XANDRIA : interview with Lisa Middelhauve
phoner by Matthew "Newbreed99" Haumschild___May 2007
organized by Focusion.de, gryphonmetal.ch/Matthew Haumschild
IT WAS JUST A JOKE BUT NOW IT SOUNDS REALLY GOOD
I was curious, first off, behind the name Xandria for the band.
Oh, this is such a boring story <laughing> Xandria was just any name
that came into the bands creator or leader Marco. It was in the
mid-90’s, and I think he told me he was sitting on the toilet while
thinking of a band name. It doesn’t mean anything special but we found
out that Xandria is the Egyptian name for the city Alexandria and that
it’s pronounced “handria” and there are Russian horses and porn
actresses named Xandria but we didn’t…<laughing>
I understand you went in and recorded with the Italian band, “The
Dogma” how was that?
Yes I did, it was in January and it was so much fun but I only met the
singer. It was a bit sad because I had the rest of the band on the phone
before and they sounded very funny and quite friendly and I would have
liked to have meet them all. But it was jus the singer and he was just a
cutie too. It was fun too because they work in a completely different way
than what we do and it’s always interesting how other bands work.
Now, with “Salome – The 7th Veil” you and the band went
into a completely different direction, was that what you were going for?
Oh it was great that you say so, but I think we didn’t plan to do it,
when we thought about where to go and what to do with this album we
immediately just wanted to not have any limits, we didn’t want to limit
our expression, we didn’t want to limit our production didn’t want to
limit our style and so there’s pop songs and so there’s rock songs and
even bad bad growl parts like in “Firestorm.” We just wanted to
everything we wanted to and that is what the plan was. But we are quite
happy with the result that it sounds more like rock music and not so much
trashy gothic style.
Well, I rather enjoyed it; I was quite shocked when I heard it.
Well thank you! It was the first time for us to produce on our own and we
are very proud of it.
How on Earth did you all come up with “Sisters of the Light?” It
sounds so different than any other song I’ve ever heard.
<laughing> I’ll tell you the true story. You are the first person
I am telling this to. I don’t know if you know of the band Tanzwut they
are a German band with bagpipes and stuff, and this style is very popular
in Germany or in Europe. And we were on tour with them four years ago, it
was really long ago, Marco was sitting at the computer and trying to write
a song that sounded like this bagpipe music and he just wanted to joke
around and he just showed me the song and he said, “Hey that’s the new
Xandria sound” and I was listening to it and I was really shocked and I
said, “Nooo! You don’t mean we should this, it’s so disgusting
it’s so cruel I don’t want it!” and then he said, “well you’ve
got to try out something because really want to have it on the album.”
And he was just joking around and I was so I just believed what he said
and I was trying around with my voice try to make something out of this
song and then I showed him and he said, “Oh wow! Lisa, you really did
it! It was just a joke but now it sounds really good!” And so everybody
was trying out to make something out of this song and finally there was
“Sisters of the Light.” But it sounded as a joke! <laughing>
That’s funny and that’s my favourite song on the album!
Everyone in Germany you know, everybody says that we are gothic but that
is only one of many styles we do. And all the “true gothic” magazines
all come to us and say, “but it’s so…happy. How could you make such
a happy song?” <laughing> And we just say, “well, we’re not
just sad all the time.”
Your duet with Mika from Entwine, how did that come about?
Yeah, we got to know Entwine personally from the Ravenheart tour it was
2004 I think. And we stayed in contact. The bass player of Xandria and
Mika are close friends and we had the song, “Only For The Stars In Your
Eyes” and before we had any of the vocals the working title was
“Finnrock” because it sounded like a Finnish rock band and we were
just joking around like, we need a Finnish singer for it, like Ville Valo
or Mika. But there is this collection of money we would have to spend the
money for plane tickets from Finland. Then we said, “Oh well shit, we
have to ask him, this would be so nice so we asked him and it was such a
big surprise for Mika was in Germany at that time and just one hour away
from our studio and so he came to us and we had a funny day with lots of
Red Wine and when he was ready with working with the song he looked at me
and he was really drunk and he said, “well what can I say, I’m
Finnnnnnnish…” <laughing> He’s such a cutie and he’s just so
short he’s up to my chin! And I am standing next to him and I feel like
Would you consider this CD a concept album?
No definitely not. It’s kind of patchwork or a puzzle. Every song has
got it’s own special meaning and there’s no specific musical context.
Well…the concept is to have no concept.
How do you feel when you get compared to other bands with a female singer?
Amused. I hated some years ago when we started. I wasn’t that
self-confident and when people came see us they would say that Tarja
Turunen but not that good and I was so sad about it because I just
thought, “how could I get as good as the other singers?” And I think
some years ago I just stopped thinking that way and I started thinking
about how I can I be my self the best way and so I think now I am doing
it. I don’t I know any other singer in this genre that are singing as
deep and as high or in a rock voice or an opera voice, I am doing
everything and I don’t know any other singer that’s doing this at
least female singers. There’s loads of male singers doing this. Ya know,
I love melodic death metal and I love it because the singers are doing so
much, they are growling really deep stuff and they just have such
fantastic voices like the Opeth singer, I just admire him. Deep in my
heart I am a death metal fan! <laughing> I’m trying to do it just
as they do it. Trying to do very very angry and doing very very nice. I am
a bit paranoid about that.
Now, that explains a few things, in “Firestorm” I heard this growling
I was that voice!
I’ve been doing it live for many years but I was never allowed to do it
on an album and I fought for it and now everyone is happy and now I hear
that they always wanted it. <laughing>
Last year you went on tour with Visions of Atlantis, do you have any fond
memories from that tour?
There was a member of our crew, Daniel and he had a crush on Melissa
(singer for VOA) and fell in love with her. Totally, his face would turn
pink every time she was there and I think we only did 5 shows with them.
And everyday Daniel would go up to me, “Can’t you talk to Melissa I am
so in love with her, you know how to talk about love and these types of
things can’t you find out what she thinks of me?” and I was like,
“Daniel, no! I don’t want to be in the middle of this!”
<laughing> And she was so nice to him because she didn’t know he
was falling in love with her and she is just so nice to everybody and so I
swear I could see Daniels heart bumping when he was standing next to her!
But it was so much fun and Melissa…I just love this girl she’s so
charming and I think she is one of the nicest persons I’ve ever met in
this business and she’s rock & roll this is what I like when I meet
other women in the business because there are so many girls that are so
“diva” or gothic princess or metal princess and, “Aww this is so
dirty,” and “Aw this is...no aww!” I just like girls that are just
rock & roll and say something like “this room looks like it needs
lots of work, but I don’t mind I don’t care I can dress myself and do
my make-up on a toilet I don’t mind. So I like her for being so natural
so grounded and so charming.
Would you ever tour with them again?
Oh every time! I would pack my suitcase and tour with them now! They are
really nice people and real rock & roll
“Game of the Tower” There is this tower. At the top of this tower, it
could only fit two bands. And your goal is to be on top of this tower.
However, miraculously, on your way up, you discover that there’s a
problem, there’s three bands on top, and in order for you to fit, and
you have to push down two of the three bands. The bands that are up there
Temptation, The Gathering, or Visions Of Atlantis
Ah…oh damn! I would knock off first, The Gathering because they’ve
been up there for such a long time and they have had lots of Rock &
Roll and metal fame and now it’s our turn! Second then is, oh that’s
so hard! The second is Within Temptation for personally I like Visions of
Atlantis more and I think we would have more fun.
Ya know, I asked Melissa that same question and she said Xandria would be
the other band.
Awwww this is so nice! If I were to marry I would marry Melissa!
Thank you very much we hope to see you real soon on tour!
Matthew Haumschild 25.05.2007
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