Persona comes from Tunisia. Thus far the band has released one studio album Elusive Reflections (Independent 2016). Persona belongs to newcomers with female fronted vocals (Jelena). These bands have become quite popular today so the band has already gained some attention here and there but, yet they are unsigned. Since they are coming from Tunisia the market could be indeed tricky for them.
As a matter of fact you have a new, debut record Elusive Reflections so tell us something about the newer record? Could you present it from your point of view?
Hi Marko and thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Our debut album “Elusive Reflections” has been released on Feb 12 and it contains 10 songs, all describing different moods, emotions and states of mind. It is not conceptual, songs sometimes have similar topics, but they are all quite different musically. Some of them have more symphonic elements, some of them are more raw – thrash or heavy, and few tunes or riffs have oriental influences. It’s best to leave it to listeners to form their own impression, because everything about music is always very subjective and relative.
Please, also could you present the band Persona to our readers since this is the very first time that we have a chance to have an interview with you.
The band was formed in 2012, soon after I moved to Tunisia. It first started as a project between Melik Khelifa (lead guitar) and me (vocals), and we spent some time just experimenting and composing for fun. Yosri Ouada (guitar) and Youssef Aouadi (drums) joined soon afterwards, followed by Walid Bessadok (keyboard) and Nesrine Mahbouli (bass). Each member brought an individual musical personality into the band and with them we established our current musical style.
How would you like to describe your style of playing? Tell us something about your influences as well.
We describe our style as alternative metal because there are many different elements in it, due to different musical preferences of each band member. People usually hear symphonic, power, thrash, heavy metal elements, sometimes even gothic and industrial influences. What we like and listen to is quite diverse: Melik prefers thrash, death and heavy metal, classic rock too (Metallica, Megadeth, Death, Pantera, Led Zeppeli, Queen…). Yosri is more progressive/djent (Opeth, Tesseract… ). Nesrine, Walid and I all love classical music, but Nesrine’s more into gothic/symphonic and folk metal (Nightwish, Xandria, Tristania…), Walid into symphonic (Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation…) and I mostly prefer progressive/power metal (Dream Theater, Kamelot, Myrath, Leprous, Pain of Salvation…). Our drummer Youssef loves everything with rich and complicated drum work (I think Mike Portnoy is one of his absolute favorites). But besides metal we all listen to many different kinds of music (personally I love jazz and progressive rock)
When it comes to Persona do you have any live shows in mind soon? Are you active actually when it comes to live performances?
Concerts here are only organized by bands themselves or some metal music enthusiasts – we have no metal festivals here or actual metal music industry at all, and that makes it all the more difficult. Despite all that, we’re trying to be active as much as we can and we have had several concerts since the album release.
Since you are coming from Tunisia what could you tell us about the metal scene in your country?
The metal scene exists, but it needs to grow and develop more. There are numerous obstacles: lack of media support, no labels, no recording studios nor music producers that specialize in rock/metal (same goes for music videos), lack of venues, and other things… Most bands just give up before they’ve achieved anything significant. On the other hand, there is audience for this kind of music and I hope the conditions will improve in the future, for the sake of bands and also people who support them.
What is your aim right now are you targeting any labels for your upcoming records that might be interested in your style?
Since the album has already been released, we’re now looking for a label who would be interested in a distribution contract, and some endorsement deals would be nice too. Besides that, we’re contacting festival organizers for next year festival season, and we’re also planning some smaller tours in Europe, but nothing is official just as yet.
What is the next step of Persona after the debut album Elusive Reflections?
We’re preparing new music videos and we’ll maybe launch a crowdfounding campaign too. There are plans of touring abroad, along with festivals and concerts in Tunisia, and of course, work on our next album.
- Answers by Jelena Dobrić
- Interview by Marko Miranovic