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Interview - Genevieve Rodda (Temtris)

Interview with Genevieve Rodda from Temtris
by Matt Coe at 24 September 2014, 8:09 PM

After recently reviewing their fine third album “Shallow Grave” for the site, I knew it was important to find out more about this Australian Dark Metal act through the eyes of vocalist Genevieve Rodda. I hope you enjoy this interview and seek out this band’s three album discography, as there is a wealth of talent bursting these days from the land Down Under.

Thank you for agreeing to do this interview Genevieve. How are you doing today and what is the weather like in your part of Australia as you answer this?

It is Sunday here in Australia and winter time but we are actually having an unusually warmish day for this time of year.

I’m curious to know your personal development as a vocalist –when did you first start singing and how did you decide at a point in life that you wanted to front a heavy metal band.

When I was 12 my parents bought me a guitar and got me to take lessons. I soon started to write my own songs and then realized I wanted to focus more on the singing than the playing. I started vocal lessons at 13 and my vocal coach was trying to push me into singing opera but my music tastes were influenced by bands such as AC/DC, Guns and Roses and Black Sabbath. I had joined my first band and did my first gig at 14 singing songs like ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘18 and Life’. It was this first gig that won me over and I knew then and there that this was what I was meant to do.

So the band started in 1999 under a couple of names (Labyrinth, then Labyrinthia) before finally deciding on Temtris. Tell us about the formative years, how you all got to know each other and what were the initial rehearsal sessions like-did you start writing material right out of the gate or did you have to jam on cover songs at first (if so what did you work on)

Labyrinth was first formed in 1991 and was more of a hard rock/ metal band at the time. We recorded an EP (“Escape Reality”) with this band and played up and down the south coast of Australia. Members came and left but Anthony Fox and myself were determined to continue with our dream of being in a professional band. We moved to Sydney and there we met Wayne Campbell (former drummer of Mortal Sin) at a metal venue known as “The Forrest Inn”. Labyrinth was reformed with new members and an album was recorded in Sydney but never released as members left as they could not commit to touring. We had to take a hard look at rebuilding the band and that’s when we decided to ask Lew Smith (Lead Guitar/ Backing Vocals) and Aaron Warboys (Bass Guitar) to join us. We needed a new name and wanted one that was promoting the female vocals and Temtris was it. The death vocals were thrown in to back me up and it was a new sound for metal especially in Australia.

A year later you came up with your first full length album “Threshold”. Only one song from the demo re-appeared on this effort-“Once You Were here” and there were 8 other originals. Did you have enough songs in your archives to not reach back for more of the Demo material- and do you believe the band advanced in terms of song writing and production values for this effort?

Back to the home studio we went and recorded our first full length album (“Threshold”) that would be self released in 2002. Temtris decided to put the previously released track “Once You Were Here” on this album as it matched the themes and feel of the album. The production was not great but we did not have the money at the time to record in a professional studio and as it was only being self released we hoped it would help us get interest from record companies to follow up with something bigger and better in the future.

How would you spend the next 4 years in Temtris following the release of this record until you were able to sign with Battlegod Productions for the second full length album “Masquerade” in late 2007? Were there any significant milestones in terms of shows at this point in your career?

Temtris started gigging with bands such as Dungeon (now known as Lord), Pegazus, and Dark Order. I had my first child and we continued to do shows but then we also lost our great drummer Wayne as Mortal Sin was to reform and he was asked back. Temtris again had to deal with member changes. A new drummer was found, Tom Wallace, and the song writing and recording of “Masquerade” began. Whilst recording I was 7 months pregnant and my second child was only 6 weeks old when we did our photo shoot for the “Masquerade” album. With our release commitments to Battlegod Productions the show could not stop and Temtris was to release an album that was available worldwide. Promotions began and our songs advertised on compilation CD’s attached to publications such as Metal Maniacs magazine.

The latest album “Shallow Grave” came out this year after another prolonged absence in the studio. Can you tell the readers why it took 7 years for the follow up to “Masquerade”? Is Temtris more concerned about putting out quality efforts versus consistent product every 2-3 years?

Between “Masquerade” and “Shallow Grave” being released we again had member changes as we stepped up the touring and commitments we wanted from members. Two drummers and two bass players were replaced and this slowed us down quite a lot. The song “Your Time Has Come” was recorded and released in 2012 to bridge the gap between albums and this also gave people a chance to hear how our sound was developing. The recording process was again slowed down with our producer Syd Green (ex-Mantissa) leaving to go overseas after we had laid down drum tracks so the guitars were recorded in our own studios and the vocals recorded elsewhere. The mixing and mastering was completed by Lord Tim and we are extremely happy with the album even if it did take a long time between releases.

Do you make conscious decisions song to song on where to put the extreme male growl vocals versus your own clean work? It seems to be something that works very seamlessly in songs such as “Captured” and “Shallow Grave”

This depends on who wrote the song and also Lew has the final say as he has to play while also singing, and the guitar work is not simple! The vocals for ‘Captured’ I wrote with the idea that Lew would layer over the top of my lines but it was decided we would drop my line instead and let his vocals stand alone in some parts as it suits the emotion of the song.

Where do you think you stand in the Australian metal scene? Describe to those unfamiliar with how the club/ live scene is in your country- as we know there can be great distances from one side of the country to the other? What other bands do you think our readers need to learn about in various styles of metal from your scene?

We have always worked hard and have recently got our first major support show in November opening for Accept in Sydney. Temtris has a great following around Australia and is growing stronger every year. There are not many Female fronted metal bands in Australia which has helped us stand out from the crowd. I like to think we are thought of as a professional band with great musicians. Travelling to shows is massive here as even we live 3 hrs from a major city such as Sydney or Canberra. Touring is hard work and sometimes it’s just easier to fly and borrow gear as the trip to somewhere like Brisbane or Melbourne involves an 8 to 10 hr drive each way just to tour our own states.
Along the way we have worked with or witnessed many great Aussie metal bands from a broad range of genres. Damnations Day, Metreya, Dark Order and Carbon Black are a few that stand out but there are more!!

Do you still struggle sometimes to being accepted as a worthy heavy metal vocalist strictly based on your gender? That some males unfortunately still believe that women are incapable of a lifelong commitment to the metal cause? If so –how do you handle this?

Yes and no … I think the hardest part for me is people automatically assume you will sing symphonic or operatic style. There are not many females singing with clean and strong vocals. So we will be overlooked or prejudged sometimes, but once we are heard the views change and we have now played on a few metal festivals where I have been the only female musician involved and it’s great to cut through the stereotype. Anyone who believes a woman cannot commit to a lifetime to the metal scene is a fool. Doro Pesch is a classic example of a female singer who has released album after album and is still going strong.

What do you like to listen to for music/albums when you have free time to do so? Also, what is the best concert that you personally attended purely from a fan perspective-and let ua know about the special memories surrounding this.

I love to put on an album with big vocals, great guitar melodies and catchy riffs. I am a fan of Flostam and Jetsam, Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Queensryche, Megadeth, Arch Enemy, Annihilator and many more bands!
I attended my first Iron Maiden concert at 17 and was blown away with the stage show (Fear of the Dark tour) I also attended a Megadeth concert and got to go back stage and meet Dave so of course I got him to sign my shirt which I still have to this day.

What concerns you most about the world that we live in today?

I find the lack of respect for the “artist” very sad. The digital world is great in many ways but it is slowly destroying music, books, even magazines. In today’s world you can be famous for singing or just appearing on one TV show. People are becoming lazy. What happened to earning the fame and respect because you were actually a talented musical performer?

Any final thoughts and comments you’d like to leave the metal temple readers with.

Temtris is already writing material for album number 4 and will pick up the tempo and push ourselves to new limits. We are also hoping to make it overseas soon, no promises on where yet.
You can keep up to date with us through our website www.temtris.com  or FB and also twitter.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me about Temtris , look forward to keeping in touch.



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