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“People underestimate how much time and effort goes into making your band grow.” – Interview with Sisters Of Suffocation

Usually, the easiest part of interviewing artists is to decide which band member to interview. Well, it’s not that easy when you’re interviewing bands like Sisters Of Suffocation. Which one of the four talented metal goddesses should I choose? I admit, I struggled a lot. But only until I had the most amazing idea ever; let’s interview them all! Luckily, they agreed, and I had a chance to question the whole band. And what did we talk about? From their new album “Humans Are Broken” to Dutch metal scene to Metal Factory and other stuff. Continue reading to find out more about these Dutch death metal warriors below.

SIsters-Of-Suffocation

From left: Puck (bass), Kevin (drums), Els (vocals), Simone (lead guitar), Emmelie (rhythm guitar) Credit: Elias Gubbels

MG: Let’s start with your new album. It’s titled „Humans Are Broken“ and comes out March 1st. Music wise, how would you describe it? Can we expect the same brutality and aggression known from your previous work?  

Puck: Of course! But also more diversity, in terms of melodic passages, technical and progressive parts, and different vocal styles.

Els: We did add a lot of new elements. We took inspiration from different kinds of metal. I am very proud of what we created and can’t wait to share it with the world.

Simone: This album is a mix of the old school death metal with some modern elements. Every song shows some influences of other metal genres like thrash, melodic and grindcore. I think this one shows some more brutality compared to the previous one. A few reasons are the fact that we have 2 guitarists now, and of course a new drummer. When I was writing I could use more lead guitar, harmonies and extreme drum parts. Kevin re-wrote the drums and had the right feeling for the songs. I’m really happy with the new line-up.

Emmelie: I think the addition of a second guitarist and a new, bad-ass drummer adds a lot to the sound, especially live.

MG: I’m sure that the whole process of putting the album together differed compared to the previous recordings. This is your second full-length but actually the first album with the current line-up. Emmelie and Kevin, you joined the band last year. What was it like for you from the position of new members?

Kevin: It was a hell of a ride. I joined in the middle of the writing/recording process while I was still busy with my other musical projects. I wrote, learned and recorded the drums in less than 2 weeks, but I am more than happy with the result. I pushed myself to reach the next level and it is gonna be a killer, I promise!

Emmelie: It’s great. I knew the band already since I followed them since the beginning and used to be their photographer, and I met Kevin at Metal Factory. So before joining the band as their second guitarist, I was already sure that they are a group of awesome people and musicians. In the beginning, it was pretty stressful to learn all previous material, while the process of the new album ‘Humans Are Broken’ had already started but it was more than worth it!

MG: You have released some singles already (Humans Are Broken, Little Shits, The Machine). What’s been the response like so far?

Puck: Good overall, intense for Little Shits. We decided to step up to all the people who put us down based on our gender, and that certainly loosened the tongues of those same people on social media. In general, we get feedback saying the songs are more mature than the ones on the previous album, which we agree with.

Els: The response is mixed. Our fans love it but the internet trolls are still there, haha.

Emmelie: It kind of goes two ways, people either love it or hate it. Overall the response has been great, but intense for “Little Shits”. People like the sound with the new line-up.

MG: Els, you write the lyrics for the band. What themes are you dealing with on your new album?

Els: This album is about how humans are destroying the earth. It’s about the meat and dairy industry and how we keep consuming while the earth is suffering. It is about the environment, fear-politics but also everything we hate about our society. I really got to write about what I think and feel on a daily basis.

MG: Besides releasing a new album, what are your main aims for 2019? Do you have any touring plans?

Puck: We have release shows planned for March and April and dates abroad in the summer. We would love to do some more touring, of course, and are working hard on putting this together!

Simone: Later this year, we play some festivals in the UK and Austria. But there are more shows coming up that aren’t confirmed yet!

Kevin: We wish to tour as much as possible to spread our music.

MG: Simone, you were the one who founded the band with Els. You’ve come a long way since then. Your new album is coming out soon, you have recently signed with Napalm Records… What do you consider the biggest milestone for the band so far?

Simone: I have two answers to this question. The biggest milestone is the fact that we signed with Napalm and played some great shows the last few years like Dong Open Air, Antwerp Metal Fest, Gefle Festival, Eindhoven Metal Meeting, Chronical Moshers, Lowlands etc. The other milestone is the fact that we always believed in ourselves. Having a band is not a simple thing. We have to work hard and sometimes things aren’t going the way we planned. But then, we go on instead of giving up. We always supported each other and that’s something I’m really proud of.  

MG: Sisters Of Suffocation was originally an all-female band until Kevin joined the band in 2018. Kevin, how does it feel to be the only guy in the band?

Kevin: Of course I have to admit that in the beginning, it was a new experience for me, but since we all have the same goals, the gender does not matter.

MG: Most Dutch metal bands with female members play symphonic or melodic metal. And then there’s  Sisters Of Suffocation, a band with four girls representing the extreme subgenre. It might seem almost as if Dutch women were afraid of exploring the darker side of metal. What’s the Dutch female metal scene really like? Is it easier for you to make a name for yourselves in your home country considering the subgenre you play is not so dominant in the Dutch female metal scene or is it the other way around?

Puck: Personally, I feel it there is no Dutch female metal scene as such. I mean, yeah, there are women in metal, and they mostly appear in the symphonic or melodic genres, but that is, I think, mostly a consequence of the type of vocals that are common in those genres. Overall, you find women more as a vocalist than instrumentalists in metal, something which is now changing, I believe, if I count the number of women we talk to who play instruments.

Simone: The fact that there aren’t many extreme metal bands with female members makes it more prominent that we do it. But I wish there were more girls who did the same thing as we do. If there are more, it’s becoming normal. People make a big deal of it right now. And that can be a positive thing, but also negative. Genre doesn’t have to play a part when you hear music, only music does.

Emmelie: I don’t feel like there is a female metal scene as such, I see the metal scene as a whole, no matter what gender. I guess it’s true that most women in metal are vocalists, and most of them are in symphonic/melodic metal bands, but I actually know quite some girls who play instruments and are starting metal bands of the extremer subgenre.

Els: There is no Dutch female metal scene. There is one metal community with people from all over the world and both men and women. I think we need to start seeing it like that to normalize women in metal. It wasn’t easy to make a name for ourselves. We had to work very very hard. Just like everybody else. People underestimate how much time and effort goes into making your band grow.

MG: If I’m not wrong, Simone, Els, Emmelie and Kevin, you all attended Metal Factory, the world‘s first metal school. Many metalheads can only dream of such an opportunity. How did this experience impact your musicianship and the band as a whole? What was the most valuable lesson you learnt?

Emmelie: That is correct! Personally, I’m in my graduation year. Simone, Els and Kevin have already graduated two/three years before me. This study gives you the opportunity to fully focus your time on developing not only your instrument skills but also all the other aspects that come with musicianship. For example, you learn how to put your band on the market and create a network. You get the opportunity to ask advice from professionals and it gives you a taste of what the music industry is like. This study gives you a broad basis for a profession in the music industry and is the place to be when you’re interested in learning about these topics!

Simone: This was the best choice I ever made in my life. I learned so much about the music industry during that study. Of course, I became a better musician because I rehearsed 5 times a day with the best teachers you could ever wish (teachers were members of Within Temptation, Epica, Textures, Aborted/Alkaloid, Gorefest, Vuur etc). And I learned a lot about how to make money as a full-time musician. I also learned music theory, making connections (really important) and many more.

Els: It was an amazing time. I loved it very much. I learned a lot about singing, music history, business, music theory, etc. The most valuable thing I got out of the Metal Factory is this band and the teachers that still have our back and help us out whenever we need help.

Kevin: The Metal Factory was an amazing opportunity to learn how the music business works. You learn how to put your band on the market, how to create a network, how to promote and much, much more. The Metal Factory is the place to be!

MG: Puck, you have a PhD in Literature, and you’re a horror lover. What was the last book and movie that you really loved? Can you recommend something good?

Puck: That’s a cool question, thank you 🙂 The last horror movie that I really loved was the latest Halloween; a great final chapter in the series. I don’t think that there are serial killers more purely evil or enigmatic than Michael Meyers in modern horror cinema. As to books, I almost finished The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele. This is an awesome anthology with great and terrifying stories by many of horror’s greatest contemporary authors in honor of the, probably, biggest living horror writer, Laird Barron.

MG: Emmelie, you’re also a photographer and have your own Youtube channel where you upload music related videos. What’s your favourite type of vlogs to record?

Emmelie: Vlogs are my favorite type of videos to film. I feel like they are more personal than any other kind of videos. I love them because they capture the moment, whether it is at home, at a show I’m playing with SOS or anywhere else. It’s a great way to share my experience with my followers and show them places they won’t be able to visit themselves, for example backstage at festivals, but it’s also valuable as a memory for myself to look back on. Other types of videos I enjoy recording are vinyl record collection videos and guitar covers, even though it’s been a while since I filmed one of those.

MG: To get to know your personal musical tastes better, what were some of your favourite albums of 2018? What should our readers definitely check?

Simone: Anaal Nathrakh – “A New Kind Of Horror”

Puck: Anaal Nathrakh’s “A New Kind of Horror”. More horror, more extremeness, more surprises. Love it. And Madder Mortem’s “Marrow”; as always with MM, an album with an emotional and skill that really hits home.

Kevin: Behemoth – “I Loved You At Your Darkest” and Anaal Nathrakh – “A New Kind Of Horror”

Els: “A New Kind Of Horror” by Anaal Nathrakh and “Downfall Of Mankind” from Nervosa.

MG: It’s really cool to see you, girls, making your way in the metal scene and we really appreciate this interview since our goal at Metal Goddesses is to support female metal artists who are, sadly, really underrated in most cases. I finish every interview with this question. Would you like to give a shout-out to any of your female metal colleagues or bands that deserve more recognition?

Puck: In that case, I would like to shout out to every woman out there who might be too shy or insecure to pick out their instrument and get on stage – cause you can do anything if you want to, and there is no-one able to hold you back.

Emmelie: My shout out goes out to all girls and women who are afraid to pick up an instrument and play in a band. Just go for it!

Els: For every girl/woman that is too scared to be a metal musician because of the hate: Go for it! We will support you!

Simone: YES! For all the girls who would love to start a band/want to play an instrument: just go for it! You can do it! #girlpowerrrrrrrrr

MG: Alright, thank you for your time. Good luck with your new album and hopefully, we’ll meet somewhere on the road anytime soon.  

Emmelie: Thank you very much for the interview. That would be great, hope to see you soon!

Puck: Thank you for the interview and see you in the future!

STAY IN TOUCH WITH SISTERS OF SUFFOCATION
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Instagram: @sistersofsuffocation
Twitter: @sosdeathmetal