Maethelyiah was born on the 31st January, from an Italian (English related) family descended from the De Mari lineage, whose crest features on Maeth's logo. She was no ordinary little girl from the start. as apparently she didn’t cry when she was born. The concerned doctor kept patting her on the back to make her cry but in the end she growled at him and everybody in the delivery room sensed she was going to be a real character.
Her father was an ex-catholic priest, both her parents were very young, plus she was displaying the traditional features typical of witches, and because in South Italy at that time all this was very controversial, she was moved from the south to near Rome when she was only 2 days old (the first of a long series of moves, by the way!). She has got one brother and he's one year older than her.
From the early days dogs have always been an essential part of Maeth’s life, boxers in particular. She used to love sleeping and playing leaning on her dog. She even learned to walk clinging to her family dog Devil, a gorgeous fawn boxer girl.
(The text you find below is part of “The World seen from the top of my Stilettos”, full biography written by Jessica White, which might end up published sometimes.)
Since the early years she showed she was very artistic and musical, like her Grandmother, who was an opera singer. Her closest relatives were film directors, photographers, painters, violinists, pianists and a classical guitarist. For some reason she didn’t like playing with dolls and developed quite a rejection towards them. However she did play with cuddly animals (mainly dogs and horses), enjoyed throwing knives and dismantling anything that could be dismantled and put back together again. She later on enjoyed shooting with guns (no hunting) and preferred scientific subjects at school.
Originally ambidextrous, even writing with both hands at the same time, Maeth soon became predominantly left-handed when she was told not to write with it, rebelling, since it was supposed to be the hand of the devil. She also started to learn English very early on. She started primary school two years before all the other children of the same age. As her brother had started one year earlier she went to school to visit her brother and was fascinated by the primary school teacher Marta. As soon as she managed to get to the blackboard, she started writing things. Marta realized that at three and a half Maeth was able to write, so she invited her to join the class as soon as she turned four. Shocked to see that in the first year Maeth elaborated elements of algebra, she had the hard task to slow her down and at the same time keep her safe from the few bullies circling around her. Despite being so young, Maeth became the best pupil in the whole school and was defined prodigy girl. Her teacher carried a piece that Maeth wrote in the first year, and kept it until she died in 2011.
“Marta was everything I child could have dreamt of having at school. She was a tough grammar teacher, a wonderfully inspiring artistic detector, and had a very motivating personality. We used to argue at school on whether pyramids were built by slaves or working class men. She believed the former, but I knew that the latter was true. In any case, three years ago she agreed on the phone that they weren’t slaves and still wonders how I knew it. I have been very lucky with all my teachers. A good chunk of what I am is thanks to them.”
(Left picture, Maeth at the age of 4, left, with her family boxer).
“Viviana was another influential teacher. She used to hit us with a wooden stick whenever we did something wrong. It was all about sweat and bruises. I remember a few mothers coming to the ballet school to complain she was too harsh. She said that THAT is a ballet school and ballet is something to be devoted to 24 hours a day. If they were looking for some recreation they should go somewhere else. My first role as a ballet dancer was as a musical box doll. However, apart from that role I always ended up playing darker characters because for some reason Viviana thought my facial features, dark hair and personality were a more appropriate match.”
Darkness started to become quite comfortable. The stories of the corpses passing through the river nearby and getting stuck in the river bank were inspiring because that’s when little Maeth started to discover her medianic skills. In her free time, she used to climb trees, climb the roof, used to stare at the sky looking for alien signals and getting dreamy every time she used to watch the old black and white horror films, in particular ones about vampires. Other than that, it was all about studying and exercising between school and ballet school. She was extremely focused. Then came the prog records spinning on the turntable. Lucio Battisti, Franco Battiato, Pink Floyd and other classic music. Then came Adam & The Ants, Joy Division, The Danse Society, Peter Gabriel. Maeth's british relatives and her cousin in particular, were the ones who contributed to her music influences.
A 2 days old Maeth (above)
Maeth at the age of 2 (above)
Ballet time: A young Maeth playing the Musical box doll (above)
Copyright © I.A.P. UK - Maethelyiah.com 1999-2016
Messy baby Maeth having breakfast (above)
“The most sacred memory for me is being with my Grandma watching the old Christopher Lee films where he acted as Dracula. He was so charming. His elegance and decadent personality was so inspiring. We also used to watch other horror films. I remember 'The 5 Keys of Terror' an old fashioned horror/comedy killing us laughing. Then for a while I had this vision of a monster popping every night. It was a rather scary thing with the body of a skeleton and a rotten grey huge apple shaped head with staring eyes. Somehow he appeared every night accompanied by weird noises.
A few months later, thanks to Grandma, I was informed that the monster was just a reflection of the light my brother used to keep on at night on the door, and the noises were my father snoring rather loud. We told him off and so the monster didn’t pop any more. Every now and then I close my eyes and stand still, sort of “breathing” such memories.
It was sweet.
I still miss my Grandma and always look forward to spot her in one of my dreams or just feeling her presence beside me.. I know she's around when I smell the sweet scent of roses.”
A conflicted relationship with her parents, a hard life at school to defend her brother (often in the target of bullies) and growing up being aware of being different, not liking what others liked at school, being extremely focused on ballet, young Maeth was pretty much a hyperactive and reflective little girl. Still today she keeps away from sugar and caffeine to avoid "walking on the ceiling".
"My first holiday in the UK was to Coventry and it really changed my life. I learnt how to walk in stilettos and wear sexy stockings, had a first attempt to get a piercing and enjoyed cannabis for the first time! Alcohol didn't have to wait to tease my throat and my first band made me learn something I could never previously have believed... I was still an alien but it wasn't too bad! The Italian musical scene was just running around Italian pop and there were only two ways out: - slit my wrists or rebel against my parents
A teenager Maeth with Fender Zazz bass (above)
and raise a rock band regardless of their disapproval! I obviously followed the second way and I had to expose myself to several dangers, like jumping out of the window while they were sleeping and hitch-hiking to get to rehearsals".
1985, Aenigmae (top left to right) Antonello, Stefano, the two Robertos, the drummer's girlfriends and a baking Maeth.
She wrote her first song "why?" when she was 12. Her first band was 'Eve & The 6', during the brief time spent in Coventry where she had begun to play the bass under the stage name Max.
Once back in Italy it was difficult to find musicians who shared the same passion, because italian pop had much more influence than punk or rock and it was a pretty frustrating time, together with the fact that she was still too young to be independent and form her own band.
However, a stroke of good luck put her in touch with a band from Ostia, 'Aenigmae', who she joined first as backing vocalist then as lead vocalist. They used to rehearse every week for a few months but unfortunately, apart from a couple of tracks recorded "Idolo" and "Don't ask me", they never had a gig together.
They disbanded in the end due to the illness of one of the musicians and they lost track of each other until a short time ago when Stefano Michelazzi (guitarist) and Roberto Michelazzi (drums) got back in touch with Maeth. Stefano is currently in the Italian official Police tribute band.
In the meantime she started her first radio show on the local radio station RDM and kept it running until 1988.
She wrote her first novel "Ashes", registered herself as music composer at the SIAE and graduated in the same year, two years ahead.
It was April 1987 and, once again looking for a band, Maeth picked up the newspaper. There was only one advert of a band looking for a singer, and it was from band 'Dunwich'. This started the tradition of her replacing male singers in bands. She joined, and this time, gigs came... lots of them, together with a victory in a national band competition 'Arezzo Wave' in 1991, which resulted in many TV showings on the 'Videomusic' national channel later to be renamed MTV.
1998 was the year of Opera. Composer Stefano S., a long time friend, introduces her to composition and opera singing. The time was crucial as she was still growing up. At that time she was often suffering with tonsil infections. He found a way to kick her immunity system into gear with a mixture of Propolis and swimming in the sea in winter. After the initial shock, she managed to beat off all the infections and grew a rather thick armour against them.
Session 6 survivors: Gianni, Piero and Maeth, after a good play (above).
1987, a rather focused teenage Maeth before the first gig with Lovecraft's Dunwich at Uonna Club in Rome (above).
And that with the passion of playing music firmly in her blood along came the second Italian band 'Session 6'. It lasted about a year, unfortunately again without gigs, but writing several original songs. Adolescence wasn't easy but good friendships were born. Still today Maeth is great friends with Gianni (guitarist), Erika (keys), Piero (drums) and Marco (second guitarist). They had a good bash in a rehearsal studio in Fiumicino recently with Gianni and Piero and it was as if time didn't pass.
She registered as a lyricist at the SIAE at the age of 15, and had one of he best lucky breaks happen. She couldn't afford piano lessons, but a retired piano teacher offered her free lessons. That's how Elena Caverni gained a little space in Maeth's heart.
"Elena wasn't just a teacher, she was an Angel. She used to slap my hands because she often caught me correcting my mistakes by ear rather than from the score.
I used to study piano in her living room, surrounded by the load of stray dogs she used to rescue. There was about a dozen dogs all laying and sitting around the piano. At the end of each lesson, the dogs used to gather in the kitchen when a TV program called 'Almanacco del giorno dopo' started. The opening score was a really lovely medieval song that somehow had them all hypnotised. They used to sit in front of the telly and wag the tails for the whole length of the song. It makes my eyes blurry remembering it. I still celebrate Elena's birthday every 12th December."
After three demos on tape, a track on the compilation 'Monitor Collection' on vinyl "Keep Running" and numerous reviews, Maeth finally comes to term with the fact that it's time to ditch a male stage name, as she was a rather curvy and passionate woman, especially after she had sex for the first time at 22 (about time!). Due to jealousy of one band member who became very hostile, she decided to leave 'Lovecraft's Dunwich' and founded 'Blooding Mask'. She is still very good friends with ex-band members Paolo Di Virgilio, Stefano Galderisi and Alessandro Nanna (the three bassists) and Alessandro Vitanza (drummer). So she finally took her middle name as a stage name and 'Maethelyiah' was born.
7th June 1992 is the official date Blooding Mask was born. Now comes the time when Maeth finally starts her own 100% project, and this time it was all about magic rituals and dreams translated into music. The picture on the right is the first photo shoot ever taken for the band.
The first album 'All the Colors of Death' was firstly released on MBR records (Germany) then later released on Apollyon Antiphone Records, then finally on I.A.P. UK. The second album 'What That Hollow Shows Through' was released on Apollyon Antiphone Records then on I.A.P. UK.
On the 31st October 1993 Maethelyiah gets married wearing a dark grey wedding dress and separates three years later after various episodes of horrendous domestic violence.
Her third novel 'Kyuh Jesse' was written in 1995 and completed on the 5th of May.
“It was a rainy day and I was going back home when I saw a shooting pine-seed on the ground and I found myself wondering of what could happen if an ancient spell could make it shoot in the stomach!!!” “I’ve written it in five days and it was instinctively written. Five days of full immersion in front of the old white typewriter!”
1992, the first Blooding Mask photosession (above)
Every time she plays a new song or writes a novel, she never goes out of the room where she is (except for physical needs!) and she says she becomes an animal, getting rather grumpy when interrupted! No phone or other distractions around, but only sheets of paper, the computer, musical instruments, some drinks, food and pillows: “If the house was tumbling down I’d rather find out after I’d finished working!”. She wrote her fourth novel “With Broken Wings” in September 1997 on holiday after being separated for a year. Maethelyiah was not feeling the need to restart playing music yet. The story is about a strange and mysterious relationship between a ghost, a pressman and his bewitched camera that can generate images from the future.
“This was inspired by a sad love story I was living. This ended with no regrets… and felt I needed a break from music. I was just singing as an opera singer. The musical director loved the fact that I am a 'Roxinian Soprano', it’s a rare kind of voice extension and coloratura. I was really happy and I became the soloist at the 'Polyphonic Choir Academy of S. Alfonso', after just one month!”. (The choir has continued activity since she left, under the current name of Roma Tre).
The picture above was shot after the audio movie 'The 5 Monsters' was recorded in London in 2010. Left to right, Anthony Townsend, Maethelyiah, Allan Allsopp, Jude East and David Bickerstaff.)
Her fifth novel 'The 5 Monsters' was also written in September 1997. She was clearly inspired by some painful chapter of the past and portrayed herself as one of the characters that were condemned to death in the story. It’s a dark and complicated tale where she can make you feel moment by moment what is going on inside the characters head until their last breath.
1998 was the year of 'Ajanuary Field', side project of 'Blooding Mask'. The same was for 'Perverse Spring', the first of two albums: this was the right time to start a new concept in music and literature with each novel having its own soundtrack. 'Perverse Spring' is a novel where a female sex maniac killer calls her victims by flower names. They are killed by the cutting off of each finger like flower petals whilst she’s singing “ He loves me? He loves me not?". She also featured in the censored short movie produced by Klaus Ebel, Mandragora E. in Gernamy. It was a surreal short movie censored only because of the clear referenced to the use of alkaloid drugs. She also restarted her radio show, at the time called "Rock Space", on local radio station RDM, until end of 1999. Then she left Rome.
"I was alone and hurt, like an animal who knows he's going to die. I spent some time alone writing and listening to the music. My only companion for a while was my gun. I slept at the Cemetery for a while. It was the only place in the world I felt safe. It was only me and the soul of the Dead. I was healing and I knew I had all the time in the world. Until one day I met one of my best friends and with her I came back to the world of the Alive. It was scary, abusive, difficult to deal with, it made me feel Dead most of the times, but somehow, I managed to rebuild my life around this, and got back on my own legs. I was ready to make music again, I was ready to change my life, I was ready to leave the country I was born. And so I left. From this strong frienship, I.A.P. UK started business, and a new planet entered my Universe."
December 2000 was the year of the novel “My Macabre Love Story”, partially inspired by a true story, partially from some things that happened in her own life, and it all started with the letter written at the beginning of the story.
“I ‘ve been inspired by my best male friend going missing. He left me a letter that he wanted to be published because he wanted to be part of what I do. I wrote the novel listening to 'The Fragile' by 'Nine Inch Nails' playing on a loop.”
She worked for a short while on National Italian TV channel Italia 1, for Studio Aperto, and interviewed several celebrities including Marilyn Manson, who became an influential friend at that time. In February 2001 she wrote “Underground” during one of her trips to the UK. It took about a week to complete, and is a murder/crime chiller with severe supernatural overtones.
After moving to Faenza, Genoa, Milan, Kassel, and then to Suffolk, Maethelyiah moves to Swindon where she stays from 2001 until 2012.
February 2001: Maeth interviewing Marilyn Manson on Italia 1, at the Principe di Savoia Hotel in Milan (above)
The third 'Blooding Mask' album "The 9 Pearls on the trail" was recorded just before the separation in 1996, under a very strained stressful time where she sustained multiple injuries.
It was finally released in 2003 on I.A.P. UK.
At the beginning of 2004, The second and last album of 'Ajanuary Field' was recorded with Ivan Flospergher at guitars and bass and Tury at drums, with Maeth at both keyboards and vocals. She also recorded a few tracks as a special guest with En Velours Noir.
She gets married for the second time on the 6th August 2004 wearing a golden John Lewis dress to writer Allan Allsopp.
In 2005 she adopts Fiore, a boxer cross girl and becomes a keen member of Dogs Trust. 2 years later she rescued Jazmin, another boxer cross, from an abusing neighbour.
In 2008 the fourth Blooding Mask album 'The 5 Monsters' was finally released on I.A.P. UK in a triangular CD case. After a few good reviews and a couple of video clips produced; 'The Cell' and 'Hooheii', Maethelyiah decides to recruit band members and give Blooding Mask a full live line up to start touring again.
Picture on the left:
The new Blooding Mask line up. Left to right: Diego, Fernando, Maeth and Roberto)
Long time friend Diego Banchero (Ex-Malombra, then working with Il Segno Del Comando and Egida Aurea), put himself forward as bass player, and arranger turning all the electronic score into a rock set, still keeping the obscure atmosphere. As absurd as it sounds, with Roberto Lucanato joining at guitars and Fernando Cherchi at drums, this was finally made possible, and the band was on tour in 2010 in the UK (The Most Haunted Tour), performing at several ghostly landmarks.
The Cell video was a true miracle. I was told that no music videos were allowed to be shot inside the circle of Stonehenge. I was told huge names were turned down. Still I didn't give up because I saw mu video made, in one of my visions. So I called The English Heritage and explained this, and was called back after a couple of days with a special authorisation to shoot the video. I was there at 8am and a couple of security guards were there. The spooky thing was that when I arrived, it was very foggy and I begun to wonder whether anything would be seen in video. Then, as soon as I entered the circle of stones, the sky opened and it was sunny! All the fog disappeared! I felt as if the stones formed a gate where the cold wind couldn't penetrate. My eyes were watering with emotion. I struggled to keep them open during the shoot. As soon as I left the circle, the clouds gathered up and it started to rain again. I felt incredibly high the whole day! All this was caught on camera".
In February 2010, she took part of the play "Don't ask", with theatrical company 'Theatrically Bent', a comedy group made up of gay actors. The play was directed by American Blake Cornish and performed in 55 Broadway in London. All the money raised went to support the National Aids Trust.
The cast included fabulous skilled actors, including Anthony Townsend, Ricky Gellissen and David Bickerstaff, (going on to feature in the new Dr Who series).
There were several celebrities attending, including actor William B. Davis (Cancerman from X-Files). She played the role of Dana Hay, a transexual artist with rather explicit manners, and also sang a couple of songs.
(Maethelyiah with Blake Cornish, picture on the right)
Still in 2010, Maeth became the Patron of the Italian National Calendar against anorexia and bulimia, and joined Simona Sessa's campaign that promotes natural curves. She impersonated Jessica Rabbit and posed for the 2010 calendar. She attended the red carpet event in Rome at the Ecclesiaste to promote the calendar, and the whole event was aired on national TV. (Piture below: Maeth posing for the event, portrayed by photographer Francesco Marinaro)
After briefly collaborating with a few bands, In January 2011, Maethelyiah was surfing Youtube because she was thinking about The Danse Society. For some reason she felt like looking for the band and found a Facebook page celebrating the band. She tried to get in touch with the band and was secretly approached in private after a few band members found out she was a singer. She was then informed that original singer Steve Rawlings had resigned, losing contact with the band after recording only one track since the reformation in late 2010. She was also informed that nearly the full album 'Change of Skin' was recorded and was resting inside a hard-drive in all its instrumental glory. So just to see what would happen, a few tracks were bounced between Maeth and the band.
"The first track I worked on was "Sinking". I immediately recognised the sound and felt they were finally back! It was a real shiver down my back. I knew something was going to happen.".
After 4 months of work, recording all the vocals and creating their melodies around the instrumental songs, Maethelyiah became the official lead singer of The Danse Society and kept the tradition that makes her a replacement of a male singer.
Picture on the left: The Danse Society: Maethelyiah, Paul Nash and David Whitaker.
Change of Skin was released in July 2011 by Society Records. On the 12th May Maethelyiah performed her first gig with The Danse Society in Leipzig at the Wave Gotik Treffen.
"Wave Gothik Treffen has been a wonderful experience. One minus point was due to the fact that the keyboards were coming out too low from the system, which gave a wrong metal accent to our music, but still I enjoyed the crowd and it was nice to see how emotional the band members were before the gig."
A re-release of "The Seduction" was recorded and a new video was released with it in 2012. The second album featuring her; 'Scarey Tales' was released in 2013 including 6 tracks, one of them was 'White Rabbit', a cover of the acclaimed song by Jefferson Airplane. 'White Rabbit' was then released on video with real time drawing by award winning artist Callum Nash.
Right picture: Maethelyiah performing with The Danse Society at Whitby Gothic Weekend in 2013. Image on the right courtesy of Evita Ozolina.
During the beginning of 2012, Maethelyiah joins Il Segno Del Comando, historic esoteric prog Italian band produced by Black Widow and featuring the same musicians as Blooding Mask, plus guests like Claudio Simonetti (Goblin- Dario Argento's Profondo rosso/Deep red) in the album 'Il Volto Verde'. A video was made for the track 'Chidher il Verde' that you can view here on the I.A.P. UK Channel.
She also recorded the vocals as special guest for Italian band Will'O'Wisp, featuring on the album Kosmo with the song 'Thoroughness of thought'.
Now engaged with guitarist Paul Nash, Maethelyiah moved to Scarborough in May 2012.
The Danse Society had a change of line up in February 2014, and Maethelyiah and the band have since been busy writing songs for the third album since the reformation.
A new version of Come Inside with The Danse Society featured as a main soundtrack of Italian film St@lker, directed by Luca tornatore, with actors like Ignazio Oliva, Anna Foglietta and Francesco Salvi. You can watch the official trailer here (in Italian).
(picture above: Maethelyiah performing at Whitby Gotic Weekend, by Mel Butler)
Maethelyiah has co-written and co-produced the new album of THE DANSE SOCIETY 'VI', out on Society Records Ltd in 300 limited edition copies on red vinyl in sept-december 2015.
She is also working on the new album of Blooding Mask and on various collaborations, including partner in crime Il Segno del Comando, GLOBAL CITIZEN whom she released a cover single of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES 'RED LIGHT' .
She campaigns to support victims of domestic violence and national and local dog rescues.
This biography was updated on the 24th March 2016.