Interview with Melissa VanFleet

Interviewed by Jade | September 2019

First, thank you so much for interviewing with us. I absolutely love your EP. I’ve been looking for something like it for a long time. What was your inspiration for the EP itself? Did you go into writing it knowing what you wanted?

Thank you! I wrote the songs on Ode To The Dark over the course of two years without a specific collection in mind. I knew that writing was helping to get me through the dark mental place I was in dealing with OCD and anxiety. I thought they were biographical or based on other people’s stories I had heard but in actuality I was so deep in this dark place that I didn’t even realize until recently that the songs were about what I was going through mentally.

Where did you get the idea for the title track ‘Ode to the Dark?’ It’s a beautiful song and the name definitely fits the style and haunting feel.

I had the initial idea for the title of ‘Ode To The Dark’ while on the Wacken Full Metal Cruise II. I was inspired by stories I heard from fans aboard the ship about how metal was more than music to them and instead it was who they were. One of the stories affected me and I could strongly relate so I used inspiration from that for the lyrics. The song took me two years to finish.

What was your favorite song to work on?

I think my favorite song to record was ‘Marionette’ because I had to channel something very dark and evil. We turned off the lights while I was recording vocals and Marco [producer Coti-Zelati of Lacuna Coil] was laughing because he was talking to me through the glass but couldn’t see me since it was pitch black in the studio. That song is the heaviest in topic and tone for me and I had to go somewhere else in my mind to feel content with my performance.

Can we expect new music soon?

I’m constantly writing and recording new material for different projects, collaborations and to pitch to TV/Film.

What about a tour or a live date somewhere?

I miss touring and playing shows but lately I’ve been so inspired in the studio. I look forward to performing the new songs though!

I saw you in New York City with Lacuna Coilfor their 1.19 show. That seemed like such a big deal for you! And you were amazing. How did you feel about being able to perform with Cristina Scabbia?

It was a dream of an experience. I still can’t believe it was real. I have been a Lacuna Coil fan for over 15 years. During soundcheck when I heard Cristina’s voice come through my in-ears it hit me that I was on stage with one of my idols and I can’t even put into words how that felt!

Video © Shuvodeep De

You have an absolutely beautiful voice. Do you take lessons?

I appreciate that! I am self-taught. I play everything by ear. I learned to sing with the help of a karaoke machine from my grandparents. While other seven-year-olds in the neighborhood were outside playing I was sitting behind a couch in my living room recording myself and then taking notes on what I liked and didn’t like about my voice. I took it very seriously!

I was looking at the song trailers on your website and they’re gorgeous. Do you think you’ll do something like that again in the future? (https://www.melissavanfleet.com/film)

Thanks! Definitely. I collaborated with GHOSTWOOD on the trailers and he is brilliant. He helped bring my vision to life. Ideas are endlessly circulating in my mind and I’m now in the beginning stages of storyboarding a full-length music video.

Take this opportunity to talk about something you wish you could talk about in an interview if only someone would ask the right questions. Future expectations, personal feelings about your work, what you would like fans to know about you and your music…absolutely anything you want. We want to give artists a platform to be heard!

I am a very private person but lately I’ve been opening up more about mental health. It isn’t always comfortable to talk about and sharing your story can make you feel vulnerable and exposed but it is so important. There is often a correlation between pain and dark music for both fans and artists. Knowing that others are going through something similar when I am at my lowest point usually makes me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and when people hear my lyrics I want them to know that they are not alone in their suffering.

Thank you so much for answering questions for us! I’m looking forward to what’s in store for you in the future. Ode to the Dark is just the beginning of something major – I can already tell!

Thank you! I appreciate your support!

Review: Melissa VanFleet’s ‘Ode to the Dark’ EP

Review by Jade | September 18, 2019

Melissa VanFleet is a beautiful musician from Philadelphia with the kind of voice that makes you stop and listen. Her style of metal includes orchestra, piano and an Alternative Rock lineup that all around makes her very unique.

Raven: Miss VanFleet opens the EP with a slow melody that is also reflected in the other three songs the EP consists of. The emotions are real in this one – sadness leaks from every edge and imperfection, bringing the listener in and making damn sure they stay where they are until the message is taken in. With strong lyrics and haunting tones, a great blend of Alternative Rock using guitar pieces, this song stands out in the spotlight and demands the attention needed for the rest of the EP.

“Sometimes I feel I’d be better off dead.”

In our interview with Miss VanFleet, she speaks about music being a safe place from depression and mental illness. Lyrics in this song reflect that in ways only lyrics can.

“I can’t find my demons anymore – I’m pounding at their door.”

The message is deep and relateable.

Atrophy: (Definition: Waste away, especially as a result of the degeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution.) Another song that starts slow and builds, Atrophy is the second song of Ode to the Dark. While beautiful and haunting, the chorus is a bit repetitive throughout the song. This, however, does not take away from the mood or the intent of the song. Miss VanFleet’s voice more than makes up for it, hosting an impressive vocal trick for the word ‘deteriorate.’

“Atrophy – I deteriorate.”

Upon learning the definition of Atrophy, the song takes on higher meaning. It’s absolutely beautiful musically as well, with a nice focus on the guitar.

Marionette: With opening notes reminiscent of a music box, Marionette also kicks off with a slower melody. This doesn’t take away from the dark, fairytale-like essence that floats in and winds its way around the ears of the listener. The music picks up in rhythm with beautiful guitar work, and Miss VanFleet’s hypnotic voice singing a song of the unknown “She,” who, quite possibly, could be a different person or entity for everyone.

“She’s in the corner holding me down. She’s in the shadows dragging me around.”

Ode to the Dark: We end this beautiful EP with a ballad of pain dipped in beauty. The melody of this final song starts slowly and climbs at an enjoyably agonizing pace to its peak, finally reaching a heavier mood two minutes in. There are many emotions in this song, but not used in a jarring sense. In fact, the shifts and changes seem to be perfect, allowing the listener to follow along and feel the journey along with Miss VanFleet.

“Sing me a requiem as I lay me down forevermore. I pray my soul to find a paradise it never felt before.”


As others I’ve seen, my main discord with Ode to the Dark was the “one size fits all” pattern of all four songs. There didn’t seem to be any other method than the slow build up to a heavier rock pattern. The addition of orchestra and piano were a great choice, however, and the EP is far from lackluster. And despite that one dislike, I still give it a full five stars.

Overall Rating: 5/5