatively close?

Cecilia:  Yes. We made some gigs in Slovenia because it is easier to find some gigs there than here. There are restrictive laws about live performances -- about loudness, about timetables, and such as that. So, it’s easier to play … well … anywhere but here. <all laugh>

Sonic Cathedral:  For those who have heard The Spiders and the Butterfly EP and soon will be able to hear your full-length debut, Paint the World, what are the differences between the two albums?

Cecilia:  Well, The Spiders and the Butterfly is a darker album, while Paint the World tends towards more open sensations. It is not that gloomy; it’s not that sad; and it’s not that dark. Paint the World covers a wide range of emotions, but mostly positive emotions. This is expressed in the music and in the lyrics. So, it’s a happy evolution of the band! <laughs>

Sonic Cathedral: In SinHeresY’s bio, you say that Paint the World underscores the “cinematic side of the band.” What do you mean by that?

Cecilia:  We always like to give all the songs a specific content. On this album, this is underlined by the music. Every lyric explains a specific moment, a specific emotion or a specific situation, and the music is a kind of cinematographic score for the mood presented in the lyrics. They are like mini-movies, but without images.


Sonic Cathedral:  In keeping with the cinematic feel to the music, SinHeresY collaborated with Lorenzo Visintin, who wrote the scores for some short films and documentaries. How did you get hooked up with him?

Cecilia:  Some boys of the band knew him since they were kids. Trieste is not a very big city, so all the musicians end up knowing each other. I am not from Trieste, but the guys already knew Lorenzo very well, and thought immediately of him when we thought to give the album this direction.

Sonic Cathedral:  Fans are always curious about the musical backgrounds of singers. Would you share with us your story?

Cecilia:  I loved music since I was a child, actually, since I can remember. I started taking piano lessons when I was 10 or 11 years old. I never took vocal lessons, but I started singing in some choirs in my town and started singing with some kids’ bands when I was at school. Then I started to be serious in musical theater only when I moved here in Trieste. I got to know first of all Lorenzo and then Stefano, and started playing with their ex-band. So, with them, I started developing my musical skills, and learning some things from other lead vocalists and YouTube tutorials and those kinds of things. I continue to play the piano alone, and the same I do for singing. I would like to take lessons in the future.

Sonic Cathedral:  On The Spiders and the Butterfly, you did some of the piano work. Will we be hearing you playing the piano on Paint the World also?

Cecilia:  Yes, there will be one moment of piano.

Sonic Cathedral:  Which song?

Cecilia:  It will be on “Roses & Thorns”.

Sonic Cathedral:  Cecilia, when you were a little girl singing along with the radio into your hairbrush, who were you singing to?

Cecilia:  I loved Queen. Queen, Queen, QUEEN. Queen, all the life long! Then I discovered System of a Down, and it was a revelation. Then I discovered Nightwish, and here I said “oh, a female can sing metal!” I was pleased to follow that kind of metal since that moment on.

Sonic Cathedral:  A slightly awkward question: Reviewers who discover that your band started out playing Nightwish covers, invariably compare SinHeresY’s albums to Nightwish. Is that frustrating or flattering? Actually, you don’t sound anything like Nightwish to me.

Cecilia:  Ah, THANK YOU. You know Nightwish; you’ve listened to our album; and that is great. It is frustrating to be constantly compared to Nightwish because it isn’t true that we sound like them. We grew with them (of course) any one of us, and not only with them, but with other bands of the genre or the same kind. But it’s too easy to say Female Vocals + Orchestration = Nightwish. It is too easy, and it’s superficial. It means that one has not listened to our album and to Nightwish’s albums with attention. It is too easy, and it’s frustrating!

Sonic Cathedral:  For someone who is unfamiliar with SinHeresY, is there a female-fronted metal band that you think has a somewhat similar style?

Cecilia:  Hmmmm, that’s not an easy question. I am asking to Lorenzo [Pasutto, our guitarist] his opinion. <brief Italian discussion off-mic> He says that we can recall a lot of bands. Especially in the strongest parts, we can be similar to Epica, but the atmospheres are unique. We are singular in our way for the variety of feeling we like to convey.

Sonic Cathedral:  One of the things that stood out for me on Paint the World is that SinHeresY have you and Stefano Sain singing clean vocals, with roughly equal male and female vocals on most of the songs. Since you are the one who composes vocal melodies and writes the lyrics, how do you write for two voices, without creating a duet album of cheesy ‘80s power ballads?

Cecilia:  I am the first one who loves how my voice and Stefano’s voice are combined together. Because they are so different, it’s quite incredible that they sound so well together. It is like we are hot and cold, light and dark, and I like a lot this game of opposition. So it’s quite easy to write, thinking about splitting the parts in two. I also like to dramatize the lyrics when I can. If I can tell a story from two points of view, it’s a thing I like a lot. So I do it, like in “Merciless Game” or “Forever Us”, or in the new album “Elua’s Gift”. It’s not difficult to think of the melodies for my voice and for Stefano’s voice.

Of course, sometimes I made some mistakes, like I want him to sing notes that he can’t, or I want to sing parts that don’t fit with my voice. But mainly it’s quite easy to write for two vocals because I like a lot the way we sound together.



Sonic Cathedral:  We have talked about composing vocal melodies. Now how about the lyrics? When you receive the music for a new song, how do you go about writing the lyrics? Is there any discussion with the guys about what they were feeling when they wrote the music?

Cecilia:  Generally it’s composed this way. The guys make a first idea of music. Lorenzo proposes some guitar riffs, and Davide puts the first ideas for the arrangement. Sincerely, I never asked them about what they feel when they do this work! I guess Lorenzo is fine with a riff when he finds it strong and cool, while Davide pays more attention to the visual side and likes his work when it evokes to him epic images.

Then the song passes into my hands, and I let myself be hit by the sensations that the draft music gives to me. I try to transpose it onto some personal experience that I have lived or that I am living in the moment, and then I choose the theme and write the first lines of lyrics and of vocal melodies. And then, it all passes again in the rehearsal room with any one of us putting his ideas on the base that we made with the first musical draft and the first lyrical draft.

In my part, I don’t think a lot about what I do; instead, I let myself be trailed by feelings and sensations and emotions. Then, after the choice of the main theme, I am a bit of a maniac about writing because I don’t like to repeat words or concepts and I like to use specific terms. Sometimes, I have to admit that I find English difficult because I think that Italian is richer in some aspects. So I want a word to express that particular feeling, but in English, that word doesn’t exist or I have to use an entire phrase. <laughs> This bothers me because I am such a maniac in writing! It takes me a lot of time, sometimes I stay for days or weeks just on one word or one rhyme. But I think I always found the right solution, so I am in peace with my mind.

Sonic Cathedral:  Two related questions, then. First, do you original write the lyrics in Italian? Second, is there a particular place where you find the most inspiration when writing lyrics?

Cecilia:  For the first, I try to write in English immediately, if I can. Because of the problem I said to you before, sometimes if I think about a word in Italian and I want that word, maybe it doesn’t exist in English. So, if I can, I try to write in English immediately. For the second, yes, it’s my room. In my room, I have got all the calm and all the time to think and to evolve anything I want to write. And I’ve got the dictionaries!

Sonic Cathedral:  I have read in previous interviews that SinHeresY’s lyrics are autobiographical. The Spiders and the Butterfly was a darker, gloomier album, where Paint the World is a more positive album. Does that reflect a change in your own life, or was it simply an artistic choice for the new album?

Cecilia:  No. <laughs> It is because of a change in my life. I don’t make this on purpose, but when I write, I end up revealing in the lyrics my feelings and emotions. So now there was a year of beautiful experiences and a change of mind that helped me to go out from a bad situation. This ended up influencing the mood of the songs, so the album ended up this way. Of course, after the composition of the first songs, there was also a meditative process behind the rest of the work. The guys agreed with the mood that the songs were taking and continued to write according to this idea, to give any song a specific personality but also to create a sense of unity in the listening of the whole album.

Sonic Cathedral:  Paint the World is the first time that SinHeresY worked with a live choir. Would you tell us about working with the Auricorale Vivavoce choir?

Cecilia:  It was amazing! We went through a lot of troubles to find a choir. But then, we knew them, and they were enthusiastic to collaborate with us and learned the pieces in … if I remember … two weeks’ time. For them, it was one of the first experiences in recording. It was amazing from our side and from theirs. Everyone was really happy to participate in this project!

The day we recorded the choir, there was a very positive atmosphere in the recording room. It was really great! It sounded strange to hear what we wrote FINALLY sung by a real choir. <all laugh>

Sonic Cathedral:  In addition to having a guest choir, SinHeresY also have a guest cellist, violinist and flautist. What was the thinking behind doing those particular instruments live, instead of using synths or samples?

Cecilia:  The decision was taken because of one song in particular, which is “Our Angel”. It is a nearly completely acoustic song, so we immediately thought that true instruments, instead of samples on the computer, would be a lot better. I knew personally the three musicians, and I immediately thought about them because I know they are very, veeery good and professional. We knew it would be an excellent result, instead of using a computer.

Sonic Cathedral:  “Our Angel” is BEAUTIFUL, probably one of my favorite songs on the album, and live instruments definitely provide a different mood.

Cecilia:  I think it sounds warmer with real instruments. That song deserved it. It is the only one I didn’t write, but Lorenzo’s father wrote it. When he asked me to translate it in English, I found those words so close to my heart that I shed some tears. It is a very heartfelt song, and I’m very proud of how it resulted. I think it’s one of my favorites too.


Sonic Cathedral:  Among other things, SinHeresY did a Baltic tour in January, brrrrr …

Cecilia:  Yeah, that was CRAZY!

Sonic Cathedral:  I am curious about metal fans in Baltic countries versus fans in Italy and Slovenia, where you usually play.

Cecilia:  Well, first of all, I have to say that it was wonderful! Really, after the four days there, all of us would have liked to stay another four weeks, because of the participation of the people mostly. Everyone was really taken into our music and into our gigs. I think it’s a difference in the mentality. I don’t know, maybe it is because, here in Italy, sometimes we found such a closed mentality that the Baltic one seemed so … wait, let me look up the term on WordReference <typing> … “welcoming.” <laughs> Ah, I KNEW it!

Sonic Cathedral:  What has been your strangest experience at a live show?

Cecilia:  Hmmm, that’s difficult. The most strange experiences happen when we find someone strange in the audience because it seems that we attract all the crazy people! <all laugh>

Sonic Cathedral:  Can you give us an example?

Cecilia:  I could tell you a lot of these happenings. Once in Ljubljana (in Slovenia), this guy was air-guitaring all the time from the beginning of the end of the show -- two hours air-guitaring from the front of the stage. Then he offered us a lot of vodka and talked with us for hours. It was crazy. Still I don’t know how we could understand each other in that mix of Italian, Slovenian, English and dialect Triestino!

Or during the Baltic tour, after the last concert, it was like four in the morning, and we had to leave on seven to the airport. We decided to pass those three hours awake, drinking and dancing and chatting with the people. We just went in the hotel to prepare the luggages, and then we returned in the pub. And there we found our driver completely drunk! He had just one moment of lucidity to give Stefano the keys of the bus. So, Stefano drove for four hours to the airport of Riga, after a rockin’ concert and a night awake (and some beers and Jägermeister). He was a hero!

Sonic Cathedral:  Cecilia, do you have the physical CD for Paint the World yet?

Cecilia:  No, still I don’t. But it will be here in I guess a week (I hope).

Sonic Cathedral:  As a new band, what was it like to hold the actual The Spiders and the Butterfly CD in your hands, and be able to see the disc and booklet of this work that SinHeresY created together?

Cecilia:  You can understand that it’s a fantastic emotion! Sometimes I look at the CD, and I want to have a copy to put in a frame on the wall, to look at with loving eyes. Then I want another copy to destroy it because of all the tension. You can understand that it was enough of work, and sometimes we discuss it a lot. It is a lot of stress, it’s a lot of time, and it’s a lot of expense. So, sometimes I look at my work, and I think: “Oh god, what am I doing?!” But of course, the main feeling is “WOW”. It is something mine; it’s something ours; and it’s incredible how we can create such a great thing with just our strength and passion.

Sonic Cathedral:  Has SinHeresY discussed making a video for the new album?

Cecilia:  Yes, of course. We are planning a video, and are in the pre-production phase where we are deciding what kind of cast to give to our video, together with Mario Orman who shot the video of “Temptation Flame”. We are working always with him. So, we are deciding now where to do it, how we would appear in it, how the story would be, and so on. We are planning to do it in the next one or two months, and to publish it the beginning of next year.

Sonic Cathedral:  I am looking forward to that! After the CD release on September 30th, what is in the pipeline for SinHeresY?

Cecilia:  We are preparing now the release party, the first great concert to present the album here in our city of Trieste. We hope that it will be a great event, because we play at home. So we expect a lot of people and a lot of success. It will be on October 4. And then, we will open the concert for Anathema in Bologna on October 28. That will be the first time we can put ourselves together with such a big name, so we are very proud and we feel excited about it!

Sonic Cathedral:  If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose?


Cecilia:  I would say Wacken right now, because Lorenzo and Stefano when there last month, and told me it was absolutely amazing. So I would say Wacken, but I don’t know. Any festival would be a great occasion!

Sonic Cathedral:  What final words would you like to tell Sonic Cathedral readers?

Cecilia:  I would say: “Try to give us a listen, and you won’t regret it!”

Sonic Cathedral:  Thank you so much for talking with us today, Cecilia. We certainly have been enjoying Paint the World!

Cecilia:  Thank you so much for this conversation! I’m sorry for my insecure English.

Sonic Cathedral:  Well, sorry for my horrible pronunciation of every Italian name and word. <laughs> So, I think we’re definitely even.

Many thanks to Angelo Mora at Bakerteam Records for setting up this interview. You guys ROCK.

Promotional photos by Mario Orman Live photos by Martina Micalizzi (M Art Photos)


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