Even with line up changes and moving half way around the world for the music, Bellusira is looking to have huge success and nothing less.
Crystal Ignite (vocals), Mark Dalbeth (bass), Koichi Fukuda (guitar), and Tosha Jones (drums) make up the current line up for the Australian transplants, Bellusira. The Healing is the newest effort from the band coming out soon on Pavement Entertainment. National Rock Review got a chance to get a very spiritual few minutes with Crystal to talk about a few things before the record drops. Things are looking very good for the band and that’s fine by us. Look for the album review to follow shortly from National Rock Review. Enjoy the experience.
NRR:Thanks for taking some time out, Crystal, to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, Bellusira, in 2015?
Crystal Ignite: We have had a very busy year this year, we got signed by label Pavement Entertainment and are are about to release our second album called, The Healing, with their backing. We also changed our line up and it is the best version of the band we have ever been with Koichi, formerly from Static X, on the guitar and Tosha Jones an amazing female drummer joining us on the drums.
NRR: Your debut album is The Healing, if my memory isn’t horribly wrong. How was recording with both Dan Whittemore (Paramore, Macklemore) and Ulrich Wild (Breaking Benjamin, Deftones) on this album?
Crystal Ignite: Both of those guys were great to work with, Ulrich loves to tell jokes the whole time to keep things interesting. He is an awesome and talented guy. Dan is a phenomenal new talent who is making some serious waves and working with some big names. It was great to have his involvement and fresh take on the tracks he worked on us with.
NRR: For the sound of the band, how would you describe it to new listeners?
Bellusira – Cachango (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)
Crystal Ignite: Some people describe us as Evanescence meets Rage Against The Machine. I guess we are a band that doesn’t fit into one genre. We have metal, hard rock, rock and pop on our new record… good pop! The kind that needs to be played on the radio. Our band is all about writing good songs and we write what we feel, and not because we think we should be doing what we do. You have to be real and honest as musicians because it’s not hard to tell if someone is being genuine or not in the work that we do.
NRR: How did you settle on the West Coast making the move from Down Under and has it been the right move for you since coming over in 2014?
Crystal Ignite: At first it was tough, you go from walking into any rock club in your home country and knowing people and feeling comfortable, to at first somewhere where no one knew or cared who we were, but you make yourself noticed. And when you walk with an energy about you that you are someone who stands for something and are important and people should want to know you, you draw people to you with that energy and suddenly we found our feet and the right people came into our lives. I have met some amazing friends and people here and I will only going back to Australia to visit now, USA feels like home to me now.
NRR: How did the addition of original Static-X guitarist Koichi Fukuda come about and what kind of impact did he make once he was on board?
Crystal Ignite: Koichi heard about us from Will Hunt who was managing us at the time, he was an old band mate of his. Then Koichi was searching on Craigslist and happened to see an add from us that we were looking for a new guitarist and we connected and that was that! Koichi’s professionalism and sound has given us a new level of guitar sound which we love.
NRR: I know you’ve as a band have already played with some big names, some true road warriors. Have you gotten any good advice from any of the bands you’ve played with or picked up some good habits from watching them?
Crystal Ignite: We definitely learned a lot on our first US tour with the Dead Horse Trauma guys and Straight Line Stitch, those guys are super pro. I stole the merch set up that Alexis had as they had it worked out in a way that made a lot more sense and I joked to her about the fact I had copied the idea. She said that she did the same to get the idea, I guess everyone works out ways to make things easier and you go with what works.
NRR: I’ve been lucky to cover of those bands before, good people in both outfits for sure. Who would be a great band in your opinion to tour with in support of the album you’re working on when it’s time to hit the road?
Crystal Ignite: There are so many amazing bands here, obviously Halestorm would be my first choice because those guys are freaking rad people and a killer band – being female fronted also that would be a good match, then I’d have to say Sevendust. Rad people again and rad band in the same kind of vein of sound we are in for sure. Nothing More are a band that would suit us a lot with their message, those guys have lyrics that are thought provoking and beg the question of the need for change in the way we do things here. Bellusira is very much the same, I wouldn’t say we are a political band by any means, we are more of a spiritual band and are very much about personal empowerment and about restoring the feminine energy in both men and women as well as the world. We feel very strongly that the answer to world peace would be the balance in feminine energy which is nurture.
NRR: What has been one or two of the more difficult lessons you’ve had to learn since you started out to make your mark in music in either Australia or in the States?
Crystal Ignite: How long it can take and sometimes how little return you can have, it has to be 100% about passion which is a beautiful lesson to learn but financially and mentally very tough at first.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
Crystal Ignite: I don’t ever look back on anything in my life and ever look back with regret. I am very spiritual and I understand that there is no such thing as a mistake, only learning. Would I do something differently now in hindsight? Sure, but sometimes you need to make the mistakes to learn from them and so I never look back with shame, only look forward with pride and confidence, (happy smiles).
NRR: What has been the biggest stereotype you’ve had to deal with when dealing with venues, promoters, radio stations etc when they find out your not from around these parts?
Crystal Ignite: I found at the beginning in Australia, it was very sexist at first, a lot of rumors were spread about me and it wasn’t just from men, probably more women than anything. It is what we call tall poppy syndrome. Where a poppy is a flower and when one grows taller than the others, they get chopped down. And assumption that you had no idea what you were doing was common, although that changed over time as we made a name for ourselves. I don’t get that at all anymore. I had it once in Dallas, TX, a guy said to me, “You’re not going to sound like Brittany Spears in a metal band are you?” At first I was pretty angered by his ignorance, but then I decided “Actually no, I’m going to perform how I do and make this guy feel stupid for saying that.” Sure enough, after the show, the guy was coming up to me all night trying to talk to me. That’s the best way to get back at people really, with your own success, it has been my motto.
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NRR: How does the group go through the writing process, is it all one person with help or is it a group effort from start to finish?
Crystal Ignite: I have a big hand in the writing so I help with the chord selection and progression and I write the melodies and lyrics. For this record, Mark and I sat with an acoustic guitar, Mark might come up with a riff idea, then I edit the riff and add my lyrics. Sometimes I come up the melody first it really depends, Koichi and Tosha were not in the project when we wrote this album as they would have been more heavily involved and it would have been a group effort, but next one for sure!
NRR: That totally is understandable with the line up changes you talked about earlier. Tell me about the name, Bellusira. Is there a story behind the name or was it a game of darts and that was what you hit, (laughing)?
Crystal Ignite: It came from two Latin words Bellus, meaning beautiful, and Ira, meaning anger. It is just inspired by Latin, it is a word we created, (happy smiles).
NRR: How is the experience with Pavement Entertainment? Is it still better to have a label behind you even in this day of DIY?
Crystal Ignite: I am loving it so far, they have a great team. I believe it is still beneficial because the label has things set up, you just want to make sure you are with the right label who believe in you. We definitely have that and are very happy with them.
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