METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Lena. So glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to be with Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it.
Before we get started, can you tell us a little about your band Infected Rain who is from Eastern Europe?
LENA CATARAGA: Hi! It is my pleasure! We started in 2008, and there are five of us. Lena - vocals, Vidick - guitar, Sergey - guitar, Vladimir - bass guitar, and Eugene - drums.
MPAP: I once saw a headline somewhere on the internet that read: Flying dreadlocks and metal screams from Moldova. What else would you want everyone to know about Infected Rain?
LENA: Just the fact that we are young souls that play music for fun and to help people that need support and love in this world.
MPAP: What can you tell us about your new release 86?
LENA: '86' is the name of our new upcoming album that we are gonna release April 20th. It is a fresh view on our music, a different angle on our creativity.
MPAP: Some of the songs already can be heard online, "Mold" and "Intoxicating", but what else can your fans expect to hear from it?
LENA: We can promise you one thing, if you give it a try, you are gonna love it. It is catchy, groovy, and complex.
MPAP: How would you say this one differs from your previous release Embrace Eternity?
LENA: Just a lot more fresh in every meaning of this word. Also, we switched to 7 string guitars which give it a completely different sound.
MPAP: Your favorite song off of it so far?
LENA: It is insanely hard to choose, in fact I love them all.
MPAP: You’ve been fronting Infected Rain for a while now, since 2008? How would you say you’ve grown as a singer from when you first started taking vocal lessons from Tatiana Robertovna to present day 2017?
LENA: That’s correct, I never sang before Infected Rain. It was both scary and challenging to start doing something so complex at the age of 22. I took it seriously right away and did private lessons with Tatiana Robertovna for three years. We had so much fun together, she helped me to feel the music and taught me basic rules and vocal techniques. But, I have to say that you learn a lot by making mistakes and by trying new ways. Also, it is not a secret that in 2013 I had the opportunity to meet Melissa Cross and had my first lesson with her. Since that day, she is not just my vocal teacher but also a good friend that I can talk to. She helped me to feel and deliver what I write about. All that made me who I am right now, and hopefully I can learn more and be better.
MPAP: Did you ever think it would get this far?
LENA: I believed in Infected Rain since our first show. It was a strong feeling that made me decide to dedicate my life to music.
MPAP: You’re from Moldova, an Eastern Part of Europe? Is your style of music accepted or frowned upon there?
LENA: It is definitely considered underground and less understood than in other bigger countries. That being said, we still have lots of metal heads that will gladly go to shows and support the bands.
MPAP: What have been some of your favorite highlights as a band so far?
LENA: Every single show is a highlight for us, because we meet our fans and other musicians, because we get to share our music with the world and because we do what make us most happy.
MPAP: Is there anything on your bucket list to do with Infected Rain?
LENA: To play on every continent of the world.
MPAP: Let’s go back to when it all first started. When you first wanted to start singing, did you already know what vocal style you wanted to do before you had even started?
LENA: I didn’t know how I was gonna do it, I just knew I wanted to do it. Of course, there were bands that I used to listen to a lot in that period of time that inspired me to use a more emotional vocal like Slipknot, Mudvayne, Pantera, Korn, and the Deftones.
MPAP: Was it talked about within the band what everyone thought it should be like?
LENA: My musicians definitely helped a lot, they guided me and gave me advice, but never told me what to do and how to sing.
MPAP: Obviously, you haven’t regretted picking up the microphone ever since, but what were you doing before you started Infected Rain?
LENA: I had a job that I absolutely loved, I used to be a hair and makeup artist. I still practice that a lot for our music videos and my photo shoots as you can notice.
MPAP: Your most recent video release, "Mold," what would you say it’s about for someone that hasn’t seen it yet?
LENA: It is about people that forget to actually live and be alive, they just get buried in their rooms and drown in the online life.
MPAP: Did you write the song for a reason? Was there a message you were wanting to get across to your fans?
LENA: Definitely! We just wanted to show people that there is something more than your room in this life and it is beautiful!
MPAP: Who came up with the idea of having random doors staged around in the video while you’re playing?
LENA: It was actually Vidick's idea and it was perfect because our main character ended up opening one of the doors and finally got to see the beauty of the nature.
MPAP: Many stories have been published that it is difficult for touring musicians to get into other countries because it can be very expensive. Is this the reason for Infected Rain not being able to tour the United States yet?
LENA: It is definitely an issue but, not the only one. I’m not gonna go into details about it because it is boring and annoying but, I can promise you that we are doing everything in our power to play in the USA. We have lots of fans in America and we are planing to meet them all.
MPAP: How soon could we see an Infected Rain tour in the United States?
LENA: We can’t really promise anything but, it is gonna happen soon.
MPAP: How fun was it to cover Slayer’s "Stain Of Mind" featuring Seas On The Moon?
LENA: Fun and definitely challenging. It was a tribute to Slayer that we did in memory of Jeff Hanneman that passed away so tragically.
MPAP: Was Slayer a musical influence of yours?
LENA: Slayer was the reason for our first show actually. It was a show where different bands played Slayer covers as well as their own songs. It was an honor for us to play their songs but also a chance to play our own stuff for the first time. We all listen to Slayer but, we have a different kind of connection to them because of that show.
MPAP: All good things must come to an end, but before we go, just a couple more things. In the social media, which do you prefer; 'likes', 'shares', 'retweets', or 'comments' by others?
LENA: Comments are my favorite, it is nice to know what people think.
MPAP: Do you try to keep up with it all on your Facebook and Instagram pages? Or there just isn’t enough time to get to every comment posted?
LENA: I try my best to read every comment, message or email we ever receive, and usually answer them all sooner or later, unless it is some spam.
MPAP: You’ve made it this far when most bands starting out can’t get past the first year. Any advice that you think every band should invest in? Whether it’s a room to rent for band practice, or just investing in trial and error and passion to keep it all going?
LENA: My one and only advice is never give up! everything is possible if you believe in yourself and in what you do. The routine will always try to get in the way and there are always problems but, don’t let it ruin your dreams.
MPAP: Do some fans after watching your video 'Intoxicating' ever take it a bit too far when trying to meet you in person?
LENA: Sometimes… But so far, our fans are respectful and supportive towards everything we do.
MPAP: Do you ever find some obsessed fans hanging outside the venues a bit too long trying to meet you? How do you handle it if that unfortunately happens?
LENA: There are people that want to meet us no matter what so they would do whatever it takes for that. So usually we don’t ignore them, we try our best to give attention to everyone.
MPAP: Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to the Metal Pulp And Paper readers and your fans out there?
LENA: Yes! I would like to sincerely thank everyone who helps and supports our band. Without you there is no us.
MPAP: On behalf of myself and Metal Pulp And Paper, I would like to thank you, Lena, for taking the time to be with us. Thank you for letting us get to know you and your band a little bit more. Look forward to what the rest of 2017 and beyond brings for Infected Rain.
Lena Cataraga-Infected Rain/ April 1st, 2017/ Interview #33