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    Interview Felony, Simone Christinat
    Interview Simone Christinat (Felony) 29-08-2008

    Felony originates 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 parts.

    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 Escape Records, 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 process?

    “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 material?

    “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 completely self-taught?

    “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 alive.”

    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 interesting characters.”

    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: 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 share?

    “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……”



    Andrew Hellwig op 22-09-2008 04:05
    Looking forward to the new Felony album!
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