Weeping Silence has been playing metal music since the mid-1990s. The band's debut album Deprived from Romance helped launch their sound, which has been changing ever since. They have expanded into the doom, gothic and avant-garde genres.
The band brings an original sound to the genre, helped by Rachel Grech, on lead and backing vocals. The band now includes power sounds from Joseph Grech on lead male vocals; Manuel Spiteri on guitar; Mario Ellul on guitar; Sean Pollacco on bass; Alison Ellul on keyboards; and Angelo Zammit on drums and percussion. Recently SoT's Mark Johnson was able to link up via e-mail with Rachel, Sean, and Joe, to ask some questions.
Welcome to the Sea of Tranquility Rachel, Sean, and Joe. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule promoting your album, Theater of Life, and rehearsing to answer some questions for your fans.
SoT To open, please tell us a little history or biography of the band Weeping Silence. How did you meet? Where is each of you from? What are your backgrounds in music?
Sean The band was set up by Mario Ellul and Angelo Zammit sometime around 1995. I joined in 2000. Malta is a tiny island, so we all live within driving distance of each other. Weeping Silence released two full-length albums in 2008 and 2011, following an EP in the early days. A third full-length is in the making and should be available soon. We mainly come from a doom and gothic metal background and have evolved in this style over the years.
Rachel Hello everyone! Well, I met Mario through my brother as they were playing in the same band at the time and Mario asked me to join Weeping Silence in 2001 along with their existing male vocalist. However this didn't quite work out and I ended up as main vocalist
I am half English and half Maltese and have been in various choirs and projects throughout the years, singing different styles ranging from gospel and jazz to contemporary and classical. But I have and always will be, a metal girl at heart! J
SoT How did your backgrounds and hometowns influence your artistic talents and musical writing?
Sean We were all into slow doom metal at the beginning of the band. This is evident from the album 'End of an Era', which is full of atmospheric doom passages with an in memoriam theme. With time the band got into orchestral and symphonic metal of the likes of Within Temptation and the sort, and this is evident in 'Theatre of Life'. Music is a continuous journey full of experiences, and evolution is slow and progressive. The members are off the purely symphonic style at the moment and into the gothic-doom style, which will be evident in the forthcoming album. Some elements of previous releases are still there, evident in the backing vocals and orchestrations, though more subtle. However, the guitar work takes a prominent role in the new album, and Rachel does not sing too high either. I feel there is more emphasis on the heavier metal elements and the several doom-oriented riffs.
Joe I don't feature on 'Theatre of life' so I shall take this question more on a personal note. The biggest musical influence for me was probably my late brother in law Daniel, who was an excellent guitarist and played with local Doom metal heavy weights Forsaken. I think his influence and Rachel's, coupled with my favourite bands and the music Weeping Silence are producing, inspires me vocally and lyrically.
Rachel Well I think that we are influenced by our past experiences in life whether we are conscious of it at the time or not. It's something that we are all passionate about.
SoT Who are your heroes?
Rachel My family, especially my Russian family J
Sean Those who fight to survive.
Joe The people in life that stand up for those that can't protect themselves.
SoT - Who are your musical heroes?
Rachel Sharon Den Adel.
Sean There are no real heroes, just inspirations for me J I'd have to say Elend, Arcturus, Opeth, Anathema and My Dying Bride are up there.
Joe Anders from Draconian, Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity, Mikael from Opeth and the late chuck Schuldner.
SoT With an album title like Theater of Life, you must be planning a video production for the album to bring out the visual qualities of the album. Is this vision in your plans?
Sean Yes it is. However, Theatre of Life is an album conceived in 2006 and only released in 2011 due to record label issues. In the meantime we were busy composing another album which we recorded in 2011 and early 2012 at Spine Splitter Studio Malta and mixed/mastered at Tower Studio. This album features Joe on backing vocals and Anders Jacobsson of Draconian as guest vocalist. It should see the light of day this year and we are excited to do a video production for one of the songs off this album sometime soon.
SoT Which track off Theatre of Life is each of your favourites, and why?
Rachel Dark Waters. I like the way it flows and the lyrics.
Sean It's 'Innocent Cries' because it is the closest to the more contemporary style, which is more aggressive and less symphonic than the rest.
Joe Must be Innocent Cries for me too as I find it to be the most emotional of all the songs and also as Sean said it's the closest to what we are doing as a band at the moment.
SoT Of Light and Shadow, the album opener is a solid kick-off for this album full of Rachel's vocals and some incredible guitar, keys and drums. Describe how you artistically created the lyrics and musical drama to make the most of this powerful opener.
Rachel From the beginning this song spoke to me as a battle between good and evil, so that is what is reflected lyrically. It was also fun composing the SATB choir parts to enhance that effect. The keyboard pieces and orchestrations/drumming all add to the drama of the song and we enjoy playing it live very much!
SoT How does the writing and recording process work within Weeping Silence?
Sean The composition is done mostly by the musicians after the solid idea of one of the members. The ideas develop in the rehearsal room and are follower up by a theme provided by Joe and Rachel. This is always a very exciting and sometimes tense time.
SoT How does the culture and times we are living through influence the art you produce?
Sean Culturally we are at the cross-roads of musical development and artistic stability. The downloading culture has pushed the music business to the edge, and many bands are feeling it most. It is hard to get noticed, even after doing well at home and with foreign crowds, and with a couple of albums in your portfolio. All this because survival in the music industry is threatened by weak sales and some people's reluctance to spend money on a record. It's a pity really.
SoT What are the top five bands on your ipods or your CD players?
Rachel Within Temptation, Therion, Paradise Lost, Lacuna Coil, Delain.
Sean The 11th Hour 'Burden of Grief', Elend 'The Umbersun', Opeth 'Heritage' and Anathema 'Judgement'.
Joe Draconian 'A Rose for the Apocalypse', Insomnium 'One for the sorrow', Swallow the Sun 'The morning never came' and Dark Tranquillity 'we are the void'.
SoT What are your current tour plans for 2012 and beyond?
Sean We have a few local gigs planned throughout the year. We also have plans to play in Europe, yet these are still being coordinated and the dates and venues will be on the website (www.weepingsilence.com) as soon as possible. Our fb is also regularly updated with all our gigs and tour plans. Check them out!
SoT Have you thought about or started work on your next project? If so, would you like to announce the title or give the fans a little teaser of what's next?
Sean Yes indeed! The next album should hit the shelves later this year. We are currently discussing contracts with record labels. The album was produced by Brett Caldas-Lima (Samael, Septic Flesh, Devin Townsend and others) of Tower Studios (Fr), and as I said features Anders of Draconian as guest vocalist on some tracks. It is heavier than any previous album of ours, and has a doom orientation that suits the band rather well at this moment in time. The lyrical content is still life based and should go down well with fans of our others albums. It will consist of nine tracks and we're excited as ever about it!! J
soT- Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us. We at the Sea of Tranquility wish Weeping Silence much success with the new album and all that you do in the future.
Rachel Thank you so much Mark and to all at the Sea of Tranquility for this interview, it was a pleasure! Hope you and all the people seeing this interview enjoy listening to our music and keep an eye out for the new album too
Sean and Joe Cheers Mark! Thank you for this fine interview and for always featuring our albums on the webzine. It was an honour. We'll be sure to send you a copy of the new album as soon as we get it, of course. In the meantime, follow us on facebook and our website: a teaser will be published soon enough J
and a final thank you to our fans and friends out there who have always followed us with so much passion: we owe you everything!
(Click here to read our review of Theater of Life)