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Morgan Lacroix, Terry Horn & Jack Lowell Halleyn
MANDRAGORA SCREAM was brought to life in 1997 and over the years they became one of the most interesting acts of the Italian metal scene. Their second album came out just a few weeks ago, described as: "With "A Whisper Of Dew", Italy's Mandragora Scream once again invite us to join their journey through fairytales and legends, back to the ancient times." We talked about legends, vampires, magic and of course about the new album.
First, I would like to ask about the first album. What kind of feedback did you get for the debut album?
Terry: We had excellent feedback; excellent and plenty of reviews in the newspapers and the number of our fans grew incredibly. Sales went really good and people at Nuclear Blast were obviously very happy!
What do you think about the "Fairytales From Hell's Caves" album? If you could change something on it, would you change them?
Terry: We are very fond of our first album because it was born at a time of suffering and I do believe someone high in heaven helped us; "Fairytales.." is a cornerstone for us. To tell the truth, I wouldn't change anything at all.
The new album is about vampires based on a story written by Julio Angel Olivares Merino. Unfortunately, I do not know his works. Can you say some words about the story?
Morgan: It's hard to tell the story in a few words because it's full of important details, but I can tell you it's something really powerful and passionate, something that goes beyond space and time and it's so strong that it keeps unchanged over centuries. Is there anything better than being loved by a vampire?
And do you like other vampire stories (e.g. written by Anne Rice or George R. Martin)?
Morgan: I'm so glad you ask me about Anne, the Dracula's daughter!!! We think her stories are incredible, and I'm not only speaking about the famous "interview" or her Chronicles, but all her stories!!!
Jack: If you ask what is our favourite, I don't know.. really I don't know!! But probably I would choose the third of the Chronicles, the Queen of the Damned, because of the incredible analogies between Akasha and our damned Morgan: They are both blood queens, full of a dreadful energy and strong and passionate feelings, two damned souls of burning determination, seeking mate souls - now so hard to find. (I think you notice it too. But stay in guard. Our Morgan will not fail in her terrifying plan for world domination!!!). Have you ever read "Cry to Heaven"? It's a dramatic story of a Castrato of Italia, his life and his relation with a young prince from renacentist Venice. It is a real journey through time....
I am a great fantasy and horror fan. I think you also like these books. And what are your favourites writers?
Jack: "Ther was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Il=FAvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, tha were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad. But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only that part of the mind of Il=FAvatar from with he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony". Leave horror aside…
For me the new album has some kind of ancient spirit, universal feeling that I have not discovered on the first one. What do you think about it?
Terry: Do you really mean it? Then we achieved our goal! We had to create something which could live on its own, which could carry the listener to a timeless place, where there's no "before" and no "after".
And the vampire concept is just your idea or Terry Horn also worked on the lyrics?
Morgan: It was my idea and I wrote the lyrics, although the whole composition is a synergistic work between Terry and I.
What is your division of labour with Terry Horn?
Morgan: I usually come up with an idea, a subject, an image, or a story and
whenever I submit it to Terry something magic happens and a whole movie
unrolls before our eyes and we start wandering within our vision. That's when
all we've got inside comes out freely and fearlessly to be expressed in music
by Terry and in lyrics by me. The great thing is that we often manage to express each other's ideas.
When we compose we are like one.
My favourite song from the new album is "Crow's Love". I love the musical feeling of the song. Can you say some words about this song?
Terry: Unfortunately there's a mistake in the track-list, i.e. the title of one song is missing. Maybe you are referring to "Close Every Door". It's a cover of a track from the musical "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", music by A. Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. I've been working with musicals for many years, even performing as Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar"; this year I arranged and conducted the chorus in the Italian production of "Joseph And The Amazing…" and we decided to include it in the album because it perfectly represented a particular moment in the tale of our record - namely Count Veilmbre taking to himself, lonely and deserted in his ruby castle in the lake's depths.
What is your favourite song from the new album?
Morgan: It's hard to tell, but surely we are mostly fond of "Iianoman Iifbiich Vampires", "Bloody Ballad", "Whisper Of Dew", "Rainbow Seeker", and "Close Every Door".
Your music is so different from other bands, thus what kind of music do you like? What are your favourite bands?
Morgan: We listen to almost any music, from power metal to country rock, but I don't think our way of composing is influenced by any specific band. Lately I've been listening a lot to Pain, Nightwish, Anathema, Dimmu Borgir, but Steve Vai and Eva Cassidy are on my hit-list every day.
What are your plans about tour with the new album? Are there any chance for a Hungarian Mandragora Scream concert?
Morgan: We are trying to put up a live show in line with the stage-like atmospheres of our music. We hope we will be coming to Hungary, too, although it's too early to say where and when.
Have you got plans for the third album? I have read on the internet that the concept of the first album will be continued.
Morgan: We are planning the third album; we're already developing some ideas and it will also be a concept album. "Fairytales From Hell's Caves" will be probably resumed and further developed in the fourth album.
Somewhere I have read that your grandmother was some kind of medium,
thus you are also interested in witchery...Can you tell me more about
Morgan: Yes, that's true; I've got Transylvanian blood in my veins and I never lost its "taste" thanks to the atmosphere my family made me live in. Apart from the fact that my grandmother was a medium and that she often used to talk with the dead, since I was a child I was always drawn towards anything which was magic, obscure and dark, sensing there was something inside me that no other child had. So, as a child still I approached esoterism, unfortunately often finding myself caught up in obscure situations hard to deal with. When I grew up I realised that all the things I was interested in were not just a hobby, and I've been widening my knowledge in these subjects ever since.
Some friends of mine are members of druid fellowships. Are you also interested in a druid order or your believe in magic is connected to other things?
Morgan: Well, I believe magic to really derive from alchemy; anyway it's a very complex subject and we could talk about that for hours on end. Also because there are really too many ways of learning, using, and knowing magic according to the different populations. For instance, a particularly interesting and powerful - as well as especially fascinating - kind of magic is that of ancient Egypt or Brazil, not to mention others which you surely know of. As for me, I mostly studied alchemy: I like Paracelsus, Anton Mesmer, the Count of Saint Germain very much. I also strongly believe in natural magic, though, to tell the truth, I rely much more on angelic forces, celestial hierarchies, cabbala, etc.
I have also read that some years ago you would have liked to buy an old "castle". Have you bought it? What kind of house is it?
Morgan: Of course I did!! I think that if you really want something, deeply and sincerely, you will get it sooner or later; don't forget that I'm a sorceress! It's a brickyard which was built in 700 A.D., therefore before the time of Temple Knights and I have to confess this makes me incredibly happy of course. Since it was a brickyard, nobody has ever lived there for 1300 years and I will be the first one to live there. It's very big, so we decided it will be our fortress and in the next future we will build a recording studio inside it (can you believe it??? A recording studio inside a building which is over 1000 year old! That's cool, isn't it?). This is our second most vital project; let's hope that no sighs from past lovers' souls who revive ancient times will interfere in the recording of our next albums.....or better, let's hope they will!!!
What do you know about Hungary? Would you like to get acquainted with Hungary?
Jack and Morgan: we were in Budapest and we liked it a lot because it's one of the most beautiful towns we've ever seen and we will soon be back - maybe next March or April - to have a candlelight dinner in the fishermen's bastion and to spend beautiful nights listening to violins playing while watching the Danube.
submitted by Sumi 26.05.2003