There are few musicians out there that can match the charm and sheer enthusiasm of Stream Of Passion’s Marcela Bovio. ThisIsNotAScene contacted her in order the discuss the band’s latest album, the hardships of being a musician and the finer details of how to organise a successful pledge campaign.
Recently the band played a sold-out album release show at the Bibelot in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. How was the experience for you?
It was a great experience. We brought in a lot of extra props, smoke machines and a massive light show for this show to really celebrate the release of “A War Of Our Own”. We also played an extended set. Our regular sound and light people also work at the Bibelot and they spent a lot of time putting everything together. We also used our old backdrop and just before the show it went down to signify a new era for Stream Of Passion. All in all it was a one of those magical evenings.
“A War Of Our Own” is quite a heavy and dark album, especially for symphonic metal standards. To which extent was this a deliberate choice?
It’s something that kind of happened when we wrote the songs for the album. I really like to write music with lots of emotion and melancholic undertones. Whenever I write new songs it always comes out like that. It also fits the subjects which are touched upon in the lyrics. The subject matter is quite heavy and we in the band went through a lot of up and downs before the album saw the light of day. All those elements found their way in the music and that’s something you’ll when listening to our new a record.
The lyrics are also very personal. Can you shed some light on this?
Our music is quite heavy and dark and I like to reflect that in our lyrics. So I searched for some matching themes and subjects. One the songs is dedicated to the daughter of someone who was close to the band. She died from a form of cancer only three years old. I was really touched by the sheer randomness of the whole situation and the incredible grief it caused. A couple of other songs are about the ongoing drug war and all the misery it brings in Mexico, the country I originally came from. I really felt the need to speak out and I hope it will do some good.
‘The Curse” is about the duality for artists between expressing their emotions through their art one side and their fear to share too much. How do you cope with this yourself?
The song is partly about that yes, but I’m not afraid to express my feelings and emotions anymore. My lyrics used to way more cryptic and concealed in the past, but I don’t feel the need to hide what I want to say any longer. It’s important for me to be sincere in the things that I do and the music and lyrics that I write. There’s a certainly duality when you create art. It’s very fulfilling to connect with your audience through your music, but sometimes the sacrifices you have to make as a musician can be quite overwhelming. There are times when I think the balance between those two sides is gone. Being a musician in a band like Stream Of Passion puts quite a strain on your private life and it can be difficult to maintain meaningful relationships with friends and family. Not everyone understands the notion that you have to perform each weekend and that you’re away for long periods of time. I’m lucky in that regard, but that’s the price you pay for playing in a band.
With the personal nature of your lyrics in mind do you find it troublesome at times to share those emotions and thoughts with your audience?
It can be, but once the lyrics are written down and the songs are recorded it’s a sort of closure for me and it enables me to move on. Sometimes singing certain songs can trigger an emotional response, but it doesn’t come in the way of me delivering said song in a live setting. When you feel a certain emotion while singing a certain song it only helps to strengthen the overall experience for me.
Daniel Cardoso (Anathema) also contributed some material for the new record. What did he write and would you like to with him again on future Stream Of Passion releases?
We wrote the title track for our new album and it was a great experience to have an outsider’s perspective on things. It was really refreshing for to work with him and I really liked the pieces he wrote, so perhaps we’ll see more of Daniel’s work on future Stream Of Passion albums.
Producer Joost van den Broek played a pivotal on the new record and he’s member of the writing team behind the band pretty much from day one. What did he bring the new album?
Joost really knows how to bring the best out of musicians because of his contagious enthusiasm. He’s really close friend to the band. Johan (bassist) and him know each other from their kindergarten days, so that is saying a lot. He really understands what makes us ticks. When Johan and I come up with an idea for a song he instinctively knows in which direction we want to go. He also has a keen understanding of what a song needs, be it with Epica, ReVamp of Elle Bandita. He really knows how to facilitate the bands and artists he works with.
Over the years Stream Of Passion developed a style of its own which the fans cherish. How do you manage to find a way to meet their expectations and fulfill your own artistic ambitions at the same time?
In all honesty it’s something I don’t think too much about. Whatever I try to write it always comes out in the trademark Stream Of Passion style. On the new album I wanted to incorporate some more progressive rock influences and try to push that as much as possible, yet for some reason it worked really within the band’s musical framework. The fans really love the progressive undertones on some of our new material. It’s just the way I write music I suppose. That’s the best I can say about it.
“A War Of Our Own” is entirely financed by crowd funding. How was the whole experience for you?
At first it was quite a daunting prospect, but we didn’t know we could pull the whole crowd funding thing off. What if no one would care about us, than the whole thing would fall flat on its face. I could worry about this forever. Fortunately, our fan base really embraced the project and before we knew it we reached our campaign goal. It also brought the band and fans closer together, which is a great thing in my book. The fans really felt they were a part of the whole process and that’s simply golden. It’s not only about raising enough money, but it’s also about strengthening the bond between the band and its audience. That’s something no record label can accomplish, so using crowd funding for future releases is a viable option for us as a band.
A lot of bands tap into the crowd funding phenomenon, but do you think its works for every band?
To really make this work you need to have a clearly defined fan base as a band. Throughout the years we toured a lot and we did a lot of gigs, so because of that we managed to build up a loyal fan base. It takes time and a lot of effort before you reach that stage, so I don’t think crowd funding is something for emerging bands. Organising such a campaign is a lot of work, so you need to hire people who can manage this for you. It really depends whether on the size of said band whether is a financial viable option. I think being signed to a record label can do a lot of good for younger up and coming bands.
Originally Stream Of Passion started out as a project between Arjen Lucassen and yourself after you contributed vocals to Ayreon’s “The Human Equation” album. What if Arjen calls you one day and he asked whether you’re interested in doing another project with him, would do you it?
Of course! I would do it in a heart beat. I really love and admire Arjen and it would be an honour for me to work with him again.
Finally, you went through a lot of struggles with Stream Of Passion and you have to sacrifice a lot for it. What motivates you to keep going on despite all this?
I cannot live without Stream Of Passion. I would become very depressed if I’m not able to perform on stage, write new music and connect with people through our music. I could try something else of course, but it wouldn’t give me the same kind of satisfaction and fulfillment.