Kalidia – Contenders to the ThroneSunday, 9th December 2018
Power metal is one genre that never lacks for competition. Whether it’s the champions of yore, or new bands that are breaking their way in, there’s plenty to discover for those who want something on the melodic side of the fence. Italy’s Kalidia first came to be with their 2014 debut, Lies’ Device, which they released independently. Four years later, they are signed to Inner Wound Recordings and have released their second album, The Frozen Throne.
Playing firmly to the strengths of the genre, they are bound to put a smile on your face a few seconds after a track begins – be it the catchy melodies and riffs or Nicoletta Rosellini’s potent vocals. We were able to grab Rosellini for a round of Skype one morning just after the album had been released. We collected her thoughts on the new album, the band’s evolution, her other projects, and her recent degree in veterinary medicine.
Dead Rhetoric: How has the response been to The Frozen Throne so far, as it just recently was released?
Nicoletta Rosellini: It has been a great response. We got a lot of nice comments on our Facebook page and on YouTube. It’s great because this album is a step forward in our career compared to our debut. We are really happy that our audience has realized that it is a step forward, so we are happy with the response from both the press and fans.
Dead Rhetoric: It’s been a few years since Lies’ Device. Was there any reason for the time span between the two?
Rosellini: We actually finished writing the album at the beginning of 2016 but then we started to work with our new producer Lars Rettkowitz from Freedom Call. We did all of the arrangements in 2016 and it was a long process since he was busy with his band. They released an album in early 2016 so he was busy touring and he had some other big productions he was involved with. It was difficult to match our schedules, so it took a lot of time. It wasn’t that we needed it, but we had to align our schedules.
The recordings where held in 2017 and we did 4 sessions, one for drums, one for guitar and bass, and two for vocals. They were not long sessions but they were spread throughout the year. So it took another year to record it. But in the end we were really happy because we had time to overthink on some details. When you have a lot of time to listen to the songs, you get on point and understand what you want to change and what you want to keep. In the end, it was a great way to do the new album.
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned that the album was a step up. How do you specifically feel the band has evolved since the first album?
Rosellini: The first album was our very first time in the studio, so we didn’t know what to expect or how it was going to be. In those years, we really grew up a lot. We had other experiences and we learned things about recording and so on. We also did a lot of shows here in Italy, so we got in touch with musicians who helped and advised us. I think this album was a step up because we knew more about writing and arranging and that’s also why we chose to do a higher production. The first one was a starting production, so there is a big difference in sound and arrangements compared to the first album. We grew up in many different aspects, I think it can be heard on the new album.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you see as Kalidia’s voice within the metal scene?
Rosellini: There are a lot of bands nowadays doing this kind of music – power metal with lots of melodies – so I think it’s really difficult to have your own space in the scene. But I think, with this new album, with the cool arrangements and production values, and working out the guitar melodies and vocal lines, I think we really have a chance to gain a little spot [in the scene]. Considering the response so far, I think we have achieved this. We have not really reinvented the genre, but have created our own space.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you look to for inspiration when it comes to lyrics?
Rosellini: We have a lot of different inspirations, but one of the main ones is mythology. There’s a lot of mythology in this album, such as “Amethyst,” “Orpheus,” “Circe’s Spell,” and “Lotus.” I’m also really interested in video games, which is why we have the artwork and title of Frozen Throne. It’s inspired by the Warcraft games.
There are also some personal songs, like “To the Darkness I Belong,” “Go Beyond,” and “Midnight’s Chant.” There’s even a pirate song! I’m the one who wrote the lyrics, but sometimes we sit down and discuss the thematics with the rest of the band. We really wanted to do a pirate song, so we built up the music and lyrics around that theme. I think there are plenty of inspirations in our music.
Dead Rhetoric: You recently put out the “Circe’s Spell” video – what goes into making a video like that maybe people don’t understand?
Rosellini: It was really a hard day for me because I was organizing most of it. We had this idea of having the belly dancers because of the oriental vibe at the beginning of the song. So we had to find a really cool group of belly dancers, and we wanted to have a little bit of story inside of the video to make it from the “Frozen Throne” one, which was more of a classic metal video of just the band playing. It was really difficult to gather all of the people and actors to join in the video.
We also had to find a good location. We thought about having a beautiful house – it was really difficult to match up all these things, but the result is so good. It’s different from most of the other kinds of metal videos and we are really satisfied with it. It was a long day – we did all of the belly dancers, actors, and band on the same day so it was stressful. But we are really satisfied with how it turned out.
Dead Rhetoric: You are also involved in the band Walk in Darkness and the Vivaldi Metal Project. What do you like about having these different outlets?
Rosellini: For now, all of these three projects can work well together. Walk in Darkness is mainly a studio band, so I’m not as involved as I am in Kalidia. In Kalidia I have to write lyrics and vocal lines, taking care of the management stuff, and Walk in Darkness I just have to sing. Walk in Darkness is also good because it’s a totally different project from Kalidia. There’s a gothic and symphonic element to it. I also think that being in Walk in Darkness really helped to improve my vocal skills. It was a great experience and I was able to bring that that to the new Kalidia. I’m very happy to be in that band. I also like their music, which is far from Kalidia, but really works with my voice. I can also do lots of experiments with my voice there.
For Vivaldi Metal Project, I was involved in the recording of the album two years ago. I had a little part in one of the songs. It’s an all-star project that includes over 100 musicians from all around the world. It’s a really big thing. I was really happy when I got the call to join the live band and do some shows. It’s really a great situation with lots of talented musicians. This also led me towards growth, and I’m really happy to be a part of that project too.
Dead Rhetoric: Being involved with these different projects, what do you like best about the metal genre overall?
Rosellini: I like the energy. I’m more on the melodic side of heavy metal: I like power metal, symphonic metal, everything that has a strong melody in it. All of my three projects have these kinds of elements, even if it is different. Kalidia is more classical in power metal with lots of different melodies, Walk in Darkness is more gothic but there are more cool vocal melodies too, and Vivaldi Metal Project is based on The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, so one of the biggest classical pieces known by everyone; it’s very melodic too.
I think that melodic elements are a part of my culture. Here in Italy, we have a lot of melodic music, even if it’s not heavy metal. I grew up listening to melodic pop music here in Italy. I think it’s part of my heritage. I think that when those melodic elements are mixed with heavy metal, that’s what I really love in the genre.
Dead Rhetoric: I saw an interview that you did where you said you didn’t start with vocal training but went through it a few years ago. What do you feel it added to your voice?
Rosellini: Until the recording of Lies’ Device, I didn’t have any training, and I really felt some improvements where needed. I didn’t know how to control my voice or how to manage some vocal lines. I was singing with a lot of noise, and I think you can hear it on that album. After a concert, I would feel like my voice was a little tired, so I ended up thinking that it was the time to get a proper teacher to help me. I had tried when I was in high school, but I couldn’t find the right teacher, which I think is the most important thing in your musical path. If you have the right teacher who understands your needs, you can improve a lot. If you find someone who is not really focused on what you want to achieve with your voice it can be really tricky and difficult. That’s why I didn’t have any training earlier. I couldn’t get along with my teacher.
Finally, after the recording of Lies’ Device, I found someone who could really understand me. In the very beginning, she didn’t have training either, so she knew what my limits where and what I needed to learn. It actually changed my techniques. I think I can be called a proper singer now – I’ve improved my breathing skills in live shows and improved my control in those. I can switch my voice easily but it was a problem for me when I had no training. It was a big improvement for my voice.
Dead Rhetoric: I also saw you were studying to become a veterinarian. Is that correct?
Rosellini: Yes, I graduated a month ago. I am a veterinarian, but I think I will take a few months before I start to work so I can see what happens with this album. I would love to go on with music only, because it’s what I really want and love to do. But I do want to be a veterinarian too.
Dead Rhetoric: So what do you do outside of music for fun?
Rosellini: Mainly I play video games [laughs]. That was my bigger passion – I used to play a lot in high school and that’s where I got a lot of my inspiration for the lyrics of my music. I had the time to try a lot of different types of video games. I also like books and TV shows. All of the stuff you can find on Netflix. I am also involved in cosplay. I am part of a steampunk movement, so I have my costume and I usually do some things with other steampunks at other comic conventions. I’m actually doing a lot of things [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: What plans do you have as we move towards 2019?
Rosellini: With Kalidia, we are having some shows in Italy and we are trying to book a European tour for next year. We are trying to achieve this because with such a strong album we want to play as much as we can. We are really working hard to get as many shows as we can. I think it will be a year full of concerts and shows. With Walk in Darkness I am already recording some new songs, and with Vivaldi Metal Project, we have some shows booked for March and June next year. There will be a lot of music from all of my projects next year. It’s great because music is really what I love to do.