Nov 8, 2012

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

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?


Hands of Orlac (Italy / Sweden)
The Sorceress (vocals, flute)


1) In September The Templar and me moved to Sweden, for the other members of the band are swedish. So now as long as we live all in the same country we'll have the opportunity to work properly on  new material, set show... At the moment things are moving with Wandering Midget in January and a show with Denial of God.

2) Every Hands of Orlac's song tells a story. These stories are inspired from certain movies, books, novels etc... I try to recreate the kind of atmsphere that moved me, in music. the topic I love and those that fit perfectly on our music style, are those conserning the italian '60 gothic movies. The characters, the environment, the stories, the castles, the athomsphere... everything is so oniric and so italian, if you know what I mean. Maybe the perfect lyrics ever wrote, those who are perfect for the music, are the lyrics of Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath. Is like being there, in a nightmare. And if you think about the movie by Mario Bava "I tre volti della paura" aka "Black Sabbath" you really get what's my point of view.

3) I always immagined a deep voice for HoO, slow and intense. Like a voice that try to ipnotize you. And then alternate it with desperate screams or fast parts. I think that the strong side of HoO is the mix of two different cultures. Even though the italians moved to Sweden, they really want to keep alive the italian side of the band. They we'll always look and take inspiration from the good italian horror culture.

4) Well, I have to say that is not easy for me answer this question. I cannot think anything else that some people meeting, having a certain idea of music and following it, forming a band, writing songs... All the differents and the charactetistics of these people create something special. Being a woman, could be one of these. Of course a female voice gives a certain colour, especially if you think of the immaginary around witches, courses, sabbaths... Sure enough a woman can get a particular effect to the music, but I still think that is just  an aspect of the band.

5) Once in Finland we were playing and a very drunk guy  who spent all the gig sending me kisses, took my hand and pulled me towards him. I had enough strength to stop him and take my hand away. At the end of the show he came to me saying he really loved to show, my husband was behind my shoulders, so he just thanked and left. But after all he was a nice guy.

6) HoO is a horror theme band, so we always appear and dress up like our character. I usually dress in black, heavy eyes make-up, nothing special. I'm not very much a girly kind.

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Reino Ermitano (Peru)
Tania Duarte (vocals)


1. We are working on the composition of songs for a new record and are up to playing wherever we are invited, so hopefully we can tour new lands soon!

2. I personally appreciate topics like magic, existentialism, social and religious protest, paganism, inner darkness, solitude and the inner mental struggle to survive in stupid society.

3. One of my main influences as a singer is Nina Hagen in the sense of voice variations and moods, assuming several characters within a song. This is something I try to do according to the topic or feeling of a song.
I´d say the strong sides of Reino Ermitaño have more to do with making songs out of what´s in our hearts and minds at the moment, without any genre limitations of what doom should or not sound like. It´s about this freedom and quest for individual creation. I also dig Eloy´s guitar solos and how the drums are played.

4. I believe women incorporate more heaviness and magic into doom, stubbornness and conviction without having to exploit their feminine sexual side. Take Electric Wizard, Acid King, Cauchemar, Blood Ceremony and many more as examples. In spite of the existing chauvinism in rock and metal, I´d say doom has been enriched by the collaboration of female members towards achieving a natural balance in their bands´music with their contribution whilst having to face some prejudice and harsh criticism for daring to enter male terrain.

5. Some times.

6.  I think when you present yourself on stage you´re making a statement about who you are, what you believe in, your life style and aesthetics and the visual aspect is part of the show, complementing with the music and movements on stage. You are representing a musical ideological movement and feeling its strength, so even if I wear the ordinary T-shirt and jeans I´ll add a new element that is special for me to wear on a stage.

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Ritual Of The Oak (Australia)
Sabine Hamad-Linfoot (vocals)


1. In a nutshell, we are working on our third album and playing a couple of gigs around Australia for some fun! The third album is almost finished; we've written most of the material for it and are considering recording it early 2013. Exciting times!

2. That would be a little bit of the past and a bit of our present reality: I like reading on the occult and ancient religions and rituals, so I get excited about these topics in music and luckily there's no shortage of occult themed doom! The perfect doom song lyrically has got to be Demon's Gate by Candlemass. If that isn't a perfect and picturesque image of hell, I don't know what is!

3. I get in my own zone when I'm singing and focus all my thoughts on my own psyche. The result is almost always entrenched in personal sentiments and genuine feel, and that seems to compliment our sound! As far as singing influences go, I gotta say I draw a lot of inspiration from the vocals of Johan Langqvist.
I think our strength as a band lies in the variety in our songs. We've been broadening our music beyond your typical doom sound. For example, you can hear some folky moments in Come Taste the Doom, and the songs on one record can take you through different genres. This is translating very accurately in the new album and we can't wait to see how our fans will react to our new sound.

4. Women have inspired artists and musicians since the dawn of time, so I do trust they also play the role of a muse in doom as well. I have definitely written songs about witches burning at the stake, but that's more to bring to light the event itself rather than the gender of the witch (a lot of witches executed by the church were men after all!) But other than that, I fail to see the difference between male and female musicians.

5. That happened once! At Doom Shall Rise because it seems Europe digs us! And it turns out said drunken Europeans happened to be some mad bastards; so I made some new friends. But we live in Australia, where doom comes to die, so not much praise and adoration going on here!

6. I try! hah! I usually just jump on stage in my denim vest and band shirt. I don't believe in make up much. I just can't justify spending half an hour fixing my face only to risk some running mascara and panda eyes on stage. That said, I have implemented some cool spiky high heeled boots in my live performance as of late, which proved to be popular among the females more so than boys! But I really don't tend to put too much emphasis on material crap since at the end of the day, people are turning up for the music, not my fashion sense! 

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shEver (Switzerland)
Jessica (guitars, vocals)


1. At the moment we're looking for a new bass player, because Nadine left the band. Next steps are recording a split-LP with our friends of the German sludge band "Spancer" in December or January and playing more gigs to promote our new album.

2. There is no special topic that influences our lyrics or we do like the most. But we will never write any lyrics on politics, that's for sure.

3. Some bands who influenced our manner of singing or playing are:
Black Sabbath, Eyehategod, My Dying Bride, Kyuss, Isis or Amenra. The strong sides of shEver are definitely our live-gigs. We often hear, that our sound is very varied. We don't do any "special shows", we are authentic.

4. There are too less women in doom music:) But we think that women are better accepted in the doom scene than in any other metal scene. We don't think that there are so many differences between women and men in the doom metal scene. Emotional sound may be more important than technical skills in female doom bands. This is the nature of us women, we're more emotional:)

5. Sometimes it happens yes, but rather after our gigs.

6. We don't care a lot about our appearance during gigs, but for sure we dress comfortable and "functional".

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 Show of Bedlam (Canada)
Paulina Richards (vocals)


1. Right now, we are about to release our first full length album, which is something that makes me incredibly happy since it was a long and hard process and I never thought I'd see the end of it. The band has gone through many twists and turns, it hasn't a been a smooth ride. Nevertheless, not everything is doom and gloom I guess as this album will be hot off the presses in a couple of weeks and we're planning on going on tour in May next year with an incredibly great band that are also friends of ours. Let's cross fingers that this actually happens!

2. I can't think of a perfect example of doom lyrics, because I just don't think doom, or any other type of music for that matter, encapsulates specific types of lyrics. Of course there is a tendency to write about darker subject matter in doom, but it's not the case of every band. As for the kind of song lyrics I like the most, I'd say I like to hear songs about very personal and intimate stuff, I can relate to that. Writing for me is like opening a valve, letting things out that otherwise remain stuck. I love the way Sylvia Plath writes, some people have accused her of “emotional exhibitionism”. For me, that is the whole point. It is a form of exorcism if you will. It's very therapeutic, and it's free!

3. Many artists have influenced me in different ways, not only in my way of singing, but also in the fact that I sing at all. Years ago, I would have never thought it would be possible for me to sing on a stage, I am too damn shy for that. But at one point my desire to communicate and create things got stronger to the point of it being unbearable. So I just said “fuck it”, some people will like it, others will not, in the end, it doesn't matter. Many of the artists I admire are not what we could call “trained singers”, but they still have very strong and unique voices and, most of all, they have something to say. Others have the “perfect” trained voice and something to say, which for some would be the best case scenario. Artists like Lydia Lunch, Kat Bjelland, Diamanda Galas, Jarboe, P.J. Harvey, Julie Christmas, Siouxsie Sioux, L7, Rozz Williams, etc., have influenced me a lot. I guess one of the strong sides of the band is the fact that we all have very diverse influences, from post-punk, to post-hardcore, deathrock, to black metal, doom and crust punk. It makes a really interesting mix of musical input. We love to experiment with structures and sounds and we intend to take it even further in the future.

4. The role of women in doom music is not any different than that of men. It's to make music. I don't like the term “woman musician”, we're just musicians, period. Really? Writing songs about broken hearts and burning witches? Women also do that about men, trust me! ;)

5. I have had to. But I wouldn't say that I had to “deal” with them, on the contrary, I think it is very flattering and encouraging. They say children and drunk people don't lie...

6. Not really, not more than I do day in day out. Besides, I don't think people come to see me, they come to hear the band play. Many times, there are projections at our shows, and you can't see us anyways, so what gives?

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 Shroud Eater (United States)
Jeannie Saize (guitars, vocals)


1. Currently we're wrapping up 2012 by playing shows. We recorded some songs and who knows if they will ever be released, it's been so damn long that we've been waiting on one thing or another. I don't even remember what we recorded.

2. Lyrics are subjective, and personal. I don't know that I have favorite topics to write about other than things that are affecting me at the moment. A perfect lyric could be one thing one day, and something the next - it depends on my mental state and what i'm feeling.

3. I can't sing properly. I don't have a nice voice. I can scream, but I can't do those deep grunts or growls. I try to do the best I can with what I have.

4. I see women's role the same as I see men's roles... to me it's not really about someone's gender. At least it shouldn't be. It's about the music you make and what inspires you to do it.

5. I think people are scared of and generally avoid me. I'm not good at talking to people and if I feel like I'm getting attention I try to find a dark corner to hang out in by myself.

6. Not at all. I look the same when I go to work, when I hang out with friends as when I play shows. Except I'm much sweatier when I play gigs.

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 Wooden Stake (United States)
Vanessa Nocera (bass, vocals)


1. We just had a line-up change with the band with the addition to Tony Profer on all guitars and some keyboards. Wayne’s still on drums and I am still doing bass and vocals. The new album is currently being recorded and hopefully soon we will have an advanced track to post on our site.

2. I guess perfect Doom lyrics for me have an undertone of darkness and the occult. I generally write about the dark arts, Satanism, horror topics, and touch on lighter subjects like ghost stories and haunts (that must be the Kind Diamond influence).

3. I have many influences on my music. When it comes to singing I have a wide range of people who inspire me. With clean vocals you can tell inspiration from Stevie Nicks, Peter Murphy, Siouxsie Sioux, Ann Wilson, etc. I think the strong side of the band is the whole band. We each bring our own style and it comes together perfectly I think.

4. It seems the doom crowd is a little more accepting toward women than death and black metal crowds, but I guess each woman has her own role depending on what band she’s in. Doom seems to have a stronger female presence than other genres of metal, but I’m not sure. I’m mainly in the death metal scene, so it’s tough sometimes when asked about doom and other women in the scene.

5. Unfortunately, we do not play shows. Hopefully this will change soon and we will be able to play. I have played live before with a previous band and yes, I can say sometimes guys can be a little overbearing, but sometimes it’s really flattering and enjoyable.

6. Yes and no. I care to a certain extent as far as what I would wear, but I’m not going to check every 5 minutes if my hair and make-up are perfect because I’m going to be too busy banging my head

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Undersmile (United Kingdom)
Taz Corona-Brown (guitars, vocals) and Hel Sterne (guitars, vocals)


1. Hel: Prior to and since releasing our first album at the end of May this year we've been writing and working on loads of new material. We're not allowed to say what we have in the pipeline for next year at the moment but there are two announcements that will made about what's going on in the next few months and we're very excited to get that out there.
Taz: At the moment we've mostly been hiding ourselves away in the practice studio working on and recording new material for a (currently) secret and very exciting project. Performance-wise, our next gig will be for Sirius Promotions' all-dayer on 17th of November at The Asylum in Birmingham alongside our friends Cultura Tres, Grimpen Mire and Slabdragger to name but a few....

2. H: Just have a look at the lyric sheet in Narwhal! (laughs) :P. But seriously, we tend to steer clear of quite a few of the stereotypes and prefer to use words that are evocative of the feeling we're trying to convey. “Doom” in the literal sense of (impending) dread, claustrophobia and fear are at the backbone of our lyrics, to a greater and lesser extent, some are themes, some are more abstract. This doesn't mean they have to be obviously implied either, it's more about creating an atmosphere with them – that, to us, is equally as important as the music itself and we take it very seriously. My answer is, I like to have a picture painted for me through lyrics and when the music fits perfectly too it should be like seeing a vision, this is the criteria for perfect doom lyrics.
T: For me, there is no horror to be found in many of the prevalent or typical doom themes. The terror of the mundane and the banality of everyday life are far more horrific. In my opinion, the bands that have captured this most perfectly in their lyrics are Harvey Milk - particularly on their album A Small Turn Of Human Kindness, which is a work of poetic genius; Pissed Jeans, who combine a sense of humour with a sense of despair, notably in Goodbye Hair (a song lamenting the loss of one's hair) and Swans, who displayed some truly disturbing lyrics in their Cop-era work. Personal experiences of claustrophobia, panic attacks, nightmares and sleep paralysis have been influential on myself and Hel in our songwriting, both musically and lyrically.

3. H: One of the elements that sets us apart from other bands is our vocal style, some people love it and some people hate it, but either way it's renown for being unique. Taz and I have taken our influences and over time our style has evolved into what we sound like now, vocal drawl, chants, whispers and broken hymn-like melodies. The four of us have been heavily influenced by music of the 90's, particularly grunge and the vocal character of the likes of (Babes in Toyland, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, early Hole to name a few). Also folk and dark folk music; Nick Cave's murder ballads, Mark Lanegan, Neutral Milk Hotel, to the more current bands we share a common love of.
T: Vocally and musically, we draw inspiration from a wide variety of artists. Everything from the despondent drawl of Pissed Jeans or Harvey milk, the off-kilter discordance of Codeine, the slow/heavy riffs of Melvins, the sparseness and brevity of Earth, to the impossibly perfect lyricism of Leonard Cohen. With our vocals, the intention is to add to the atmosphere of disorientation and claustrophobia created by the music. Hel and I always favour disharmony, with just brief moments of harmony, which aim to provide relief, conclusion and contrast. Musically, we utilise repetition and discordant notes to create an element of confusion.

4. H: We're very proud to be associated with the women within the SSD scene, they're all serious musicians and are extremely good at what they do, besides being lovely individuals. I think it's clear that women no longer have to prove themselves in terms of being able write, play and perform music as well as any man can. Obviously there is always going to be residual sexism by the odd ignoramus here and there (admittedly, there have been several), but on the whole the consensus has become far more equal than ever before. The numbers of influential women making an impact in the genre has grown and is on the rise, making it a really good time to be in the music scene. I can speak for us all when I say we're glad to be a part of it.
T: There have been many women who've played a considerable role in shaping sludge/stoner/doom from the early days of the scene - Lorax in Melvins and Jarboe in Swans, for example. Women have always been responsible for writing, creating and performing truly extreme music. Yes, we're still in the minority but that is changing rapidly, there are so many incredible women in SSD at the moment.  We have experienced a small amount of sexism, though this has, generally been confined to the more straightforward metal genre, rather than doom itself. Thankfully, this sort of reaction is rare and these days the only answer to the question, 'what do women contribute to doom music?' is - the same thing that men contribute to doom music.

5. H: We often get appreciative comments from people at gigs and we like to hang out and chat with those who take an interest in Undersmile. There haven't been too many occasions where anyone has been out of order, although we have had some creepy things happen on Facebook (which I can't really mention just in case). People are generally very respectful in general though which is cool.
T: Most people who speak to us at our gigs are nothing but courteous, they just want to talk to us about music, which is something we are always happy to do . The scene here in the UK is a genuine and friendly one, so we're very lucky. You do get the occasional drunkard but they've always been good natured, in our experience. Online though, we have had a few unsettling comments, particularly on our video for Milk on Youtube....

6. H: Firstly I should point out that on a normal day Taz and I both wear relatively similar outfits to those we wear on stage (and have worn alternative clothing all our lives). We always wear make up and dresses as standard throughout the week, although we do make more of an effort for gigs. In all honesty, we'd like to be like Kim Deal and just rock out in jeans and t-shirt, but that's not really our style. I couldn't live without my war paint!
T: We certainly derive a (guilty) pleasure from subverting expectations. Some people (luckily, a minority) write us off as a novelty/ riot grrl/ grunge act based upon our appearance, which, we've been told, only serves to create more of an impact when they hear us play. Our style of dress is far from being contrived for effect though, Hel and I grew up in the 1990s and our heroines were Kat Bjelland, Courtney Love, Bjork, L7 etc... We genuinely dress like this every day (which probably explains the strange looks I get in t'village ;p). We usually stick out like two sore thumbs at our gigs- white lace, adrift in a sea of black leather and bushy beards!

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Interviews By Aleks Evdokimov










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