One of the most interesting acts I’ve had the pleasure of seeing nowadays is Illumishade, and they just opened the iconic gig of Tarja and Marko in Switzerland. FemMetal had a chat with lead singer Fabienne and keyboardist Mirjam… here’s what we talked about!

Hello Fabienne and Mirjam, how are you doing today?
Good, thank you. I’m looking forward first time in open-air for us. So that’s pretty cool.
And it looks big. Anyway, for us this whole venue is very special because it was the first normal show that we had in front of people.
Because it was during the pandemic where we had the first concert, so it was very special.
And it’s close to our hearts this place.
Also you’re playing in your homeland. So I guess that is pretty special, right?
Yeah. Very nice. Last time when we played in Zurich, Mirjam was not with us because she was in LA. Today we’re everybody together!
Playing in our homeland is very cool. Yeah, definitely.
And also, because of Tarja and Marko, this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event. Are you excited to be a part of history?
Yes, totally. Yeah. I was a big Nightwish fan when I was a teenager and I saw Eluveitie and Nightwish on the same stage in Switzerland, so that’s super cool.
Very exciting, actually. I’m super curious to see both shows. Delain, we’ve seen already now, since we played with them three times earlier this year in April. But Marko and Tarja, they will be really cool to see.
What can we expect from the future of Illumishade?
I think we can say there is new music coming, right? Actually, one is coming very soon. A new single we have coming out on July 18th. Then, yeah, at the moment, I think the very intense work will start now, actually.
Yeah, we have some big things coming up and some intense work for us and behind us as well, so there will be a lot coming in the future.
Yeah. I think now it’s our time.
We can’t wait to see what you’re planning to do! If you had a choice of every living artist in the world, which artist would you choose to have a duet or a collaboration with?
That’s a tough one.
Maybe I can answer first. I would love to do a collaboration with a big orchestra, like the London Symphony Orchestra. It would be amazing to play at some big nice place together with a full orchestra. That would be my dream. But I’m also from the orchestration department, so I will choose a whole orchestra instead of one person. So I don’t know if that answers it.
What about me? I think a very nice male voice would be interesting. A clean one for this time. Because we had Chrigel screaming, maybe I could have like a musical duet with Eddie Vedder. I really, really love his voice. It would be an interesting crossover as well.
What is your favorite food?
I really love at the moment cashew cream that we do ourselves with the blender with cashews. And then it’s like a cream made out of cashew, add some fresh strawberries or raspberries. This is really one of my favourites at the moment because also the berries and all the seasonal fruits just too blend. It’s, ah, so refreshing. Also, I really love the boršč; it is a traditional Eastern European soup. It’s very tasty, and then you can add some sour cream. We also do it out of cashews, and it is really good. Usually, it’s with meat, but you can also do an easy vegan version with beans and beetroot… so good. I could eat it all day. Yum.
Of course, you know my favourite, it’s from Italy, burrata. I had it yesterday and like in summer with some sliced tomato it’s very nice also with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
How do you prepare the setlist for the show?
We know how long we have to play on stage, and then we calculate which songs, and then we have the rehearsal. We had one the day before yesterday. Just everybody together and rehearsed the setlist.
Unfortunately, even today, women are discriminated: have you ever dealt with sexism or discrimination towards you?
I mean, I can only speak for myself. I never had problems with everybody that I worked in the music scene within the band or in the crew.
Generally, yes, in my other industry that I work in, the film music industry, there are even less women than in the music industry. But I had a good experience and a lot of support also. And when somebody doesn’t think you can do something or that you can build up the stage or know where the cables go. And I do know how to work in a studio, and then people are always very surprised that I can do it, but it, it’s okay. It’s better that way around. I think everything is improving and there are a lot of initiatives to support women. I still think it’s important to talk about it, to have like more women present, and to encourage younger girls to pursue music positively.
As Mirjam said, I really love that more and more women are coming into the music scene overall. And it’s also very nice to see the support we give each other. Overall in the music scene, I think it depends more not on the male or female because I think sometimes even females are disrespectful to other females. It’s just human.
But I generally think if it’s mixed, well, when people from both genders are in this production. It’s a good thing. There’s like a balance and. I think I like it for me if there’s like just both sides, and it’s kind of a balance.
So, since today is a very chilly day and cold, I wanted to play a game with you, if that’s all right. If you were in Florida and had a drink stand, and you had to sell hot chocolate how would you sell it?
On Thursday, she [Fabienne] ordered a hot chocolate, and it was 30 degrees outside, and she ordered a hot chocolate. So I would just give it all to Fabienne, and then she will sell it.
Because sometimes you just feel like it, I don’t care about the weather. We can also say it’s only like a hundred days to Christmas. Actually, my motto is “After Christmas is before Christmas”.
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview! Would you like to add anything else to our readers?
Thank you for coming to our gig! Yeah, look forward to the 18th.
And thank you for supporting us for following our journey, and yeah, to encourage women and everything… it’s very important.
And for traveling so far. Yeah, to see a show, it means a lot to hear that. Thank you!
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!).