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Slechtvalk

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For the Dutch black metal band Slechtvalk the month March 2003 was in the token of their European festival tour. This event took them from a concert in Chemnitz, Germany, via their home country to Sweden for a performance at the annual Bobfest. Soprano Fionnghuala is sharing her experiences.

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Discography: Falconry (2000), Chaos & Warfare (split with Kekal; 2002), The War That Plagues The Land (2002). Available through: Fear Dark. Official website: Slechtvalk. Interview by: mpo. Date: March 21st 2003.

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Slechtvalk. FLTR: Premnath, Deborah (no member), Grimbold (sitting), Shamgar, Sorgier, Othar & Fionnghuala

You've done a festival tour with Slechtvalk. The first show was in Germany at a Fear Dark festival. How was Germany?

Very special. It was literally under the ground, in a bunker. Even that was, apart from everything, a real nice start. It was a good experience.

How was the crowd? Were they already familiar with your music?

I think some of them were in any case. The club was completely sold out which was something unknown to that bunker. Of course, I don't know for which band in particular people came but there were some people we knew us.

Can you describe how you are on stage for all those people who haven't seen you live? How's Slechtvalk on stage?

Yeah, impressive. There's quite some show around it. The men are wearing warpaint. I'm not, of course, as a woman. There's also a female dancer (Deborah) who dances in a couple of songs to portray those songs and what they are about. So, there's quite some show going on.

The War That Plagues The Land

Can you tell a little bit more about this aspect?

Well, for example, she dances to the Dragon's Children and it's about the fact that those people in the story of the CD who killed the main character eventually end up in hell. She's portraying that, like "what have we really done? Why have we ended up here and how do we get out?" She portrays it in an extreme manner by painting her face real creepy and by dancing in a real wild manner. Yeah, I think it comes across, though not to everyone.

When I saw your show at the festival in The Netherlands I noticed that the band talked to the crowd in English. What's the idea behind this?

I really don't know! I don't know why Shamgar did that. Fact is that he announced a few songs in Germany and Sweden in Dutch. That was really funny, though, looking back. I'm not sure whether the public got that. But in Sweden we did a cover from Horde: An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly In The Falling Moonlight. And that song he announced in Dutch. So, it was like "een graf dat zachtjes baadt in het vallende maanlicht," or so. That was really funny!

On Saturday March 8th you were in Ede, The Netherlands, for a concert at the Fear Dark Festival. You were thrown for the Dutch lions for the first time. The feedback from this show has been tremendous. How did you experience it?

Very well! The first show in Holland. The public was absolutely going nuts. I thought it went well too. So, yeah, it went very well!

I saw you in the cloak room after the show. There were lots of teenagers with beaming faces who wanted to be in a picture with members of the band. I was looking at you and wondering, "how will she experience this?" For you don't have a lot of experience with this phenomenon.

That's right.

So, how was it?

I'm not sure, actually. I thought it was really strange to experience something like this but then I have this feeling that I want to remain with both my feet firmly on the ground. I considered it to be fun to be part of, but I find it rather difficult to think something of it. I have this idea that if the fans are great with it, then I think it's wonderful for them! But for myself.... I think it's rather funny!

You also added your autograph to stuff. And as you work under a pseudonym, I wonder, do you have a special autograph?

Yeah! (laughs). We all practised on it (more laughs). Yeah, it all has to happen professionally of course. So, it isn't just a vague scrawl.

Last weekend you went to Sweden for a third concert. I've understood that you went with a whole bunch of folks. How was it?

That was real fun! We went with a total of sixteen Dutchies and we were the only Dutchies present. It was a great experience. Next year when that festival is held again, we'll certainly go that way again. Yeah, that was really great.

How did people respond there? I've heard that they are a bit stiff sort of people.

Well, that wasn't so bad, actually (laughs). I've heard that before we went as well. The Swedish normally just stand and watch and enjoy without moving as much. But when we played it wasn't that bad. There were quite some people who were banging their heads and so. Yeah, that was real fun.

So, there wasn't much semi dead public.

No, no! Not at all! (laughs).

In Germany and Holland you were together with Fear Dark band Immortal Souls. How was that?

Personally I didn't spent much time with them. I did have a chat with their singer. He was a real nice guy, by the way. Fins are known for being an introvert people. But he was the only one who was quite extravert, actually. That was real fun to see.

Okay, looking back at the last few weeks, what are the positive things that stick in mind?

That the shows were well received by the public. For us that was quite nerve breaking. How were we going to be received? How was our attitude to be, our performance. That is... Yeah, I have a good feeling about it. And I believe that the crowd appreciated it.

Were there things you experienced as being not so great?

Especially the sound. In fact, with all three shows the sound wasn't really great. Yeah, that's a drawback. I sing quite clean of course, and then it's important to be able to hear yourself. That wasn't the case all the time and then you start wondering if you're still on the right pitch. And, am I still audible in the crowd? Because I know that in Ede most people couldn't hear me well. That's really a pity.

It also depends where exactly one stands in the hall.

Yeah, that's true. But most people in front couldn't hear much.

The question that remains is, when will we be able to see the band live again? I've heard you will play on the Flevo Festival.

Yeah!

But are there other things going to be arranged?

No. At this point I don't know about any forthcoming shows. At least there's the Flevo Festival and that's the first show coming up for me. There's a chance that some shows will happen before it. But I don't know.

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