One on one: Simone Alves

By: Aleyda Ortiz.

Beyond the Black is an album that will mix essences from different places of the world, sensations and characteristics owned by the guest singers who piece by piece are making part of their thoughts, feelings and voice; the track that they are going to record, each one of them, have been sharing with the “One on one” readers, the experience of working besides Danny Heksolson on this debut Red Page album. This time, we had the pleasure of interviewing an artist, in the whole meaning of the word: Simone Alves, who shares with us the musical beyond the black trip that she does.

Simone, tell us a little about the song that you are working out for the Red Page debut album.

1-1“I’m still working on it. Most probably I’ll adapt very “known” lyrics from Brittany called Ar Plac’h Inferniet: It’s the story of 2 young lovers, eventually the girl dies before they get a chance to get married, and the young man is so devastated that he prays for 7 years in the hope to see her again, until a ghost gets him to visit her in the overworld. Very mythological, very black! I like these lyrics not only because of the story itself, but also because they are very familiar to me. I’m thinking on an improvised part too, not everything is fixed yet, but I have the general idea of what I’ll record. The tune itself has (to me) something from the turkish 70’s atmosphere, and I’ll try to bring that ambiance too.”

Because, talking about Simone Alves is talking about atmospheres and oriental flavours, with a very own technique and style that has set her on a very unique place inside this allbum. But, which is the story of Simone?

“I was born at the end of the 70’s (just on time to get to hear 80’s music as a child!), in a little corner of France, surrounded by borders (Germany and Switzerland were about 20 mins. drive), which probably influenced my love for travelling and crossing borders of many kind, not very fascinating! What I really consider as my home village was left behind by my parents in Portugal as they decided to come to France. As a child my favourites voices were Bono from U2 and Sting, and till now I still treasure quiet moments listening to their music. Then in my teenage years I discovered Dead Can Dance & Lisa Gerrard amazing and impressing way of using voice as an instrument, and this is definitely a huge influence in my approach to vocals. Technique-wise I have learned a lot from Erik Marchand, with whom I got the chance to learn for years in Brittany, and I also got very much influence by the famous Kurdish singer Sivan Perwer. Other musicians/singers with traditional background that somehow influence me are Azam Ali & her project Niyaz (Iran), Muharrem Ahmetti (Makedonian gypsy), Aynur Dogan (Kurdish). I’ve always had a crush for traditional musics, for new wave and for opera!, but it was only when I first visited Celtic Brittany (western part of France) when I discovered singers from there and then I started to seriously learn songs, and well… to sing!”

Besides singing, do you play any instrument?

4-2“I gave up! voice is my instrument! Even when I use percussions I most definitely use them as something “around” the voice more than as a real percussion line, I think I really get to try to use my voice as an instrument, experimenting, trying sounds, bringing atmosphere with some vocal effects – and I still have a lot to explore on that field! I just know I have a very typical voice of someone in love with traditional types of music, that is maybe ruff but powerful.”

A voice that takes us to specific places, to ancient times, to travelling time and space. “This was musical love at the first sight, as soon as I heard her voice singing with her marvelous Astrakan project, I started to figure out a song for her; she has this authentic oriental musicality that have always fascinated me”–said Danny Heksolson when Simone Alves collaboration for Beyod the Black was confirmed, but Simone won´t be working alone on this song, the Astrakan Project spirit will let their energy there in full with the performance of Yann Gourvil.

“I am among the luckiest persons in the world to be working daily with my husband Yann Gourvil. We are very complimentary on the way we work together, we love to work together, and this particular project is definitely the one we started to pour in what was trully us instead of kind of doing what we thought was expected from us. All that are pretty good reasons to defend what we create, to stay focused! I really see it as a way of life, we humans have this great and amazing gift of being able to create!

A lot of our songs are very mythological or tragic, and what we try to do is to create the atmosphere around the basic song that will get listeners to travel to our world. And the visual part is part of that too!


As I said we really complete each other; generally I’ll have a very broad idea of the general sound, ambiance and energy, then Yann will bring my idea into structure and rhythm, then we listen together, get sometimes ideas to replace a sound/instrument by another, he’s very used to record my voice, and that way we spare a lot of time; he also knows very well my level of expectation, and when he says we need to record it over, I trust him 100%. And he will be adding samples and sounds into the mix to the Red Page song.”

Tell us about your participation in Red Page and how did you become part of it?

“A while ago Danny asked me if I would be interested, and I had listened to some of his work on SoundCloud, including his “oriental”-like sounds. Then he sent me the primal idea of the tune he had in mind, and again, it was the “oriental”-like spirit that I liked. As well as the sound of the very first guitar versión!”

Has it been difficult to adapt to this kind of project – overall because of the distance that separates you from the composer-?

“Why? Absolutely not – just of course I really wish one day we could play live (let’s make it a goal, right?). Anyway, I’ve leaning a lot of the songs that I sing now from old recordings, I never got to met most of the singers that had already passed away! In a way, I’m used to long-distance collaborations even from beyond our world!”

The thoughts-feelings-energy connection which is being created when listening the Simone Alves voice is full of textures and colors as it is on art -painting- where you imprint such characteristics. Tell us about your art (painting) taste, how do you make the art of your albums and which painting techniques do you handle?

3“I’m a very intuitive artist, whether it is for painting or for singing, I never started with technique, rather I will learn techniques on the way that will serve what I have in mind. I learned a lot from “art journaling”, which is a daily form of introspection using painting/drawing/writing. Frida Kahlo is with no doubt for me a great influence too, art journaling has been a great way for me to experiment techniques, and also to get away from some “pressure” I could get while working on new songs/recording – because it is really important for me to keep making music in an harmonious atmosphere. I can’t see myself being recording in a painful or stressful atmosphere, I just get the feeling these would be the emotions that would be captured on the recording.

Generally, I pick up from my paintings the ones I feel will relate with the music and then I use them as artwork for the covers, until now, only our last digital EP Within the Circle was specifically painted for that cover, other ones were created by chance!”

What does a normal day look like in the life of Simone Alves?

“The great thing is… there is no normal day! There will be times when I’ll be doing a lot of painting, then only focus on music, or sometimes on a specific style of singing, or on video making, or on knitting/sewing… Generally I’ll focus mainly on the creative field for a while until it’s done! What matters in my creative life is to find a balance in which I can have enough time, I need time to let ideas emerge, to try things also, and to learn. But anyway, I tend to be a hard-worker, sometimes I need to put on my agenda a “no-work-today” mark… but it’s hard for me to stick to it!”

What are your future goals Simone? What are your dreams to achieve both professionally and personally?

“Being able to keep on creating everyday, in a joyful and harmonious way is what keeps me going. My main challenge at the moment is to find the financial balance to do it, a lot can be done with very little material (like microphones, cameras, sound-cards), but I also can see the limits of that way of doing things by ourselves. Another BIG dream I wish I can bring to life within the next years is a big European tour, visit and play in every single European country, not only in big cities, but also in remote little towns, wouldn’t it be great?”

Simone Alves: an artist, a woman with a peculiar energy and mysticism, she is totally committed to her goals, we know she will achieve each one of them.

Let’s discover together what lies Beyond the Black, let’s discover the pieces of this project, one by one, revealing their dreams and desires, meanwhile the Astrakan Project and Simone’s voice takes us into their world:


One on one: Marike Groot.

By: Aleyda Ortiz.

When we found out it was official that Marike Groot was part of the Red Page Project for the first álbum “Beyond the Black”, the news themselves brought joy and satisfaction among Danny Heksolson and all the staff members because we have always rejoiced with her work ever since her participation in the dutch band The Gathering. “We are recruiting a very unique and awesome line up” said Danny at the time.


So, “One on one” requested an interview with Marike Groot in order to get to know better about the substance of the album, about her and the songs that she will record. Being always friendly and profesional, she agreed on talking with us about her childhood and her early approach to music, about her dreams, about her life:

“I cannot remember when my fascination for music started, it probably was at a very young age. I do know that my parents listened to The Beatles, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and jazz music round about the time when I was very young.”

“I probably sang along with those from a very early age. At the age of six I was already actively looking for music and my father started introducing The Beatles’ albums to me, which I devoured one by one. I remember thinking at that time that it would be no more than natural for me that I should do what The Beatles were doing: playing the guitar, singing, performing and recording. Ha ha!! How convinced you can be at that age!”

“I was born in IJmuiden in the Netherlands, on 28 January 1968. It was the place where I was born but I had never really lived there as a child, now I’ve come back here for the last five years. Actually it can be a boring place, I sometimes miss a nice place to have a drink and all, but apart from that it’s lovely. People are friendly but they also leave you to yourself; We live close to the beach, a lovely park and a wonderful nature reserve; historically it is also a fascinating place.”

The Marike´s route inside the musical world, it is not limited by her time with The Gathering, it is more, like she says: “a history of ups and downs” that has carried her to develop her voice, to improve her performance quality and ultimately, to experiment with writing and arranging her own tracks.

“I joined my sister’s band when I was eighteen. My sister Tetje played bass, we had a fantastic guitar player, Wieger Janse, and we were called The Grabbits. We recorded a single in the days of punk rock, when fellow musicians The Vernon Walters set up their own record company LMOOR.”

“After The Grabbits split up I joined Thank God For Us, with guitarist Jacob de Greeuw who later formed the wonderful Johan. We renamed the band Little Mary Big when bass player RJ van der Woud joined us and we really got going, I mean, we were doing quite some gigs and we felt that we were really getting somewhere until we split up in January 1992.”

“By some wonderful coincidence the last demo we recorded was brought to the attention of The Gathering, who were recording Always in the very same studio, owned by Han Swagerman. They were looking for a certain something and found it in me; I was heartbroken from Little Mary Big’s split-up and my break-up with my boyfriend at the time so I welcomed the opportunity to record with The Gathering, who I did not know before then. I listened to their demo and just jumped at it. I was not at all familiar with death metal, but I was intrigued by what they were doing and immediately felt that I could do something for them. The Gathering had only just begun as a band and we were from such different worlds, geographically and musically, that we never expected to do more than just record a CD together, but I joined them on stage for fun one day and just stayed. I think we never expected the way things turned out and we were probably overwhelmed by success, then one day you find out that although you feel it is absolutely great to be on stage together, you drift apart again because you view things differently and back then I found it hard to communicate this sort of thing. I also thought that in the end the music and the band itself would become too big and too loud for me to handle, and that at the same time I would not find fulfillment with the minor role that I played, contributing to just half of the songs and half of each gig. But I felt I could and should not change the way they were, so I decided to leave The Gathering. Because I wanted to take composing and recording in my own hands I started learning to play the guitar.”


“I took a while off to graduate in English linguistics and think about my future in music, I always seem to have periods in which I don’t do music at all followed by periods in which I am totally going for it, so I started composing and joining and forming bands, and playing and rehearsing as much as possible. I formed a band with guitarist and singer Tjarko Edzes, drummer Reinier Claessen, and one of the best bass players in the world, Arry Niemantsverdriet, who now plays in The Jig. This band was called Mae West and it did not last long: sadly Reinier, who is my favourite drummer ever, left in 2002 and the band fell apart.”

“A few years later I got together with Tom van der Nulft, my cousin, and Sander Brink, who is now my partner, and decided to form a The Beatles tribute band, The Weavils. We took on Maikel Voors and after he split Erik Seyferth on drums, this was so much fun! “

“I really learnt a lot playing guitar and bass in this band, I discovered my voice really blended well with Sander’s and so I felt like starting my own band again, together with RJ van der Woud and Maikel Voors, called Wonderlust. This is when I first started to really enjoy writing songs and working them out together, however, in the end we felt rather pressured by work and other activities and so in 2008 Wonderlust broke up.”

The Weavils lasted until the end of 2010. By 2011 I gave birth to my son and decided to concentrate on raising him and devoting my energy to my work as a translator for a while. I have taken up singing lessons again and now and then perform as a singer for the Liedjesdag, a workshop in which translators translate songs from several languages into Dutch.”

You have already explained about your “The Gathering” contribution, could you tell us, which is your current perception of the band?

“We reunited in 2012 to do a series of concerts performing the CD Always in full. We had not really parted on very friendly terms in 1993, but I think we all loved to see each other again and perform this magical CD once more.”

M3“It was so great that all of us were enthusiastic about the reunion, even though four of us were no longer part of the present Gathering! I was really impressed with Bart Smits and how he led The Gathering onstage, superb! I felt so much at home again with them all, perhaps even more so now that we were all a little older.”

“They are great guys and I would very much enjoy to see them all again sometime, onstage or off. And though I have a different taste in music to what The Gathering are doing now, I love the passion with which they craft their music and I hope they will reach even more people than they are doing now.”

Talking about musical tastes and preferences, what are your musical influences, favourite bands, singers and composers?

“I already mentioned The Beatles, who will always remain very important to me. It’s funny when you think about how out of style they were in the seventies and how they are now kind of like ‘classical pop music’ as if they have always been so.”

“I never used to listen to female singers much for inspiration, funnily enough, because I never intended to ‘sound like’ anyone, I just admired certain musicians and bands, like U2 and The Smiths (and many more) when I was in my teens, and Soundgarden, The Posies and Alice in Chains (and many more) when I was in my twenties. When I was in my thirties I discovered Joni Mitchell and she really blew my mind, I delved into her work as I did with The Beatles before, and I still get a lot of inspiration from her. But there are lots of other influences as well, for I will be influenced by any music that gets to me.”

Do you have any favorite mexican or latin-american rock band?

“No, I don’t, I’m ashamed to say, that’s because I don’t know any. In The Netherlands we are so much oriented to English spoken popular music that it is almost self-evident that you look to British or American bands or artists or at least English spoken music, perhaps you can name me a few I can explore?”

Tell us about your collab with Red Page, about the “Beyond the Black” songs that you´ll be recording and about your long distance work with Danny Heksolson.

“I think it’s been a year ago, or maybe it’s been two years already? Danny asked if I’d be interested to work with him, I listened to what he was doing and I said yes. I will be performing Will to Deny, a beautiful song which I fell in love with right away! I went to my favourite rehearsal studios, the Rock Supplies in Amsterdam to get really inspired and recorded vocals on four tracks, I sent them to Danny and he was inspired in turn to add to the song again.”

“I have also been working on a song called Strøm, but that proved a lot harder. I like the song, but it didn’t get me as much as Will to Deny, so I was not really satisfied with the first take, so we keep on working with them; to my surprise I have been engulfed by work these last one and a half years so that sadly (well of course it’s a good thing, really) I have little time for anything else but my son and my work. Luckily Danny is the most patient musician in the world!”


“I find that the distance up until now is not a problem at all, Danny is very easygoing and we have a lot of fun communicating. I must admit that we haven’t got very far up until now, but it amazes me that nowadays you can communicate so easily and send bits of music right around the world for someone else to work upon. It’s wonderful!”

For Danny, the guest singers selection was a long process which resulted from an organic way: a song conceived with a voice in particular and the circumstances were in charge of finding the ideal performer, such way was no different with Marike, her voice captivates the listener:

“It’s safe to say that I am a soprano, which you probably already know from my work on The Gathering’s Always, but as far as I know I can also manage the lower ranges. I think I have a wide range, but I couldn’t tell you how wide exactly.”

What does a normal day looks like in the life of Marike Groot?

“A normal day… that’s easy, because my life nowadays is highly regulated most of the time. Because I have a little boy my life partly revolves around him: me and my partner share the responsibilities equally! I wake up when my son wakes up and then I or my partner takes him to the daycare centre three days a week, after which I sit down behind the computer and work all day translating books, together with my partner. Or we take care of him at home. We have dinner, the three of us, which is always very enjoyable, and then spend some time with him before taking him to bed and reading him a bedtime story. Then we work for another one or two hours before sitting down on the couch to watch tv and then go to bed, is that exciting or what? When my son doesn’t go to the daycare centre we spend the day caring for him and playing with all kinds of toy cars at home, or making trips to the beach or the playground, or go cycling or swimming, or visiting friends or family. These days we usually work seven days a week. It’s a simple life, really, but we enjoy it very much.”

What are your future goals Marike? What are your dreams to achieve both professionally and personally?

“I’m not sure, I hope to be a good mother and continue doing the job that I love, which is translating books. I guess you could say that my dream is to combine the peace and quiet of the life I have now with the excitement and satisfaction of making music that I really love and feel good about, and getting better and better at it in the process. But all that may just be a dream…”

Certainly, real dreams are those that Marike produces with the gentleness of her voice and her stage presence. I let you all with this piece that I´m sure will make you fly! We read each other on the next “One on One” interview.

Photographies: / Bart Smits / / Lijst van de Boekvertalers (as well as the vid).

One on one: Bhetzy Velvet.

By: Aleyda Ortíz.

After a short pause, we are back with our interviews series called “one on one” where we go deeper into each one of the parts that form “Beyond the Black”, the first Red Page album, which everytime is closer of being out and available.

Quoting Danny Heksolson: “From the very moment I am designing the music, I imagine it with certain type of vocals already; based on that I make the selection of the probable singers that could fit into it. The music itself has asked for a voice in particular, it is a judgment matter, of being receptive to your creation; but as Red Page is a rock music project, generally I´m looking for voices that are able to sing what I believe is rock music in a more “pure” state from which it can transform into whatever required sub-genre. Bhetzy Velvet for instance, one of our guest singers, she impressed me because her voice synthetizes this whole concept: her voice seems pure rock to me.“

There is when we have to open our ears to one of the most portentous voices that this album will include: Bhetzy Velvet´s, a mexican woman interested in music since very early, who throughtout her history has done singing a way of living, her passion and the strenght that day after day makes her a very persevering person with very clear goals in life.

Bhetzy tells us: “My parents listened to music and I always said that when I grew up I would be like Donna Summer, Janis Joplin or Demis Roussos. In fact, it was with the “I feel love” song by Donna Summer when being 3, I heard it and I wanted to be a singer and then I started my early participations with estudiantina bands; soon after with mariachi bands and rock bands; as years passed by, when having no regular job I used to sing on the Subway.”

Bhetzy LiveHer musical career have not stopped since then, Bhetzy joins AeroSoul, a soul, blues, bossa nova & funk project, that no mattering its short existence, allowed her to perform on big stages and to have success for several times. Nowadays she performs at karaoke bars.

Why did you choose the Bhetzy Velvet name for your artistic activities?

“My younger daughter, named Samantha, likes to dress in velvet, she says it is soft, warm and nice. When she listened to me singing Black Velvet by Alannah Myles, she asked for the meaning of the song´s title, I answered her, then my older daughter, named Natasha suggested: -Why don´y you call yourself Bhetzy Velvet?, then Samantha replied: -“Yes mommy, that´s how your voice is: soft, warm and when I hear it, it makes me feel as if I`d touched velvet.” I liked what they suggested and how it sounded so, from there on, I am Bhetzy Velvet.”

Certainly, a velvet like soft voice but at the same time filled up with overtones and nuances, makes Bhetzy a very unique singer: “I can sing very low tones as well as high pitches. There are people who thinks I´m a contralto, other ones say mezzo and a bunch of others say I´m a soprano. You´ll have to help me find my tessitura.” -She is kidding.

Which ones are your musical influences?

“I really hear every kind of music, but I would say the mariachi music and of course rock music; this one I have sing always, as well as its predecessor, of course I´m talking about blues.”

And speaking about performing, whic musical genre do you prefer to sing?

“That which have good sense, a genuine feeling, words that come from the soul; the one in which the harmony chords and the melody notes carry you through its history. Because of those characteristics I prefer to sing the blues and the mariachi music.”

Beyond the vocal and artistic qualities of Bhetzy (not everyone can sing mariachi music), we know about her love for the animals and strong commitment to them, How do you think music can support causes for these defenseless creatures?

Imagen 3“People have a strong credibility in artists, music is transparent and people perceive that, it is a universal language, it moves hearts and beliefs, also it joins life philosophies. Singing is what I love the most in life, so I have no best way to help other than doing it with all my heart, using the tool with which the change could be achieved, in this case: music.”

Bhetzy Velvet is one of the three mexican voices that will be featured on “Beyond the black”, she was the last one in joining the project, but her participation could be vital, (we know that Danny Heksolson contemplates her as the full album live singer if the project has live shows in Mexico). But… How did Red Page arrive to Bhetzy´s life?

“Currently I sing at karaoke bars, the original music project in which I was the lead singer (“AeroSoul”) stopped for causes beyond our dessire. Then, I decided to find more opportunities to continuing my career with an original project. I contacted and interviewed with Danny Heksolson, I heard his music, I realized that he is really very straight and professional. His vibe, his clearness, convinced me that he was somebody to have trust in. So I did not hesitate in having the honour of being invited to join his Red Page project.”

The song that Bhetzy will record in the album it is called “Forever Blues”, it is just a “A-la-Heksolson” blues, which is about what we all have inoculated inside the human brain: the learned stuff.

“Speaking about blues experience, I´ve had my own singing it with my previous band, however with Red Page it is quite different, with a different energy, one very cool and attractive. I´m commited to reach beyond, to transmit and leave a part of myself in every note.”

What are the future goals for Bhetzy Velvet, her artistic and personal dreams?

VelvetI want to consolidate the original project, to create sensibility about the animal situation in Mexico, to grow up as a singer and as a person. I wish being heard by millions, that my music could be able to join people, countries, ideologies and strenghts. To keep me updated and growing up day after day; reaching different stages and leaving a smile when someone listens to my voice. To achieve a point in which I can help more to the animal wellfare causes.

Personally, I wish to raise my family with high values, make my daughters good citizens of the world, with ethics, with moral. Give them a heritage and strong bases. I wish to have a needed animal wellfare foundation and that way to be able to join my three bigest loves: family, animals and music, with the blessing of God.

That way does Bhetzy conclude, a dedicated to life woman and strongly commited to music, decided, strong, with the voice and courage required to achieve her goals.

We read each other at the following “one on one” interview, in the meantime enjoy the following performance of our beloved Bhetzy Velvet to one Gun´s N Rose´s classic number:

One on one: Daniel.

By: Aleyda Ortíz.

In order to properly talk and understand about any given project, it is needed to know about its origins and to get sharp when looking for the exact moment of its creation, to dive inside its own history and inside the creative mind behind it to watch from that perspective the growth of the creative seed that every day is watered with talent, effort and dedication.

Surrounded by an unbeatable weather and an impressive scenery as it is a wooden cabin located in the middle of a rain forest in the beautiful state of Hidalgo in Mexico, we go to our meeting with Daniel Martin del Campo to do the third chapter of this “One on one” interviews series for the Red Page musical project, headed by Danny himself.

woodsRed Page was born since 2004, when I was in Norway working as a musician; I had the opportunity of being part, as the bass player, of a band that got formed in the Oslo community: The Intergalactic Movement, which reunited several music styles, it was totally eclectic; we had diverse influences: there were african rythms, norwegian singers, rock guitar players, etc. We performed at the yearly Karlsøy Festival, held up in the north of Norway, precisely at the Karl Island. There were norwegian musicians and more musicians from the whole Scandinavia; in a rehearsal we played a Jam Session and there I realized how international collaboration could drop something of every culture into the music: It was a blues that sounded to each one´s influences; it sounded as the origin lands of each one of us. I got impressed by that. Some days after that, in the very same Karl island, I composed “Oceanic Idyll” the openning track for the first Red Page album while watching to the sea. This track is an instrumental rock blended with baroque influence. That´s how the idea of inviting singers and musicians from other countries to perform my music generated in my brain.

Tell us about the name selection.

The Red Page name synthetizes a lot of my history as a musican and as an individual. My favourite rock music band is Led Zeppelin by far, and obviously my preferred guitar player is Jimmy Page; from there comes the “Page” part, that in a double reading is a clear reference to my literature fascination. “Red” comes from my favourite color and it has to do with the NFL team The Arizona Cardinals from which I´m a big fan since I was 5; the football philosophy is as well an important part of my life. The red color means fire, passion, irritability, protesting… all of that is part of my personality and it reflects in my music. Even the Red Page logo has a cardinal bird and a plant, because the fauna and flora are important components in my life development too.

Who designed the Red Page logo?

The logo is a Marlene Parra´s creation, she is a designer from Guanajuato, México –who by the way is against getting so much credited-, inspired by the project´s idea, she asked me to hear some music by Red Page and on top of that she designed the current logo; the result was magical, because from her sketches, Marlene draw a little bird that a while after I asked her to complete as a cardinal, adding the little tuft over its head; but everything just flowed in such a natural manner, the whole process was always very organic: The strokes seems to be bio-natural structures.

That is why with the singers I just follow the same process, first I deliver the raw song to them so they can hear it, to see if the feel it and if the song says something to them, if the music leads them, that´s what I love about this concept!

Speaking about that, which one is the Red Page essence? Which are the strenghts and the characteristics that are different from other projects?

Inside Red Page I´m looking very forward for the natural conection of my guests with the music, what does it tell to them? most importantly, what do they feel? Musically speaking there is something about improvisation too, due to the huge creative freedom; I´m searching the craftsmanship for the album making and the fact that we dont know exactly where any given song is leading us it is simply excting.

I just don´t foresee, nor ever has been my idea, the massification of Red Page, I´m convinced that the most important thing is the pure artistic expression, and that implies a sensitive, select audience, and because of that scanty; now, if the massification happens because the music itself opens a self way for a lot of people to enjoy it, that would be good! that way we still following the organic route.

Were you always interested in being a musician, Danny?

Artistically I started with the visual arts, as a child I loved to draw and I was serious on it, I drew everything, but the music always captured my senses, overall the TV jingles; so I went to the academization at the National Fine Arts Institute (INBA) from where I ended up being a musician. On the academy I understood I´m a born musician, that´s kind of my mission, I don´t have any doubt abou it; still, linguistics and literature were always art fields that I enjoyed a lot too, but I couldn´t study them precisely because of the musical studies. So, let´s say I alwas have been attracted to Arts, in general.

biblioBecause of that interest in literature, I started a bachelor degree on spanish linguistics and literature at the National Autonomus University of Mexico (UNAM) and I discovered it has a lot to do with the musical work; for instance, you understand that the poets feed themselves with images, personal experiences, things that they observe and that they try to transform, with impossibilities, existencial anguishes; well, a musician suffers those sources too in order to capture a musical idea. Also, when analyzing literary or musical works, we see with a major clearness their similarities, specially with the poetry, that allows us as the music does, the access to unthinkeable possibilities, allowing the transformation through the aesthetic enjoyment.

The today´s most important construction in Daniel´s life, is the first Red Page album: “Beyond the Black” each one of the pieces are part of a puzzle that will give birth to a unique concept and that should be joined in a perfect and armonious manner.

The creation of “Beyond the Black” has been a very long process due to different life situations that in one way or another have delayed the whole process. However, these “delays” have a lot to do with the music itself, whenever a song does not tell me anything it gets static for a while.

It is so difficult, technically speaking, the making of a project with such characteristics, the ambitious thing here is to invite a lot of people who is located in diverse geographical points, this of course without the internet would be impossible to achieve.

I like musical variety and the possibility of choosing among different soundscapes without being locked or commited to only one. I feel that in this year -2013-, we have had great advance, we are working in the distance sending demos, enhancing the songs and making the first stage of the production: an accoustic demo for internal usage.

How do you do the selection of the voices that will perform each one of your songs?

poseFrom the very moment I am designing the music, I imagine it with certain type of vocals already; based on that I make the selection of the probable singers that could fit into it. The music itself has asked for a voice in particular, it is a judgment matter, of being receptive to your creation; but as Red Page is a rock music project, generally I´m looking for voices that are able to sing what I believe is rock music in a more “pure” state from which it can transform into whatever required sub-genre. Bhetzy Velvet for instance, one of our guest singers, she impressed me because her voice synthetizes this whole concept: her voice seems pure rock to me.

Tell us about them, who are the “Beyond the Black” singers? Where did you meet them? How they arrive to your life?

Some of them I met them through the net, others I met them at her countries, others referred by others, others, such as Marike Groot, because they were part of important rock acts in my life, but lets get clear on this:

The first one I worked with was Larisa Shelest, the ukrainian. For her I´m very proud of being her “discoverer”; she was too young when I met her, her natural talent impressed me so much that I knew it was only a matter of waiting for her develop as a more mature singer; what she is now. It is so nice being part of her development and musical growth, UPDATE 1: unfortunately, she won´t be on the first album available, but I hope we can work together for the second one, let´s see what happens.

I met Maly Reyes in México and I invited her to Red Page because I had seen her work closely at the The Gathering tribute parties -that we have done as a freelance work thanks to our fabulous admiration for that dutch band-; I always felt attracted by her voice, ideal for the melancholic expression. She represents and brings with her that part of the gothic dark mexican rock branch.

Alis Heded is an impressive soprano, I heard her and just loved her operistic approach and got fascinated with her taste for metal music. Without any problem she could perform her song and whatever new version of it.

Bhetzy Velvet, continuing with the mexican singers, was the last one joining thinking mainly that, when this project gets to the live stage in Mexico, due to its own characteristics, it will be very hard to bring all the singers together, so she could carry the weight of the whole album live and loud. Her voice is so powerfull! I guess she is one of the best rock singers that I´ve heard in Mexico, capable to sing whatever you put on her.

Mavi Solano is a friend from Málaga that I met several years ago, while visiting Spain for a The Gathering live show. She, along with Curro -her boyfriend and guitar player-, gave me her Overdub band demo CD and when I heard her voice, I identified a very special timbre on her, so special that I inmediately wanted to record something with her. I´ve always wanted to work with Mavi and it is until this album that we will finally do it.

This year also joins Simone Alves, a world music singer who represents three different cultures: the lusitanian, the bretonnian and the turkish; I contacted her because I´ve got engaged very much with her Astrakan Project whit its whole oriental charge; anybody could think that Simone is not for singing rock but that is the delicious point of this experimental try, we´ll see to where this song leads us all.

And well, Marike Groot is part of the dutch rock history and I think that alone validates this whole project. The fact that she enjoys my music until the point of composing together is simply apotheosic to me, something that without any doubt revitalizes me.

UPDATE 2: Emmanuelle Vigneron expands the core of guests singers for the debut album, she has a beautyful voice and her approach to a track that I envision as a very important and weird one has caught my ear, she is from France.

I don´t know if everyone of them will appear at another Red Page album again, but for the debut, they had precisely to be, organically.

Speaking about this album creation implies not only the selection of the tracks and vocals, but the part of the musical assembling. Will this Red Page debut album have the presence of guest musicians? How the prduction part of “Beyond the Black” will be?

For some tracks I´ll invite musicians, for instance that play Harmonica, maybe we´ll have two or three more guests, but I´ll play all the regular instruments as a base.

Regarding the production phase, I´ll do it personally, the whole of it; after touring several studios, after talking to prefesional producers, even with independants, one of them Yann Gourvil, a great breton musician who lives in Turkey and who has become the audio assesor for the project, let me very clear why you, as the creator of your project, should be its own producer too, ideally.

danmicsTo me, it was something I had a strong respect for, overall for the software managing, the seting up of a decent home studio with its special requirements; but, I found that there is a lot of technical myths surrounding the audio engineering of capturing sound, I mean, think about how they used to record in the Rock and Roll days, for instance? Personally, a bunch of those recordings are true artworks, diamonds. So, as I already said, I´ll go the path of craftsmanship in order to keep it pure and simple regarding the technical processes in my self-producer debut, while I obtain a non repeatable atmosphere on the studio, which I am designing and constructing already, this will be delicious.

October the 12th of 2014 is the expected release date for the debut album by Red Page, “Beyond the Black”, that will be available trough the official website.

Exactly in 2014 I´ll have 25 years of musical career and I´ve never released one of my projects officially,– says Danny- I think this album synthetizes all of that, is a work that implies a lot to my very own history.

There is music that let us something and there is inconsequential one, I hope that all the numbers that conforms Beyond the Black let something for those who want to listen and permit them being part of their lives from there on.

Thank you all for reading, let´s wait for the next One on one!

One on one: Alis Heded.

By: Aleyda Ortiz.

It is very important for Red Page, to get to know deeper each one of the singers that will participate in the Beyond the Black production. Each one of them have a musical and personal history that enhance their performances and make them all exceptional women into the areas in which they develop.

During this second chapter, we had the enjoyment of interviewing Alis Heded Loza, a mexican singer who lives in the City of Guadalajara, who owns a very powerfull opera voice that allow her to imprint a very unique signature to the first Red Page album.

Alis Heded or Anikka Haitanen (su pseudonym)?
Alis1“I would like that people know me as Alis Heded, because my grandfather marked my life and supported my career very hard, I would love that my grandpa´s lastname Heded to be recognized.” Alis started her career at the age of five: “Since very little my family realized about my talent, mainly my paternal grandmother, who also was a professional singer, one day she heard me while I helped her washing clothes and then she was the one who talked to my parents and encouraged them to take me to the singing lessons. Soon after music started to passionate me, and then I realized that yes, that was the reason for which I wanted to live the rest of my life.”

Alis Heded tessitura is defined as “Dramatic coloratura soprano”, which main characteristics are the agility for faster passages and the wide extension of its registry: “They can reach a very wide extension, from B4 or even B3 to easily a F6″, indicates Danny Heksolson. They also have a fuller, darker timbre when going low, that leaves a higher weight and volume sensation.

To grow that magnificent voice has been a hard task which involves continuous work and study, so Alis obtained her specilization at the age of 18, singing arias in several cultural events, consolidating herself as a professional opera singer. In 2008, she started her bachelor degree in Gregorian Chant, at the Sacred music school of Guadalajara which allows her, to be active inside the Jalisco´s official cultural scene (Jalisco is the mexican state in which Guadalajara City is located).

How Alis foresees the opera/sacred music appreciation not only in her state but in the whole country?

“There still is the need for a strong support for mexican musicians, not only from Guadalajara. There is a lot of talent and excellent singers that need to be more exploited -in the good meaning of the word-, unfortunately, for years, there has been a strong lack of government support for cultural events organization, or even to promote the singers; but I have to say that with the new administration we have had it in a small dose. I foresee a promising outlook in México for this kind of music, there is a lot of people who want to be recognized, who want to introduce the gigantic cultural richness from our country”.

Opera music has been the kind of art that is the main stream in Alis Heded´s life; but we know about her admiration for Tarja Turunen, who was the main singer for the finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, as well as for her melodic metal performances delight; How the Alis´s interest for each one of this musical genres (that are apparently opposites but that are deeply attached), born?

Imagen 2“It was so curious, I started with Zéjel, a rock band, and there our drummer Fabiola Magaña told me that my voice could be a right fit for those styles, she lended me a Nightwish album when I was 13, and I loved it from that moment. I was studying opera because my grandmother and my whole family knew that my power, vocal registry and tessitura were perfect for that, therefore I always took opera seriously. I admire Tarja (Turunen) a lot, because she arrived in a very important moment in my life, I was a teenager and sometimes you feel depressed and things like that, you know. She helped me to sustain my faith in this musical genre; I admire her a lot because of her vocal registry from about three octaves and that very few people have. A great soprano, very tenacious. I wanted to try the melodic metal because of that, I love classical music, I love the opera but I can tell I also love metal music.”

Inside Beyond the Black, first Red Page album, Alis sings “New Begin” (working title), tenth track of the album, but how they reached this point?

“I met Danny Heksolson when he contacted me after he discovered I am a singer, composer and pianist. –because I also play the piano- He told me he was looking for talented singers for his project and asked me if I had something to show him so he could listen to me. I sent him a YouTube video that I have, a Nightwish cover version, he listened, he loved it and later on he invited me to participate officially. I accepted with no doubt. He showed me his music, I liked his compositions very much, he is an excellent musician, he has a very peculiar form of capture feelings and musical ideas that very few mexican composers have; thats why I accepted inmediately. He proposed me to sing “New Begin”, the last track in the album; a piece that I liked a lot because it has a melancholic melody that is at the same time happy; it feels like a rebirth because the song goes its progression in crescendo and then softly it returns, it is like the vital cycle. I liked it and I fell in love with the song completely; obviously we still have to work on it a lot, but I am very happy bacause of my participation in this project.”

Beyond the Black is a collaborationist project which features -in this first album at least- the multicultural participation of great voices. Regarding that Alis comments: “It is the first time I work in such a project and I feel honoured for being part of it, precisely because of the participation of other beauty female voices, who came from diverse world places and cultures. I feel super-happy of being in this special album of Red Page

Alis Heded Loza, dedicates the main part of her time to the music: “I give singing and piano lessons, I compose and follow my study at the Sacred Music School, at the same time I keep on rehearsing with my metal band: Abyss Of Time and I participate in several cultural events in which I´m invited. My life is dedicated to the music 100%, in that matter I also admire singer María Callas, I identify with her because her life is pretty similar to mine; she was a strong woman and she always persevered; they didnt allow her to get into the conservatory of Viena, but she fought hard for reaching her goal until she did it. I have encoutered the same kind of detours, but no mater what I have keep on the musical road”.

Besides Maria Callas, who other musicians does Alis Heded admire? “I admire mexican composers such as Domingo Lobato or Miguel Bernal Jiménez, a great sacred music composer. Classical music singers I can say that besides Tarja Turunen, Cecilia Bartoli (una gran contralto) & Anna Netrebko are the ones who have marked me the most. Speaking of metal music, I have influences from bands such as Nightwish, -that was my first experience-, from there I heard The Gathering, Within Temptation, Épica, among others that have influenced me with their style.”

What if someone puts Alis in the position to choose between opera and metal music? Which one she would choose? “It would be very hard because I love both genres, I feel the mine; but I think I would dedicate myself to the opera because it fills me up more and it posees qualities that are more suited for me.”

Imagen 1Abyss of Time, the melodic metal band in which Alis is the singer and composer, the sacred music and arias quartet, and her participation as guest singer in Red Page, are the three projects that ocuppy her goals in the short place while she finishes her bachelor degree, but: “In the future, I foresee myself as a well known opera singer, not only in Guadalajara, but nationally” –says Alis“I would like to sing one day on The National Palace of Fine Arts´s stage and later in Europe, at the grand opera halls and of course, keep on working with my Abyss of Time band, I wish it gets also recognized mainly in our country and we´ll see what happens internationally with it”

Alis Heded has the talent, la presence, la simplicity and the humility required, because of that, we dont hesitate in asseverate that each one of her musical and personal dreams will be totally achieved.

So as we reach the end of this interview, our nice and talented girl leave us her advice: “To the people who love music and who want to dedicate themselves to this, I would tell them that they need to be patient, that music is a dicipline that requires strong commitment and work. Of course, it takes sweat and tears, but is heartwarming. Keep on and fight for your dreams, never ever give up, be perseverant in whatever you do because someday you will achieve what you want.” There is no doubt Alis Hededis one of the greatest voices that “Beyond the Black” will feature, making it an interesting work, full of nuances and contrasts that surely will surprise us.

We let you all precisely with “Kuolema” the Nightwish cover song that Alis showed Danny Heksolson and that was her ticket to Beyond the Black; stay alert for the upcoming interview next monday.

One on one: Maly Reyes.

By: Aleyda Ortiz.

Quality is a fundamental when creating any project, and it requires time, effort and an adequate selection of those elements that will lead to its development and ultimately to its success. Red Page is a musical project that has been slowly assembled from its foundations, creating their debut album “Beyond the black” piece by piece, supported on the creative duo that Danny Heksolson forms along with every guest singer who´ll give life to it.

Everyone of them will be featured in a interviews series that we´ll be publishing for the next seven weeks, that will allow us to know about their collaboration with Red Page in a deeper way, as well as their singing careers, daily lives and their interests.

In this first chapter, Maly Reyes who certainly is one of the Ghotic Metal Queens and one of the best voices in Mexico, tells us about the moment in which she took the musical trip and chose this genre:

Imagen 2“I always had a special like for singing, and before joining Fractalia I´ve already known bands such as The Gathering, which was the first one that captured me, even though I already liked progressive rock and liked a lot Iron Maiden; but regarding gothic metal it was precisely because of The Gathering, then bands such as Nightwish, Within Temptation, etc., thanks to that I met the boys of Fractalia and made an audition for them with a song by Therion; they called me back after two weeks and since then I haven´t stopped. The gothic metal was the genre that I chose, or should i say, the genre that was given to me by destiny, and is the biggest thing that could ever happened to me. I´ve tried and tasted different genres too, as Trip hop for instance, but the gothic metal is the one that has satisfied me plenty, is in where I have been and where I will stay for a while.”

Maly Reyes is the singer from Fractalia, a well known mexican gothic metal band formed 13 years ago, yet, she has taken part in diverse collaboration projects such as Scylla, Tripnotik or now Red Page for mention some, projects that are from different rock genres, but that have been united trought her voice:

Tripnotik is a Trip hop band, it has nothing to do with the ghotic metal, and yet, my collab there was with a dark lyric; with Scylla I perform for the Therion tribute act. So, one way or another these bands get connected with the emotion and what I feel with their songs, with that emotion that awakes with the lyrics and the voice on their projects; with everything that i love to give and that fortunately I have sung, the music that I love; with that which enhance the spirits. The relationship between everyone of these collaboration projects -Including the The Gathering tributes in where I have participated-, is not in the genre but in the feeling and voice fusion, in the simplicity of the lyrics and the music”.

Red Page adds Maly to their first production, because according to Danny Heksolson: “she has this melancholic voice that adds the perfect mood for the song” so, ¿When and how arrives Red Page to Maly Reyes´s life?

“We met in 2006, when I participated in some The Gathering tribute parties, invited by a common friend: Karen Ceja. There I met Danny who is the creator of Red Page; seven years later we have this collab on its way!, I´m thrilled! and I hope the result of the song we are creating together to be great, quite pleasant for Red Page and for me”.

“Beyond the black” is the number that Maly sings in this debut Red Page album, which is as well the album title track: “This song encapsulates many of the feelings that also connect us, is like going beyond what we can see”-says Maly- “It has a lot of energy and a fantastic lyric creation; Beyond the black means something beyond of what we can be able to change. It is very representative of my life and I feel destiny contributed for that song to be mine, it is suited to what I feel and I hope to convey with my interpretation”.

Imagen 3“”Mother, singer and friend” is the way Maly Reyes captures her essence in three words; always delivering the best of each of them: “My daily life is very common: get up early, take my son to school, return to home activities, vocalize, sing a little, do my band´s stuff, the album tasks, and so takes all day; between my child’s homework and all that pertains of being a housewife, but also with activities regarding singing”. Within these routines, this extraordinary singer does not forget to listen music, there is always some good discography with her: “Fractalia´s album, one of Nightwish, Therion, and one of my collection of Iron Maiden are always with me, I soak my son with that music and fortunately my husband also likes it, we are always covered of music.”.

Imagen 4In the upcoming months, work will be a constant in the life of Maly Reyes, but is important to pause to enjoy once again the experience of motherhood:
“The next to do thing is to finish Fractalia´s most recent album, we have to finish the last part; with Red Page I have to finish this pending song for the debut album; and continue the tribute to Therion with Scylla until pregnancy allows me! After that I will rest a little without totally forget about music”.

We wish deep success to Maly, both professionally and personally, is a delight to hear her and we feel very proud to having her in this project: “Greetings to all the international readers, thanks to Red Page for the invitation, I hope you all can listen my voice in this other music, in this different dimension, that really makes me very happy”.

We let you all with one of the most representative Fractalia´s tracks: “Eternal dream”, dont forget to be aware of the following interviews “One on one”.