Metal Maven Podcast Transcript: Episode 1
The Power of Collaboration with Marcela Bovio
Welcome to the Metal Maven Podcast, where we explore and discover the process and passions of artists in the metal music and art community.
Metal Maven: I’d like to welcome our very first guest to Metal Maven Podcast – I am so excited and grateful to speak with her today – she’s a violinist, singer, songwriter, coder, video game enthusiast, mother to Monkey the cat (which I don’t think she’s missed a Caturday post), and so much more – the lovely and talented Marcela Bovio. Hello Marcela, thank you so much for being here. How are you?
Marcela Bovio: I’m good! I’m great, thank you so much. It’s an honor to be the first guest on your podcast, how cool!
Metal Maven: I know thank you so much, I really appreciate you being here. Currently, you have a wonderful momentum going and it’s really fun to see all the projects you’re involved in because you’re doing a lot.
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, that’s true. Sometimes I realize, maybe I’m doing a little bit too much! But it’s all such nice things and so different as well. I’m happy that I get the chance to do these many things and collaborate with so many wonderful people.
Metal Maven: You officially joined MaYaN in 2017, you’re a voice teacher at MetalFactory in Eindhoven, NL as well as offer private lessons at your home and online (which if you’re interested to learn from Marcela, check out her website: marcelabovio.com).
Fun Fact: Marcela was my voice teacher for a time. She heard how bad I could be.
Marcela Bovio: Oh, come one! That’s not true, you did great.
Metal Maven: Also, next year you’ll be performing as a special guest with Ayreon for Electric Castle Live. Which, all four shows are completely sold out. That’s going to be a fun weekend. All the Dutchies together.
Marcela Bovio: Oh yeah, that’s going to be fantastic. We’ve had some really amazing experiences with the previous Ayreon shows we’ve done so far and I’m really looking forward to it – I know it’s going to be incredible.
Metal Maven: It’s one of the things I love about the metal scene, or at least, in particular, the Dutch metal scene is that most musicians are very friendly with each other and there’s a sense of community. Collaboration is constant and beneficial to everyone involved. Or perhaps that’s just the Dutch?
Marcela Bovio: I don’t know, I think maybe because it’s such a small country that you’re basically going to keep bumping up with the same people all the time. So I think it’s just better to be friendly, you know? You’re going to keep seeing each other. It’s a very small circle of people that are interested in this kind of music and they’re actually very good, very talented, very skilled, and also very dedicated. I think we can all appreciate people that are this way, so we try to help each other and like working with each other. I guess it all plays a part in it.
Metal Maven: That’s a very good thing and a good place to bring in today’s subject of collaboration, as it’s been a fundamental aspect of your professional career. You’re most known for, in recent history, as the lead singer and founding member of Stream of Passion. We were just talking about Ayreon, and it was Arjen Lucassen who essentially constructed a project to showcase your singing, composing, and writing because of the response to your performance on The Human Equation. You began this way with somebody who found you online – what’s even more amazing is this all began with an online contest!
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, I know – isn’t it strange? If I think about it right now it’s like, “Wow!” I mean, all the things that have led to me now living in the Netherlands, coming from Mexico, it’s just so strange to think about the butterfly effect – all the little things that shape your life and shape your career. But indeed, collaborating with Arjen had a huge impact in my life, and I’m very grateful to have the chance to work with him. Of course, I had already worked in bands in Mexico, so I already had the pleasure of having collaborated with other people, and ever since the beginning I’ve always found that very valuable in the sense that you can just bundle – hopefully you have a group of people that you can share ideas with – and when you bundle all the strengths of each person and their own influences and visions of music, then you can create really wonderful things.
Metal Maven: Yes, absolutely! So the Internet has been your trusted ally for quite some time. As you’ve said, you began in Mexico and now you’re living in the Netherlands, so what can be done even though countries, oceans, or continents separate us is quite extraordinary. Circling back to Stream of Passion, I was lucky enough to see one of your farewell performances at Epic Metal Fest in 2016 and I found it very powerful and beautiful.
Marcela Bovio: Thank you!
Metal Maven: You’re welcome! The energy between the band and audience was strong and melancholic. I understand it’s difficult to say goodbye as you’re choosing to transform and grow. Your fans are very supportive of you, which is wonderful, and now you’ve begun your endeavor of creating solo albums.
Marcela Bovio: Exactly.
Metal Maven: You’ve succeeded in doing this with the help of crowdfunding. Again, you’re leveraging the Internet as a means to project your own voice, not only to reach more people but create a bridge for them to reach back and become part of your creative process now.
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, exactly. The first experience I had with crowdfunding was also with Stream of Passion to record the last studio album we released called, A War of Our Own. And back then, it was first and foremost a financial issue – the fact that we were a label and the label wasn’t offering us enough money to make an album that we thought we could be proud of, so we resorted to crowdfunding in order to fix that.
And it gave us so much more than what we were asking for, you know? Besides the money, it was this fantastic feeling of community, and the fact that the people involved in the crowdfunding, and the people making our album happen – they were now, in a strange way, also part of us, and we’re part of it – we were one big whole entity working together to make something happen. It was, in so many ways, much more important than the financial part and this is something that I discovered also, like you mentioned, on my solo album as well. That it’s so much more about them than just the financial means – it’s about having the possibility, about having the chance of making something really together with people that appreciate your music, and that’s just priceless.
Metal Maven: Well the enthusiasm for this new release is really awesome, and this past June you launched your Patreon site in full support of the second solo album, Through Your Eyes – did you find this experience different than the other times that you’ve used crowdfunding?
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, it is very different – the whole concept it’s quite different – and I hear and feel the interaction with the people that have subscribed to my Patreon page is also different. If you think about it, I’m asking a lot. It’s asking people to consciously and continuously invest in you as a graphic artist, YouTuber, artist, composer – all these people that use Patreon – so the level of commitment is quite high.
So I really like that in the sense that I know the people who have joined that they’re this inner circle of trust. I really love the fact that I know I can get much more closer to these people because I feel if they made this huge commitment to support me in this way then they really get who I am and they’ve invested in getting to know me. The relationship is a lot closer – I feel like I can also share things with this group that maybe I wouldn’t dare share wide open because I know they’re going to be way more receptive and I know that they’re going to try to do their best to understand what I’m trying to transmit. I’m not saying that these are the only people that can do it, I’m saying that it feels like a safe place.
Metal Maven: Did you have any expectations when you launched your Patreon? It’s quite a vulnerable position to intentionally place yourself in – so I was just wondering, what was going through your mind when you first launched? Did you have any doubts or did you completely trust everything would work out? It seems you were in a good place, knowing your fans in the first place.
Marcela Bovio: I hoped it would go well because of the experiences that I’ve had with crowdfunding, but if you know me for a day, I doubt everything. I doubt everything that I do and then I make everything all the time, so for me, it’s always complete panic – well maybe now I’m exaggerating – a little bit of panic.
Metal Maven: You still did it though.
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, I’m super happy and really really grateful to the people that have joined. It’s exciting, and it’s heartwarming, and it’s stimulating to create more things. And to think of new ways like, “Ok, how am I going to make this even more special?” or, “How can I make sure this little club that we have, that they’re getting a lot of value for their buck?”
Recently, we had a live online show just for the Patreon subscribers. Eric, my pianist, and I set up a whole thing in my living room and we played for them for over an hour and a half. We were chatting and making polls like, “Ok, what song do you want to hear next?” and interacting the whole time. It’s just really cool.
Metal Maven: You actually are just home and you’re like, “Oh, I’m just going to watch Marcela today – I’m going to go to a show.”
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, exactly!
Metal Maven: That’s so fun. I’m glad you’re able to make music now, as you’ve you said, without barriers or restraints. Ultimately, now collaboration has become a means of content creation for you, so you’ve moved into this new realm of collaboration with your Patreon page. I was wondering when you were reading all of these personal experiences, did you find a common thread to the submissions or a collective feeling? I don’t know how many you receive, but it must have been a lot to take in!
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, when I asked for submissions to write a few more songs for the album after the nine initial songs were ready, I must have received, I think, a few hundred submissions. And I didn’t want to choose based on the theme because I thought it would be very unfair. How can you decide, if someone is giving you a theme, that one thing is more important than the other? So I actually chose at random but then I did scroll through a few of the ones I had – I don’t think I read them all, but I read quite a few. It was very heartwarming because – I had the feeling that – you know the Internet, there’s this light sense of anonymity to it – so in a way, we dared to say a lot of things that maybe we wouldn’t say to someone else face-to-face. And I had the impression that a lot of the ideas that I sent, the ones that I chose for sure, and a lot the ideas that I read afterward after I picked those randomly… people were really opening up.
Metal Maven: That’s very personal stories you must have received.
Marcela Bovio: Yeah for sure. There’s a song that I wrote for a girl named Emily and she is gay, she’s openly gay, and has been openly gay for a while. And everything is turning out fantastic for her except that she felt the relationship with her mom had changed a lot since she had come out of the closet and the song is basically about her longing to have the relationship with her mother that she had before this happened when she was little. That’s huge.
Metal Maven: I know you’re sitting here trying to come up with lyrics for that. I mean, I’d probably tear up a little bit writing lyrics for that, you know what I mean? It’s so personal and then it takes importance because you want to do those stories justice. So obviously it had to start with a spark of creativity and then you have to think of the people who wrote these stories to you because they’re going to know when they hear the song that it’s theirs, right?
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, I mean, of course, I wanted to make something very beautiful and have a little bit of me as well, but the message had to be so clear and the emotions have to be so honest. So I think, and this is also something really funny that I discovered is that, I think that my followers – you know the people that like my music – and I, we have a lot in common when it comes to music taste, of course, figures – but you know, personality-wise, so I think I could always at least do my best to relate to the situation. And what they say when you’re acting is that you try to draw from something from your own experience and try to map it into the role that you’re trying to portray. I think that’s how I approached the whole thing because it had to carry the weight of something like this, you know? I’m very happy that they liked it!
Metal Maven: I know you’re just like, “Please, please like it, guys!” So you’re getting into the mind of everyone – how did you choose the final 11? You said you got hundreds of them, what widdled it down? Is it what sparked your creativity? I know you said they’re all very intimate and passionate stories, so getting it down to 11 must have been extremely difficult?
Marcela Bovio: Well you know, nine of the songs – and then we go back to the crowdfunding – I had already had agreed to write for nine different people because they got a perk for that from crowdfunding.
Metal Maven: So you went through hundreds for two songs? Oh my goodness.
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, and so for the first nine songs I just told people, “Shoot,” you know, what should it be. And I told them, “Give me a theme, give me feelings, give me a mood board, give me songs that you like, anything – just throw anything at me and I’ll make a song about it.” And this is how it went. And the other ones, the other two, I just chose at random.
Metal Maven: So you just went with your gut on it?
Marcela Bovio: Actually like choosing two random numbers and then just picking those. It’s just that I didn’t think – I mean, I already imagined I think – and to be honest I don’t remember, I must have also read a couple of the submissions before I actually chose, that I thought, “I cannot choose from this,” you know? From every one of these submissions and granted, there were a couple of silly things – very happy that I ended up not choosing those, you know. A deal was a deal so I had to make it random. But I didn’t feel entitled to say this story is more important than this other one. So, at some point, I said, “Ok, I’m just going to draw two random numbers and pick two random ideas because otherwise, it’s just not fair.”
Metal Maven: No, that makes sense. Now you still have these stories, so they could potentially become something. You have this archive of people’s tales, which is kind of cool if you think about it. You’re a little archivist here of emotions from across the world.
On your “Roardin” microsite, you have a really sweet message about the songs that you chose. You said, “I’m so honored that these wonderful people trusted me with their tales, their hopes, and their dreams. I’ve done my best to honor them and their stories. Writing for them has reminded me that even though we all have different backgrounds and live totally different lives, deep down we share the same emotions; we share the same struggles and joys.”
So my question now – we’ve come full circle – was the intent of your new album, Through Your Eyes, to teach or demonstrate empathy?
Marcela Bovio: I think, if I have to be brutally honest with you, I think it was to demonstrate it to myself a little bit – that I could feel that amount of empathy and that I could get out of my – I was going through a very difficult time, through the biggest period while writing these songs, so I couldn’t get in my head to write things. It was a sort of therapy for me actually to just completely throw myself into someone else’s idea and try to do my best to make something beautiful for them.
Metal Maven: Healing others as a means of healing yourself.
Marcela Bovio: Yeah, I guess so, yeah.
Metal Maven: That’s still very beautiful. So Marcela, thank you so much for joining me today. You are the first Metal Maven Podcast guest.
Marcela Bovio: Yay!
Metal Maven: Collaboration is obviously a very powerful act, as you can tell. When you have a creative idea and others support you in bringing it to life, that is true magic at work. And you’ve helped me very much today so again, I really really appreciate you being here with me, taking time out of your day.
Marcela Bovio: Thank you, it was my pleasure – and it was a lovely talk, and lots and lots of success with your new podcast.
Metal Maven: Thank you!
So let’s help Marcela get to 2,000 patrons! Show your support so she can continue to create beautiful music. For only $1/month, receive webcasts, discounts on merchandise, and an exclusive activity feed to stay up-to-date and in-the-know about her projects. Head over to patreon.com/marcelabovio and show some love! ❤
And most importantly, be sure to order your copy of Through Your Eyes, available in digital and limited edition CD bundles, from Marcela’s webshop: marcelabovio.com/shop.
Visit metalmavenpodcast.com for links to Marcela’s profiles, watch her lyric videos, and read the full transcript of this interview. Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to subscribe to Metal Maven Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.