The Dark and Cinematic Artistry of Scandelion
The Dark and Cinematic Artistry of Scandelion
Scandelion present their own grand and sweeping brand of dark gothic metal that tantalizes the senses and sets the imagination in flight. Featuring the masterwork performance of founding member Jorge Afonso on keys and vocals and the thrilling operatic vocals of Sonia Hernández, Scandelion is sure to enrapture all who give their glorious tapestries a good listen. This Place I Don’t Belong is the name of the latest magnum opus from this Canary Islands based band, a towering achievement that music aficionados will want to revisit time and again. Highwire Daze recently contacted Jorge Alfonso to find out a whole lot more about the cinematic artistry of Scandelion. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Scandelion, and how long the band has been together.
Hi there! First of all, thank you so much for the support and the interview.
My name is Jorge Afonso, and I’m the keyboard player and founder of Scandelion. I also have some vocal duties. The band exists since 2002 but the current line-up has been together for 3-4 years now, although some of the members were in the band in previous albums as well.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
Well, the band is originally from Canary Islands (Spain) and is where we are based at the moment, after a 5 years period in London (UK). To be honest, Canary Islands is not the best place in the world for metal music. The scene is going through hard times at the moment because most of the venues are closing down and there is a lack of new bands. The fact of living on an island doesn’t help either because everything is harder when you have to catch a plane for basically everything. Also, we don’t receive any support from the institutions to organize metal events.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the This Place I Don’t Belong album title?
Yes, most of our releases are conceptual albums, and this one is not an exception. This Place I Don’t Belong tells the story of a woman in the XVI Century, who was accused of witchcraft in her village. At some point, she was chased through the forest along with her two children and they were all brutally murdered. She cursed them and her soul was trapped in an amulet, being released 300 years later, when a little girl touched it by accident while playing in the same forest. The album is a journey through her life, explaining how the witch tries to steal her body to achieve her vengeance.
We also filmed 4 short teasers to tell the story in a cinematic way. All of them will be released soon on our Youtube channel.
Select two songs from This Place I Don’t Belong and what inspired the lyrics.
Dormant Embers of Pain is the first track of the album and it’s kind of special because is the slowest song we have ever written. The lyrics are about that little girl who was hopelessly attracted to the amulet where the witch’s soul was trapped 300 years before.
The Scions’ Blood is quite gothic track with deep male vocals by Ancor Amador, combined with growls and female parts. The lyrics on this one are about the moment when the woman visits a psychiatrist looking for help to end her nightmares.
Another Fairytale, belonging to their first album The Pureheart’s Breed is featured as a bonus track on this new album. What made you decide to revisit that song?
Well, that first album has some interesting ideas, closer to Power Metal than to the darker sounds that we play nowadays. Given that, the production is quite bad, due to the lack of experience of those days. The song was originally written for an acoustic guitar only but in “The Pureheart’s Breed” we decided to record it as an orchestral version. We thought that the name of the song was very appropriate and it could fit in the concept of the new album, but we had to give it a twist to approach it to the gothic-doom aura of the album. I think it fits perfectly and we are very happy with the result.
Who did the cover art for This Place I Don’t Belong and how much input did you have on it?
The artist behind the cover artwork is Jaime López (@jaumax Photography). He has long experience on his field and he wanted to try new things so we gave him an opportunity. Personally, I think that he has known how to capture the essence of the concept through the photography and the design in the booklet. In general, I would say that this is the most mature album of Scandelion, and this is present in the whole artwork as well, with a beautiful and elegant elements, carefully selected. Jaime and myself worked closely based on my original ideas and including his always clever proposals.
Sonia Hernández has a beautiful operatic voice. What is her musical background and how did she become involved with Scandelion?
Sonia has been part of Scandelion during two different periods. The first one is 2006-2013 and the second one is 2017- to this day. When the band relocated in London for a 5 years period she kept in contact and collaborated on stage during a festival in UK and recorded some bonus tracks in “Nonsense” (2014) and she returned for the next album “When Everything Turns Black” (2017). She has a vocal performance degree, with years of experience both in choral groups and solo. She has received masterclass from well-recognized opera vocalists such as Monserrat Caballé, Isabel Rey or Aquiles Machado among others and she has participated in several contests in Spain.
What could one expect from a live Scandelion show?
We have been always proud of offering honesty during our shows. We like to do our best to bring on stage the closest version of what you listen in the albums. Also, we put a lot of energy into it and we really enjoy on stage.
If Scandelion could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Damn, that is a hard one! As you would notice, we have a lot of different influences, to be honest, so it would be so hard to choose just one, you know? If we take our current sound as a reference, let’s say any good gothic metal band from the late 90’s.
Are you or any other members involved with any other projects outside of Scandelion?
Yes, we have been always busy but any of the side projects have had a great impact. However, some of them have been quite active through the years and some others have some potential and international representation. Personally, I’ve been involved with some bands in UK and some other online projects with members of bands from different parts of the world.
What do you think has kept you so passionate about Scandelion and music overall since 2002?
That’s a very good question… As I mentioned before, being part of a band in Canary Islands is not easy and sometimes you just want to give up and focus on other things. However, it is relatively easy to forget for a moment all the difficulties and effort behind each album, when you realize that it was worth it
What’s up next for Scandelion?
Well, as I write these lines, the official release of the album has been done already. We hired a room at the cinema to listen to the whole album and watch the teasers about the concept. For now we are going to take our time to promote “This Place I Don’t Belong” and then we’ll see. There are always new ideas in mind.
Any final words of wisdom?
Thank you so much for the support and the interview. I had a great time responding to it. All the best. \m/ \m/
Sonia Hernández – vocals
Jorge Afonso – keys & vocals
Ancor Amador – guitars
James Chapman – drums (studio)
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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