Home Interviews Infected Rain – Taking on the World , Metal Planet Music talks to Elena ‘Lena Scissorhands’ Cataraga

Infected Rain – Taking on the World , Metal Planet Music talks to Elena ‘Lena Scissorhands’ Cataraga

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Interview by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

World events have sadly overtaken most of our lives recently, a global pandemic and now the invasion of Ukraine by Russia filling the headlines every single night.

Moldovan band Infected Rain have seen the country next to theirs devastated with the recent war, label mates Jinjer reaching out from their base in Kiev as the world unites to support them.

Very few bands are formed and shaped under such a cauldron of heat and pressure, but both are ground-breaking in their approaches and have their own, distinct and unique voices.

A true force of nature, Infected Rain have been producing earth shattering material that mixes huge hooks, ferocious riffs, titanic drums and bass and vocals from lead singer Elena ‘Lena Scissorhands’ Cataraga that easily shift from the gorgeously soaring to the nakedly feral and guttural.

With the release of their fifth album ‘Ecdysis’ the band have made another giant leap forward, building on the success and critical acclaim that they’ve seen since forming in 2008, the years of hard work and passion poured out into it’s recording.

Seemingly a band born to fight and make their own voices heard, Infected Rain have a spirit that defines who they are, and the effect has been nothing less than seismic. Alongside guitarists Vadim Ojog and Serghei Babici, Vladimir Babici on bass and drummer Eugen Voluta, Cataraga continue to put the music first and we caught up with the vocalist from her home in America now to discuss the genesis and growth of the band as they continue heading for the big league. (This interview was done prior to the invasion of Ukraine).

How difficult was it to form the band in your hometown of Chisinau in Moldova? Did you find Vadim, or did he find you?

As a teenager I started going to local shows in Moldova and I met a lot of musicians that later became my friends. Vidick was one of them. Him and his best friend were rehearsing and making some covers in the late 2017 so for fun they invited me to sing with them. That’s how everything started.

You seem to have hit the ground running after you got together in 2008, having released your first EP very quickly into the band’s existence and hitting the road with tours and festivals. Was this a conscious plan to make a big impression as soon as you could or a hunger to get out there to play?

Honestly, I really don’t think that all this was happening fast for Infected Rain. Actually, the opposite. It took us 10 years until we finally signed with the label. In these 10 independent years, we had a lot of ups and downs. Starting in such a small and poor country of Eastern Europe was definitely not something that worked in our favour either. However, we never gave up and always worked very hard for every single show, every single song, every single album and every single festival.

You had a change of line-up in 2010 with both Ivan and Andrei leaving. How did this change your sound, particularly as Ivan was a DJ and did you bring in different influences to develop your sound? 

The sound didn’t change much because of that specifically. The sound changes with every single album because we grow as musicians and as people. When our DJ left the band, we decided to have electronic pads instead, so that kept a little bit the spirit of the DJ in the band for sure. The old guitar player was replaced with a better more skilled guitar player in Sergei.

You’re signed to Napalm. How did that contract come about?
I think we’ve been on the radar of many labels around our second album. We just started having offers from different people and, Napalm Records was one of them. They were very insistent and persuasive with their offers and with their intentions so, eventually, after a couple of years of talking we decided to sign.

The growth from ‘Asylum’ to ‘Ecdysis’ has been a thrilling one. How did you go about writing and recording the new album through a global pandemic and did it affect your song writing?

Every single album has stories and emotions that surround the era of that album or, something that happened before. Ecdysis is definitely the mirror of our emotions and fears throughout the past years. This era we live in definitely left a footprint in all of us.

There’s a real edge to the tracks on the album and one that you’ve always shown but it seems intensified. People have mentioned your labelmates Jinjer when talking about your mix of crushingly heavy with beautifully soaring material but some ‘Ecdysis’ is certainly heavier than them. There’s a variety you have on there too, from the dance feel in ‘Longing’ to the industrial Rammstein-like punch of ‘The Realm of Chaos’ and beyond. In the latter, Heidi Shepherd of Butcher Babies appears. How did she end up recording with you?

It is very easy to compare bands and people, that’s why it is done constantly to the bands. We are all different and we do what we love. This is not a competition of who is better or heavier or more melodic or whatever you want to compare. We do what we do because we needed more than anything, it is our therapy. Having Heidi from Butcher Babies as a guest on our song was a very organic and spontaneous, unplanned, decision. Heidi and I are good friends so, this was a lot of fun to do.

Have you been pleased with the reception that the album has received?

We are definitely very happy with how much love and support we are receiving for this album. A lot of people can relate to the emotions, and they make sure to let us know. That is very rewarding.

You’re always 100% committed to your singing and your ability to switch from tender vocals to truly visceral and back again is remarkable. You’ve been working with the great Melissa Cross (vocal coach for many artists including Machine Head and Bullet For My Valentine) on refining this technique so how is it with her as a tutor? 

Melissa Cross is not only my vocal teacher but also my mentor and my best friend. I learned so much from her and from her classes. She made me believe in myself like no one else.

Now that the album is out and your tour starts next month, what plans do you have in the future, and can we expect to see Infected Rain on the road in the UK soon?

We definitely plan to tour as much as possible when possible. There’s a really all our plans for now. Hopefully to see you soon in the UK!

Lena Scissorhands – Vocals
Vadim Ojog “Vidick” – Guitar
Sergey Babici – Guitar
Vladimir Babici – Bass
Eugene Voluta – Drums


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