Formed in Moldova in 2008, metalcore quintet, Infected Rain returned to the road at the end of 2021 touring the US with their friends in Butcher Babies. The tour comes at the end of a busy period for the band as they ready themselves for the release of their fifth album, Ecdysis through Napalm Records on January 7, 2022.
Ahead of the release of the album, V13 sat down with vocalist Lena Scissorhands to talk about the challenges the band have faced over the last two years, some of the themes inspiring the songs on the new record and, given the meaning behind the title of the new record, to get Lena’s thoughts on how the world will have changed coming out of the pandemic.
Hi, Lena. How are you doing?
Lena Scissorhands: “Yeah, I’m good. How are you doing?”
Great, thank you. Thanks for your time…
“No, thank you for having me.”
No, absolutely. I really appreciate your time. So, how is life at the moment?
“Very good. I just came back from my friend Heidi from Butcher Babies home. We had a livestream. It was really nice because we actually did our very nice stretching for the livestream. So I feel excellent.”
So you’re all refreshed and ready to go?
Brilliant. So, you recently did a livestream and documentary. How did that go?
“Actually, I want to correct you as that wasn’t really a livestream it was pre-recorded. We never positioned it really like a livestream. I know that’s what the majority of the bands are doing but, unfortunately, we were not able to do something similar because we live in different countries. So, it was a documentary and a show dedicated to our anniversary. I think it went absolutely amazing. Even better than we expected. It was loved and cherished by our fans and by newer listeners that we have. So yeah, I loved it.”
There was a documentary as well. What was it like going back over your history? I believe Infected Rain are now coming up to 15 years?
“It’s 13 years, exactly.”
As a musician, especially a metal musician, how does it feel talking about that?
“It was really interesting to go down in the history and dig deeper in the memory about certain situations that I had kind of forgotten about. Also, my boys brought up things and vice versa. We filmed it all separately on separate days so we didn’t sit down all together and agree on what we’re going to talk about. Just general ideas, general themes, but not into detail about them. It was actually very interesting even for me to watch and to hear their point of view, what they think, or remember about certain situations.
Also, it was very emotional because, obviously, we’ve had so many ups and downs in our career, which I’m sure a lot of bands do but I’m very proud of Infected Rain, and I’m proud of us sticking together. I’m proud of us for never giving up and continuing doing what we love, no matter the difficulties because certain situations you encounter during a tour or during your career, can bring you down to the point where you’re wondering why am I even doing this? I’m so very proud that it never broke us maybe even brought us closer in a way?”
Why do you think that is? Why do you think you’ve managed to get through the difficulties as a band, where many other bands have walked away and just said enough is enough?
“I think what it is, at least I can speak only from my own perspective, the love of music is just so strong and being on stage is so rewarding. So, no matter what the difficulties, we get that prize in the end, and it’s addicting. We are addicted to this feeling and we want it in our lives for as long as possible because we love it so much. Trust me, it comes with a very heavy price, a very high price in the industry. Some of us lost significant others and partners in life. Some of us lost jobs, and some of us lost friends. Also, not many people stick around because we’re always gone. We’re always on the road.”
Well, that leads to my next question. You talked about the difficulties and what you’ve been through as a band over the 13 years and something you mentioned right at the very beginning about you being in different countries. How difficult has that made the last 18 months particularly or how challenging? As you said, a lot of bands have been able to do like webcasts and livestreams to keep going…
“Yes, we weren’t able to do those things together but we were able to do other things that we never were able to do before. Also, we were lucky that, you know, it’s been a while since I’ve been doing this lifestyle of travelling all the time for work. I live in America and have for the past six years, almost and my band is in Moldova where we started the band. I was familiar already to consider the time difference. When we work together we always consider these things like travel. All that happened with the pandemic, what changed was that we couldn’t travel so we did more things online and remotely and I think we did great, because we already were familiar with this kind of routine and this kind of way of working. It was just a longer time.
So, actually, we were able to invest a lot of time into learning new things which was really good., you know, so I guess, in a way, COVID also has positive things, as well. It’s not just all the negatives. Obviously, the negatives are very strong for everybody but we learned to cope with it and learn how to find maybe different approaches and different ways to do to make this happen, you know?”
Thankfully things started to get back to normal and you ended the year touring with your friends in Butcher Babies. How did that go?
“It was awesome, perfect timing and the American tour was really great, for many reasons. The main reason, obviously, finally getting back to what we love and touring in general. Secondly, we really have been trying so hard to tour North America for a very good amount of time but it wasn’t really all that easy because we were an independent band for so long. Also, just all the paperwork, the Visa’s required, everything was just so difficult to have. Then the pandemic happened almost right away after we signed and that was supposed to be the first year we would tour places that we couldn’t while we were independent. Touring with Butcher Babies was a lot of fun because we know each other at least me, I am friends with Heidi and Henry. It was so nice to actually have friends in this industry as both bands haven’t toured for a while so we had to figure things out and we helped each other out.”
It’s a great way to end the year and you are starting next year with the new record. First of all, the singles I’ve heard so far are excellent. One thing I read about the album, though, was you described it as a new chapter for the band. How much of it was inspired by what you have been through in the last two years?
“Absolutely it was. I wouldn’t say it’s a new chapter completely. I would say it’s maybe a new beginning, hopefully, a better one with this better world, you know? It was inspired by what was going on in the world for the past two years and what was going on with people on the planet with nature, with society in general. Everything influenced really. I have some pretty in-your-face lyrics on this album for sure.”
Plenty of bands have said that, over the last two years, the break gave them, even though it was forced, a chance to recharge and look at new ideas and things. Was that a big part of the shape of this new record than having that break?
“Well, yes, we did have a break but also we worked so hard. In fact, right now we are finally showing the fruits of that time. We already released two music videos and we are about to release our next music video. In January, we release the album with another music video and, just like we mentioned, we just released the documentary and the show. Plus, there’s so much more to come. We did so much. We worked hard. Basically, we just didn’t tour but we worked harder than before actually, because normally when a band tour so much, it’s so difficult to find time to film anything, or do anything, you have to actually take time off. For sure, the time off was forced on us but we just looked at what we could do instead.”
Do you think that, if you had been touring, things like the documentary would have happened?
“Possibly, possibly, but we would have had to wait. We would have had to pause the touring seasons. We actually had this idea of a documentary for our 10th anniversary but we couldn’t make it. So that’s why we did it now.”
Moving onto the new record then and the title of the album Ecdysis/ It is a word that relates to the shedding of old skin. How does that relate to the music on the album, the lyrics and the situation the band has been in?
“Ecdysis, in general, is a metamorphosis. I know it’s a word mainly used in science. It also explains it for bugs or animals specifically. The best example I love to bring up is a cocoon becoming a butterfly. Something almost dead and hopeless becoming so beautiful. That’s what we tried to do because of the times we live in, something so depressing, something so bad for everybody, for people, for the planet, for the animals, a lot was going on. Not just the pandemic either. Riots, fires, wars, so much was going on. The whole of humanity is going through something very serious but not just humanity, but the planet itself. That’s why we wanted to connect it a little bit with the name. Everything that we talk about on this album is very cathartic. It’s very powerful.
I just know a lot of people will be able to relate to it because a lot of people lost loved ones. A lot of people lost jobs. A lot of people lost houses. A lot of people went through very difficult family and relationship situations. We were all forced to change our lifestyle. Also, people are not used to being around each other so much so they can’t cope to be around and vice versa. Also, it worked actually better for some people in their relationships because they finally had time to listen to each other and see each other for who they are. It was definitely a big change for everybody so I think this album is going to speak for a lot of people.”
Could you talk about some of the themes you’ve discussed on the album?
“Absolutely. I have, I think, exactly three songs that are specifically dedicated to what was happening in the world globally. ‘The Realm of Chaos’, ‘Everlasting Lethargy’, and I want to say ‘Longing’. The other ones are more personal and more about the stuff that I just mentioned when it comes to relationships with people and who and how we let them control us or vice versa, change us and who we let into our own house, which is our brain, our emotion, our inner world.”
I wanted to ask about the song ‘These Walls’ specifically and what inspired it?
“Given what it’s been like over the last two years, a lot of people have been trapped within the four walls so ‘These Walls’ is actually a very strong song for me. It’s definitely a reminder to myself because I’m doing these mistakes over and over again with many people. It’s about our house, not the physical house we live in, it’s our inner world. Our personality and who and how we let change things around the way they want, which we shouldn’t do. We love our closest people so much that we just let them do that sometimes subconsciously. The song has really strong words, like it says, ‘Take your shoes off, you’re in my house. There’s no dirt here, no more lies, all the little things here, they mean everything.’
They are the true shape of an extinct reality and by extinct reality, I mean our past which really is something we have to always accept. I write about that a lot in my music and my lyrics. Our past makes us who we are, and no matter how tragic, difficult, challenging, depressing or positive our past was, it shapes us into who we are. We have to accept it. Don’t forget about your past. Don’t bottle it in and act like it’s water under the bridge. Yes, water under the bridge is perfect but don’t dwell on your past. Don’t blame your past for who you are. Yeah, you’ve been through shit so you should be better. Do you know what I mean? Let the past teach you instead. Don’t blame your past for who you are. Learn from your past and be proud of the person you are. Because you’ve been through something? These are pretty much the messages. There are more depressing themes with certain songs like ‘Showers’, for example, which talks very strongly about the fear of abandonment and abandonment in general. How does that feel? It’s something very close to me and something that I felt in my own skin.”
What about the opening song on the album ‘Port Mortem Part 1’? When I read the press release that came with the single it said it’s about constant search, and never being truly happy. Is that inspired by the band or the feeling within the band?
“Not at all. Actually, it’s inspired by, in my case, it was a specific person in my life. I’m sure that, including you, you either know someone who is or are friends with someone that is constantly unhappy with what they have. They are never happy, they want more and more and more and they forget that what they already have is important like the people that surround you. I think maybe it is because of the era we live in that the internet is so big and social media shows so much to people and people want to be somebody else or want to have what somebody else has. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about something, it’s not about that. Don’t overstep. Don’t walk on the hands of people that love you just to achieve something that you think is better, or that you think will make you happier.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned before it, it was something that was happening to a person very dear to me at the time and it was breaking my heart to see how lost this person was and how everything mattered more. He is not the only one though. Values are so wrong nowadays in the society we live in and it breaks my heart but I believe that everybody can change and I believe that everybody can learn and that’s why I keep writing about it. Also, hopefully, it helps me remember that as well because we are all human beings. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes every day. I punish myself for them because I just do them over and over again but, for some, I learned from them. It takes time. It takes concentration, but mainly it takes awareness and that’s what I invite people to learn is awareness.”
How is the song connected to ‘Post Mortem Pt 2’ which closes the album?
“Actually it’s one theme. It’s just we wanted to bring people back to the mood from the beginning of the album. It is continuous. It’s just one story but it would have been a super-long song.”
One of the other things on the album is the visual side of the songs. Is that something you planned as part of the whole package when you were writing the album?
“Yes, but we have done since day number one with the first music video that we filmed for the song, ‘Judgemental Trap’. Our first big single. We took it so seriously, always tried to be as cinematic as possible and film it properly and act properly as if we are the main actors. We want to make sure we don’t save on something that needs to be done better. We always cared about visuals. I believe we have around 20 music videos so far. Every single music video we took seriously even if it’s just visuals and doesn’t have a story. Even if it’s just the band performing and doesn’t have a story. The way we film it, the light, the details, we definitely always put a lot of effort in. We love it just as much as recording music.”
With some of the things you’ve talked about on the new record that gives you scope to do some quite dramatic videos. Have you thought about visuals for a live show?
“We did talk about it and we will try to make some of the things happen. However, when you go on tour, it’s not always possible to bring with you everything. If it’s big, it needs different transportation, sometimes it needs extra people on tour, so it’s not always possible. Depending on the tour I believe that, as soon as the world is going to get back to something relatively normal and we forget about this plague that is still a big threat, even now, could we be able to think about going bigger and hiring more people and having a bigger crew. Nowadays, you have to be smart about it because the more people go on tour nowadays, the more risk that someone can get sick and everybody else can get sick. We have to be super smart about every single move nowadays. So, yes, of course, we want visuals as it is so important but we are limited at the moment.”
One thing you said earlier is that our values are wrong. How do you hope people will change as we start to return to some normality?
“I hope people have had enough time to sit down and think about certain things and rethink certain choices in life. I hope they think about the planet in a different way because, and some of you guys might hate me right now for what I’m going to say, but all this is our fault. We contribute to the planet being so sick. We contribute the pollution to this poisoning but we can change this. We can change this and it’s so easy. We only have to change our ways. It’s not that drastic. It’s so much easier.
Use certain things instead of plastic and also recycle. Be very mindful about what you buy in stores. Don’t overconsume. Don’t throw away things. Donate them and shit like that. It’s so easy to do and it will make a big difference. I’m not saying everybody should have my diet. I’ve been vegan for the past six years, and I’m super happy about it but I will never be here saying you have to be vegan or else. I encourage people. I encourage them, it’s awesome. I just feel like my approach is a little bit different. I just encourage people to be a little bit more mindful. Even with my own family, my mother, it will change your health, you will live longer. If you want to, just change a couple of habits in your life.”
I totally agree with you. On that note, just to finish that, what are your plans for 2022 other than the release of Ecdysis?
“We are going on tour in February with the band Dagoba from France. We are trying to include some UK shows. In general, we are trying to actually tour everywhere next year. The plans are there but we don’t want to say anything yet as we don’t want to break anybody’s heart by building up expectations because of what is happening in the world. We will start with the new album then some more music videos are going to come out in February. Then we go on tour in Europe then, hopefully, right after, in America again. Hopefully, that will include even Canada, and then Summer festivals and maybe we will include some places we have never been to. We are eager to go back to what we love. That’s pretty much our plan. We have a lot more to give to people. More music videos and stuff.”
That sounds like, if all goes to plan, there are plenty of exciting times ahead for you and the band. Just to finish, have you got any message for fans just to wrap this up?
“Actually, I want to invite everybody to support the bands they love. In January we release the album so I invite you all to give it an extra listen because it’s a very, very specific album. Don’t just give it one listen, listen over and over again and again and again.”
Perfect, thanks for taking the time to talk to us…
“Thank you so much for having me.”