quinta-feira, 22 de setembro de 2016

Interview - Marina La Torraca (Phantom Elite, HDK & Avantasia - Live): Living a Magical Moment

Often not always the talent and hard work are enough, sometimes seems to be necessary to be in the right place at the right time, cross to the right people, because how many great musicians and bands you know who are in the scene, and you wonder, "How this band or this guy did not get a greater success? ". With many giving up. (versão em português)

The brazilian Marina La Torraca been in a situation that has come to give up a career in Metal, but the will to follow in music and metal spoke up, and this seems to put her in the path of the right people, because many good things happened after Marina had Amanda Somerville as her vocal coach, after that contact, the opportunity arose to work with the Sander Gommans' studio project, HDK, and then to form a new band, Phantom Elite. Things began to happen in the best way, and then came from Amanda Somerville the indication to Marina replace her in some shows of AVATASIA'S "Ghostlights World Tour", and then, all walked together, because without talent, things will not happen.

Well, let's know from Marina herself a little more of her career, her work, Phantom Elite, AVANTASIA and this special moment she is living. Check below the chat we had with the talented and very nice person Marina La Torraca:

RtM: Hi Marina, to start, would you tell us a how arouses the opportunity to work with Sander Gommans and then forming the band Phantom Elite?
Marina La Torraca: Hi Carlos! Well, I met both Sander as Amanda Somerville on the recordings of the album "Shield of Faith", I recorded a few years ago with the (now nonexistent) band of Romanian origin Highlight Kenosis. Amanda was my vocal coach in the recordings and Sander produced the album.

The formation of the Phantom Elite came much later, and came from a very spontaneous situation. I wasn’t  singing in any band for some time (because of my studies) and asked Sander: "So ... will you have a band for me, or not?" (Laughs). Like this! From there came the idea to bring his studio project, HDK, to the stage. We liked the idea and we went looking for musicians to make this happen. With the band formed and many months of testing, we ended up involving so positively to the project, our own material eventually became priority ... and that's how the Phantom Elite,  name taken from the lyrics of "Eternal Journey" song,  from HDK album "Serenades of the Netherworld”, came into being.

RtM: I remember you had some cover bands, including  to Evanescense, but then you just fading from the scene. You just getting away from the scene by lack of opportunities, disappointment with the music scene? I read an interview where you said that you take a time to dedicate to your architecture studies. You kind of had decided to leave the music scene again? Who is usually connected to the music, usually cannot get off, he he, you can try to drop the music, but the music never let you! Hehe
Marina: (laughs) It's something like that! I tried to "abandon" the music often, he he he. Sometimes to have to focus on school, sometimes by frustration with the industry ... lol.
But the cover bands that I had in Brazil were never really turned into a authorial material, and although always we gave our best in terms of music and performance,  have never been treated as a "business" with investment, planning, etc. .

RtM: And now with this work with Sander and the Phantom Elite, besides this opportunity to tour with AVANTASIA (we will talk about too), you feel motivated again following a career in the Metal scene? What are your expectations?
Marina: Well, we are planning and investing "professionally" in Phantom Elite from the beginning. Having financial return with a metal band is with great optimism, a plan to a loooong time term. LOL! We are there to grow, but we are in this essentially because have much personal fulfillment involved.
At the time, I professionally singing in several productions and events, give some singing lessons, and (very occasionally, lol.) I work with graphic design and architecture. This is how I earn my bread-at-a-day. But of course, working with AVANTASIA is quite magical and makes room for "wild ideas" so far distant! Ha ha.

"With the band formed and many months of testing, we ended up involving so positively to the project, our own material eventually became priority."
RtM: And how are your feelings about the compositions, how are flowing?
Marina: We live far away from each other, so the compositions are made basically via Skype, Dropbox, Whatsapp, and other applications, he he he. It is the method more "fluid" I know, lol., But our method (which ends up adding some "spice" to the compositions). The songs what are ready and we're working on at the moment are giving us very proud!

RtM: Send me, I wanna hear it! he he he !, Well, you recently present the song "Siren's Call", but and the debut album, you have a release date?
Marina: We have no concrete forecast for this release, but we hope to be in the first half of 2017. Let's say 50% of the material is ready and we are already at an advanced stage of the other 50%,  he he.

RtM: Speaking about the compositions, logically it is difficult escape form bands who served of influences or inspirations, but what a band should seek to print your personality, and also stand out in a scene that is very competitive with a huge range of bands?
Marina: I personally believe that has so much bands with quality around the world (and nowadays we have access to all these bands, that before would need a means of delivery to reach the masses), which is difficult to "try to be original," or "trying to be commercial" or "try" anything. You have to do what comes out of you and ready, he he. A friend of mine says that giving birth to any creative project is really hard, is like a birth, really, I totally agree. You carry it with you, nourishes, see take form, feel, suffer ... and finally puts to the world. Imperfect and human, it’s there.

 "Giving birth to any creative project is really hard, is like a birth, really, I totally agree. You carry it with you, nourishes, see take form, feel, suffer ... and finally puts to the world. Imperfect and human."
RtM: I remember your work with the Melodic/Progressive band Highlight Kenosis, who released an album by Ravenheart label, how was that experience? Why the band eventually ending the activities?
Marina: It was a great learning experience, including what not to do in the industry, he he he. We also had many personal problems and the band eventually ending the activities shortly after the release of the first album with me.

RtM: I also remembered Ravenheart released the third album of the Brazilian band Amazon (Rise!), And even Sander and Amanda have made the production, with Sabrina Todt (vocals) and Amanda as a vocal coach. Do you  know  the Amazon’s work?
Marina: Of course I know, Renato and Sabrina are very fine people. They worked with Sander and Amanda at the same time that the Highlight Kenosis was there. Amazon's staff did a great job together with the double (I'm with a song of them in my head now! He he.).

RtM: And the invitation to these concerts with AVANTASIA? Tell us how did the opportunity arose, and as was your heart when it happened? And when you went on stage with them for the first show?
Marina: Well, Amanda called and said to me she could not do some AVANTASIA’s concerts, and ended by asking if I would be interested in give a little help to her. My first reaction was shock and panic, but I kept calm and said. "Of course I am very interested" he he he! The first concert would be 2 weeks after!! Me: "Yes, of course, still have interest ..." But thinking: "TWO WEEKS ?! NO TEST?!?! I must be very brave or very insane to accept that. "
To make the situation worse, I got a horrible flu a few days before the first show in Munich and the ONLY thing I thought to go on stage was not to faint or lose my voice during the show, lol. Singing "Farewell" aphonic would be a nightmare!!

RtM: What about the preparations for the concerts with Avantasia, which in addition to many musicians involved, have a set list usually long. As you said, you don’t had any testing, because the tour was in the middle, then, tell us how  did you do to overcome this, and the  nervousness and anxiety, I believe, you have felt!
Marina: As I said in the previous answer, ZERO test with the band, he he. I have Trained and prepared at home as I could practically non-stop (even though flu hehe). The Avantasia’s set-list  is gigantic and Amanda sings every song, and then, I  could not give to me the afford to stop rehearsing.
Nervousness and anxiety always gives before any concert. Amazingly, the fact that the production is so big and so well organized left me even more calm (in smaller shows where some band members have to take care of all, the stress-level ends up being higher). And the whole AVANTASIA crowd (including and especially Tobi on the first show!) was soooo receptive and understanding, great atmosphere. What else felt on stage to see so many people in the audience was adrenaline. And a constant irrational fear of sing "Farewell" brutally  out of tune, he he!

"I have Trained and prepared at home as I could, practically non-stop...Avantasia's set-list is gigantic...I  could not give to me the afford to stop rehearsing."

RtM: Do you have any history of  backstage to tell us too? You must have a lot is not it? Many people must be wondering how to live day to day with such a big project like AVANTASIA.
Marina: I need about 2 days to answer only this question, lol. It has a lot of history. After the show in Poland, rockstars celebrated the last show of the tour on the bus in style: sleeping. Some even holding  hands (not to be unfair, some alcohol consumption was involved in that episode).

RtM: And what the lessons did you take? Certainly something that added and will add a lot to you, and sure give to you and Phantom Elite a good visibility, helping to open some doors.
Marina: It was a totally positive experience and I learned a LOT in a short time. There are really a lot of know-how in this production, is a high level of organization and experience. Not to mention the aspects of career that you learn directly from contact with these beasts. And yes, will help open many doors! LOL.

RtM: And the scenery in Europe, for what you have accompanied , how are the opportunities for new groups, opportunities for concerts, festivals? There are many festivals, small, medium and big.
Marina: As I said in an interview I did recently, the advantages of opportunities for European bands compared to Latin America end up being even geographical. Small bands will not play right in Wacken, but has enough medium-sized festival that are relatively affordable quality bands that "take seriously" and invest in the project. There are enough steps between the floor and upstairs, he he.

 "I got a horrible flu a few days before the first show in Munich, and the ONLY thing I thought to go on stage was not to faint or lose my voice during the show!"

RtM: And when you became interested in singing and in Heavy Metal in general? Who were your main supporters?
Marina: I started listening to Metal music in adolescence. Like many headbangers, he he, I was not very "engaged" in the high school class and hated electronic music, ballad, typical regional music, drinking, and carnival. Heavy Metal has changed my life, I expanded my horizons and allowed that I would release aggression in a positive way.
I wanted to not only hear, but also do. In an attempt to form a band with a friend of mine, I began to learn guitar, drums, etc. Nothing seemed to "work" very well, but I realized that singing I was not so badly. From there I never stopped!

RtM: I see that Mario Pastore (Pastore, Heaviest) always talk about you, and vibrated so much with your opportunity with Avantasia and with the new band
Marina: When was super involved in cover bands in São Paulo, I decided to look for a singing teacher to overcome specific challenges and not damage my voice. That was how I met Mario Pastore and had classes with him for good three years. He is a great teacher, and singer. He knows a lot, have patience and practical and effective methods.
I keep in touch with Big Mario. He is a person more than decent and I always support his career and achievement in music.

RtM: Marina, thanks for your time, we are awaiting news and wish you success with the Phantom Elite, is the space for your final message!
Marina: Thank you for the opportunity! People in Brazil, I have received countless messages of support and affection from you. I am immensely grateful for that, and I hope to repay them all with good music for a long time!

Interview: Carlos Garcia
Photos: Phantom Elite's press release, Marina's archives

Phantom Elite Facebook
HDK Facebook
Marina La Torraca Official Page

Phantom Elite lyric video "Siren's Call"

Members: • Sander Gommans (After Forever, HDK) – the man behind the magic • Marina La Torraca (Avantasia live, Alarion live, Highlight Kenosis) – vocals • Erik van Ittersum (Ayreon’s “The Theater Equation”, HDK, Kingfisher Sky) – keyboards • Eelco van der Meer (Stream of Passion live, Alarion live, Ex Libris) - drums • Goof Veelen – guitars • Ted Wouters – guitars

                                         A few more Avantasia's moments

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