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THE MUSIC NINA TREML-VETTERLI ALWAYS WANTED TO MAKE


Because there’s not much to be said about Coroner at the moment, it’s only logical that the media and the fans would find an interest in 69 Chambers, a rock/metal band whose first album was produced by vocalist Nina Treml’s husband, Tommy Vetterli, Coroner’s guitarist, before the man eventually joined the band. But looking for any musical link with Coroner would be a mistake.

69 Chambers is Nina’s band first and foremost – a fact her husband chose to respect by not involving himself too much in the composition process, in order to keep the detachment he needs as a producer. The style is therefore completely different. The first album featured strong grunge overtones, but this new record, Torque, is exactly what Nina always wanted to play, to quote her own words. This was made possible by a new team of musicians, keener on metal than the previous one. The result is much more metal that its predecessor, but still features the rock and pop sparks that so define the band’s identity.

We talked to the highly elegant Nina about this musical evolution and Tommy Vetterli’s contribution in terms of music and the media.

« Torque is actually the album I have always wanted to do. »

Radio Metal: Your previous album, War On The Inside, was more grunge-oriented, but it seems there are more metal elements on this new album. Where does that metal sound come from ?

Nina Vetterli (vocals): To be honest, it’s actually the music I’ve always wanted to play. But with the previous album, I had a different line-up, and our drummer at the time, especially, wasn’t that much into metal. So that kind of had an influence on my song-writing as well. I guess I’ve also been listening to more metal in the last couple of years. Torque is actually the album I have always wanted to do.

Were you kind of frustrated with your previous record, because you couldn’t play the music you wanted ?

I wouldn’t say I was frustrated, because it’s still music that I really like. It’s not like I adapted in a way that wasn’t me anymore. But I’m absolutely happy that I found a line-up with which I can do what I really want to do. I especially have support from band members that are really good musicians. They have their own ideas that their bring into the music. I’m really happy with the way that things turned out, but I’m not frustrated with the first album. It’s still something that I personally like.

« Tommy really wanted to keep a certain distance, because he’s still the producer of the band. If he’s too involved, he doesn’t have the distance to be able to say if the song is good, or what the songs needs production-wise. »

How was your husband Tommy Vetterli implicated in the writing of this record? Is he the one who brought this metal orientation to the band ?

Not really. I’ve been reading a lot of critics where people seem to think there’s a lot of Coroner influence in the music, but that’s not true. I’m the one who writes most of the songs, I write the songs by myself. Tommy really wanted to keep a certain distance, because he’s still the producer of the band. If he’s too involved, he doesn’t have the distance to be able to say if the song is good, or what the songs needs production-wise. So at first I was really working by myself, and with Diego [Rapacchietti], who brought in a lot of ideas for drumming. Then, after I had a rough idea of the song, I showed it to Tommy, and we talked everything through. His influence was really big when it came to producing the whole thing and working on the details, and then bringing in his own solos, of course. There is one song on the album, though, called “And Then There Was Silence”, where Tommy brought the idea for the guitar riffs. It’s actually the only song that he wrote.

What is his actual status in the band? Is he just a guitar player, a strong member of the band, the producer ?

He is a strong member of the band. At first, he just started helping out as a second guitar player on stage. Of course, his band is Coroner, and 69 Chambers is more my band. But still he has a very strong influence, now that he’s a real member. We’ll see what happens with the third album.

« If any of us makes a mistake, you can hear it so much better than when you have two guitars. That hides a lot of mistakes. »

69 Chambers was a four-piece band at the beginning, and a three-piece now. Do you think this is the optimal line-up for you ?

Actually, 69 Chambers was always a three-piece, until one and a half year ago, when Tommy started helping out with the second guitar on stage. We weren’t planning on becoming a trio again, we were actually determined to find a new bass player when Maddy [Madarasz] left the band. But then, we didn’t find a bass player that really convinced us. So we had the idea of trying again as a three-piece. We were very skeptical at first, but we tried it out and it worked out really well. I believe the music hasn’t lost any of its balls by that. It’s more raw now. To us, it really is the optimal line-up, and we’re not planning on changing it.

You said in an interview that when you started rehearsing as a three-piece, you were very surprised because it was heavier than with a four-piece. Do you think that, since you were only three musicians, everyone had to play at their best ?

Definitely. It’s much more transparent now. If any of us makes a mistake, you can hear it so much better than when you have two guitars. That hides a lot of mistakes. But at the same time, when we’re all together, it’s like in your face.

« Diego once said that a CD is like a movie. I like that statement. […] I think it’s a good thing when it’s different; people are bored when they go and see a band live and it sounds just like on CD. »

Tommy and Diego have said that this album was really difficult to play because of its technical aspect. I guess you will be working very hard in order to perform the songs properly on stage…

Yes, definitely. It is tough work to play the songs that we hadn’t played together before the studio. It was really studio work. It’s pretty hard to get it all together, especially for me, to be able to play and sing at the same time. Of course, on the album, we have a lot of guitars and a lot of vocals, so we really have to decide how we can transport that live. But I’m convinced that it’s gonna work out pretty well. Diego once said that a CD is like a movie. I like that statement, it’s true it’s something completely different. But it still has the energy when you play it live. I think it’s a good thing when it’s different; people are bored when they go and see a band live and it sounds just like on CD. There’s no use in seeing the band live then.

Aren’t the guys afraid they won’t be able to play the songs properly ?

No, I don’t think so. We’ve had our record release party, we played it live once. Of course it’s gonna get better after we’ve played it more live. But it’s absolutely possible, it’s not that difficult or that technical. It’s gonna work out.

Having the singer of a folk metal band, Eluveitie, as a guest on one of your songs is kind of unexpected. How did you come up with this idea ?

Tommy had produced the recent Eluveitie album. At the time, they were in the studio, and we were also working on our pre-production, so incidentally, Chrigel Glanzmann heard some of the new songs, and he really liked them. So that’s how the idea came about to ask him if he wanted to join me for one song. I think he’s an absolutely brilliant singer. Of course Eluveitie is a completely different style of music, but it’s a Swiss band that we can be proud of. I think it’s a perfect match, it’s a great honor to have him on the album. It’s not like we’re incorporating Eluveitie-style folk music in the song! I think it works.

Do you think he could come to one of your shows, to sing the song with you ?

He already has, at the record release party we had on May 1st, in Zurich. He joined us on the song. But of course, it’s not something he can do for every show, because he has his own band and they’re away for a lot of time. I think it’s not gonna be too often that he’s gonna join us.

On the video you made for “The Peep Hole”, there’s a guy playing percussion on a barrel. Is it important for you to experiment different ways to play music ?

It is. By the way, one of the guys playing percussion is Merlin, the drummer of Eluveitie, who is also our manager. The idea there was actually to have a record release party with a couple of guests and some show elements that we will not be able to afford for all the shows. We just wanted this to be something special. That’s why we had a piano, we had percussion, we had Chrigel, stuff like that.

Will you try some new musical experiments like this one again ?

It was really more for the record release party, it’s not something we’re gonna have for every show. But we think it’s important, from time to time, to have something more than just people playing the music from the CD, and that’s it.

« It’s also a bad thing sometimes to have the wrong expectations. I don’t think Tommy being a member really gives us more fans or something. I think we have to look for fans in a different niche than where Coroner are. »

Does the fact that Tommy joined the band brought more attention on 69 Chambers ?

Yes and no. I do think that some journalists wanted to listen to it because of Tommy, but I also think they have wrong expectations. It’s not the Coroner sound. I think they’re expecting something with more technical guitars, something that’s very heavy. It’s also a bad thing sometimes to have the wrong expectations. I don’t think Tommy being a member really gives us more fans or something. I think we have to look for fans in a different niche than where Coroner are.

Do you think your music is appreciated by Coroner fans ?

I don’t think so! Not so much. I mean, there might be a couple who are open to different styles of music, but I think the main Coroner fan is pretty conservative when it comes to thrash metal, or just heavy stuff in general. They don’t want to listen to female vocals and something that’s melodious! So no, I don’t think so !

By the way, could you tell us what Tommy is working on right now, and what he will be working on for the next few months ?

I know about a band – it’s completely different, it’s a rock band from Switzerland. There’s not really known yet. I’m not even sure I can talk about the other things, I don’t know if it’s a secret or not! You’d have to ask him yourself !

It looks like Tommy is a very eclectic man. I was very surprised to see him produce a band like Eluveitie, for example.

Tommy is not the person that you would expect, that only listens to one style of music. He’s open to anything, especially in the studio. I think he’s just a really good musician. He’s also played with Stephan Eicher, that’s something completely different as well. I think he’s very underrated as a producer that’s completely different from Coroner.

Do you have some news concerning the future of Coroner ?

That is also something you will have to ask Tommy !

Interview conducted on may, 25th, 2012, by phone
Transcription : Saff’

69 Chambers website : www.69chambers.com



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