We do take our time to write music – Interview with Rainover (Spain)
By Rainer Kerber
Diabulus in Musica, Tierra Santa, Tears of Martyr, Phoenix Rising or Héroes del Silencio. These are names that one or the other may have heard before. But Spain has much more to offer. Rainover hailing from Murcia in the southeast of Spain. Meanwhile the band exists for more than fifteen years there (under the name “Remembrances”) and can look back on an eventful history. Highlights were probably the two albums (2008, 2014) and the Mini UK Tour, where they also appeared at the Dames of Darkness Festival (2015). But in the last few years it was quiet. Recently, however, happily there was a new sign of life. The band was in the studio. But it was another few months before the official announcement of the third album. Now it is official, “Nox” is to be released in April (digital) and May (on CD). So, I asked the singer Andrea Casanova a few questions.
MHF: Hi Andrea, I’m Rainer and write for the Metalheads Forever Magazine. Thank you for giving me this interview with you. How are you?
Andrea: Hello, Rainer! Thank you! First of all, I’m very glad to be talking to you, now in the context of an interview, after knowing each other for quite some time from the scene. Even if the world isn’t in the best moment, things are busy for us with the new Rainover album coming up.
MHF: We’ve known each other for a few years, but most fans are not familiar with your band. Please introduce the band.
Andrea: And it’s great knowing you, I must say! We are Rainover and you could perhaps classify us as a gothic metal band, with our very personal touch in the sound. We come from Spain and are now about to release our second album, “NOX”.
MHF: How would you describe your music?
Andrea: I named it “gothic metal” in the previous question because that’s where most of our common influences come from -mostly, late 90’s gothic metal. But there’s also a lot other influences within metal (doom, some symphonic, and things in the darker spectrum of it), and outside of it, in popular music, and more.
What you instantly hear is a direct and atmospheric sound, female vocals (modern style, most of the time), some growling when the song asks for it, and tons of melody. I would say the music is quite emotional most of the time, and also intense, as we like to focus on the feelings each particular song can transmit. Yet, we aren’t in the heaviest or darkest side of the metal spectrum, so we will many times mix the emotional side up with more upbeat tunes, with electronics, and a bit of a more modern influence.
Our producer (Carlo Bellotti/Wormholedeath Records) said, with the previous record, that it was some kind of “dream rock”, while one of the reviews we got said it was a “back to basics” of gothic metal. I liked that. The new one is a bit darker and heavier, probably.
MHF: The name “Rainover” bears the band of my knowledge since you’re there (since 2011). How did the other band members find you? What changed musically at this time?
Andrea: We met each other thanks to a couple of common friends, who are now a part of a very cool band called Demised. They were looking for a singer and I had shared stage with one of them in his previous band, so he knew I was looking for a band with that particular sound.
I think they were looking for a bit more of a lively voice with an own personality, so to speak, because the sounds were more direct than what they had been doing previously, so apparently they found it in me. Even if I was new to them, I think we found a perfect synergy of vocals and music when we mixed them together.
MHF: Hardly that you were in the band. Rainover started producing ” Transcending The Blue And Drifting Into Rebirth ” (published in 2014). Were the songs already finished then or could you still influence the compositions?
Andrea: Most of it was composed, cause I joined the band only around three months prior to the album recordings. It was quite crazy and intense and we had a lot of work to do, but it was amazing cause we adjusted rapidly to each other and the music also fitted my voice, range and character perfectly.
I still had the chance to write some melodies of my own, in around 4 tracks, and lyrics for about 3 complete songs, and for 2 others I added some new parts. I could also add my own vocal details and arrangements, according to my singing style and personality, which was great.
MHF: One year after the release of the album you were on a small tour of the UK (by the way, I still wear the tour shirt today). Was not that a big risk as a largely unknown band touring through the country of origin of Rock and Metal?
Andrea: What happened, mostly, was that the first two radio stations to ever play our music were English (they were Ravenheart Music and “The Female Fronted Rock and Metal Show”, at AiiRadio, if I recall correctly), even before the album was released, and we kind of started building a small community of people who’d listen to us and play our music from there.
In 2014 I attended the Dames of Darkness Festival and I actually got to meet most of the people from the scene. A year later, we were invited by the Quinphonic Festival (which grew from one of the radio shows) for their first edition, and for the 2015 edition of the Dames of Darkness fest, which was probably the biggest festival of the kind in the UK until it unfortunately stopped. So, we organized a couple of dates around that.
We did take a risk as we were very small, but it was well worth it. We already connected with tons of people at the first couple of dates and when we came back for Dames of Darkness, we could see a number of people in the audience with our t-shirts.
MHF: On this tour you also played on the Dames of Darkness in Robin 2 (Bilston). What was the feeling of being on stage in front of hundreds of fans from the UK, Europe and the world?
Andrea: That is probably our best experience as a band yet. I love to talk about that show because it really was something special. I guess the biggest part of the audience didn’t know us, in fact we were the second or third band playing, but you could still see some people with our t-shirts in the first rows. This was an amazing first sight to get from the stage. The reactions of the audience were indeed some of the best we’ve ever got.
After the show, we sat by the merch table for over three hours, receiving people non-stop. We sold all the special t-shirts and almost all of the CDs and received so many, just so many great comments. Everyone was so generous. Coming back home was also sweet, with our hearts full of memories and our social networks with yet more good comments.
It’s a pity the fest isn’t held anymore. It was also a great venue, excellent organization (by Dave Homer from the band Apparition). We’d love to come back.
MHF: One day later you stood again on the stage. Together with other singers, you stepped in for the sick Vicky Johnson (Winter in Eden). That was one of the festival’s most impressive shows for me. How did you learn the lyrics and the vocal melodies so fast?
Andrea: In the morning I received a Facebook message from the band explaining the situation. To be honest, my voice was half wasted after so much speaking the day before (I really wasn’t planning on singing that day, haha), and I had no other stage clothes to wear. But of course, wanted to help out.
As I arrived in the venue, I was given some kind of an mp3 player with the song and a sheet with the lyrics. I spent most of the time prior to the show listening to it and trying to memorise it, even if that meant missing out on other bands I wanted to see. I just rehearsed the song a couple of times with one of their guitarists. It wasn’t super easy cause it had some intricate rhythms in guitars and stuff and I didn’t really know the song very well beforehand. We used the lyrics sheet on stage but I tried not to look at it too much.
I remember I wanted to see EnkElination (now Angel Nation) but only could catch around two or three songs because I’d keep on forgetting the track I had to sing, haha.
It was very nice to be able to help and hit that stage twice, even if not seeing Vicky there was very unfortunate. At least they could, very professionally, save the show, and it was amazing to see that very “live” thing happening with the two other guest singers, Mel from Aonia and Bexie from Eventual Fate.
MHF: After that I met you every now and then at other festivals. However, it was quiet around Rainover. What have you been doing all these years?
Andrea: We do take our time to write music, so mostly it’s been writing. We’ve also had a line up change, in guitars, which occupied us for quite some time as we needed to find the right fit, and then again sadly we can’t live off of Rainover, which means we all have other jobs (and responsibilities). Unfortunately, that means we need to slow down sometimes. But we do take some care to write the music. Sometimes it easy, some other times it takes us weeks to find the right chorus, hehe.
MHF: I was only able to see you live once more, on the eve of the Metal Female Voices Fest (2016) in Belgium. What was the feeling of being on stage together with many other singers from all over the world?
Andrea: That was another highlight of the last few years. Playing Metal Female Voices Fest in Belgium was one of my dreams, and even if it was in the small acoustic stage, it was still amazing. The whole experience was. Musically, acoustic arrangements are always very interesting to me because they really showcase vocals and nuances in the music and vocals, so it’s always something I enjoy doing.
Getting to share a last song on stage with all those amazing singers from all over the world was something meaningful. It all built a certain spirit, even the song we sung, “Saturnine” by The Gathering, because they were one of the pioneers so I felt it as a tribute.
I was accompanied on keyboards with a long time friend, and it’s like it was meant to be like that cause we got to see a lot of our common favourite bands together.
Then the ambiance is that of a big family. Now that’s another festival I’d love to see coming back.
MHF: Three years have passed since then, and now you announce your new studio album. So, you decided to continue as a band. What moved you to this decision?
Andrea: We never really stopped nor questioned ourselves whether to go on with the band or not. Maybe somewhat slowly, but we always kept on working on the new record. We are hoping you’ll be able to notice the time and work invested in the album, too.
In my view, some of the best traits of this band is its resilience, patience and endurance. I’ve been in the band since 2011 and the guys have been together for even a longer time. We’ve gone through a handful of hard things, maybe some not all bands would’ve resisted, but the band is still there. We believe in the songs and we believe in Rainover.
MHF: The second album will be called “Nox” (Latin for night). Why did you choose this title? Is “Nox” a concept album?
Andrea: Kind of. Even though there are multiple themes throughout the album, I framed them all in this concept -the humanity, estranged from their true nature by power, greed, technology, fanatisms… are going through a dark era, in many, many levels. You can see a clear depiction of this all in the cover.
This vision is explained in the lyrics through esoteric and magical resources sometimes, while other tracks are more direct. Some songs speak about nature, about the Earth, and the abuse that it suffers because of us. Some others speak about some of the miseries we humans hold as such against each other. Some are a wake up call. Some are more magical, some more human. Many, if not all, speak about things I’ve lived, felt or been impressed by. Over all, they’re all very real and personal. And even though most of them are bleak, there are also some sparks of light and love here and there, cause that’s one of the ways out of this.
Quini (drums) wrote the lyrics for one of the tracks (Darkness Falls) and they also fit perfectly with this idea.
MHF: Six years have passed since “Transcending The Blue And Drifting Into Rebirth”. How has your sound changed since then?
Andrea: I’d say you can still clearly hear it is Rainover cause it has the vocals, the melodies, the emotional quality and the atmosphere. But the work has got more serious. Not that the other album wasn’t, but the sound, songwriting were lighter. “NOX” feels more dense and complex, and also heavier and darker, in a way. We lean a bit more on guitars. We do keep the upbeat songs but have reduced it, and also perhaps the whole concept also sets a darker environment. But it is still Rainover.
MHF: You recorded and mixed the album in Italy. The songs were then fine-tuned in Germany. How did this international cooperation work?
Andrea: We chose to work with the exact same team we had for “Transcending the blue…”, which was Carlo Bellotti and Jonathan Mazzeo on production, Jonathan also on engineering, recording, and mixing at Mathlab Recording Studio (Italy), and then the mastering in Germany by Dennis Koehne and Waldemar Sorychta, even though this time we worked directly with Dennis.
Carlo is the head of our label, Wormholedeath Records, and he recommended Jonny back then. As for Dennis, for the other album we chose a handful of studios to do a trial song, and they were the ones to hit right in the middle of the sound we wanted.
We were very satisfied so decided to repeat with them all.
Same for our artwork. This is a very important point in our project and we trusted one of the best artists out there, Mario Nevado (Aégis Illustration). We share a same vision and it was a wonder to see all of the lyrics come to life in the illustrations. May I say the booklet is much more extensive than usual and contains a collection of illustrations, each representing a song, and more.
MHF: And it gets more international. On the first single “Lumina Omnia” you sing in a duet with Anders Jacobsson from Draconian. How did that happen? Were you in the studio together or did Anders record his vocals at home in Sweden?
Andrea: This collaboration was a dream come true for me.
I initially met Anders and Draconian as a fan of the band. I was only 17 years old when I went to see them live by the first time and I was seriously crazy about the band. On that day I managed to meet them after the gig and asked their previous singer, Lisa Johansson, to sing with me a bit of a track so I could record it in video and keep it as a memory forever.
After this, they remembered me, and we kept seeing each other in some other shows. Anders and I exchanged contacts at some point and we kept on talking through the years. When we released the first Rainover album, he told me he enjoyed it very much and even shared it on his socials a couple of times.
In December 2016, they played again in Spain at one of the best doom metal festivals in the world, Madrid is the Dark, and we talked it would be nice to do something together on stage. I joined them for their final song of the night, “Heaven Laid in Tears”, a song I had imagined myself performing for years, in a sold out venue. Talk about fulfilling dreams.
So, some times later, when we got this song with this huge chorus written for growling vocals, I immediately thought of Anders for the part. I was thrilled when he said “yes”, and even more so after listening to the result. I should also say it was Anders’ idea to add that part with brutal vocals near the end of the song and I definitely think it’s one of the peaks of the track.
He recorded his vocals at the Dead Dog Farm Studio, in Sweden, which is actually the place where Draconian rehearses, so that makes it even more magical to me. Johan Ericson, who writes all the music for Draconian, engineered the session.
I can’t be happier and more grateful at all of this.
MHF: On May 16, you will play your release show in your hometown Murcia. Can we see you live in Europe afterwards?
Andrea: We are/were planning a big party for our release show. Also had lined up some other gigs, including our first time in Belgium, and some other stuff. But now all has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis. It’s hard to say at this point if we will play any of these shows before summer of when live shows will be rescheduled. So we can’t really book anything else right now. It is a difficult situation for a band, but of course we understand health and safety are first.
We can only hope for the best for humanity. When I envisioned the concept for “Nox”, I really didn’t see it coming so soon.
MHF: I thank you again for the interview. Would you like to say something to the fans at the end?
Andrea: I just want to say “thank you” for the interview, of course, and thank you to everybody who still cares about original music! We have a lot to deliver and hope to meet you soon. Stay safe!
Andrea Casanova – Vocals
Arturo Hernández – Keyboards
Antonio García – Guitars
Quini Pelegrín – Drums
Antonio Perea – Bass, Vocals
MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber