ARAPACIS: Canadian Old School Rockers On Their Quest For The Roman Empire

ARAPACIS, the name didn’t ring a bell to us at first. Things can change very quickly though, because once we heard their debut album "So Many Leapers", we were truly convinced of their strength and craftmanship. ARAPACIS blends traditional old school hard rock in their sound with some modern influences. And especially that traditional sound caught our eye right away. Jerry Fielden is the most important man within the band. He started his career in the very late sixties/early seventies, which we can definately hear back in their sound. Besides ARAPACIS, he has released three solo albums already. This man breathes music, and his influences range from Vivaldi to VICIOUS RUMORS and from EVANESCENCE to FRANK MARINO. Now that's somebody, we’d really like to talk to. Besides being a living legend in the Toronto music scene, he is also a very fast replier to our requests on more information about his music and this band. Jerry explained, a lot has happened after the interview had been done. In the meantime, Shelsey Jarvis has left ARAPACIS, and also drummer Ulysse Bergeron is no longer part of the band. Shelsey has shortly been replaced by Sierra Hudson on lead vocals (who was only with them for a couple of weeks, so the search for a new suitable singer is going on again!) and Franck Jacques on drums. All other information you need to know about this promising band from Montreal, Canada, can be read in the interview below or by visiting their website at: http://www.arapacis.com. Our sincere thanks go out to all (past and present) band members for answering our questions and especially to Jerry for keeping us updated about ARAPACIS. In closing, we would like to wish Jerry lots of luck in finding a suitable (and long-lasting) singer, which seems to be an impossible and hard task for this band.

When did ARAPACIS start out as a band and how did you meet up with each other?
Jerry: “I started this band in 2003, when after having done three solo albums after a ten year break from music to have a family. I felt it was time to start playing with some real people again. I started it with people from my past seventies bands: Pierre Ryan (keyboards) from LANDSLIDE, and Kirk Bennett (bass) from BLADE, and some drummers our age, who didn’t stick very long. After several changes, the band gelled with the people, that played on the album: Ray Tessier on drums (before Ulysse Bergeron joined), Gab Boudreault on bass and Shelsey on vocals. I met them all through ads.”
Shelsey: “Jerry and I found eachother on the My Space classifieds. I responded to an ad looking for a ‘powerful Montreal-area female singer’ and I was like: “Ooh, that's me!”
Gab: “Jerry formed the band in 2003. When the band needed a musician, auditions were done. That’s how I joined the band in April 2005, as Ray did at the time. Five months later Shelsey joined also the band and Franck came in recently. Usually, we meet the new members at first on the internet, and then at the audition.”
Franck: “When the band chose Ulysse, Jerry had an email from me, and when Ulysse quit, I was called for an audition and met Gab and Jerry. Shelsey had just quit and I was a bit disappointed, but Jerry sang well and gave me some ideas where to put my drum licks in the new tunes with his vocals. That very evening I was happily confirmed as the band’s new drummer.”

Did any of the band members play in other bands, before they joined ARAPACIS?
Jerry: “I played in the GLOW BEATS (sixties), TIME PERCEPTION, LANDSLIDE, BLADE, NIGHTWATCH (seventies) and STEELFIELD and RISER (eighties).”
Shelsey: “I didn't play in any other bands, but I did a lot of solo work.”
Gab: “All of us played in other bands. I personally played for a while with close friends in my home town in a band called POLTERGEIST.”
Franck: “I founded several bands, including cover bands. We might have not been successful, but I had a lot of fun playing with them. We did eight short shows all in all.”

And did you record anything with these bands?
Jerry: “RISER recorded a couple of 45s that never came out, because the record company folded.”
Shelsey: “I recorded a couple of demos, but nothing too big.”
Gab: “POLTERGEIST didn’t record any albums, but some of the other guys formed other bands that did.”
Franck: “Yes, I recorded a three-song demo with one of them for a publicity spot.”

Please introduce yourself to us.
Jerry: “I am Jerry Fielden 49/male, born May 6, 1957, playing guitar since 1969. I also do guitar synth and back vocals. I’m a teacher (Multimedia at McGill university, English and French private courses), historian and librarian.”
Shelsey: “I sing and play the occasional keyboard or second guitar.”
Gab: “My name is Gab. I come from the Saguenay region in Quebec, Canada. I started playing music at an early age, but more seriously at age fifteen. I’ve played drums in a band called STEEL IN ROCK and then I played guitar and keyboards in POLTERGEIST. I still play guitar, but in a band I prefer to play bass. It’s like half the way between drums and guitar.”
Franck: “I’m a self-taught drummer, born in the village of Contrecoeur in 1983 from a mechanic father and seamstress mother. So my roots are in maintenance and all. I work on construction, on modification and installation of fixed machinery or building structures. Music is the hobby, that has taken the most time in my life. At least an hour a day for the last twelve years!”

Why did drummer Ulysse leave the band?
Jerry: “He didn’t have time anymore and has been replaced by Franck Jacques, a drummer in the same progressive metal vein [Neil Peart (RUSH), Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER)].”

And why did Elaine Huot, your previous singer, leave ARAPACIS?
Jerry: “She was tired and needed a break and also wanted to start an EVANESCENCE tribute band.”
Gab: “Elaine wanted to achieve her own personnal goals, and do smoother music. She did a great job and we’re still in contact with her. She worked on the album graphics and sometimes do posters for us.”

Is she still busy in the music scene as far as you know?
Jerry: “She has talked to me recently and is starting to want to sing again, although she is very busy with her work. She is a graphics artist by profession, has her own company, and has done our CDs layout and all. Her My Space website is at http://www.myspace.com/elainehuot.“

How long did she sing with the band?
Jerry: “She sang for about four months and did two shows with us.”

Who came up with the name ARAPACIS and what does it mean?
Jerry: “I did and it is the name of a famous monument in Rome, the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace), which still exists to this day and was built by the emperor Augustus in 9 BCE. A beautiful piece of architecture, in which you can see amazing bas-reliefs of the Imperial family and all.”

Why did you pick this particular name?
Jerry: “Because of my love for ancient Rome. I went to Italy twice as a child and visited Rome, Pompeii, and so on. I fell in love with things Roman. I also did my BA in History (with a minor in Music Technology) and specialized in ancient Roman History.”

How would you describe the music of the band?
Jerry: “It is a mix of old and new. There is classic metal in there, stoner/doom, blues-rock, hard rock, pop rock, prog rock/metal and nu-metal. We have been described as gothic, but that is really not a major element.”
Shelsey: “We have had many conversations about what genre we fit into with not much success. I guess you could say female-fronted metal/hard rock to describe in the simplest way.”
Gab: “Heavy, progressive, unpredictable; like a dinosaur walking on a slippery floor."

Franck, what makes ARAPACIS different from other bands?
Franck: “Their sense of evolutionary and the progressive feel of the members (the rhythmic and melodic union and the universalistic lyrics); a great potential!”

You’re the latest recruit, after Ulysse and Shelsey left the band earlier. What’s it like being a member of ARAPACIS so far?
Franck: “To be a member of ARAPACIS is to be 25% of a 100% comprising four musicians, that have drive and sound.”

Who can we see as the main influences of the band, and maybe you can be a bit more specific about the influences of each band member individually?
Jerry: “Mine are definitely old metal, doom and prog, as well as blues and blues rock. In this band, you will hear some of my influences like BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, RUSH, ROBIN TROWER, CANDLEMASS, HEART, LACUNA COIL, IRON MAIDEN, FRANK MARINO, MOUNTAIN, JETHRO TULL, KING CRIMSON, DREAM THEATER, and a little bit of gothic bands like LEAVES’ EYES, EVANESCENCE, etc.”
Shelsey: “Vocally, my main influence is MARIAH CAREY. I now sing a style, that's more rock, but that was more influenced by the music we make than anything else. My writing is influenced by bands like DEFTONES, THREE DAYS GRACE, ATREYU, AS I LAY DYING, and AVENGED SEVENFOLD.”
Gab: “The main influences of the band are RUSH, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, DREAM THEATRE and LACUNA COIL. We can had a little HEART and EVANESCENCE, too. Personally, my influences come from various bassists from bands like BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, QUEEN, LED ZEPPELIN, OZZY OSBOURNE, and a man called Paul Williams, who used to compose music for movies.”
Franck: “My basic influences are Neil Peart (RUSH; psychedelic jazz-rock), Carter BeauFord (folk-latin world music), Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER; all around progressive metal) and many others with styles varying from blues to pop, at the start a bit of everything and more to come.”

Who set out the musical direction, or was it a band’s decision to play heavy metal?
Jerry: “I think, it just happened with no conscious decision. Gab and I are quite old school metal, Franck is really prog and Shelsey is really up on the new styles, so it ends up being a mix of it all.”
Shelsey: “Jerry founded the band and he already had his own style before the rest of us joined. Now that Gab and I also write, our style has really evolved into something we can be proud of.”
Gab: “The musical direction of the band comes by itself. It depends on who plays in the band, when you ask the question. ARAPACIS had a quite different sound two years ago, when all the members were other musicians.“

Let’s have a closer look at your live shows now. Which other important bands did you share the stage already?
Jerry: “ANVIL and RAVEN, as well as HOWLING SYN. We’re hoping for some more big shows to share with name bands later this year.”
Gab: “We actually shared the stage with ANVIL twice.”

Do you stick to your own written material when playing live, or do you also throw in an occasional cover song sometimes? If yes, please mention which cover song(s) you play....
Jerry: “We play just about all originals now, but have done “Smoke On The Water” by DEEP PURPLE, “Cars” by GARY NUMAN, “Celebrity Skin” by HOLE and “Alone” by HEART.”
Shelsey: “We used to throw in some covers, but we haven't done that for a while. Mainly because we just haven't gotten around to practicing those, we're concentrating on the originals.”
Gab: “We usually strictly play our own material, but we occasionally play “Celebrity Skin” by HOLE, “Cars” by GARY NUMAN and “Smoke On The Water” by DEEP PURPLE.”

What can people expect when they come and see an ARAPACIS live gig?
Jerry: “I use a Roland Gr-09 guitar synth, mostly as an octave below thing to beef up my guitar sound and the odd synth and organ sound. I used to do a lot more sounds with it, but got tired of the “pedal dance” and now just use a few basic sounds as a complement and not to distract from the main guitar sound. My Godin xtSA (I am an official Godin guitar endorser) also has piezo pickups, so I use that acoustic sound too, for instance in “Theocracy”. As for guitar pedals, I use a small Digitech RP80, really cheap, but it gets the job done. I have chorus on all the time, and some EQ and overdrive and sometimes use a bit of echo in my guitar solo, but that’s it. I also have a couple of Fender Strats, but prefer the Godin above all. I also use 50 watt Marshalls as amps, both of them AVT50s, one is a combo for smaller shows and the other a half stack for larger venues. Or I could use them together in stereo for a really large place.”
Shelsey: “I really try my best to give the audience what they're looking for gimmick-free. I just like to rock out, no special lights or anything. I do like to go and dance with the audience though. When the crowd gets thick enough, I'll crowd-surf.”
Gab: “We use no effect at all. Right to basics: music, energy, hard work and sweat! The rest comes from the crowd.”

What has been your biggest show so far?
Jerry: “I think both shows we played with ANVIL (including the one with RAVEN).”
Shelsey: “I'd say the wedding of Ivan Hurd (ANVIL) and Tiziana Arragoni, that was a really important show contact-wise and was also one of the most fun shows I've ever done.”
Gab: “Every show we did at a place, called Café Chaos was awesome! Great sound, great fans, great fun!”

What’s the metal scene like in Montreal area nowadays? Are there many clubs where you can play live?
Jerry: “I think we have a lot of choice. From the smaller venues like Café Chaos all the way to big places like the Spectrum and the Bell Center of course.”
Shelsey: “There is an endless string of clubs to play live here. Montreal is known for its music. I've seen some really kick-ass metal bands playing in small clubs around here.”
Gab: “There’s a lot of them. Sometimes we have to play at 7:00 on a Thursday evening, because weekend are for dance music and stuff. In these cases, it’s hard to bring people out at our shows. Well, it’s part of the deal.”

Which other well-known bands come from this area, and are there any new talented bands, besides ARAPACIS, that are well worth checking out in your opinion for all the metalheads here in Europe?
Jerry: “There are so many good Montreal metal bands. For female-fronted stuff I would say HOWLING SYN, KARMADOZA and TRANCE OF MINE.”
Shelsey: “I really like TEMPEST. I know these guys are from Toronto, but BRAINTOY is also really an amazing band.”
Gab: “Well, SIMPLE PLAN is a well-known band from Montreal, but they play pop-punk music. Back in the 80’s, VOIVOD had a big success (they come from Saguenay region). They just lost their guitarist, who died last year of cancer. Here is some of the new bands that you metalheads should check out: ODDYSSEY, SPEAKERVOICE and TEMPEST.”

Have you ever played outside of Canada, and if yes, where and when was that?
Jerry: “No, but we are possibly playing Europe and Venezuela later this year or next year, to be confirmed.”
Shelsey: “Not with this band. I did a couple of solo gigs, when I lived in New York a couple years ago.”
Gab: “Not yet! Soon, I hope!”

Are there any gigs that you have very fond memories about?
Jerry: “Both gigs with ANVIL, also our CD launch gigs and a couple of the gigs at Café Chaos (I just love the place!).”
Shelsey: “My first time singing a solo show in a restaurant back home, and our show at the ANVIL wedding.”
Gab: “We did a few trips on the road, and each time it was memorable. The CD launch was also very intense because a lot of our families and friends were there.”

I bet, there must have been some rather hilarious or funny moments, while being on the road or on stage. Maybe you’d like to share some of these magical moments with our readers here?
Jerry: “Well, when the four of us get in a car, it’s a laugh riot all the way. And Shelsey wins all the burp contests! Another time we met one of our e-team members in Toronto and had supper with her and she told me to warn the band, that she was a bit weird. I did, but that night, we really out-weirded her. She needed a beer badly after that - ha ha. One of the cutest moments was, when we played with ANVIL and RAVEN and this little girl fell in love with the band, so we treated her like a real princess and made her first concert ever very magical by sitting at her table with her cousin and mom and signing her t-shirt and other things for her and just chilling. She is now our fan club VP.”
Shelsey: “After a show at a festival in Ontario, there was a lake near the stage, so Ulysse and I just jumped right in after. That was awesome, and there's always funny stuff that happens, when you put smelly musicians in a tent to camp out for the weekend. Hehehe!”
Gab: “We laughed a lot together last time we went on road. Especially, when we had to set up the tent in the dark at 10:00 PM and try to sleep in the cold. We could have been angry at the situation, but we just started laughing out loud, when Ulysse said “Well, that’s not how I imagined being a rock star!”.“

How many times do you rehearse and where's your rehearsal space?
Jerry: “We rehearse two or three times a week. It’s in a house in the Montreal area.”

Is the fact, that you have a female singer in your ranks as an advantage or a disadvantage, or doesn’t it make any difference nowadays in your opinion?
Jerry: “To me, it’s neither. It’s just something I’ve always loved ever since I first discovered HEART in the seventies, so I’ve had female-fronted bands since those days.”
Shelsey: “I think, if anything it's an advantage, because people are curious to see if it's actually any good.”
Gab: “I also think it’s an advantage, because it makes us different, although not unique. Also the fact, that Shelsey is quite attractive is certainly an advantage for the band.”

If you could go on a world tour with any band of your choice, who would you pick and why this particular band?
Jerry: “LACUNA COIL or DEEP PURPLE. I just love them so much and our style fits in well with either.”
Shelsey: “Definitely LACUNA COIL! I love their music, and the one time I got to meet them, they were just really down-to-earth cool people.”
Gab: “I’d say IRON MAIDEN, because they have a lot of experience and professionalism. Plus they seem to be very friendly!”
Franck: “It would be very ambitious to play with a band like RUSH or DREAM THEATER, but I’d be ready for sure to do it and face their adoring crowds!”

What are the reactions like towards “So Many Leapers” so far?
Jerry: “We’ve had some good reviews and also more critical ones, but all of them have provided valuable insight into what to do for our second album. Especially as far as sound goes.”
Shelsey: “For the most part good, but like any album, it's gotten some less than stellar opinions. I think, it was the best album we could have made at the time. We learned a lot from that experience and our next album will be better in a lot of ways.”
Gab: “This album lets no one indifferent. Some people like it, and some don’t, but the ones who love it, loves it!”

Can you please explain the title of this album to us?
Jerry: “So Many Leapers” is the title song and is a warning to people not to follow leaders blindly, especially political, corporate, religious and military leaders. Just don’t leap off that cliff, because X tells you to. There is too much of that stuff going on in this world unfortunately. This is a theme I use often, as in “Soldier of Fun”, “Theocracy”, etc.”

Do you also get negative reactions and how do you deal with those in general? Do you try to learn from critics or do you rather like to forget about it?
Jerry: “Oh no, unless it’s an actual personal insult, we learn from all reviews. We don’t take anything lightly and try to see how we can become better. Of course, if the review is biased, because the person does not like the style in the first place, there is not much you can do. But if someone talks about making it sound better and all, it’s usually very informative for us.”
Shelsey: “Well, so far the negative criticism we've gotten, has been given in such a way, that I can actually learn from it. I knew coming into this business it's not all candy and flowers, so I just have to think about it in such a way, that allows me to improve on whatever they're commenting on.”
Gab: “We always pay attention on negative critics, and they’re always welcome, as well as they’re constructive. I think, forgetting about the bad reactions would be an error, because the fans are the ones you play for. Even if we always play for our own pleasure first. I mean, if you pet a dog and the dog bites you, that means «stop!»”

Are you working on any new material yet, and what can people expect from these new songs?
Jerry: “Yes we are, and I am still writing some stuff alone, but expect a lot more collaboration from Shelsey and Gab as they are writing some neat stuff, too! And we are writing songs together as well. We even had a set of lyrics written by Bonnie McKannon, our fifteen year old fan club president, who is very talented. It's called “The Green Fairy”. That song is in quite the stoner/doom style.”
Shelsey: “We have lots of new material. People can expect something totally different, now that we have three writers in the band instead of just Jerry. My influences are completely different than Jerry and Gab's.”
Gab: “We constantly work on new material. It’s becoming heavier now – not faster, but just more intense. Shelsey’s voice is reaching more and power, and you can expect some groals.”

Who writes the lyrics for the band, and what are they about?
Jerry: “Both Shelsey and I are writing lyrics at the moment. Gab can write pretty good lyrics too. I will comment on my own writing and let the others comment on theirs. I like to write about current themes like war, peace and yes, love! (I’m an old hippie, I guess), and also timeless images and poetical themes. I believe in bettering yourself and try to write inspirational songs as well.”
Shelsey: “Jerry, Gab and I all write, and for my part they're usually about dark feelings. I'm not really a dark person, but whenever I write a happy song it just sounds corny, so I stick to the heavier stuff.”

Where do you get your inspiration from, when you write a new song?
Jerry: “It’s almost like automatic writing. It sometimes appears out of nowhere. It usually starts with a riff then another, normally first a chorus riff, then a verse riff, then the bridge(s) come along. Inspiration could be current events, a memory, or just something out of nowhere.”
Shelsey: “For me, since like I said, I'm not a dark person, I tend to imagine another person's situation and put on paper the things they might be thinking.”
Gab: “Most of the songs go into an imaginary world with opposition between war and peace, love and hate, life and death, and so on. But there’s always a real meaning, opposition and contrast in words as well as into the music. I think that could be a good way, we’d like to describe ARAPACIS.”

Can you tell us a bit more about how you get to work, when writing new material? Do you start jamming, or do you write all the lyrics first, or do you work out the music first and then the lyrics. How’s a new song born, most of the time?
Jerry: “For me, the music usually comes first although I have written lyrics first as well. Once I have a good set of riffs or chords, I will sit down and take five or ten minutes to write the lyrics’ first draft. We will then as a band try to fit it all together, then I may redo some of the lyrics or music accordingly.”
Shelsey: “It's different every time, really. Some songs we just sit down and play some notes until they resemble a song. Sometimes the lyrics come first.”
Gab: “We usually start out of one single riff, and then we develop a song from there. Like a tree and his branches. Lyrics usually come after.”

Gab, can you tell us a bit more about POLTERGEIST. (What a great name for a band, by the way!) What kind of music did you play?
Gab: “POLTERGEIST was a band I played with back in 1996 with a bunch of friends. We played only covers, mostly from IRON MAIDEN, DIO and BLACK SABBATH. We used to play in my parents’ basement for hours, drinking beer and jamming to the dawn. We had so much fun! We still play together once in a while.”

You also played drums, keyboards, guitar, etc. What instrument do you like to play most?
Gab: “Like I said, I prefer to play bass with a band, because I have the thrill of the rhythm section like when I played the drums. I can also feel the music intensely, as bass is a melodic instrument, too.”

Jerry, you jammed with, and learned the ropes from FRANK and VINCE MARINO. What was it like working with these super heroes?
Jerry: “Well, I met Frank Marino at one of his MAHOGANY RUSH shows, when I was fifteen. He showed me a few things and later on he would come in to Steve’s Music Store, where I worked and we would grab a couple of guitars and he showed me more licks… He was a real inspiration! And for Vince… We hung around, usually had some beers at Night Magic in Old Montreal back in the late seventies and decided to make a band. Unfortunately, it was quite brief as distances were too great for rehearsal purposes. But we did get some jamming in and he is a truly great player, inspired by the likes of JOHNNY WINTER and CARLOS SANTANA.”

We know, that FRANK MARINO is still around these days, but have you got any idea of what happened to Vince?
Jerry: “Vince is doing a lot of sound engineering. I haven’t heard from him for a couple of years now, but he’s doing very well.”

I also read that you played guitar for Miranie Morissette. Is she the sister of Alanis? And what kind of music does she make?
Jerry: “Miranie was a Quebec French Pop Star with blues inspirations. She had a hit with “Ne m’attends pas” on Quebec radio in 2005. She is not related to Alanis, although she does admire her. You can find a memorial page to our band, the “Miranie Morissette Band” at http://www.miraniemorissette.net.”

How did you get in touch with Ian Gillan (DEEP PURPLE), for whom you do some translation work for his personal website, and what’s it like working with him?
Jerry: “I am a huge DEEP PURPLE fan and emailed him on his site to ask for an autograph. He sent me a picture signed by all the members of DEEP PURPLE. He had noticed, that I was from Montreal and asked me if I spoke French. I replied that I did, so he asked me if I would like to translate his web pages, and of course I accepted immediately. He is one of the classiest persons in the business and always has a lot of respect and friendliness for his translators. He treats us very very well, and I’ve noticed the same class with the way he treats his fans at meet and greets. Actually, all of DEEP PURPLE have that same class.”

My favorite guitar player is RANDY RHOADS. In your list of favorite guitar players I saw a lot of great axe heroes ranging from JOHNNY WINTER to STEVE VAI to DAVID GILMOUR. But most of all I was pleasantly surprised to find the name of THE GREAT KAT there. What makes her playing so interesting or special to you?
Jerry: “Well, I saw a video of her, that she sent me to review for my Prog Rock Place site and looking beyond all the blood and gore, there is an extremely talented woman there, both on guitar and violin. And by the way, I have had the luck to meet Randy around 1982, when he came to play Toronto with OZZY.”

Shelsey, you went to New York to gain some experience as a musician. What was that time like for you and why did you chose this particular city to play there as a solo artist?
Shelsey: “Well, I lived in Philadelphia for a while as a nanny. I got sick of going back and forth to NYC on my days off, so I just moved there thinking it was the best place to persue music, because I used to sing R&B. I sang shows here and there and recorded a bit, but I felt like I was doing much more waitressing than singing, so I decided this wasn't the best route for me.”

Why did you return to Canada after a while?
Shelsey: “I was tired of living in the US, not having health care and I had been hearing how much Montreal is known for having good bands. I wanted to join a band and try it this way, and I'm so glad I did.”

Did your New York trip give you the satisfaction that you wanted, or was it a huge disappointment?
Shelsey: “I don't consider anything in my life a disappointment, because there's always a positive side. In this case, it taught me to not put too much faith in the promises industry people make, and it gave me some experience. I also met some amazing people.”

What made you decide to make this giant step, for such a young lady?
Shelsey: “I moved out of my house when I was eighteen and have just moved around so many times, that it didn't seem like a big deal to move to New York. In my eyes, I was twenty and knew everything - haha!”

On your list of inspiration, I see a lot of Dutch bands like AFTER FOREVER, WITHIN TEMPTATION and to my big surprise also a more lesser well-known band like ASRAI (who are friends of ours). What do you like in their music and how did you get to know about ASRAI in particular?
Shelsey: “Actually, when I first joined the band, I didn't listen to metal music at all, so Jerry made me an mp3 CD of music, he thought I should hear. ASRAI was on it, and I just loved them. I thought they had such a unique sound and of all the music on that CD, they were one of the best bands in my opinion. AFTER FOREVER and WITHIN TEMPTATION were also on that CD. Floor Janssen of AFTER FOREVER just has one of the most incredible voices I've ever heard, and some WITHIN TEMPTATION songs (like “Memories” and “Ice Queen”) just gave me chills and the vocals are amazing!”

You are a lot younger than Jerry. He could almost have been your dad (sorry Jerry!!). Do you learn a lot from his long musical experience or do you try to do things the way you want them to go?
Shelsey: “Both, really. I have taken a few pages from his book, but I was actually influenced a lot by Ray as well, when he was with us. He introduced me to a lot of newer bands that I've really gotten into, so it's a mix between the old and the new.”

We are an online magazine, totally dedicated to the female musicians in the world of (hard) rock and (heavy) metal. Do you think that ladies still need this attention that we give them, or do you feel that lady rockers already get all the recognition they deserve so much?
Shelsey: “It depends on who you ask. I've heard of plenty of people who think there is no place in metal for women. I obviously don't share their opinion, and while I would be pleasantly surprised if they changed their mind, I don't expect them to. Since metal is definitely male-dominated, I think it's important to give the ladies a fighting chance. Kind of like giving Canadian bands a chance as opposed to say, an American band which dominates most of popular music.”

Did you get to see Elaine Huot perform with the band, and what did you think of her singing?
Shelsey: “I never saw her live with ARAPACIS, although I did hear her on a CD. I think, she has a very nice voice, and is a beautiful pianist from what I hear.”

What do you do different than her in your opinion? If you haven’t seen her play with the band, maybe Jerry can answer this question for us.
Jerry: “Elaine had a softer voice, very beautiful and ethereal. Shelsey has more power and different influences than Elaine, but just as much beauty in her voice.”
Shelsey: “Our styles are quite different. She has a very nice soft voice, and I kind of tear into a song as if it was my birthday present.”

We are based in The Netherlands (Holland). What else do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have colorful tulips, delicious cheese and beautiful windmills?
Jerry: “WITHIN TEMPTATION, AFTER FOREVER, ASRAI, KREZIP - and I also have personal friends from My Space in Holland. I would love to visit Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the countryside, too.”
Shelsey: “To be honest, I mostly know that you produce great metal musicians! Other than that, I'm out.”
Gab: “My girlfriend visited Amsterdam once and she told how wonderful it was, so I’d like to be there at least once in my lifetime! Also, Heineken is one of my favourite beers!”

Do you have any goals set for ARAPACIS?
Jerry: “To play more provinces of Canada this year and to play Europe is a very important goal of ours.”
Shelsey: “Mainly just to build our fanbase slowly, but surely there are certain bands I'd like to play with in certain venues.”
Gab: “Our next goal is to record our second album, then a big tour would be great!”
Franck: “I hope, that ARAPACIS make the charts, but from day to day the band is evolving and I ask no more than that.”

Do you have any hobbies or interests besides playing music in a metal band?
Jerry: “I like long walks (preferably with the company of a friend or one of my sons), reading, photography (see http://www.jerryfielden.com/photo.html), traveling, etc.”
Shelsey: “Many! I'm currently studying audio engineering here in Montreal. I love traveling, languages, drawing, swimming and snowboarding.... Lots of things!”
Gab: “I’m a former archaeologist, but right now I work for the Canadian SPCA (I love animals so much!). I also practice photography.”
Franck: “It’s a mystery!”

How important is the internet for a band like ARAPACIS?
Jerry: “Immensely, most of our fan base has discovered us through the internet!”
Shelsey: “Very!! We've gained so many fans through the net and even the ones, who come to our shows usually look up our My Space after! It's really a valuable tool.”
Gab: “I’d say 95% of the band’s promotion is done on the internet, so it gives you an idea of how important it is for us!”

Are there any interesting gigs on your calendar for the upcoming months?
Jerry: “We are opening the Heavy Metal Music Association of Canada Fund Raiser on Oct. 12, 2006. And then we might be playing some shows in Europe. We are still working on that.”
Shelsey: “We have the HMMAC (Heavy Metal music Association of Canada) fundraiser in October, which I'm very much looking forward to. There'll be an amazing Montreal band there, but I'm not going to say which one, because they told me they haven't announced yet that they're playing.”
Gab: “We’re playing for the in a big festival in Montreal next October to raise money for the Heavy Metal Association of Canada. That should be great!”

Are there any plans for the band to come over to Europe as well in the (near) future, or are you only focusing on Canada and the US? After all, there's a large territory out there that is open for discovery!
Jerry: “Definitely lots of places to play in Canada first, then Europe is our other primary goal, as per above.”
Shelsey: “I would actually love to come to Europe as soon as possible. I've heard from other bands that Europe is so open to new music, and the audiences are great! I also just want the experience.”
Gab: “We’d like to come to Europe for sure. We just wait for a good opportunity to show up!”

What’s your favorite ARAPACIS song and why?
Jerry: “On the CD, probably “Time’s Has Been”. These days, I love “The Green Fairy”, because of its sheer heaviness and hypnotic feel. And also “Theocracy” just kicks!
Shelsey: “I'd have to say “Soldier Of Fun”. For me, it's a great mix of all of our styles, and it's the first song I co-wrote with the band.” Gab: “My favourite song is not on the album. It’s called “Theocracy” and it should be on the second album. This song has a huge energy and fury. That’s why we always close our shows with it.”
Franck: “It is “Soldier Of Fun”, that strangely enough attracted me at first. The lyrics are troubling, because Jerry and Shelsey wrote the song together (was she already announcing her departure?). Nice harmony, that renders the emotions really well.”

We still love a big deal of Canadian metal bands from the eighties. And I think, that Jerry might be able to give us a little update about some of the names that were ultra hot in the eighties. Maybe you can tell us a bit more about members of APRIL WINE, HEADPINS, MAX WEBSTER, FRANK SODA AND THE IMPS, GODDO, BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE, TRIUMPH, SANTERS, ANVIL (we know them quite well), PAT TRAVERS, FRANK MARINO, HELIX, EXCITER (also friends of ours), DALBELLO and LEE AARON. Any interesting or funny information and updates are welcome.
Jerry: “Well, let’s start with APRIL WINE. I saw them open for DEEP PURPLE last year in Ottawa. They were as great as ever and played all their classics. Had a short talk with bass player Jim Clench, too. They all seemed in a good mood. In the early eighties, Kim Mitchell of MAX WEBSTER actually walked into a bar in Toronto where we (RISER) were opening for his former MAX WEBSTER bandmates Terry Watkinson and Gary McCracken from EXPRESSO, an experimental prog band. We were female-fronted at the time and he enjoyed our show tremendously! I also partied with Gino Scarpelli of GODDO and Greg Godovitz, too (although he doesn’t remember) back in the late seventies-early eighties. As for ANVIL, I shot two of their albums (“Past and Present” and “Plenty of Power”) and we are good friends indeed, and we have played with them twice. HELIX I met once and I shot some backstage stuff and LEE AARON, of course, was one of my favorite models. I took shots of her, whenever I could! Even in 2001, when she came to Montreal to play with her jazz band, I shot some pretty neat pics of her! Now I met other people from the scene like Toronto, HONEYMOON SUITE, LISA PRICE, and jammed with guys like JEFF HEALEY, TONY SPRINGER, etc. too.”

What are the future plans of ARAPACIS?
Jerry: “We are writing material for our second album and this will be much more of a group writing effort than the first and we hope to get more studio time in to make a better production! And also touring Europe is our next biggest priority after Canada.”
Shelsey: “We're working on material for the next album, which we'll be starting hopefully in the near future, and we're just playing shows and feeling the slow burn!”
Gab: “Work hard on the new stuff, record the second album and go kick asses on the road!”

You already mentioned playing at the wedding party of Ivan Hurd (ANVIL). Please tell us a bit more about this special event?
Jerry: “This was so wonderful! Ivan and Tiziana (who is ANVIL’s manager) were married on a dock by the lake there, and while Ivan was standing on the dock, Tiziana arrived on a boat! It was great! So at the reception at the town hall we played the opening set and made some new fans (see above q. 22), including a couple of young girls, that adored the band and we sat with them and one of the girl’s mothers and treated them like super fans all night, they were tickled pink and actually got the crowd dancing for us! We also made the bride and groom dance for the first time ever on our slower song; “Histories”. That was a touching moment.”
Shelsey: “That was one of the most amazing shows I've ever done! Who would have thought at a wedding, you'd get people aged twelve until sixty up and dancing? We had planned to play only fast tunes, but at the last minute we decided to play a very mellow beautiful version of “Histories”. We got the newlyweds up and dancing, along with just about everyone else, and I wanted to cry up there on stage because it was just a really beautiful moment. Of course we had to rock out the rest of the set though!”
Gab: “Yes, that was awesome! We played a set just before ANVIL, and we met a lot of great people.”

Which other bands were there? I believe that my good friends of RAVEN were there as well?
Jerry: RAVEN played and ANVIL as well, and some other people jammed, too. It was a lot of fun!
Shelsey: They were! It was really an honour to meet them. They were even better than I could have hoped for! ANVIL also did a set near the end, and there was a quick jam session at one point as well.
Gab: Yes, they were. They did a jam with ANVIL’s drummer. God, that was amazing!

Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview? Maybe there is something we forgot to mention here that is essential for the story of ARAPACIS so far?
Jerry: “I think that we are striving to make a balance between several styles of music and that’s why we have such a good time playing with just about any band we share a stage with as our styles just seem to mesh with so many others. But we like to keep it metal as much as we can.”

Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Jerry: “I want to thank each and every one of you and tell you, that if you ever come to see us, don’t hesitate to come say ‘hello’. We love talking to our fans!”
Shelsey: “Mainly just thank you for checking us out. We appreciate it so much, when people come up to us after shows, or send us messages or whatever! And also thank you for doing this interview!”

The last words are for ARAPACIS....
Jerry: “Thank you to all our fans, our fan club, our eteam and also our production team, our families, the readers of Metal Maidens and of course to you; Toine and Rita!”
Shelsey: “See you on tour!”
Gab: “Thanks to all of you!”

Website: http://www.arapacis.com

Also visit ARAPACIS at My Space: http://www.myspace.com/arapacismtl

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Toine van Poorten, September and December 2006.