Of Infinity is a young, new band that is turning a lot of heads in the metal world. They are powered by the tandem of vocalist/keyboardist Alessandra Zinicola and guitarist Nazareth Sando. They released their debut EP, "The Essence Of Infinity" earlier this year and received lots of attention from all the metal press. Their brand of lush goth-metal is fringed with classical elements along with barb-wire guitar bursts.
I spoke to Alessandra this week about the history of the band and why people are paying such close attention to Of Infinity.
antiMusic: You've been a band since 1999. Did you try out a variety of styles before settling on your current one or have you sounded like this from the outset?
Alessandra: No, we pretty much knew what we wanted to sound like from the beginning. Our guitarist, Nazareth had just left a black metal band and he was pretty fed up with it and wanted to do something slower with more melody and I was looking for the same kind of thing, so our styles really matched up well.
antiMusic: What is it about this type of music that appeals to you?
Alessandra: I really like the emotional darkness of it which is something I can relate to a lot of the time. There have been good patches and then very bad patches in my life and although I'd like to have more good, I like to be able to relate to the bad ones through my music. I'm can't say exactly all the reasons why I've been drawn to gothicy darker metal, but I do know that ever since it was introduced to me, it's been my favorite.
antiMusic: Can you retrace the history of the band for us?
Alessandra: Sure. I was still in high school when I met our guitarist, Nazareth online. He lived in Little Rock, Arkansas and I lived in New Jersey at the time…we started chatting and found we wanted the same things in a band so we decided to meet and after the first meeting in NJ, we took monthly trips back and fourth to collaborate our music. When I was just turning 17, I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah and Naz and I decided it would be a lot better if we lived in the same area, so he too moved there. We did a lot of searching for the right band members, but Utah is not the best area for metal, so we did a lot of traveling around the US after I graduated to places like PA, FL, and AR. We spent a lot of time back in Salt Lake, which is where we recorded our CD, "The Essence Of Infinity" until a couple years ago we were given the opportunity to move to San Antonio TX where we picked up our drummer, Carlos. So right now were living in San Antonio and we plan to be here for a while longer.
antiMusic: What can you tell us about your debut EP? Can you give us a couple of lines about each song, either what they're about or something that went into their recording?
Alessandra: Yes… we had a lot of songs ready to go, but we picked our 3 best at the time. All the songs were written by either myself, Nazareth, or a combination of both of us. We recorded at The Annex Studios and had a really great time doing it.
The Voice Without
This song was picked as the first because of its striking entrance notes. It's heavily keyboard based and probably the most aggressive song on the CD.
Shadow of a Lie
This is one of Nazareth's masterpieces…I really love the crazy guitar solo in it. It actually used to be much longer… maybe at least 8 mins long, but we changed it up a lot before we recorded this version. There is a longer version with no vocals, but it's not included on the CD.
It's Only for Forever
This is probably the catchiest song on the CD as well as the least metal sounding. It's got a Celtic, bluesy, beer-drinking swing to it and piano carries the whole song.
antiMusic: How long did it take for the record to come together?
Alessandra: Not long… we had all the songs ready and more. It was more a matter of finding the right place to record and the right people to record with. The actual recording of it took a solid weekend (we were very prepared), and then there were touch ups, mixing, and mastering that went on for maybe 2 weeks afterward.
antiMusic: It seems like you've got a fair bit of attention with this EP. Are you surprised about your very enthusiastic reviews so far?
Alessandra: Thanks much… it's true, we have gotten a lot of attention, in fact we just got notified that were on Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Top 10 Demo Picks for 2005 and were really happy about that! I have to say that we took a lot of time to prepare the music and the CD and we did a lot of work to expose it to the world, so I'm not really surprised that people like it. I was hoping that they would, but I think we were fairly confident that we had something good going when we were creating the music. Were just glad that people agree!
antiMusic: Can you tell us a little bit about the other members of the band?
Alessandra: Nazareth Sando: Naz is one of the founders of the band and he writes about 50% of the music if not more. He plays mostly Fender guitars and he started playing because of his uncle who is a blues guitarist. Naz is a graphic designer by day and he also goes to college.
Carlos Teller: Carlos is the youngest member of the band…he's just out of his teens. He's originally from Laredo before he moved to San Antonio and he goes to college here as well. He's an excellent drummer and a big metal info buff.
antiMusic: Does Of Infinity use anybody else (such as Lacuna Coil) as a blueprint for your career?
Alessandra: Haha….to tell you the truth, I was under the impression the metal was only for guys and not for girls with pianos when I first started listening, which made me pretty upset since I didn't have a chance at doing something in the genre that I loved. That is until Naz showed me a few bands like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and COF, who all had women in the bands or performing for the bands, which made me realize that there was a place for me here. Something people need to understand though, is that just because I'm the vocalist in the band, it does not mean that were somehow a clone of other female-fronted bands. No one ever asks that about a newer metal band when the front person is a guy, so why ask it about us? If you're actually listening to the music, you'd know that we're completely different from any of the other female-lead and male-lead bands by our musical arrangements, the instruments we use, the notes that we play, the chords and keys we prefer, plus there's the difference of the country that we originate from, etc. And not to forget that were all completely different people and all about 10 years younger than the other bands we tend to get generalized with.
antiMusic: You have such a spectacular voice. Do you have classical training?
Alessandra: Thanks very much! When I was younger I used to be in a few choirs and choruses and I did a lot of theatre with a couple groups. I think I remember having a couple of private lessons from time to time. But nothing really really formal. I sing a lot in my car though… that's my training now. I am however, classically trained in piano, although I'd rather play by ear.
antiMusic: At what point in your life did you make up your mind to make music for a living?
Alessandra: I don't think there was one defining point. I just seemed to move in that direction and one day I just kind of realized that this was kind of serious. My father before me also did the band/music writing thing before I came into this world so it didn't seem all that unnatural to also do it. I want to make sure I can always write music though and have the means and ability to do it, so my back up has been college and I'm almost through with it now with a B.B.A. in Marketing/Music Marketing degree. Getting a job in this field will surely help in financing band activities.
antiMusic: You've been with Nazareth for 6 years now. What is it about the two of you that makes for a good working relationship?
Alessandra: Yeah, its been a long time. Naz and I have always worked well together and I don't know what it is. Musically we've just always had the same goals and ideas of what sounds good and what sounds like crap. It was a miracle that we got together for Of Infinity in the first place taking into consideration the distance between us at first, but I think if you find a good thing and want to make it work, you do what it takes.
antiMusic: What is an Of Infinity live show like?
Alessandra: Very hard to put on. The music is so layered and complicated; putting together a show is like extremely difficult. Sometimes in a song we have up to 5 layers of guitars so you really have to sacrifice some of the fullness of our sound on stage. And piano is also difficult to do. We have keyboards with piano sounds on them but a lot of our music has piano in it and to me it's never the same as having a real piano on stage which is basically impossible most of the times.
antiMusic: What has been your most memorable show so far?
Alessandra: Hahah…. You'd have to ask Naz about this since a lot of times it's what happens after the show that's more funny/memorable. There was this one time after a show that Naz was playing backup keyboards and he was picking up and rolling up cables and this old guy with a John Deere hat and overalls came up to him (this was in the south), and he says "Yer fingers look mighty fine slidin over that keyboard. I bet they'd feel mighty fine slidin over my penis!". And Naz ran.
antiMusic: In your bio, your own personal influences go from The Beatles to Type O Negative. Pretty wide ranging stuff. What do you bring from your influences into your own songwriting?
Alessandra: Well the Beatles are my foundation…I was obsessed for some years when I was still in grade school with them. I know all their songs, I have all their videos, and I even have figurines and collectors plates and cars and I've seen Ringo Starr 2x in concert. I went to every Beatlefest I could and I used to get Christmas cards from Yoko Ono every year. I was a HUGE fan and to this day I think they are some of the most talented musicians ever. I like to think listening to them taught me a lot of good things about song structure, melody, and catchiness/hooks. I have a lot of other influences as well, and I think that sometimes when I'm listening to a band I like, it inspires me to write something just as good or better if I can. I think my influences give me motivation to write.
antiMusic: Some bands write a song a day or more. Others labor over their efforts for weeks or months. How does your band approach songwriting?
Alessandra: Sometimes we just feel like writing and we do. There's no pattern. Sometimes we'll write 3 songs over the period of 3 days if the ideas keep coming and sometimes there will only be one song written every season of the year. I don't think we could ever keep up with one song a day, that would probably turn into burn out for me and the quality probably wouldn't be there, and quality of songs is a big deal for us. We refuse to put our names on filler songs and half-assed pieces of work.
antiMusic: Can you tell us about your time on the 2002 Olympics Art Festival Steering Committee? How did you get involved with that?
Alessandra: Sure, that was when I was living in Salt Lake City, Utah when the winter Olympics was being held there. I can't recall who it was that asked me to be involved but it was a woman who was with the Kennedy Center and she asked me to serve on the committee. I was the representative for young people in the arts and went to monthly meetings with other representatives where we talked about what to do with the art festival side of the Olympics. Basically we collaborated together on what was to happen with the festival, shared ideas, took notes, etc. I was also assigned different tasks, one of them being to write a story for the news on a Grammy winning composer who came to work with kids on writing their own mini-opera in school.
antiMusic: You are the composer of an opera that was on tour throughout the US this past summer. What is the story behind that?
Alessandra: That actually stemmed from my experience with the Olympics Art Festival steering committee. When I had gone to talk to the opera composer that was working with the kids, I met a woman who was with the Utah Opera & Symphony and she offered me a paid internship with them and all I had to do was give her a sample of my work. So I gave her some roughly recorded Of Infinity music with no vocals, and she said I was in. That next summer myself and a group of other musicians/artists/etc. got together and wrote a bi-lingual opera called "Illusions", which is the name of the title song which I wrote. Each person was good at something different and helped in different ways since we needed playwrights and directors and things like that. Later on that year a different group of people were brought in for set design, costumes, and other visual art things and lastly the actors/singers came. The opera debuted in the Black Box Theatre in downtown SLC and I was there with my Slayer shirt and leather jacket to take my bow at the end, it was great. After that it went on tour for a couple years in the mid-west. It was really awesome to have the experience of it all.
antiMusic: What is on the schedule for 2006 for the band? Can we expect new material?
Alessandra: The new material is already written. We had wanted to have a full-length CD out already but we had no idea the first CD would be so big that we'd still be dealing with the effects of it for so long and not have time to put something together that fast. Were going to try for a full length in 2006 if we can find the right studio to record with and if we have the means to do it.
antiMusic: In a perfect world, who would you like to tour with?
Alessandra: Haha… well we always thought it would be cool to have and all female-fronted band tour since fans that like one female-fronted band tend to like others as well. I think it would being in a lot of people and I think it would be fun to have other women to hang out with during a tour. God knows I like my guy band mates and friends to death, but I wouldn't mind having another girl to be around too!
antiMusic: Anything else you would like to tell us that I didn't ask you?
Alessandra: Yeah…hehe, how to get the CD! "The Essence Of Infinity" is available on CDBaby at http://www.cdbaby.com/ofinfinity . It's also available at other online and brick & mortar stores as listed at our website at http://www.ofinfinity.com . Thanks much for the interview, the band and I really appreciate your interest in us. Take care and have a happy 2006!
antiMusic and Morley Seaver thank Alessandra for speaking with us. We wish her and her band all the best in 2006.