Thursday, November 23, 2017

Beyond Forgiveness Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Beyond Forgiveness is a female-fronted symphonic metal band from Colorado, USA.   We are a 4-piece band with Richard Marcus and Greg Witwer on guitars and backing vocals, Sean Rogers on Drums, and Talia Hoit on lead vocals and symphonic orchestration.  The band members have all been friends for quite some time before forming the band, and the guys have also played in other bands together as well.  In 2014, we began writing the songs that ultimately were released on our EP, ‘The Ferryman’s Shore’ with mostly the same lineup that we have currently, although we had a different drummer, Mike Bulach, at the time we recorded the EP.   We also just released our first full length album this month (November, 2017) called ‘The Great Wall’.  We are working to build a growing world-wide audience for all who love the genre of symphonic metal, and are in the beginning stages of writing our next album! 

2. How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings?

We call our music “beautality” because we mix both the beauty and beast vocal style, with Talia’s classically trained vocals alongside death and black metal style male vocals, and also combine beautiful classical orchestrations with heavy guitars and rhythms to create our signature style.  With our mixing engineer, Jarek Musil, we have worked to create in our recordings a lush, complex, captivating, and moving listening experience.

3.  The band has been around since 2009 but waited until 2015 to release any music, can you tell us a little bit more about the earlier years?

The band started with a similar vision for the music to what we do now, although, with a much different lineup of members.  Richard and Greg started the band with some additional other members from their former death metal band, Hells Eden, along with a friend, Lynn Brown, who was a classically trained vocalist.  The sound of the band was different at that time, as there was no symphonic orchestration, only minimal keyboards, and Lynn has more of an alto voice with jazz as well as classical influences.  The band did write a good number of songs, and performed live shows regionally, and eventually began recording an album. The band members were friends with Talia at the time, who was building a studio and beginning to record bands, so we did the tracking of the album in her studio.  The album was never finished with the final mix and master, and the band went other directions before releasing any of it.  However, Rich and Greg never lost the vision for what they wanted to do with the project, however, which led to re-forming the band in 2014 after a few years of the band being on hold. 

4. Your lyrics cover fantasy themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the topic?

We are all fans of fantasy epic stories, such as the Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, and also the classical influence naturally goes along with a lot of interest in mythology and historical sagas as well.  But whether a fantasy theme, or other theme, the real point of our lyrics is to tell a story through metaphor that dives into the deep emotions that we feel as people.  For example, the song ‘I Will Fight to the End’ is kind of an epic battle theme, but it’s also about spitting in the face of cancer.   Also, ‘The Ferryman’s Shore’ is a story drawing on the mythology of the Ferryman and river Styx, but is really about the fear of being separated from someone you love because of death.   Our song lyrics really get at some deep topics, and are written out of our own personal life experiences, but we try to tell the story and use the metaphors in ways so that our listeners can resonate with the words of the songs given their own life experiences as well.

5.  What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name ‘Beyond Forgiveness’?

Greg was listening to a song one day by another band and the title of the song was ‘Beyond Forgiveness’.  He just thought that would be a really cool band name.  That’s anticlimactic, I know, but that’s really where the name came from.

6.  What are some of the best shows the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Some of our favorite shows that we’ve played were during our tour in Europe in the spring of 2017.  We played at a festival in Switzerland called 6 hours of Synphonia, and the Duesternight in Germany, each event put on by other symphonic metal bands.  We really loved the experience of collaborating with other artists in our genre from around the world.  Otherwise, we are mostly performing regionally in Colorado right now, with shows in a few of the major cities on the front range of the mountains.  We have been very focused on recording with our full length following on the heels of our EP, as well as working on another music video, more than extensive touring.  As far as our stage performance, we have a great time when we play, and try to draw the audience into that experience.  We have a lot of energy and emotion in our music, and have heard from our audience that comes through in our show as well!

7. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

We do have some local shows booked coming up, and are looking at our schedules for a potential regional tour in the U.S.  We all work full time at other jobs right now, and so are just trying to see what will work best, but definitely want to travel as much as we can and get our music out there!  We are also planning to start writing and recording our next album in the near future, and to do a few more music videos as well. 

8.  Currently, you are unsigned, are you looking for a table or have received any interest?

We are actively seeking label interest.  Originally, with the release of our EP, we were not looking in that direction, but just wanted to get some of our music out there to open doors for booking shows locally.  The worldwide positive response to the EP was so much more than we ever expected or imagined.  With our recent release, ‘The Great Wall’, we originally intended to release it independently, but did allow a few months to shop it around to labels first.  However, when the final touches were done on the album, we did not want to wait, and went ahead and released it independently as well.  We are definitely interested in partnering with a label because the demand for our music internationally has grown greater than what we have the means to serve independently through distribution and touring support.   We hope to have some more possibilities as we develop our next album.

9. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of symphonic metal?
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  To be honest, we had no idea or expectation that our music would be received as well as it has.  When we started, we thought the project might just be a recording project as our own hobby, just doing the music we like to do.  The fact that it has received international attention and opened up doors for us to travel and perform, has been absolutely amazing.  I think starting out, we expected harsher criticism and a much more local interest in our music, and have been really humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response by the fans and critics within the genre.  It has really inspired us to continue creating more music!

10.  Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

For our next album, we are aiming to go in the direction of the more upbeat and driving tempos, and fuller, more epic symphonies, continuing with the beautality of the mixed vocal styles and intense metal and classical combination.  We want to continue to write music that has intense emotion and energy. 

11. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays. 

Talia is really influenced by classical music, having studied piano at a classical conservatory.  She listens to a wide variety of genres though, and loves to listen to local artists.  Right now, she has been listening a lot to Thy Shade, after buying a cd from them when they played at our CD release party.

Rich -The true reason I am in a band like this is I heard 1 album Tristania's Beyond the Veil, the minute I heard that album I knew I wanted to play in a band of this style and have been hooked ever since, I also have a deep death metal background with 2 of my favorites being Grave and Illdisposed, I tend to lean more to the European death metal than the American, I have of course grown since this album and can look to Xandria, Epica and Diabolus in Musica as inspiration.
     Currently spinning the last 2 Xandria albums, Sinners Moon and some Project Hate, also the new Broken Hope album.

Greg -my influences lean into a lot of power metal including Hammerfall, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian. Also love Nightwish, Xandria, Epica, Amon Amarth, Immortal and old In Flames
     Currently spinning the new Beast in Black, Xandria, Amon Amarth and Blind GUardian

Sean -Drumming influences include Fredrik Andersson, Gerit Lamm, and Hellhammer along with some classic influences...John Bonham and Keith Moon, I also listen to a lot of Folk metal drummers
     Currently spinning Theater of Dimensions from Xandria is on repeat a lot as well as the newest Amon Amarth album Jomsviking

12.  What are some of your non-musical interests?

We’re all a little different in what we like to do outside of music.  Richard is obsessed with hockey and also likes football, gaming mostly rpg's, Greg is really into photography, computers and graphic design, Sean is interested in politics and history along with computers and hockey, and Talia does a lot of reading and likes the outdoors.

13. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thank you for taking the time to interview us, and for your interest in our music.  We hope everyone enjoys our new album, ‘The Great Wall’, and we are just getting started.  We hope to have even more new music for you in the near future!  We will also be releasing another music video soon.  Please stay in touch, follow us on social media, and we love to hear from our followers, fans, and critics!

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