Interview with Stream Of Passion

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. So, let’s get started:

Your experience with the “Embrace the Storm” album can be considered unique, since members of the band lived thousands of miles away from each other, so it was written over Internet. Now, looking back at that time, what kind of feeling do you have about this experience?

Johan van Stratum (bassplayer): All feelings about that period are positive, it was a truly wonderful time I have to say. Of course we didn’t do it the most common way, but it worked out perfectly. We had the situation for example at the beginning of our first tour, we had never ever seen each other, let alone played together. We had a rehearsal week before that tour and the first day was actually a “hey, who are you?” day. But once you start making music with motivated people, it doesn’t matter at all I can say.

How different was the journey behind writing and recording “The Flame Within”, compared to the first album?

Johan: Several songs from The Flame Within have actually been composed the same way. Our lead singer, Marcela Bovio, used to live in Mexico and she would mail us the ideas she had been working on. We would do our thing, also mostly at home, with it and send it back again. After Marcela moved to Holland it got way easier of course, though “mail writing” to call it, has always been important for us, also with The Flame Within.

Do you believe that the type of fans a band has generally reflects the character of the band itself? Is so, who is an average Stream of Passion fan? How close do you work with your official fan club?

Johan: Our music attracts many different kinds of people, so for that matter it does reflect the character of the band. The need to write for a certain group of people is something we do not have in mind. All band members have very different backgrounds, from black metal till jazz for that matter. We don’t feel limited by the borders people try to set for us, that would make the fun go away way too fast!

We try to work as close as possible with our fans all over the world. On the forum on our website for example, all band members also post and discuss stuff with fans. Also on communities like MySpace, we definitely try everything we can to stay in touch with people who like our music. I think many musicians underestimate the power of fans. To me it’s quite simple; you can have the best band in the world, but if your fans don’t truly support you, you won’t last long, that’s for sure.

What influences your composing process the most: music of other bands, fashion music trends in the metal music at a time, literature, personal experiences? Which of these factors, if any, helped shape “The Flame Within”?

Marcela: Personal experiences and emotions are the biggest source of inspiration for me, though from time to time I turn to literature for some inspiration as well. Musically what I like the most is to listen to as many different kinds of music as possible, and then let all those different influences combine to create something of our own.
Johan: Our goal with the music is to support the vocal lines from Marcela best possible. Sometimes that takes a metal riff, next time it takes a grand piano. In my opinion it’s all about the feeling that you try to get across. The passion, it has to be audible!

You have recently got a new drummer in the band. Was his adaptation quite rough or did it go smoothly, since it all happened too fast?

Johan: Indeed it happened all fast. Our previous drummer had the wonderful experience of becoming a dad and that had such an impact on his life, of course, that it was hard to combine it with the band and its ambitious plans. Luckily we found a killer replacement. Martijn Peters surprised us from rehearsal number one. We asked him to bring his drum kit into the studio, he said he would prepare 5 songs in 3 days basically, but the guy just had the whole setlist ready for stage!! He’s one of those people that fits in the SoP profile; motivated, willing to give it 110% at all times and very dedicated. I think we can say we found a more than worthy new drummer.

You have a very interesting cover for your new album. Can you talk more about it and especially about the significance of a nimbus-like circle with Roman numbers around Marcela’s head?

Johan: Concerning the artwork we worked with Gustavo Sazes, a very talented Brazilian graphic designer. We sent him some demos and talked about the feeling with the music, the background of the band and all the ideas we had in our heads for the artwork. He worked like a madman and within a few days he came up with the design. We took one look at it and everyone went like: “yes, this is it!”. The circle with Roman numbers I think everyone can interpret in his or her own way. We wanted the artwork to show Marcela in an iconic, powerful and modern way.
Also, maybe it was the clock ticking for SoP with all line-up changes, what was gonna happen? Some people didn’t believe in SoP anymore, but I think we proved them wrong…

How would you describe the new album in a few words?

Johan: Heavy, powerful, intense, passionate, live orientated and most of all fun to play.
Marcela: I think dramatic is a word that compliments that description really well!

Which song reflects the best the general mood of the new album? Any plans for recording new videos?

Johan: Songs like “The Art Of Loss”, “Now Or Never” and “My Leader” for me reflect the mood the best. They’re heavy and intense; I think you can hear the fun of playing in it as well.
Marcela: I agree with Johan’s choices here! We have been discussed some video plans, but nothing solid yet.

What do you listen to in your IPod while touring or traveling between shows?

Johan: Lots of stuff… but probably my favorite bands at the moment are bands like Muse, Alter Bridge, I still have a weakness for RATM, Testament (last Christmas I actually did a show with Chuck Billy, that was awesome!!), Incubus, KoRn. But when I take over the headphones from any other band member, you will hear totally different stuff, going from Tori Amos to Depeche Mode and beyond haha!  

Marcela: I’ve started putting my iPod on shuffle for a while now, so anything goes! From Loreena Mckennitt, Dead can Dance, Astor Piazzola to Slipknot, In Flames, My Dying Bride, Rammstein and everything in between.

After being without a label for a while, why Napalm Records became the label of your choice?

Johan: We had a very good co-operation with Inside Out, but the deal we had was for one album. We had a good talk with them and both came to the conclusion that they could not offer us what we wanted and vice versa. Napalm was actually the first label we talked to and they gave us a good feeling from the beginning. We sent them some demos for new songs and had some good talks with them and it felt good basically. They supported us along the way in making this new album and I think they can promote it in the right ways in the music scene.

How do you like to rest after a show? Do you party a lot or do you prefer a quiet evening that includes having a dinner, reading a book, and going to bed early?

Johan: Early unfortunately is a word that is not known to musicians haha! The shows we play usually end around 1 am, then the band hangs around in the backstage for a few minutes, after which we immediately go into the venue to talk to the people who were there. It’s nice to hear what they think of the music and of the show. Our fans are very loyal, some of them travel all around Europe to see us and you have to give those people something extra I think. Of course we drink our occasional beers but we’re not the band that parties till the sun comes up, though I’ve seen it come up hanging in the bus many times! After the talk with the audience, we hang out with our crew backstage, have a few drinks and then leave for mostly long drives home. It’s nice to be home, but it’s nicer to be on stage!

For singing members: How do you keep your voice strong? Do you take singing classes? How do you prepare your voice before a show?

Marcela: I’ve been taking classical singing lessons for around 7 years now; knowing the classical technique helps me keep in control of my voice and use the least effort possible to produce the best sound.  Before a show I usually warm up doing a few scales and a couple of arias, to remember where to “put the voice” and to relax a little bit; after this is all about staying focused and concentrated during the show.

Are you from any musicians in your family? Where is the passion for music coming from?

Johan: My family did not have any musicians at all, so they were surprised when I came home with my first bass guitar when I was 15. I was interested in music from an early age and when I saw bands on television perform, I always though “what a great feeling that must be” and luckily I was right.

Marcela: Not that many musicians in my family either.  I guess everything started when my godfather (who is a very talented classical musician)  suggested my parents to put me in music school from a very young age, because of all the benefits you can get from studying music. So I’ve always been learning music and have been around it; since I can remember I’ve had the urge to sing!

Thanks for the interview, any other things you guys want to add for our readers?

Johan: Thanks for reading this for starters. Keep up to date with us, we might be crashing your hometown soon! Be ready for the storm! Rock on!


Recent Image Galleries