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Ben Sotto – Vocals for Heavenly

Date: 05/07
Interviewed By: Rich Catino



1. "Virus" is your fourth album. The band's sound is a bit more aggressive than your first two releases "Coming from the Sky" and "Sign of the Winner". Can you tell us about the harder sound?

BEN: With this new album, we tried to make a "good mix" between power and melody. On one hand, all the rhythm guitars and bass guitar give a powerful dimension to the music and on the other hand, all vocals and lead guitars bring the melody. In that way, we tried to keep these two aspects in our music.

2. How would you then compare "Coming from the Sky" and "Sign of the Winner" to "Dust to Dust" and "Virus"?

BEN: From the first to the latest album, you can hear a constant evolution in our music, first a little symphonic and then, more and more aggressive. “Sign of the Winner” is more symphonic than “Coming from the Sky”, then “Dust to Dust” shows our powerful side but still symphonic with a lot of orchestrations, and now, in my opinion, “Virus” keeps the essential of all our albums. This album is direct and heavy but also melodic and express different ways of emotions.

3. Your artwork as well for "Virus", and the previous album "Dust to Dust", are also darker and more aggressive looking than your first two albums. Can you talk about the change in artistic direction?

BEN: “Dust to Dust” is a concept album which deals with the story of a Vampire, and for me, a cover had to be according to the main theme of the album, that’s why a vampire is printed of the artwork of this record. About “Virus”, we wanted to call the album “Virus”, and once again it was necessary for the cover to be in relation with the concept of the song "Virus" which is the story of a spy who only wants to destroy everything and so it was impossible to put a Heaven cover with beautiful angels or something like that. For example like the first album "Coming from the Sky". As you said, the cover is not typical for this kind of music but it represents very well this virus described into the song. And more, the style of Heavenly is more aggressive and powerful than before so the artwork also reflects this aspect of the music.

4. What would you say is the formula for Heavenly's music?

BEN: I don’t know what is the formula for Heavenly’s music, if you have one give it asap lol…Well the more important for us now is to take pleasure in what we do and have fun.

5. Who writes the music and the lyrics?

BEN: I'm still the main writer in Heavenly, but I always listen to the opinion of the other guys. The writing process is really simple, I bring a demo of a song and everyone can touch and do modifications to create the best. Charley and Olivier rearranged guitar parts if it's necessary and Thomas and Matthieu do the same. So in that way, each member is important in the writing process.

6. Where do you think Heavenly fits into the European Power Metal sound and style being from France?

BEN: We can’t say that Heavenly is inventing a Power Metal from France … and to be honest with you we don’t think of this when we are composing songs. In reality we just take a maximum amount of pleasure with this kind of music. I don’t think it is a good thing to try to sound different, I mean just play what you love and let see in the future ….

7. Do you think that gives Heavenly a different sound or edge compared to other European Power Metal bands?

BEN: I don’t really think there exist a French touch … I mean that music doesn’t have frontiers !!!

A lot of people say that we can recognize Finnish band from the others .. It’s just that they recorded in the same studio, and in the same conditions … that’s clear that they have great bands there !!! But also in Germany, and USA !!!!

We are very proud to represent the French Heavy Metal as well

8. Obviously your sound is influenced by bands like Helloween, Stratovarius, and Gamma Ray. So which ones do you feel you are directly influenced by?

BEN: I grew up listening Helloween and then Gamma Ray and I'm still fan of this music. So I can't deny that you can hear my influences in Heavenly, especially in the three first albums. Now, I think that Heavenly try to develop is own style album after album. But you can obviously still compare our music with bands like Gamma Ray or Stratovarius which were my favorite bands during a couple of years. And I also can’t deny similarities within my voice.

9. How about other bands and who are some favorites of Heavenly?

BEN: Each member of the band has his own favorite metal bands, and there are too many bands to name. But to be short, I would say: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, Angra, Symphony X, but also Queen… Well it’s not an exhaustive list because there are a lot of good metal bands.

10. What are Heavenly's touring plans behind "Virus"?

BEN: Actually, French shows are scheduled, a French summer festival with Megadeth, Dream Theater, and Within Temptation. Then we hope we'll play in Europe soon too and to be honest, we want to play everywhere we could (LoL).

11. Any plans to tour the U.S. and have you ever been offered to play ProgPower USA?

BEN: We’ve never been in U.S., but it will be a pleasure to come and we hope we could have the possibility to play all over your country. We know ProgPower USA, we read a lot of reviews from this festival, but we’ve never been offered to play there; so call us and we’ll come for sure lol...

12. Closing thoughts?

BEN: First, HEAVENLY and I would like to thank everybody. I hope our new album "Virus" can please all of you guys and maybe we could see on Tour in US one day. All the best.

Official website: www.heavenly.fr

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