by Marcus Pan
1. The music that you two create is imbibed with magick
and sorcery. Do you feel that your being introduced via a witch, and within the
confines of that spiritual haven of Salem, may have anything to do with where
the music comes from?
The music we create comes from inside of us and from all
around us. Being based in Salem, an atmosphere that supports the study of
alternate spirituality, has allowed us to be more honest with ourselves and
more open to ideas around us. The fact that we were introduced by Shawn
Poirier, High Priest of The Salem Tradition of WitchCraft, is one more of the
many amazing magickal things that has happened to inspire us.
2. Many of the songs on Book of Shadows are driven with
desire and love. How do these work out between the two of you, if at all? Do
they come to you in reference to one another or do they come from somewhere
Teisan: People make wishes all the
time. Amanda was the answer to so many prayers for me that her being a source
of inspiration for me seems the most natural thing in the world.
Amanda: I'm always amazed at what Teisan can do with
a piece of music that I give him. To share with someone your art or creation is
something extremely intimate. As far as where some of the songs for me come
from, well, that's always a mystery. An example; "In Heaven" was written on
December 9, 1997. The reason I remember that date will be evident through this
story. I sat at the piano and was writing the piece and the words "in Heaven"
kept coming to me. I just figured, "Okay." and I wrote them down. I told Teisan
the story and he worked on it. In January (about 4 weeks later) my Mother
called my answering machine and told me that one of the dearest people to me
had passed away on December 9, 1997 and I NEVER KNEW. The song was immediately
dedicated to that person, Michael Pateakos.
3. Amanda, you've been playing piano since the age of
four. Surely you hear of musical genius in children that rears it's head at
ages like twelve, even eight - but composing your first musical arrangement at
five years old has surely placed you in a category above even those. What was
it like to be almost prodigal in your talents at such an early age? Were things
difficult with children your age, or did you find yourself relating only to
music in such a way that friends weren't as abundant for you, as is common in
many cases like this?
Amanda: Well, let me first say Thank You. It seems
that my mother was concerned because I was such a bored child after my three
siblings left for elementary school. I had finished all their puzzles and my
Mother was looking for an outlet. She broke out the old accordian (Yes, I said
accordian), placed it on her knee, turned it sideways and taught me scales and
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." I guess we worked with that tiny keyboard
until she found the right teacher and took me to her. The teacher immediately
told my Mother "no" because I was too young in her opinion and my feet didn't
even touch the peddles.
My mother asked the teacher if the fact that I had already
written my own song, "Storm Over The Field" (I lived on a farm in Ohio) would
make a difference. I played the song for the teacher and other basics and I was
accepted. The beginning of a beautiful relationship. The only thing difficult
as a child was that while other kids were outside playing, I was sitting at a
piano not able to leave. My mother is extremely strict. I owe both my parents
so much. As far as friends, with three siblings, there's always someone around.
If not their friends, other kids who just wanted to play in our caboose that my
parents bought for us as a playhouse. What kid wouldn't want to play in
4. Teisan, your story of singing as a child and putting
away these "childish" pursuits is a sad testament to how talent is suppressed
in return for "adult" pursuits throughout all facets of our society. How
difficult was it to stop singing?
Teisan: I never completely stopped singing. I just
gave up on the idea that music was a viable career choice for me. I consider
myself lucky though, I have seen the "adult" world kill the dreams of children
time and time again. My dreams survived, they were just hibernating for
5. Teisan, finding your solace in books and, later, stage
performance you've still done your best to avoid your singing talents -
believing that it was more responsible to follow those pursuits that are
considered acceptable of a young man. Then you met Amanda shortly after moving
to Salem. What is it within Amanda that gives you the confidence to put aside
the "responsible" pursuits everyone believes you should be following, and to
finally perform your dream of singing again?
Teisan: Amanda gave me a chance to bring my dream of
creating music into the real world. She completed me in so many ways.
6. Now that I've embarrassed you two enough by prying,
let's take a look at your debut. Book of Shadows is much more than an
album - the songs move together like a chapter series or a storyline of some
sort. One of the most notable examples is of the songs And Oh, How I've
Wanted You later followed by In Heaven - a seeming movement from
reaching for something you can't have to the act of finally, somehow,
retrieving it. Did this movement from chapter to chapter come about naturally
or was this prepared somehow?
Teisan: It all seemed to happen so
fast and when we were done it was exactly what we wanted. I don't think it
would have had the same effect had we sat and considered and planned
Amanda: True. Actually, the first song that I gave
Teisan was "This I Know" which I wrote when I was twelve. I carried with me all
7. Track twelve - This I Know. One of the most
beautiful love ballads I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. I play
this song an average of five times a week, whether I listen to the rest of
Book of Shadows or not. I have two questions - first, is this song
written from one of you to the other? And lastly, may I give it to my wife as a
discovery I've made that matches our own life together?
Amanda: Wow, that's so sweet that you want to give it
to your wife. As I mentioned earlier, I wrote that music awhile ago but never
had the words to make it mean more.
Teisan: This I Know describes lovers
throughout many lives finding one another because no matter what, they were
meant to be together, definitely apropos.
Amanda: As far as being meant to be together, I'll
let the listener decide. I already know.
8. Red is a very frightening track. While nothing
graphic is brought about in it, the mood it creates from the lyrics and the
arrangement are still just as scary as the actual act that, quite possibly, is
being foreshadowed. Did you find it difficult writing a song of this horrific
nature while surrounding it with songs of love and desire? And also, just for
the sake of curiosity, who are the voices on the opening phone call?
All light and no darkness allows us to take the light for
granted. No one likes it when bad things happen but they are there and once
recognized, they become devoid of all power. Red is a warning song about
love gone obsessively, cruelly wrong. The voices? Friends of ours with a flair
for the dramatic: Shawn Poirier (whom we mentioned earlier) and Jacqui.
9. You began touring and performing your music to the
delight of live audiences in Boston on Halloween in 1998. Since then you've
performed quite often. Do you prefer recording or performing?
Amanda: There's definately a rush in front of an
audience but there's also a different type of rush when one hears the finished
product in a studio for the first time.
Teisan: There are different aspects to both that are
appealing. The cycle of completion is what is important though. We create music
for people to hear and experience.
10. How did the creation of your troupe of magicians,
jugglers and the rest of your medieval atmosphere performers come about? How
many usually turn out for your shows?
It seems that after we met, the other pieces just found
their way to us. Our dancer, Lauren, is exceptional with her ideas and the
magicians are always looking for that kind of realm to share their gifts with
others. That is another one of "those things" that just happened. We write
music that draws all sorts of magickal people. It's all pretty amazing. As far
as turn out, that depends on the event. Dracula's Castle in Salem on Halloween
was definitely the place to be. Everyone had a great time with us.
11. How does your creative process work? How do you write
your music? Do lyrics come first, or arrangement and music?
Teisan: Amanda is the musical genius and I am the
poet. Most often music comes first then lyrics. Every once in awhile a phrase
or title will be the motivation for the rest of a song.
Amanda: How does my creative process work? That's
something I've been trying to figure out for quite awhile now. I never sit down
and say, "Okay, I'm going to write a song now." Something either tells me to
start playing or I'm just there and after it's out on paper, I look at it and
wonder. Feelings definitely do play a part, however. Heartache, joy, confusion,
frustration. All those wonderful little things.
12. Are there plans, maybe even further songs writ down
whether on paper or in your mind's eyes, for a further album?
Amanda: Oh, definitely YES. Many are tucked away just
waiting for that right time. It's funny. Sometimes a song comes and wants to be
heard now and others wait, even though the music is there, the concept and
magick that Teisan gives comes when it's good and ready. We definitely can't do
this by schedule.
Teisan: We'll keep writing as long as the Muses keep
visiting and as long as the spirits have a story to be told.
13. Other than that, what does the future hold, whether
in your dreams or reality, for Coven 13?
We want the world to hear what we have to offer. More
albums, music videos, live shows, whatever it takes to get our music out there
and taken to the top!
14. Tell your fans how and where they can best contact
you. Do you prefer e-mail, written letters or other forms of contact and how
would they go about making this contact?
We welcome any form of correspondence.
Service: Coven 13, 203 Washington Street, Suite 143, Salem, MA 01970