Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Veronica! Thanks so much for accepting this interview and Welcome to THE GATES OF METAL! First of all: how are you and how are the things doing with your concerts?
Veronica: Things are going really well and as always I keep as busy as I can. Right now I would say that the focus is on writing new material. We have had a few good shows here and there but now we are shifting gears again.
Hanna Tsepesh: For those who do not know Benedictum could tell us a little how it all started?
Veronica: I would say we started in 2006 when my guitar play Pete Wells and I decided to move on from a project we were involved in and move into another direction. We had some help from our friend Craig Goldy who was able to put us in touch with Jeff Pilson who in turn agreed to work with and produce us. It was a totally great relationship from the start and we have two albums “Uncreation” and “Seasons of Tragedy”.
Hanna Tsepesh: What inspired the most to create the lyrics? The band writes the lyrics first or first the band creates the riffs to comply with the lyrics?
Veronica: I write all the lyrics and usually get inspired by how the music makes me feel. So in most cases the music comes first, I listen to it over and over and over until something starts to materialize and then out pops the lyrics!
Hanna Tsepesh: What are your favorite bands? You have any musician that you admire the most?
Veronica: I like everything from Tina Turner to Ronnie James Dio to Ella Fiztgerald to Annie Lennox, from Metal to Country to Classical. The more variety of music I think the better. I try not to listen to one type of music all the time because then my writing gets stale. You can gain influences from so many areas of music and appreciate the creative spark that really moves people. I honestly don’t have one favorite band but I admire anyone and everyone that can get out there and perform with passion and create music that stirs the soul.
Hanna Tsepesh: I would like to know if you had or have any singing lessons or any other preparation?
Veronica: No, I have never had singing lessons and at this point I think it is time I did. I learned the hard way on the road how easy it is to blow out your voice if you do not pace yourself.
Hanna Tsepesh: You are one of the amazing guests from the “Serenity” Cd (a project by Super Star [Kris Kancler] to stop Drug Addictions and Alcohol abuse). How has that experience for you and how you receive this cool invitation? Can you tell to us about this project?
Veronica: I have to be honest that when I got this email from someone named Superstar I thought “yeah right, sure your name is Superstar” and I thought maybe it was just a joke. But as I read the email further and saw the talent line up he had and that his press releases were real then I realized that I would love to be a part of something like this. It was really an honor to be considered for such a project to so I hopped all over it.
Basically the project is to draw awareness to the issue of alcohol and drug abuse especially with teenagers. Hopefully by putting out some cool music that also sends a message that you can not only live but thrive and be all you were meant to be in life without the use of drugs and alcohol.
The experience itself was a blast. We headed out to Los Angeles and it was totally cool to work with a different producer and Bob Kulick was a blast to work with. Pete Wells and Chris Shrum Benedictums’ guitar and bass player, also supported the project by sharing their talent on the tracks as well.
Hanna Tsepesh: Let’s talk about the “Seasons Of Tragedy” album. For people who don’t listen yet can you tell to us about this album?
Veronica: Seasons of Tragedy was our second album and I think it contains a wide variety of music. Some driving and haunting others more progressive and we are really happy with the way it came out. We have been called “tradition power metal on steroids “ I like that one!
Hanna Tsepesh: Everything went well at recording studio? The band feels pride with the final result or in your opinion is something that you like to change?
Veronica: If you are referring to Seasons of Tragedy I think that with almost everything in life there are things that if you had a chance to do over maybe you would do a bit different but the funny thing about it for me is that “thing” changes every time I hear it! Sometimes I wish I would have done some other things on “Steel Rain” other times I wish I would have left some phrases out of it. You know little things here and there but no major changes.
Hanna Tsepesh: How has the response been to the album by the fans and media?
Veronica: The response has been absolutely amazing. A second album is always “the one” you know after the cool reviews of “Uncreation” we were a bit nervous about how SOT would be received but we were pleasantly surprised to find that most people thought it was a great progression from the first to the second album.
Hanna Tsepesh: If one of our readers wants to buy your album, what they can do?
Veronica: You can go to www.benedictum.net or you can get it on Amazon.com
Hanna Tsepesh: what is your favorite music in this album and why?
Veronica: I think I have 2 favorite songs. The title track Seasons of Tragedy because it was really a group collaboration and had a little bit from everyone. Then I would say Bare Bones because it sort of has a cool groove to it.
Hanna Tsepesh: What is your opinion about the metal in your country? It is easy to get some support?
Veronica: I think things are starting to change a bit for the better. There is more interest finally in different types of metal and tastes are changing as well. As far as in the USA there are so many people who still have never even heard of us so that is sort of an advantage because our stuff is still being discovered and gives us a bit more longevity in this business at least for the time being.
It was hard at first to get support and our main fan base still remains in Europe but I see more and more interest growing here in the States.
Hanna Tsepesh: What is your big advice for a young musician?
Veronica: Read the fine print! Then read it again! Then again! Don’t trust anyone! They are not your friend. This is a business. Sounds harsh but I am still learning that this is true! Also don’t be afraid to be unique. Don’t let anyone define you or confine you! Think "outside of the box" when you can and bring forth something fresh.
Hanna Tsepesh: Do you want to send any message for the people who going to read this interview?
Veronica: I appreciate the invitation to share some thoughts with you and hope that some day we can actually play for you and have a great time. Benedictum invites you to check us out and bang your head with us!!
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks o much for your answers and time. THE GATES OF METAL wishes the entire band a big success! Hope to see you guys very soon in here…
Veronica: Thanks to each and every person reading this interview and spread the word about Benedictum! We love you!
By: Hanna Tsepesh
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