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Interview with Amanda Somerville



Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: November 2011

Brian Rademacher: Hello Amanda and thanks for talking with us here at RockEyez?

Amanda Somerville: Thank you.

Brian Rademacher: Letís start off with your youth what were you like in high school?

Amanda Somerville: I donít think I was much different than what I am now. Probably a little annoyingly bubbly at times (laughing). I kinda hung out with everybody yet I was a loner. I graduated a year early. I felt there was something I could be doing better all the time. I donít feel much different than when I was eighteen.

Brian Rademacher: Did you sing in church choir or the school chorus?

Amanda Somerville: I was in the school chorus for a number of years. Both sides of my grandparents are in the church choir and very involved but I wasnít much of a church goer myself.

Brian Rademacher: Did anyone help you on the way as a youth to the point that you are now?

Amanda Somerville: Certainly a long line from when I was a little kid. I grew up with a musical foundation, mother and my grandmother who taught me music theory and how to read music. I had a wonderful teacher throughout school named Mrs. Pearce. She was quite an inspiration also and in high school my choir director Mr. Waterworth was great until he retired. I learned so much from Sascha Paeth and the whole Gates Studio team, working with those guys for the last eleven years. I owe a lot to a lot of people. They gave me a great basis to springboard to go from there.

Brian Rademacher: Are you ever star-struck when working with some of these high profile artists?

Amanda Somerville: Not actually (laughing). Most of them I had no idea who they were working with them. So to me it was just like working with another person in the studio. I guess it’s funny after the fact looking at what some of these people have been doing over the years. When working with them you get a totally different connection and think of them as my friends. There’s never a feeling of being strange on any level with them.

Brian Rademacher: Did they ever hit on you?

Amanda Somerville: (busted out laughing)! I canít say, maybe somebody at some point. I am with someone who I used to work with so I guess he hit on me at some point.

Brian Rademacher: One of my all time favorite vocalists is Michael Kiske and since you worked with him can you tell me what is he like as a person?

Amanda Somerville: He is very down to earth, just a normal guy. Easy to work with and it was great. Like you said being star-struck, I had no idea when I started to work with him his background and the more you work with someone you get to know them and you Google them and doing interviews for KISKE/SOMMERVILLE, I found that heís been around for some time.

Brian Rademacher: Now letís get onto the new TRILLIUM "Alloy" CD. Did Frontiers give you any kind of restrictions when recording it?

Amanda Somerville: Not at all! That is one of the reasons why I wanted to work with them. This is the very first record company that I actually worked with, with my own music. I was kind of opposed to it up until now. I was very impressed with their involvement and consideration for the artist. When I was working on the KISKE/SOMMERVILLE CD it was an easy choice to offer them TRILLIUM.

Brian Rademacher: When you started work on the CD did you say to yourself I want to stay away from certain styles of music?

Amanda Somerville: Not necessarily. Iím musically schizophrenic at times, Iím all over the board and my musical background is diverse. There is nothing I gravitate towards or stay away from. I writing things the way they come out of me by the way I feel.

Brian Rademacher: If you had to put "Alloy" in a genre would it be rock, metal or gothic?

Amanda Somerville: Itís a mixture of all three and itís funny that you mention three styles of music. Thatís kind of the whole concept of TRILLIUM. Trillium is a flower made up of three white petals and there is a number of treads in my environment in my life from the Slavic content of my name, the project name and I bounce to three different countries where I live from The Netherland, Germany and Michigan in my home land of the US! I feel there are elements of all three of those genres on the album.

Brian Rademacher: Did you give the guitar-work free range to the players on the album because there is some killer guitar work on "Alloy"?

Amanda Somerville: Thank you! Yes, I agree with you. I work with some of the most gifted guitar players in the scene. Iím bias because I love these guys. I love the work they do. I give them artistic freedom because I myself am a piano player. So I write songs and I approach instrumentation differently than a guitar player would, especially Sascha Paeth and Sander Gommans, so itís a lot of fun for me. When I typically write a song it will end up being a piano/vocal demo and then the guys will take it and work their magic with the guitar. Iím not big on guitar riffs or solos so theyíre great in coming up with that stuff.

Brian Rademacher: Do you feel being a very pretty woman has opened any doors for yourself?

Amanda Somerville: (laughing)Thank you very much I appreciate that. (Stuttering) I donít know. Living in Europe and being an American has opened doors for me. As far as my female attributes (laughing)I really donít know.

Brian Rademacher: Were there any other musicians that you wanted to work on the new CD that werenít available?

Amanda Somerville: No, from start to finish itís exactly the way I wanted it. I was so excited that Jorn was able to sing on "Scream It". I worked with Sascha, Miro, Olaf and Robert since 2000. Sander and I worked together since 2003 when he was still with AFTER FOREVER. This was my personal dream team. Iím also a very family oriented girl in my career. I need to work with my posse. These guys are my best friends; theyíre like my family over here.

Brian Rademacher: Jorn Landeís vocal style on the track "Scream It" kinda has a DIO-ish sound. Were you happy the way that track came out?

Amanda Somerville: Well heís a huge DIO fan and his song for Ronnie James Dio, which he came out with, is amazing. I think Dio is a big influence on him. To me he sounds like Jorn and I fell in love with his voice when we worked on AVANTASIA in 2008. Even when I wrote the song I totally had him in mind.

Brian Rademacher: Did you feel that some tracks were more difficult than others on the CD?

Amanda Somerville: Not difficult but I had a tough time writing lyrics that really conveyed what I wanted to for "Justifiable Casualty". I think I worked the longest on that song. Itís based on a dream I had. A women that came to me, it was a very obscured dream and I have no idea where it came from. She was a widow from the American Civil War and we had this long conversation. I really wanted to encompass that dream into the song and really do it justice. It was very difficult working with rhythms trying to rhyme and put it into a poetic form. Its tough sometimes but it really turned out the way I wanted it to.

Brian Rademacher: I saw a posting that you will be touring Europe in 2012 are there plans for the US also?

Amanda Somerville: Thatís a huge priority for me playing in my home country as it means a lot. Iím really going to push to get a tour organized there, whether headliner or a support act.

Brian Rademacher: Whatís your perception of the world right now that we live in?

Amanda Somerville: Oh goodness, itís pretty much summed up in "Utter Descension". I wonder how long we can go before the reset button is pushed because I feel our poor little planet and humanity has a very bad cold.

Brian Rademacher: Real bad! I must agree. Well Amanda, I congratulate you on the new CD "Alloy". Would you like to say anything in ending?

Amanda Somerville: Thank you very much and I appreciate your interest in the album and I hope to see some of you live very soon. Take care, bye.


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