Interview with Kelly Sundown Carpenter (Beyond Twilight, Outworld) [April 8th, 2005]

Interview by MAGE

Well, the new Beyond Twilight album "Section X" was just released. I've actually listened to it for about two months now and the album still doesn't lose its appeal. It's a great album, although at first I had doubts regarding how the material will sound with the new singer (I hadn't heard you sing before). Anyway, instantly after I heard you sing I felt how your voice seamlessly fits to the material (your voice really complements the atmospheric sound of Beyond Twilight), and I reckon you feel yourself at home in Beyond Twilight...

So, to begin with, how involved have you been with the new Beyond Twilight material? I know the songs were already composed when you joined the band, but did you have some say in the vocal melodies or the lyrics.

I had a lot more input than I thought I would have actually. Finn gave me all the tracks (instrumentally) and asked me to interpret the songs in my own way. Some lyrics and melodies had been completely thought out but much of it was open to me... so there is a lot of me on the album …melodies, lyrics and crazy theatrical madness :-)

Did you have any doubts regarding the vocal performances while recording them? For example, did you ever wonder whether your singing will please the old fans of Beyond Twilight (the people who loved the first album "The Devil's Hall of Fame" with Jörn Lande on vocals) or not?

When you come in to replace a guy like Jorn- anyone would be lying if the said that those issues wouldn't float through their mind. The toughest part of recording this album was the jet lag and the 7 hour time difference. This was my first trip to Europe... man it completely destroyed me... he he he. I sang this album on about half of what I normally have vocally....that was really were the doubt started to creep in... but somehow it turned out well. I'm very proud of this album.

I recall reading that Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate (who's definitely one of the greatest vocalists on the progmetal scene) inspired you to start experimenting with your voice. Are there any other artists, especially singers, who have influenced you? In addition, are there certain genres of music that have influenced you more than others.

I used to sing in a very clear and clean voice when I began... I was really into Tate and Ray Alder (Fates Warning) then I heard Sebastian Bach ripping it up and decided that I wanted to be able to do that as well. Then I really started to discover Halford...........

I've always been very open to art in general... I was insane about The Beatles when I was very young... I think I learned the most about music from them. I was into Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley... I loved Men At Work, a very under-rated somber and jazzy vibe.

One could say that you have rather versatile voice, considering that you experiment a lot with your voice on Section X. There are some really awesome vocal sections on Section X, and at times I even was flabbergasted by them. Are your numerous timbres results of long, tedious training or do they come naturally?

Thanks, I really appreciate that. For the most part it's a natural thing... Not that I have not tortured myself over the years developing my voice... I didn't want to be one dimensional. Singing to me is about freedom and power... being able to do anything you want.

I'm especially a fan of theatrical singing, and I'd put you into that category although one shouldn't ever categorize anything. Obviously you have quite a range... do you have any singing techniques you could reveal?

I have done a lot of research on voice... but in the end it comes down to being in really good shape physically and drinking your water. Exercise, proper sleep and lots of water are the three keys to being able to deliver vocally.

To be more specific, how does your technique vary when you sing with a raspy edge (a bit reminiscent to that of Jörn Lande's voice) from the clean singing (high notes, for example)?

For the clean side of the things I use a higher placement toward the head and a more open floating tone. For the raspy edgy sound... a la Ronnie James Dio (my all time favorite singer) the placement centers on the upper pallet and the chest. BLAST!!!

Have you ever taken any vocal lessons?

Yes, I have had classical and contemporary training... I was able to get a few things from all of that but mainly I taught myself to sing. Technique can have a way of stealing your individuality... a lot of vocal instructors turn their students into clones of themselves. NOT FOR ME!!

How do you keep your voice in order? Do you have certain regimens to take care of your voice? For example, do you perform any warm-ups before going in studio to record or before a gig?

Yes, I do warm ups before any singing... I think that is the most valuable lesson I picked up through the years....stretching your whole body out in addition to vocal stretches.

Ok, let's move on to another subject. There's quite a long distance between you and the other members of Beyond Twilight. Has the distance caused any problems thus far?

No not really, it is harder to communicate over that distance but we always seem to be on the same page... Beyond Twilight is like home to me so it isn't awkward in that way.

In addition to Beyond Twilight, you sing in Rusty Cooley's band Outworld (originally known as Dominion). Are there any news regarding the upcoming Outworld album that you could reveal?

We are about to start recording our debut in a fews days... we had a line up change at the eleventh hour and are working in our new drummer. We are shooting for a September release on Replica and are playing the pre-show at ProgPower USA this year... we are going on tour through out Europe sometime after the release.

Furthermore, how do you manage your time so both of the bands get your "full" attention?

That is a challenge... but it really isn't a big issue thus far, just gotta keep moving :-)

How extensive tour plans do you have for Beyond Twilight at the moment?

There are a lot of things in the works as far as playing live in Europe and elsewhere, But nothing firm yet... but we will be hitting the stage soon!!!!

Do you enjoy singing live? How different is it compared to the studio work?

I love singing live... their you live in the moment and throw it all away. Studio singing is another animal all together... the studio teaches you about yourself and what you are capable of... it is usually very rewarding in the end but it can be really tedious and draining. I love it all...

Thanks for your time... in case there's something you'd like to add, feel free to do so. Any thoughts at all, just go ahead...

Thanks for the great questions, I'd like to thank all the fans of BT out there far such a warm welcome... you guys have made us all proud and very happy through your support and enthusiasm... we can't wait to play for you. Thanks again,
Kelly Sundown Carpenter

Here's the review of Beyond Twilight's Section X

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