Stream of Passion is a progressive metal band with symphonic metal influence founded by Arjen Anthony Lucassen and Marcela Bovio in 2005, in The Netherlands. The band currently consists of vocalist, lyricist, and violinist Marcela Bovio, bassist Johan van Stratum, keyboardist Jeffrey Revet, guitarist Eric Hazebroek, guitarist Stephan Schultz, and drummer Martijn Peters.
With the exception of Marcela Bovio, who sang on Ayreon’s album The Human Equation, Lucassen selected little-known musicians to form this new band. Stream of Passion’s first release was Embrace The Storm. Because the members lived thousand of miles apart (The Netherlands, Sweden, and Mexico), the album was mostly written over the internet. In August 2008, it was announced that Stream of Passion had signed to Napalm Records.
Five years later: Stream of Passion have stepped beyond the concept and present a fully developed band with mature songwriting and exceptional musicianship. Stream of Passion have since released their second studio album The Flame Within through Napalm Records. I recently talked to bassist Johan van Stratum about stepping outside of the box and their new album The Flame Within.
First, please introduce yourself?
Johan van Stratum: Hi, I’m Johan van Stratum, bass player for Stream Of Passion, a dutch/mexican gothic metal band.
Who or what inspired you to pick up your first instrument and how old were you?
Johan van Stratum: I was 14 years old I think and started with singing. You really don’t want to know. People begged me to pick up the bass, playing grunge/metal covers of course. My first band was actually with Joost van den Broek (ex-After Forever).
Remembering back to your first time in front of a live audience, what comes to mind?
Johan van Stratum: The warmest and moistest arm pits in the universe.
What has been your biggest triumph as an artist? Greatest challenge?
Johan van Stratum: The biggest triumph for me has been our latest album I have to say. The Flame Within is a 2.5-year plan full of struggle, survival, but most of all fun to make of course. Greatest challenge will be to convince as many people as possible to listen and visit Stream Of Passion concerts.
If the whole world were listening, what would you play? And why?
Johan van Stratum: The Flame Within, because we’re so damn proud of it!
As your music as evolved, what do you think has been the most significant change and do you consider it a positive or a negative?
Johan van Stratum: It became heavier and I think that fits the category positive!
What do you want fans to get from your music?
Johan van Stratum: Goosebumps! Urge to party!! Urge to feel themselves!!!
What is your favorite song to perform live? Why?
Johan van Stratum: Though I have played “Africa” from Toto last year with Bobby Kimbal. I still go for “My Leader,” a song from The Flame Within. Especially the intro/outro/chorus feels so majestic; it gives me goosebumps every time I hear Marcela (Bovio, our lead singer) hit those notes like an angel.
What do you value most in life?
Johan van Stratum: Love, health and music!
Is there a band or artist that you would recommend who others may not know about, but you think they should?
Johan van Stratum: Try to think outside the box, that’s my main advice. I sometimes have problems with that as well. When I look at Marcela’s IPod, it’s filled with the weirdest music you can imagine, from fado to progressive death metal, from jazz to stoner. But when she then writes new vocal melodies for Stream Of Passion songs, you hear it all come together which is quite impressive.
I would like to thank Stream of Passion, Ben Aichelburg and especially Johan van Stratum for their participation in this interview.
~Denise Smith (interview 2011.02.15)