Bio: I am a hippy-goth. A free spirit, an open mind. Macabre lover. I’m the kind of person who usually sees bright side of things, who is almost always on the side of the weak ones, unusual ones, the ones who are in minority. And there you have it, the combination of the darkness and the light, because the world cannot operate without the two. Like yin and yang, like darkness in a tunnel and light at the end of it.
Obscurena: When you started your career as an alternative model and why the underground?
Eleanore Dystopia: I never started the career of the althernative model. I am an economy student and I do this as a hobby. Why alternative? Because alternative models model what they want and look the way they want to. Mainstream models have to look in an exact way (which I dislike, but that is a different topic) and do what they are told.
Obscurena: What do you like most? Gothic, Steampunk or Cosplay ?
Eleanore Dystopia: I am mostly a gothic model and I will stay focused on that theme, but I would like to develop myself as a cosplayer, too.
Obscurena: What are your greatest accomplishments so far? What is your greatest strength?
Eleanore Dystopia: I collaborated with Dark in love (one of my favourite gothic brands) and I will collaborate with other amazing gothic companies, so stay tuned!
I’ve been asking myself the same question and I think it is my authenticity. I am not your regular photoshopped doll, who looks like dozen other (alternative)models.
Obscurena: What are your plans for the future?
Eleanore Dystopia: Same as now, uni, photo shoots and friends.
Obscurena: When you initiated your journey in the theater what made you do it?
Sara Freitas: Apart from having made my parents watch the 3 year old me performing on the top a table (ahaah), I started acting in school plays back in 2001, when I was 10 years old. I had a couple of amazing teachers who gave the class the opportunity to develop several projects about history and science and to present them to the community by acting, dancing and singing. We would set up a different play every year, related to the work developed in the course of the year. And it was really funny and uplifting, exactly when the school year was finishing!
However, I started taking this thing of acting a little bit more seriously in high-school (in 2006), when I joined the theatre group “O Pancadinhas” and had my first audition (with the “Phantom of the opera” theme cover by Nightwish – how original!). I was just taking the first steps in the world of operatic singing, but I think I did Ok because I ended up playing the role of Carlotta Guidicelli, the coloratura soprano diva that is blown away by the angelic Christine, the Phantom’s eternal love. We can actually revive some of those moments through some live footage that I managed to recover:
In the two following years, as the group decided to get back to non-musical plays and few people actually wished to sing, I gave my contribute by performing the theme “All that jazz” in a cabaret-like environment in the play “O leão da estrela” (adapted by the group) and the aria “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen in the play “Os Maias” (also adapted by the group). I managed to recover footages of these two events as well:
Unfortunately, as I started embracing an academic career I somehow had to step out of acting and did my last intervention in 2009 (I guess), this time with the group “A Companhia” in the portuguese revista “P’Arte tudo”. Here’s a small excerpt:
Despite the demanding academic courses, I didn’t give up on singing and joined the amateur choir “Ares Novos”, where I never minded jumping from first soprano to contralto whenever the balance required it. In the meantime, I also joined the choir “Stravaganzza”, where I’m always in my comfort zone, the first soprano. Although, academic life took its toll on me once more and I had to leave the first choir, after 5 years of enjoying learning and making music with very kind people. Let me share with you a beautiful Fado event pulled off by “Ares Novos”, a couple of humble and nervous solos I had the honour of singing and the Sacred Concert by Duke Ellington with band ensemble:
Currently I have no activity in the theatre field, my bad… But I put in practice all that I’ve learnt in all Monolith Moon live shows! 🙂
Obscurena: Why Heavy Metal ?
Sara Freitas: That’s a great question! Let’s see…It could have been Pop (yeah I dived into music with Britney Spears, Shakira, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera!), it could have been Hip Hop (I used to dig Eminem and Da Weasel soooo much!), it could have been Rock (there was a time I was really into soft rock like Rui Veloso, Polo Norte, Coldplay, Scorpions!), it could have been R&B (oh my Tony Braxton, Michael Jackson!), it could have been Classical/Folk (how I love Loreena McKennitt, Blackmore’s Night, Il Divo, Patricia Petibon!), it could have been World (oh the goddesses Dulce Pontes, Virginia Rodrigues, Natacha Atlas!), and the wandering goes on…
I have to say that the Metal thing started during my teenage with (inevitably anther list, here we go!) hard Rock bands such as Likin Park, Evanescence, POD… Which then became Slipknot, System of a Down, Mudvayne… Which became Nightwish, Kamelot, Epica, Sonata Arctica… Which gave place to Queen, Iron Maiden, Manowar… Which then gave place to Children of Bodom, Dream Theater, Symphony X… Who changed roles with Opeth, Necrophagist, Obscura, Katatonia, Beyond Creation… Who have to share the space with more ambient and down tempo stuff like Ahab, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Aes Dana, Hildur Guðnadóttir… (I’m certainly leaving out very important names that somehow made/make part of my life and influenced me as a pseudo-artist and person). Ah, with so much going on, today my playlists are a mess =) As well as my singing style (personal opinion), because I can’t figure out if I do have my own performing style. Besides I try hard to assemble these many influences into one piece, it’s difficult and I often catch myself trying to embrace the existing style that fits better according to the song (if it is a cover I try copying the original, if it’s someone’s original I try figuring out the style. Bah!).
Luckily, it is in Monolith Moon (let me take the chance to introduce the band where I’m lyricist and vocals!) that I find the perfect playground for mixing up and testing all these things, and also some vocal experimentation, which I love so much. As far as music is concerned, it is when I’m rehearsing and performing live with the guys that I have feel like I have no barriers, that I can truly convey my passion for performing with whoever wants to witness it. I love engaging the audience with my presence (whatever that is!), my only concern is giving 100% both vocally and emotionally. I feel like an essential part of an essential whole and not the element that has all the attention, as many categorize a female singer in a group of male musicians. I often get frustrated over this “it’s a woman singing in a band” thing and the duties of being a frontwoman… Damn, I don’t want to look beautiful, I just love being myself in Monolith Moon, using the voice like any other instrument, and that’s all, no fancy clothes, no fancy make up. Give me kindness, beauty and truth =) Here are some of our songs, enjoy
So, for me Monolith Moon is freedom, is having no guidelines, no conventions but the rules of good taste (I leave that to the mastermind composer, by the way, I don’t have enough knowledge on music theory to write my own stuff! =( ). All surprises and thinking outside the box, but always keeping the compromise between showing my passion and letting my fellow companions shine!Ah, I cannot finish without mentioning how wonderful it is to meet and share stage with so many talented musicians in Portugal and to work with great professionals in the area! \m/So why Metal? Metal is absolute freedom!
Obscurena: In the midst of so many things you do, and since you possess a wonderful voice, what do you think about your future?
Sara Freitas: I feel flattered and appreciate your kind words, thank you so much =) And there’s also a magnificent space for learning a lot, still… And that can be part of my future! Besides my main goals are related to my academic career (the solar photovoltaic thingy!), I definitely cannot live without singing and being active in musical projects, so it has to be a 50/50 compromise. Well, maybe a 35/65? I’m still struggling and feeling divided, it’s like having to choose between a perfect summer day and a perfect winter day – I can’t! I have some guidelines, but not exactly a plan. Well, come what may, I will always find a way of getting the both worlds to communicate and inspire each other.
For now, apart from continuing to make music with the band Monolith Moon and the choir Stravaganzza, I will keep updating my humble youtube channel with homemade videos of covers and funny vocal experimentation and will also aim into collaborations with different musicians for cover projects or originals (hey, there’s already something in the making =) stay tuned!). I just can’t stop!
Thank you so much for this opportunity to share what I’ve been doing, my humble arts, my vision. Sorry for having made this flash interview huge… All the best for your Obscurena project and for the artists that you’ve been supporting! And a last special “Thank You” to all of those who are in my heart and give me the strength to keep on improving:
BIO: Manu De La Roche (born Manuela Rocha) is a Portuguese Burlesque and Fetish performer working mainly solo in several cities in Portugal, such as Lisbon or Coimbra. Manu is also a Pin Up/Alternative Model.
Obscurena: What fascinates you in Burlesque and Fetish?
Manu de La Roche: What fascinates me the most in both is the fact that they are recent performative arts in Portugal. That gives a great enthusiasm to the public, which is just discovering them now, and to me as an artist, as a way to share messages and let people know about my point of view on many subjects, such as Religion.
Obscurena: Portugal is attractive for this kind of art?
Manu de La Roche: Of course. Despite Burlesque and Fetish Performance being currently still in development in our country, the public in general is giving a very positive feedback. The existence of places like Maxime Sur Mer (former Cabaret Maxime, in Lisbon) and Casino da Figueira da Foz, just to name a few, allows the reception of Burlesque shows with considerable public affluence to spread. Other relevant aspect I have to mention is the fact that there is now a new wave of artists who started Burlesque recently. So this explains why Portugal is in a great path for the perpetuation of these performing arts.
Obscurena: What are your goals for the near future?
Manu de La Roche: In this moment of my life I live more the Present and don’t think much about the Future. But I’d like to say I would love to open a Cabaret, to give a new generation of burlesques the chance to perform and showcase their works and artistic aesthetics.