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Lovely Heike from Draconian was so kind to give us an interview.

Dear Heike! Thank you very much for this interview. I think it is a great surprise for all Draconian-fans from Russia.

MG: Two days ago Metal Female Voices Fest ended in Belgium. Draconian band took part in the show and performed not only old songs from the previous albums, but also presented some new material. And it was your debut on the stage with guys, wasn't it? Could you describe your impressions of the show?

Heike: My first impression of Metal Female Voices Fest, was that everyone there is like one big family. Upon setting foot in the venue, I could feel the positive and loving energy, which took the edge off some of the nerves I had been harboring. Myself and Anders got really hardcore flu just a couple of days before the show, which made me really nervous about having to debut under such conditions. Everyone I came into contact with, gave me such hope and encouragement. Without it, I probably would have been worse off.
I also had some difficulties on stage, which made me realize early on it wasn't going to be an easy show for me, but I was so happy to be up there after years of fighting to be able to join the band. I had so much fun with the guys and we all felt it was a good comeback, regardless of the situation. Wonderful festival with wonderful people.

MG: There is some news about recording of a new album on the band page. We know that you can’t tell us all details, but could you give just a piece of information – will the new album be in the usual style or fans can expect something totally extraordinary both for the band and for the style?

Heike: We've just finished recording drums for the album and will take the remainder of the year to finish the rest. Draconian will not change style, but I can say that the new material has a hint of older Draconian, while still evolving and expanding. Personally I feel there's a tad more melancholy and darker tones to this album, which I'm very delighted with. Since I can also come from an objective 'fan' perspective, I think many fans are going to be happy with it.

MG: You have been in Sweden for several years, though you are from Cape Town originally. Tell, please, do you miss South Africa or the severe north landscapes are truly your love?

Heike: I've always been a very adaptive person who just follows my heart where it takes me and I embrace new and challenging experiences. Ever since I started getting into mythology, I've wanted to visit Scandinavia. I just never thought I'd be living there. It appeals a lot to the quiet side of me that seeks isolation, but I've come to realize that every country has its ups and downs that make life difficult. You just have to decide what you're willing to live with.
The differences between South Africa and Sweden are so major, there's little use to even compare. Though I prefer the climate, service efficiency, musical opportunity and tax benefits in Sweden, I also find it strict ('zero tolerance'), expensive and I think the naive general public live in a bit of a 'bubble' in terms of their political thinking.
Cape Town is a beautiful, laid back and highly creative town. Though every South African I know is sick of the crime and corruption, I think they will only realize how much they miss SA once they have been living elsewhere for a while. Personally I fit in better with the resilient and fiery nature of South Africans. I'm quite forward, honest and outspoken and I've realized that most Swedes avoid confrontation or conflict (and sometimes conversation), which can make solving problems openly hard at times.
Considering that I have a wonderful boyfriend and friends back in Cape Town, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it. However, I wouldn't mind them coming up to Sweden to experience the magical nature and ancient energy that resides here.

MG: How do you care about your voice? Could you give some advice to other metal-vocalists?

Heike: I'm the worst person to give advice on that. I have never been a serious diva with training and faffing. I do warm-ups when necessary and sing as much as possible. Singing is not something I've turned into a chore and I really can't pretend that I take nearly as much precautions as I ought to. I have quite a soft voice that is hard to control when I have to push it, so the task lays a head for me to train to become comfortable on stage, wailing over loud speakers. I think each person has their own special way of taking care of their vocals, depending on its characteristics.

MG:There is a popular point of view now that metal (as a style) is dying and modern band have no possibilities to surprise listeners. What do you think about it?

Heike: People who say 'Metal is dying' are the same people who resist change. I can agree to *some* extent, because I find very few original new bands lately that don't remind me of another older one. However I think metal is either evolving or renewing old styles and concepts.
Just take the Stoner Doom genre as an example. It is based on far more retro bands, and yet exploding at the moment. And though many of them sound similar, it makes me happy to be able to enjoy a vast new array of bands who reminisce in styles I didn't fully appreciate earlier due to generation.
There are so many sub-genres now, that classic metal fans might feel confused and disenchanted by it all, but at least people are experimenting and pushing the boundaries. Sometimes, a more refined and modern version of an old favorite style isn't such a bad thing.

MG: What do you do besides your music career?

Heike: Anything creative. I love designing, editing and photography mostly, but these days I spend a lot of time crafting things with my hands. A great chunk of my life is also dedicated to research and reading. I am a bit of an info-junkie and could spend all day reading articles, reports, books and watching documentaries and presentations. I'm interested in just about everything and there's always something to learn and dots to connect.

MG: As you are from Africa could you recommend three talented and young, but not well-known bands from the South Africa for mandatory listening?

Heike: Only 3? Oh nooooo, this is where my friends reading this go, 'She better mention my band!'. We're a tight-knit metal scene, So I will try be fair and choose currently active bands I've enjoyed listening and watching: Cape Town Progressive Metal band 'Megalodon', Cape Town Progressive Black Metal band 'Wildernessking' and Durban based Black Metal band 'Theatre Runs Red'.
There are some inactive bands that really deserve a mention, like modern Black Metal bands 'Warthane', 'Crow Black Sky' and 'Rigormortem'. It's a hard scene to stay active in as Black Metal bands, but these guys are pretty damn good and deserve more international attention.

MG: How do you feel about the musical piracy? Do you think that it is wrong or on the contrary it is a good opportunity for young artists to declare themselves to the whole universe?

Heike: I can't be a hypocrite and say I think it's wrong, because I download music all the time. Many musicians (myself included) wish we could do everything for free and give it away for free, but as long as the monetary system exists and we have to earn a living to survive, pirating will be an issue. Some poor sod ends up losing money for hard work somewhere along the line. I do agree that free downloads serves as a great platform for lesser promoted and independent bands to get their music out there and more power to them.
At the end of the day I'd feel honored if someone wanted to hear our music so badly that they'd steal it haha. Or maybe I just have a twisted view on reality. We barely survive well with the economy the way it's going now, I cannot at all blame people for not wanting to spend their last bit of hard earned cash on something they can't really afford.
Collecting vinyls is awesome though, and if more bands put their music out on record, along with cool artwork, people would be more willing to invest money in that.

MG: I can mention a chance to ask about Lisa. I read in an interview that you met when you had moved to Sweden. Do you keep contact now?

Heike: I met her briefly at the flower shop she works at when I came for the audition, but haven't since then. We all respect that she has her life in a different town and her son now, so there hasn't been much contact with most band members.
Recently I actually thought of going to visit and give her a bit of an update and see how she's doing, so maybe that's some task for one of these days.

MG: Could you compose your ideal Draconian set-list?

Heike: Hmmmmm, it's hard to choose.
Death Come Near Me, She Dies, Morphine Cloud, A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal, The Amaranth, In Solitude, A Failure Epiphany and most of the coming album muhah Wink2
Perhaps I am biased and mean that only from a female vocal perspective and perhaps I choose the more doomy songs that could have us standing around on stage making coffee between vocal lines.

MG: What’s your favorite Draconian album?

Heike: Now THAT is a hard one to answer, because I have favorites that stand out on every album, but I got into Draconian around the time of 'Arcane Rain Fell', so I'll pay my respects to that album.

MG: Now you are a member of the band which style is somehow close to doom metal. What do you think about this direction of heavy music? Do you have any favorite bands that play doom?

Heike: I have been into doom metal long before I joined Draconian, but Draconian was definitely one of the bands that initiated my love for it. Doom metal is emotional, dark and questions existence, which resonates with me personally. I've always loved slow, melodic and melancholy music. We're the real emo's!
My taste in doom was more Gothic/melodic in earlier years. I started with the greats at the time like Draconian, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Esoteric etc. Of course then it evolved from there into more Funeral, Atmospheric and Death Doom bands. These days I like a lot of Stoner Doom as well.
It's impossible to choose favorites, because I appreciate something unique in every Doom band I hear, even if it's just a specific guitar tone or vocal style. It would feel unfair to put any band above another as 'favorites'. Show me a doom band and I'll tell you what's awesome about them. Smile

MG: Is there another style of genre which you would like to take part in? Maybe get a role in a musical or a theater? Or to growl with death-metal band? Have you got any personal vocal ambitions or you are totally satisfied by your band activity?

Heike:I love all sorts of genres. If I feel emotionally connected to the music and philosophical content, it doesn't matter what genre it is. I love a great deal of Electronic music, Gothic Americana (or 'Dark Country'), Folk Music, Neo-Classical, 80's Synthpop and Retro music.
If I had the time to be part of a project in each of those genres, I'd be musically satisfied. That's a bit ambitious, though. For now I stick to my band and solo electronic project. So long as I have at least one platform on which I can freely create whatever I feel like, I am content.
In the end I will probably end up doing only my solo project, but on a more professional scale. Personally there's no better metal band to be in than the one I have joined, so I won't be pursuing any other.

MG: If you are offered to become a session singer in some musical band what would you choose?

Heike: Probably a Stoner Doom or Psych Rock band. I am looking to put one together anyway over time. It's music I enjoy a lot these days and feel very comfortable doing. Plus I get to pick up the guitar again after a few years of letting the boys do it, puh. Razz

MG: Probably you heard this questions hundred times, but how did you meet Draconian music? Which song was the first in your playlist?

Heike: I first heard Draconian in High school and University, when it was easier to find people with similar music taste and easier to discover new bands. Young people rock. I was a typical 'goth girl' at the time, so discovering Draconian was imminent.
'Death Come Near Me' was the one that first got me.

MG: You said that you were interested in Scandinavia from the young ages. Tell please, if you had a time machine would you move to live among the Vikings?

Heike: As a female? No, haha! I don't want to stay home and plait the children's hair. I want to ride ships and slay dragons, dammit. I once read a book in my childhood about a girl who dressed as a boy and followed her viking dad on a journey. She discovered all sorts of magical creatures and woodland beings of Scandinavia. That book left an impression on me as a little girl and I at least wished to visit there one day. The law of attraction, I'd say.

MG: And another question about Sweden. Could you be a guide and call three places that are necessary for the visit in Sweden?

Heike: Unfortunately, I skipped the whole tourist vibe upon moving to Sweden. I went straight into the boring musician of Sweden life in a small town, hahaha! I can say though, that I really enjoy the nature everywhere here and the rapidly fluctuating weather conditions.
I've only really been in Göteborg, Örebro and a few smaller towns in the Värmland region. I must say, Lake Vänern is beautiful and it's great to live in a town right by it. I love being near water.

MG: Have you ever been to Russia? What do you know about this country?

Heike: Not yet , but that will change in the near future. What I do know about Russia, is that despite it being a 'mafia state' and the political westernized views of the country and its leaders, Russia is actually starting to become more independent and taking control of its own affairs. (Without help from the new globalist protocols emerging from the U.S and EU.) I also love the Russian Science and Technology sector.
I have spoken to many musicians who have traveled all over and still say Russia has been one of the best countries to play in. Good support from people, compensation, good service, security and accommodation and high quality food.
Every country has its chaos, crime and corruption, I have come to learn. Start looking at the positives of each country more often as well. I look forward to visiting Russia. *cough vodka cough*

MG: Could you describe your everyday life?

Heike: It changes every time I change geographical location. I spend my days these days waiting to hear from authorities over paperwork and numbers, to process me like a sheep into the system so I can work here legally.
I use that time to write music, research relevant topics, try find freelance work, take photos, collect minerals, craft things, play with everyone's cats, meditate, do band stuff and miss the hell out of my boyfriend.
Maybe a very different lifestyle from most people, but I go with the flow. Creativity is freedom.

MG: And finally – tell a few words your fans in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus please.

Heike: I can't wait to visit and meet you. I have received lots of support from you all and I really appreciate it. I know I will be drunk most of the time there, but blame your vodka culture for that. So long as no one gives me a gun. I've seen Youtube 'We Love Russia' compilations, hehe.
Not sure if Ukraine would be an easy country to visit at present or an easy topic to discuss, but my hopes is that one day I can see Ukraine as well.

Thank you, Dear Heikе! Рулез
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