Interviews

Davinia ‘Divi’ Cano (Angelwings): “I believe there’s a lot of truth in mythology.”

Gibraltar’s most prominent melodic/symphonic metal act Angelwings unleashed their sophomore album earlier this month. Titled “Primordium”, the band presents a concept album that takes you on a journey all the way back to the very beginning of time. From the creation of life itself to one particular deep, dark myth. We discuss the album with Angelwings’ vocalist and lyricist Davinia “Divi” Cano below.

MG: First things first, we all know that the pandemic delayed the release of your new album “Primordium”. It was originally planned to be out some time in October/ November last year. But how did the changes in the line up earlier in the band’s history influence the creation of “Primordium”?

Divi: The pandemic has been tough on I’m sure all, if not many bands and musicians. The lineup changes slowed things down for us too, but I’m not sure I would say the bands history of lineup changes influenced the new album. What I would say is that the new guys who joined the group, they were the ones to finally give the band the opportunity to thrive musically, to write and compose without fear. We found great musicians who live for the music and it’s their influences, along with Glenn’s and my own, that have made „Primordium“ what it is. We are all very proud!

MG: The songs on  “Primordium” are quite long, on average 6 minutes and the longest one 10 ½ minutes, even longer than on your previous album „The Edge of Innocence“. What is more challenging: writing long songs or short songs?

Divi: I compose the vocal melodies and lyrics and sometimes I find that it doesn’t really matter if it’s a long or short song. For me it’s what the song inspires in me and what it makes me feel, so I’d say it depends on how strong those feelings are and how ‘easy’ the song is melodically, too. When I took the idea of “Nature’s Lullaby” home, I swear it took me like 5 minutes to figure out the melody and the story and by the end of the day, the song was totally finished – lyrics and all! And even though our longest song “Genesis” took about a year to put together musically, I didn’t find it AS difficult to add to it, but the process was much harder and definitely took longer. I knew the story I wanted to tell and how I wanted it to play out, but it was actually hard piecing it together in the sense that I had to fit the 7 days of creation in there, and it had to make sense with the music. But I think I did a good job with it and created something I consider to be quite magical and beautiful.

MG: In contrast to your first album „Edge of Innocence“ you added harsh male vocals to some of the new songs. Was this planned right from the beginning when you were to start writing the album or did the idea come up later while you were already writing the songs? When Dani, Carlos and David became members of Angelwings, did you already have the plan in mind that you one day wanted to add some harsh vocals to your future songs or was it just a lucky coincidence that Dani is able to do that and that he would be doing this good in this part?

Divi: Believe it or not, I’ve always been the one to want to add not just male vocals but the roaring vocals, too! I absolutely love it and I wanted to do it for the first album too, but it just wasn’t in the cards back then. Imagine how happy I was when one of our newest members told us that he could roar!! And honestly, it’s something I’ve always wanted for our music because, personally, it fills me and makes me feel the music so much more! Gives it that extra power and emotion that I crave! I added Dani’s parts myself and tried to include him wherever I could! We had fun during our recording session in France coming up with more ideas together and making it all concrete. I’m a very happy metal girl!

MG: How was it to work with another vocalist for you, Divi? And how was it for the other band members?

Divi: It was a great experience, so much fun and we were all so excited to be doing something so different for the album. The band and myself had no trouble whatsoever with our vocalists. Always glad to have the chance to work with someone old or new but in the case of Dani, if I have anything to do with it- there will always be more of him and his demon voice for sure!!

MG: “With Primordium”, you take the listener back in time to its very beginning and the creation of life. What made you come up with this concept? Can we expect more of this conceptual music in the future?

Divi: Well, the debut album was also a concept album and so when writing for “Primordium”, it was only natural for me that it should continue. When I write and I’m coming up with any song, I look into the world I’ve created- I have it all sussed out in my head, I’m even writing the story down as I go, it’s like I can see everything, my story comes to life in my mind and it can be quite vivid. When I say this comes naturally, I’m really not lying, the concept is the same one, it’s just that the story continues or gets told from a different point of view and with Lilith being immortal, the ideas are limitless and I love that!

MG: I know that neither you, nor Glenn are religious. And yet you wrote songs like „Genesis“ and „Prayer“. You use quite some symbolism and biblical allusions. Where does the inspiration for this come from?

Divi: Great question! You see, here’s where my concept idea comes in, the stories of mythology- I believe there’s a lot of truth in mythology and even in the bible too, but as in any book or any story that gets told and retold, much of what’s real gets lost or is exaggerated. I wouldn’t say I’m religious, no, but I do believe there’s a lot we will never really know or truly understand. I do believe that Gods walked the Earth and that these gods were most likely extraterrestrial… but if I can, I prefer to keep my beliefs to myself because people generally tend to think I’m bonkers! But in keeping with the theme of mythology, this is how songs like „Genesis“ and „Prayer“ exist.

But the song „Prayer“ has its own background. I grew up a proper catholic girl, church every Sunday, I’d pray and confess my sins to my priest quite often and well… as I grew up and started asking questions which no one could answer, I began to feel differently about religion. The song “Prayer” portrays that part of me, that part of my life, the prayer in the song is the very first prayer I ever learned and the one I used to say every morning and night.

MG: Question especially for Glenn: As the main composer for the band, do you also write the guitar parts and the drum parts for the songs or do you just give the general direction and the other band members write their parts on their own?

Glenn: In our debut the main ideas/structure for the songs were sparked/directed by me, but everyone contributed their parts on their instrument. I do not write guitar or drum parts although for the “The Edge Of Innocence” I did write the intro; guitar and drums. In „Primordium“ it was different though, everyone contributed whole ideas and structures which we all then worked on individually to come up with a combination of styles. This album has indeed been a whole band effort.

MG: I know that many musicians are having another job next to their careers as musicians in order to make a living, especially during rough times like nowadays. Divi, I know that you were picking up a part time job as a waitress. But sooner or later when concerts are going to be a thing again, how do your employers, handle this?

Divi: Actually, I wasn’t working as a waitress, although I did ponder the idea for a while when I was out of a job, but I took a nursing course in January because I wanted to help out during the worst moments of the pandemic. But I myself suffer from a chronic illness and shouldn’t really be working, so I try not to and my main focus and all my energy gets put into music. I think this question would be better answered by other band members, as most of them work full time jobs. What I do know is that it can be difficult if you’re not your own boss like my brother, Glenn! And when we went to France, David had trouble getting more than a week off, and I suppose that in future we will have to try and work around situations like these. It’s definitely not an easy thing to solve, but we will plan things accordingly for our future gigs and tours and do the best we can to work it all out.

MG: When the world finally returns back to normal mode, can we expect to see Angelwings touring through Europe? Or any other place?

Divi: Yes, we surely can’t wait to tour Spain first, followed by Europe, or wherever opportunities may take us! We shall do some gigs this year but It will probably be 2022 for tours when things have hopefully settled.

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