Marcela Bovio is the singer for the Gothic Progressive Hard Rock band Stream Of Passion. The group was formed by Arjen Lucassen’s who “discovered” Ms. Bovio after she submitted her demo to him over the Internet. The submission was to be a part of his composition, the amazing release by Ayreon “The Human Equation”. Shortly after the albums release, Lucassen contacted Bovio about a new and different kind of group that would be geared more towards her style of singing as opposed to the levels of Progressive Metal and the result would be the extraordinary debut by Stream Of Passion, “Embrace The Storm”. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I was able to “talk” to Marcela about her musical origins, her thoughts on the recorded work and plans for the future. Below is our conversation.
PiercingMetal: Marcela I guess the best place to start would be at the beginning. Tell me about your earliest musical experience and what made you decide to become a singer.
Marcela: I don’t think I recall my first musical experience exactly, I know that ever since I can remember I’ve enjoyed singing. When I was very little I started taking music lessons, and when I was on my teens I started singing with bands and stuff like that; that’s when it actually hit me that I wanted to become a singer.
PiercingMetal: I’ve read that you had a band called Elfonia but I don’t know much about them beyond the descriptions of it being a group that had levels of Atmospheric Rock. Tell us a little about them and if we shall hear anything more from this group in the future.
Marcela: There is definitely a lot of atmospheric rock influence in Elfonía’s music, but also a lot of experimental and progressive rock stuff in there; so we end up just calling it progressive rock actually. The band started in 2002 and we’ve released two albums: Elfonía (2003) and This sonic landscape (2005). We’re currently in a standby status, because we’re all working on different musical projects; but we never know what the future will bring!
PiercingMetal: What is the music scene actually like where you were raised. How easy or difficult is it to get noticed in the industry. Is there a lot of competition that you see?
Marcela: Definitely. I think to get yourself noticed in the music world is hard no matter where you live; you either write music with little commercial possibilities and you struggle in the underground scene or you have to compete with a lot of bands and artists in the commercial medium. But unfortunately there are a lot of alternatives to get your music noticed nowadays with the Internet, and because of that advantage you can get to know a lot of different musical styles and bands all over the world. The thing I like the most about the Mexican scene actually is how varied and vast the scene is.
PiercingMetal: Moving a little forward in your career, how did you happen to hear of Arjen Lucassens’s quest for a singer for his next Ayreon project, “The Human Equation”? Were you acquainted with the guitarist and his work at the time, or did some others direct you to try your luck at submitting the demo of your singing.
Marcela: I knew of Ayreon and Arjen’s music, but it was a friend of mine who told me that there was a competition going on his website and suggested I sent a CD. I myself never try that kind of thing to be honest, but now I’m so very glad I did!
PiercingMetal: What thoughts went through your head when you found out that you had been selected to work on the album as result of the Internet submission?
Marcela: Well I was of course incredibly excited, but I also immediately panicked! I knew that I had to do my best to be on the same level that a lot of very experienced and talented singers; so I worked very hard to improve myself as much as I could for the recording sessions.
PiercingMetal: “The Human Equation” was a pretty unique album even for Arjen. What were your thoughts on this dramatic play set to Progressive Hard Rock? You were as much singing as you were performing an acting role. Do you have any interesting experiences that you would like to share about this?
Marcela: Well it was just really amazing for me to see Arjen at work. How he is able to put this ambitious and incredibly complex album together from pieces and collaborations from so many musicians and singers; he can picture it all in his mind, it’s really something. And yes, I definitely tried to put myself on the role of the Wife while recording; it was something I’d never done before, it was fun!
PiercingMetal: Once “The Human Equation” was released and had been absorbed by the Progressive Metal community, how fast did the idea to form the group Stream Of Passion come about?
Marcela: I think Arjen wrote me an e-mail with the idea of working on something new together only a couple of months after the album was released. You can imagine of course how excited I was with the idea!
PiercingMetal: Stream Of Passion is a very different type of band from those that have been devised by Lucassen. He seemed to focus his energy on you as a performer with it most specifically. How easy or hard was it to first compose the material that you would build into this album and for that matter what was the recording process like with so many of the members being scattered about the globe.
Marcela: It was definitely a challenge; of course I wanted to do my very best having all that freedom to take the songs wherever I wanted with the melodies, so I experimented a lot. But once we knew where the music was actually heading everything was easy, in spite that we all recorded separately. With Arjen orchestrating everything and putting all our recordings together it went smoothly.
PiercingMetal: The sound of Stream Of Passion leans more to the Gothic Hard Rock side than to a Progressive Power Metal angle that we enjoy from Aryeon. Was there an initial concern as to how the end results would be received by the fans he had originally?
Marcela: We didn’t think about it much actually. How the music turned out to be was just the result of combining the ideas we all had, so I guess because we weren’t actually aiming to fill in a specific genre at first that didn’t worry us much.
PiercingMetal: Based on your very deep and well thought out lyrical content on the “Embrace The Storm” album, I was wondering what might be the spark that inspires you to come up with it all. Care to share with us some of your insight on the creative process? I also wonder if the album fulfilled everyone’s expectations when you sat down and heard the final mix. Would you have changed anything?
Marcela: I get my inspiration mostly from what I’m going through at the moment I write the lyrics; it’s just really easy for me to use my own emotions for that. But I also sometimes get inspired by things I see or read somewhere. For me it was really exciting to hear the final mix for the first time, I’m really pleased with how the album came out. Maybe knowing what the music would turn out to be, and how the band would interact live we would’ve made things different; most likely heavier, hehe.
PiercingMetal: As a singer filling the role you do in essentially a “female fronted Hard Rock band”, as many are apt to label it, who did you want to reach with this music and what was the fan demographic that you were hoping the CD would appeal to. What made you come to this conclusion or what bands fan base should turn their interest to Stream Of Passion.
Marcela: I think there’s actually a very defined audience for female fronted hard rock music actually, we knew of course that the CD would appeal to those people. We also thought there could be a lot of progressive rock fans interested, with Arjen’s influence in the music.
PiercingMetal: Tell me a little about the touring you did with the group, any special memories and how was the reaction to the music in the live sense. Did you enjoy being able to bring some of the classic Ayreon music to life as well?
Marcela: Oh I certainly did! It was a very special experience; I think none of us expected this band, with members coming from different parts of the world, to connect and “click” in the way we did. From the first rehearsals we could feel that it would go very well, and from the moment we all stood together on stage we felt this amazing energy flowing around. It was just fantastic! Performing the Ayreon songs was such a treat, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to sing “Valley of the queens” or “Into the black hole” live with Arjen himself…
PiercingMetal: Did you enjoy the chance to document one of the performances on a live DVD so soon after the debut record was released. Share with me some thoughts on the production of this release.
Marcela: I was a bit stressed about the live recording at first, because I’m a perfectionist and I will never be fully satisfied with my performance. But after going on stage I almost immediately forgot about it and just had a great time as usual; the band vibe was as great as ever and the audience was very enthousiastic so it felt great. The production was super as well, D’Images did a great job; we had lots of cameras so there’s a lot of movement, and combined with Arjen’s mixing skills it just couldn’t go wrong.
PiercingMetal: How did you like the chance to perform some Aryeon and Star One material at these concerts in addition to your own songs?
Marcela: It was very fun to do. We had to make a lot of changes to the songs for them to adapt to the SoP setting, and I really enjoyed that process.
PiercingMetal: I enjoyed watching this DVD very much. It is what I consider a “consistent” piece, meaning that it is easy to watch from beginning to end and you are not moved to skip around or bypass any moments. Have you received a lot of praise on this, and from this praise what are the potentials of a worldwide tour for SoP – I am hoping that you will come to the US as I am positive that an audience is here for you. Does such a prospect interest you?
Marcela: Of course! I love performing live, and I sure hope we get the chance to keep doing it for as long as possible. We have definitely received a lot of good comments on the DVD, and although there are no plans to go to the US yet I would definitely love to do some shows over there. It gets difficult with all the traveling needed, but hey hope never dies!
PiercingMetal: If the band can tour again soon, who do you see as the perfect pair of bands to go out on the road with, in case they are reading this interview, Ha-ha.
Marcela: Wow, I have no idea, haha! Well, I know the guys from The Gathering and After Forever, so it would be fun to do some shows with them. Although it could be a weird combination perhaps hehe.
PiercingMetal: On the more personal side, what else do you enjoy doing. Do you have any hobbies or other interests that you want to tell about?
Marcela: Nothing extraordinary I think. I like spending time with my friends, have a few beers and talk nonsense, hehe. I also work with computers so I spend a lot of time behind my laptop, developing software, browsing the Internet and chatting.
PiercingMetal: Musically who does Marcela Bovio find added inspiration from (favorite singers and bands). Also what is in your CD player at this moment, how about your DVD player?
Marcela: I love Muse, The 3rd and the Mortal, Rammstein, Keane, Pink Floyd, Pat Metheny, Richard Bona; as for singers I’ve been definitely influenced by Ann-Mari Edvardsen, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Lisa Gerrard, Kate Bush, Anneke van Giersbergen. On my CD player right now I have The Like, Katatonia, Keane and Muse. And on my DVD player I have Rammstein, Muse, Star One and some excersise videos hehe.
PiercingMetal: I used the phrase “female fronted Hard Rock” earlier, and that was because the past couple of years have seen some amazing level of female presence in bands that are defining music history. We have some notables like Tarja Turunen (former of Nightwish), Simone Simons (Epica), Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering) and Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy). How does it feel to be joining such an esteemed company in today’s Music Scene. What are your thoughts on such a high number of such personalities across the wide genre scope that we see.
Marcela: Well for me it’s a huge honor to be considered as part of that group of very talented women. It makes me very proud to see how every day you can find more women doing amazing things in the music world.
PiercingMetal: Similar to my earlier question about who inspires you, I wonder if you find yourself providing some inspiration to others. We did see your sister Diana singing on the DVD, so that is pretty much a given that she finds you inspirational. Do you have any words for women who are pursuing music today on how best to accomplish the goal and reach for the brass ring of success.
Marcela: I think the best advice I can give is: never stop learning, always find ways to improve yourself and be a better musician. And of course never stop dreaming!
PiercingMetal: What are your plans for the future, do you have any surprises that you can share with us about what is coming next.
Marcela: Well there’s a new project I just started to work in with some musicians from my home town. The music is totally different from what I’ve done so far, I’m really excited about it!
PiercingMetal: Is there anything else that you would like to say to the readers?
Marcela: Thank you for your support! I sure hope we get the chance to meet at a show somewhere!
PiercingMetal: Thanks very much for your time, I wish you the best of success with this group and all of your musical adventures going forward.
Marcela: Much appreciated! Thank you for this interview =)
Marcela can be heard best on the Stream Of Passion debut release “Embrace The Storm” and her passionate voice showcased in the live sense on the CD/DVD Release “Live In The Real World”. If you are a fan of beautiful melody and a Prog-Goth tinged groove then you will really enjoy this band. Marcela is also one of the players on Ayreon’s “The Human Equation” and the deluxe remaster of “The Final Experiment”. Be sure to check them out and read our reviews of these releases elsewhere in the site.