Background To Article:
Interview with INFECTED RAIN – Lena Scissorhands, singer and songwriter of the Moldovan metal band.
In a very honest and interesting interview held at the Garage in Glasgow, she chats about her lyrics, the English language, substance abuse, being on a major label, passport problems and singer Pink! Fascinating, charming and always interesting, she was a joy to interview. So grab a cuppa and dive into this informative chat…
We started by both apologizing for our use of English. (She did amazing in understanding my Scottish accent). And having a laugh as I tried to make sure my phone was recording.
The Actual INFECTED RAIN – Lena Scissorhands Interview:
TC: Can I start by asking about the background of yourself and the band on behalf of readers that will be reading about you for the first time? Going all the way back to 2008?
Lena: We actually started in the fall of 2007. We started, just fooling around, rehearsing, playing. I have always been around like friends and musicians and I was invited by a former guitar player and at the time there was also a DJ in the band. They were just fooling around, there was no actual band, it was just a couple of friends having fun. The DJ invited me to try and sing some covers with them. They were doing some electronic, interesting versions, covers of some cool metal bands and for fun, I was like “Fuck yeah! Why not?” you know?
I did it a few times and the DJ was very encouraging and he suggested that I go see a teacher, someone that would help me to as he said: “learn to use that voice!” So he planted the seed in my head and I got excited. I hadn’t done music before and I was like “why not?”
It was little by little that things got serious and I started to apply my lyrics to the melodies. I had been writing poems here and there in different languages (I kind of went “WOW” as I only speak English) so it felt very natural to sing my own lyrics. Obviously, at the beginning it was more tricky as not being a musician made me (pauses to find right words) confront certain problems that I never knew, like how to attach the words to a melody, how to make the words work with the music.
I was very lucky to have my boys, my musicians helping me, guiding me, especially on the first album! On the second album, there are more of my vocal melodies, by the third and fourth it is fully my melodies for the vocals. This is how it started. We also started to invite other musicians, started playing shows and we just loved it so much we never wanted to stop, we never will.
INFECTED RAIN – Lena Scissorhands – About The Lyrics:
TC: That’s cool, thank you. One thing I wanted to ask you because I really like your lyrics. (She politely and humbly says “thank you” at this). They are intelligent, your turn of phrase, the composition are interesting and enjoyable. (She interjected saying how much she appreciated comments like that from an English speaker). So I wonder, do Moldovan schools teach English? Did you learn mostly from there or did you learn from songs or tv?
Lena: Em yes and no. In the Eastern European part of the globe we are, I feel, taught English way earlier than maybe some other places, like in elementary school, but is not THAT serious, one class a week which for me became 2 a week. I fell in love with English, I found out early that I was pretty good at languages even from when I was small. I come from a diverse family, my father is Armenian, my mum half Romanian half Greek. In Moldova, we speak 2 languages Romanian and Russian so yes plenty of language from an early age.
I really liked English for a number of reasons, but the main one was when I started to listen to a lot of different music, especially metal, alternative or underground music it was all in English. I wanted to know or understand what they were singing about so myself and a good friend from school, a close friend who also loved the English language spent time learning. Also, I did languages at university and around 5 years ago I moved to the US and that helped with my pronunciation especially. Also things like movies have helped.
Writing, in general, is something I have always loved, it is like my therapy, I like to put all my emotions down on paper. I often go back and change one word to another, or add some metaphors or I discover some new words here and there and I get excited about them and want to put them in my lyrics somehow. That is pretty much my technique when it comes to lyrics, but thanks for your compliment.
Addictions Create Lyrics:
TC: When it comes to lyrics you deal with some dark subjects like family problems, alcohol abuse etc. I wonder, and you don’t need to answer if it encroaches too much, how much of your writing is from a personal view compared to general observation of the world around?
Lena: I write about many things, most of the lyrics are based on my own life experience, you know, in my own surroundings, especially when talking about substance abuse as I have seen it with loved ones. I have never had problems personally with alcohol or other drugs. I feel my only addictions are coffee and the stage (laughs). However, unfortunately, I have been around people who are ruining their lives through various substances and I have lost very close people because of being addicted to certain things (at this point she pauses to capture the words she wanted to use) … it hurt me very much, to lose them, to see that they do not recognize their addictions so I feel I need to write about it.
I have seen more and more with alcohol in friends and family. It is super painful to lose loved ones to addictions, where they live in a fairy tale world where they think everything is going to be alright if they just drown themselves in drink, gambling or other types of drugs you know? So yeah everything I write is connected to my own life.
TC: Maybe that is another reason the songs come over so well. Being personal. These things touch you so you can fully share it with others?
Lena: Absolutely yeah. That is my recipe, my little secret. This is how it is easier for me to write and how it is easier for me to deliver. It is also why when I am asked about doing some covers it is very difficult. I have to be able to relate to the lyrics as well as the music otherwise I would feel like it is fake. Even if I could do a great job vocal wise I just feel I wouldn’t be able to deliver as good as the actual artist that wrote the lyrics. Obviously, I listen to a lot of music and there are certain artists that can touch me so deep and I can relate to that and I could definitely try to do a cover that I could deliver as I felt the same as the writer.
Thoughts On Songs To Potentially Cover:
TC: Who would you say that fits that feeling?
Lena: I don’t know, eh, when we talk about even something like pop musicians, like, I, I am a huge fan of Pink for example. She is a very strong woman and a very strong singer and has been through a lot in her life and some of her lyrics are very connected to me. For example “Family Portrait” is one of her songs I really like. I remember as a kid and saw her on MTV doing that and I couldn’t stop crying because I was going through the same stuff, or in metal, alternative music something like Nirvana. He had a lot of really touching interesting lyrics, it is really difficult to imagine what he was going through.
TC: Interesting, so quite a wide variety lyrically. Musically though do you all bring different styles or genres into the mix? Your music is a right hotchpotch of styles
Lena: Yes and no! It is mostly due to that we all listen to so much music. Our main songwriter (Vidick) is very open-minded, he loves electronic, rap, hip hop, everything that is done well he has on his playlist! That gives him such a great starting point when it comes to writing. Not everything is written by him but he is the main songwriter music wise.
TC: This is your first time in the UK I believe
Lena: (excitedly) YES! We were in Manchester yesterday our first ever UK show so we are no longer virgins here anymore (starts laughing)
Tale Of The Missing Guitarist:
TC: Is it due to being on a major label now (they are now on Napalm Records) that you are able to play new places like here? The band self-promoted prior to that, weren’t you?
Lena: Yes, I feel like, unfortunately, that just like other Eastern European countries that we are still em, limited for travelling, you know needing visas and other forms of paperwork, in certain countries we need a lot of that. Places like the UK, US, Australia and even in Asia we need lots of paperwork. We have been independent for so long and have toured a lot, a LOT, but we couldn’t get all the paperwork needed ourselves. Now we are signed with a major we have a lot of people on our team, a good booking agent, a good tour manager, everybody on board to make sure that we are making it happen in new places.
It does cost us a lot of money and a lot of stress though. We only got our passports for this whilst already on tour elsewhere. It was stressful. In fact, one of our guitarists didn’t get his passport on time and so isn’t with us for the UK dates. He was approved for his visa but his passport went missing. Sad he isn’t with us. Things like that can happen. I mean what if it had been our drummer? What if it was ME? (Laughs at that statement) Can you imagine though? We would have had to pull out of his leg of the tour. Not everything is always in our power. But being on the label has helped.
At this point, we had a general chinwag as she needed to prepare for a very early onstage start.
Final Thoughts And Thanks to INFECTED RAIN – Lena Scissorhands:
A huge thanks to PTO Promotions for setting up the interview. And of course, Lena herself who was very kind and gracious in her meeting with me. It was also funny how quick she realized she was talking to a Luddite. So she ended up checking we were actually recording and took the photo of us together. Possibly for speed and possibly because she wasn’t sure I would point it right! Made me laugh when she did that! Was a real pleasure to meet her. On behalf of CGCM, I wish both her and the band all the very best for the future.
Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Tom Cornell
Email Me at: Tom Cornell