Infected Rain – Delivering Honest EmotionsSunday, 27th October 2019
Slowly building themselves up as a band over the course of three independent releases, Infected Rain was beginning to see the fruits of their hard labor pay off on their own. All the more reason that they decided to jump aboard with Napalm Records for their most recent effort, Endorphin. Given the band’s combination of hard hitting grooves, atmospheric melodies, and a strong lyrical sense from vocalist Lena Scissorhands, they are primed to jump to the next step – having the capacity to really connect with the metal community and beyond.
What’s the secret? As we discussed with Scissorhands herself, it’s nothing complicated – just a matter of hard work and having a genuine, honest message. We also spoke about her concerns for the environment, cultivating the band’s identity, and attention to details both musically and visually.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you compare Endorphin to your previous releases?
Lena Scissorhands: I think Endorphin is a different level, a different step in our career, but still very connected to what we have done before. It’s still Infected Rain, but probably a bit more mature and a bit more subtle as to what we want to say or how we want to sound. That is because we grew as people, I feel like we grew as musicians and how we want to sound, as well as our personalities in general. I’ve very proud of how this album came out, and I really think it’s exactly what we want to be, and exactly we want to sound.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve reached that point where you have the main identity of the band figured out.
Scissorhands: I think so, yes. I definitely want to think so – it’s been many years [coming]. We worked independently for so long. Even when writing Endorphin we were still independent. We signed when we already had the material ready. I feel like all of these years of self-learning, making mistakes and learning from them, the experiences with fans and promoters, and people that wanted to help us or people who actually used us – all of these ups and downs that we have had as musicians, or separately as individuals, all of that gave us this background and experience. We were now able to bring all of that to this record.
Dead Rhetoric: You were on your own for a while, what do you feel worked best in spreading the word about the band before signing with a label?
Scissorhands: All we did was try to promote ourselves through social media and trying to play as many shows as possible and visit as many countries as we could, which was super challenging considering that Infected Rain comes from a very small and very poor country in Eastern Europe [Moldova]. A country without many possibilities, particularly for the younger generation – especially for those doing art, and metal in general. No one really believes that people will do that in the alternative scene – it’s looked at as something temporary that you will grow out of.
It’s been very challenging, but we never gave up. We worked very hard, and thanks to people that believed in us from the beginning or somewhere in the middle of our career – the band’s first show was in 2008. Since then, we released three albums independently. This is album number four – all of those people who were with us during that time and believed in us/supported us – I feel so lucky, and I think we have the greatest fans ever. I am very, very proud to have them, and I’m very excited to give them more of our art and our music, and us as people. That’s pretty much what we did, in order to be noticed, and in order to be heard.
Dead Rhetoric: As you mentioned, what do you feel that you learned by doing all of things as a band?
Scissorhands: Many things – I feel like we learned how to share, we learned how to be open, we learned how to be humble. We learned how to share our art with people. The biggest thing that we learned was there could be no us, without our fans. That’s for sure – 100%!
Dead Rhetoric: Given your success independently, what made it the right time to sign with a label like Napalm?
Scissorhands: Napalm was actually one of the first record labels that actually started contacting us, about four years ago. We did have a lot of other offers after that, and a lot of interesting people that wanted to get on board as managers or promoters or booking agencies. But for some reason, it never felt right, until the beginning of this year when we started talking more seriously about it.
We got overwhelmed by work, and we felt like this was the time when we needed to accept more people on board who want the same things and are on the same page as us. Out of all of those interested, Napalm was the only one who didn’t want to change anything in Infected Rain. They always loved us for who we are, and what we do. They only wanted to help bring us to another level, and spread the word. That’s why they won!
Dead Rhetoric: Coming back to that band identity we discussed, what do you feel makes Infected Rain stand out?
Scissorhands: I don’t really like to say that we are super unique. There are so many unique and amazing bands that we share the stage with, or we just listen to as big fans. I think that we can be on the same level with a lot of them because of how sincere our feelings are and we want to try to deliver emotions. Whoever comes to our show, even if they aren’t really into metal music, they leave the show with a lot of positive emotions and they end up really enjoying what they are seeing and listening to. That’s amazing, and that’s the biggest goal. I think the best quality of Infected Rain as a band is the emotions that we give to people. We are really simple people too, we like to connect with our crowd, our fans, and our listeners who just maybe heard us for the first time. We are always very welcoming all the time.
I know a lot of bands do the same thing, which is why I don’t think that we are this super-unique, one of a kind band in the world, but we are definitely doing what we would like other bands that we are fans of to do. I listen to so much music, different genres too. I want to believe – I don’t know them all personally, but I know a lot due to the musical career that we have built with Infected Rain, and most of them turn out to be super-simple and down to earth people. That’s exactly what I want an Infected Rain, or random listener, to comment about us. To say how down to earth, and cool/mellow that I am, or anybody else in the band is.
Dead Rhetoric: It’s funny that you mention the non-metal fan. I’ve been working on a review and I actually mentioned in it that I think that with your sound, you can cross-pollinate a bit with that group.
Scissorhands: Thank you so much. I think it’s because we are trying not to be just closed in this one box or one genre, with rules and definitions. We just try to write what comes from our heart, and we compose without considering any rules. We just want to be real and sincere. It has to come from the heart right away. That’s why you will find songs that are so different, with different melodies and some being much heavier or softer than others.
Dead Rhetoric: There’s a lot of work that is done visually for Infected Rain, and you’ve done plenty of music videos that stand out quite a bit. What’s your thought process in approaching them?
Scissorhands: For us, music videos are really important. Nowadays, people send a lot of time online and on social media. It’s very important to have something pleasant in what you are hearing, as well as what you are seeing. I will be honest, whenever we are working on editing a music video, and we have the raw version of it, for the band to see and approve/make changes. The trick I do is turning off the sound. If the visual makes me feel, and makes me have goosebumps, then it is perfect [laughs]. It’s something that I like to do, because the visuals are so important.
I love movies, and I see them a lot. I see the artistic part of it, the story, and there are so many things behind a movie. That’s what I want people to see, and everybody in the band wants the listeners to feel and to pay attention to what we have done. To see a look, or a perspective/point of view that the cameraman while they were filming a scene. The details are so important. That’s why that you will see that all of our music videos, since the beginning, have had a story behind them, or they are just really pleasant to watch.
Dead Rhetoric: Going along with that aspect, how much of the band’s visual aspects stem from your work as a hair and make-up artist?
Scissorhands: We don’t built the music videos around that, but when we have the idea, that’s when I sit down and try to create my looks. I create my own looks, my make-up and my hair, and very oftentimes even my costumes. Sometimes I do collaborate with other people, for many reasons – either because they are absolutely amazing artists, or because I share my ideas with them and they come up with something even more amazing. So it all depends, but 90% of the time, it’s all from my sketches and looks that I create myself. But we don’t create a video based upon my look, its vice-versa. It’s always been about the meaning, the feeling, and the visual – then I add the little accessories to it.
Dead Rhetoric: You released the video for “The Earth Mantra” a little while ago, which has a pretty big message to it. What worries you about the planet currently?
Scissorhands: Not only at the moment – it’s been a few years, especially for me. It’s not a secret that I started to eat vegan about four years ago. That’s when I started to become a little more aware about the environment, and more awake about what is going on in the world with our planet. I started noticing how much of a difference I have with my health, just by changing what I eat. If you start to pay attention to the environment and the place that you live in, every detail matters. It’s our home, and we are breathing in toxins from all of the garbage that is around us. It’s pathetic, because that’s our fault. Animals are dying and becoming extinct, and global warming is mostly due to human beings. Obviously, it’s not a matter of doing things for a few years. It’s been like that forever.
Lately, I’ve become more sensitive about it and I’m trying to be more aware of it. I also have my own YouTube channel, where I did an episode just sharing little tips about what I am doing in order to be better for the planet and environment – I feel like if everybody could just do a little bit, it will help out a lot. I had relatives that died from incurable illnesses growing up, and I understand right now that it is only because of the way that people eat, and their lifestyle. The way that people treat their home, our planet. That’s the reason for these illnesses, and it’s super sad. Not only are we killing the beautiful Earth, but we are killing ourselves.
Dead Rhetoric: I commend you 100%. I teach science and talk ecology each year, so I bring a bit of doom & gloom into it but try to put a little hope in there as well.
Scissorhands: Absolutely – unfortunately kids nowadays, they still don’t understand and they don’t know what is happening. I would love to know that teachers and parents start bringing that up to kids while they are still young, and they can realize that. I feel like a person who is more open-minded and compassionate, even if you don’t change your diet, but you are more aware of the garbage and plastic that you are using. The overuse of everything in the world – we just buy, use, and throw away too much. There’s too much of everything. If we could try our best to be better and teach the next generation to notice that, then the following generation is going to be even more awake and prepared. They will be more compassionate.
Dead Rhetoric: Moving away from the deeper topics – I saw that you are a Disney fan. What song would you be curious to give the Infected Rain treatment to if you could?
Scissorhands: I do love a song from Moana, it’s a very cool song when Moana realized who the demon is. That’s very curious because it’s connected to the theme we just talked about. It was actually the Earth that was dying, that was the demon. When she’s saying, “I can see you right now and I know your name,” right now I am getting goosebumps [laughs]. That would be a song that I would love to try to make a cover of, I just connect to it so, so much.
Dead Rhetoric: Going back to the emotions of the band, where do you get your lyrical inspirations from to draw out those emotions?
Scissorhands: Everywhere, literally. I started writing poems where and there in different languages from the time that I was 14. It became my own way of expressing myself, my own therapy in a way. When I have a bit of frustration, or I need to get it out of my system, I write it down. To this day, I use old fashioned notebooks and jot them down. Sometimes that becomes inspiration for the lyrics of a song, or it’s just there, waiting for an idea. It’s like a little diary. All of those things are connected to what I am going through, what I’m feeling, to people that are around me, situations that are around me – that’s why you can feel so many shades of emotions in Infected Rain songs, even since the beginning.
We have love songs, we have songs about frustration or anger, or songs that are more global, or more specific like about addiction. It’s because I write about everything that I am feeling. Some of them are a little stronger feelings, or I unfortunately cross these feelings over and over again because we are human beings and we do make mistakes a few times before we learn. So I write about everything that surrounds me, so I am inspired by everything.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s the plan for Infected Rain as we venture towards 2020?
Scissorhands: We are going to end up this year with the release of the new record, and a massive autumn tour that will cover 20 different European countries. We will be supporting Eluveitie and Lacuna Coil, which is super exciting. With that huge push with the new record and that big, big tour, we are hoping that next year is going to bring us to places that we have not been before, such as the United States. That’s our main goal – to play in areas that we haven’t had the opportunity to yet. Other than that, we just want to share our music to as many people as we can. We want to do what we love and never stop. We promise to do that as much as we can.