Coming from Sweden, Slashy Sue is an industrial horror metal duo comprised of vocalist/lyricist Åsa Netterbrant and instrumentalist Tony Netterbrant. The story they tell through their music is based on a fictional serial killer Susan Henderson called Slashy Sue by the media. Sue has been institutionalized for over 20 years and sentenced to spend the rest of her life locked up at the psychiatric institution. The songs that come from the pen of Åsa and Tony are her confessions. Read more about the inspiration behind the bloody concept, the creepy visual side of the band, their upcoming debut album and what makes Slashy Sue different from their previous band Zephyra in the following chat with Åsa herself.
MG: Let’s talk about your amazing new horror-themed industrial metal project Slashy Sue which you created with your partner Tony after disbanding Zephyra. Now, while Zephyra was more on the serious side, you just don’t hold back with Slashy Sue, musically, lyrically and graphically, correct?
Åsa: Yeah, absolutely correct. We wanted Slashy Sue to be something completely different from Zephyra. And that was because Zephyra took so much time and so much energy even though we loved it. And then when we chose to continue with music, we wanted everything to be fun. To be easy, to be everything we didn’t do with Zephyra.
MG: Right. Whenever I see Slashy Sue post, be it on Slashy Sue page or on your page or on Tony’s page, I always see that you don’t take yourself too seriously. I find that pretty good.
Åsa: We find it fun to work with the project and we also want to include everything that we love about the old school horror thing. We want to put that into the music and the videos and the pictures and everything. The main thing with Slashy Sue is supposed to be fun to work with.
MG: You guys cover a twisted theme, talking about killing, cannibalism and stuff, but you do it in a fun, light and not so serious way. Still, weren’t you a little worried that your art would be misunderstood by your audience?
Åsa: I don’t think there ever was a worry about it since we are really serious as persons. But when we posted the video for the previous single, we used some hashtags. and I think someone caught one of the hashtags and wrote me a really serious message about it. Of course, it’s really important to remember that when you were writing about serial killers and deaths, it’s important to know that some people might find it disgusting and too gory and too serious. But they can always ask questions.
MG: And how about the first reactions to Slashy Sue’s concept and the spooky visuals from your friends and family? Did you have to face any judgmental looks or comments or are they all supportive?
Åsa: I would say they are very supportive. Some of our best friends are fans of the band. One thing… when we did the “Jingle Bells, Bloody Bells” for Christmas, my brother was a bit sad because we killed Santa (laughs). That’s the only thing.
MG: You’ve created this whole Susan Henderson background story for the project from scratch. Did you do any research prior to the writing, what was your inspiration? I know that you and Tony are both huge horror fans. Do you also follow the serial killers and big criminal cases in general?
Åsa: We are both fans of the classical horror themed movies. Especially from the 90s where you have all these creepy serial killers; you have Jason, you have Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger… That is one part of the inspiration. And then we listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. We listen to podcasts about the big serial killers that have been roaming for so many, many years. So that was kind of an inspiration, as well. The story is based both on facts about how things could be, and it’s based on the fiction from the movies.
MG: I’ve read your old interviews from Zephyra times where you stated several times that Tony is the main songwriter and you mostly contribute to lyrics and focus on the visual side of the band. Now that you’re only a duo and not a full band, are you also involved in the songwriting in a way, or is the whole music aspect just Tony’s work?
Åsa: He’s still the main songwriter for the songs but we are working a little bit more together. The biggest reason for this is that I’m learning. I’m not an instrumentalist, I don’t play any instrument. I just have my vocals. So I don’t create the music or the songs. I’m not a songwriter but I do contribute with the things that I know. And for the latest single, “Kill O’Clock”, we actually have been working a little bit together. He asked me more questions about guitar tone, guitar sound and we have been working more together for this one than we did before. It’s simply because I’m learning and that’s so fun.
MG: And that’s the most important thing to have fun with what you’re doing… Since I mentioned Slashy Sue being a duo… Were you discussing the possibility to build up a full band again or do you want to keep Slashy Sue just for yourself?
Åsa: For now, we will keep Slashy Sue as a two piece band. We thought it worked really well when we did the debut show last year where we used session musicians for drums and bass. And it worked out really good because we had people that we really know and trust. So we’ll keep it this way for now. And then we’ll see what happens with Slashy Sue. If we get a lot of shows, you never know if we will have a permanent bass player or drummer. But for now, this is how we choose to work with it.
MG: The songs are based on Susan’s confessions, we get inside her head and know her background story… But how about her victims? Can we also expect their point of view in the future? Something like a sequel… some more details and final moments of all those 37 (or maybe even more) men she killed and ate.
Åsa: That is not impossible. Actually, the lyrics for the upcoming album have some point of views from victims’ part. At least some of their voices and how they felt in their final moments. We have songs that are about the victims and we have projected some of their thoughts into the lyrics. So you are onto something (laughs).
MG: I will wait for it, I’m curious. You guys use a lot of blood and several props in your music videos. Where do you shoot and how much fake blood do you use in a month? Do you have any funny story from the shooting?
Åsa: (laughs) We live in a house out in the countryside and we have a big house for being two people. The “Fuck You” video was shot in two of the rooms in our house.
MG: Oh, really?
Åsa: Yeah. We shot some of it in the hallway and some of it in this room where we put up a background with blood and the “fuck you” on the wall. And when it comes to props… Just as I said, we want everything in Slashy Sue to be fun. We also want it to be easy and we don’t want to be totally broke and out of money with this band – that happened with Zephyra. We also want to keep it simple, so we have built some stage props and we go to the secondhand shops. When we leave, they are looking strangely at us because we are buying dolls, hammers, axes… (laughs) So we leave with this strange compilation of things and that’s what we’re using for the videos. And when it comes to the fake blood, we actually make it ourselves, because we don’t want to use the real theatrical blood. It’s so hard to wash off your face and walls. So, we actually make it with cocoa powder, syrup and food colouring. And that makes the perfect blood. I mean, it tastes like a cake. So… it’s hard to say how much we do, but you can make a small batch and use it for so long. It’s really nice. And when it comes to the walls, I use paint to make the backdrops for the music videos. The next music video will be shot in our attic, parts of it. It’s like a horse farm where we live, so there’s a lot of strange buildings and everything that we can use for shooting the music videos.
MG: Cool. We already touched the next question lightly. You’re currently working on your full-length album. Can you give us some update on that?
Åsa: I actually can. There are a couple of songs that are coming together really, really well. Tony’s also working on having three more songs done and recently he presented to me a new song that he wrote for the album and it’s so good! It has a huge twist in it that I really, really love! So, it’s gonna be really great to see how people respond to that twist. Also, for the next single, the music and the vocals are done. It’s just gonna be mixed and mastered, the single after “Kill O’Clock”. There will be also a cover on the album. A cover from the Swedish band Clawfinger. They play kind of a rap metal. We have chosen a song from them to cover on the album and it’s gonna be very Slashy Sue.
MG: Now, let’s move onto a different topic for the last question. You collaborated with Scarlet on her single “#bossbitch” last year. By the way, really awesome track! I love it!
Åsa: Thank you!
MG: I think you have a lot in common, even though your music directions are a bit different. You cover rather controversial topics, are very expressive, not holding back, but also the visual aspect… How was working with Scarlet? Was it easy to follow her vision and getting into that role?
Åsa: Yes, it was. When I got the question from Scarlet to join her on “#bossbitch”, I said yes because she is a hard working artist and she also has super a focus on her music. She knows what she wants and that makes it easier to follow her lead. Like when we shot the music video. I was kind of free to do my vocal parts. I just got the lyrics, then I was in the studio in Gothenburg to record it and then I just put my touch into it. But that has maybe more to do with that I’m a pretty secure person. I do what I do and I know I do it good (laughs). But then following her lead on the music video was really, really fun. She really knew what she wanted. And I also like the theme of the song. She’s really nice and good to work with.
MG: That’s good to hear. I hope that I can see Slashy Sue and Scarlet live one day when the overall situation allows for it. Thank you for your precious time.
Åsa: Thank you.