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neilainvo8831 byGaetanoCarforaInterview with

Elettra Seguro (vocals and lyrics), Claudia Nottebella (keyboards) and Valeria Formisano (bass guitar) from Neila Invo

I was very happy to discover new beautiful music from Italy: The Dark Wave band NEILA INVO beguiles with dark tones, a spherical voice and poetic as well as dreamlike lyrics. The band was founded in 2019 by Elettra Seguro and Valeria Formisano, one year later Claudia Nottebella - already known from the band ASH CODE - joined them. Now NEILA INVO have released their debut album ‘Alienation’. In the interview, they reveal what ‘Alienation’ means to them personally. They also talk about their musical background, their own dark sides and more.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Congratulations to your debut album ‘Alienation’! Let’s talk about the title first: It’s an anagram of the band’s name, and it means a kind of estrangement or disaffiliation. What does ‘Alienation’ mean to you personally?
Elettra: Personally, it’s very personal, so personal that I don’t know what to say.
Claudia: ‘Alienation’ means many things, personally it is a state of mind in which I find myself very often.
Valeria: Personally, ‘Alienation’ means to me a condition of total estrangement, an escape from the reality around us, beyond all the meanings concerned with the word.

RoD: Please tell me something about your biography. How and when did you three meet each other, and how did the idea for the band NEILA INVO come about?
Elettra: I collaborated with GEOMETRIC VISION for the covers of the albums ‘Virtual Analog Tears’, ‘Fire! Fire! Fire!’ and ‘Slow Emotion’. I wrote some lyrics like ‘Jelly Dream’ and ‘Apocalypse Queen’ and I did the second voice in ‘Hills’ and ‘Stupid Song for Dreamers’. More about me... I spend time painting geometries and writing stories about human perversions. I met Valeria and Claudia in 2013, when I moved from Padua to Naples. The idea of the band was born by Valeria and later with the aggregation of Claudia we have created NEILA INVO.
Claudia: Before starting to make music, I worked in a live music club in my city and studied philosophy. I have always played some instruments, the piano as a child, guitar and bass in adolescence, but always for pleasure. Then the music started calling me more vigorously and here I am. I have known Elettra and Valeria for many years, when they asked me to form the band, I was very happy. Since then, we have united more and more, now I believe we are one.
Valeria: I work in a Chinese school because of my studies background in the Far East field. We met the first time in 2013, the idea of the band was born when we started to meet also with another friend of ours in a rehearsal room making music just for have fun together. Then something has started to take shape (the first versions of the skeletal structure of ‘Murder’s Prayer’ and ‘I’m falling’, to be precise). One day we asked Claudia to play with us, we immediately felt a strong connection, everything has flowed naturally.

RoD: Who of you gives which personal influence in the band?
Elettra: I don’t know, I should ask the others. But I can say that we make the same contributions, musically and mainly at the human level.
Claudia: We are truly a perfect team. What each of us does is perfectly intertwined with what the other does by creating a puzzle. We are lucky, we complement each other.
Valeria: We inspire each other in the process of the creation, each in her own way.

neilainvo8920 byGaetanoCarfora

RoD: The lyrics on the album are quite dark, partly there are pictures like a nightmare (i.e., ‘Larvae’). Can you tell me something about your own dark sides?
Elettra: Darkness is an aspect that has always fascinated, to whom more and to whom less. ‘Larvae’ rather than a nightmare is a kind of symbolic dream, to be viewed in its various components and then draw a unique and subjective meaning. The lyrics are not really based on a dark side, but on a concrete state of life of periodic agony, interspersed with flashes of brightness, as in a debilitating cycle.
Claudia: My dark side scares me because I can’t control it. I’m afraid of all the things I can’t control. But we all have a dark side, in some of us it takes over and in others it doesn’t. I think it’s a bit like the Dionysian spirit Nietzsche was talking about. Anyway, I thank my dark side because it is definitely the one who guides me when I compose music.
Valeria: I don’t see the darkness as a bad thing, sometimes I bask in it, sometimes it makes me feel very bad. For me darkness and light are complementary, everything has these two sides, the Yin and the Yang, all is interrelated, nothing is absolute. There can be no light without darkness.

RoD: What inspires you when you write the lyrics?
Elettra: Especially personal dreams and experiences, expressed in a concise way, describing symbolic images. I don’t like frills.

RoD: Claudia, you are also a part of ASH CODE. How do you combine your work with two bands?
Claudia: To be honest it’s hard, but with great sacrifices I try to do my best.

RoD: Claudia, is it different to be in a female band with two women than working in a band with two men?
Claudia: I don’t know if it depends on the gender, but I think more from the relationships I have with each of them. Surely each of them is different and has a different approach, but the alchemy that exists in the two different projects allows me to express myself at best.

RoD: Which artists inspire you - what kind of music do you listen to privately?
Elettra: I listen to various genres, depending on my mood of the moment. I don’t inspire myself consciously to anyone.
Claudia: Anything can inspire me, there is nothing specific. As for music I listen to any genre, obviously there are types of music that I prefer, but it also depends a lot on the mood, music is the soundtrack of my moods, it always has been.
Valeria: A lot of artists inspired me, among them the bass player of DÉCIMA VÍCTIMA. I admire his way of playing and what he created, it was love at first sound. I love to listen to various genres such as post-punk, gothic rock, death rock etc., according to my mood of the moment.

RoD: Did you grow up with music in your families? Did you learn instruments when you were kids?
Elettra: My mom was a DJ on the radio and at the clubs until shortly before my birth. At school I played the flute and I really sucked, luckily, I saved my grades in music by singing. And for a short time, I strummed the bass.
Claudia: I grew up with music constantly in my ears. My father strums the guitar and is a record collector, he has hundreds of them and ever since I was in the cradle, I am used to constantly hearing background music. My grandmother is a piano teacher, she taught me to play it when I was five years old.
Valeria: I’ve always been attracted to music. My grandfather used to play drums when he was young, the aunt who lived with me is an artist, she had a band in which she was the singer in the 70s. She also told me stories about an ancestor of ours who was an opera singer, she performed in many theatres in Europe. When I was a child, I loved to listen to the stories about her. I learned to play piano when I was a child. I wanted to learn guitar, but the teacher of the school chose for me. I started to play the bass as a self-taught, only for my pleasure. I had a visceral feeling of belonging when I played it for the first time. I thought “I am this sound”.

RoD: Have you always known that you want to make music?
Elettra: Sometimes I thought that I would like to try to be part of a band, but I never had a certain goal in my life. I take what comes, obviously if it’s of my interest.
Claudia: No. Music has found me.
Valeria: No, but I often thought in my life that it would be awesome to create something beautiful with kindred souls, it's a kind of blessing!.

RoD: Thank you very much for the interview!
All pictures by Gaetano Carfora

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