NIBELHEIM's Stefania Salladini: Italian Metal Queen returns With A Vengeance!

Greetings, brothers and sisters! Today on Metal Maidens will be chatting with Stefania Salladini, vocalist for the Italian metal band NIBELHEIM....

Hello Stef, welcome to Metal Maidens!
Stefania: “Hi, all of you! I feel much honored to do this interview with you!”

Well, you look fantastic and I along with the rest of your fans are so happy to see you back in the metal scene ready to make music again.
Stefania: “You move me to tears. Thank you. It’s good to be back.”

Stef, I had heard you were forced to take some time off for personal reasons and I will respect your privacy with that, but hopefully things are starting to get back to normal for you and all is well?
Stefania: “Yes, things are going well and I appreciate you respecting my privacy with this issue. Thank you, Nick.”

You and the band have gone through some stormy waters these last few years, that has included a new line-up. Can you tell us about your band mates?
Stefania: “Well, our line-up is still our historical one, except for Andrea, one of our guitarists, who left the band last summer. We were looking for different things, so, no problem. Actually, we’re still friends. He’s been replaced by David Key, a very nice guy, and above all, a great musician. You’ll love him - you betcha!”

Do you think the band's and your own personal struggles have helped make you all a stronger unit overall?
Stefania: “No doubt they did. We're not only colleagues, not anymore. We’re a family. That’s why we spend a lot of time together, also out of the rehearsal room.”

For some of the fans that may not have heard of NIBELHEIM. Can you describe your music to them?
Stefania: “Sure! We’re thrashers, that’s plain to see. I might add that our official motto is ‘heart and sweat’ and it reflects our music perfectly. I mean, we don’t follow trends and we don’t make trendy music. We don’t even try. Our music is wild and true and it springs from the heart, hoping to reach and speak to others’ heart.”

As a vocalist, who sings both clean and extreme vocals, which one do you prefer?
Stefania: “This a hard one to answer. I like both.. growling, screaming, clean vocals.. I love them all honestly, although I must admit that extreme vocals needs more professional attention. Even correctly executed death metal singing can cause injury, if you overdo it.”

When did you realize that singing was something you wanted to do as a profession and who were some of the bands or musicians, who inspired you to sing?
Stefania: "Uhm, how can I answer this one without seeming a pathetic dreamer? Gosh, I’ll run the risk! I've been singing since childhood. When I was a child, I was always singing no matter where I was. I felt that singing made my life complete. I didn’t sing in order to become popular, nor to get lots of money. It just made me feel good. So, I've always wanted to sing. I was diehard and very passionate about it. I’d dare to say, I was kind of obsessed with it. Well, I’m standing here now and still I am. Music is everything to me. At that time, BRYAN ADAMS was one of my favorite artists. "So far so good" - Wow, I must have listened to that album a thousand times. Later, when I fell in love with thrash metal and began to sing growl... Yeah, there's someone, who inspired me a lot. I'm talking about the fantastic emotionally charged vocal talents of Chuck Schuldner. He was great, too bad he left this world.”

As the singer for the band, do you write any of the lyrics and if so, where do you draw inspiration from?
Stefania: “Actually, I’m the only lyric writer. I like writing very much and I love poetry as well. Song lyrics are powerful instruments of artistic expression. Choosing words which match with my artistic intent is of the greatest importance to me. Our lyrics are really dark and intimate. They describe my inner world works, all my fears, my anger. Perhaps it’s one of my limits, as I feel like I could not write about anything else. I’ve got so much to say!”

When can we expect the new CD, Stef?
Stefania: “Uhm, I’m kind of superstitious about this question! Last time they asked me things went so badly wrong! I’d prefer to keep it a secret for now. But you will be the first to know and the first to get it, I promise! We can totally say that our new music is still NIBELHEIM-ish, don’t worry about it. It could sound slightly different, but it’s due to the fact that we’re more mature songwriters and of course the presence of a new guitarist has introduced new scenarios, but nothing shocking. We’re still ourselves.”

I have always loved the band's name NIBELHEIM. Who came up with that name and what does it mean?
Stefania: “I’m an obsessive reader of every kind of literature, above all the Nordic one. When I read about NIBELHEIM, I was blown away. Literally translated as ‘fog-home’ in German, the Nibelheim is a region surrounded by eternal mists, darkness and cold, situated on the lowest level of the universe. I know, it’s a name a little hard to remember and pronounce, but who cares.. It’s perfect, we all love it very much!”

The band hails from Teramo Italy, which I hear is a beautiful place to live. Can you tell us a little about your home?
Stefania: “Sure, although more precisely, we live in different little towns (Pineto, Atri, Silvi, Montesilvano) near Teramo. We can proudly say that our region, Abruzzo, is one of the most beautiful and desirable areas in Italy. It’s a perfect mix of mountain, lakes, hills and yes, great seaside, all united by art, food (come to eat some arrosticini!) and culture. Personally, I miss it very much every time I leave.”

What is the metal scene like there?
Stefania: “There’s a lot of awesome underground metal bands: SAWTHIS, INTERCEPTOR, THY GATE BEYOND, DARK HAUNTERS are just the first names coming to my mind. They’re really talented guys and excellent songwriters. Unluckily, all of us were born in the wrong place. There are only a couple of clubs, that welcome metal bands hereabouts.”

It seems to me within the last few years there has been a huge buzz about metal bands coming out of Italy. Can you explain that to me?
Stefania: “Trust me, you don’t know the best ones yet. The coolest ones are still here, working bloody hard to follow their passion. I’m talking about SADIST and EXTREMA, just to name a few. They’re kick-ass bands with an incredible sound. The Italian bands you know are just the luckiest ones. They have been noticed by foreign labels and their career took a turn. I’m not saying they’re bad, no, they’re undoubtedly great bands, too. But Italians tend to be distrustful towards Italian metal music, while abroad people are realizing we’re not only pizza and mandolino.”

As a strong and talented woman of metal yourself, what is your opinion of women in the scene today?
Stefania: “I think, that female singers and musicians are finally being taken more seriously. Metal heads are realizing and embracing women’s big potential and that’s a good thing. I still notice here and there plastic dolls pretending to be rock stars, but they’re few. What I really see is an army of passionate and inspired women with an unshakable belief in what they're doing.”

If you could give any advice to young women out there today, who may want to follow in your footsteps, what would you say to them, Stef?
Stefania: “Follow your heart. If you really, really want to do it, just do it. You’ll slip and fall a thousand times, you know, but don’t be afraid. Get up, go on. The power of a passion can lead you to accomplish extraordinary things.”

Any new bands out today that you are really into?
Stefania: “Recently, I’ve been exploring new musical worlds, such as Japanese rock and I’ve been listening to lots of experimental music. I love Steve Reich in particular. Sometimes I need to detox from heavy metal, but I appreciate DEVIL DRIVER’s new album very much. And the EVANESCENCE new self-titled album too, whoa, it’s epic!”

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing when not making music?
Stefania: “Well, I like reading, as stated before. I enjoy playing Playstation and Xbox very much, above all creepy video games, such as Silent Hill, my favorite one, and Deadly Premonition. But I love the Final Fantasies series, too. I love old black and white movies and I'm a Japanese animation geek. I love rain, red wine and collecting candles. I'm completely obsessed with candles!”

Is there anything at all you would like to add to your interview, Stef?
Stefania: “Yeah, thanks! I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you and Metal Maidens for supporting underground metal bands and for allowing me to do this interview. You’re awesome! Moreover, I would like to say thank you to all those people, who have been patiently waiting for us to come back. I feel flattered and happy. It’s a good feeling knowing that someone out there is thinking about you.”

Stef, on behalf of myself and Metal Maidens, I really want to thank you for spending time with us here today. I think the world of you and am so glad to see you happy and healthy again and cannot wait to hear the new material. Be well, my friend and I hope to see you sometime soon!
Stefania: “I won’t say anything else. Words can only ruin such a perfect, ecstatic moment. Anyway, I hope to see you soon too, my friend!”

Horns up brothers and sisters, Nick Rohm.

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Nick Rohm, Metal Maidens 'zine / February 2012.

Visit the offical NIBELHEIM website at: