Feline Melinda – Interview

Country: Italy

Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal 

Interview with: Rob Irbiz & Chris Platzer

Interviewer: Speedskullcrusher

Hello Feline Melinda! Please do an introduction to your formation, its goals and past achievements!

Rob Irbiz: vocalist and composer of most of the band’s songs
Chris Platzer: drummer and „the engine of the band“together with Rob
HeadMatt: rhythm and solo guitarist
Gschnell: bass player and showman on stage (he is also known as “the wild stage

Rob: Additionally, they are part of our FELINE MELINDA family: Doris Albenberger: guest singer on duet songs. Now and then she is also on stage with the band. Francesco Pinter: rhythm and solo guitarist, graduate of Berklee College of Music (Boston), and substitute guitarist for HeadMatt. Marco Ober: sound engineer – he has been working with the band since 2006.

Chris: Our greatest success is certainly the longevity of the band, because there are not many bands that can look back on such a long band history! FELINE MELINDA was formed in 1986 by Rob Irbiz and Andy De Santis (former bass player) as a school band. Since then the group has existed without interruption. We have always worked relentlessly over the years to develop our sound. Our passion continues to drive us forward. The debut album “The Felines Await You” (1988) is part of the Italian Metal “history and is still very popular today and especially the vinyl edition is coveted by collectors!

Rob: We still enjoy making our music. With “Seven” we have a strong album on the go, which is convincing – both in terms of production and songwriting. These are the real goals that count… regardless of fame, number of followers, etc. It all comes down to the essentials and at the end of the day, that’s always the music you make. The biggest ambition is to continue to enjoy what you’re doing, to develop further and to write good songs again.

Why did you choose Feline Melinda as a band’s name?

Chris: When FELINE MELINDA was founded by Rob and Andy, they were looking for a name that symbolizes the connection between the animal (instinct) and the human being (a female name was chosen), who is himself part of nature., and so the band’s name was born. We know that FELINE MELINDA is an unusual name. Some love it, others don’t. A little anecdote: “Melinda” was also chosen because Uriah Heep were inspired Rob and Andy by the song “Come Away, Melinda”. In later years, the band also had the opportunity to open shows as special guests for Uriah Heep.

In your music I hear a lot of old Heavy metal influences. This is purely Heavy Metal in its rawest and most fine form! What are the Heavy Metal bands that marked the most Feline Melinda ‘s music?

Rob: It is difficult to clearly define the style of FELINE MELINDA. We are aware that it’s not easy to categorize our musical style. Throughout the decades, the Power Metal element has become more and more significant. But is also noticeable that some songs are enriched with pop Metal elements and occasionally a touch of symphonic rock. Since we grew up with hard rock and metal, it’s not surprising that lots of elements merge with each other stylistically. In any case, FELINE MELINDA’s music will always stand for
simple, catchy, melodic hard and heavy music.

Chris: We think that the musical direction we have taken, especially in the last few years, is exactly what we want to do and gives us the most fun, joy and satisfaction! As with all things, the music of an artist or a band is constantly evolving. But it would be unnatural and lacking in authenticity if we tried to consciously change our style and sound.

Who composes in the band and how does the elaboration of a track occur?

Chris: In the majority of cases, the first input comes from Rob. He composes most of the songs for the band. He uses to fix a basic idea for the new song recording a first, simple demo. The song idea is then developed together with me. After this important step, an advanced demo tape is going to be produced in my home studio. This is followed by arrangements of the guitars, bass lines, keys, ect.

Rob: Most of the stuff is getting played in the rehearsal room with the whole band, searching for the details and adjustments: the structure of the song – introduction, verses, bridge, chorus, guitar solo… Last step is the production of a final demo version of the song, which also becomes the baseline when the song is going to be recorded in the studio.

Why Feline Melinda has not signed for any label yet ?

Rob: Before releasing “Seven”, we contacted several labels and asked whether they were interested in a possible collaboration. However, the feedback and the conditions offered for a collaboration were definitely anything but fair! As a band that bears the costs and risk for the production itself, you expect an offer that represents a win-win situation for both partners, but this is usually not the case. Record companies take advantage of the situation because there is an oversaturation of bands and artists. There is absolutely no advantage in signing a record deal and then being trapped with it, while others take the biggest part of what you have created with a lot of passion, time and money! That’s why we preferred to release the current album ourselves. The advantage of this is that we are completely independent in everything and are therefore free to do and act as we like. Our albums can be purchased directly via our homepage as well as via BandCamp. Of course, we are also available on all streaming platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes and many more.

Chris: Our fans in Japan also have the advantage that they can buy our CDs in record shops as well as Japanese online stores.

Tell me about the last album ” Seven ”?

Rob: From the beginnings to the final result, it was a long process that took a few years. In between, there was also the time during the Covid pandemic, which slowed down work and brought it to a standstill a few times. However, we were in no rush, as we had no obligation to deliver a product within a certain time!

Chris: The entire album contains eleven songs, some of them sounding very different and varying in terms of their emotional components, structure and arrangements. The ballad “Before The Dawn”, which is sung as a duet by Rob and Doris and the entire guitar work has been arranged and played by guest guitarist Francesco Pinter. It’s not a typical metal ballad and you can hear a touch of AOR. “Welcome To The Show” is the album’s opener, which is already emphasised in the lyrics. “Black Sun” differs from the other songs – also because of the message contained in the lyrics.

Rob: “More Than Ever” is the song with the most streaming downloads. “Seventh Heaven”, on the other hand, is very catchy and has a sing-along chorus. This song was also chosen as the first single release including the music video (on YouTube) and announced the new album. We are delighted that ‘Seven’ is getting positive reviews and feedback worldwide!

Chris: In addition to the guest musicians Doris Albenberger and Francesco Pinter, the following people were involved in the production of the album: the recordings and the editing were made by Marco Ober (Artifact Studio Trento/Italy). Producer Sascha Paeth was responsible for mixing and mastering the songs; he made a real superb job! Michael Rodenberg has prepared the corresponding DDP file for the physical CD. Manuel Perktold (OKis Media Design) worked with us on the concept for the cover artwork.

What are your future projects?

Rob: We are already working on new song material for another full-length album, or an EP, or a single… anyway, let’s see what happens, and how it develops. We are also planning on a further collaboration/release with our guest singer Doris Albenberger, as our songs are also well received in the duet version. So stay tuned and follow us.

What good things have you been listening to lately? Which records / albums/ demos came up the most often in your playlists?

Chris: Rob and I both like the sound of Nordic bands like Sonata Artica, Stratovarius and similar. We also follow and listen to bands like Avantasia (guitarist Sascha Paeth mixed and mastered our last album “Seven”) Edguy and classics like Def Leppard, Scorpions, Helloween, Yngwie Malmsteen, Motley Crue, and many more. Bassist Gschnell has a slightly different taste in music, and guitarist HeadMatt grew up with the sound of Children of Bodom.

The last words are yours. If you want to speak about another subject that’s important to your eyes… Thank you for this golden opportunity.

Rob, Chris: First of all, we would like to thank you and Acier Doux Metalzine for your interesting questions, which we were very happy to answer! Furthermore, thanks to all readers of the interview and those who like FELINE MELINDA’s music; we really appreciate it a lot when we get feedback on our social channels. The purpose of our music is to entertain and bring joy and positive vibes to our fans!

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