All the songs are stories – Interview with Terebra
By Rainer Kerber
Italy is famous for progressive metal and bittersweet symphonic rock. But the rock and metal scene of the southern European country is much more diverse. I met a representative of this “other Italy” one year ago when she appeared on stage as a guest of the band Wolfsinger – Myriam Raska. Here she demonstrated her vocal skills by covering two Dio songs together with Wolfsinger. But Myriam is also one of the founding members of Terebra, a band that celebrates melodic alternative metal. Recently, after several years of work, the debut album “Atlas Of Dreamland” was released. I was curious and wanted to know more about the singer and her band.
MHF: Hello, I am Rainer and write for Metalheads Forever. Thanks for being able to do this interview with you. How are you?
Myriam: Hi Rainer, thanks for having me here, I am excited about the interview and happy to answer to your questions and thank you of course from all the band!
MHF: Please introduce yourself briefly.
Myriam: The guys and I have known each other since high school basically, we went in the same places to listen to metal music and the music bonded us. We had played in other bands too, but we really enjoyed making our own music and appreciate each other’s style (very different from the tastes of the bands in our surroundings), so we decided to stick together. It was not easy, as the original components are actually me, Kone and Iron Maida (Giovanni), while we changed six times the drummer. Typically, where we live, there are very few of them playing metal and those usually already have 16 projects open!
MHF: How did you come up with the band name? I found several meanings for Terebra on the internet. Genus of screw snails or a medieval war machine (masonry drill).
Myriam: Actually, we love the sound of it. Terebra reminds the sound of Tenebra (darkness), and in fact in Italy people first call us in this way, but it’s not only the dark gothic worlds that the word evokes, as you state.
To me the Terebra shell is very beautiful, elegant and it really has a shape of the spire of the steeples of gothic churches, so that’s another reason for that name, but what’s also interesting is that those shells are venomous, so they release poison, and are something that contain the idea of danger and recall places of mystery, of hidden as well.
The fact that it also has a “cutting” meaning and that it’s a powerful war machine adds that sharpness to the concept that strikes. I love it, isn’t it interesting that it is so polyhedral, yet still it fits perfectly in the world of gothic?
MHF: How would you describe your music? Which musicians / bands influenced you?
Myriam: Definitely metal: even our only “ballad” is performed speedy on stage! However, our music also has a melancholic and nostalgic part in it, which is what makes it melodic and even gothic. Then you have the powerful sound of some songs that varies very much in intensity during the same song: that’s very alternative and we can also say “progressive”.
Terebra creates songs that reflect the Gothic Metal sound and genre, mixing various influences and styles, like prog, heavy and the ethereal atmospheres that define the genre itself.
As for the bands, well, basically we were inspired from bands like Within Temptation, Leaves’ Eyes, Opeth, Lacuna Coil, Moonspell, yet wanting to propose an alternative form of Gothic. Then each one of us has their preferences. For example, I am very fond of female songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Sia, while listening to Black Sabbath as well, the favorite band of Giovanni Iron Maiden.
MHF: Terebra were founded in 2010. You worked on “Atlas Of Dreamland” for about 4 years. Why has such a long time been taken to complete the debut album?
Myriam: Yes, exactly as you said, the band was founded in 2010 by me and Kone. After several changes within the group, the line-up became official in 2013 with Marco, Iron Maida and Flavio. Terebra’s demo came out in April 2014 and, after Flavio’s departure from the band, the music video for the single “Resilience” was released in May 2015.
As you can see, the drummer role played the most part in this delay for the album to finally went out. We changed several times the engine of the band and, as you imagine, if the engine is not perfect, you cannot record and have the same magic as in having a constant partner as if the person is a family member, not a pro that you pay, right?
And the fact that we believed in having found the right studio, but then unfortunately we had to mix and master the album twice in another one.
It has been a huge cost. I advise all the bands to get informed very thoroughly and accurately on what is possible or not in a studio, regardlessly on what they tell and promise you, and to see the real and effective, tangible results.
MHF: Where exactly is this “dreamland”? 😉 Is there a story you tell on the album?
Myriam: Actually, it’s not a concept album. The beautiful factor I see in this album is the fact that it is very diverse, all the songs are story telling that pertain to real life. For ex. “Lost identity” speaks about Luz Village – Aldeia da Luz, a place that made me cry when I got to know its story, “Jester’s Tears” is about a family story, “Eternal Limbo” again is not a fantasy story, it has memories in it and so on. “Resilience” is the most powerful one, it stems from real pain. And of course, “Lucid Dreaming” is one of my favorite, because it carries a beautiful message for a better change in everything, for the dreams in becoming reality, and it also carries the inspiration for the title of the album “Atlas of Dreamland”.
And about “Dreamland”… we went through a lot of difficulties (and some bands know it well on their own), but we managed to issue our story, and our search for what makes us happy: music.
MHF: When you’ve produced the album, you had no permanent drummer. Who sat behind the battery during the shooting?
Myriam: We used the drum machine, drawn by Kone.
MHF: What’s the songwriting process at Terebra?
Myriam: Kone writes the riffs of the guitars and then everybody contributes with their own parts.
The melodic vocal part and all the vocals are up to me of course, including the lyrics, which I enjoy so much writing. It’s like a therapy.
Moreover, songs are usually a work in progress, so it is not that you always have the whole structure built up at once of course. It’s a beautiful house that you see transforming under your eyes and that’s the magic and the dream of the music as art.
MHF: What are you planning for the next time? Will you record another album?
Myriam: We have just met a wonderful drummer, Simone, so we are blending with him and usually you have to enjoy the different styles. Plus, we are older now, with different life experiences and listenings. For ex. I’d love to explore different sounds, but I guess you have to grow up together in the same direction, so we have to perform a bit together before launching ourselves in another album. Also, because we are doing auto-promotion and did self-production, self-financing while working as normal human beings, so time is not intended as in the big bands, that are urged from the record companies to issue an album a year. We want something meaningful and different to say, to stand out as Terebra, not like a copy or a “cover band” kind. And in order to grow and to be real, time is not quantifiable. Let’s just wait and see 😉
MHF: Your live performances are currently limited to your home country. Can we experience you on stage sometime outside of Italy?
Myriam: While we were working on the album, we alternated the work in the studio with live and acoustic shows in the center and the north of Italy.
Outside of Italy? We‘ll see the results of this album. If we meet some interesting occasions and people with whom we can collaborate, why not? I enjoy sharing energies and meeting people, so if you ask me, I’d love it. We went through really painful times for this album last year (and all these years that we “have lost”), now we just want to enjoy music. Enjoying it every day.
MHF: I would like to thank you again for this interview. Would you like to say something to the fans at the end?
Myriam: Rainer, are you kidding me? Thank you for the opportunity: there are not so many free occasions to speak about our own art and passions, I am so happy that you were so kind to have me here!
And sure, I absolutely want to leave a message for our beautiful friends and fans: don’t chase the dreams of others, chase your own! It will not be easy, but at the end you’ll have your own dreamland and you’ll find the meaning of many things. You live, you learn! Stay real, stay human, enjoy all the experiences, be positive and stay Terebrian!! \m/
And of course, don’t forget to follow us on:
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/Gothic.Terebra
You tube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Xs90UqIlyJiLxQCoKV4dw
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/Terebra_band
Myriam Raska – Vocals
Kone – Guitars
Marco Cei – Guitars
Giovanni “Iron Maida” – Bass
Simone – Drums (since 2019)
MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber