About Me

Interview with Exit Eden

What happens when Amanda Somerville, Clémentine Delauney, Marina La Torraca e Anna Brunner get together? You get a new project: Exit Eden. These powerful women, owners of amazing voices, members of well-known bands, have decided to join forces in Exit Eden and are here to shake the underground scene with their debut album “Rhapsodies in Black” (an album filled with covers of unexpected artists), to be released via Napalm Records in early August! Metal Imperium talked to all the ladies to find out more about Exit Eden…

M.I. - Do you think the underground scene “lacked” a band like Exit Eden?

Marina: ExE is a band I’ve always wanted to listen to: essentially pop songs being turned into essentially symphonic metal, with epic arrangements and the multiple layers our voices provide. It’s a serious taken, daring, and yet fun project. I love that we play that role in the metal scene.
Amanda: I think the metal & rock scene in general lack all-female bands & projects. But there’s definitely no one else out there right now doing things in the format we’re doing them.
Clémentine: I don’t think we should think like this. Music is an art form at first that should not be considered as a market with demands to reply to. There is room for everything and every band because there is no limit to how much music we can love. EXIT EDEN wasn’t lacking, we just wanted to create it!
Anna: Well, there are a lot of symphonic metal bands out there, but I don´t know any band having 4 powerful front women. Plus we cover songs and rearrange them into our style. I think this is also special and we put so much energy in this and it's just great to see it being out there. So yes, we think it's something new and we love it, that’s what it's about in the first place. And I mean we hope that the scene appreciates it, too.

M.I. - How did you come up with the idea of joining forces? How did this line-up come together? Was it by invitation?

Amanda: I’ve been around a long time and people have gotten to know my name from within the spotlight as an artist, but I have a long standing career as a professional studio musician “behind the scenes," as well. Sascha Paeth, my longtime friend and colleague, contacted me a while back and said he was doing some work together with a producer in northern Germany and that they were looking for a female vocalist to sing some “operatic” demos and suggested me for the job. The producer got in touch with me after and we began working together. At that point, I didn’t have much info. I was just approaching the job as pure studio work; I’d sing my parts as they’re asked of me and that’s it. When I was doing the Eurovision preliminaries with Avantasia, I met some of the guys who’d been in charge of that project and they said they really liked how I sang the demos and that they had some ideas in mind for the future. A few months later, they got in touch with me again, said they really believed in how everything was progressing and thought we should form a real band and release the material. Thus the ball was rolling!
Clémentine: Amanda and Anna are used to work with the people in the studio who brought the songs to life. They were imagining how to make pop and metal collide in a powerful and modern way. So once a couple of songs were done they asked these ladies to make demo vocals on them. Once listening to the result they all were amazed by how good it turned out and immediately agreed that this shouldn’t remain in a drawer. So they imagined a bigger project, involving more vocals to make it richer and they thought about adding 2 voices. Amanda knew Marina and I, so she suggested our names and I’m very happy all our voices worked well together!
Anna: To be honest, this actually all started with an idea our friends from the production company had. Amanda and I sung the first demos and we both really digged the songs the way they were changed and produced. After hearing our recording the producers asked us if we liked to have this project of our own and we totally agreed. Amanda has an extraordinary beautiful voice and she's achieved so much, I was thrilled to be in a band with her. She's been friends with Marina and got her to join and had heard Clementine with one of her bands who also was up for this.

M.I. - Why the name Exit Eden?
Amanda: I came up with that name because we wanted something historical and yet modern, representing a strong female edge of empowerment. Since Eve was cast out of the garden of Eden for eating from the Tree of Knowledge, we’re symbolizing that we’re casting ourselves out of a fluffy, easy paradise where we’re meant to just be pretty and keep our minds and our mouths closed. We aren’t afraid of what the world has to throw at us.
Clémentine: Amanda came in with this suggestion that we all voted for. It can carry of lot of meaning and different interpretations! “Eden” for me stands for the cliché that women can’t act in certain ways, think for themselves, embrace their freedom, be independent and strong and that we always need Adam. No, we don’t! Women are strong, smart and should be treated equally. So let’s escape this definition that brings us down to a sexist vision where we have a limited range of actions and where it’s ok for men to disrespect us.
Anna: It was Amanda´s idea. It just fits the whole project, the look and the sound because we turned cheesy popsongs into something darker.

M.I. - The band is described as “cosmopolitan, self-confident, independent and ready to do their very own thing”… what can fans expect of you after all?

Marina: They can definitely expect 4 professional ladies ready to rock the stages with crazy make-up and 80’s hair.
Amanda: Haha! Exactly that. ;-) We’re doing what we love, having a great time and we’re not apologizing to anyone.
Clémentine: To be surprised by our covers, our personalities, our looks and attitudes! And by what is next to come since releasing this album “Rhapsodies In Black” is just the first step ;)
Anna: We all have our past and our experience and it is just so much fun to come together with Exit Eden. We're all really different (and I don't only mean that we come from different countries) but that is the cool thing because we have many ideas and also very different voices. It makes the band versatile and special. The fans can expect powerful rearranged songs in an symphonic metal style with very different voices and great interpretation.

M.I. - Being all members from different countries, how do you practice? Is the internet your best ally?

Amanda: Yes, pretty much! We chat daily and have Skype conferences. It’s actually very easy thanks to modern conveniences & internet!
Clémentine: Practicing as a band? You can’t do that online… We practiced at home separately then in the studio and we’ll rehearse all together before our very first show at Metal Dayz in Hamburg!
Anna: Yes!!! It's crazy how things can be coordinated today. We keep in touch and are very close. The only thing that really makes it hard is when we are all in different time zones. I think this was at Christmas, every one of us was in a different time zone. So try to schedule a skype call between the four of us, that was insane!

M.I. - There’s one surprising element in this band as Amanda Somerville, Clémentine Delauney, Marina La Torraca and Anna Brunner are all vocalists. How is it having 4 voices singing? Was it odd?

Marina: Absolutely not! That’s the fun in it. Remember the Spice Girls? How boring would it have been, if there was only Baby Spice?
Amanda: The more, the merrier. :-)
Clémentine: I’m used to sharing the lead vocals in my bands so it wasn’t odd to me. Even if we are more than 2! It’s another approach of the songs and performance. It feels more like a musical!
Anna: To be honest, I think it's great!!! I have always been in bands with guys, I'm used to being the only girl mainly playing in rock bands and being in a band with girls is special to me already. ;) Plus these girls are great! It's just a perfect fit and so much fun. We all have different voices and it is great to hear the other ones sing.

M.I. - How’s the chemistry between all members?

Marina: We definitely have fun together. And the fact that we all seem to have a complementary mentality instead of a competitive one is a great thing.
Amanda: We have a lot of fun together!
Clémentine: Very good! We are all pros and we all want the best for the project so it’s easy to work together. Furthermore, we are very different on many levels which enables us to complete each other instead of competing and that’s the best part about this project. We have a lot of fun working together!
Anna: It's great. We're all very different but this is what makes it exciting. There's no envy among us, it's more that we admire each other for what we do and this is pretty cool. Best is that we can have a great time together and laugh about the stupidest things.

M.I. - Who are the musicians that accompany you?

Clémentine: They are all Anna’s friends, they played gigs together in the past!
Anna: They're actually all friends of mine. I've been playing in bands with some of them or just know them. I knew they would like this band since they're all rockers and metalheads. And when I showed them the songs and asked them if they'd like to join they were total in. We had asked Evan K, one of the guitar players, to record some guitars for Rhapsodies in Black. He's a really good guitarist and working with him is great so he was the first one set for our band.

M.I. - EXIT EDEN’s debut "Rhapsodies in Black”, to be released in early August via Napalm Records, is a mix of international super hits from Rihanna to Madonna, from Depeche Mode to Adele. Why have you opted to do an album of cover songs?
Marina: That was the intention of the project from the start: turning pop music into metal, big time.
Amanda: That’s how it began. The groundwork was already set. We were very fortunate that the puzzle pieces simply fit together and we were able to take it from there and make it our own.
Clémentine: The project was born from the idea to turn pop hits into metal songs. Trying out how much pop can become metal using the right arrangements. So it felt natural for everyone to have the first album follow this concept completely.
Anna: Because this is just what it makes it new and exciting. A lot of people say “This song sucks or that one sucks” but we want to show that every popsong can be turned into a great metal anthem.

M.I. - Why the title “Rhapsodies in Black”? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you got those “ballads” into something heavier?

Marina: Exactly. We dressed them in black, like a good headbanger, haha.
Amanda: Yes, absolutely.
Clémentine: That’s exactly the meaning behind this title!
Anna: Absolutely! We took those (partially cheesy) but well known pop songs and made a “black” version out of them. Especially talking about the arrangement and instrumentation. We all love heavy rock and metal so this is absolutely our taste. I'm glad to hear and read that some people say they like our version better than the original because this is exactly what I think.

M.I. - The tracks are totally addictive and I have been listening to it on repeat ever since I got it. What is your favourite track?

Marina: That’s great to know! Thanks. My favourite tracks are, in this case, the “biggest” and most epic numbers, like “Impossible” and “Paparazzi”.
Amanda: Thank you! Happy to hear that. :-) I have a horrible time picking favourites and can never pick just one, especially because I love every track. Plus, every day it changes for me. Currently, my faves are “Paparazzi,” “Impossible,” & “Incomplete,” but that might change tomorrow!
Clémentine: Oh this is so hard to tell… I love the whole album. I might have a top 5 with “Frozen”, “Unfaithful”, “Incomplete”, “Question Of Time”, “Fade To Grey”!
Anna: Honestly, this is a damn hard question... they're very different form each other and although they're all heavier and in our style they're really diverse. I really like “Unfaithful” and I'm glad we chose this as our 1st single. And I definitely like the harder tracks like “Impossible”, “Question of time” or “Fade to grey”. But I also like the softer ones. I just can't wait to play shows. To perform them will be so much fun and it will be hard to have to choose just a couple if we have to.

M.I. - How did the selection of the tracks included in the album take place? How difficult was it?
Amanda: Once I came into things, all of the songs had already been in place. Anna had sung a few of the demos before me, so she was even part of it earlier. But since then, we’ve definitely come up with lots of ideas for songs we’d love to do for our next album!
Clémentine: We had made a huge list of songs at first! Songs that we loved, songs that we thought could turn great into metal…. Then we had to narrow it down by making sure the songs would sound awesome with our arrangements and that the whole album would be varied in terms of original artists and periods of time where the songs came from. We were all involved in the process and it lead to very passionate discussions!
Anna: It was very difficult because once you think of songs you could put in your own style you come up with more and more ideas... There are so many good songs out there but some just have the wrong arrangement or instruments or honestly the wrong singer. We chose songs that good from the start (songwriting wise) and also songs that are very different from the style we put it in so the contrast and the effect is bigger. And it's kind of shocking to hear it in the heavier style. I mean this is what makes it a new song. To really change it and turn it around. And I think they really work better with the heavy production!

M.I. - I know there are a lot of songs you’d probably love to cover but is there a particular one you’d like to include in the album and wasn’t? Which one?

Marina: Anything from Abba!
Amanda: See previous answer!
Clémentine: I really have no regret about this album. If a song wasn’t chosen it could have been because it didn’t turn out good in a metal form and then there was no reason to fight for it to be covered. I’m very happy “Frozen” worked out though!
Anna: There´s so many so I better don´t. :)

M.I. - You are covering music icons such as Bonnie Tyler, Depeche Mode, Madonna and Bryan Adams and newer acts such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Adele. Why this mixture of old and new?

Marina: The point was to select great bubble gum pop hits. Some of them are definitely sung in the shower by many different generations.
Amanda: We’re all very diverse - also in our ages! - and so it’s natural to have that mix.
Clémentine: We wanted a rich and diverse album. Melodies from the 80s aren’t those of nowadays and it helped our creativity to deal with many influences. It is also a way to make a tribute to pop music in general, not only giving credit to some recent successes.
Anna: We wanted to show that it´s not a matter of genre, style or even the TIME when those songs were released, to make it sound like a great symphonic metal track.

M.I. - Choosing the lead vocals for each track was an easy task or not?

Amanda: We basically all sang everything and let the production team work their magic.
Clémentine: Sometimes it was obvious which voice to use depending on the song and part to sing, sometimes we made several tries with different singers. We had the chance to work with an amazing team in the studio who helped us decide who sounded the best and where. This way there was no fight between us singers and the best result could be achieved!
Anna: Sometimes it was very clear who would sing a certain part because it would fit one of our voices best. With other songs it was just a coincidence who sang what

M.I. - Who’s the male voice that is audible in some tracks and more perceptible in “Total eclipse of the heart”?

Anna: His name is Rick Altzi, the singer of Masterplan. His voice fits damn great on this track!

M.I. - The video for “Unfaithful” (Rihanna cover) has been released on the 7th July. Why was this the track selected to present yourselves to the world?

Marina: I think it’s a massive song, and you can hear the four of us singing lead vocals in it.
Amanda: Since we loved all of the tracks, we left that up to our label. Whatever choice they made, we knew we could stand behind every single song on the album and there’s lots more to come!
Clémentine: We wanted to make it clear that this project is a metal one so we decided to choose among our most metal versions, the song that would be released first. Then we wanted to create passion and have people talk about it so we provoked the very first listeners, who would have been metalheads, by showing us covering a pop artist that rarely gets credit from metal lovers: Rihanna! And we weren’t disappointed by the reactions!
Anna: I think it is just a great track. It is very powerful and rough the way we re-did it and totally different from the original. It makes things clear from the very beginning.

M.I. - The reactions to the video have been awesome and may fans are requesting that you play on their countries… were you expecting such a massive response?

Marina: Most of them with the classic “Come to Brazil”, right? Hahaha. You gotta love my enthusiastic countrymen! I was hoping for a positive response, but not working with expectations. But I must say I’m very glad that so many people appreciate it that much, it’s wonderful.
Amanda: I don’t believe in expectations. I’ve been in this business long enough to know better! When I do something, I do it because I love it, I can learn from it, I can give it everything I’ve got and I can be proud of it. For ME, first and foremost, because this has always been my dream and you can’t force anyone to dream the way that you do. If people like it, then that’s just the bonus gravy!
Clémentine: We were not expecting to reach out to so many people so fast, no. People shared the first video a lot and brought a lot of attention to us and we are very grateful for that!
Anna: No, I wasn't. To be honest I had no idea what to expect. And that so many people like the first song and the video as well and want us to play in their counties is amazing! I hope we'll start a world tour soon ;)

M.I. - Are you excited about the first live show? What will this show be different from the other shows you’ve played with other bands?

Marina: I’m used to singing with other lead singers or doing ensemble numbers (see Avantasia and musical theatre productions), so I don’t expect it to be very different from that. Sharing is caring, we hope to have a blast every time.
Amanda: Certainly! Every show is a new adventure and this is something TOTALLY new. Bring it!
Clémentine: I’m very excited indeed! Well, with my band, VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, I’m used to share the lead vocals with another singer, Siegfried Samer, so it won’t feel too different except that we have to work a lot on our stage performance being 4 front ladies!
Anna: Hell Yeah! I am very excited and can't wait for it to come. The production and arrangement of the songs are so great! Even to sing them in the studio or on the video shoot was so much fun. They will be so great to perform and we definitely want to make it an extreme powerful and amazing show. Just wait for it....! :-)

M.I. - All vocalists are wearing awesome dresses in the photos and video… who designed them?
Amanda: Bibian Blue of Barcelona. A super talent with incredible ideas and beautiful executions.
Anna: When thinking about what to wear for this band we actually all wanted it to be special, something extraordinary and crazy. We found out about a Spanish designer called Bibian Blue. Her style was great so we were like “Something like this would be amazing to wear”! I still can’t believe it worked out in the end!

M.I. - All vocalists of this project have been involved in widely known acts… apart from Exit Eden, what is going on with Amanda, Anna, Clémentine and Marina these days? Are you involved with any musical acts? If so, how will you cope your agendas with Exit Eden?
Marina: Haha, I’m involved in too many musical acts… ! One has to juggle (a lot!) to make room for everything, but it’s doable. I’m currently performing with a German tour production of Musical Highlights; from October until beginning of December I’m on tour with (another) tour production of the Broadway Hit “RENT”; and at the same time my band Phantom Elite is coming with full power, with a debut album and tour planned for the end of this year.
Amanda: I’m finishing up my new Trillium album and continuing to perform with Avantasia. It’s always been a challenge for me to balance things because I do SO much, but somehow it always works out in the end. :-)
Clémentine: These days I’m playing Summer festival shows with VISIONS OF ALTANTIS and we are working on our new album! It will require some good communication between everyone in order not to mess with any project’s schedule but we are surrounded by the right people to handle this!
Anna: I think I am the only one who doesn't have any other band right now. I've had a bunch of bands in the past. We played gigs, recorded demo CDs and all but never got a deal or anything. So this is my first real big thing!

M.I. - Considering the amount of interest in the band, is the band planning to release an album of original tracks?

Amanda: That all still needs to develop. We’ve already got an entire 2nd album together with ideas of songs we’d still love to cover! But we’ll see...
Clémentine: This is still a bit early to tell! For sure we’ve been thinking about it and when the discussion for a second album will take place, I’m sure the door is open to talk about original songs!
Anna: This is totally something we consider for the next time but I don´t want to make promises at this point. Let´s see where the journey goes.

M.I. - I hope Exit Eden play a lot of shows and come to Portugal to promote the awesome album. All the best for you! Please leave a message to the Portuguese fans and readers of Metal Imperium.
Marina: In Portuguese, OBVIOUSLY! ;) Portugal do meu coração, muito obrigada! Espero que gostem do nosso primeiro álbum, e quero MUITO vê-los ao vivo em breve!!! Beijinhos a todos!
Amanda: OBRIGADA!! We hope to come play Portugal asap! Until then, keep your horns high and your radios LOUD!
Clémentine: Thank you very much! I hope that we will be able to start planning a tour soon and that Portugal will be on the list! I’ve played there with SYMPHONY X, as a member of MELTED SPACE last year and I loved the audience’s warm welcome!
Anna: A big shout out to all Portuguese metalheads out there! We hope you like our band and that we will soon meet on tour! Horns up!

Interview by Sónia Fonseca