La Scaltra: Cabaret (2016)
Occasionally new formations, which immediately attract attention in their first listening, arise. La Scaltra (“The Cunning” in Italian) is a German female duo that enchants with his Dark Wave full of mystery and elegance … recovering the essence of the classic bands that we love.
La Scaltra: introduction interview
The Scaltra is formed by Aeleth Kaven (vocals, composition, artwork) and Dae Widow (vocals), from the cities of Essen and Oberhausen. In May 2015 they presented their first song Nightmares in Bandcamp, and in January 2016 their debut album Cabaret in digital format. It’s expected the last one to be self-published in CD format soon.
The group is raising interest among fans, DJs and labels from the international Gothic scene. Nightmares theme has appeared in the sixth mixtape Sui Generis from Virus G; Also, Neverland has been included in the Messages Beyond Dark Dreams 2 compilation, published by Darkpage.
We have contacted Dae and Aeleth to tell us a bit about their history:
Aeleth, you’re the composer. Do you play all the instruments also? Do you have any collaborations in this sense?
Aeleth: Except the E-Guitar parts every line and every chord is from me. I started playing the bassguitar, put it into my songs and also work with different music programs, where I put the drums, synths, keys and effects. My boyfriend plays the guitar and he supports me with the music. He is my inspiration and – so to say – my collaborator. But there are some more friends of mine, who are supporting me with my music, too. I am involved in different projects that are not gothic rock, so I take my inspirations from more than one collaboration and more than one scene or genre.
Before La Scaltra, have you got any musical project, or joined any band?
Aeleth: My first band I had in the 1990s, it was a school band. After that I did even do some guest vocals for different bands of different genres (Metal, Darkrock, Reggae, Blues) in these years, but didn’t have a band on my own. Years ago in 2005, I was singer in the Death Metal/ Doom Rock Band called EPITAPH, they did split up. From 2011 – 2013 I was the vocalist of the Black Metal Formation SCHATTEN from Northern Germany. Nowadays I am vocalist of ONE MIND MINISTRY since 2015, a Black / Death Metal Combo from Germany. I am also involved in different projects with my vocals, one of them is CHOROBA, a Dark Doom Metal Project from a friend. LA SCALTRA is just one of my ideas and I am very happy that our music has been turned out beautiful. I am planning more music within the next years and I am really looking forward.
Dae: My music activities before La Scaltra were not that much. I was in a school band and played bass there and sang. After that I made some music with my two brothers together. But most of the time I was behind the stage. From 2009 till 2011 I worked in Tokyo as music promoter for japanese bands. So I am really happy to be a part of La Scaltra and that I can share my dream of music with Aeleth. She is an amazing artist and gives me a lot of inspiration.
What’s your relationship with Aeon Sable and Merciful Nuns? Dae manages their merchandise, is there anything more?
Dae: I manage the merch for Aeon Sable and the Merciful Nuns. It is always an amazing time with them. I joined the Aeon Sable crew in 2012 and the Nuns crew in 2013.
Aeleth: I didn’t know the guys from The Merciful Nuns before Dae introduced them to me. Great band, great people! Dae is more involved in this scene than me (I am more like the quiet background, hahaha). Aeon Sable is a bunch of acquaintances and I had the chance to do guest vocals for a duet in their song Of Cats And Mice for their new album in 2016, also live on stage.
I saw in your FB profile that both of you assisted to Semana Gótica de Madrid. Have you considered visiting Spain in order to show your songs live?
Dae: I was there to do the merchandise for Aeon Sable and Aeleth was there with me for a few days. It was a great time and of course it would be a pleasure for us to play one day in Spain.
Aeleth: Spain… yeah! We would be happy as hell to visit Spain with La Scaltra, of course! But unfortunately there are no inquiries or plans for us yet.
Cabaret: The album
Cabaret consists of 8 songs produced with good taste, clean and well executed. On the back of their business card they declare “Soon you will find beauty in darkness”, and this is a perfect introduction to their music. The simplicity they emanate when using the exact instruments at the right time helps them to achieve their goal: a melancholy and solemn atmosphere, so typical of Gothic Rock but not one everyone can invoke.
Every song is a part of us, tells a story. Different experiences, different times, different moods. This is what we want to leave in our music.
- Intro (Séance).
- The Garden.
- Visions of Glass.
- Gunshot Lullabies.
The themes range from medium to slow tempo, with some exceptions. The album starts with a seance in the introduction, minimalist and with a sampled voice. The next song (The Garden) reaffirms that minimalism with just a keyboard line and a rough percussion, accompanied by a slow bass and Aeleth and Dae’s witch-like voices, who welcome us: “Come into my garden O my pretty creatures…”
Neverland evokes the haunting vocal melodies by Monica Richards (Faith & The Muse) at some time, and the atmospheres created by London After Midnight, complemented by dreamy guitars and synthesized and marked percussions, typical of 90’s Gothic.
Lucian will probably become one of your favorites, thanks to its gimmicky introduction, the keyboard timbre a-la-Xymox, the play between both voices and especially the chorus, which plays the chance of evoking again and again the protagonist who titles the theme. The song contains enough variety in its melody to make it a delight being dragged into their classic sound, including the restrained guitar solo that appears toward the end.
Visions of Glass begins with a more modern sound, like the current Post Punk bands: coldly on percussion and on the expressiveness of the main voice; all it’s transmitting an atmosphere of hopelessness and stiffness that breaks with the emotionality of the guitar and the warmth of the second voice, both completely changing the atmosphere of the theme.
Gunshot Lullabies completely ignores guitar to present an insistent musical phrase, as if reflecting a fixation or trauma. The electronic percussion becomes a bit more industrial by means of its harshness, while the keyboard provides the background melody and some precise notes to mark the direction, as clear footprints. The main voice has a lamenting and sad tone, and the secondary one acts as a counterpoint to underscore the chorus; from background, other voices appear as ethereal vocals that blend with keyboards. A nice theme that you have to listen more than once to appreciate it.
Nightmares has a more electronic Darkwave-oriented mood, tinged guitar arpeggios, and thus is more danceable (in fact, the rhythm speeds up a little more than average). Synthesized bass are reminiscent of Photographic song by ubiquitous Depeche Mode but, who is not influenced by them within Dark Wave? Their shadow is still long…
The album leaves with Ghosts, a song of classic atmosphere with a very strong bass and a guitar that alternates the eighties and nineties gothic sounds. The slow cadence, almost heart beat, from voices and instruments reaffirms that feeling of dark elegance, more typical of a Gothic novel in which there’s a family curse and wraiths involved than explicit horror of guts and blood.
In short, if you enjoy gothic groups led by a dark feminine sensibility in one way or another (Switchblade Symphony, Diva Destruction, The Eden House, Faith & the Muse, Die Laughing, etc.), I highly recommend listening to La Scaltra and that you continue their evolution through their next works.