Interview by Miriam Cadoni

Photo by Carey Lynne Fruth

Hailing from San Francisco, the singer-songwriter Iva Toric in her music manages to unite the Ying and the Yang of her deepest feelings. Additionally, she not scared to show her true self through her words and music. Efficiently combining “haunting melodic/symphonic vocals over dark folk and doom-laden riffs”, the artist concocts a special however honest and straightforward musical formula. Up to this moment, her videos/singles “The Other Side of Me” and “Actions Speak Louder” (read more about it here) are a further testimony and appetizer of what her upcoming debut album “The Devil’s Mark”, due to release later this year, will be. In the meantime, let’s discover more about this promising artist.

Hi Iva, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you and how life is treating you in this really busy period?

I’m doing great. It’s an honour to get an interview with you guys. I’m really excited. 

For our readers that still aren’t familiar with you. Do you recall how your career started and when you realized that music was supposed to have such an important part in your life?

Sure. I have always been really musical inclined since I was a child and music has always been there for me. For me, it’s a way to cope with the things that I’m going through in my life. I’ve always turned to music, I’ve always listened to music and written music. I started off by attempting to have a regular career, so working in a normal job but I realized that I was never happy there and I never fit in. I found out that I need to do music and consequently, a couple of years ago I quit my job. After that, I started doing some song writing and music full-time. I just released my début single which is called “Dark Side of Me” and it’s been great so far. I’m really looking forward to starting this journey.

As previously mentioned, on January 14th it was released as your début single. So far, how was the single received by the press? I saw this special article on Kerrang which increased my curiosity towards you and your music…

[Laughs] yeah, I had received so far some great feedback and in reality, I didn’t know what to expect from it.

I‘ve listened quite thoroughly to “The Dark Side of Me” and personally, I can relate to it. Right now with this question, I don’t mean to be too much pervasive with I’m about to ask you but I can feel that there’s a lot of suffering and pain. Up to this moment, I’m struggling with my mental health and I was wondering if it’s the same or something similar?

Of course and thank you. I think that I’ve heard this from a lot of people that they identify with my lyrics as I describe what I’m going through when I do feel depressed. Also, being open with the fact that I have depression is really important because I don’t think enough people talk about depression and how they affect them. I want to be an influence in people’s life and say to them that it is fine to have depression, it’s something that a lot of people go through. I just wrote the song based on my personal experience, it’s very honest and raw. It does describe the sensation that I feel when a giant cloud of depression is setting up over me. So, writing the song was harder than I hoped and I’m really glad that I’m not depressed right now. However, I certainly had in the past and with which I struggled in the past, it’s something really hard to go through. 

I really understand when you sing “I don’t be that dark side of me” and I’m glad that you take some courage out loud about depression because I don’t think we do this enough. So, I would like to personally thank you for this and I hope you’ll continue to do that. 

Thank you. Thank you. I will. I think it’s really important to be authentic and be honest about what I have been through in my life. The dark side of me is who I am when I am depressed and that’s not who I want to be. I want to be a happy person, I want to love myself, I want to be carefree. And yeah, that’s not always who I’m.

The single was published in tandem with a promo video which I really loved. I find it quite accurate and well-done. It features plenty of visuals that recall witchery and paganism but how do these elements strictly connect with the lyrics itself?

Oh, that’s really a good question. I think that “The Dark Side of Me” deals with a duality which paganism and witchery imageries can correctly express. It does bring out that duality, for example in my case the darkness and the light, by adding also further meaning both in nature and out in the world. So, in the video I achieved to work in the video with both a dark entity, in this case a demon and a light entity. They totally represent the two sides of me and I definitely think that my video has a real witch-y vibe. I found that empowering because you can go into the darkness by using the less mainstream imaginary and find out power within that. You can use that to help heal.

As previously announced, this single will be part of your upcoming to début album called “The Devil’s Mark” which will be released this fall. By now, I don’t know what you are entitled to share but what should be expected and what can you say about its general production?

Sure. So, “The Devil’s Mark” is going to be a 14-songs LP and sonically, it will be in the vein of “The Dark Side of Me”. I think this song is a really good representation of what the LP contains. It has heavy guitars, it’s very rooted in a raw rock-‘n’-roll/hard rock style and it is completed by my angelic and feminine vocals that are juxtaposed with heavy drumming and heavy guitars. The full-length keeps portraying the duality between the darkness and whiteness that I have mentioned before. It’s mainly the theme of my album. Instead, my lyrics are either about my personal experiences with my life or they are about other people’ experiences that I’m close to or I do relate to. I’ve tried to keep it quite authentic and honest and I don’t pretend to be someone that I’m not. Mostly, it’s what the fans can expect from “The Devil’s Mark” and it’s gonna be a real treat album to listen to. 

During the composing process, which was the most challenging issue that you had to face? I mean you’re a multi instrumentalist, too…

With “The Dark Side of Me“, maybe the most difficult thing was expressing how I wanted to sound to my musicians that play on the record. I had kinda an idea of what kind of sound I wanted to hear and you know, it’s not always easy to put that into words and communicate with other people, so they can understand your idea. Fortunately, I was working with some extremely talented musicians on this album. I collected a demo with just my voice and piano and while we collaborated together we created the riffs and vibe of “The Dark Side of Me”. I think it worked out really really well. Even though it was challenging, I recognise that was a positive challenging experience.

What 2020 has in store for you in terms of promotion?

I would love to be able to tour and right now, I’m focussing on releasing music and getting people to know my music. I’m going to release two more singles before the full album comes out and also, I’ll film a new music video next month. Related to this, we’re working on the details. Hopefully, by this fall, I’ll release “The Devil’s Mark” and kick-off a tour with that. 

First of all, Iva, I want to thank you for this interview. Sadly, we’re almost the end and with this please be free to say hi to your fans and our readers.

No, thank you so much to you. It has been an honour and a pleasure to talk with you today. Definitely, hello to all my new fans. I really appreciate and love you all. I hope that you’ll follow me on this journey and you’ll come along with me. We’re just at the beginning and we have more in store.


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