"When I'm in the flow, the ideas bubble up"

On International Women's Day, Melissa Bonny took the time to talk to Dark Divas about Ad Infinitum's new album, Chapter 3 - Downfall.

Ursula von Dark Divas

URSULA VON DARK DIVAS

22. Mar 2023

Ad Infinitum
Melissa Bonny
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Melissa, Dark Divas has been following your band's journey from the beginning. Today, we have the opportunity to interview you for the third time and for the fourth album release. Since the founding of Ad Infinitum in 2018, a lot has happened. How do you view your development?

Melissa Bonny: As a band, we've managed to create our own sound over these years. At the beginning, we were searching, wondering how we wanted to sound, how we wanted to present our music, and experimenting. Now, I believe we've found our sound as a band. As an artist, I see it the same way - you discover yourself, try things out, develop your skills and techniques. This applies to me, as well as to the guys in the band.

Sounds like growing up.

Melissa: Yes, that's exactly it. And being in a band is like growing up with a few brothers. (laughs)

You've released three studio albums in four years. That's impressive. Where does this seemingly endless creative energy come from?

Melissa: I love music. I love writing songs, and when I'm not working on songs with Ad Infinitum or The Dark Side of the Moon, I'm writing for other projects or just writing spontaneously. I always have ideas. I feel that when I'm in the flow, ideas just flow out of me. For me, it's a bit challenging to get back into the groove if I haven't worked on a track for a while. But as soon as I start, after a few failed attempts (laughs), it just comes naturally again. It's like being in a creative bubble.

And how do new songs come about from your pen?

Bonny: Sometimes I start writing, and I already know how the song should sound. Sometimes I only have a reference point, a reference, and I send the demo to the guys. Sometimes I know exactly what energy the song needs, and I send examples to the band so they can hear how I imagine it. How it should sound. It's different every time.

Let's talk about Chapter 3 - Downfall. Here, you're delving into Egypt during Cleopatra's time. Chapter 2 - Legacy was about Vlad the Impaler, Dracula. How did you go from the impaler to Cleopatra, the last queen of the Ptolemies?

Melissa: In the first two albums, our inspirational figures were two significant men (Louis XIV, Vlad the Impaler) from history. This time, we consciously chose a woman to represent women and to show that there have always been many influential women who have written history. Cleopatra was the right choice for us and inspired the entire band.

Did you delve deeply into the subject and do research?

Melissa: Yes, a lot of research. We spent many hours reading about Cleopatra and her time. We watched and listened to countless documentaries. On the one hand, we almost internalized the history of Cleopatra. On the other hand, we also learned a lot about the Egyptian deities. At one point, we decided to focus on a few gods. Because one thing I didn't know was that in ancient Egypt, there were so many deities (laughs) - with very complex family relationships.

Did you come across any facts that surprised or amazed you?

Melissa: What I didn't know was that Cleopatra originally ascended to the throne with her brother Ptolemy. He wanted to have the power all to himself and simply had her murdered. She fled into exile in Syria and returned with Caesar's head to reclaim her rightful rule.

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Melissa Bonny

Melissa Bonny (* January 23, 1993, in Montreux) is a singer and songwriter from Switzerland. She is the frontwoman of Ad Infinitum and The Dark Side of the Moon.

Schweiz

Nationality

Dänemark

Residence

23. Jan 1993

Birthday

What can we, as women, learn from Cleopatra?

Melissa: I find her a very empowering historical figure. We have more rights today. But I come from Switzerland, where women have only been allowed to vote since 1971. That's not so long ago. So, we can imagine what life must have been like for women during Cleopatra's time. She went through all that and managed to become one of the most significant women in history. That is very inspiring and empowering, even for women in our time.

Today (Note: the interview was conducted on March 8) is International Women's Day #internationalwomensday, so the topic fits. How do you see our society today when it comes to gender equality? Where do we stand?

Melissa: I consider this day a very important day for us women. Society is slowly moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, there are still enough inequalities. Many women have fought and are still fighting for equality. This struggle was not in vain. So, my generation, for example, has it a bit easier. But we are still aware of injustices, such as wage disparities. So, we are moving in the right direction, but I still see behaviors far too often that are hardly believable to still exist in 2023.

Maybe back to the title of your album. Downfall - why the downfall?

Melissa: It's cool that you ask that. We were a bit worried that people might think this is the downfall of us as a band. (laughs) But that's not the case. Downfall primarily stands for the downfall of the Ptolemaic dynasty. With Cleopatra's death, the rule of the Ptolemies was over. This time stands for being doomed to fail.

From downfall back to Downfall. Your albums are always beautiful, not least because of the underlying concept, like a single artistic piece. The tracks flow together like chapters in a story. Nevertheless, do you have a favorite song, a favorite story on Downfall?

Melissa: When it comes to lyrics, it's Upside Down. It's about Cleopatra, how she reclaims her place on the throne. She fights for justice.

This time, you also have a guest on your album - Chrigel Glanzmann from Eluveitie. How did this collaboration come about?

Melissa: We were working on Legends and felt like something was missing. Together with Jakob Hansen, we were working on atmospheric sounds and a spoken intro. I had already recorded it, and I felt like it didn't work properly with my voice. We needed someone who sounds like Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. (laughs) That's when Chrigel's name came up. We were immediately excited, asked him right away, and he was in. We love the track with him.

You've also self-produced this album. Do you have any tips for artists who want to go down the path of self-production?

Melissa: I must admit that we had great respect for this task at our first attempt. However, it proved to be the right approach. The advice I would give to musicians who want to produce their own music is to get an external opinion. As a musician, you're often so deep in the creative process that you lack clarity in your mind and may overlook some things.

You've just completed Chapter 3 - is this the conclusion of a trilogy, or will it become a tetralogy, or perhaps an endless story?

Melissa: We, as a band, haven't talked about that yet. I believe this could be a completed trilogy, and we might do something special for the next album. But there's nothing finalized at this point.

First, the new album is coming. Do you have anything special planned for the release on March 31st?

Melissa: Nothing special for the exact release date. Originally, a tour was planned, but it had to be postponed. However, there will be concerts, and we'll be present at some festivals - Summer Breeze and Masters of Rock have already been confirmed - and more dates will follow. Plus, in the autumn, we will likely go on tour - maybe even twice.

Thank you, Melissa!

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