NOTRE DAME

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with Snowy Shaw and Vampirella was done through e-mail in April 2002.

Hello, how are you doing?
We´re fine thank you.

Could you please introduce Notre Dame to those who are unfamiliar with the band?
I suggest you visit our incredible website www.notredame.just.nu for a more indepth insight of what were all about but here´s a brief version. We started in 1997 released our first mini-cd in 1998 have done a mini tour and a few rare live appearances, but nontheless notorious for its outstanding horrifying theatrical stage show. Shows that have somehow managed to become something of cult value. Nowadays far more people claim to have been present during those shows that the number of people actually showing up. Quite a compliment! We intend to unveil some of that mysterious aura when we start doing shows again later this year. For some time we concentrated mainly on the making of our short horrorfilm Thrillogy and recording albums. I, Vampirella do share the vocals with mainman Snowy who also writes all music and lyrics. He has a background in various famous acts as a drummer/ songwriter, acts such as King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Memento mori, Illwill etc but in Notre dame he plays a double neck axe with both six and four strings as well as trying on the keyboards. Mannekin handles the drums and his elder brother Jean-Pierre plays also one double neck guitar and bass.

Half the band lives in Sweden while the other half is French, how does this work? How did you meet each other?
When I moved back home to Gothenburg, Sweden after a few years and a failed dancing career in Paris, I ran into my old boyfriend Snowy who was starting up a new project. He was sort of desperate and frustrated not being able to find proper musicians for the kind of project he intended to do. I then put him in contact with Jean-Pierre and Manne who I made friends with in Paris. After awhile they asked me to join the spectacle as a dancer/singer and although I had no previous experiance in music I said yes. Knowing little what I was getting myself into, it turned out to be some really rocky road to travel but it couldn´t possibly be any worse than the shit I went through as an erotic dancer in Paris. (snowy) what we usually do is that i make rough recordings of the songs and just send them tapes/cdr so Jean-Pierre and Mannequin can learn their parts and come with suggestions and their overall opinions about arrangements and so on. then the three of us get together in Paris or Gothenburg and brainstorm,rehearse and record the songs in one of our home studios over an intense period of a few weeks. Then I take the tapes home and work either on my own or with Vampirella on the vocal arrangements and do all the keyboard and guitar overdubs in my own studio. We usually do sessions like this, going back and forth doing re-recordings of certain songs til we captured on tape exactly the kind of vibe and atmosphere we´re looking for. We have had serious discussions about moving either here or there or even if we all should pack our bags and move to London so that we could really work as a unit, and rehearse regularly but as the situation is right now that´s not an option.

Your new album has just been released by Osmose Productions, can you tell us a little about the album?
To make a short story long…Originally it was a mini-cd whose selected songs were sent out as a demo which got picked up by this independant norweigian label who wanted to release it just as it was. Originally we thought that would be a good idea that would automatically bring other labels to our attention, so we said OK if they´d only get us a small amount of money for a proper mix and means to make a nice cover. It was put out on halloween ´98 and suddenly labels started to contact us instead of the other way around. The mini-album didn´t get the attention it so clearly deserved due to their limitations. And after years of hearing people solemnly declare how much they loved our two first albums, referring to Le Theatre du Vampire and Nightmare before Christmas and either not knowing how to get hold of ”coming soon to a theatre near you!” or knowing it even existed. We decided to repair that damage having Osmose re-releasing it with a few notches better distribution so it would be available for those who are interested. We wanted to put something extra on the reissue and went through the old tapes from those recording sessions in ´98 and selected as much as 6 previously unreleased tracks that would be added as bonus tracks to the album that had only 4 and a half!songs on it, so i guess it´s more like a new album. In order to maintain a somewhat homogenic sound to the Notre dame style that is a bit diverse as it is, we had to go back into the studio and remix it all completely. I think we improved the sound quite a bit and that this is our best sounding album so far. This I feel i must say, usually when bands add a few Oooh wow!previously unreleased songs it is crappy leftovers that didn´t belong on the album in the first place. But like i said we selected 4 and a half songs to represent the bands spectra and variety on that demo and it doesn´t mean the rest weren´t good enough. But one does not include 11 songs on a demo. Blacksmith &Co is my absolute favorite on the album and i simply can´t understand why we excluded that one for the demo. but it was a jointly decision and one suspect we felt we had bigger chances of getting signed if we went for the more uptempo, growling black metal sound of our repertoire.

Osmose Productions is mostly known for more extreme metal releases, how come you decided to sign with them? Are you happy with their support so far?
We didn´t know any better. I´m never happy.

I just have to ask this, is the last name of the two French brothers actually De Sade? An honest answer is highly appreciated :-)
In fact their real last name is De Sade but that´s about as far as it goes! Their mother Monique have told me how she decided to take back her old family name after she divorced their father in the mid-seventies. Already back with their former band The Blood Group they started to rely heavily on the history and macabre nature of their last name.

Do you know where you have most of your fans today?
Since Osmose haven´t got any properly working distribution in neither north or south America along with some other territories, it´s not likely we have any major following in those countries. And as much as that truly pisses us off there´s not much we can do about it while we´re enslaved, but that will definately change in the near future. Although I know for a fact via the fanclub that we have a great following of real die-hard fans outside the main territory of Europé who buys our stuff from import and from the internet.

How come you decided to focus on a vampire image? This will surely make a lot of people think of you as riding on the success of Cradle Of Filth...
If I´d say we haven´t had that question before I would be lying. Either Snowy or myself wasn´t aware of them at the time we started, and now when people like yourself pointing it out to us I can´t say we care either. Judging from the number of people wearing their shirts on the streets, they must be a very cool band and i can see the obvious connection but we´re just doing our thing in our own creative space, worrying little what goes on outside this space of ours and basically don´t give a horses ass what other contemporary bands do. I took the name Vampirella after being exposed if not to say brainwashed with the 70´s cult figure comic book character when i was dating Snowy many years ago. I thought it would be a perfect ingredience to the shock rock horror outfit we were creating. Little did we know that the character still existed in America at the time. More over I don´t know if i should dub us a flat out vampire image kind of band. I´d say we deliver a sexy shock rock freakshow for the 22 century built on the remnants of the past century.

What are the future plans and goals for Notre Dame?
In the nearest future to finish the pre-productions and then start recording the real thing for our next double album A-Z in the book of horrors. Simultanously we´re preparing, planning and manufacturing the mobile horror freakshow spectacle that we´ll bring out later on this year. We had lots of offers for festivals this summer which we unfortunately had to turn down during the circumstances and ask to take a raincheck for next summer.

What do you think of the metal scene in Sweden today, are there any bands you admire more than others?
No. Not in the metal scene really. There´s probably lots of great new bands if i only cared to look or listen. It´s been very much cheezy power metal eversince Hammerfall had their success. -Ha! Look who´s talking ! you´re playing drums with Dream Evil aren´t you!? You if anyone oughta know the terms of prostitution!Ha Ha! Candlemass has reunited and personally i consider them being one of the more underachieved acts in the world ever.

What are your top five albums ever?
(Snowy) hard to pick THE absolute 5 tops but it´s something like this, in no particular order.
Kiss-Destroyer.
Manowar-into glory ride.
Accept- Restless and wild.
Scorpions- Animal magnetism.
Sweet- strung up!

[ Vamp]
Sisters of Mercy-Floodland.
Type o Negative- Bloody Kisses.
Abba- Arrival.
Iron Maiden- Number of the beast.
Rammstein-Mutter.

Now to my own and brand new right or wrong section. You are just going to tell us whether you think the following acts would be right or wrong:

a) If someone killed Hitler prior to his mass murder campaigns.
-Right

b) To burn down a church because it's "evil".
-wrong

c) To burn down a church because it represents oppression.
right

d) Sado-masochism.
right

e) Death penalty.
right

f) To lie if it will be of benefit to yourself.
It depends, we say right and wrong*

g) Censorship.
*

h) Religion.
– if it makes their pathetic little lives worth living then ..right

i) To kill because you feel an urge for blood..
–wrong

It´s impossible to just answer right/wrong on heavy subjects such as these. I´ve got a question for you, is it right or wrong to hate someone whose opinion/conviction differs from yours? [Editor's note: my answer would be wrong]

Any final words of ancient wisdom, or just plain words?
Thanks a lot for the interview and good luck with everything in the future! Don´t eat the yellow snow – old Lakota Sioux proverb. – thank you very much!


Links of interest:

Notre Dame
Osmose Productions