By Nicholas Jason Lopez
While the COVID-19 pandemic served as a rock bottom moment for musicians across the world, it was the chance for “consummate chameleon” Marlain Angelides to form her new silky-smooth alt/electric rock project, CYVELLA.
Her recently released EP ‘RICH’ has already drawn comparisons by other outlets to the likes of Portishead sound-wise, while she herself revealed that the EP was built upon double entendres and explores sides of both womanhood’s complexity and what that entails in the modern age.
No stranger to success, Angelides graduated from London’s Royal Academy Of Music, previously served as the vocalist of a top-charting Greek pop band Hi-5 and represented Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk to her about ‘RICH’ and more.
Music Bugle – What inspired your “CYVELLA” project name?
CYVELLA – I wanted something personal without it being my actual name, so I ended up morphing my maternal grandmother’s Greek name “Kyveli” into CYVELLA. She is the main reason I was able to become a performer in the first place and I felt like it was a fitting tribute.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
CYVELLA – Up until now, I had not really explored the world of electronic sound. I have always been a rock frontwoman, so entering this realm gave me so much to play with. There are no limits to electronic sound. You can go anywhere and create anything you want. I wanted something that represented all the elements which I felt CYVELLA should be and producer David Lawrie and I went through a range of sounds that created a “sound palette,” from which we could pull for each individual song. I am also excited that I do not feel tied down to any particular style. CYVELLA can go in any direction.
Music Bugle – What was it like making the video for “RICH”?
CYVELLA – The “RICH” video was made during the pandemic in an abandoned house on LI. Electricity was brought with generators and there was not a clean surface in sight, but director Alex Agisilaou and additional producer George Constantinou were not fazed! They lit up this room beautifully and created the dark environment we were looking for. We needed the video to represent the inner workings of ‘RICH,’ the double meanings and implications of it, so the color and mood was essential and the wonderful actors that were involved, Tasos Mikroulis, Amy Michelle and Giseila Ribeiro added that extra element of mystique.
Music Bugle – How would you describe your upcoming music?
CYVELLA – A twisted take on alternative electronic rock. Throw in some double meanings, color and attitude. Wink, wink.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
CYVELLA – Oooh, everywhere from Bones UK to Dead Letter Circus, to Queen and Led Zeppelin.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
CYVELLA – It is weird because I do not consider myself a “songwriter,” more like a “songstress.” I take an idea and feel it out. If I can complete it, then it becomes a song. If I can’t go past the first stanza or verse, I drop it, but the whole process feels fluid when it works. Releasing it to the public is the hardest part! Then, you are naked.
Music Bugle – What is your biggest memory involving music?
CYVELLA – Oh, probably the Eurovision Song Contest where I represented Cyprus. It was my first time “out there” with an original song, not a cover. It was not my own song, but it felt like such a huge responsibility. I had no idea what it meant to be “Marlain.” I was just me. It turned out to be a difficult time as we placed low, but the experience was huge.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite moment while on stage?
CYVELLA – The stage is my happy place, especially when there is an audience out there who wants to be there for you. As a professional performer, I have been on stage under many different guises – musicals, Shakespeare, Lez Zeppelin – my current band, all girls, all Zeppelin – a greek pop group named Hi-5, plus many more. There is always a moment when you feel the audience fully. There is no ego, just a perfect moment. That is my favorite.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
CYVELLA – Obviously, this has created such an upset for the whole world and I have had my own moments of despair, but CYVELLA was born as a result. I think when my livelihood of performance was taken away, I was desperate for a way to be creative. I really am not an “online” creator, but this pandemic taught me how to function, at least a little bit, in this manner. Of course, there is nothing like live music for me, so bring it on, Summer 2021! I also have never been more eager to be outside!
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
CYVELLA – I have two places… on opposite ends of the planet….Hawaii and home to Greece/Cyprus to see my parents. The beach, obviously!