Interview by Arianna Govoni

2021 seemed to be a very productive year for metal bands. Amongst all these, Ad Infinitum seemed to find its own spot: the symphonic metal band led by the talented Melissa Bonny is getting ready to unleash its fury in its brand new record, “Chapter II: Legacy”, that will be out tomorrow, October 29th 2021, via Napalm Records.

We had the chance to exchange a very beautiful chat with this young and very promising lady about this newborn baby. Enjoy!

Hi Melissa, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine. It’s been an year almost after our first chat. Well, some thing has changed from the latest time we’ve spoken: first of all, you’ve released the acoustic version of “Chapter I: Monarchy”, then you’ve parted ways with Rage Of Light and you introduced your new band, The Dark Side Of The Moon.

What has pushed you to all these changes? Is there a peculiar reason or did you simply feel the need to test yourself in something that could revamp your creativity, your desire of creating music?

Melissa: Ehm, it’s a pretty funny story, because it started with Hans, because the video with Feuerschwanz, “Ding”, was about to reach the million plays and “Marching On Versailles” was also to reach the million plays on Youtube. I just texted him saying: “Hey, whoever reaches the million first, wins the bet and can give a dare to the other!”.

He said: “Okay, fine” and they reached one million first, right before us, and he said: “Okay, I want the bet to end and my dare to you is that we record a cover of Game Of Thrones”, because he was already doing this project to transform Game Of Thrones into metal songs.

He said: “Yeah, this is something we can do together”. It started with just one song, it was sent out of curiosity to their manager, who sent it to Napalm and the label said: “Hey guys, let’s hear more about this”. We decided to accept the offer and to start creating an album.

I guess that Ad Infinitum will always be your main priority: indeed, in three days the second album, “Chapter II: Legacy” will be out on Napalm Records.

We could say that, somehow, last year and the pandemic itself have both increased your will of stepping up your game (to put yourself out there) and continuing this “journey”, that as you perfectly described previously, could be seen or read as a book. What has been the toughest and the easiest part of creating this new record, given the period we’re still living?

Melissa: Yes, like you said definitely Ad Infinitum is my main focus, my main band and I think things were pretty easy for us when it comes creating the second record, because we couldn’t tour, so we had plenty of time to work on it.

What has been different and difficult was when we were supposed to meet for the mixing and mastering of the album, for the music videos, because we had to be aware all the time of the restrictions of each country we were travelling, to, from and through!

So it was a little bit heavy at some point, there have been complications with travels and plane mess, this and that because of regulations and restrictions, but in the end the meeting did happen and we are very, very proud and happy!

In our previous interview, you’ve stated that “the next album won’t be related in terms of story, but it will be the next chapter of the band”. Can you actually reveal something more?

Melissa: Of course! We see all these albums as the history of the band, so that’s why we call them “chapters” and we like this concept of presenting our work as a book with several chapters.

Now the story that inspires our lyrics of “Chapter I” is definitely not the one for “Chapter II”. For “Chapter I” we had French monarchy with Louis XIV,  while the second record we had the life and afterlife of Vlad Draculahrough Instagram…

From the album you’ve previously released “Unstoppable”, which is actully one of my fav songs of the record and “Afterlife”, which sees this amazing duet with Nils. What can you share about the feedbacks you’ve gained and what about this cooperation with Nils? Did you already have his voice in mind when you’ve written the songe”. What can you tell me about these songs?

Melissa: Well, these singles have received a lot of great comments and feedbacks, people seemed to be pretty high about the album, which is very nice and rewarding for us, because we worked a little bit differently this time, we worked without a producer.

We really trusted ourselves and our skills, so we were a little bit nervous to see if people would like the evolution of the band, the growth of the band, and it seems that people like what we’re doing pretty much in also this – let’s say “a little bit modern and fresher sound” that we’re presenting with the second record.

Regarding the collaboration with Nils, it was something that we had in mind since 2020, because we were supposed to tour with Dynazty and then it didn’t happen and we thought: “we will release the album at the same time and it would be nice to do a little collaboration at some point”.

We kept it in mind, so we recorded the second album and we were super happy to have his voice on the album!omises.

Actually, less than an hour ago you’ve released another single, “Animals”, which is my second fav track from “Chapter II Legacy”. Am I wrong or we see a little different Melissa here? Tattoos have been a little covered and we see the other guys of the band with no masks! What do you wanna share about it?

Melissa: Actually, it’s not mud, it’s bodypaint! It’s so over body painted and you can see maybe that the guys also have it during the performance shots!

The song is about how it would be if we would live out the education and civilization and the way we were supposed to present ourselves and just respond to our primal instinct. So that’s why we decided to present us without the masks, without the outfits, something more simple and closer to our natural visual aspect.

I think that ‘Afterlife’ in particular could be a very good track in order to depict, to show off the sound of this second album of yours.

The sound is indeed darker and heavier compared to the past effort and it shows off some difference too: the first album saw an external help from a producer, while this new one has been produced by you only, even if you got two people involved in the process: the orchestrator Elias Holmlid and Jacob Hansen.

What are the other significant differences we can find in “Legacy”? I’ve also heard a more brutal growl, so my honest compliments!

Melissa: Oh, thank you! Well, I think there’s more growl on this record. It’s pretty funny, because as you mentioned, we released a new song about an hour ago and there’s always a few comments like: “Oh, we need more growls” and it’s funny because the rest of the album contains a lot of growls!

I hope that people will take the time to discover this and yeah, it’s definitely more brutal, it’s heavier, it has these metal chords, these djenty influences and we really gave ourselves the possibility to explore our skills, our inspirations in the studio.

I know that there has been a lot of attention to the details also for what it concerns this second album. Seeing it from the outside it seems the poster of a fantasy movie, very beautiful and well detailed. How does it reconnect to the lyrics and the album itself?         

Melissa: Yeah, like you said it’s very inspired by movie posters, for example “Lord Of The Rings”, or “Indiana Jones”. We wanted to integrate the band on it, but in a cinematic way, so it’s not like a band picture, but it tells a story!

In an historical period like this one where both certainties and uncertainties go through the same parallel line, it’s nice to see that you have a confirmed show on October 29th in Pratteln with Illumishade and Dust In Mind. I guess that you’ll present this brand new album, but will you reserve some nice surprises o will you reserve them for the online streaming show you’ll have on November 6th?

Melissa: We have surprises for both shows! The show that we’ll have on the release date we’ll play mostly songs of “Chapter II”, but we’ll also have a few songs from “Chapter I” that we really, really want to play to people. Yeah, we’ll have a little surprise on stage, I don’t wanna say too much, but yeah, there’s a little collaboration there.

This online gig will see also the attendance of some great guest like: Madeleine from Eleine, Alea from Saltatio Mortis, Hans Platz from Feuerschwanz, Linda Laukamp from EKLIPSE and Matthäus Scheuerer. What can you share? How did this cooperation with these artist happen?

Melissa: For this online collaboration, we decided to make something even more special, because it’s not something that people can attend physically.

We want to make it with it for them to have this experience at home, a little bit like they are watching a movie, you know, with a beautiful venue, where we recorded this show plus an amazing lineup, our friend and technician Matthäus.

We had an amazing crew and people there to help us and, on top of this, we decided to ask Madeleine, because she’s a person I always wanted to collaborate, since I got to know her and she’s an amazing singer.

Also we share a lot of fanbase, so it was pretty obvious that we would ask her and, like you’ve mentioned, we ask also Alea, who is a brilliant singer as well. I met him the first time at a festival and then, of course, we saw Saltatio playing many, many shows and we met here and there…

We’ve collaborated again recently with him and he was also recommended by Hans, who is our third guest, who’s playing in Feuerschwanz.

We might also collaborate with the band with The Dark Side Of The Moon and our fourth guest is Linda from Eklipse. She’s a cello player and she’s also been recommended by friends who knew her from her work with Kamelot.   

Was the decision of hosting a gig like this one due to the fact that the band does not have any certainty about playing live again or actually you wanted to offer something exclusive to the fans, given also the impossibility of recruting some guest live?

Melissa: Well, we knew that we were going to play live in Pratteln, in Switzerland, and we also knew that a lot of people could not attend in Switzerland and there were a lot of comments, saying: “Oh it would be so cool if you could stream the show ” .

We’ve thought: “We have people supporting us a lot from all over the world, it would not be nice to not offer them the possibility to also celebrate this release”, so we’ve decided to record this show and to make it available online, worldwide, for eight days, so everyone can enjoy this celebration!

Is there any plan to make a DVD out of this online show, like Epica did, for example, with “Omega Alive”?

Melissa: The plan is only to have it streamed for eight days. We don’t plan to release any DVD or BluRay, so it will only be online on this stream platform.

Maybe we will share one video just for, you know, memories on Youtube, but it’s not the plan right now to do anything else with that show.

Concerning your live activities, your live duties, I’ve discovered also that, unfortunately, the tour you were gonna attend with Visions Of Atlantis has been postponed to next year. Is there any confirmation about this tour or do you think that you’re going to know something next year?

Melissa: The thing is that, unfortunately, we have other plans are confirmed but not announced yet for next year and for us I don’t think it would be possible to stay on that tour as well, because otherwise it’s too much and we cannot play twice in the same zone in such a short amount of time…

Honestly, I cannot say right now but I don’t think we will be part of that tour, because we have other plans… We have a few tours that are in the making for next year!

How is actually the situation there in your country? Here in Italy live shows are arising, gradually, with people who have to wear the face mask and they also need a healthcare certificate in order to actually attend the shows. Let’s say that, gradually, some sort of normality shade seems to arise again…

Melissa: I live in Denmark and it’s back to normal, actually, because there’s a big percentage of vaccinated people so things are going to normal now. Right now I’m in Switzerland for the show in Pratteln and here people have to show their corona pass to show that they’re either vaccinated or tested or recovered…

What’s next for Ad Infinitum?

Melissa: Well, that’s the question, eheehhe. We’re working on this tour, as I mentioned, but we don’t know exactly when they will happen, so we’re just waiting to see what’s possible and when…

We also have one more video coming… ehm, I don’t know exactly when, probably before the end of the year… yeah, we’ll have the album release, enjoying, having new music out there…

Let’s hope to meet again, maybe next year!

Melissa: Thank you so much! I hope we will meet again soon in Italy. I think that next year is a nice year to meet again! I’m pretty sure that it will happen!

Thanks so much, Melissa, for giving me this spot and sharing your time with me. As our tradition wants, I call the interviewee to share the final words with us, so I call you to speak!

Melissa: Thank you so much for inviting me and I hope that we will meet soon with our fans in Italy and all over the world and also that people that will check out this interview will also check out the album and like it!

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