DATE OF INTERVIEW: 2nd September 2019
METAL DISCOVERY: For your 2017 album, ‘Memories’, you decided to record a whole load of covers from metal bands any beyond. Were these all songs that you’ve felt a particular emotional attachment to over the years? Were they very personal to you?
AURA: It’s a mix made by all members of the band. Favourite songs and iconic songs; that’s why it’s called ‘Memories’. If you ask me where it takes me to listen to Doro Pesch’s ‘All We Are’, I’ll tell you I was in a bar at fourteen years old, I was drinking my first half of beer with my cousin and we were sharing the beer because we didn’t have money, and maybe a cigarette later. And it was an introduction into the heavy metal world for myself. Then, for the guys, it’s Mihai with Maiden, for example. So we all have our stories for these songs and it takes them somewhere; listening to ‘Breaking the Law’ or ‘Zombie’ from The Cranberries.
(Aura Danciulescu on apparel improvisation when losing her stage clothes during the Tarja Turunen tour)
"I took a t-shirt from the merchandise. It was an XL t-shirt so I just cut it and made a dress. And...I borrowed a belt from the merchandise girl."
PART 3 BELOW
PART 3 ABOVE
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2019 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Official Scarlet Aura Website:
Thanks to Iris Bernotat for offering and arranging the interview
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MD: Was ‘Zombie’ one of your memories?
MD: I think you’ve really captured the emotional power of the song in your version.
AURA: You’ve listened to it?
AURA: Ah, you should listen to it live.
MD: I think the song’s become even more emotionally powerful since Dolores’ passing last year.
AURA: On our YouTube channel, we’ve put up a live show and it was exactly a few days after she died. We were on tour with Rhapsody and this was the reason we added ‘Zombie’ on the setlist. When I was a kid, in the second or third grade, every time my mother woke me up to go to school, we had the same songs on TV. It was Meat Loaf, it was Phil Collins, it was the same songs… every morning. And this was one of them. I remember, I was on automatic pilot and my mother tried to wake me up and make me get dressed for school, and yeah…
MD: I was at The Cranberries’ final ever show, in London, in 2017, and it reduced me to tears at times, by the beauty of the music and Dolores’ voice.
AURA: Her voice was unique.
MD: Exactly. What’s the last show you went to that made you cry? We all have emotional experiences at shows, I guess.
AURA: Motörhead. I think it was four years ago. I’m not crying at bands because I’m analysing what they’re doing; how they’re moving; how they sound; what they do… things like that.
MD: Sometimes, though, the music makes you overcome with emotion?
AURA: With Motörhead and with Lemmy, I just surrendered and was crying like a kid. And I cried again when we were on tour with Tarja Turunen in 2016. We released the first album under the name Scarlet Aura, ‘Falling Sky’, at the last show in Vienna. All the band were on the balcony and we were looking at her show and it was the last show so we were all crying like we were looking at a drama movie! It was out first tour with a big artist; it was our first tour that cemented our beliefs, all our values, on everything we wanted to do. And we were so professional. The entire Tarja management and crew, and herself, said about us that we were the most professional band they ever toured with. And that was great because it was our first tour.
MD: I read something about that tour where there was an incident where you lost all your stage clothes, and you had to borrow t-shirts and all sorts of stuff?
AURA: No, I took a t-shirt from the merchandise. It was an XL t-shirt so I just cut it and made a dress. And you’re right, I borrowed a belt from the merchandise girl.
MD: Were you reunited with your clothes at some point?
AURA: Yeah. It was just an idiot thing. Like, we are all tired on tour and when you get your luggage out the back of the car, you get them all but, sometimes, you miss one, and they missed mine! [Laughs] And a guy from the store next to the Nightline took my bag into the store so no one would take it. And, when everything finished and the show finished, I went into the store and I thought maybe someone saw it; maybe we left it here. And, “It’s yours?”… “Yes, it’s mine.”
MD: It happens to everyone at some point, I guess. I remember it happened to Devin Townsend a few years ago when he lost his suit and had to wear a t-shirt for his set at a festival.
AURA: It’s a test.
MD: So, what does the remainder of 2019 hold for Scarlet Aura, and any plans for 2020 yet, beyond the release of the new album? Has it been recorded yet?
AURA: Yes, it’s recorded, and we’ve worked out everything for the third album for the trilogy - we have the name; we have the cover; we have everything. Our publicist and manager don’t keep up with us with everything we do. They keep telling us, “Please, one album every two years.” That’s impossible - when it’s ready, we’ll release it. So we have a new album at the beginning to 2020 and we will have a tour in April, which we’ll talk more about at a certain point, but it’s in Europe and it has a lot of dates, so it’s gonna be great.
MD: And that’s another big support tour or a headline tour?
AURA: No, it’s not a headline tour; it’s a support tour. We tried a headline tour two years ago and it was not that much of what we expected. So that was good, also, as we had to learn to accept reality and calculate better the point we’re at. You really need a professional crew with you to work with promoters with bookers and things like that, and that needs time. You need to convince people to do the things with you. But we are still young and not everyone knows our songs and things like that. But we are on a good path and it’s really good fun to be supporters with less responsibilities because you introduce yourself and no one has that many expectations from you.
MD: And it’s a challenge to win over another band’s fans.
AURA: Exactly, it’s a challenge and you have to work for it.
MD: Do you find people are less engaged at the start but they’re all clapping along by the end?
AURA: I love doing that. By the middle of the first song, it has to happen, and it’s amazing. Then, when you’re an older band, you always have to do more to convince more. So we are in a really sweet spot as a band, and I really enjoy it and I’m going with the ride, and I don’t want time to pass to be there on top yet; I want to take it step by step and enjoy every second of it.
MD: The wise way! Finally then, if there’s one overriding message people take away from their experience of Scarlet Aura and your music, what do you hope it would be?
AURA: If they’ll take something out of Scarlet Aura as an experience?
MD: Yeah, from a gig or listening to one of your albums or reading a book…
AURA: They should do all of them! Because, you know, we don’t read that much. So, read a book, it’s not complicated; it’s friendly; it’s easy to be read because it’s not written by an English native writer, right. So it’s easy English for everyone and it’s funny. Then, when you get to the lyrics, go and listen to the songs and get more deep into the story and just enjoy. Go with the ride and go with the flow.
MD: I guess it’s a book with a soundtrack because you can read the book while listening to the album.
AURA: Yes, exactly. And then think at the end that this is a fucking Romanian band and how did that happen? Who knows, it just came from nowhere.
MD: You’re doing something right, obviously!
AURA: This must be the reason because, otherwise, I can’t explain.
MD: It’s your positivity.
AURA: Yeah, we really love what we do and we are happy, blessed and lucky to work with people who love what they do. Like SOTO is doing now, like Tarja is doing, like Angra, like Rhapsody… it was their farewell shows and then, the last show in Madrid, I said, “I’m waiting for Rhapsody to rise again”, and look at them; they’ve risen again.
MD: Yeah, with two different versions on the go.
AURA: There can be ten versions because their music is amazing and I’m just happy to have them back on stage! I think, in the end, it’s like every job you’re doing because this is our workplace, this is our job, and to be honest with what you’re doing, and do this thing as long as you like and enjoy it. Once you don’t like it or enjoy it, do something else.
MD: Good closing words!
MD: Thank you so much.
AURA: Thank you, thank you.