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RockBandAide Features Exclusive Interviews with RBN Bands Amberian Dawn and Damone

RockBandAide is a rabid (figuratively speaking) Rock Band fanboy, who has literally been there from the start. He picked up the original Rock Band bundle at a midnight release, and has been rocking ever since. Early last year, an abundance of spare time and boredom allowed him to channel his appetite for all things Rock Band into his website and Twitter account, RockBandAide, a moniker based loosely on the Band-Aids from one of his favorite movies, Almost Famous.


RockBandAide has been following the Rock Band Network news since the first announcement. Now that the Rock Band Network Store is officially launching, RockBandAide has two exclusive interviews with RBN artists Amberian Dawn and Damone. Check out some highlights of the interviews below and visit RockBandAide.com for the full interviews and video of Rock Band gameplay of their tracks. 


Interview with Amberian Dawn

When it comes to metal, you should know that Finland doesn’t mess around. Respected by metal acts around the world, Finland gives birth to many influential and innovative musical acts, most whose focus relies on a mostly metal foundation. Acts such as The 69 Eyes, Apocalyptica, Children of Bodom, HIM, and Hanoi Rocks all hail from Finalnd. Well, time to add another act that’s ready to melt that Nordic frost, Amberian Dawn! Recently described as “symphonic power metal,” I like to call it “opera singing meets Opeth.” Ain’t no cookie monster vocals here, just classical singing updated to pair perfectly with today’s modern metal.

Amberian Dawn has a whopping seven tracks coming to the Rock Band Network. They started with making “River of Tuoni” and “Sleeps in a Grove” available (which are approved and waiting for the Rock Band Network to go live), and have further committed “Valkyries,” “Lullaby,” “The Curse,” “Fate of the Maiden,” and “Evil Inside Me” to the RBN. Here is my interview with Tuomas Seppälä and Heidi Parviainen.

RockBandAide: How would you describe your music to people who have never heard it?

Tuomas Seppälä:  Music of Amberian Dawn (AD) is fast and melodic metal with haunting classical female vocals. There’s also a lot of virtuocity in AD’s music, a lot of guitar and keyboard solos for example. So you could say there’s a little bit of progressive and technical sides in AD. But in general AD’s music is easy to approach and the tunes can very easily stay haunting inside your head.

RBA: Tell us a little bit about the musical background of the members of the band.

Heidi Parviainen: Tuomas and I have both a classical background. I started classical vocal traning at the age of 14 and Tuomas started playing piano at the age of five if I recall correct – he’s the Mozart of our time! Kasperi started playing guitar at the age of 8 and has also a classical training plus more general and professional guitar studies. Tommi, Emppu, and Joonas have also been taking lessons at some point of their lives.

TS: All our band members are kind of genre veterans, so everyone have a lot background in different bands. Every one masters his own instruments very well. And Heidi masters the singing very well also.

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RBA: Do you feel that games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero have an impact on a player’s interest in playing a real instrument at some point?

HP: I’m sure it will do that in some cases. But I also hope that people will understand that it needs more time and sweat to learn to play a real instrument and not to give up when they realize that it is more difficult. But it’s great to motivate people to play!

RBA: Is there anything that you would like the Rock Band community to know about you before you debut on the Rock Band Network?

TS: Be prepared for a real technical challenge. The music of AD is probably one of the hardest to play and sing in RBN repertoire. I hope that you’ll get familiar with our music and come to see us live when we are performing in your home town some day!

Click here to read the full interview and check out a sample video of one of their RBN tracks at RockBandAide.com.


Interview with Damone

“Damone rocks!” Not that there was ever a question about it, but bassist Vasquez wanted to make it perfectly clear. Channeling some of the best rock music from the '80s, and combining it with infectious riffs and killer vocals reminiscent of female-fronted rock contemporaries Paramore and Halestorm, Damone makes sure their audience gets an earful of awesome at every performance.

If they sound familiar to you, it’s because they already have a track available in Rock Band. Released in July of last year as DLC, Damone’s single “Out Here All Night” got Rock Band players up off the couch and jumping off of coffee tables. Not only was the track featured in Rock Band, but also Madden NFL ‘07 and Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam. And coming soon, Damone will be putting three more tracks on the Rock Band Network with the help of Rock Gamer Studios: ”Roll the Dice,” “Serial Killer,” and “Conquer Me.“ I was able to ask Vasquez and Mike Woods of Damone some questions about the band, their history, and their involvement with Rock Band and the Rock Band Network

RockBandAide: For some of those in the Rock Band community not familiar with you, tell us a little bit about Damone.

Mike Woods: Pop metal band with some '80s flair? Good? Good.

Vasquez: We ARE a rock band. We don’t have angular hair cuts, we don’t wear skinny jeans. We plug in and play and give 100% every time. We are here to help people escape all the crappy music out there right now sh***ing in their ears. Damone rocks!

RBA: Is it true that your name is based off of the character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

MW: Yep.

V: Yes. When were trying figure out a name we wanted something iconic that would sound cool and still sound cool 30 years from now. The Damone character in Fast Times was kind of a shady character and I think a part of each of us can relate to him.

RBA: What are some of your musical influences?

MW: As a guitarist everything from Eddie Van Halen, Hendrix, Randy Rhoades, to Wes Mongomery, George Harrison, or Les Paul.  As a band, Def Leppard, Motley, The Beatles, Joan Jett… stuff like that.

V: Guns n’ Roses, Van Halen but only the David Lee Roth era, Metallica, Johnny Cash, Hall and Oates; it's kind of all over the place.

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RBA: You’ve already had one track featured in Rock Band. Tell us about the process that went in to making that track available for Rock Band.

MW: Honestly, I don’t know how that one was done. I just found out later that it was featured in the game, and thought that it was really cool.

As for the stuff on “Roll The Dice,” I went down to SOR Studios in CT, and worked along side my old friend/engineer Greg DiCrosta to make the stems (individual tracks necessary to make the song playable in the game) for it.

I was contacted by Rock Gamer Studios, and they’re getting it done for us! It’s gonna be great.

V: The record was basically recorded in Dustin’s apartment. We would record drums in a studio and then do everything else in the apartment. This worked well because it kept the recording cost to a minimum. We funded all our record ourselves.

RBA: Have you played it? If so, what’s it like “playing” your song in Rock Band?

MW: Ahhhhhh…. (embarrassed) No. But I’d be stoked to try it out for sure.

What I wanna know is how I get my mug in the game like The Beatles or Aerosmith have. What? That’s stupid you say? So basically, you think they’re better than me? Is that what you’re saying? Cause they’re not. That virtual guy on the screen playing MY guitar parts looks nothing like me and it’s getting on last nerve. Lets make this happen folks. And lets get on it quick!

V: I have and I wasn’t very good at it but then again i never play right in real life either. Hahahaha! It was fun and I can see why people get so into it.

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RBA: Do you feel that games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero have an impact on a player’s interest in playing a real instrument at some point?

MW: Absolutely. I joke about it, but I think games like these are awesome.

For instance, I’ll never play professional football (well… we’ll see, but most likely not) and I love playing football games on PS3 or whatever. So why is this concept so different for music?

Just like in sporting games, there comes a point of limitation. It’ll never be the same as actually going out and doing it.

So as the player becomes more deeply involved, I think that they will start craving the real thing, and then… Well you can see where I’m going with this.

V: I feel like they are a blessing. There so much bad music and it gives kids a chance to hear some real rock songs. Am I alone to feel like kids today need to hear Skid Row and love them? In some way it reaches people much better than radio.

RBA: What led up to you pursuing putting more music in the Rock Band Network?

MW: You guys called me dude !^#%? Hahaha! But I’m grateful for it.

V: We want people to enjoy the music we work hard to make. We know radio won’t play it. The Rock Band Network is going to do more for artists than MTV and radio ever will. I’m just glad we have opportunity.

RBA: Is there anything that you would like the Rock Band community to know about you before your second debut on the Rock Band Network?

MW: Nope. Just have fun and let me know it goes for ya.  And for any questions, comments, or info about me or my band, come find me at Mwoodsmusic.com

V: If you listen to Damone the terrorists will lose. Enjoy!

Click here to read the full interview and check out a sample video of one of their tracks at RockBandAide.com.


Click here for more information about the Rock Band Network. And stay tuned to the 'Zine for more interviews from RBN bands!