What do you get when you mix electronic dance music with heavy metal? You get Reasons Behind! I had a long chat at the RockersDen Rock Fest with the incredible lead vocalist of this group, Elisa, and we talked about music, live shows and cats.

Hello Elisa, how are you doing?
Hi. Very well. I just finished a beautiful concert here at Legend Club in Milan.
Project M.I.S.T is a beautiful full-length: however, I see that there is something new in progress!
Yes, absolutely. We are now in the last moments of working on the new record, of which we obviously cannot share the title and precise details yet. In fact, today, we took the opportunity to also talk a little bit with our label about plans for the record to generate promotion. Let’s say that it will be a record quite similar to what Project M.I.S.T. was; however, maybe a little bit more usable. There are quite a few pieces that are quite heavy and quite powerful. We’re looking forward to releasing the singles because, obviously, these are pieces that fire us up a lot.
How does your creative process work?
At the level of organization of the band, the thing is managed in sectors, in the sense that Gabriele is the one who is mainly in charge of all the composition and arrangement parts. On the other hand, since I am also a fashion photographer, I take care of all that is part of images and videos, photoshoots, and so on. So let’s say we separated our efforts on different things so I devote myself to the image part, and he devotes himself instead to the composition part, music, and lyrics. In my opinion, it is right that people have a way to express their creativity in every sphere. Those who are good at creating in the music sphere do this, those who are good at creating in the visual sphere do that. Mine is the visual sphere. So I’m happily throwing myself across the prairie doing this. Because, of course, it’s something that you feel is close to your heartstrings anyway, so you manage to have that extra idea that maybe actually afterwards has a match in the project that’s being made up.
Is there any real-life situation that inspired you to create any part of the new album?
The problem is that we, in general, with the fact that we always have a fairly futuristic theme, we are very constrained in the work we do. Clearly, the image has to go accordingly, and that’s a bit of a limitation. When we have to do work on a video, on a cover or a photo set, it’s always all constrained to a difficult image to get; you can’t do the classic metal video in the middle of the woods or the abandoned house, and so it’s something that slows us down in the production process. To find a suitable location to even shoot a video like that, I can assure you it’s a bit of a race. We found a nice solution for this new record, so for once, maybe it will go a little smoother. For Project M.I.S.T., we shot the video in this abandoned factory called Bugatti in the Modena area because it has this super futuristic-looking place. It was not easy to find, and of course, there was no power; we had to shoot at night with three generators. I would dream for months that the generators would go out. It was a nightmare; I was hysterical. Because I work in fashion, I have my makeup artist and my stylist who obviously come to help me, so they know how I work. I was screaming like crazy at one point; I don’t know how they even put up with me, poor girls, because I assure you it was heavy. We had tight schedules, the director with the Steadicam would get tired after a while shooting because it’s heavy, it’s night, you don’t have power if the generator goes out, and all the lights go out while you’re halfway through the playback… it was a real nightmare.
This is the second time I’ve seen you live and the second time here at Legend Club! How does it feel to perform for the Milan audience once again?
I have to say that the night we did in February was beautiful because, in my opinion, it was a bit of a return to normalcy for everyone. It was the club’s opening night, and we hadn’t played in two years, which was crazy. And by the way, it was the first time we were bringing the record because it came out that the pandemic had already started. We just took it badly with the timing. We have a very good memory, so we were very happy when they proposed to come back today. Also, because in general, the venue is great, they always treat us very well, so it’s a place where in my opinion, as musicians, it’s a pleasure to play. We are happy that here in Milan, obviously, there is our label, so we also always have a way to see them, to compare ourselves. Tonight we took a moment to plan some videos from the new record and certain talks just about promotion. Scarlet gives us very good support at the same level of organization, of opinions; they are always very present. That is one thing I am very positive, for sure.
The music industry is not an easy place to survive in, least of all for women. Do you think there are still disadvantages between the two sexes?
It’s a difficult question because I have never felt I was treated differently. In my opinion, in recent years, the scene has adjusted to the fact that there are huge groups that have women on vocals, and this has certainly given a good foundation; years ago, it probably wasn’t like this. There is to say that as a woman, in my opinion, you always have to be a little bit careful about what you do, in the sense that even just in terms of clothing, if you are a little bit more stripped down, you are criticizable, if you cover up too much you are criticizable. It’s always a very complex balance between being pretty, feminine, and eye-catching and being the slob who is overdoing it simply to sell. When we do videos or photos, I’m always very careful because I don’t want to expose myself even to the easy criticism of “I mean, you’re a woman, put the stuff out.” I’d like that people would be interested in our music not because I am in front of them but because they like what we do. I think this applies to all women in the metal or rock music. There is no point in hiding the fact that there is an aesthetic component, unfortunately, so there are those who have the super-hot singer; for example, Simone Simons is spatially beautiful and very talented. But for example, Floor Jansen, in my opinion, which to me has the absolute most fantastic voice, has never even wanted to tread on being sexy. She always held that back a little bit; in retrospect, she did well because now, with Nightwish, she is god as far as I’m concerned. She, in my opinion, years ago, compared to other singers who maybe aesthetically pushed a little bit more, although she was vocally much more capable, she remained a little bit in the shadows. Then rightly, Nightwish took her because she covered all the possibilities for them in clean, lyrical, and whatever they wanted, and they are good at it. She is not someone who, in my opinion, makes aesthetics a focal point, she rightly dresses for live and tries to be in theme with the group, but she doesn’t tread on it. It has to be that way because, ultimately, you’re not there to sell the image. Unfortunately, yes, but it really shouldn’t be that way. I have to say that I have never been mistreated, maybe because I am also very blunt. I am not the classic shy girl; I am very outspoken. So, in short, after a while, you don’t dare. It also depends on what image you give from the beginning. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of industry; it’s like that in everything. When you catch the person who maybe still has this very archaic point of view, he has a hard time thinking that maybe the woman, instead rightly, can be technically able to understand exactly as much as a man.
I wanted to play a game with you: suppose you have to go on an adventure. You can take with you 3 items (besides food and water) that will help you. What do you choose?
I choose an analog camera, definitely. Because one of my two professions is in the area of fashion photography right now, I’m particularly into this analog photography revival these days. Then I would bring my cats definitely because I am a super cat lover. I realize this is very much a millennial thing; however, objectively, on the phone, I have my life. If I had to say what is the medium in which I most easily have several things jammed in, that is my life, from all points of view, friendship, music, work, everything is the smartphone. I would take the archive of Instagram stories; in the end, it’s a silly way; however, it happens to me that maybe I look back and actually remember silly things. Maybe I took a picture of something dumb, and I’m like, “Look, I remember I was seeing that thing that day.” I always thought that if someone hacked my Instagram profile, my problem uldn’t be followers, I don’t care about those at all. I would care about losing the archive.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Would you like to add anything else to FemMetal readers?
I hope this new year doesn’t bring us a new wave of covid with all the ensuing bullshit because clearly, it was a huge blow for the musical world. I won’t hide from you that I would like to avoid releasing a second record in a pandemic because, at that point, I’ll hang myself! I think we want to avert that; however, who will live will see. I hope that all of us, both musicians and audience, don’t have to find ourselves in this frenzy again because, in short, now things are back on track. The great thing about live shows is being able to see people; yes, the band works in the studio, works on videos, and works on a thousand things… It’s the thing that came to me when we played in February, just because this post-pandemic situation was that it was a party where we all came back to life. People under the stage, us on the stage, chatting, taking pictures, in my opinion, that’s the most beautiful thing about being a musician; everything else is just optional. I wish us all the best as this goes in the best possible way!
Benedetta Baldin

Hi! My name is Benedetta, I’m 29 and I live in Northern Italy. My passion has always been music: I started taking guitar lessons when I was 6. Now I work as a sales representative, but in my free time I interview talented people, I spread the word about my favorite band (MoonSun), and I go to concerts or travel around Europe. I am a huge collector of anything Tolkien-related, autographs, merchandise, and CDs. I am quite an original person and don’t mind being the voice outside of the choir (even though I play in the church’s choir!).