If you've seen this issue's album reviews and last issue's single reviews, you'd know that Skandinavia are the most exciting band I've heard in a long while. I'm very pleased to present an interview with their singer/songwriter Eliza Newman. Thanks to Eliza for taking part in the interview, and to Anthony Gibbons for arranging the interview.
1. Please introduce yourself and the band to our readers.
Hello everyone in aquamarine world! Skandinavia are: Eliza Newman:
vocals and violin, Claire Wakeman: Guitars, Martin Maddaford: Bass and
Dave Collinder: Drums. We hail from Iceland and England and play kick ass rock music!
2. Nordic mythology is an influence on your lyrics, and you have Icelandic magical symbols on the cover of your album. Are you, or anyone else in the band, Ásatrú, or are you just interested in the mythology? (I hope this isn't too much of a personal question!)
Well spotted with the magic symbols! They are all positive good symbols that help you in life. None of us are Ásatrú, but I have always been very interested in mythology and the old sagas and folklore of Iceland. It's a big part of our culture and I tried to reflect that in some of the songs and the artwork of the album.
3. What's your reaction to people who claim to be Ásatrú but are actually practising a form of neonazism, racism and/or pseudo-satanic behaviour?
I think anyone using Ásatrú as a cover up for some other dubious activities need their head checked! It has nothing to do with the above groups at all. (Very true - KH)
4. An early version of the band featured Dan Hawkins from The Darkness. Was this before The Darkness had formed?
Dan was already in the Darkness when we worked together but it was before he became mega famous. We were all working in the same studio and that's how we hooked up. He came and played on a few tracks and was really good but unfortunately I couldn't nick him for my band cause he had his own thing going with the Darkness.
5. You used to be in Bellatrix (formerly Kolrassa Krókríđandi) and Martin was in Crashland. Were the others in bands before Skandinavia?
Claire and Dave had been playing in various groups around London before joining Skandinavia but nothing serious. Claire is also a trained classical guitarist and had been doing some work in that field as well.
6. When you were in Bellatrix you were known as Eliza Geirsdóttir, in accordance with Icelandic naming practise, but your name now is Eliza Newman. Why is this? Once again I hope this question isn't too personal!
Well spotted again! Indeed I am the daughter of Geir or Geirsdottir as we say in Iceland but I am also Newman cause my dad is half American, so I have two surnames, Geirsdottir Newman and these days I'm using Newman.
7. Skandinavia have much more of a rock sound than Bellatrix – what sort of a response have you got from Bellatrix fans?
I have had a very positive response! The fans that have followed me from my days in Kolrassa Krokridandi feel the rockier sound is much closer to where I started off from and they like that a lot.
8. What's the music scene like in Iceland? What bands/artists should we be listening out for?
I think the music scene in Iceland is very vibrant, loads of bands and artists. I would recommend Mugison for something very different and Brainpolice for the rockers.
9. You are a classically trained violinist. Am I right in thinking you also play in an orchestra?
I have not played in an orchestra since I was at school so it's a little while, but I did arrange and play all the strings on the album so maybe I could say I play in the orchestra of me! I am also a trained opera singer and have sung in opera concerts and stuff like that. I love classical music and try to incorporate what I have learned from it in our music for that epic feel!
10. Perhaps it's too soon to ask as the album has only just appeared, but are there any other releases around the corner?
There is another single from the album released in January 05, and we have already started to work new songs and ideas for the next album which we are hoping to release sometime next year.
11. Do you have any plans to play Birmingham or anywhere else in the Midlands?
We would love to come and play in Birmingham and the midlands, it's the cradle of heavy rock! We are in the process of booking a tour now so I'm sure we'll be coming round that way in the near future. Just keep checking our website
for updates on our gig schedule.
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