Luxembourg is a tiny country close to Belgium but it seems that every metal band created there is pretty good! Let’s discover one of them today with the help of their singer, Diane, and a few words from their keyboardist, Laurent, as well : ShadoWhisperS. The band, evolving in a symphonic register with drops of fantasy, recently released their first full length album, “Mara”, which explores the subconscious from light to darkness.

First of all, could you please simply introduce the band?

ShadoWhisperS was formed in 2009 and after a lot of line-up changes and some recorded demo tracks in the rehearsal room, we released our first official EP, “A Tincture Of Gothic Fiction” in 2017 and our first album, “Mara”, in 2019. ShadoWhisperS is a symphonic metal band with a tincture of gothic fiction, creating a fusion genre combining power metal and elements of orchestral classical music with the dark atmospheres of gothic rock. It’s emotive darkness that tells epic tales of the battle between light and dark, inner struggles, heroes and anti-heroes and of course life and death. We are shadows that whisper truths and seduce into taking off the blindfold. We are: Diane Frisch (vocals), Jean-Claude Sonnen (guitar), Laurent Schleck (keyboard), Piquet Jung (bass) and Mot Speller (drums).

ShadoWhisperS was founded in 2009. What are the big steps of this career?

In 2015 we started to organize our festival « Shadows’ Night ». Another big step certainly was the release of our first EP « A Tincture Of Gothic Fiction » in January 2017 and the videoclip for our song « Slow Death » released in March 2017. The video reached the second place of the Viewer’s Choice Awards at the Video Clip Awards of Luxembourg. We played a lot of fun gigs in Luxembourg, Belgium and France, such as the Steampunk Convention, participated at a Femme Battle and had some shows with local bands.

In 2017, we founded the « Shadows’ Night ASBL » to promote rock and metal music in Luxembourg and the greater region and brought our festival “Shadows’ Night” to a new level by organizing workshops for kids, teens and adults.

In 2018, ShadoWhisperS were present on two samplers: Imperative Music Compilation Vol. 14 and Finest Noise – Der Luxemburgsampler.

In 2018 and 2019 we started our project “Metal & Pipes“, combining classical music and the diversity of the pipe organ with the dark and heavy riffs of the symphonic metal music. The repertoire of the six musicians includes popular classical organ pieces in a new interpretation with the band, as well as compositions by the band ShadoWhisperS in an arrangement with organ music and free improvisations by Paul Kayser.

Finally, in 2019 we released our first album “Mara” and had the opportunity to share the stage with the melodic death metal superband, MaYaN.

Did your symphonic direction come naturally or is it something you build through time?

Diane: The symphonic direction is a combination of classical music and rock/metal music. So that’s just all I like. I think that was just a logical conclusion.

Laurent: I played in a few bands before, but as a keyboarder it is hard to find a band that plays heavy music. So I decided to found my own band and the choice of symphonic metal came quite naturally for me as a keyboarder. Finding a stable line-up was a struggle though.

You recently released « Mara », how would you personally describe this album?

The album deals with dark thoughts, dreams and nightmares, horrifying, unpleasant, sexual, healing ideas in our subconsciousness.

When you wrote the music or/and lyrics for this album, what inspired you the most?

Diane: Dreams in general are very fascinating to me. We can’t really control them and they reveal the thoughts of our subconsciousness. Everybody has nightmares sometimes. And everybody has thoughts he tries to hide. We all know how frightening and real dreams can be. There are so many interesting song ideas right inside all of us.

Who is Mara? What is her history? Looking at the artwork, I think she’s a succubus, but I’d like to know your version.

Diane: When Mara comes to visit you, you feel a heavy weight, it might start at the feet, but it always settles on your chest, leaving you paralyzed! Mara – Maere, Mahr, Mahrt, Mårt – by any name, it was and still is a terrifying creature bringing nightmares.

Laurent: It’s nice you like our version, as we tried to give Mara a new, perhaps more modern visual. We didn’t want to use the image of a succubus. After a brainstorm at our favorite pub, I came up with this idea, trying to respect all of the ideas of the other bandmates.

ShadoWhisperS : A world between dreams and nightmares

And by the way, is the album telling a whole story or the songs are individual? If so, what are they about?

The album is not a real concept album. But it has « Mara » or the nightmares as a central theme. All the lyrics deal with the topic of dreams and subconscious thoughts, the dark side inside us all.

So far, my favorite song out of « Mara » is « Distant Lovers ». In general artists hate this question, but do you have a favorite song out of this album?

Diane: It’s a very difficult question, because, same as when I am writing lyrics and vocal melodies, all depends on my mood. When I am listening to an album (even our own album), depending on my daily mood, I have different favorite songs. When I feel aggressive, or when I am really angry, of course, it would be « Ghost Inside ». When I am in a more melancholic mood, I would prefer « The Reign » for example, …

Laurent: That’s funny. This is my least favorite song. It also went to a lot of changes until it had finally the right mood. For me, it is the title song. It opened new ways for songwriting as we as a band could manage to play a song with a lot of time signature changes and key changes. Plus, I really like the mood and the dynamics of the song.

By the way, I noticed that « Distant Lovers » and « The Last Whisper » are sponsored songs, what does that mean?

When we started with the recordings for the album, we noticed that it will be much more expensive to produce a full-length album with studio recordings than an EP with demo tracks. That’s why we were searching for ideas to reduce our personal financial investment. Our fans had the opportunity to buy the album before the release (some sort of crowdfunding) or even to sponsor a whole song and have their name in the booklet.

On another hand, a funny thing I noticed on your Facebook page is that you call your fans « Minions ». Where does that come from?

Laurent: Our former singer started this, way before the small yellow banana loving creatures were famous, and we just stuck to it. Other bands do it too, Slipknot call their fans “maggots” and we found minions kind of cute.

Now, I’d like to know more about you, Diane, as a singer. What is your story with singing? How did you learn, how did you come to classical singing, and so on?

I started to play music when I was two years old. My parents had no musical education, but they lived in Vienna for four years before I was born. Vienna is known for many famous musicians and artists and this is why the cultural and musical education of their child was very important to my parents. I started with the violin and played that instrument for many years. But I didn’t like it very much. I tried different things in my youth, such as the saxophone, drums and the harpsichord. At the « Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg », you could join the classical singing class at the age of 16 only. That’s when I started to take my first real singing lessons and finally found MY instrument. I was singing in different national and international choirs: « Faust » at the Berlin Philharmony or the 8th symphony from Krzysztof Penderecki (who died a few days ago) for the opening for the Philharmony in Luxembourg for example. At the age of 17, I started to sing in a funk/rock band called « Clandestinos ». We had some songs with comical lyrics and I remember some very funny gigs at Kulturfabrik or at the gay parade « Gay Mat » for instance. Today, I take modern singing lessons with my teacher and friend Hannah White to learn musical and rock techniques too.

Who are the singers (no particular gendra) who inspire or influence you?

That’s a very difficult question as well… I don’t have a real idol. I always say that I am just picking out the best and darkest fondant chocolates from everything I pass through lifetime. As musicians and artists I really love Marilyn Manson up to Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald to J.S. Bach, Henry Purcell and Thomas Arne. I love the voices of Simone Simons and Floor Jansen but I love the way of singing of Ash Costello, Marilyn Manson or Jonathan Davis too.

Singing and the voice itself is something very personal. It is just not something you can try to copy. Surely there are techniques you can learn and you can get inspiration from other people. But I think the voice is different from other instruments. You just can’t buy a new voice, when you don’t like your own and you can never modify it in a way that you will sound the same as a famous singer you know.

I saw on Facebook that you also sing cabaret songs. Can you tell us more about this?

As mentioned before, I’ve been taking singing lessons for musical and rock techniques for two years now. With our singing class, we sometimes have concerts too. That’s where I performed the song « When You’re Good To Mama » from the musical « Chicago », you probably saw it on Facebook. As my husband is a musician too, we also try to play/sing concerts with classical and musical repertoire together from time to time.

Back to the band now, what are your project for the future?

For the moment, we are working on two new albums. The first one will be an album for our project “Metal & Pipes” with pipe organ. And there will be a second album for ShadoWhisperS as well, which will be a concept album this time.

And finally, do you have a word for our readers to finish this interview?

Diane: Dear Isabelle, thank you very much for this interview.

Laurent: And, minions, thank you for your support!

Photo : J.P. Frisch

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