On the 25th of May, Delain played a concert at Hedon, in their home town of Zwolle. Their opening band was no other than Stream of Passion, the Dutch female-fronted metal band, led by the Mexican-born Marcela Bovio.
Unlike other artists, Marcela insists on spending as much time as possible with her fans, to the point that right after her concert, before she and her band even had time to change, she went directly to the merch stand to meet them, sign their CDs and have pictures taken.
After Delain started to play, things got considerably slower, so Marcela and I went backstage to have do this interview.
Below is the edited transcript, and at the end of the page you can see the original video recording of the interview.
Metal Blast: Hi Marcela; we know that you’re probably exhausted from the show, so thanks a lot for the interview.
Marcela: It’s ok; it’s great to be here.
MB: Besides the typical “Female Fronted Metal”; how would you classify Stream of Passion?
M:Well, it’s easy to put it in the “Gothic Metal” category, since there’s a lot of people that use it to describe any metal that is fronted by a woman. I think that, especially in our last album, where we tried to include some progressive and even Latin elements…. it’s not so easy to put a label on it. It’s something between gothic and progressive metal.
MB: Arjen Lucassen started the band, and then passed the torch to you. Do you ever receive (or ask for) any input from him when you work in a new song or album?
M: Not really; he doesn’t collaborate in the writing any more. We do like to stop by, pay him a visit, and have him listen what we’ve done; and it’s of course nice to have his approval because, so far, he has always been enthusiastic about the stuff that we do… which is always nice to hear.
B: Stream of Passion suffers a problem that’s very common nowadays, namely that all the members live in different parts of the country. How do you deal with the writing and rehearsing?
M: Well, I take the lead on most of the writing; also, most of the time we all work based on an idea and the arrangements in a way that it’s almost done, so that when we get together we just rehearse it and work on the details.
We don’t need to get together all that often; it’s only on the final stages of the arrangements of the songs that we get together.
MB: Your band is becoming more and more popular, to the point that it’s well known even in parts of the world where you haven’t toured at all. As your fame increases, has it become difficult to keep up with the demands from your music and your daytime jobs?
M: Well, so far it has been doable, but it becomes difficult when you wish you had more time to devote to everything. A job demands certain things and, well, after your work hours you wish you could do something more. With the band it’s the same, we devote as much time as we can to it, but we wish we could dedicate more time to it in order to make it better, write music faster, and stuff like that.
MB: You will soon release your new album, “Darker Days”. How is it different from your previous works?
M: Well, I think it’s really different!
We started the writing process with the idea of diversifying our music style as much as possible. We started from a very different point of view; when we wrote “The Flame Within” we wanted to make an album that was energetic and live-oriented; now our objective was different, we wanted to take things from different musical styles in order to expand our horizons. Now we have more influences from progressive music, alternative music…even Latin music! We have a song that has a part inspired by a tango rhythm, something inspired by Mexican folk music and a lot of Spanish lyrics.
We really tried to make it very different and very unique. I think that that’s definitely the reason why you should buy it.
MB: In “Darker Days”, three songs deal with current social issues: “Reborn”, about drug cartels in Mexico, and “The Scarlet Mark” and “The World is Ours”, about current developments in the Middle East and Arab nations. What made you want to write about these subjects?
M:The whole conflict that is now going on in Mexico, and the fact that it’s so close to the people that I know and the places that I’ve been to… It’s so close to me, you know? I know that this is stuff that has been happening around the world for years and years, but now it feels really personal, and like I have to say something. It was kind of a way to also try to create some awareness about the whole thing.
For me it was a thing that I couldn’t pass by, I couldn’t simply not say anything about it. You’d think that it’s not important, that it can do all that much, but I think that the influence that musicians can have on the youth,on the way they think, and possibly change the future, it’s definitely really important.
MB: You recently moved to Holland. Did this change affect your writing in any way?
M: Well, the experience of moving from Mexico to Holland really influenced me. I didn’t even realize that it was going to be so different, not only because of the people and the country, but also the weather… that in the winter the days are so short and the nights are excruciatingly long; I didn’t even realize that it was going to have such a big impact on my mood! After the winter I actually felt incredibly depressed.
I think that that’s also the reason why, overall, the album came a little bit darker, a bit doomier; because of that. It’s really funny because you’d never expect it, but it does affect the way you feel… a lot!
MB: This year you’ll participate in the Female Metal Voices Fest, in Belgium. How do you feel about the moniker “Female fronted metal band”, as opposed to simply “Metal Band”?
M: Well, I think that it’s a curse and a blessing at the same time. It’s a setup that a lot of people like. There’s a very big chance that if someone likes a certain female fronted metal band, they’ll probably like other bands like that; and you see that in this festival in Belgium.
There’s a lot of people that simply like heavy music that is fronted by a woman, so in that sense it is kind of a genre, even though the bands don’t necessarily have that much to do with each other.
MB: Speaking about female fronted bands; sometimes fans get a bit obsessed with the singers. Have you had any uncomfortable experiences with a fan?
M: Not really. We do have some really crazy fans, but in a sweet way. We have people that have come to like over 40 of our shows, and they’re really sweet, since they bring us all kinds of presents! They bring a whole bunch of flowers, beer (because we love beer) and chocolates (because we love chocolates). So we end up with a dressing room filled with cookies and candies and things like that.
It’s lovely! So far, nothing crazy.
MB: I’m living here in the Netherlands too, and one of the weirdest things for me was to get used to ride a bike everywhere. I’ve had a couple of accidents, especially in the winter when the roads are icy. Have you fallen off your bike already?
M: Well… I’m seriously chickenshit. I tried it once, almost two years ago, and I did fall… like a really stupid fall at zero kilometers per hour, when I was just standing still and fell to the side. After that I totally quit, and I didn’t get on a bike for the longest time.
I’m proud of myself now, since I’ve finally mastered and, at least, I can go somewhere with the bike.
MB: Wait… you didn’t know how to ride a bike?
M: Well, I learned when I was about 11 years old, and never used it again, because the city where I come from, Monterrey, is a city with a lot of hills and no bicycle roads whatsoever, so if you get on a bike you’ll possibly get killed or ran over by a car. So I had totally forgotten it and had to re-learn it all over again.
MB: You’ve played in Mexico, however, you haven’t toured the rest of Latin America. Do you have any plans to do it in the near future?
M: We hope so, we’re really waiting for it. We’ve heard all kinds of beautiful things about Chile, Argentina and, of course, Mexico… the people there are great, and we get all kinds of messages through the Internet like “Please come to South America”, so we would really love to. We hope we have a chance to do it.
B: ¿Algún mensaje para tus fans en América Latina?
M: Sí. Saludos a todos, esperamos verlos muy pronto por allá. tenemos muchas ganas de irlos a visitar, también esperamos que disfruten mucho Darker Days… y ¡ojalá nos podamos ver pronto!