The place, a classroom where my colleagues and I were being tortured with Probability and Random Processes. The time, well I don’t remember exactly, but it was round the end of 2017. It was then that I discovered that two of my favourite vocalists, Amanda Somerville and Clémentine Delauney, have formed a quartet with two other vocalists that I did not know at the time and have a cover of Shontelle’s song, ‘Impossible’ on YouTube. And in the midst of the class, I hid my head behind my friend with broad shoulders seated in the front row, may he be blessed, and listened to that song. On that night, two more names were added to my list of favourite vocalists. (And I later passed that course with a B and graduated, so don’t worry about it.)
That was the first time I listened to the voice of Marina La Torraca. Her vocals made me love the song a thousand folds more. The feelings she injects into the lyrics and the whole nature of her voice makes it so compelling. I mean… just listen to this intro!
So you can see how excited I was when Phantom Elite’s album, ‘Wasteland’ came out in 2018. Marina’s voice was once more adding to the reasons we love Metal music, especially in songs like Siren’s Call and Wasteland.
We had the pleasure to interview Marina La Torraca, and talk about her life as a musician, her life experiences and more things. We hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as we did.
Mirk: Hello Marina! It’s wonderful to talk with you. You’re one of my favourite voices in Metal. How are you doing?
Marina: Oh, thank you so much! I’m freezing in the cold waiting for a train to go to a Phantom Elite rehearsal. But I’m good!
Mirk: People know you from many different bands and music projects. What joy does each of these projects bring you that the others can’t? For example, what feelings does singing in Exit Eden gives you that Phantom Elite doesn’t, and vice verse, and what does the musical theater give you that Metal doesn’t?
Marina: The most fun about singing with Exit Eden is the opportunity to harmonize voices in metal music. And I get to do some pretty over the top operatic vocals, which is pretty cool.
Phantom Elite is like a baby to me (having started it from scratch with Sander Gommans), and both the struggles and victories I experience with them are incomparable.
Musical theater is amazing because it allows you to jump in the role of many different characters and forget about yourself for a little bit. But when performing with Metal music I can REALLY connect with the audience on a personal and emotional level, which is what I care about the most.
Mirk: One of my favourite things about your voice is that whether you sing over heavy music or soft music, fast or slow, your voice always feels like it was made for that song. What made you choose to be predominantly a Metal vocalist?
Marina: That’s very nice to hear (read), thank you! Like I said, Metal is where I feel like I can completely come out of my little cage and let all demons out. Also Metal is the genre that sparkled my interest in being a musician in the first place. It also helped me through tough times and gave me a lovely community.
Mirk: What bands and artists did you grow up listening to and you’d call your idols?
Marina: As soon as I got old enough to really love music, I started listening to a lot of Iron Maiden, Halloween, Angra, Evanescence, Dream Theater, etc. With age I expended my horizons beyond metal and towards other artists, like David Bowie, Queen, and even Lady Gaga.
It’s hard to pick a few people and use the word “idol”, because there are sooo many artists and colleagues I admire profoundly. But I’d like to take a moment to make a small tribute to one special person: Andre Matos, who definitely was one of my biggest inspirations growing up in São Paulo. A truly talented musician and a great guy who will be missed. 😞
Mirk: I will share with you some stats if I may. Brazil is the second country from where most FemMetal followers on Instagram are. Your hometown, São Paolo, is the third among cities. And Brazil is the number one country from where FemMetal site visitors are from. How do you feel when you see that huge interest from people in Brazil in Metal music?
Marina: It’s beautiful! Haha, it makes me quite proud. The Brazilian Metal community is very strong, there’s a lot of metal being produced and consumed. But it’s more then a product! Like I said, Metal music is home for a great number of (very passionate!) Brazilians, and it’s just amazing to hear how much fun all my colleagues have when they play over there.
Mirk: One my best friends has the page ‘Exit Eden Memes’ on Instagram and she was very excited when she knew I have an interview with you. How does it make you feel when fans express their love through art, whether they are memes or drawings or edits?
Marina: Hahaha, tell her all of us Exit Eden girls find her very funny! The other day we were checking and laughing at the memes.
It’s still almost unbelievable to me when I see fan art of myself. It’s like “Oh, wow. Someone drew… me?!?!?! With my crooked nose and all?”. I love it!
Mirk: You sing with several bands in addition to your theater performances. Does that give you time to have other hobbies away from music or is it music 24/7 for you?
Marina: No, unfortunately not nowadays. I also work as a graphic designer, by the way, haha. But I do love drawing/painting and learning languages.
Mirk: Have you ever been treated in a sexist way? How would you deal with sexism and what advice would you give women around the world who face misogyny and discrimination?
Marina: Sure, earning less than men for a same job is something I already experienced, for example.
I think every woman experiences sexism daily even if in subtle ways. Just the way some things are set up in society (not limited to the West, of course) is sexist enough. I am a very strong defender of women’s rights (not engaged enough, but I really wanna start being more active in that and other causes) and I tend to back fire right away when I feel the smallest hint of sexism. I often get in discussions with male friends (who are great people) for not understanding completely how sexism works, haha.
I guess in some societies it’s harder to fight back than in others, but I’d just say: do your best.
Mirk: If you have the power to solve one problem our world is facing today, what would it be?
Marina: How about equal opportunities and no discrimination based on gender, sexual choice and ethnicity? Also the climate and environmental situation isn’t the prettiest, we could change that too.
Mirk: Are there any upcoming plans and projects in Exit Eden or Phantom Elite you’d like to tell us about?
Marina: I’m not allowed to say anything about Exit Eden plans for now, but Phantom Elite will be releasing a new album next year! We are working on the recordings and we are SOOO psyched to share it with you! It’s hard to have to wait.
Mirk: Thank you for the interview and your time Marina!
Marina: Thank you for the request! Cheers, take care and keep rocking!