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MM: It’s great to chat to you tonight. First of all, how would you best describe your music to any of our Listeners who are currently unfamiliar with your music?
Jelena: Hi Sebastian, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. We define our genre as alternative metal because there are many different elements in it: some power and progressive influences, but also elements of symphonic, thrash and heavy metal, some classical music influences too. I think it’s best to just give it a listen and form your own impressions ;).
MM: Your Album “Elusive Reflections“ has been out a short while. How pleased are you with the response so far from your fans and media?
Jelena: We are very pleased, because both fans and media are responding in a very positive and supportive way; “Elusive Reflections” has got some really great reviews and we’re glad things are going this way.
MM: Which songs are you most proud of on Elusive Reflections and why?
Jelena: This will definitely sound like a cliché, but I just have to say that we’re equally proud of all of them. Every song got our full attention during composing and production process, and we equally invested our energy and creativity in all of them. After that, it’s a matter of personal taste and preference which songs will be whose favorites, but we’re really proud of every one of them.
MM: If I was new to Persona which two songs from Elusive Reflections would you play me if I had never heard you before?
Jelena: Just by chance, while making our friends and other people listen to the album before it’s been released, we realized that most of them instantly had some positive reactions about “Blinded”. Curiously enough, this was the case with people who listen to metal/rock and with people who don’t really like this genre. So I guess that would be the song that I’d make you listen to first, or maybe the opening song, “Somebody Else”.
MM: Who chose the bands name Persona and does it have a particular significance?
Jelena: It was me who chose it ;). The term itself is based on psychological concept of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, and it stands for personality that one displays in public, as opposed to inner self. According to Jung, Persona is kind of „mask“ that one wears in everyday life, which helps in interaction with other people and conceals one’s true thoughts and feelings. It’s what we experience when we compose and perform on stage: each song must be given its particular identity and therefore we must go through different emotions and states of mind that sometimes don’t really represent how we feel in that particular moment.
MM: How difficult is it to be a band from Tunisia, and would you consider relocating to say Italy?
Jelena: Quite difficult, unfortunately. After the phase where you can do everything by yourself (composing and eventually recording some drafts at home), you immediately face difficulties of all sorts: no rehearsing studios, no recording studios that specialize in rock/metal, no labels, no concert venues for this genre, no media support etc… Of course, there’s always a way, but it’s usually very difficult to find good solutions, and we wasted a lot of time because of all this in the past. We haven’t discussed relocating to another country yet, because we’d rather try to maybe improve conditions here first.
MM: Is there much of a metal following in your country?
Jelena: Lots of metal music fans, but no media support, besides other things that are missing, as I said before. Luckily there’s the internet, but metal scene and general conditions have to be improved.
MM: Are their plans to tour, not just in your home country but over to Europe?
Jelena: We’d love to tour abroad, and soon we’ll start looking for opportunities and contacting festivals. Wish us luck!
MM: The Album artwork is stunning. Did you all have some involvement in its design?
Jelena: Thank you! We too are very happy with the final result. The artist who made it is Bader Klidi (https://www.facebook.com/baderklidiart). We all brainstormed together about the theme and later adjustments, and he managed to capture it perfectly.
MM: Have you had a chance to think about how you will approach your follow up album or is it too early to say?
Jelena: Some new songs already have their drafts, but everything’s still in creative phase. We can already feel a certain mood that most of the songs and drafts have in common, and we’re looking forward to a serious composing period.
MM: When did you realize, or was it brought to your attention that you have such a stunning voice, were you coached?
Jelena: Thank you for the compliment! Singing’s been my favorite form of expression since I was a little girl, and it was somehow always coming naturally. People kept telling me in my childhood “oh, you have such a beautiful voice!”, but I didn’t really pay much attention to that as a young girl. More important for me was to express myself; it was just a bonus that people actually enjoyed listening to me. Later in life I wanted to be able to do more things with my voice, so I started taking lessons, and it was a good thing.
MM: Which bands/singers influenced you growing up and now?
Jelena: I have two absolute favorites among singers: Daniel Gildenlow from “Pain of Salvation” (I also love the band, amazing music) and Kate Bush. Besides them, there’s Kamelot, Dream Theater, Leprous, Myrath, Delain, Lacuna Coil, Anneke van Giersbergen, Nightwish (with Floor Jansen)…
MM: Are there any particular places that you guys would want to tour or anyone you would like to tour with?
Jelena: There are so many amazing festivals all over Europe, so I guess we’d like start with any of them! Actually, we already applied for Metal Female Voices Festival XIII at Wieze in Belgium, I hope we get selected! As for the bands we’d like to tour with… maybe Lacuna Coil, Delain, Anneke van Giersbergen...
MM: What’s the biggest highlight been so far for Persona and what’s THE ultimate goal for Persona?
Jelena: The biggest highlight so far has been this album release, but before that, it was the music video for “Blinded”. That was our first concrete step we made on this journey, and a pre-step for the album. The ultimate goal is to continue making music, discover, evolve, get better, change, enjoy every step and every moment. And to share that with all the people who believe in us and all we do.
MM: Tell me why we should buy “Elusive Reflections”…
Jelena: You should buy it if you enjoy listening to it, if you appreciate what we do and you want to support us .
MM: Four words to describe PERSONA?
Jelena: Energy, Passion, Conviction, Intensity.
MM: Final words for our Listeners and your fans?
Jelena: To all our fans around the world who support us: thank you for everything, none of this would be possible without you! New music videos, concerts, new merch, meet&greet with the band and many other things are coming up, stay tuned!
The Metal Gods Meltdown
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