Interview Simone Christinat (Felony) 29-08-2008
from deep within Switzerland where
the Alps with its
snowy tops provide the
perfect background for a musical journey through a landscape lighted
up by melodic metal notes, brought to flavour by classical fused
The band came to life in the early 90's in a time when there was still room
at the table for those who favoured melodic metal. Still it would
last till 2005 before the debut album 'First Works' was
released in their home country. A year later, due to a deal with
other parts of the world got introduced to this newly discovered
Swiss metal hype as well. At
that time Simone Christinat wasn't
yet part of the band. She joined in shortly after the original male and
female singer had abandoned ship due to personal differences with the
rest of the lot. Her warm voice definitely adds depth to the melodic
sound of Felony and
blends in perfectly with that of her male counterpart Sandy
who also recently became a
member of this Swiss family,
but even though his vocals are tough as nails, it is undoubtedly the
sweet voice of Simone,
as well as her angelic appearance, that steals the show.
When and where was the band founded?
The band FELONY was founded in 1991 in
Schöftland, Switzerland. Most of the original members are still
on board. In the past there have been problems with the vocal
position as the band frequently switched from one person to another,
but these days with Sandy and myself sharing the vocal duties these
problems have been solved and we are all very content with our
current line-up. Each single person has a good musical knowledge and
there's a strong chemistry in the band.
Where do all the influences come from?
Markus writes all the songs and lyrics.
He loves classical music like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and
Claydermann. He got in touch with the classical style of music, when
he was a young boy. At the age of 7 he started playing piano. Ten
years later he got fascinated by the guitar as an instrument. It was
then that he got acquainted with hard rock and melodic metal. Bands
like Royal Hunt and Europe became his idols, as well as individual
musicians such as Billy Idol and Yngwie Malmsteen. When you listen to
the songs of Felony, you can hear all of these influences coming
together as one in our form of melodic metal.
Does everyone participate in the writing
As said before, Markus does all of the
writing. But everyone's free to participate in each possible way. So,
after Markus has written the songs each of us has the chance to add
his or her ideas to the song.
Is the band completely in control of its own
affairs or has anyone been brought in from the outside?
Usually we do the writing and recording
process of the songs ourselves. Most of the songs are recorded at
Markus his home studio. Only if we plan to release an album we work
together with professionals. For example, the debut album 'First
Works' was mixed and mastered by Sascha Paeth and parts of the
material were recorded at the Gate Studio in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Have you been involved in other bands and
projects prior to Felony?
I did a few projects before joining
Felony. The first of these projects was a benefit record. I recorded
some kind of Bollywood type of song. It was very special and fun to
do. But I realized this was not the kind of music I wanted to sing.
After that I got engaged in my first Metal Project, resulting in a
couple of records I did together with a producer. Unfortunately this
project failed due to personal differences. And nowadays I have some
side projects and if all goes well, I will be involved in the release
of several records within the next few months.
You joined Felony just recently, along with
a new male singer. What happened to the old one and don't you find it
hard being part of a band with whom you have not yet recorded any
As far as I know the old singer left
Felony due to personal reasons. He is singing in a cover band now. I
have met him once, but do not know him well. When I joined Felony in
the summer of 20007, I had some doubts at first because the band
already had a lot of experience when it came down to playing metal
music whereas I was still a newcomer in that business. But when I met
the guys, I just knew that joining them would be a lot of fun and so
all of my doubts vanished. I still learn a lot from them every day
and I'm glad they were patient enough to show me a lot of new stuff.
Did you get any vocal training or are you
I had a couple of vocal sessions, giving
to me by different vocal coaches. I first started with pop and jazz
singing lessons. Later on I took part in a musical school. Now I am
still attending classes in classical singing, Classical singing is
the style I am completely into.
Are the lyrics based on personal experiences
or are they merely fantasies?
Some of them are fantasy based whilst
others are based on personal experiences.
Ain't it hard to be a female vocalist in a
world mainly dominated by men and their prejudices about women not
being able to rock?
No, I like working with men. Sometimes it
makes it even easier, because mostly men are rather direct and
uncomplicated. And as a lady in a men dominated business you
sometimes feel like a little princess, `cause they do a lot for you
like bringing you something to drink whenever you get thirsty or
driving you around whenever you need to go somewhere. I first had to
get into that. But now I think I have a pretty good idea about how
men are thinking. Ha ha.
Who would you pick as your biggest
influence, the one that inspired you to become a singer yourself?
My greatest inspiration was Tarja Turunen
from Nightwish. After listening to one of their records for the first
time, I decided to become a classical metal singer myself.
Does working in the studio appeal to you or
do you prefer to be on stage?
I like both, working in the studio and
being on stage. I couldn't imagine being 'just' a studio singer, for
I love to perform as well. Being on stage gives me a sense of being
How did it make you feel the first time you
were on stage?
"It was strange, but there were almost no nerves, believe it or not. Of course I had two glasses of wine before getting up on stage, but even so somehow I knew for sure I'd do well. Just couldn't wait to be live on stage. It had been my dream for a long time and I was really waiting for that day to come. And I did well, although I had some minor problems with the equipment, especially with the cables. At some point I got so tangled up in all of the cables, that I almost fell off the stage. But it was fun."
What's the funniest thing that ever happened
to you on stage?
Once I forgot to turn on the microphone
and was wondering why nobody, including me, could hear me.
What's the most important lesson the music
business has taught you so far?
It is not always easy as a young, not bad
looking lady to work with all those male musicians. Before my time
with Felony some of them tried to get too close to me and were
stalking me. I have learned from that. As a woman you have to be
careful among a bunch of men. Fortunately with Felony this fact has
never been a problem.
If you could pick someone to work with, who
would that be and why this person?
Tuomas Holopainen or D.C Cooper. They
compose the kind of music I love and are great musicians and
What can we expect of Felony in the near
future? A new album perhaps?
We are already working on a new album.
The songs are written and ready to be recorded. A demo version of the
songs can be heard on our website: www.felony.ch. It will take a few
months to record all the new stuff and when that's done, we have to
discuss how to finance a release. Chances are we will have to bring
in outside parties. So, should anyone be interested to step in as an
investor, please contact us through our web page.
Is there a funny anecdote you would like to
There are lots of funny anecdotes since
I've joined Felony. I will tell you one: I always come to our weekly
band meetings with the exception of one time when the guys played
some instrumental stuff, which they even recorded. They put the
recordings on our internet server to which I had access. I listened
to these raw, uncut recordings and in between the songs I could hear
the guys talking about me in a complimentary way and all the while
they were making strange noises like belching and farting
That was the moment I realized they were real men
.. I still have a
copy of that record stashed some place safe. You never know