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Progressive Rock Interviews

Stream of Passion

Interviewed by Josh Turner
Interview with Marcela Bovio of Stream of Passion From 2005
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Are there any plans to tour with this album?
Yeah, we're gonna do a, I think there are like 14 dates in Europe next year at the end of January, beginning of February.
MSJ: How did you come up with the name of this band?
Well, we thought about it for a month and we couldn't come up with any good names that weren't taken already. We went back to the song lyrics and Stream of Passion is a tiny fraction of the words of the song Passion. We thought it reflected the mood of the songs and the album very well. You can also relate it to the fact that we worked on most of it through the Internet.

MSJ: Oh, that's clever. How did you come up with the name of the album itself?
Embrace the Storm is the name of one of the songs and we thought it summed up the mood of the album very well too cause most of it deals with human emotions in difficult situations and hardships of life. There are also tiny bits of hope and light here and there. Embrace the Storm kind of captures that dark light contrast very well.
MSJ: Is this a concept album or is it more just a mood that it's trying to embrace?
Yeah, it is a bit coincidental that we could gather all the themes together like that cause it really doesn't have a concept to it. There is no story in it.
MSJ: The strength of the album is actually the singing. I think the lyrics and just the vocal phrasings and everything just really work well from that standpoint. Could you explain the process behind how the lyrics were developed and how you determined how to sing them? Was that something that was more given to you, was that a collaborative effort, or was that more you?
It was mostly me I think because when we started working on the songs, I would get rough acoustic guitar songs from Arjen and on some of those I would work out the melody if I felt like it. I had a lot of freedom to create them and afterwards when he and the rest of the band had already worked on the arrangements of the songs, he had the actual sounds of the tracks. I worked on the lyrics and tried to fit them into the final mood the music had, into the melodies I had already written. So, it was mostly very straightforward, maybe needed a bit of the tweaking in terms of rhythm here and there, you know, but it was pretty cool.
MSJ: Are you saying it just kind of came naturally?
Yeah, most of the time. {She laughs}
MSJ: That's really impressive… The music is very unique and every player kind of seems to bring their own influences in there. Can you describe what your musical influences are?
Well, I like a little bit of everything. I try to keep my ears open to new things. So, I listen to everything from prog to pop and post-rock and a bit of jazz and a bit of new age and a bit of metal. So, anything goes.
MSJ: This kind of has an edgy, kind of a metal, kind of a rock edge. Is this mostly what you're involved in? Like what are some of the other projects that you're doing these days?
I also have a band here in Mexico called Elfonia It's more of a prog rock band. It's a bit more experimental. It has a bit more jazz influences and that's pretty much all I can do at once. {I laugh} I used to be in a band called Hydra, but we called it quits in 2001. I'm not doing anything else right now.
MSJ: You've got a lot of really good songs on this album. Every song on there is real strong. I think people's favorites would be quite varied. I think for me my favorite song is probably "Haunted." Could you maybe tell me what your favorite song off the album might be?
It changes every day you know. I get asked that frequently and I always say something different I think. I think right now my favorite is "Calliopeia." It's a really fun song. I really like that break in the middle.

MSJ: When did your involvement in music actually begin, because I kind of get the feeling that you have some classical training in your background?
Yeah, I mean, I didn't have like a real musical degree that comes with the training, but I did start in a musical academy when I was like five or six years old. I learned all the basics and the theory and singing and rhythm and stuff like that from there. Later on in my teens, I took violin lessons with a private tutor and nowadays I've been learning classical singing for I think about five years. More recently, I've been attending lessons also in jazz harmony.
MSJ: How did you decide that you wanted to be a vocalist?
I don't know. {We laugh} I remember when I was in elementary school, I joined the choir. It was something that was somehow natural for me to just sing and I think the fact that I got involved with music from a young age kind of helped me have a good ear, you know, theater sort of led me too. I don't know. {She giggles} It just kind of happened.
MSJ: Sure, so is this project Stream of Passion, is this kind of a one-time deal or are the band members going to stay in contact and maybe come out with some other stuff in the future?
I'd love to, it's definitely not going to be just the album and that's it cause we're already booked for a tour next year and we're going to spend all that time together. Hopefully, yeah, maybe we come up with some ideas in the meantime. That would be great cause now we know each other better and now we know what the rest of the members want out of the music. I think we could do something even better.
MSJ: Yeah, everybody just seems to click on that album. It just really comes together well. How did you actually meet the band members?
It was all through the Internet and everything was pretty much setup by Arjen in one way or another. I met with him through a contest on his website. He invited people to send a recording cause he wanted to choose somebody unknown to be a part of The Human Equation, the last Ayreon album and I ended up being picked {she sounds proud and elated} for the part and that's how we met. I traveled to the Netherlands and we recorded together and had a great time. He kept in mind that maybe it would be nice for us to do something more later on. So, then he sent me a huge email with a proposal to do this, to do an album different from Ayreon, with me writing all the melodies and lyrics and stuff. Yup, that's how we met. Well, that first time I went to Holland, Alejandro went with me, well, Ayreon had already his work on the album I sent and he really liked to hear his chops. So, he invited him to be a part of the band as well. Lori, the lead guitarist, Arjen met her through the Ayreon mailing list and he saw some videos on her web site. He saw some stuff and he said, "well, she's late." When this came along, he decided to invite her and Davy also got in contact with Arjen through a contest on the web site. He sent a recording of a Day Eleven with his drumming on it and Arjen thought it was great. So, here he got in touch with him, met him, and heard him play live. He thought he was just the right guy for this and he invites him as well. It turns out that he knows Johan, the bass player, from the rock academy. Joost from After Forever had just recommended Johan to Arjen when he found out that they already knew each other, that they'd have to play together. It's cool. It was a lucky time. All the communication and interaction of all of us was mostly through the Internet and a few phone calls here and there. So, it's a weird approach, but it worked. {She laughs} It worked out.
MSJ: Progressive rock is fairly male-dominated. What is your perspective being a woman in the field of progressive rock? Do you see yourself being treated any differently? Do you see yourself in higher demand? I'd have to think you're in high demand cause you've got such a special voice and it's really rare to hear it in this style of music.
Well, I don't know if I've been lucky or, I'm not sure, I've never felt, uh, how do you say this? I've never felt, uh …
MSJ: Like discrimination or something like that?
Yes. That's the word. I'm not discriminated or underrated at all here. I guess I must have been lucky. {She laughs}
MSJ: That's good... Also, I kind of have a fun question here. Can you recall any Spinal Tap moments in your career in music with concerts or with the recording, just something kind of funny or quirky that kind of happened?
I just saw The Spinal Tap only for the first time last time I was in the Netherlands with Arjen and I laughed so hard. Geez, I really can't think of any Spinal Tap moments right now. I'm sure they really happened. {She laughs} The only thing I can recall right now is running around aimlessly through the Houston airport cause they had changed my gate number and I had my flight called. I was going to be there for three days if I missed my flight. It would have been completely pointless. I have like 15 minutes to get to the right terminal here cause custom could take a lot to pass through in the States. I think I changed terminals like three times and finally ended up in terminal E which was the right one. It's not that fun, but that's the only thing I can think of right now. I could probably come up with something better.
MSJ: No, that's fine… Actually, my family is kind of spread out, so I do a lot of traveling. It's funny. Sometimes you think it's going to be a problem and then it goes real smooth. Sometimes you're there early and everything and all of a sudden before you know it, it's a major complication with gates, cancellations, and all kinds of stuff.
No, it's crazy. I told myself, I'm never going to pick a flight with less than two of hours of difference from the previous one, because it's insane.
MSJ: Yeah… I'd also like to find out some of your current musical tastes. What I'd like to start with is I'd like to find out what the last CD is that you actually purchased?
The last CD that I purchased, let me think. It was, uh, just a singer from Norway. Anja Garbarek, I think, and she's great. She's, uh, I'll have to get back to you on the last name cause I'm really not sure how it's actually pronounced. Yeah, it's just really weird trippy music, a bit Bjork and Kate Bush-like, uh, it's very strange and she has a great voice. That's A N J A. Let me tell you what her last name is. I have it right here. Garbarek, that's G A R B A R E K. She's Norwegian, I think. I think she's the daughter of a very well-known jazz saxophone player in Norway. Her albums are quite different. It's all electronic, but alternative stuff, weird.
MSJ: Yeah, it seems like a lot of the best music these days is coming from that part of the world.
Yeah, well, I really wouldn't know. It's just that, you know, because of the Internet, you can get in touch with all the different musical trends and, yeah, all these different stars and bands and musicians from all over the world. It's hard to keep up, but you can discover really cool things.  

MSJ: What's the last concert that you attended as a fan?
The last concert that I attended as a fan I'd have to say is quite sometime ago, about three years or something. In Mexico City, I went to see The 3rd and the Mortal, coincidentally also from Norway. I've always really loved that band. It was quite a treat to have them come over and do a show in Mexico. It was great.
MSJ: This can be difficult for some people, for some people it is obvious. What is your favorite album of all-time?
{pause} My favorite album?
MSJ: If you can't narrow it down, you can give me a couple or just whatever comes to mind.
Well, I definitely know what album I've played the most in my life and that's actually In This Room from The 3rd and the Mortal. I keep bringing it back, you know, how sometimes you hear an album and it's been awhile and then you never hear it again, but that album I've brought back a few times. I think that one would be it.
MSJ: Okay and then who would you say is your favorite band of all-time?
That's really hard to say. I don't think I could narrow it down. The 3rd of The Mortal is one. Rush, I love Rush and Pink Floyd also are a lot of my favorites of all-time. When it comes to that, those three are my favorites.
MSJ: I also like to find out some favorites that aren't necessarily related to music. It kind of gives an idea where other influences can come from, but like what would you say is your favorite movie?
Well, let me think, well, I liked all the Lord of the Rings and I loved Matrix as well, all those kind of things. One of my really favorite movies of all-time was the seventies version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I really loved that movie, all creepy and psychedelic. Gene Wilder is just very cool in it.
MSJ: Have you seen the recent one?
Yeah, I liked it. I'm a Johnny Depp fan! The special effects were great and the overall look was wonderful. But, there's something really special about the old version; the music is much better and Gene Wilder is a lot more charismatic in the role of Willy Wonka.
MSJ: Do you have a favorite TV show?
That has to be definitely Seinfeld. I could watch all the episodes a zillion times and never get bored
MSJ: Do you have a favorite book?
I think, well, the book I read it like a billion years ago and I've re-read it a couple of times, but it always gives me the shivers. It's such a classic. It has to Picture of Dorian Gray. I read it when I was young and it made a real big impact, you know, that words could actually portray images so clearly. I really enjoyed it.
MSJ: Do you have a favorite sports team?
Uh…
MSJ: Do you not watch sports?
I don't watch it as often as I'd like to. I'm a big fan of soccer. I really enjoy watching games although I don't ever have that much time to keep up with the national leagues and everything, but recently our young national team won the world cup. That was very exciting. It was the national Mexican team, they won the world cup. It was the youth cup. All players are under 17 years old. So, it wasn't a very big event, but we still got excited. I really like watching the games from the European champion's cup when I get the chance.
MSJ: What did you say your team was?
Well, I have a few teams. I've always been a support of the local team in Monterey. I used to like the Ajax team from Amsterdam here. What do you know; I end up working with Dutch musicians here in Brazil.
MSJ: I'm kind of curious since you called it soccer. Do you normally call it soccer or do you call it football and you just called it soccer so I would know?
Yeah, we usually call it football.
MSJ: One thing that I do like to ask that I can identify with is do you have any pets?
Oh, I used to have this very sweet and adorable Golden Retriever called "Murray" and I loved him very much. Unfortunately, I had to give him away, because I didn't have much time to play with him and you know how Golden Retrievers are really demanding. You have to play with them a lot. Otherwise, they get very sad. I just had to give him up. It broke my heart.
MSJ: Yeah, I'm a dog person too and I've got a fox terrier myself and he needs a lot of attention. It's like having a three year old kid around all the time.
Yeah, if I didn't play with him one day, he starts looking for windows and putting on a sad face and being all cute and I was like awww.
MSJ: Yeah, they are pretty good at manipulating people to play with them and give them treats and stuff. {She laughs} Before we wrap up, is there anything you'd like to say to your fans at this time?
Well, just that I send you all a huge warm hello from this side of the world and that we have another Elfonia album that's just about released.
 
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