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DATE OF INTERVIEW: 12th November 2019
METAL DISCOVERY: I thought it was kind of ironic that the final track on the album is the calmest, most mellow, yet it’s called ‘Storm’. Musically, it feels like the calm after the storm. A beautifully dark and atmospheric track. I gather it’s about the search for perfect harmony, between people and nature, and between people themselves, so do you conceive of that search being a stormy one, before being able to reach harmony?
LENA: Yes, absolutely. And that was ironic on purpose. I named that song ‘Storm’ on purpose because, sometimes, what’s going on inside our head and inside our body can’t be explained or described with words. And, sometimes, there’s like a hurricane inside but we can’t, or we are not allowed, or society blocks us from actually being honest and getting it all out. Now ‘Storm’ is a very important song for me because this continuous search between this balance between people; between people and nature… this balance is very hard to find. Very hard.
(Lena Scissorhands on Infected Rain's success and ever growing popularity peripheral to their home country)
"We are very proud, and we are not gonna stop here... Although we are the first rock band, metal band, that ever got signed in the history of Moldova."
Lena Scissorhands in her dressing room at The Ritz, Manchester, 12th November 2019
Photograph copyright © 2019 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
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Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
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Review + photos of Infected Rain @ The Ritz, Manchester, 12th Nov 2019:
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MD: Particularly in the twenty first century.
LENA: Absolutely. Especially between people, because people are buried in social media; people are buried in their own heads and, instead of waking up and actually seeing what’s happening around them and appreciating people that love them already, they are trying to be somebody else in order to be liked, which is so, so sad. I had to experience that with some of my loved ones. And that is where ‘Storm’ is because sometimes you are very close to people - significant other; family member; a friend - you’re so, so close but, in reality, you’re so far. They are physically here but they are not with you and not connecting, and that’s so, so sad.
MD: Do you choose whether to use your clean voice or growled delivery depending on what fits the music best, or what you think is the most effective way in which you want to convey particular messages in your lyrics?
LENA: I think both. I think both because, you know, I feel emotions through the screaming as much as I feel emotions through the singing, and not only when I do it but also with other bands that I’m just listening to. So, I choose it depending on what word I want to underline or what phrase I want to stand out. That’s pretty much how I choose it. Also, sometimes, I like to break people’s expectations and in a part where people will expect a melody, like singing, I will just go harsh and scream; or vice versa, with a really hard guitar riff, I will just go with a very mellow melody. I like to do that a lot.
MD: I guess a song like ‘Earth Mantra’, which is about people fucking up the planet, which you obviously feel very passionate and angry about, I can’t imagine a line like, “We are in anguish and lost in despair, poisoning our own food and air” sung cleanly; that needs to be screamed.
LENA: Yeah, absolutely. So it definitely depends on the words and the phrase that I want to underline.
MD: Listening to the album, from start to finish, is quite an intense emotional journey - you know, to really immerse yourself in it. It feels like I’ve been taken on a big emotional rollercoaster each time I listen all the way through. And it seems that you always give a 100% in your vocal performances at shows from the live videos I’ve seen, so does it prove to be an emotionally exhausting experience for you?
LENA: Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes, I need time after the show; it happens to me at the end of the show that I will cry. A lot of people say, “Yeah, that’s a girly thing”… whatever…
MD: It’s a human thing.
LENA: It is. Sometimes, it’s very hard. Sometimes, it is, especially if I’m really feeling certain emotions. Like, right now, and I’m singing a song that I wrote two years ago or three years ago, and I’m like, “What the fuck is wrong with me? I’m here again.” And then it makes me just… I’m very critical with myself; I’m constantly harsh with myself. I want to learn from my own experiences, but sometimes I don’t. I know it’s a human thing but I get hurt because of that, so that makes me cry; that makes me emotionally drained. Obviously, I need a moment after the show. But I get my shit together, go shower, go out and just talk to fans and get some hugs and everything is better.
MD: Marvellous.
LENA: Absolutely.
MD: Now you have the deal with Napalm after releasing your previous three albums independently, do you feel everything’s starting to click perfectly into place for Infected Rain? A masterpiece with ‘Endorphin’; bigger support tours; wider attention in the press…and so on…
LENA: Absolutely, and thank you for putting the question this way because a lot of people are like, “Okay, this album is like that because of Napalm.” Not really, because…
MD: I gather you wrote the album before you got the deal…
LENA: Yeah, thank you. Thank you, that’s the reality. Not many people know that we were almost ready to release the album… we were going to release it in the spring, before we knew that we were gonna sign. But Napalm was very, very insistent and, I’ve got to say, Napalm were one of the first labels that contacted us, like four years ago. We were not ready for it and I think they were not ready for us, either. But, when we arrived at the point we need more people on board, we need somebody that loves us the way we are and just wants to bring us to another level that will help our fans to find our CDs in the local stores, or will help us to get more press or more shows, that’s all we want because we want to play shows, you know.
So, basically, Napalm is on board and I can definitely see a lot going on because of that, and I am very thankful because everybody in the team is very supportive. And they never wanted to change us; they never wanted to make us be somebody else. They will always suggest how to make it better; they will suggest maybe what is the better step in order to promote what we already did, because we are not businessmen. You know, we tried to be for ten years and we did a good job, but obviously we need professional people on board, so I’m very thankful we are with Napalm.
MD: Yeah, they’re a legendary label. Finally then, I gather there aren’t too many opportunities in Moldova for alternative bands, so does it fill you with a great sense of pride that you’ve made such a success of Infected Rain outside of your home country?
LENA: Very. We are very proud, and we are not gonna stop here, though. Although we are the first rock band, metal band, that ever got signed in the history of Moldova.
MD: Oh, wow.
LENA: Yes, we are the first one. And today is the first time we play in the UK. The first time!
MD: Oh, seriously? I didn’t know this.
LENA: We’re so excited!
MD: My experience of music from Moldova is very limited, I have to say. I watch the Eurovision Song Contest, a guilty pleasure of mine, and hear Moldovan music then, but I guess that’s not always necessarily a good representation of music from your country…
LENA: No, we do have a lot of good musicians, a lot of good people. They tried and they still are but, unfortunately, not yet… I don’t know… somehow, the routine takes over - family, kids, work. And, somehow, not many, unfortunately, so far, went far. But I get a lot of younger musicians asking us for suggestions - you know, “How did you do this?”, and, “What should we do here?” And we are very open; we try to help out if we can.
MD: Have you set goals for the future, for how far you want to take this?
LENA: Oh, as far as possible!
MD: Well, with ‘Endorphin’ and the Napalm deal, and looking at what’s happening in the scene right now with certain other bands becoming big, I think you’re going to be massive!
LENA: Thank you so much! Thank you, that’s the plan! Conquer the world!
MD: Heeeey!
LENA: [Laughs]
MD: Thank you so much.
LENA: Thank you, it was a pleasure.