Tuesday, 10 June 2014

INTERVIEW: La-Ventura

La-Ventura are a Dutch female fronted melodic Metal/Rock band founded in early 2007 and are made up of Carla van Huizen (Vocals), Sasha Kondic (Guitars), Mike Saffrie (Bass) and Renzo van Poecke (Drums).  The band have released a demo, two EP's and two full-length albums, the most recent of which is the awesome White Crow.

Recently I was lucky enough to interview La-Ventura about the band, their album and much more ...

Can you tell us a little about La-Ventura? 

Mike: La-Ventura is a band from The Netherlands, which plays a blend of Metal and Rock with female vocals as lead. We have now had our second album out called “White Crow”, released by two labels here in Europe. Started back in 2007 in the eyes of the public as a Gothic band, we found our own groove, resulted in the first album “A New Beginning”.  With all the experiences from the first album, we set out to do an even better job for the second album, not only music wise but also the whole productions of it was done highly professional. With “White Crow” now out, the band has received many praise of the new style of music, but also the production itself has been the talk in the reviews and interviews. A new chapter has unfolded, where we will see how far we can take it, so stay tuned!

Can you tell us a little about each member of the band?

Carla: Saz is our passionate and driven guitar player and one of the core members of La-Ventura, who has been there since the first start in 2006. Mike and Saz are buddies for life and they know each other since high school. They have lived practically in the same street and were notorious as the metal brothers of this small village they grew up in. Mike and Saz are both highly educated and developed some amazing musical skills, whether it’s about studio engineering, software or electronic problems; when they work together, the problem will be solved. How I love these men ☺

Mike: Stef is our newest member in the band. Early this year we had to say goodbye to our former drummer, where it would have been the end of the band if we could not find a new drummer soon. Luckily for us, Stef stepped in; where after a few rehearsals it was already clear we found our new drummer! Dedicated to the job, he performs above the call of duty for La-Ventura, guaranteeing us a bright new future for years to come.

Saz: I agree. And I can confidently say that La-Ventura now consists of the right people at the right time. Each of us contributes to the total in a complementary way, where we try to get the most of each other and ourselves while remaining in service of the music. And primarily in service of Carla’s vocals, so that she can keep amazing us with her talents. In my opinion the vocals are the most important aspect of our music, because this is where the listeners soul is touched most.

Stef: The former drummer from La-Ventura asked me if I was interested. I didn't know what music they made, so I listened to their album. From the first song to the last, it was mind-blowing!  A couple days later Mike texted me to make an appointment with the band.  The conversation went well and a rehearsal was planned.  The musical connection, the vibe was there and 4 weeks later the first gig was a success!

What inspired the band name La-Ventura and what is its meaning?

Carla: I found it hard to choose a proper name for the band, I walked around with a list of potential names, but there was never one that hit the bill. One of the things I really had set my mind on was the use of a ventilator on stage. It brings movement and a great flow of energy to the performance. With that in mind I searched on the Internet and luckily came up with an Italian physicist called Venturi who invented things with tubes and airflow. I hassled with the letters and liked the idea of putting la (from Carla) in front of the name as representation of being the front lady of the band. So La-Ventura it was! Later we found out that it is a Spanish word for luck. It must have been luck after all.

How would you describe the band’s sound?

Mike: A nice blend of Metal riffs topped with strong Rock vocals, catchy melodies and a groovy base, which makes you move regardless of the mood, you are in!

Your first and second albums were released quite some time apart - what was happening with La-Ventura during this time?

Mike: We took the phrase “doing something right or not at all”, as it is literally. With just you as musicians undertaking such a huge project as making a new album takes time. Not only time passed by fast, the budget went dry also pretty fast. Making it to the end was a painstaking job to say the least, though worth every second and penny of it, with the end result “White Crow” now as our new calling card. When the album was finished, doing a release or making it happen went to be also a year of work. Finding good partners, setting up structures and then ultimately releasing the album with right promotion, thus receiving the right results in reviews. This process is still ongoing for the countries such as The UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Getting great scores, attracting the right audiences meeting new fans and industry, makes your work paying off. Not in finances, but in gratitude and satisfaction. If we did it for the money, we should have picked another line of profession….

Can you tell us more about your most recent release - White Crow? 

Carla: I wrote the lyrics for the album. Some of the lyrics were written in an earlier stage of writing before the second album and so I only had to make them fit for the music. Others I wrote during the process of songwriting. I always let the music speak for itself and then try to catch the right emotion and subject to match it. Some of the subjects are about things from my past or referring to situations and persons in my life. It’s a good way to express your feelings and coping with the past or grieve, but never without respect.

Mike: For the album “White Crow” I had the chance to put my mark on it with the songwriting. The music needed to change in comparison to the first, cause we had no keyboard player anymore and switched drummer. Any change like that will automatically change the music. Also I got to know Carla much better as singer and had a good vibe when delivering the new tunes to her and then the others.
When you can write to each other’s strength, the songs will evolve much quicker.

After the first process where everybody makes the first sketches their own, the second process goes into detail how to shape the song in all its aspects. That process is done by everyone in the band when doing the pre-productions.  After the pre-productions have finished and we liked the outcome, we had planned for the studio to do the real works. Slowly the songs get their final shape and vibe and within that moment you know whether it is going to work or not.


What motivates you to make music?

Saz: It’s a rewarding feeling. I guess some of it is just as any hobby; you like doing it and get a good feeling from pleasing results and achievements herein. But it’s actually more than a hobby; it’s an art. And this creates interaction with people, which in return brings inspiration for new things and continuation. For me it’s a good way to try and express creativity, and to keep developing in search of new challenges. It’s enrichment for the mind. And it touches emotions, which is sometimes amazing.

Stef: My motivation to make music is very simple; music sets me free. Making music with people is so wonderful. At the age of 20, I started playing the drums and it was love at first sight :). I am 42 years now, and I’m still in love with this instrument.

Carla: I have always dreamed of making music and being in a band. Never thought that I would have enough confidence to be on stage and being so vulnerable in front of an audience. But as I grow as a person, so did my self-esteem and musical skills and it still motivates me to prove myself that I can do better, each album and each performance.

Mike: The process of creation and the direct link with the fans who appreciates the work. Yes, making music is something I dearly love; I cannot live without having music in all its aspects in my life. But getting the right feedback from people who you haven’t even met before, letting you know you did something right is awesome!  Both can experience music in its true form; whether it is on the creating side or the receiving side. It is fantastic to see what music can do to a person.

Which artists have influenced you?

Stef: My favourite artist are: Mike Portnoy, Gavin Harrisson, Danny Carrey and many more…!

Saz: Too many to mention. I can enjoy many musical styles. But it’s not that most of these influences are directly heard in my guitar playing. Some of it was just inspiration for daily life, or deep respect for achievements & artists who do what they are good at. As a little kid I listened a lot to Michael Jackson, and I sometimes still do. Later when I started playing the guitar I got more into alternative music, like Guns n Roses, Metallica, Nirvana, Bad Religion, and from there I got more and more into metal bands like Machine Head, Fear Factory, Testament, Death… Some of these directly influenced my playing, and others more influenced my spirit and/or motivation.

How do you feel you stand out from other bands in your genre? What is unique about La-Ventura?

Mike: To think we are unique is probably too much credit, a bridge to far, but I can honestly say we now have a good base and blend for what is La-Ventura. We do not follow trends, we do what we like. This has allows been the case whether or not at the same time some genres were getting popular like Gothic. And now with the whole “female fronted” hype, we again seem to have that. But we always have had a female singer …
Cause we do not follow hypes, we have something what makes us maybe a bit “unique”, which doesn’t mean we haven’t had bands, other artists or music genres that gave us inspiration to do our own music.
Just listen to some tracks or the full albums and decide for yourself, I would say and tell me what is or is not unique about our music.

Carla: It is quite hard these days, to stand out as a band. There are so many bands who are trying to climb up the ladder of success. I am not sure anymore what separates a good from a popular band anymore. Is it skills, money, friends, contacts or luck? I do believe that true dedication, passion and hard work towards your goal helps to reach the path of success.

What are your aspirations and the aspirations of the band?  What does the future hold for La-Ventura?

Mike: Hopefully more good music with a third album, more and more gigs at great festivals and venues and more and more fans believing in what we do.

We make music not for just ourselves; we make music for you out there. We do not preach or lecture, we just simply want to share what we create. And if it so happens you really like it, then mission accomplished!

Check out our social media pages and official websites for more news, where we will leave you with the simple message: take care, enjoy the music and hope to see you soon live on stage!

A huge thank you to La-Ventura for taking the time to answer these questions. Looking forward to a third album and hopefully catching them live some time soon.

You can buy White Crow here.  La-Ventura have been confirmed for a number of festivals this year, most notably the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium.

Follow the band on:

Facebook
Twitter