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The US Americans Benedictum are back in the scene with their third album "Dominion", and what makes them unique is singer Veronica Freeman. Her special voice adds a lot of power to their songs. And indeed, this active woman reveals to STALKER all about her dangerous hobbies and her passion for horses and hot wheels.
Hello Veronica, how are you doing?
Hi Sandy I am doing great, just enjoying the weekend!
Your new record “Dominion” was released in Europe recently, how are the responses so far?
So far so good. I think there were a lot of people that were a bit surprised that the sound is a bit different but we tried to allow ourselves to expand.
What would you say are the main differences between “Dominion” and the previous records? What do you like best on the new record?
I think the main differences are the producer and the influences from new band members (Mikey Pannone, Chris Shrum and Tony Diaz). Although we want to maintain the “Benedictum” sound we wanted to spread our wings a bit as well and that was encouraged by Ryan Greene quite a bit.
The approach was harder and a bit darker and I think that Ryan had a particular agenda from day one and slowly but surely pushed us a bit farther than usual. I look back on it now and realize that he had it all mapped out in his head from day one LOL!
For me, I allowed myself to let out a lot more anger and aggression but I also wanted to make sure the songs weren’t carbon copies of each other. I know we have taken some flack because of it but I stand by the variety of songs on the CD.
Pete Wells gave us some of his finest guitar work in my opinion. He was really allowed to experiment with sounds and equipment. Watching him work in the studio was amazing.
You write all the lyrics for the band, what inspires you in general and what has inspired you to write the lyrics for “Dominion” in particular?
In general, I would say life and my interpretation of it. Also every now and then a particular theme or idea will come to mind and I will point my energies in that direction.
In particular with “Dominion” I was frustrated, we all were. We had problems with the label we had been on, had to wait and wait for things to happen and had a long journey in creating this album. So it reflected in the lyrics and the performance thereof. But I am much better now ha ha!!
Something I always wanted to know: where is your powerful voice coming from, is it all learning by doing or did you have some singing lessons?
No lessons, although I think it would be in my best interest to do so. I “push a lot of air” as they say and it wears and tears on my voice. But, so far so good. I just was so influenced by the energy of metal that I wanted my approach to be more powerful and strong so that is what I geared myself towards.
In my opinion you are a very interesting person, you have many hobbies and your own business, let’s talk about that a little bit. Your business “StreetFighters Inc.” sells motorcycle accessories, where does your passion for fast motorcycles come from?
Nice, I love a person that does their home work; it is an honor to do this interview! (Sorry it took so long). Honestly I used to be deathly afraid of motorcycles, between us I was even afraid to sit on them during our very first photo shoot for “Uncreation” I would never have dreamed in a million years that I would be running a business that sells motorcycle accessories. The truth is I married a German that had a business of importing parts to the USA and I had a chance to start my own branch of the company. I am hoping to go to the Fighterama next year.. it has been a while since I have been to one. Now I ride and although I am still very respectful of the bike, I do enjoy it!
It is a new kind of freedom, but I still prefer horses
I guess you have a bike yourself? What are you riding at the moment and why did you choose this one?
Yes I have a Bandit 600 which is a tamed Streetfighter by German standards and it was a gift from my husband.
Another passion you have are horses, do you own some?
You are 100% correct. HORSES are my passion. Now that I live in Glendale, AZ I am really torn about getting a horse. The summers are so brutal but the rest of the year is perfect. I plan on going to Tucson soon to check out some horses that my good friend Dusty (from the Grapevine Canyon Ranch.. you MUST go there, besides, he is hot! LOL) picked out for me. I just don’t want to make that commitment to a horse and not be able to spend the kind of time I would like to with such a great animal.
I had an Anglo- Arab and a Thoroughbred at one time but that was a long time ago. I am ready to be a horse owner again!
So you ride fast bikes and horses, and also Scuba-diving belongs to your hobbies, it seems you are looking for a special kick of adrenaline? Do you like danger?
Surprisingly not. I like excitement but I draw the line at real danger. I really thought that Scuba – diving was NOT going to be for me but after we got to the point where you first breathe under water I was hooked. In my certification class they called me “aqua woman” because I never wanted to leave the water. It is a whole new world.
The next thing I would like to conquer is skydiving but I am just not ready for that… to me.. THAT is dangerous.
A few years back I read that you also have American Indian roots, is that true? And if so, can you tell us something about it?
Yes it is in my background way back there. From what I understand there may be some American Indian from the Louisiana Territories, more than likely Choctaw.
What does Veronica Freeman do to get away from the daily busy life? What are you doing to relax?
Relaxing is something I need to do more, I have a tendency to get totally stressed out. I like to go for long drives, play the music I want to hear (as opposed to my husband LOL) and just go….. Just drive and go.
Sometimes I just want to sit in the quiet somewhere and just be… just breathe and no phone, no computer.. Just drop off the map.
You will play at the upcoming Metal Female Voices Festival in October this year, is there any chance we can see you also touring Europe by then?
I certainly hope so. Playing live is what we LOVE to do so I hope all things work out that way.
If you would have one free wish and it wouldn’t matter what it is, what would you wish for?
The ability to conquer my own faults so that I can be a better example as a human being. Sounds cheesy but its true. I struggle so much every day with wanting to do the right thing and falling short. To be able to be a better, wiser more effective person would be cool!
Thank you very much for your time and I wish you all the very best and hope to see you on tour again soon.
Veronica´s Bike Shop: http://www.streetfightersinc.com/
Author: Sandy Mahrer, transl. K. Weber, photos: Band Date: 2011-04-10