QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Marina La Torraca (PHANTOM ELITE)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Marina. Thanks for your time. First of all, I wish you all the best for 2023. I hope you had a good start into the new year.

Marina: Hey, thanks for the interview! Yeah, it’s been quite positively busy! Which is great. Hope you’re having a good one too.

Pix666: Marina, please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. How did it all begin and what kind of music do you make?

Marina: We’re now somewhere in the genre of modern metal, but we started off as a progressive/symphonic metal outfit in 2016. Back then it was only me and Sander Gommans (After Forever) trying to set up something new. The line up changed completely over the years, and since our last album „Titanium“, we’ve been a steady 3-piece (me, Max van Esch and Joeri Warmerdam). We write everything and create a lot ourselves, it’s a pure „sweat and grind“ band, haha. But that also means we don’t care much about formulas or rules, we just make the music we wanna make.

Pix666:  In a few weeks your new album ‘Blue Blood’ will be released. What can fans expect on the album? Are there any main differences to the ‘Titanium’ album?

Marina: Oh, in a way it’s very different… and in another way, it’s a natural evolution from the last one. It’s heavier and more modern for sure, but full of surprises along the way. Once you think you understand the direction we’re taking, a new turn comes along and shifts everything. 😀

Pix666: Is it already possible to pre-order ‘Blue Blood’? Will there also be special editions or bundles?

Marina: Sure, you can order a special bundle with a t-shirt and exclusive hand-signed poster on our shop! I’ll paste the link here: https://www.merchlandshop.com/produkt/phantom-elite-limited-edition-blue-blood-bundle/

Pix666: In March and April you will be on tour through Europe just in time for the album release. You will play in more than ten countries. How much are you looking forward to this trip through Europe?

Marina: This is gonna be the first tour we are able to accomplish with this new line up. Since „Titanium“ was released during covid times, ALL of the opportunities we had back then were cancelled. VERY sad situation, but that makes us even more eager to hit the road now!

Pix666: What inspires you to write your music – where do you get the ideas for your lyrics and who is responsible for what in the band in the songwriting process?

Marina: Our songwriting process is really a group effort, all 3 of us participate actively in creating until we can call some ideas a complete song. But Max, as the band producer, comes up with most of the initial at least instrumental ideas. Which we continue, stretch, twist and turn, and flip around and inside out, until we have a song. 😀 Our ideas for music and lyrics comes from whatever we feel inspired by at the moment: different bands, movies, even philosophy and news.

Pix666: Your new single ‘Inner Beast’ is a real banger. I really love the video clip for the song. Where did you shoot the clip and how long did it take?

Marina: Thank you so much! We shot it somewhere in NRW (Germany) at a so called „vintage hall“. Our director Mirko Witzki had the connection and thought it would be perfect for the horror-vintage idea we pitched. It took us basically the whole day. But our next video going on the 17th of March took us even longer, hahaha.

Pix666: The clip passed the 100,000 views mark on YouTube within a few days. One of your songs from the ‘Titanium’ album was streamed more than a million times on Spotify – a really big number. Do you, or anyone else in the band, like to look at statistics like that?

Marina: We are always checking the numbers, haha, it’s really a good way of measuring the audience’s response to a release. We put a lot of work into our product, so it’s really nice if the response is there.

Pix666:  Marina, if you had to pick the three most memorable experiences from your career as a musician so far – what would they be? 

Marina: Definitely singing with Avantasia – never in my life had I thought I would actually stand on stage with those guys; being in a band with Amanda Somerville – also something I never EVER thought would be possible; and playing Wacken in 2018 – this one I had at least dreamed of before, haha. You know, I come from Brazil. And when I started out hustling with cover gigs every weekend at age 15, all those things were just way too far for me to have as some sort of „goal“. 

Pix666:  Apart from music, are there any other things you like? Do you have any unusual or interesting hobbies?

Marina: I wouldn’t say they are unusual, haha, but I do love movies and series. OK, who doesn’t? Haha, but I don’t mean mindless binging on some crap on TV! I mean the part of this culture that brings people together and inspires. Movies have been part of my life since I was a kid, it was an activity that bonded family, friends, and I just absolutely love the art.

Pix666: Do you have any other news about Phantom Elite that you would like to share with the fans?

New album coming on March 17th, and European tour starting right after! You can check all the info on our website: phantom-elite.com . Other than that, I hope to have great news about Phantom Elite and other projects (oh, yeah, you’ve been waiting for this for 5 years, haha) really soon!

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck with the new album and stay healthy!

Marina: Thank you so much, you too!



photos © by Sebastian Pielnik