Nov 12, 2012

UPDATED: INTERVIEW FEATURE - Our Ladies of Doom: Maidens of the Heavy Part One...

I’ve found this topic into Russian half-dead forum doom-metal.ru, it was dedicated to women who do their offerings to Doom Cult singing and playing in bands. Of course it was a good theme for our regular doom-quiz, and now you see first part of our interview with those ladies who bring their charm and sense of beauty to this deadly musical art. Hey, hold your jaw, mate, we’re not going to burn any witches today!

We have 6 questions for this time, here they are:
1. What is a current state of the band and what are your plans for nearby future?
2. What are your favorite doom-topics? What kind of songs lyrics do you like most and what is an example of perfect doom lyrics for you?
3. What did influence onto your manner of singing or playing? What are strong sides of your band?
4. How do you see women role in doom music? What is women contribution in that genre besides endless inspiration that makes men writes songs about their broken hearts and burning witches?
5. Do you ever deal with drunken fans who tell you words of confession and adoration during your gigs?
6. Do you care about your appearance during gigs?


Alunah (United Kingdom)
Sophie Day (vocals, guitars)


1. We've just released our second album "White Hoarhound" on PsycheDOOMelic Records. We've got a few more UK shows left for the rest of the year, and then in 2013 we'll be doing a European tour and another one which we can't say too much about now. But, if it happens, it should be pretty awesome!

2. For me personally, the natural earth is my inspiration. I'm not keen on lyrics that are filled with hatred, fear and loathing. There is so much beauty and mystery in the world, that I love to tap into that. It takes me out of everyday life and into a different part of my brain. I also love pagan history, the occult, Greek mythology and magic.

3. I'm influenced particularly by Janis Joplin, Robert Plant, Jim Morrison, Lori S and Rose Kemp who I love. I love blues singers, and also folk singers - I adore singers such as Joni Mitchell and her ability to tell stories whilst sounding fragile AND powerful. I'd say bands such as Black Sabbath, Goatsnake and Acid King influence our playing but also bands such as Alice in Chains. We also love the blues!

4. I don't see us as having a specific role at all, and I don't see why we have to be segregated from men. I hope that when people listen to Alunah, or see us live, that they hear/see a complete band not just a women on stage (shock horror!). This isn't 1905, this is 2012 and the focus should be on each one of us.

5. Very rarely. I'm not sure if they're intimated by me or think that because I'm female (see question 4), they can't have a decent conversation with me, but a lot of our fans talk to the rest of the guys rather than me. I've had a few dickheads give me hassle in the past but I can more than stand up for myself... if they persist, my husband Dave is in the band hahahaha!

6. Yeah, I'm not sure how relevant that it to the music but yeah I care. Just like I care when I go to the shops, visit family and friends, or go to work. I don't go over the top, but I've always been interested in different fashion styles (I run a vintage shop), and love experimenting with my hair and make-up. I don't do it for anyone else other than to satisfy my interest, and maybe occasionally to look decent for my husband hahaha.

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Black Math Horseman (United States)
Sera Timms (vocals, bass)


1. Ides of Gemini just returned from a European tour, and are now playing local shows, and working on new material for the next album. Black Math Horseman is also working on new material. I am also recording a Black Mare EP (my solo project) for a spring release.

2. My favorite topics are esoteric, psychological, and symbolic. I believe that all humans are connected to vast inner territories of darkness and light, and the dark unchartered spaces within that subconscious field are usually the ones that I am drawn to. For me, perfect doom lyrics will feel like a reflection of my own beliefs, experiences, and/or existence, articulated in a unique and personal way.

3. If I had to pick inspirations I would say that they come from mythological, dream, and archetypal worlds. I have never wanted to sing or play like anyone else, as my priority has always been to express my own inner truth.
Ides's greatest strength is that we are a triangle. We all have a similar vision as far as the music is concerned and we all allow one another space, and balance as musicians and people.

4. I think that women's role in doom music is as potentially expansive and powerful as man's role in doom music. Women have as much darkness in them as men, and I have always been puzzled by the fact that doom, metal, and most darker and heavier genres of music are vastly populated by men. I hope that more women in doom music will bring men and women closer to harmonious balanced understandings of one another, despite our collective dysfunctional witch burning past. I also hope that women in doom music will open up the genre to more female listeners.

5. It is not a common occurrence.

6. Yes.

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Cauchemar (Canada)
Annick Giroux (vocals)


1. The band is currently working on a new record, which should be out in spring 2013, if everything goes as well as planned. In fact, we already have the album written - but we are working on arrangements right now! We want to eventually tour the states, also, and of course do some other Canadian gigs outside Montreal!!

2. Good question! It really depends on the band... there are so many different styles of doom metal! Like Saint Vitus is raunchy as hell and their lyrics fit them perfectly. Meanwhile, other bands have more of a dark or mystical approaches, which I also love. But I think my favorite has no lyrics at all, like Paul Chain's work. It really makes you focus more on the songs themselves.

3. It took me years to figure out how to sing, as Cauchemar is my first band as a vocalist. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it! I do really enjoy Scott Reagers' vocal style - it's really truly haunting. For playing, we love timeless sounding bands, like Black Sabbath for example. You still listen to their records, and they sound fresh! They are our main influence, but we are also influenced by Judas Priest, the French metal scene (Sortilège, H-Bomb, Vulcain) and the Italian doom metal scene (Paul Chain, Death SS, Black Hole). Weird combination, I know!

4. Woman musicians are the same as men! Perhaps female vocalists are a bit different because what they are singing comes from a female point of view, but that's pretty much it.

5. I hear some "I love yooooou!" coming from the crowd from time to time, but have no problem with that haha. It's nothing very serious.

6. Of course I do! Sometimes it was hard when touring, but I always made sure to take a shower. Haha! Makes me feel better when fronting the band.

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Extorian (Germany)
Heike Funke (vocals)


1. The band line-up is complete at the moment. We released an EP and a full length album in the past and we are working on new song material for the next album which will be released next year. Of course it will be - doom metal. We also will play some gigs, one with Czech doom band called Etmoriemur.

2. Doom topics in my opinion are what many people, especially politicians, command us to do or not to do. So many normal people just have one thing to do: make money to survive. And mighty people do the same but not to survive but to get more and more power. Naming an example for perfect doom lyrics is not that easy because lyrics are perfect if you cloak the words in pictures so that the listener has room to interprete. "Falling" from Solitude Aeturnus for example.

3. I am influenced by bands who have someone at the micro really singing and not only growling or screaming. I don't like that kind of "singing". If you play guitar you have so much options to play, high and low. It's the same with the voice. Extorian is also very special as we have female vocals which is not so widely spread.

4. I think more women should try singing this kind of music. I began to sing doom because I really felt (and still feel) what's going on in these songs. There was (and is) no reason not to do it. There are endless topics for lyrics. Just open your eyes, go outside and let the feeling touch your soul.

5. You mean that fans tell us how they love our music? I have no problem with drunken people and with alcohol. It's part of our life and it helps to feel more free. I love it when fans catch what we want to say with our songs, no matter how much beer they drunk - as long as they can speak.

6. Yes, we even think about more visual effects to bring the mood of our music more out. May be I tell a little story next time :-)Thanks and keep cool.

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 Hukkunud Hinged (Estonia)
Katrina (vocals)


1. Hukkunud Hinged current state is really good, thank you for asking. Right now we are working on our new album and we are also making our first video.
Basically we want to play and make our music as long as we can and with every song step a little bit further, do things our way and mix doom with different styles and attitudes.

2. Sometimes, it's really sad that those who don't speak estonian don't understand what we are singing about, because we have a brilliant writer, our guitarist Martin. He usually writes about everyday life, about simple and basic things, but because we have such a beautiful language and so many synonyms and old words in it, you can expess you emotions in so many ways. For me that is the most perfect way to express your emotions about some bad memory or just about your everyday life, beacause doom has really bluesy and simple lyrics but you can changes the words and the way they sound so beautifully.

3. Well, as male voice is dominant in metal genre overall, of course this influences me, but also I like avant-garde and classical opera singers and mix their style with blues techniques. Also, as there are so many good female singers in doom bands, it's interesting to see what they bring into the game and I think we learn from each other. :) We have many strong sides, main thing would be the fact that we are all very different. For starters, our male singer Janek is very theatrical on stage, he really absorbes the feeling of the song and brings it out with every part of his body. That all makes him the ''actor'' in our band and also he is a very honest person. Our bass player Margo is a hard working man and you can be always confident that he will not let you down on stage. As a pragmatic, he also brings us to the ground. Our drummer Ville plays besides doom also electronical music, he gets a lot of inspiration from house, techno and indie rock etc. He has many cool ideas how to make things that should not work together sound absolutely brilliant. Plus the way he plays, he has really heavy hand. And then we have Martin, the heart of our band, who creates music and lyrics. Usually Martin brings the basic idea and riffing, then Ville adds all his ideas, then Margo brings them back to the ground for a second. After that Martin writes the words, usually it takes about 15 minutes, I don't know how he does it but it just comes to him. And so sometimes the 5 min. song will become 10 min. song and vice versa. I'm the youngest of the group. I think that I bring to the band some innocence and feminine side and also some good music. Overall, we have two singers, a lot of theatrical elements and we do not strictly hold on to the doom style, this is what makes us different.

4. The things I listed as my strong sides are innocence, femininity, but also woman power that this music needs. Some singers have both feminine and masculine sides, like Aaron Stainthorpe. It's interesting that men write about their broken hearts and some curse the burning witches, but you don't see a lot of females cursing men or mourning the loved ones :-D

5. Yes of course, you have more male audience in the concerts and as a female you get more attention. Last published article I read about us said that it's actually sometimes hard to make an objective assessment about how good she is, because as a man you see a women among the males and you give her more attention and that's physically natural. But I guess the men have their own share of luck and adoration and they deserve it :)

6. Yes, I'm vain and I like to dress up, cause that is one way to express yourself and that gives also something extra for the show, but you have to keep the emotions real and true, honesty and openness outweighs every costume.

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Herem (Finland)
Valendis Suomalinen (vocals)



1. Our second album, "II", was published a year ago, after which we've been playing gigs every now and then. We're currently working on some new material.

2. When I write lyrics I often find myself writing about apocalyptic, occult or horror topics, sometimes with a hint of religious symbolism. Not very original, I know, but it's natural for me to write about topics I'm personally interested in. Otherwise, I don't really have any favorite topics. Different topics fit different moods. I enjoy well-written lyrics, but the most important thing is that the lyrics go well with the music.

3. I was 14 when I "found" death- and thrash metal with growls and harsh vocals and thought it might be cool to try if a tiny girl like me could make similar sounds as those big, hairy men. And I could. So there we go. I think one of Herem's strenghts is that we all have a bit different musical backgrounds. If we were all just fanatic doom fans, we might get stuck in the doom rut without any new ideas. Another strength is our live percormance. We love playing gigs and I think Herem is at it's best on stage!

4. Ladies are a lot more than just sources of inspiration. First, there are always plenty of girls watching doom gigs - and not just keeping company to doomster boyfriends! There are also quite a few talented female musicians involved in the doom genre. As of their output in doom music, what can I say? Like their male colleagues, they're out there to write great lyrics ang killer riffs and to play the music they love. I myself don't really pay much attention to gender roles in music. Some 10 years ago I found it hard to be taken seriously or to find bands to play in, but I guess nowadays the attitudes have changed. I'm hoping that gender won't prevent any talented people from playing in bands or going to see gigs.

5. Not that often, actually. Maybe my on-stage looks drive them off, haha! Or maybe our fans are just more interested in the music than the musicians.

6. Yes and no. While on stage I have a sort of a "role" which includes messy hair and strong, ghastly-like makeup. Other than that - no, I don't really care. With my on-stage looks I'm mostly trying to reflect the atmosphere and topics of our songs, not win any "Miss Doom"-contests!

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Insaniae (Portugal)
Isabel Cristina (vocals)


1. Insaniae are now recording a new album. We hope to release it in the beginning of 2013. After that we want to schedule some concerts. We haven’t yet set feet outside our border but we are trying to amend that.

2. I have a few examples of a perfect doom lyric. I like very much a few of My Dying Bride lyrics, if I had to choose one it would be A Kiss to Remember. Besides that, Mourning Beloved´s Narcissistic Funeral, Ava Inferi´s Black Wings, Swallow the Sun´s Gloom, Beauty and Despair and Katatonia´s  Forsaker are some examples of doom lyrics I identify myself most with.

3. My way of singing came naturally. I’ve always liked lyric voices. I’ve been exploring my voice and shaping it by practicing. The new album will have a different taste of it. Something I’ve been trying, and came out great. I had singing lessons for one year to learn the techniques of lyric singing. And it was of a great help.
I consider that what makes Insaniae strong is our friendship. We are like family. The process of creating and composing songs is very natural. And mostly because we want to stay faithful to our Portuguese roots.

4. In doom I see women in two ways, we can be the damnation or the salvation!
Women can give to doom music the sweetness of lyric singing. By being the light in the darkness. Or in a more imposing and strong projection like a ritual of death.
Our own culture has a lot to do with doom. In Portugal we have our traditional music genre Fado. It talks about greave and sorrow. And in the older days people used to hire women to mourn in burials of loved ones, they were called «carpideiras». So Portuguese culture is not just about sun and wine it has a sorrowful side too.

5. A few times and not always drunk. I want to keep it in a professional level. So I listen to everyone but walk away if they start to loose their manners. It pleases me to know what people think of our concerts and our music. It helps us to evolve.

6. In stage everything matters of course. Usually I choose my appearance according to the place where the concert will take place. To be comfortable on stage is also very important, so I always keep that in mind.

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 Jucifer (United States)
Gazelle Amber Valentine (guitars, vocals)


1. The band turns 20 years old in February! We'll celebrate by continuing our endless tour. We've been homeless except our tourbus for 12 years and we're gonna keep doing that, playing as many shows as we can, every week, all year long. And we'll be in the studio later in the fall to finish our new album. We also have a re-issue of our 1994 demos EP 'Nadir' coming out on vinyl this month.

2. I like to write about humanity's flaws and ugly sides, I guess. I'm really interested in history. Often the things I learn about what humans have done to eachother through time move me and inspire my writing. So to me the perfect kind of doom lyrics are about despair and nihilism. Also, the sense of longing we feel when we confront our own mortality.

3. A lot of my personal influence came from not being influenced --- I grew up in the 70's in a rural place, and there wasn't much access to stuff outside the mainstream as far as music. Within mainstream (rock, classical, folk and jazz my parents played at home) I was always drawn to dark sounding riffs and tones. With literature it was the same; I loved Poe, Faulkner, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Malamud, Chekhov and Mailer from a very young age. I stole all my mother's college lit books haha! For whatever reason I always felt comfortable with morbid themes, and found them natural to articulate. Even in childhood my drawings, poetry and short stories were mostly cynical, sinister or poignant. I guess I was kind of an old soul. Strong sides of our band... we're brave enough to be diverse in our writing and talented or honest enough to pull it off I suppose. We write what we feel like writing and don't worry about trying to fit a genre or an image. We're always willing to take chances, whether it's moving into a vehicle, putting a folk song next to a grind song on an album, or improvising during a show. And we're incredibly dedicated. In North America the two of us set up and tear down 4,000 pounds of amplification for every show: Thee White Wall! Six or more hours of physical labor just to have the most epic sound for our set... most people wouldn't put that much effort into their band.

4. Who doesn't love witches? :)
I've never respected the concept of special roles for females. I don't find gender roles and stereotypes valid. And I don't think of my work in terms of being a woman; I think of it in terms of being a musician. Because of that I haven't been super focused on what women specifically do.
Although I understand the reality which necessitates activism, I don't want to reinforce the common but misguided idea that gender makes us different. Hence while I despise misogyny, I can't embrace feminism. Both shine a spotlight on gender which throws any personal abilities or achievements into shadow. My battle flag is individualist and humanist; we are each independent entities with myriad capabilities, and we are all members of a mass species. All equal, each different. Nothing to do with surface characteristics. As far as women's contributions to music, they certainly exist far beyond being men's muses. There's a Facebook group someone added me to about women of sludge and doom which has revealed lots of other females to me, some of them that've been playing 30 years like myself or Liz Buckingham, and others who are younger. Even in the 60's and 70's there were women whose work definitely put a stamp on this world... Mariska Veres from Shocking Blue, or the Wilson sisters from Heart for example. The problem for female artists is that they're often overlooked, in the same way that women inventors, scientists and pioneers have been glossed over in history books. You have to seek them out, and often will find that they preceded or influenced their more famous male counterparts. But that's just a byproduct of a society which still balks at the idea of women as full-fledged and equally capable humans. Sad, really.

5. Yeah, but usually their adoration is for the band, not me!

6. I care about my appearance all the time, even when I'm alone. I think that's kind of a basic healthy thing to do. When people don't care, it's usually a sign of depression or breach from reality. During shows I want to feel both comfortable and powerful. So I'm attentive to my appearance in that sense. I also like to match well with my gear and my guitar... I like the aesthetic of our band to be as imposing as the music. But I'm not worried about how I look when we play in any self-conscious way. Our show is a ritual, cathartic release which involves a lot of sweat and headbanging and hair tangling that won't necessarily leave me looking my 'best'. And I'm cool with that. After all I'm not a doll or a model! I am a guitarist, singer and writer of deadly riffs :)

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Witchburn (United States)
Mischa Kianne (violin, guitars)



Witchburn is currently on a 5 week US tour with Dio Disciples and loving every minute of it. The Disciples features Ronnie James Dio's official band including Craig Goldy on guitar, Simon Wright (also of AC/DC) on drums and Bjorn Englen (Yngwie Malmsteen and Tony MacAlpine) on bass, with Tim Ripper Owens of Judas Priest and Oni Logan from Lynch Mob on vocals. We are also playing dates with Straight Line Stitch on The Hatewear tour whenever there is a day off for the Disciples tour. Then we'll be back on the west coast Nov 23rd and 24th to play Portland and Seattle dates with Halestorm and In This Moment. We've also finished a brand new album called Bathed In Blood that will be released sometime in early 2013, but we have an EP available now which features 2 songs from the new record, plus a special bonus cover song that will not be released on the album. You can get the EP at shows now and soon online as well, where all of our other CDs, shirts, hats, etc. are also available at Witchburn.BigCartel.com.

2. Witchburn has always been about standing up against the kind of persecution that tends to come from society toward people who may have a different way of thinking than the masses or a less popular belief system or just a different way of doing things, whether it's the way you choose to present yourself or the type of music you're into, so we write a lot about staying true to who you are, standing your ground and being strong in the face of adversity, and embracing a spirit of rebellion over the idea of following blindly. Jamie and I write Witchburn lyrics together and while we tend to draw a lot of inspiration from Black Sabbath, we're also inspired by just art in general and the idea that lyrics should paint a visual picture and give an overall feeling as they tell a story. Both Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio gave some good examples of that sort of thing in their lyrics.

3. Black Sabbath is our biggest influence as a band collectively, thru the Ozzy years as well as the Dio years... Jamie is vocally very inspired by Ronnie James Dio, Robert Plant, Anne Wilson, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin a bit as well, I draw inspiration musically from bands like Deep Purple, Orange Goblin, Dio, Kyuss, Melvins, Crowbar, EyeHateGod, Down, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin as well as Sabbath. Jamie and I are the main song writers in this band, so you do hear a lot of those influences come through in our music.

4. There are some kickass doomy bands out there with women in them... Royal Thunder, Helm's Alee and Acid King are a few that we definitely dig... Kylesa is pretty cool too but there's gotta be more that we have yet to discover with a lot more to offer than what we've heard so far, at least there should be!

5. There are always plenty of drunken fans with plenty of interesting things to say at our shows, but the ones who aren't so drunk usually have plenty to say as well... and those are the ones who are usually more interesting for us to listen to... people who tell us how they relate to our music and sometimes that it's helped then through a difficult time or some way that it helped them to find strength from within themselves.

6. When we perform, we are not concerned about whether our hair looks good or if our make up gets smeared, we're there to do a rock show and to rock that show with all we've got. We pour our whole heart and soul into it and we're drenched in sweat before it's half over. If we weren't, we would know that we weren't doing our job right!

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Interviews By Aleks Evdokimov







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