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Veronica, Benedictum

What are you currently up to?

We plan to go to Europe at least twice in 2008 and are just awaiting the details. We hope to get some festivals in the summer and then possibly come back in the fall or winter for a small tour. The sooner the better!!

Could you take us through your new album 'Seasons of Tragedy'

I would be glad to! The usual process is that I will listen to Pete's' riffs and open jam rehearsals over and over. As I do this I will find certain things that stand out for me. I will break those down and formulate lyrics and melodies for them.

When I get a general idea in my head of where I would like for it to go we work on arrangements. So far that has been our little "process" but every now and then there will just be a spontaneous song that just comes out very close to the finished product. I think it was like that for the song "Legacy"

The song "Seasons of Tragedy" is the story of a soul as it takes its' journey through life on a path towards enlightenment.

Along the way there are messages of encouragement "let go of the pain of the past" etc. With that song, the process was a bit different. I had the format for the idea and the song was built around that piece by piece. As the music developed then my ideas developed even more along the way. It's a blast to work with musicians that inspire you!

Was the band pleased with the reaction to your debut album 'Uncreation' both form reviewers and fans? How do you think the new album differs from the debut?

We were really pleased with the reaction to "Uncreation". It was our first effort and we basically did what we really felt strongly about and could only hope for the best. It was nice to find that the over all reaction was positive.

"Seasons of Tragedy" in my opinion, was just a natural evolution of what we wanted to express. We had learned a lot from the process of the first album and brought that with us to the second.

I think the difference is that there is a bit more variety to the new album, I had a chance to stretch myself a bit vocally and at times show another side of my voice. Everyone really worked very hard on it, Jeff Pilson really poured his heart and soul into it as did every member of the band. Paul, Jesse, Pete and Chris really "stepped up to the plate" and the sonic quality I think is better too.

Accept's 'Balls To The Wall' gets the Benedictum treatment on the new album. How do you choose the songs to cover? As your vocal has been compared to Ronnie Dio would you maybe tackle a Dio song on the next album?

"Balls to the Wall" was a song that I wanted to do mostly because I just thought it would be fun. It just seemed like a cool idea to have a woman sing it so I went for it.

Hmmm, comparisons to Ronnie James Dio are always a good thing ha ha : and I would love to do a Dio song on the next album… better yet I would like to do a song WITH Ronnie James Dio himself so …. Someone please let him know !! :

What have been the live highlights so far for the band and who ideally would you like to tour with & why?

I would have to say that there are two that really stand out for me (well there are a lot more but for the sake of time and space lets stick with two).

When we first started out, we had done only one show together at a club in San Diego, our very next show was at the Gods of Metal in Italy. It was the first festival for all of us and the experience was something we will never forget.

We got to Milan a few days early so we could check out some of the festivals and hang out. It was a blast to walk in the crowd once in a while even be recognized… we didn't expect that. Then during the show, to have such a great crowd of people was overwhelming… everyone was so cool, people actually knew the lyrics and were singing along and it is times like these that create such special memories.

The other experience would have to be the tour with DORO. We all learned so much from that experience, made new friends and had a chance to bond with each other as a band ( it was sink or swim) after a month on the bus with each other we were either going to bond or kill each other…. You pick! :

Craig Goldy helped discover you with Dokken's Jeff Pilson involved in the first release. How much do you think having name musicians has helped you get exposure for the band's music and how did Craig Goldy first become aware of the band?

I have been fortunate enough to know Craig and consider him a close friend for many years. We have always been close, you know, one of those kinds of friendships that you may not see each other very often, but when you do, you don't miss a beat. He was always very encouraging when it came to music.

I think that he had always wanted to help when he could but was really waiting for the right combination of musicians and sound for me. When he came by the house one day I had him listen to some of the rehearsal recordings he felt that finally this was the right time. I think he was really quite impressed with Pete and his style and talent. From there he introduced us to Jeff Pilson and the rest was history.

Indeed it certainly doesn't hurt to be surrounded by a lot of talent. I don't know if it translated to increased exposure exactly but I know that we learned a lot and are grateful for everyone who jumped on board!

How do you view the internet and downloads? How has the internet helped get your music out there?

I think that the internet/download situation is a double edged sword. Yeah of course it sucks if someone rips off your music, but on the other hand so many bands that normally wouldn't get exposure, mine included- get some much needed attention. Due to the internet and things like MYSPACE etc we have made a lot of important contacts.

How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

I would say the whole process with Craig is what made a great difference. Pete and I had done many demos during the years with different bands and line ups that we were with but it really made a difference to work with someone like Jeff Pilson who really absorbed this music like it was his own and took it to another level. Working with him was one of the first times in my career that I had someone that I felt really understood my voice.

As far as advice….. I have a ton of it, for I made quite a few mistakes early on. On an encouraging note I would say not to give up and don't be afraid to be "different" and do what you love.

The other piece of advice would be to not be afraid to ask questions, get an attorney to look at everything before you sign it, and do it because you love it…..when it ceases to be fun… you need to ask yourself why you are doing it. I also learned a lot from Craig program Destiny Bridge… I would have to say there is a lot of useful info there.

Oh and the harsh reality… uh… not everyone that compliments you and smiles in your face is your friend… there are still a lot of dangerous waters to navigate in the music business … I have had to grow a tougher skin at times and since I am a very sensitive person.. That was the hardest lesson of all 9.

What do you like doing with your spare time outside of music?

I run a business called "StreetFighters Inc"---- We sell motorcycle accessories for Sport Bikes…. We are trying to bring the "naked bike" look to the States ( and any where else for that matter, we have some customers in the UK too!)….. And sell parts that can convert sport bikes to the "StreetFighter" look. Since the business is really new, it takes a lot of my time to work at getting it off the ground.

Message for your fans...

Oh yes…. The most important member of Benedictum… the fan! We love you and can't wait to get across the waters to play for you. Hope to see you this year! Thanks for spending some time with us! You can get a hold of me through our site, I would love to hear from you … send me some pictures of yourselves…. Talk to me baby!!

The V

Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.

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