Interview date

Octobre 2009




Interview Maria Breon; Francisco Paloma

Hi guys, thank you to answer to Christian and the French Webzine's http://auxportesdumetal .com questions. Why did you choose to put three of the four songs which were on you EP, on this new album album?

Maria: Originally the songs on the EP were released in place of the typical "single"; and the fans, which have followed the band since our debut in 2005 and our EP in 2007, wanted the songs on the record as originally planned, it's a sentimental thing, I guess, it represents history of the band and so we acknowledged it.

Francisco: Fortunately the songs from our EP were very well received from the fans and always in high demand at our live shows, so for us it was a logical option to include them on the full length album.

We can feel a clear change of style between the "olds" and the "news" songs. How do you explain this evolution?

Maria: I suppose that the clearest way to define the "olds" is that the initial song writing was done by guest writers and as for the "news" well we developed as a band and as songwriters for HolyHell, and in doing so wrote all of the new songs on the record.

Francisco: ...and with HolyHell starting first as a live act, every performance and tour helped us to generate a more cohesive unit as musicians, songwriters and as friends making the album a reflection of all this.

There is an other fundamental change: we perceive a real singing mastery. Is it a fruit of a huge work or is it a result due to the band cohesion?

Francisco: It is basically a combination of both, we believe in hard work and we are always preparing ourselves to be better as musicians and composers. Maria has the most wonderful voice I have ever heard in my life; but of course we want to be masters of our craft, and so for that Maria and I spend countless hours doing vocal training, ear training and so on, and fortunately, we have developed a very good chemistry. So it is this combined "cohesion" with the band and us all getting stronger with every tour and performance.

Maria: I think this is what makes HolyHell special for all of us in the band, is that we individually work very hard to give our fans the very best we have and in doing so we are constantly improving so it's a win/win situation, which is why I wanted to form HolyHell.

There is a real obvious thing on this album: the technical potential of each band members. What is the role of each member in the composition and/or the interpretation?

Maria: I write the lyrics and Francisco and Joe are the main songwriters of the Music.

Francisco: HolyHell is a combination of all kinds of talents from the classical side to the heavy metal side, and fortunately when it comes to the writing process it is wonderful to have the freedom to compose with no limitations, that doesn't mean go off every single time but means to be enough mature to let the songs speak and ask for whatever is necessary; from a single power chord to a blasting double bass part, to a high powerful scream, or an operatic section, all the way to a burning solo or to a big orchestral part, that's what makes the process so enjoyable. And the same goes for the lyrical part, there's no limits to what we want to say, is always about what the song needs and that's something which becomes a focal point in our writing process.

We know the Rhinos' past (ex-Manowar) but what is the others' one?

Maria: Of course we all have our past lives, which is what makes HolyHell so interesting. We all come from diverse backgrounds and come together as HolyHell; Francisco, Joe, Jay and myself all come from a classical background with a strong rock influence. We have our guitarist Joe Stump who is also known as the "Professor of Metal" at Berkley in Boston, Joe actually introduced us to Jay Rigney on bass guitar, we have Francisco Palomo, a genius on keys, who started playing piano at the age of six and started his career in metal at the age of 17 with one of Mexico's' largest metal bands and Rhino who, as you mentioned, has the education and reputation of MANOWAR. ...and then there is me... I studied voice and vocal performance and wanted to form a band with strong melody and heavy music and called it "HolyHell" and so the rest is history.....

I really enjoyed the quality of your album, and especially your sincerity. We can hear a will to have your owner style. We can't compare your music to the Rhapsodys' one anymore and your sound which is heavier, help you to assert a "HolyHell" style. Do you confirm that?

Maria: Thank you for the compliment, we all really like the band Rhapsody, we were hoping to see Dominique and Patrice, who by the way are super musicians and super nice people, while in France but time did not allow it. Yes, the album is something we are very proud of because it clearly defines the personality of the band and Joe, Francisco and I as songwriters. We are all very excited about the amazing response the album has received in France and all the other countries we visited for the first time this past summer.

Francisco: I agree, the band over the years developed a personal style, which comes from a very deep relationship between the professional and personal side, and the live environment led the band to generate a very personal way to play and compose, and of course the writing unit became more compact, defining our style. It goes the same for the lyrics, there's a very organic and deep way to write the vocals, is a very important process that defines a big part of the band's style.

Nevertheless, there is still a doubt when we listen to some of your songs: there is a difference between the keyboards and the guitars. The neoclassical side of Francisco seems to be tempered by the power metal side of Joe. But, thanks to Maria's singing, they perfectly coexist. What do you think about that?

Francisco: As HolyHell we always work around the songs, and after we have what we believe is the heart of the song we go ahead with the big arrangements, always looking for balance, we don't have a predominance of any element or an ego fight between instruments; we always wanted to have balance, sometimes the songs called for more guitars and sometimes for more keys and there's no fight on it, the songs speak for themselves and serve their purpose. I truly believe the sound that we are generating is a mixture of all the personalities in the band working around songs.

I'm really looking forward to see your progress on stage. Will you come in France after your tour in Germany?

Maria: Yes, in March we are planning to come to France to do a few shows, so we are very excited to confirm the dates.

Thank you for the time you gave to us! God speed, you are well on the way to success!

Maria: Thank you so much for your support of HolyHell it is truly appreciated! We are looking forward to seeing you again in France. Yours In Metal, Maria

Francisco: Thanks to you for your time and words and to all the readers, it has been a real pleasure, we are looking forward to play in France again and get the wonderful connection we felt at the "HellFest".