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Angelwings' Davinia Cano: "Because since when is it a bad thing to fight for what you love and for what you believe in!? The skies the limit and we must always keep dreaming."

Interview with Glenn Cano & Davinia Cano from Angelwings
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 14 June 2021, 11:21 PM

Looking at the half glass full, nurturing the idea that in every evil there is a measure of good, forward into the future with the conviction that something good can out of the unknown. Steinmetal learned that there is a Metal band named Angelwings in Gibraltar just waiting to be discovered, and their perspective and how they look at things is quite versatile. Signing with a German label wasn't enough for the group and they also made it happen by releasing their sophomore album, “Primordium”. Talking to Glenn Cano and Davinia Cano shows a band that is hard at work and doesn't fear criticism

Hello Glenn, it is awesome to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing kind sir?

Glenn: Hello Lior, doing good, its a pleasure to meet you.

Certainly I have been getting to know plenty of bands throughout my time on this side of the table, and from various places worldwide. Gibraltar, now that is a first time for me and quite surprising I might add. Prior to sinking our teeth in your band, Angelwings, what can you tell about the Metal scene over there?

Glenn: Gibraltar is a small country, a population of around 30,000 people and unfortunately there isn’t much of anything ‘metal wise’ around here to be honest. There are some metal bands that have done well though, especially Breed 77. Then there’s probably a couple more rock/ metal groups which mostly do local stuff but nothing outside Gib really and we have a small rock club but I wouldn’t say the metal scene is a big one here at all.

Are you able to host shows on a permanent basis or merely festivals?

Glenn: The local rock club “Rock on the Rock” hosts many different genres, not just metal but it’s the most active one by far and the most fitting for metal in Gibraltar. There are other establishments which host small live shows on an ongoing basis but not metal. The bigger festivals which are once or twice a year are the ones we look more forward too, especially since many people, including fans come from abroad to attend.

Did this wretched pandemic have any effect on the population over there on your end? I assume that it did damage tourism. What can you tell me about it?

Glenn: Definitely, Gibraltar went into lockdown like most of the other countries but luckily our government handled things swiftly and very professionally. As you correctly pointed out, Gibraltar’s main income is via tourism, so it did affect us considerably. Businesses also got affected heavily but special measures were put in place by the Gibraltar Government to help with the employee wages and tax cuts to businesses. Gibraltar was amongst one of the firsts to get the whole population vaccinated and here we are now beginning to feel like we’re almost back to normal.

Angelwings, even though coming from a small place, was able to find its spot as part of the European scene. Signing with Pride & Joy Music was a good stepping stone in order to spread your word out there, and you did it quite well, however, when it comes to your local influence, is there a chance for a band such as yourselves to become something in your area?

Glenn: In Gib, I would say mostly everyone knows of Angelwings and we have a small following too but we don’t expect much more other than that. Because of this we knew from the start that our aim was going to be to spread our music as far into the world as possible; in this day and age it’s easier to share our music with many parts of the globe and we are extremely grateful to our record label who have helped us with this too. Keeping our music local was not something we ever wanted, we wanted it to reach the masses, to reach people who could actually appreciate our creations.

Prior to the working process of the sophomore album, the band underwent considerable changes in its lineup, which turned out to be a vast majority. What led to this lineup change exactly? Was it merely life, as a main reason, or simply musical differences that slowly and easily evolved along the way? Was it rather easy for you to find new recruits?

Glenn: Honestly, we never thought anyone would leave or that anything would change in the lineup but basically, some members couldn’t commit enough time and energy to it and some simply had to go for personal reasons. Although at the start it was all fine and good but the more serious things got down the line, the more each member of the band had to contribute. It’s totally understandable though, with families and jobs some just couldn’t keep up - it was not musical differences though.

Finding new recruits was really not an easy task! It’s so hard to find passionate musicians willing to devote time and effort in this area. Therefore, when we met the new guys, we were over the moon, they are such down to earth and modest people and all they want is music and more music! They are so passionate and involved with their instruments that its perfect for us. We have bonded very well indeed.

I guess now is a good time to mention that our most recent drummer also had to leave us for personnel reasons, and we are currently running auditions for a new member.

Your sophomore album, titled “Primordium”, was formed as a concept album, portraying a rather intriguing, somewhat celestial type, storyline. A soul that wishes to become free. What was your source of inspiration to write with such a dramatic, yet somewhat cosmic, narrative?

Davinia: To be honest, the pieces start to fit together practically on their own once I start my writing process. And here’s how my brain works it all out; the inspiration actually comes from my life and my own personal experiences; the thing is I never really wanted to be so open and so forward lyrically- in a way I guess that’s because I find it easier to talk about what I’ve been through. Then at the same time I also knew that I wanted the songs to feel magical, I wanted to open up my imagination as well as any reader/ listener of our songs and so knowing all this, I began to look up mythological beings and stories.

Mythology really grabs my attention, it was never going to be anything else really, at least not for me and this is how I discovered Lilith and I felt that she was the perfect character to portray me and to be my alter ego and with my personal tweaks to the stories you can read online or in books, I made her a part of me.. I made her, me but at the same time, I’ve also become her. From the moment I discovered  Lilith it all became much easier and although the homework can sometimes take from days to weeks depending on what I need to paint in words, I will basically look through many different mythology stories and take what I need to make it a part of the world I’ve created and at the same time making sure that how I feel and what I’ve been through is also felt throughout any song. In mythology the stories are incredible, they are so full of life, of mystery. So there was never going to be any doubt that at the very least the lyrical journey was going to be quite interesting.

Since it is a storyline, and there are characters that pave the road for key moments that contribute to the understanding of the tale, who are they? Who are the antagonists and protagonists?

Davinia: As in the first album “The Edge of Innocence” some characters we met were there simply to pave the way to the next part of the story or to teach a life lesson or even both but they would then just become a part of the ‘past’ just like Isis in the song “Nile Goddess” but some other key characters remained in our second album “Primordium” like the Devil, Adam and God, Lilith’s creator. They’re still the ones who remain, the ones who from the start were making Lilith’s life, let’s say a “living hell” and in the second album? Janus is the one who was her saviour, he gave her the opportunity to find her own way in life and start again. Everything with its price of course because freedom never really comes cheap.

As a matter of personal belief, how do you find the motifs and overall narrative of “Primordium”? What form of message that it conveys to the outside world, merely if you want something bad, you need to sacrifice for it?

Davinia: I think that when it comes to me personally, I’ve always wanted to try to convey a message of strength and courage as well as a message of hopefulness out into the world and I truly hope I’m doing this. The truth is that life isn’t easy, some of us have it tougher than others and yes, sometimes if you want something bad enough in life, you may need to fight and sacrifice for it, that’s the reality of it, I know this oh too well myself but it’s not really a bad thing is it? Because since when is it a bad thing to fight for what you love and for what you believe in!? The skies the limit and we must always keep dreaming. My message comes from the heart and ultimately, I’m trying to create a world of fantasy in which we can all escape and feel close to in one way or another.

“Primordium” displays Angelwings as one of those bands that a singular label wouldn’t do it any justice. Throughout the listening, the band proves that it is versatile, crossing various sub-genres in order to maintain the wanted atmosphere of the narrative. How would you say that the work on this album challenged you guys to an extent?

Glenn: From the very beginning we were all getting on well and that helped to create a healthy and productive atmosphere in the band. The compositions were elaborate, fluid, yet with energy. It was felt that we all gave what we had to offer in each of the tracks so that each song would be the best it could be for the album. We each directed our own songs with our personal attributes and our own vision and then the other members would contribute to the main idea with their own influences. That’s why you can hear such differences in style throughout the entire album. It was quite an experience working this way as opposed to our debut. We all enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to commencing the next album!

Statements like “Pushing to the limit…” are all nice no doubt, yet working on such records that make you sweat even more is also a learning curve, even for veteran musicians. How did the making process of the record enhance your abilities as a songwriter? What lessons of the past did you implement on this album?

Without doubt one can hear the difference from one album to the next. The main lesson of the past was to explore and experiment multiple versions of each idea and not to stop there, to go even further and not fear experimentation. Personally, I feel like I pushed my musical abilities but I also learnt that in the shower, I compose some great ideas! Hahahaha

As the dossier states, and it is also quite felt, “Primordium” turned out to be quite a heavy release, intense rhythm guitar riffing that I believe contributed to the darkened image of the record. Since the orchestrations are a rather fine touch, in comparison to the beastily essence of the punishing riffs, how were you able to find that fine line between them?

It involved listening many times to the guitar riffs and structure. I also leave as much composition as possible until the vocal lyrics and melodies are set. Sometimes minimal keyboard work and subtle effects work great and sometimes I took over with leads and more impact. I guess I did experiment quite a bit and always remembering never to conclude immediately. It’s always good to wait a day before re-listening to ideas and before setting them in stone. Few times I had to scrap ideas entirely and start afresh!

Since you were part of the previous record, would you say that the contribution of the rather new members of the band for the new record was felt more than the previous’ lineup’s on the debut?

Definitely, every member of the band contributed more this time around and it was absolutely felt in our second album. Each member had full song ideas and not just small random parts we had to later put together like throughout our first album. That was the main difference between “The Edge of Innocence” and “Primordium” and when comparing them both, you can appreciate our latest creations and the extra work put in, as well as the variety of styles.

The opening track “Genesis” left an impression due to its ability to keep a flow from top to bottom, a very fluent track. What can you tell in regards to the making of this epic song, which I have the feeling that it wasn’t that easy?

In general, I do not think any composition that comes with feeling is forced or difficult, it just comes. With Genesis though, it evolved from separate ideas for over a year, the hardest part (which you correctly observed) was “glueing” all the parts together to maintain the flow. This was the only part where I had to stop to think a bit, so you are right in saying it wasn’t that easy! I also cut many minutes of music out from the original set of ideas for the complete song but it was worth it. Thanks for the nice comment!!

When talking about powerhouses, I believe that you nailed it amazingly with “Nature’s Lullaby”, an inspiring effort of Gothic and Doom Metal, entrusting the mixture in the contemporary means of the genre. What is your appreciation of the track and how it presents the new musical image of Angelwings?

“Nature’s Lullaby” was a song by Dani Duran done even before he was in Angelwings. A three-day composition in his bedroom inspired by one of his favourite bands, Insomnium. The rest of the band added their corresponding parts to enhance this already amazing piece of music. I have to say it’s one of my favourite tracks in the album and apparently many others who have heard it too. Although every track has their own great parts, “Nature’s Lullaby” ticks all boxes for me from start to finish. This is Angelwings moving forward, each others influences reflected in one another’s compositions and each individuals song carved by the rest of the band with their own parts. It gives it what I think is, originality and diversity.

What highlights of the recording process can you share? Were there strong emotions concerning delays due to the pandemic, perhaps occasions where you wanted to simply let it all go?

No, never did I even think of letting it all go! None of us did! I knew all this would pass eventually. One just makes use of their time and continues doing what one likes best, in my case, music. I guess the highlight of it all was recording the vocals and guitars at Tower Studio in France with Brett Caldas-Lima. It was definitely an amazing experience, not only the actual recording but the time we spent together and getting to know each other even more.

Are there plans for the band for the remainder of 2021 or do you rather see this year as lost when it comes to live shows?

At the moment it's going to be a bit of a struggle arranging any live shows. We shall probably do a few gigs locally and nearby in Spain. We’ll spend the rest of the year promoting the album and working on merchandise as well as preparing for a good tour next year.

Guys, I wish to thank you for this interview and for creating such an amazing musical piece. No doubt that you connected worlds in a single story, well done and thanks for the music. Cheers.

Thanks Lior, your questions were great. So happy you enjoyed the album and really appreciate your nice comments. Wish you all the best. Glenn


 



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