Having your singer holding the Guiness vocal range world record is not something we see everyday, do we? Based in London, Achilla is a multinational progressive rock band with fine metal touches. The past five years they have worked their way through multiple tours around the UK, setting the ground for their forthcoming debut album called "Timeless". A participation of our international acclaimed keyboardist and guitarist Bob Katsionis is also part of the credits. Rock Overdose interviewed the band's Hungarian singer and record holder, Mantamaria, somewhere between the shooting of their first official video clip à la Sin City and their preparation for sharing the stage with Edguy later this Fall. She was also kind enough to make a present for our readers, check it out!
Rockoverdose.gr: Welcome to Rock Overdose Achilla!
Martamaria: Hey there. It is great to be here and we wish to thank you for this chance. My name is Martamaria and I am the singer of Achilla.
Rockoverdose.gr: Where does your band name come from, really?
Martamaria: I discovered that the Byzantine Empire had a city called Achilla; I found this out through a Latin-Hungarian online dictionary as I wanted a name for my band we breathe life into... A name not particularly attached to any of the countries our members are from.
Rockoverdose.gr: It is very pleasant to see the bassist is Greek! Why don't you tell us a few things about the band itself.
Martamaria: Achilla are a multinational, but London based rock band. I have formed and named the band five years ago and to tell you the truth we had some line-up changes. Our Greek bassist Gus unfortunately has parted ways with us earlier in 2012 but after spending 2,5 great years with us…
Rockoverdose.gr: Sorry to hear that... You have heavy touring schedule, something new bands tend to forget... You believe it is vital in order to stand out?
Martamaria: I feel sorry for new bands as for them starting now is a lot harder than it was for us when we have started. Even the smallest scale touring needs money, organisation, good time management, a vehicle and some people who drive/ help the band. No need to believe how vital is to stand out: just look around in London. If you don’t have outstanding music and the band members don’t stand out – also with their personalities! - I don’t see many chances for that band to succeed. We are now touring for more than five years and still we try to make improvements even in details!!!
Rockoverdose.gr: Are you the booking agent, too?
Martamaria: Over the past years I was acting like a booking agent!! As the band leader I took it on me as we had no confirmed co-operation with any agency. Things are going to be different now as we are very close to some deals that you will be informed real soon.
Rockoverdose.gr: We should expect to see you live in Greece soon?
Martamaria: It is up to what Greece wants. Are you ready for Achilla, Greece? We would love to play in Greece as we know the spirit of fans in your country! Everybody talks about a unique experience in Greece!
Rockoverdose.gr: If rumor has it then it can't be wrong...! Martamaria, you actually have the Guinness vocal range world record! That's definitely hard to overlook...!
Martamaria: Yes indeed! I am the Guinness vocal range world record holder having a range from man’s bass (in our song “Wild Flower”) extending higher than the so called “coloratura soprano” (in another song from our upcoming album “Fever” or “Your Face”)
Rockoverdose.gr: Wow! You also applied to Nightwish when they were searching for a new singer, right?
Martamaria: Yes, I had this great experience to apply to Nightwish! In the “second round” I’ve met them at the Abbey Road studios where I have also handed in Wild Flower - the later first Achilla song - whilst a classical orchestra was recording parts to their sixth studio album “Dark Passion Play”.
Rockoverdose.gr: Your debut album now, “Timeless”, is going to be released very soon. What should we expect to listen?
Martamaria: May I answer this question with legendary rock journalist Malcolm Dome’s quote? “I suppose what makes Achilla so interesting and good is that you are hard to put into one style. You have some prog rock, some symphonic metal and some psychedelia. I’d say you were Achilla Rock!”
Rockoverdose.gr: That's interesting. How do you share the “chores” in the band? Who is composing the music, who is writing the lyrics?
Martamaria: Since 2009 I am composing with Daniele, my guitarist. I feel that we have something magical. I am mainly concentrating on the melody and lyrics and he is a guitarist arranger so we are a good co-writers team. In the past I’ve written songs with Diego Tejeida, Charlie Cawood (ex–Achilla members) too. Or in “Fever” though Daniele has added a part to the song it was written as a result of my collaboration with Martin Mickels who never was an Achilla member. There’s even a song from my first college year in London on our album called “Rich” that I have written with my musician class mates back in 2005. That the album “Timeless” still sounds glued is my guitarist Daniele’s credit. He has put loads of selfless work into this album.
Rockoverdose.gr: Another Greek presence in the album, how was it working with Bob Katsionis? Who had the idea of this collaboration?
Martamaria: I have mentioned about our Greek ex- bassist Gus. He has introduced us to Bob Katsionis who’s opinion on the album was: "I really liked your work, its female fronted but with balls and inspiration". We are very proud of this quote. If Bob wouldn’t be as busy as he was at the time of our album recordings he would have played on the whole album as it was planned originally.
Rockoverdose.gr: You also finished the shooting for your first video-clip, wanna share the concept with us?
Martamaria: We wanted to attach a short movie to our song “Timeless” with “Sin City style effects” and where the story is not interrupted by the usual band playing … We aimed for something different with asking our director to integrate the playing Achilla into the movie, making it clear we are a band, but without cutting the story. Zachary Denman director was very imaginative and adopted our idea creating a story around the song: “Martamaria escapes from the evil barons that have been keeping her trapped and controlling her in her past incarnations, she escapes the cities and releases herself from the misery.”
Rockoverdose.gr: Can't wait to watch that! What plans do you have for the upcoming years? I'm pretty sure we're going to hear a lot from you.
Martamaria: Our dream is to tour Europe and the world. We really hope that you’ll be hearing a lot from us. For now we have a couple of gigs in September but the big one ahead is ROC(K)TOBER!! We will have the pleasure to play in front of 2000 people! Headliners will be EDGUY and sharing the stage with them as with some more great bands would be awesome!!!
Rockoverdose.gr: Thank you very much for the nice talk we had Mantamaria, wish you all the best with the release of your CD! Would you like to add something more?
Martamaria: Thank you very much. It’s been a great pleasure talking to you and reach Greek fans. I hope to share with you some great news real soon! I would also like to share some of our music with you so here are two songs from our new upcoming album. Hope you like them.
For Rockoverdose.gr: Zisis Petkanas, Stella Tsolakou