From Wales comes Paraskenia. A metal band that released with "When Darkness Falls" their debut single. An interview with singer Lee David Bowen who likes to traverse the worlds of opera, musical and metal.
Now you sing with Paraskenia next to opera/classical repertoire (and musical) also metal. What was there first: your interest in opera/classical music or your interest in pop/hardrock/metal?
As a teenager I was a massive metal fan and loved anything to do with Iron Maiden. My favourite albums being Powerslave, Iron Maiden [their self titled debut] and Killers. Halloween's Keeper of the Severn Keys Part one & two were also favourites of mine for the drama and storytelling. I was lucky enough to see both these bands live during the 80's and 90's.
Growing up in Wales, "The Land of Song", I was also introduced to classical music at a young age and the first opera I saw was WNO's production of Tosca with its powerful opening had me hooked.
What are the technical differences for you between singing opera and metal?
The style of Paraskenia's music allows me to sing in the same way for both metal and opera. I believe that good technique and building stamina are integral in both styles. Having worked as a principal in the West End in The Phantom of the Opera. where we performed 8 shows a week and with many major Opera companies in the UK, I believe I have a good stamina so I'm not pushing my voice.
Do you need to take special care when singing metal (with amplified instruments). Do you (have to) take special measures to protect your voice?
It's all about good technique and not pushing the voice. Also the other members of Paraskenia are knowledgeable musicians and understand the nature of both classical and metal singing. Gareth Long on keyboards is an operatic bass (touring with Scottish opera at the moment).
Before any performance whether classical or metal I try to get plenty of rest and avoid alcohol. I also find meditation and yoga really beneficial.
4. There is perhaps a tendency to held pop/rock music, from an artistic point of view, in less higher esteem than opera/classical music. How does that work for you? How do you value both? And do you encounter any prejudices against pop/rockmusic in your own classical music environment?
I haven't really come across much prejudice in the classical music world and generally find that most musicians appreciate all good quality music even if its not to their particular taste.
5. What are your favorite singers? (Any genre possible.)
Bruce Dickenson (Iron Maiden), Siegfried Jerusalem, Simon O'Neil, Sir Bryn Terfel and Stuart Burrows.
Lee Bowen – Vocals
Gareth Long – Keyboards
Andy Slade – Lead Guitar
Richard Emanuel – Rhythm Guitar
Ben Thomas – Bass Guitar
Ceiran Jenkins – Drums
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