Hey, how are you?
Hello, hello, how are you? Thank you very much, I’m fine, hi! My name is Zsolt, and I’m from the Hungarian metal webzine kronosmortus.com – and it’s very nice to see you here, and I’m glad that we can make this interview happen!
Yes, same here – thanks for having me!
How was your day? Have you been busy lately?
Oh my God, so much! Um… actually today I gave a lecture at a university about some kind of… what I’m doing with, you know, modern music – like, how to be a modern musician in today’s world? Like, with the online presence – that’s been interesting! And then I just got back from the US, two days ago, so I’m very jet lagged!
Oh, Jesus Christ!
Yeah, so… but it’s been so busy, and then, last week of course, with the Temperance album! So yeah – it’s been a lot!
Yeah, I can imagine that it takes a lot of organization! By the way, do you consider yourself an organized person? In what extent do you think you are a fan for order and organizing stuff? And… in which extent should a singer in general be precise to please everyone?
Yeah… am I an organized person…? Yes, in some ways… and no. I definitely have the need to control, like, things around me – like, OCD tendencies. But there are certain things like, I’m not personally doing: the organizing for, like you know, things as a singer – that’s more so, Marco’s thing. But like, I definitely feel like I need to know exactly what’s going on, and everyday situation, you know, so it’s… I would say yes and no, what the organization… Also gets… it’s very overwhelming lately, because so much has been happening so fast, like, I don’t… it’s hard to manage, like, what I’m doing online, and then also my teaching, and the videos I’m making – and then also managing, you know, the live stuff that I’m doing with Temperance – and maybe a huge year’s coming up, and also with Twilight Force and with live gigs I’m doing with them, so it’s… it’s becoming a lot to manage!
I can imagine! By the way this teaching activities – very interesting! – could you please tell me something about this?
Um, so yeah! I teach private lessons – that’s something I’ve been doing for the last, you know, 10 plus years… So, I teach private voice lessons, but I also teach like, guitar, piano, bass, violin and clarinets, cello, flutes – literally every instrument, as my… yeah, my undergrad education was in music education. So, that’s where I picked up like all of these instruments and I’ve been teaching for, you know, them for a long time. So, I would say that’s kind of, like, my, you know, what I do – not on a daily basis, but that’s more so, like more regular work for me. So, yeah I teach more than just voice.
Yeah your main strength lies in the vocals. There may be some people who are maybe sad that Alessia here is no longer seen by the microphone – but maybe this is the time when the band to get a big boost from you, and the number of Temperance fans will increase, I think! What are your experiences so far and how much love did you get during the time you’ve been here?
Um, yeah – that’s a good question! Yeah, of course, it’s it’s always really hard to replace someone, because there are some people that no matter like who you are, they… people don’t like change. So, it’s kind of I… I went into this knowing that like, you know, people don’t like change, and you know I… I have to not take it so personally. But I’ve received I think a lot of positive comments, and I’ve heard a lot of things that like, you know, „this is the best Temperance has been”! I mean I… I also think that the musical direction of Temperance is also more my style, and so, when I heard the concepts of this album, when I heard the original – this is kind of what helped to make my decision to actually join Temperance, because I would have to say that the previous stuff isn’t necessarily… I didn’t think was super fitting for for me and… but since then, Marco has… is really changing the style: it’s more progressive, it’s more symphonic and bombastic: and that’s definitely stuff that I love a lot more! And so, I was very happy to be a part of this new… So I mean I think that musically it has completely changed! On top of the singer change it’s not just „hey the music’s the same, the singer changed” that I feel like that’s a little bit harder in a way that you know… But now the music’s changed and there’s a singer change – it feels like almost a new band! And I do hope that Temperance of course gets more notoriety and we’ve already gotten some very cool offers this year coming up, so Marco is very like, you know „hey we have had offers like this in before” So, I’m like super excited, and it’s so cool to, like you know, have been a part of this growth that I think is happening with them right now. You know, this is of course some people that just like „ah, Alessia… there’s nothing without Alessia, like blah blah…” – and it’s like, okay, but you know that those are pretty few and far between I think, I mean it’s like I said: some people just hate change – doesn’t matter! We are completely… and I love Alessia, um… you know, we talk and she has a completely different voice type than me so I also… I think if we sounded somewhat similar that’s also a little bit more intimidating, but since we sound completely different like, you know… I could understand someone maybe not liking my more aggressive, or lower tones, and she was doing – I understand that, and you know: it is what it is.
But it’s very good to hear that you enjoy yourself. You’ve been in the band for less than the year and that’s still a lot has happened, and you’ve had to adopt to many things in a very short time. How did you manage it all so well and how much of a challenge did it feel when you actually found out that you were the chosen one?
Um… so it kind of happened… I guess it we are… Well, I’m not officially in the band, but it’s coming up to almost a year I think, since Marco messaged me and said “hey we’re losing Alessia”! The first thing was he asked me: “we have a tour, with a tour of Tarja, and we have the headlining tour” – and it was this crazy long thing and he asked me to fill on that first. And I was like okay. And that was really hard, because I was going on tour with Twilight Force that same period of time, and I was like well I can’t do these two: in weeks or whatever I’ll be with Twilight Force and he’s like “okay you come join right after!” I was like okay! I thought you know maybe he’d ask someone else. Then two days later I get the question he called me up again, he said: “hey Kristin, I actually do want you join the band!” And I was like that’s crazy! And basically, you know… and I told him: “I don’t know you guys, I don’t want to just… I didn’t want to commit to something and back out – like that’s not me!” I said: “let’s tour first please! Do I like you guys? Do we blend together? Like, do you like me?” You know… it’s a hard decision! And you know, so I was… I think my first instinct was to just be super nervous and cautious, because it was all so much at once, and I’m, you know, trying to manage my time the best I can, and, you know, they’re great guys and… You know, he said: “basically the problem is we have to record the album before you leave on the Twilight Force tour – this album needs to be done to send to the label!” And I was like what? So I… he said, you know, in worst case, if you don’t want to join the band, you’ll be a guests – a very big guest – on this album, and so I said: “Fine, okay! And I saw it as an opportunity, like, you know, I think this music’s really cool, and it’s a chance for me to be on, like something… why not? So I recorded the whole album in one session in a couple hours in my house. Yeah, now everything you hear is basically one session!
Yeah. I was kind of crazy, actually, and yeah – from there, you know, I heard all this stuff and I end up loving the guys, so then – of course –, like naturally, it just made sense that I continued. But it certainly wasn’t an overnight decision – that’s a hard thing to join a band like that: I mean, it’s a bigger commitment than you would imagine, you know? And I mean, luckily my career set up that I am, you know, I am a performer, and I have been, so I don’t have like a job that I have to ask for work for, so it’s… this is.. my work is, you know, all 100% music, so of course I work for myself and that was also big important thing because Temperance plays a lot and, you know, you kind of just gotta do it and play and yeah… Though it’s been an interesting time for sure, and Marco always makes me feel very – he feels very grateful that I’m there and very appreciative. And they’re all so nice, and we have so much fun and we always laughing, so yeah – that’s that!
That’s great – and it’s great that you mentioned the tour with Tarja in the spring because I heard that it was very successful and long tour. Do you have memories? What were those nights like? How many kisses did the audience sent you? And how many people wanted to hug you for your fantastic performance?
Oh I’m… it was very good I think: I mean, I think with Tarja in particular, actually not so many people knew who Temperance was, so that was actually pretty weird, because there would be these huge audiences, and they’d all just stand there. The energy felt a little weird and some of the target performances I am… I would say those felt… It was hard, because you have all this energy that you’re giving, right, and like, they’re not really giving it back. Because I guess, they’re listening… But indeed, of course we had a lot of people coming up with us after the tour and after the shows and at the merch and telling us like you know, how great it was that they never heard of us. And since then, I’ve seen a lot of these people from that show been coming to other shows – so like we actually got some new fans! And yeah, I mean, yes: we got a lot of hugs, and a lot of just well wishes – and it’s just been, you know, overall pretty positive!
It’s interesting actually – and to be honest it’s a pretty unbelievable even to me – that Temperance released seven albums so far (including the current one), and still, there are a lot of people who haven’t heard of you! So, it’s really unbelievable! Could you please tell us a bit about the band, and who would you recommend yourselves to!
Um so… I guess, yeah, seven albums right… I think at one point Marco was doing like an album a year – which I think it’s a lot –, but you know he’s very determined and very passionate about all of it, so, you know, he really wants to be on the ball. But, you know, Temperance is a symphonic power metal band, I would say – everyone is based in Italy, I am based in Sweden, but I am from New York, and… so we’re still considered an Italian band. I would say, it’s a fan of anybody, who likes first of all, some any sort of Italian power metal, any sort of epic symphonic metal – maybe like in the vein of Ancient Bards. But it’s also really cool that we are three singers, so you get a lot of harmonic detail that maybe a lot of other bands wouldn’t have that live that we’re performing you know all the… We are a, you know, no backing tracks – besides symphonic backing tracks obviously –, but like you know, we do sing all the parts live and that’s very important: everything is very live. So, I guess, if you just want to… it’s you know, like Amaranthe is also I think three singers. But I mean the style of music is very different, but if you, you know, are interested in that sort of like spectacle of seeing through different singers, then I mean yeah – I say Temperance would be you to check out!
I see! So let’s just talk about a little bit about the new album which is a concept album and it was released by Napalm Records on like the twentieth of October or something like this – yeah, we get to know the story of a Japanese doll in in a magical village. What do we need to know about it? What is it based on?
So, with the story I always usually direct these questions to Marco, who wrote everything, because it is actually pretty complex of a story, I would say. But basically the main character finds this doll, which is a Daruma – which is a Japanese doll – and basically the Daruma takes him to like, another dimension. So, there’s a high fantasy elements. And so, we find this goes to this dimension, and then basically he needs to fix the problems of this dimension before he’s able to go back home. And then he met with the decision of to actually go back home or to stay in this fantasy world of these, you know, friends and foes he meets along the way. So, it’s interesting a lot of… deceit that’s happening… Yeah, so, that’s basically the concept, is like this doll transports him to this place and you know it’s a cool “fantasy story elements“ sort of thing.
I see! Thank you for explaining! It’s interesting, because a couple of minutes ago you mentioned that there are differences between the former set of the band and then you the new type of Temperance – and there were changes compared to your usual methodology, while recording the album as far as I see. What do you think makes the end result good – what should we know about this….?
Of this album you think. Well, it’s good. I think, well for one I think, Marco improves his composition skills for every album, and from what I understand is that he was very passionate about this concept about the Daruma’s Eyes Part Two – because there’s a song “Of Jupiter and Moons” that is Part One, and so the whole album is based off of as a basically a sequel to this song. Which is interesting: it’s not an album, it’s a song sequel. And I think we had an absolutely amazing orchestrator this time: Daniele Mazza, who is the orchestrator for Ancient Bards who, you know, has amazing orchestrations. Of course, he is great. And I think that adds a bigger bombastic element that makes it just so different than what it’s been in the past – it’s like, very symphonic, and I think that’s a very important element. And now, of course, I think you know, my voice definitely lends something completely different to Temperance – and not only just Temperance, but I think, you know in women in the metal genre in general. You might not have heard my voice type before, so I think it’s – I hope – that, you know, it draws people in in a good way that they’re interested in hearing more, you know: it’s just something different, not that anything is better or, you know, worse than before but I do think that it’s you know my voice is a little bit more like darker than something you would expect from a female singer in metal. So, maybe that’s a lot… of culmination of a lot of things. Because Marco, you know, he had to rewrite my lines, when… because he has originally written for Alessia, and since she’s a completely different voice type, she, you know… it was written differently. So, when I came on board, he really quickly had to basically rewrite things that he thought this would be better for Kristin. And so, that’s also very impressive that he did all of that and this all happens within a couple of weeks from saying yes, finishing the album, recording – off! It was a crazy time!
That’s crazy but it’s amazing! Also, several guest musicians also appear on the album, and I think everyone was happy about your invitations – but how did how did they express their happiness that they were involved?
Well, I had no personal involvement with any of them. I mean, the only thing… it’s, you know, Alessandro Conti who is, you know, my tourmate with Twilight Force, so I know him very well. And so I know he was on board, and in he was very happy to do so, and all that I think he’s one of the – if not the best – singer, like, in metal: that’s one of the best male singers in metal, I mean, he is just so stunning! And so, you know, it’s really cool to be on another album with him! But I never spoke to Arjen or Fabienne or Laura – but I saw that they, you know, made a lot of, like, some cool posts promoting the album as well, and I can hear that, like you know, their vocal performances were very in tune with what was happening and, you know, very passionate, so I thought it was just so cool! I thought it was crazy that they actually all agreed to do it – I couldn’t believe it!
But actually, I’m really sure about this that the band really overdid themselves, so it has become even more even symphonic with colorful melodies and great harmonics. The new sound is rather different, but everything is really shining! So, I’m sure that even more people will get to know you. Actually, what do you expect from this album number seven?
To expect…? Well, so far we are, like you know, we always hope to grow with every album right? You hope to keep growing, and it seems that since the album has come out and around this album that we’ve already gotten some cool show and tour offers in some countries we’ve never been, and you know, I think things are moving along for us now in a way that wasn’t happening before. So, the expectations I think are better than we expected – I mean, we are very proud of it! I mean, Marco also says and all the other guys, like, this is the best Temperance album, like you know, this is hopefully the thing that helps launch us a little bit further! And yeah, I mean, I just hope that we can play in more cities, and we get bigger and better tours and more people can come out to our shows and…
I’m really glad that you mentioned this that you will go to touring next year because I think you will come to Europe next spring and give a show in Budapest in February!
I’m really looking forward to that show!
Oh great, I’ll meet you there!
Hopefully yes! Do you have any idea on how many old and new songs we will be played? What should the Hungarian fans be prepared for? What kind of a message do you have for them? Why do you think they should be there?
Well, what’s gonna be kind of cool is, so… we’re opening for Serenity, so we have a 45-minute set, and we are going to be rotating the setlist every night! Because now we have so much repertoire and so many songs – so that we can actually do more songs from the new album, maybe some different ones so… Yeah, you have to come and find out! I know some people, like, will, yeah you know, probably come to multiple shows. Budapest of course is a little difficult in the routing, but I know some people will probably come to different shows, and you actually might get a somewhat different show every night – which will be cool! Last year we didn’t do that – last year we basically had one setlist, depending on how long we’re allowed to play for. So, this is gonna be interesting! But yeah, definitely expect new songs, you know – I do think that Marco, since I’m there, these are “my songs” that he wants to, you know, just showcase those a little bit more, and we’ll probably be playing at least three or four from the new album. So, if you like the new album, that’s good!
Sure! What do you think of your fellow musicians? Can you tell us a few words about them? Why do you like them?
You mean the guys in the band? I think they’re great, because… well, first of all they are stunning musicians just as. Just from that point alone, I have always been so impressed that every show we’ve done – which has been many at this point – together, always goes off basically without a hitch, meaning, like, there’s no… besides, you know, the battery dies, or you know, some cable goes out, but like, musically everyone is so solid! The new drummer Marco Sacchetto is absolutely one of the best drummers I’ve met I mean he’s so so… I mean… and Luca Negro, the bass player also wow…! He’s a, you know, a jazz basis as well, I mean, he just really knows everything! And Marco, he sucks Don’t get it, no no! Marco’s is just a wonderful person and – of course – an amazing, I mean, a great singer and guitarist! Michele – of course – as well and, you know, he… when he’s not with Visions of Atlantis, we always feel like we have such a great bond musically at least! Like, we’re never… no one’s behind, no one has like, it’s forgetting parts – everyone is a very serious and super talented, and consistent musician. Like, we give consistent shows and that’s really amazing for me. That was but big worry for me you know like, what if I get on stage, and then these people are not playing well, you know – that’s so weird! I mean, how many times have you seen a band that sounds great on a record, but then live it’s like yeah… so, you know, you’re getting with the Temperance show: everyone is super fantastic! And also we are so funny, we have so many laughs – they’re Italian, so you know, they’re very open and friendly and very funny. So, that’s of course that brings a lot of lights to our shows, and you know, our friendship as musicians together!
It’s so good to hear someone speaking so enthusiastically about her bandmates! It’s really great! This is really a good feeling, and it’s interesting to hear your words! Talking about this, would you describe this current stage of your life as some kind of a high point? Are you are you actually ambitious? Or actually is it polite to ask such a question for someone?
Yeah, I mean… so, I don’t know if you know about my background a bit? You know, I went to school to be an opera singer, and I have my, you know, talk about ambition… you know I have my doctorate in opera performance and you know I was really in that world and going to you know… I did school for 10 years, and studying for 10 years, so I always had you know high ambitions – and education was always super important to me, and you know, the pandemic though kind of changed my life. I’ve always been a metalhead, but I never had the outlet to do it. So, when the pandemic hit and I lost all my opera jobs, and be like: “okay, well, I’m gonna do you know metal covers”. And so, I posted that, you know, started posting on YouTube and having a starting a career that way. And I wasn’t intending that to like, actually do anything – I was hoping maybe, like, I’ll get a guest spot, or someone will hire me for guest that, you know, just to put myself out there that “this is what I can do”, you know… “I exist for work, hello!” But it ended up being so big in so many ways, and people really latched on, and Marco found me through these YouTube covers. And now I’m… we met previously, but I think he was following me like, since I knew about him previously and was following like, what I was doing with work and stuff. So, it’s been truly crazy, and I would say yes – I mean is this a high points in my life? Very much, but I think it’s getting higher, which – knock on wood – is fantastic, and almost to a point I hope it doesn’t get too overwhelming, you know… With Temperance we have a lot of stuff coming up next year that is very exciting – that’s also scary, because success can also be terrifying, if you know what I mean: it’s a man’s more of you, so to be prepared for when that moment happens, and you people talk about that like, you know always be prepared for when it happens to you! It’s a lot, and so you know… And of course, it’s not only Temperance I’m doing a lot of stuff with: Twilight Force live so that’s another band I absolutely love and it’s been… it’s crazy that it’s all happening at once! You know, you go from two years of doing absolutely nothing to you know, one year it’s like well, now you barely are home! It wasn’t a slow go, you know, it wasn’t like… it didn’t gradually build up for me it happened all at once. So, that’s been a lot to deal with I think mentally, and you know, it’s… but I mean in a good way. But it’s certainly I try to keep my mental health in check here, while I go forward with all of this, because it is a lot, and you meet so many people and then you think about how to deal with all these people, who maybe are a little weirder than others and there’s this so much that goes into it that you don’t think about before you’re in it, you know…
It’s really awesome! So, thank you very much for your enthusiasm and for everything you did for the band! And I really hope that we will meet in February in Budapest!
Oh, thank you so much! Yeah, I hope… I probably will, of course!
And it was really nice talking to you!
Yes, you as well!
Thank you very much and I don’t know what happened with my with my zoom – can you…
I think it’s yeah… I can still hear you: there’s like oh that’s okay it’s gonna the media will probably get canceled soon but yeah…
Thank you very much for the interview and you were one of the important bands in the Italian scene and I will just like to give my greetings to all the band members and thank you very much for the conversation.
The interview was taken with Kristin Starkey on 25.10.2023.