Italian power metal force TEMPERANCE are not a band that release an album, then lean back and wait three years in order to release the next one. That is not their game! They record and release an album whenever they feel to. So, two years after their successful album “Diamanti“ they are already back with a new one, “Hermitage: Daruma’s Eyes, Pt.2“, to be released on October 20th via Napalm Records. Not even a little bump in the road like a lineup change could prevent writer, guitarist and vocalist Marco Pastorino to come up with a dashing exploit that the second part of “Daruma’s Eyes“ is. Time to ask him and recently recruited singer Kristin Starkey some questions about the new album.
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
HELLO KRISTIN AND MARCO, GLAD YOU COULD MAKE SOME TIME FREE FOR FEMALE FRONTED POWER. BUSY DAYS WITH THE NEW ALBUM COMING UP?
KRISTIN: Hi, thanks for having us! It’s been incredibly busy for sure, but very exciting! We’re anxious to hear what people think of the new album.
MARCO: Thanks for your time! Such great days and weeks here. We are totally into the promotion of “Hermitage” and we are very excited. Can’t wait to release this album.
MARCO, FIRST A QUESTION FOR YOU. ALL OF A SUDDEN, THERE WAS A CHANGE IN THE LINEUP THIS YEAR. NO ANNOUCEMENT ON TEMPERANCE’S FACEBOOK PAGE, ONLY A SHORT “BREAKING NEWS – NEW LINE-UP” ON THE WEBSITE. SINGER ALESSIA SCOLLETTI AND DRUMMER ALFONSO MOCERINO APPARANTLY HAD LEFT THE BAND AND WERE REPLACED BY KRISTIN STARKEY AND MARCO SACCHETTO. WHAT HAPPENED? PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO THE FANS WHO WERE KEPT (AND SOME STILL ARE) IN THE DARK.
MARCO: Basically, we played 50 shows at the beginning of the year with Kristin and Marco, then it was quite natural for us to announce them at the beginning of the Summer. At the end of 2022, the old singer and drummer decided to leave the band totally out of the blue and I have to say, it was not very easy to solve the situation just one month before the tour. But again, sometimes things happen for a reason and we can’t be more happy to have such talented musicians and fantastic human beings like Kristin and Marco.
KRISTIN, AS THE NEW SINGER FOR TEMPERANCE, ALL THE WAY FROM NEW YORK AND FAR FROM ITALY. WHERE DID THEY PICK YOU UP? WHERE YOU BACKPACKING IN ITALY AND THEN MARCO HEARD YOU SINGING AT THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME 😄, OR WAS IT THE METAL COVERS THAT YOU DID ON YOUTUBE DURING THE PANDEMIC THAT CONVINCED HIM?
KRISTIN: It definitely was because of the covers! I met Marco at the “70,000 Tons Of Metal” cruise in 2019. I guess from that point on he was following some of the covers that I made during the pandemic, but he told me specifically it was my cover of “Cry Out For A Hero” by Beast In Black that made him want me in the band. My covers channel has helped my career so much!
THE BIOGRAPHY ON YOUR OWN WEBSITE SAYS THAT YOU ONLY HAD EXPERIENCE WITH SINGING OPERA (DIE WALKÜRE, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG AND STUFF LIKE THAT) AND THEN YOU DECIDED TO SING METAL COVERS AND UPLOAD THEM ON YOUTUBE DURING THE PANDEMONIUM? WHY THIS SUDDEN SWITCH BETWEEN TWO EXTREMES?
KRISTIN: Well, I’ve been a metalhead my entire life, way before I had an interest in opera. Long story short, when I knew I wanted a career in music, I wanted a safe and secure path that would be able to support me. My undergraduate degree was actually in music education with guitar as my primary instrument! But I still felt like that path in public education wasn’t for me. With lots of twists and turns later, and with a lot of wonderful guidance from mentors and teachers, I decided to pursue professional vocal performance. Since then, my career has been only in the opera field with very little time or room to give a platform for singing metal. Due to the pandemic, I ended up losing my opera contracts and without work. I decided this would be a good time to try to put out some metal covers, and the response was way better than I anticipated. So that’s how I’m here!
THE NEW TEMPERANCE ALBUM IS CALLED “HERMITAGE: DARUMA’S EYES, PT. 2”. THE TITLE REFERS BACK TO “DARUMA’S EYES (PART 1)”, CLOSING TRACK ON “OF JUPITER AND MOONS” (2018). OBVIOUSLY, YOU FELT THE WHOLE STORY HADN’T BEEN TOLD YET (HENCE PART 2). WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE PART 2 OF “DARUMA’S EYES”?
MARCO: When I wrote the first part, I had the full story in my mind, but I thought it was too long and there was too much info to put in one single track. That’s the reason why “Part 1” is just a sort of incipit about the meaning of the Daruma doll. Then I promised to myself to record and release an entire album as concept sooner or later. And the time has finally come.
ALL TEMPERANCE ALBUMS, FROM THE SELF-TITLED “TEMPERANCE” (2014) TO “HERMITAGE: DARUMA’S EYES, PT. 2” (2023) BREATHE A CERTAIN SCI-FI ATMOSPHERE, THAT IS ALSO REFLECTED IN THE COVER ARTS. ARE ALL THESE ALBUMS SOMEHOW CONNECTED? IS IT ONE BIG STORY YOU ARE TRYING TO TELL?
MARCO: Not really, there are some connections between some tracks and some albums, but every full-length is a new story. For sure, “Hermitage” is connected to “Daruma’s Eyes (Part1)”, also musically. You can find some guitar riffs, vocal lines or arrangements taken from the first chapter for example.
KRISTIN, RECORDING THE NEW TEMPERANCE ALBUM WAS DEFINITELY NOT THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW A STUDIO FROM THE INSIDE. BUT HOW WAS IT TO BE IN THERE WITH MARCO AND MICHELE TO RECORD THE VOCAL PARTS FOR “HERMITAGE”? OR DID YOU ALL DO IT SEPARATELY?
KRISTIN: I wasn’t there with Marco and Michele! Haha. There was very little time after Alessia left to deliver the new album to the label before I would leave on tour with Twilight Force in the Winter of 2023. I originally was supposed to go to Italy to record with everyone, but it didn’t work out with our very busy schedules. So I ended up recording everything at home (I have a studio in my house) in one session within a few hours. It was really crazy! I had no idea how the album would sound or turn out at that point.
“WELCOME TO HERMITAGE” IS THE FIRST TIME WE HEAR YOU SOLO ON THE ALBUM AND ON “NO RETURN” YOU DEMONSTRATE YOUR SOPRANO VOICE. DO YOU THINK MARCO GAVE YOU ENOUGH SPACE TO DEMONSTRATE ALL YOUR VOCAL CAPABILITIES ON “HERMITAGE”?
KRISTIN: I am quite sure I have a lot of solo sections on all the songs before that one – haha. Perhaps it’s difficult to separate our parts to a new listener as sometimes our voices can sound similar! I also think by “soprano voice” you mean using classical technique – since I am certainly not a soprano, but a contralto! But I have recorded some “classical” lines throughout the album, even in the opener “Daruma“. But I do think that Marco really tried to make all the parts of my voice shine! He had to re-write a lot of the lines since it was originally written for Alessia. But I think he did a great job at utilizing a lot of different techniques.
“DARUMA” WAS THE FIRST SINGLE OFF THE ALBUM WITH AN OFFICIAL VIDEO FEATURING DUTCH ALL-ROUNDER ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN (AYREON) AS NARRATOR. WHY ARJEN?
MARCO: We are in touch with Arjen since a couple of years and again it was quite natural trying to have him on the album, he’s such a big influence for us and one of my personal heroes. When he released “Transitus” I was really inspired to finally release our first concept album. I think it’s a good connection between our music and Ayreon.
FOR “HERMITAGE”, MARCO NEEDED A NARRATOR AND SIX SINGERS FOR SIX CHARACTERS. YOU ARE PLAYING THE VILLAIN ANNINGAN, ONE OF THE TWO SIBLINS. ON “WELCOME TO HERMITAGE” AND “JOIN ME” WE HEAR FABIENNE ERNI FROM ELUVEITIE AND ILLUMISHADE AS ANISHA AND LAURA FELLA FROM FAUN. ALESSANDRO CONTI FROM TRICK OR TREAT IS DOING FARAMOND ON “TRUST NO ONE BUT YOU” AND ALBUM CLOSER “CLIFF”. SO, ASSUMING THAT MARCO IS THE HERO VIKTOR, MICHELE SINGS THE OTHER HALF OF YOU IRIN, THAT LEAVES LAURA AS DIAN, THE MOTH?
KRISTIN: I’m sorry, but I don’t really understand the question! My character is Irin, not Anningan (note: the info we got from Napalm Records was incorrect then, as it says: “…the dark timbre of singer Kristin Starkey introduces the villain Anningan”).
IT IS HARD TO CHOOSE A FAVOURITE TRACK ON “HERMITAGE”, AS THERE IS SO MUCH TO BE HEARD (PARTLY DUE TO THE ORCHESTRATIONS DONE BY DANIELE MAZZA OF ANCIENT BARDS), THAT YOU NEED MORE THAN ONE LISTENING SESSION TO COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THE MUSIC AND LYRICS. SPEAKING OF WHICH, THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF LYRICS THROUGHOUT THE ALBUM. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO REMEMBER ALL THESE LINES FROM THE NEW SONGS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO PLAY LIVE?
MARCO: Good question 😆. Usually I’m not so good in remembering lyrics 😆, but I’m confident. I know it’s a difficult album and it’s not a fast fashion music album to listen to just once and that’s it. You need to spend time to hear all the details, to get into the story of “Hermitage”. It’s also a sort of tribute to some of our favourite albums ever, like “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche or “Streets: A Rock Opera” from Savatage.
ON SEPTEMBER 21ST TEMPERANCE RELEASED A NEW LYRIC VIDEO FOR “NO RETURN”. WILL THERE BE ANOTHER OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO FOR ONE OF THE OTHER SONGS ON THE RELEASE DAY?
KRISTIN: Yes! We have one for “Darkness Is Just A Drawing” coming out next week!
IN THE LAST PART OF “CLIFF”, THAT ENDS THE ALBUM, THE NARRATOR SAYS: “THE LAST SCENE THUS SEES VIKTOR IN PARK AVENUE, JUST WOKEN UP AFTER A NIGHTMARE / HIS MOTHER IS NEXT TO HIM, READY TO SOOTHE HIM WITH A SENTENCE THAT WILL SOUND FAMILIAR / DARKNESS IS JUST A DRAWING, WHERE EVERY SINGLE KINGDOM IS COLORED / LOOK IN THE EYES OF THOSE WHO ARE AFRAID OF IT / FIND THE KEY TO THEIR DOOM”. THIS SEEMS NOT LIKE AN OPEN END, SO YOU’RE NOT GOING FOR A PART 3 THEN, MARCO?
MARCO: You never know what tomorrow will bring. Honestly, the end of the album is totally open. Maybe Viktor will restart his journey, maybe he will find another way to comeback to Hermitage… let’s see 😃.
ON NOVEMBER 4TH, TEMPERANCE WILL BE PLAYING AT THE BRAINSTORM FESTIVAL IN HOLLAND AND AFTER THAT YOU’RE GOING ON TOUR WITH SERENITY IN FEBRUARY 2024. NOT SO LONG AGO, AT THE KILLERZ FEST IN GERMANY ON SEPTEMBER 29TH, YOU DID NOT PLAY ONE SONG FROM THE NEW ALBUM. ARE WE GOING TO HEAR SOME NEW ONES IN APELDOORN AT BRAINSTORM THOUGH?
KRISTIN: Our show at KillerZ fest was the last show of our old tour cycle – but since “Hermitage” will be released before Brainstorm, of course we will be playing new songs!