Coming from Moldova, Infected Rain has been around since 2008 and recently signed a contract with Napalm Records to release their fourth album “Endorphin” that came out in 2019. Just hours before their first show in Norway, we got the chance to interview their vocalist Lena Scissorhands (whose real name is Elena Cataraga) about the new material, going in depth on some of the lyrics, their influences, social media and more!
RISE!: – Let’s talk about the latest album, “Endorphin”, that’s an interesting title, since it involves emotions, we feel good when they’re released through different activities. And I think it’s a very important topic specially these days where there are records of people suffering from anxiety and depression. Did you think of it considering this as a general issue or you just wanted to share your own personal feelings at the time you were writing the album?
Lena Scissorhands: It was kind of both, to be honest. This whole album is very unique because of how emotional and personal it is. All of the songs I’ve written so far were very personal and they were about what I’ve been through or what’s going on in my life, but this one in particular is different because I was experiencing very new feelings and situations that I was never prepared for, and it was pretty depressing for me and not very easy times for sure.
We thought about this name, first of all, because of how it protects our body. Endorphins were discovered after some experiment with electricity, after pain. Our body releases endorphins to calm us down, to make us happier and protect us from that pain. So that’s why we thought it was perfect, because of all the themes on the songs of this album.
R!: – I would like to briefly discuss some of the songs on the album. For example, “The Earth Mantra” is a clear message about how we are destroying our own planet and nothing is being done to change that. If it was possible for you to change just one thing from the modern world, what would that be?
LS: I would just like for people to be more awake, that’s pretty much it. We’re so much into our own problems in life and work, and we forget to actually put our heads up, open our eyes and look around. People only care about their own things, which is good, you have to care about your own things, but I feel like if you’re a little bit more awake about your surroundings, you’re way more sensitive to what’s happening around you towards people, animals, the planet… everything. So I tried my best to show that somehow, by writing the lyrics for this song. That was one of the things I did. Another one was doing an episode on my YouTube channel regarding plastic, for example. On that one, I share what I do in order to avoid plastic if I can, how do I reuse it, what do I reuse it for, how do I avoid it in my everyday life just by going shopping, taking water or food with me wherever I go, how and what do I do. I’m not here to say that I’m perfect because I’m not, I wish I was better, but being a little bit more aware and saving at least 10% of what you could do. I don’t know, if you see garbage around, you can pick it up and throw it in the garbage, because the person that did that is a pig, but are you too by just passing by? I don’t like it, but I tend to have some bags with me when I go hiking and I come back with them full of garbage because people leave stuff around, and that’s pretty sad. So I feel that through social media, through my YouTube channel and through my music, I’m just trying my best to show what could be done. I’m not trying to change the world, but I think if everybody can do just a little bit, it could change a lot, because it causes illnesses, pollution, intoxication and death of our loved ones.
R!: – “Passerby”. I think this is one of these songs that can be understood in different ways. When I read the lyrics, I thought that it was about these people who just use you and disappear the next day. But then I heard that it has to do with all these comparisons with other bands, so what’s really about?
LS: This song was written mainly about so-called fans. It’s about people who call themselves your fans and they have super high expectations from you. Some of them you know, some of them you don’t even know, they see you today and that’s it. And they may talk to you sometimes on social media or comment on your stuff, and they think they’re entitled to hate on you or tell you how good or bad you are. What we’re doing here is art, so through that song I wanted to knock on people’s doors and be like “Hey, we’re not really entitled to judge that much, you can have your own opinion, but you have to understand that people on stage are human beings and you’re just a passerby person. They are so many like you with their own opinion but we can’t satisfy everybody’s opinion”. That’s what the song is about. I think people have to stop having these high expectations in everyday life even, not only from the bands or artists they like.
R!: – “Pendulum” is another interesting one, what’s the three-headed monster you’re referring to in the lyrics?
LS: The three-headed monster is the addiction. It’s the powerful feeling that calls us to do something… to gamble, to drink, to steal… shit like that, you know? It’s that little demon inside that says “yeah, come on, you can drink tonight, tomorrow is a day off” or something. This is the three-headed demon that everybody has. Some people can control it more and some people cannot control it at all. So, unfortunately, I had people I cared about around me that were slaves of this demon. This is what the song is about.
R!: – What were your influences growing up? I’m one year older than you, we’re from the same generation, so Nu Metal was big back then. I guess that had some impact on you.
LS: Well, I’ve been listening to different kinds of music, but definitely while we were growing up, that was around a lot and that was very strong with all those bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Deftones, Korn, right? Or Tool… all those bands, I still love them and still listen to them, but that’s not the only thing I’ve been listening to. I liked a lot of older stuff like Metallica and Pantera, and later on I discovered other bands within other metal genres, so it’s fucking difficult to say… I’m sorry (laughs). It really is. I think what influences me as a musician is just art in general, I love books, movies, music… I just can’t live without it. It’s food for my imagination, so I like it all.
R!: – You’ve also worked as a professional hair make up artist…
LS: Yes, I used to. I was a full time hair make up artist for twelve years.
R!: – Of course now that’s not possible because you’re touring a lot and everything, but what does music bring to you that the other activities don’t?
LS: I think music became my therapy. Since the first show we had with Infected Rain, I understood that this is exactly what I want and this is my addiction, to be honest. I’m very addicted to the stage, to screaming and singing my emotions out. When we don’t have shows for a month or two, I feel like I need my drug. As an artist, I felt very satisfied with my older job as well and I still perform it, I still do it a lot, but obviously music took over and I’m really happy about it. I’m living the dream, for sure.
R!: – You started the band without any previous experience and some years later you’re touring and evolving with each album. What do you think is the key to keep it going?
LS: I think it’s just that I’m very hungry for knowledge, specially in music, because I had none before Infected Rain. So everything I discover is new to me, even though it’s simple things sometimes, but everything is super new to me, so I wanna know more all the time. I go to vocal lessons, sometimes through some new bands, or sometimes I discover that I can do a certain sound that maybe I can try it more often and see how that affects my voice and my emotions or how it sounds if I record it. So it’s just playing around, I feel like this is what makes us artists.
R!: – You talked about social media before and that’s a topic I would like to discuss with you. Of course bands use it to promote their stuff and being in touch with fans, etc. But in general, people are using social media too much, and at the same time they’re not connecting that much with each other and I mean, real connection. What are your thoughts on this topic?
LS: There are ups and downs like everything in life. If you overuse something, it’s going to be bad. Social media could be overused and people all they care about is to make that post, “like” something or make that comment there. Otherwise, that person is not going to comment on their post, or I have to add that person because otherwise that person is not going to add me… that’s all bullshit to me. I love having my social media because of Infected Rain and my modeling. I feel like if it wasn’t for internet and social media, we wouldn’t be here today for the first fucking time in Norway. That’s far away from where we are. And during this tour we visited countries that we’ve never played before and people come to our shows with our merchandise on, knowing our lyrics, and that’s only because of social media.
R!: – That’s the positive side of it.
LS: And another positive side that other musicians didn’t have before is the connection with the fans or people that like your music. A lot of people reach out to me and I talk with many of them, specially if I have time. I love dedicating time to my fans, specially if they need some help or advices. Obviously there are people that are very, very bad, haters that try to make you feel super small and destroy you, I just block or don’t respond to those people, but I got to say the majority of our fans are really positive and nice, so it’s my pleasure. And then after a while, I see them at our shows. It’s amazing. Musicians didn’t have this opportunity before, fans used to write letters and maybe, if they were able to find the musicians home address, which I think it’s more intimate, right? You don’t want anybody to know your home address, but that contact between musicians and fans was never possible before and it is right now. And I feel like it’s cool because if you ask a true Infected Rain fan, they know what we like thanks to social media, they know a lot about us and that’s nice.
R!: – You’re living in the US now, right? Where in the US?
LS: Yes, I live in Las Vegas.
R!: – You’re on the roster of IDL Entertainment which is an agency based in the US with a focus on Latin American tours. Is there any plan for Latin America already?
LS: Yes, we have plans to go there. Hopefully in 2020. But you know? We need visas and lots of paper work that has to be done, so it doesn’t depend on us.
R!: – Last question, what do you think is the most important lesson you learned in your life?
LS: Oh man, that’s so weird, because I try to learn lessons but then I make the same mistake over and over again. I want to say that the best lesson I would love to learn and I’m trying to, is to be myself all the time. I really try. But I just discovered that sometimes when you’re yourself, people tend to either separate from you because you’re too real and that’s something that is not accepted anymore, or they just try to make you smaller because you’re too real, too loud, too colorful, so if they’re more powerful than you, they try to make you shut up, make you small and grey, which is also very sad. And both things happened to me, so I’m still trying to learn how to be myself and not think about that. Obviously I’m not saying that I have to be rude if I think something is bad, but being polite is ok by being yourself and have your opinion and never fake your mood or the way you are, that’s unfortunately still something I’m working on.
R!: – Thank you for the interview!
LS: Thank you!
INFECTED RAIN DISCOGRAPHY
Asylum – 2011
Embrace Eternity – 2014
86 – 2017
Endorphin – 2019
INFECTED RAIN VIDEOS
“Me Against You” (2011):
“Enslaved by a Dream” (2014):
“Orphan Soul” (2017):
“The Earth Mantra” (2019):
“Black Gold” (2019):