Ad Infinitum Vocalist Melissa Bonny Discusses New Album "Chapter II: Legacy" And More
It's always nice to catch up with people you respect. Whether it be family members, old friends or in today's case, bands which one is a fan of. Earlier this year, Metal Underground spoke with renowned vocalist Melissa Bonny of Ad Infinitum (then also of Rage Of Light) where we discussed the band's debut, "Chapter I: Monarchy." Now, nearing the end of the year, we once again had the opportunity to speak with one of the most talented singers in symphonic metal and discuss the second Ad Infinitum album, "Chapter II: Legacy," the plans for and making of the album, as well as Bonny's departure from Rage Of Light. You can watch the interview in full below.
Diamond Oz: First of all thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today. More importantly the new album, “Chapter II: Legacy” will be out on October 29th. What would you say makes this different from “Monarchy”?
Melissa Bonny: The songwriting process was very different and so the end result is as well. I would say that the big difference is that “Chapter I” was recorded and written with the additional view of a producer who would supervise everything, whereas this time we only worked together as a band, from the beginning until the end. We were only involved with two other people: Elias Holmlid for the orchestration and Jacon Hansen for the mix and post production. So, this album is very much us and I think you can hear it in the music that there’s an evolution. It’s a little bit younger, fresher and heavier.
Oz: Absolutely, I think that was immediately noticed when “Unstoppable” came out. Even people who loved the first album were praising it as the best Ad Infinitum song yet. It’s a very cool music video too with the fire and everything. How was the recording process for the video?
Melissa: It was fun. We planned everything with the video director Ralf Leitner and we travelled to Austria for this video and for the next one (“Afterlife.”) The only difficulty we had was the fact that it was in the middle of the pandemic, so we didn’t know if our flight or the train would be cancelled, or if suddenly the border of one of the countries would close. So it was definitely a little bit stressful but finally when we were all there, we were ready to film, it was fantastic. I remember that it was pretty cold, we shot during the night and as we started to film, the adrenaline kicked in and we knew we were all about to create something special. I was wearing a shirt and short clothes but I couldn’t feel anything because I was so like, “Yeah! This is finally happening!” and also with the fire around, it was so cool.
Oz: It looked like a lot of fun and it’s an interesting song as well because it is quite dark and it is heavy, but it’s also a fun song as well. It’s not far off power metal territory.
Melissa: Yeah. I think that boh with the lyrics and with the music, it inspires courage and hope. It’s very uplifting.
Oz: I agree. The title says it all, really. You mentioned there that the pandemic caused some concerns with regards to filming the video. Did it affect the recording of the album?
Melissa: No, not at all because we were recording in different studios. Everyone was recording in their own country and area, so that was pretty easy. The only moment during the creation of the album where we all gathered was during the mix, where everybody joined me at the studio in Denmark. But everything went well, we all travelled without problems. The only question we had was regarding the video but it went well.
We didn’t have a break between the first album and the second one to be honest and that’s exactly what we wanted. We thought, since we can’t tour, we didn’t want to relieve the pressure. We didn’t want to release the first album and then nothing happens for the next two years, so we just decided to keep going. There’s a lot of people who have been discouraged during this pandemic to try something like this, but we just, “We’ll make it work anyway.” Of course, there were precautions that we had to take and respecting the rules and everything, we observed all the changes and rules in each country and when we were absolutely sure that we could make it happen, we booked everything. We needed to keep going and not let this first album sink without anything happening afterwards.
Oz: Obviously you weren’t able to tour and support the first album so you released “Revisited,” the acoustic version. Is that something that was purely done to make up for not being able to tour, or do you think you’ll revisit “Chapter II” at some point with an acoustic rendition?
Melissa: Well, like you mentioned, the idea was that because we couldn’t tour, we wanted to do something special to continue connecting with people and spreading our music and since we had two acoustic bonus tracks on the first album and they were received pretty well. Also quite a few people asked me, “Are you going to do the rest of the album?” So we decided that since we have some time, we have tours getting cancelled, let’s just do it. There was this question of if we do the entire album or just a few songs and we ended up doing the entire album, then writing the second one.
Oz: The artwork for this album kind of expands on the previous one by using the band photo. This time it’s a little bit more grand, epic and vibrant. Do you feel it represents the music very well?
Melissa: Yeah, it represents the evolution of our music and also of the band. I think if you compare the two artworks, the second one is much more detailed and you can see a lot more stuff happening and it pretty much represents what’s happening in the songs on the album. There’s a lot more happening and more details there and we also took more time to create everything, including the artwork, including the concept of all the music videos that we shot and thinking about what we would do with the promotion. So I think, even know it wasn’t meant to be a statement on the work we’ve done, I think it kind of represents it very well.
Oz: What I like about it is the way the band are positioned above the flame, so it is like rising above the fire which has kept you from promoting Ad Infinitum so far. It’s like, “Now we’re above that. We’re ascending.”
Melissa: That’s pretty cool. I didn’t think of it that way, but it’s very interesting.
Oz: Obviously, you’ve been involved in loads of bands and projects over the years and I think those that aren’t too familiar with Ad Infinitum will have known you from your work with Rage Of Light. Was it a difficult decision to leave Rage Of Light and focus on Ad Infinitum?
Melissa: Yeah, it was a difficult decision and we’d already talked about it a year before we actually made the decision, but at that time everyone was on the same page. We didn’t want to push the band and make another album. We all wanted to take it easy so we didn’t do it at that point. We had discussions about what we wanted to do next, if we wanted to continue with another album and everyone was at a place where it didn’t feel right. The reason why we made the decision this time was because we had this discussion again when Napalm asked us if we wanted to do another record and I was like, “No, I’m good with just releasing singles.” The other guys were super inspired and wanted to do more, so I said, “The problem with me is that I have the Ad Infinitum album at the end of the year so it means that I can’t do anything before 2022.” So I felt that would have been a little bit selfish because the “Imploder” album had been released a year and a half ago. So we discussed it and we agreed that it doesn’t make sense for me to selfishly keep them from doing anything because it’s their main band so it was an obvious decision, though not easy because of the friendship. We’ve been friends for years, we’re still friends and we started this project together so it’s a little bit difficult to let go of it but it made sense.
Oz: That’s a very selfless act to sacrifice your role with Rage Of Light so that you can both continue on your own paths. Things are starting to get back to normal now. We’re starting to see more shows and more tours happening. Does Ad Infinitum have any shows lined up to promote “Legacy”?
Melissa: Yes, we have a release show on the 29th of October in Pratteln, which is really cool. We’ll be playing with Illumishade and we are planning tours for next year but it’s just so complicated. We’ve kind of confirmed some but you don’t know if it’s really going to happen or when, so it’s difficult. I would love to tell you all about it but the problem then is that we create expectations and then if it doesn’t happen, people will be disappointed, especially us! Every time we had to postpone a tour I was like, “... Yep. I think it’s a good time to cry right now!”
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.
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