Interview With Lena Scissorhands
Shannon W - What drew you to metal in the beginning?
Lena Scissorhands - “Well started listening to metal music when I was a kid. It was just something that spoke to me on a different level and the messages were way more powerful and emotional. I could only listen to or watch what was on MTV as a kid because they played a lot of alternative music. Little by little I started getting more curious about it and I started listening to a lot of music that was given to me by other friends, musicians, and metalheads. That’s how I developed a love for metal music. In terms of being an artist or musician, it was an accident honestly. I mean I probably would’ve never started if it wasn’t for metal. But I had a lot of musician friends and they told me to try and sing and film some covers. Little by little I loved it more and more. I loved the challenge. It felt very real to me and it still does.”
Shannon - You started Infected Rain 12 years ago. Can you talk about your journey from 2008 to 2020?
Lena Scissorhands - “We could talk about it for months. That’s a very complex question. To make it short, I can tell you we started for fun and then we took it more and more seriously. Every year we would work harder and harder independently because we never had a label until last year. We did it all by ourselves and we realized if we didn’t do it, no one would do it for us. So with every new album, every new music video, every show, we tried to be a better version of ourselves. We had to try to stay at the same level we were at and not two steps back so I think we’ve succeeded in that sense. I think that’s why people are interested and how we drew attention to ourselves. For years people actually tried to work with us but we were stubborn and wanted to do it ourselves. But sooner or later the work behind the scenes became very overwhelming and we needed professional people to help. So that is why we signed with a label. Sometimes I have doubts and think if we were a band that started in a different country with more opportunities things would be different, but you can’t spend your life thinking like that. We had to go through so much to get where we are now but that might be why we are who we are. We try to think about the present and do what we can with it. A band is 5 people that formed a family and you have to keep it together and it’s challenging sometimes. Every family fights but at this point we have the best relationship we’ve ever had. I think the journey has been great.”
Shannon - I read that when you first started playing gigs with Infected Rain, you endured many issues with your voice. Can you talk about what you did to overcome that and become the singer you are today?
Lena Scissorhands - “Well it has a lot to do with the mental preparation. Because I’ve never been in a different band or studied music, it took me awhile to accept myself as a performer and singer and especially as a musician. A couple years ago my friends caught me saying ‘you know, I’m not really a musician’ and she was like ‘if I hear you say that one more time!’ But I mean that in a different way because I know that studying music is like studying math - it’s so deep and complex and I don’t have that knowledge. When I compose, I compose based on my feeling. Obviously I’m guided sometimes by fellow musicians if I don’t understand something, but the majority is just feeling. In the beginning I think I was trying too hard. Vocals are a very unique instrument and when you don’t have enough knowledge for that and you try to sing so much, you risk hurting yourself. That’s what happened to me. I tried my best to take lessons - I took private lessons at the University of Music in Moldova and the teacher taught me as much as she could based on her classical knowledge. Music is music, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to a brutal type of vocal, that teacher couldn’t teach me much. I look at that journey this way. It’s like a little kid, when you learn to run, you have to learn to walk. And when you learn to walk, you fall and sometimes bleed. That’s pretty much what happened to me. I’m still learning. I have found a balance between my body, my soul, and my brain to be one with the music. I learn different techniques and be in touch with my vocal teacher, Melissa Cross. I had to pay more attention to myself and how I feel. That’s really it.”
Shannon - In 2019, your latest album ‘Endorphin’ was released. Are you happy with the reception from fans?
Lena Scissorhands - “Very happy, yes. I think people loved it and people saw the hard work behind it. My favorite is when our older fans say it’s a new chapter of Infected Rain with more interesting points of view but with the core of the old Infected Rain. That’s one of my favorite compliments.”
Shannon - What bands most influenced you when writing that album?
Lena Scissorhands - “No bands influenced us. I don’t think bands influence anyone. If you let a band or two influence you, you’re never going to be yourself. It’s a question I get so much and I don’t understand it. Yes we are influenced by music, everyone is, but we are also influenced by everything around us: nature, life situations, what happens on the road. We do love music and we listen to a bunch of music on the road. My playlist is so big and different and sometimes unexpected. I have some very old jazz musicians in my playlist, I have some rappers, music from the ‘80s and ‘90s, really heavy stuff that no one listens to, but I love it. That’s how it is for me. If the music speaks to me, I listen to it. I don’t care about the genre.”
Shannon - You have your own Youtube channel, ‘Bananas’, where you post a variety of content from interviews to tour vlogs. What made you want to start that?
Lena Scissorhands - “Actually I was asked to do that by some fans and friends. People were always telling me ‘you have so much to talk about, you’re so interesting with your hair and makeup, modeling, music, love for nature, there’s so much you could talk about’. I was holding back for so long because I thought I wouldn’t have enough content to entertain people. I’m having fun. I work with some people who help with editing and design so all I have to do is think of the content and film it. I really do love it. I feel like it is the future and we have to live it. I think we are living in a time where the internet gives us so many possibilities, it’s awesome. It’s cool fans can be so close with entertainers. One one hand you want to have some boundaries but on the other hand, it’s cool to have people get to know you better and fall in love with your personality. Nowadays fans don’t have a false image of who you are, they really know you and love you for who you are and that’s awesome. When I grew up, you could only listen to bands on radio stations and TV channels. Nobody had websites and interviews were so rare. Now it’s so easy, you can Google and find anything about anyone. As an entertainer and musician, I like this part of the internet because I don’t like pretending to be somebody. I like being myself and if people like me for who I am, awesome, and if they don’t, at least they have the opportunity to get to know you. Now there are platforms where fans can interact with their favorite artists. It’s awesome. You get the support and love and in return people get your time. That was never possible before. With that being said, it can be dangerous sometimes because people have freedom of communication and sometimes people dm you or email your private email and they can be rude. There are bad people, but there always were even before.”
Shannon - What is the biggest lesson the music industry has taught you?
Lena Scissorhands - “That’s a very good question. Since I started doing what I do full-time and getting in contact with people who are different ages and ethnicities, I have learned everyone is the same. We really are. It is so unfair when we get judged based on our sex, ethnicity, age, or whatever else. That’s unfortunately a very sensitive matter right now. I think that metal has taught me we are all the same. Everyone bleeds, everyone cries, everyone can be emotional and sensitive. It taught me to be more real and to pay attention more. You can’t treat someone better because they had the opportunity to buy a ticket to your show and someone else doesn’t have money for a ticket to your show. I’m never mad at those people because if they had money to come in, they would have. I love going to shows and I have witnessed some things that made me very mad and I promised myself I would never do anything like that. So I understand when you don’t have time or will to do certain things on tour but you have to treat all your fans the same. To make it short, the music industry taught me everyone is equal and the majority of the time I don’t see a difference between myself and the crowd. You will see a lot of photos and videos of me in the crowd. A lot of people tell me I’ll only be able to do that for a short amount of time. If I have to stop, I’ll stop for everyone, not just certain people.”
Shannon - What is coming up in the near future for yourself and Infected Rain?
Lena Scissorhands - “Unfortunately it’s very hard to answer that because of the situation going on in the world. We have so many plans, but I’m afraid to say them out loud because I don’t like to break promises. I’m a person of my word. We had to reschedule our tours. We lost 4 tours already. We are keeping our heads up. We are trying to manage to film some videos but it’s hard because I’m in the United States and my band is in Europe. We are trying to come up with plans and ideas.”