Diaries Of A Hero's Leonard Talks Of Being Behind the Mask


London-based metal act Diaries Of A Hero formed in the summer of 2010 and with that they went on to release their first full-lengh debut "Behind The Mask" which later lead to their first video and playing shows and tours and much more. Drummer Leonard discusses their debut efforts and follow-up plans as well as the future!



1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Diaries of a Hero, and how long the band has been together.

Leonard: My name is Leonard and I play drums in Diaries of a Hero. The band has been together for about 6 years. We met each other at a music college back in 2007 in London and I don’t remember all the details exactly but there was an instant spark and a chemistry between the four of us.

2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Leonard: We are based in London but we all come from different countries but similar musical background that are not far from the vicinity of metal. However, we don’t like to limit ourselves to just one style of music. Good music doesn't have a genre or an expiry date. It’s important for a musician to have an open mind to all styles of music. As for the local bands, there’s too many of them to name since we come from 4 different countries.

3. How did the band get its name Diaries of a Hero?

Leonard: Charlie, our guitarist and vocalist, had a dream about that specific name so the other day he just passed on the good news. We were called Godsend, but there was a band performing under that name at the moment so we had to go with Charlie’s dream name.

4. Is there any story or concept behind the Behind The Mask title?

Leonard: In my opinion the title ‘Behind the Mask’ is what describes people and their interaction with each other. Everyone wears a ‘mask’ every now and then, sometimes more than one mask. People wear it in relationships to prevent them from being hurt, they wear them at their job so they don’t get sacked, they wear them on the street to appear tuff, various masks for various different occasions. Nowadays, with the emergence of all the social networks the mask has been perfected and a lot of people seem to be the complete opposite from what they show on the internet.

5. Select two songs from Behind The Mask and tell me what inspired the lyrics.Since Charlie wrote the lyrics

Leonard: I can only tell you how I interpret them. ‘Behind the Mask’ for me describes life in the big city and the way people avoid other people. By appearing cold they buy their own peace and go about living their own lives. In the middle part of the song the lyrics are very positive and despite the cold hearts and the masks people wear they have a place they can be themselves. Another track is ‘Southern Belles’ and it was influenced by American girls that live in the deep south.

6. Who produced Behind The Mask and what was it like working with them?

Leonard: When we were recording the first album we worked with Nicholas Hunt in the Boogie Back studios in north London. It was a great experience because Nick is very constructive and is a great producer who knows his job inside out. The atmosphere in the studio was both relaxed and very productive.

7. Who did the cover art for Behind The Mask and how much input did you have on it?

Leonard: The artwork was done by our friend Marcello Mele from Milan. It was very easy working with him because he is a true professional when it comes to listening to our ideas as well as working on his own. He had his creative freedom because we trusted him, but we had our input when it came to certain details. However, 99 % of the artwork didn't need any intervention from our side.

8. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Leonard: Our songs cover many different themes. Solitude, feeling of being a misfit, being misunderstood. A theme that is present more and more is also the fake hero’s and the crap that is being fed to young kids these days by the media. Wrong values in life and the way kids accept those values as if they were the only right ones. Our new album covers themes that are a bit more exotic. We have songs that cover themes such as Religion, the Universe and the fact that more and more people are becoming skeptical to this whole circus of weird people with different hats talking about how their God is better than the other couple of hundreds of Gods. There are songs that are optimistic and uplifting and talk about how you should take things in your own hands and take responsibility for you life.

9. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Leonard: We write and record all of our songs. The process is very simple. John and Charlie write riffs and throw them at me, so to speak. I put on some drums and perhaps change the guitar rhythms and arrange them in a different manner. Matt listens to the stuff we did so far and adds his own flavor to it. Since he’s also a guitar player he comes up with a lot of melodic parts. When it comes to writing some parts that are rhythmically more advanced such as the middle part in ‘Mirror House’, I take the freedom of writing the arrangement for those parts. When everything is done Carlo writes vocals on the song and if some parts of the song don’t fit the vocals we work around them and alternate the parts of the song to fit the vocal melody or rhythm. We usually decide on a section of the song to be a guitar solo so either John or Charlie will write their solo on their own and the rest of us will listen and try and be as forthright about it as possible.  Before hitting the studio we make sure all is in place, but it’s not rare that we change some of the arrangements once we start recording.

10. Who are your musical influences?

Leonard: Our palette of musical influences is quite enormous. We listen to a lot of genres and a lot of different artists and bands. From Rock to Jazz, Metal, Pop, Funk, Fusion, Afro, Cuban, Punk, Latin, etc. As I said before, good music doesn't have a genre. I personally think that every music is good if it’s played well live. Everyone can sound good in the studio nowadays, but when you can pull it off live that’s when it really counts.

11. Do you guys have plans for new music?

Leonard: We have recorded our new album and we’re in the process of recording a music video for the single we yet have to choose which should be out before Christmas this year. The album is eponymous and it consists of 10 tracks.

12. What are your upcoming touring plans and plans for this year?

Leonard: We are planning to tour with the new album in the UK and Europe after New Year. We will be collaborating with some bands on a joined tour. Keep an eye on our Facebook site for more news regarding the tour, new album, merchandise and other album related stuff.

13. What advice would you give to fellow bands, who want to do what you're doing?

Leonard: Just be true to yourself and play what it comes naturally to you. People will recognize if it comes from the heart. Stay opened to every genre of music because you never how it may influence your playing and your sound. This connects well to the final words of wisdom by the one and only Frank Zappa.

14. Any final words of wisdom?

Leonard: "A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."

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