In an area of interest when, quite often, novelty lacks a lot and where’s tough to find even the smallest drop of inspiration, Swiss Ad Infinitum, one of the latest additions to Napalm Records’ roster, peeks out in the music panorama with the very first record, “Chapter I: Monarchy”. The symphonic metal band led by the dynamic frontwoman Melissa Bonny (Rage Of Light, Serenity) introduces a concept album that thrust us out to 1347, to one of the most perilous historical periods of mankind, Black Death, a tough pandemic that hit Europe in that particular age. Pandemic, indeed, is not only one of the many topics that Melissa had to deal with in this very first record, because 2020 was mainly ruined and devastated by this new century’s pandemic, COVID-19, that brought tons of bands to postpone or even cancel their own tours. We’ve managed to talk to Melissa about this matter, giving a great space to this very first concept album and to the related acoustic version, that is going to be released soon!

Hi Melissa and welcome to Femme Metal! This is our very first interview, so I’m more than happy to host you here. How are you doing?

Hi, I’m fine. Let’s do it! Thanks for the invitation! Thank you!

Ok as you know we’re here today in order to talk about Ad Infinitum, so let’s break the ice: would you mind introducing the band for those who have not familiarity with you?

Of course! We are a symphonic, power metal band. I don’t like to put ourselves out of the box, because we have influences from different genres and even not only metal, but yeah, we are four musicians playing symphonic metal and we’ve released our debut album in April this year!

On March you’ve released your debut album, “Chapter I: Monarchy”. What kind of feedback did you get so far and what kind of appraisal can you make about it?

We’ve got an amazing feedback, we were not expecting that from the very first album, you know. We were very enthusiastic and we knew that we had already a fanbase from the very first single that we’ve released in 2018. We’ve released this single in order to start a crowdfunding campaign and get some help to finance the album. We knew that we had some people following us already, but you know we started this on our own with our Youtube channel and we were publishing everything through Napalm Records and it was a little bit stressful, because we didn’t know how people would welcome it, and you know, it started to be your fanbase, following you in this metal community, discovering you. We were completely blown away by their response, it was so positive and so encouraging that… you know, it just encouraged us to continue and do better.

Taking a look at the album title, i would like to ask you if this first album will also be the first one of a trilogy and where did the idea of calling your very first record this way come from?

I think you have to see it as a book and “Chapter One” is the beginning of our story, for sure we’re now already working on Chapter Two, which it won’t be related in terms of story, but it will be the next chapter of the band.

From this very first album you’ve unleashed 4 singles: “I Am Storm”, “Marching On Versailles”, “Fire And Ice” e “See You In Hell”. Do you think it can be a great calling card for the band?

I think it worked pretty well, we wanted to show people what we were doing and what they could expect from us. We actually released another additional single just before we released the album, which was “Live Before You Die” and it was to show all the aspects of Ad Infinitum from, you know, the very party-ish songs to the very dark gothic songs. I think it caught people’s attention and that’s what led us to what I call “a successful release”.

How come have you opted to film four singles? Was it due to a sort of deal you have with the label or was it simply due to the fact that you wanted to increase your popularity and allow people to get in touch with your music?

It started with the video of “I Am The Storm”, it was because I needed to show something to people who would take part in the crowdfunding campaign, not just say: “Hey, we have this project. Can you help us?”. The idea was releasing a song, a video and show people what they could expect, so that was the first single back in 2018. Then we had, we discussed with the label and we created two other videos, which were “Marching On Versailles” first and “See You In Hell” and then we did an additional lyric video and when we realized that, you know, the coronavirus happened and we would not toured this year, when we realized this might happen, we decided to make another video which was “Fire And Ice”, because we wanted to create more content and it can be seen anywhere in the world, because we couldn’t tour and meet people we had to find another way to connect with them.

Talking about ‘I Am The Storm’ and ‘Marching On Versailles’ I have to say that I did have a great memory of your performance with Serenity in Mantua and out of the blue you boast with this amazing growl that literally surprised me. Is there a specific artist or band who helped you to forge your own growl?

Yeah, actually! When I started to learn how to growl, I was discovering Kamelot and there was Alissa in this song called “Sacrimony”, and when I discovered that song, I was like: “That’s really cool, it’s really badass!” and I got interested in her work. Then I discovered The Agonist back then and I thought: “Hhm, this is really, really cool and whenever it’s cool, I wanna be able to do it as well”, you know… and that’s why I learned how to growl. Then I guess I was evolving in my bands, and I thought: “I really wanna use everything I’m able to do and to make it sound good, you know, to practice it and to make it part of my stage packet”, if you wanna call it like this.

Seeing your promotional pictures somebody could think that each band member interprets a sort of character, especially because some of you wears a mask. What can you tell me about it?

There’s a very long time traveling story behind it. There’s a certain choice behind the stage appearance of the band and the topic of the first album. Historically, you know, only men could be doctors and the equivalence of women would be which was not very welcomed back then, but would be to do it in a more unofficial way, which would be called witchcraft and they were discovered. We wanted to reflect this time travel in our stage outfits and then to reflect the time travel in the album as well, just on a different theme but also historical. We like it very much this travelling back through time and telling a story which is a part of the world’s history.

Unfortunately Ad Infinitum had to cancel or even postponed some show that were already confirmed, as the Italian one with Visions Of Atlantis due to this period we’re living. Hoping for the better times to come, what should fans expect from Ad Infinitum live on stage?

I mean, it’s hard to say when, you can expect something from us because we are expecting to get on tour next year, but you know, due to the situation right now, it’s hard to promise anything! In terms of stage performance, we tried to put on a show that is just not a concert, but something really entertaining visually as well. You can see with this video, you know, we’ve released a recent live show on Youtube and this is basically the very first and the the only live show that the band has done because of corona. We’ve gathered in Cologne during the summer and we filmed a complete live show without an audience, and I guess it gives you a taste of what you can expect fromthe band when you go to see a concert.

Talking about “Live In Cologne”, we can say that, since there were no people there, maybe you felt the distance and the absence of the heat, the energy that only an audience can give!

Yes, this is very strange! The crowd is a big part of the show, if the crowd is super enthusiastic you’ll perform ten times better and if you have no crowd, actually you don’t really know how you’re doing on stage, because you know, usually if you do very well and the crowd is going crazy in hearing and thinking, and jumping etc… then it was very hard to keep the energy and to keep the good mood, the good vibe, because we didn’t know but we tried to do it in a way that… we didn’t try to talk to the people and pretend that the crowd was there. We decided: “Just do it in a very after track way and to give 200% in the performance and for the band”. I think in the end it just turned out pretty cool!

Do you think that live streamings could be a valid alternative to the real live shows, or quite the opposite, do you think it could fit better in a festival context like Hellfest, Wacken and so on?

I’m not sure, actually, because I’ve seen a few video for Wacken World Wide and I think that they did their thing very well, you know, it depends on how people feel about gathering 2 or 3 people in the living room having beers and snacks and party. It’s a good alternative at the moment, because there’s nothing else! It’s a way to keep seeing some live show and seeing some live performances and not just, you know, the music video that we do are really shiny and edited but I think in the long run, people really need… you know, the social aspect of the live show, not just the visual one.

Since you are a part of this big thing called “music business”, you’ve surely saw that, unfortunately, this pandemic has brought the music industry down on its knees, so a lot of bands had to cancel their shows: for example, Temperance had to cancel basically a whole tour when they were in Latin America and a lot of other bands had to postpone their own releases, like Epica with Nuclear Blast or some other announced their hiatus, like Anathema did. We could say that this historical moment we’re living is basically a huge punch in the face for everyone, especially for musicians, because it doesn’t allow anyone to go on tour or to have, you know, gigs and stuff like this. In your opinion, what is the best way to actually support music or to support the bands to make a living or to be active in the music business, since there’s no chance of having no live gigs, going on tour in Europe especially due to the pandemic and stuff like this?

I think, first of all, a very good way to help the artists and the venues – because it’s also important to mention, we’re not the only one depending on this industry, there are a lot of people from the clubs, from the technicians, the people printing merchandising, the people printing backdrops or renting the stage equipment, I think the best way to help all these people is, first of all, if people have tickets for concerts that have been postponed shall not ask the money back, they can afford to wait and keep the tickets until the show actually happens, because these clubs don’t get help from the states and they might go bankrupt, and then there’s no clubs… you know, well, there’s no show in there anymore afterwards, so keeping the tickets, streaming the songs, buying albums, buying merch… anything that people can afford, of course… not to feel obliged to do it. Bands are creating more merchandising, they continue to create albums, what else? Just also, you know, sharing your favorite song on Facebook or on social medias can help the artists, because more people get to know your favorite bands and it helps with the promotion as well!

You’ve touched a sore spot for what it concerns live venues, because I don’t know about the place you’re living but in Italy a lot of venues are kinda shutting down, because they have no economical help from people. For example, a few weeks ago Italy was kinda mentioned all over Europe because all the people involved in the music industry and also in venues kinda protested their own willing to go back at work and they’ve protested in Milan, in front of the Cathedral. They kinda made this protest in order to allow their voices to be heard, because the government didn’t give any economical help to anybody. At least Italian government is only able to speak, but it doesn’t give any proper help with it concerns to give help to people. A lot of people are also kinda losing their own job, so due to this pandemic our situation is very, very strange and very, very tough! Also some venues asked for some economical help, and it kinda launched this crowdfunding campaign, because they received no help from government. I don’t know about Denmark, but here the situation is getting worse and worse everyday and this is a big punch in the stomach, especially if you know the people who work behind the scenes… I don’t wanna be negative about it, but the more I read about people who ask for help or are kinda forced to shut their activities down, like venues, theatres, pubs and so on, the more I feel worried about what’s coming up next. I’m not sure about music and gigs in general, because everyday we read so many things about cancellations and bands who are postponing their tour to 2022 and, of course, everybody asks when we are supposed to be back on our normality… this is my own feeling, but it seems that it’s been ages since my latest gig. I don’t know what this will gonna bring us. What’s your own opinion about this matter?

Yeah, it’s so discouraging and hard, because you plan something that has to be pushed back, like: “Argh, it won’t happen now, but it will happen near”, and then next year also doesn’t happen, you push it back again… It’s very hard to know when we will be back to normal and how it will be next normal, here in Denmark they’re trying as much as they can to not cancel completely the shows and the social events, but to restrict them and to make them happen in the safest way possible. There’s still some concert happening, but it’s seated and you have to wear a mask… I think, until you’re at your place, I haven’t been so I can’t tell for sure what I think it’s the way it is, they said they will keep this going as much as they can, so the industry isn’t in suffer so much. I think we’re a very lucky country when it comes to this. Now you know as first I’ve thought: “Okey, things from the beginning of 2020 until half throughtout the year, will be all cancelled, and now the whole 2020, and I don’t know when maybe until the end of summer”, so it’s very hard to say how it will go, who will survive, who will have to choose another job and what to do. I don’t know, I think for Ad Infinitum we are pretty lucky, because we have just released an album and we are going to release an acoustic album in December and we will just continue writing music and creating content and connect with the fans in a different way until it can finally go on stage again. I think it’s harder for the people who are working behind the scenes.

Ad Infinitum is surely a brand new band for tons of people and as so many bands, you had to work a lot in order to gain some recognition at the beginning. You’ve constantly promoted your work on your social medias and still you do it, but something that really impresses me is the way you interact with people through live chats and videos. How important is people’s support nowadays? And how important is also the contact you create with this people?

It’s so different than it’s used to be other bands like Metallica, for example, when they started. Now the connection with people is really, really important, because it’s just a way the music industry and the connection with the fans evolved throughout time. I think it’s much more human now, but back then was more mysterious, you didn’t really know who was behind the person you saw on stage and now I think it’s much more… yeah, “human”, warm… and I like to exchange a few words with people who are into our music and support us, also to show that we care and we’re just not expecting them to give them money. We actually care about what they think about our music, our merchandise, f.e., we ask something sometimes about what they want, we keep them updated and we also try to open the door to what’s happening when we’re not on stage, so they can actually know us a little bit better and know how we work, how is for us… I think it’s just the best way now to just build a relationship and it’s more than, you know, we are “the rockstars” and you are the people who are attending our shows. You know what I mean!

In your opinion, why people should support Ad Infinitum? If you had someone in front of you who could ask: “Why should I support the band?”, what would you answer? How would you encourage the listening or the desire of being supported?

Well, I think it comes from the tastes of people. I would not pick someone in the street and say: “Hey, support my band!”. If someone likes my band and wants to hear more, I would say: “Well, we provide music and we need the support of everyone who likes our music in order to continue making the music you like”, but it’s not that we requested it. It’s more like it comes from the person who wants you to promote our work.

You mentioned that you’re going to release an acoustic album on December. How come did you opt to release a brand new album, even if it’s an acoustic one, such after a short time from the debut?

The acoustic album is the acoustic version of our debut album and when we released the debut album, people liked the bonus tracks very much, which were I think two acoustic tracks that were added to the album, and when we started to understand that we might not tour at all this year, we had to create something, to offer something to the people, so they don’t wait one or one and a half year, so they have the next album. Now we stay connected to our fans and to people who like our music, and we thought we’d offer more than just one album every one and a half year. We have to be present in their lives, if I may say like this… We thought that making this was a nice way to do it, also financially possible way to do it, after such a short time.

Melissa, I wanna thank you for giving me this spot and for being with me today. It was a great pleasure hosting you this evening. I wanna wish you all the best for your future and for Ad Infinitum, hoping to see you soon, as soon as the pandemic will be out, of course. As our tradition wants, I call the interviewee to share the final words with us, so if you want I call you to speak!

Well, thank you for the invitation. It was a pleasure and I hope we will travel soon to Italy and to rock the stage after this pandemic!


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