Fans of bands such as Rhapsody and Edguy may discover a new favorite when encontering the heroic power metal presented by Instanzia from Canada. Their debut album Ghosts has been unleashed through Metalodic Records, and it’s filled with instantly memorable opuses. Songs such as Ghosts Of The Past and The Desert Fox are sure to be genre favorites. We recently interviewed founding member Alexis Woodbury to find out more about this amazing entity known as Instanzia…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Instanzia, and how long the band has been together.
Hey, this is Alexis answering! Instanzia was my project from the beginning so I wrote all the songs that ended up on the album. Our drummer Francis Ducharme joined the project back in 2005. I write project because it wasn’t a band at that time. we were only trying to record some stuff. We’ve been working on the production of this album from 2008 to 2010 but that’s mainly because I had to learn how to do a lot of stuff myself since we couldn’t afford everything being done by professionals of course! We actually started playing as a real band after the album was finished recording. We started rehearsing in May of this year (2010) after having recruited a guitarist and a bassist. But the project has been brewing since 2005 when I started writing stuff without knowing it would end up being an album! Three of the songs on the album were written back in 2005 actually!
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Any local bands you could recommend?
Well, we could say we are based around Montreal. Our guitarist and I live on the South shore while our bassist and drummer live on the North shore of Montreal. The local (I mean Quebec) power metal scene is pretty small since playing that kind of music in Quebec is pretty tough! I could recommend newcomers Kemilon who are actually working on their first album and Southern Cross who are not exactly power metal.
Is there any story or concept behind the Ghosts CD title?
Yeah! The title came from the song Ghosts of the Past obivously. This is the last song for which I wrote lyrics and its lyrical theme appealed enough to me to name the album after it. It’s a song about memories that we’d like to live again while knowing it won’t happen and that we have to look ahead and build our own happiness. It might be a really ”basic” subject but I think many people can relate to it. The chorus ”Sometimes the heroes of our tales become part of our lives. Deep in our hearts they live as idyllic fantasies” is a line that I actually like pretty much despite the cheesy choice of words! It means that after thinking/talking so much about past events or people that we’ve known, we might tend to idealize them and see them as better than they might have really been… I might be strange too… I don’t know! Visage émoticône
Tell me about the epic song The Desert Fox and what inspired the lyrics to that song? Have you ever played it live in its entirety?
This is possibly my favorite song on there alongside Heavenly Hell! It was inspired by the life of Erwin Rommel of course! I learned about him in a History class back in 2006 when I was finishing high school. I also wrote the song in 2006. I’m a big Running Wild fan and I always wanted to write that kind of long epic war song, so here it is! I know Maiden has done it but it’s Running Wild that inspired me for this one hehe! Of course we have played it live! The short intro wasn’t played though but on our next show the recording of the intro will play before we kick in! It’s actually a pretty effective song live!
Please select two other songs from Ghosts and tell me what inspired the lyrics.
Hmmmmmm, that’s a tough one! I’ll start with the funnier one ”A Genius Who Believes”! The song might not be funny but its source of inspiration sure is! I didn’t want it to be really obvious but I was inspired by Objective Moon (an episode of Tintin), isn’t that funny?! And as my second choice I’ll pick Heavenly Hell which is the love song on there… It’s about my first (and only) girlfriend and the unbearable situation that surrounded our relationship which caused me to act in a way that I might regret a bit today hence the chorus ”There’s so much I regret, all the things I could have done”. In the end it’s a song about impossible love… a clichéd theme but damn, I’m no great poet and I don’t mind being a bit clichéd especially when it can reach many people’s thoughts!
You have an amazing voice! What kind of vocal training has he had and who are some of your singing influences?
Well thanks a lot for the compliment!! I actually don’t really have any training as I took upon the vocal duties because I could never find any singer who would get involved in the project! Obivously I sounded like utter crap at the beginning so I took about 6 months of lessons and I practiced a lot during 2009 to be able to achieve that result. About my influences… hmm, this is hard to tell because most singers I listen to have a higher range than me so I had to develop on my own if I can say… My favorite singers include Michele Luppi (ex-Vision Divine, Killing Touch), Jonny Lindkvist (Nocturnal Rites), Jorn Lande, Russell Allen (Symphony X), Chris de Burgh and a lot more! Even if I can’t sing any of their stuff because of my lower range, their phrasing and melodies are probably what could influence me!
What could one expect from a live Instanzia show?
Lots of energy mainly!! I think people feel good and have fun at our shows and that’s our goal!
Who are some of the bigger bands you have opened up for and what was the experience like?
Since we started playing live only lately (11th of June 2010) we haven’t played a lot yet. We opened for Stream of Passion and Unexpect in Saint-Hyacinthe in October and though it was the worst show we’ve ever played… it’s the bigger bands for which we opened! Unfortunately it’s very dfficult to get an opening slot for European bands because there are a few bands that promoters think about first… and they don’t know about us!!
Is there any chance of Instanzia sneaking over to the States to do some shows?
We would definately love to but it’s very difficult. We’d need to be booked by some promoter there, have good promotion and most expenses covered, because it’s really expensive! I don’t think it’s possible for now because of those reasons. But in the end we would if someone planned out something for us!
Who did the stunning cover art of Ghosts and how much input did you have on it?
Jean-Pascal Fournier is responsible for it! You might remember him for a few album cover arts he did a few years ago including Dragonforce’s Valley of the Damned, Edguy’s The Savage Poetry, Mandrake, Hellfire Club, Avantasia’s first two albums and a lot more! My input on the cover art was mainly limited to what kind of imagery and colors I wanted. I absolutely suck at visual arts so I couldn’t give him any ideas but in the end I think a cover artist likes it better that way…
If you could open for any band either existing now or in history, which band would it be and why?
Well as any dreaming kid I’d like to open for Iron Maiden because they are legend and they are the one who inspired the whole wave of melodic metal! On a more realistic side I’d like to open for bands such as Edguy, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica or Kamelot… Opening for any European power metal band that comes to Canada would make me happy but my number one pick would be Edguy because they are the ones who influenced me the most at first and they’ve been my favorite band for long!
If there was one thing you’d like a listener to remember after hearing your music for the very first time, what would it be?
Hmmmmmmm! The whole thing? Just kidding haha. Well I’d like people to remember the choruses!!! Catchy choruses have always been my favorite element in power metal so I worked hard on our choruses to make them catchy and memorable. I think it’s working wgood and people remember the melodies pretty well!
Any messages for metal fans in the Los Angeles area?
Hey guys! I really hope you enjoyed reading this interview, that you learned a lot about Instanzia and that you enjoy our music! Getting feedback from you guys would be awesome (and we reply to the feedback we get 🙂 ). Thanks a lot for reading, spread the word and stay metal!!! Alexis
Alexis Woodbury – Vocals and guitars
Jean-Christophe Binette – Guitars
Alexandre Paquin – Bass
Francis Ducharme – Drums
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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