Nina Laderoute, vocalist of western Canada’s dark power metal group, Hyloxalus, is hauntingly talented. We had a chance to talk to Nina about her passions, her incredible vocal abilities, and the new Hyloxalus EP “Aposematic” set for release July 28th. Check out our review of “Aposematic” and read our interview with Nina below.
MG: Hello, Nina! Thanks for doing an interview with us. To get our readers more acquainted with you, what are 5 random fast facts about you?
Nina: 5 facts… I grew up on a small farm an hour outside of Edmonton. My day job is in stem, specifically overlay weld testing and additive manufacturing. I had the amazing opportunity as a young 20 year old to sing at the Coliseum in Edmonton for a couple of hockey games that I will never forget. I enjoyed riding and roping on our own farm and a couple of other ranches, and I am Cree metis heritage but also Norwegian, so I guess we know where the love of metal came from!
MG: Your vocal range is humongous! I love to listen to your work because you have numerous vocal sounds and this fantastic ability to apply so many facets of your voice when switching from highs, to mids, to lows. You have quite the instrument! What is your vocal story? Have you been singing most of your life?
Nina: Thank you so much! Yes, I’ve been singing ever since I was able to talk, my grandfather made sure of it. He was quite the singer himself, an old cowboy poet who always had a song to share with his granddaughter. My mother was my biggest fan and pushed me to learn and compete from elementary into my twenties. She made sure I always had music in my life and when we had the money, she found me a local teacher who taught me classical and opera arias. Shout out to Debbie Fedoruk for showing me the opera ropes! I was never really confident in my voice, but always loved the thrill the stage gave. Now that I’m more confident, I’ve begun expanding my range into belting thanks to Maura Sharkey here in Edmonton. Mike has been a great asset to my vocal training as his songs push me and challenge me to do more with my voice.
MG: Hyloxalus has a new EP coming out July 28th called “Aposematic”, how would you describe the overall sound and feeling of this EP?
Nina: I’d have to say “Aposematic” is very moody but still evokes almost this vibrational energy into the listener. I find it has a drive and darkness to it that is so exciting and makes even the most menial commute into a grand adventure. Or something like that.
MG: Do you have a favorite song from “Aposematic”, or do you love them all equally?
Nina: I’d have to say that “10 000 Neolithic Ghosts” is my favourite of the originals. However, the cover we did for this EP specifically has been a favourite song of mine for a few years, and I’ve sung it while busking. When Mike suggested we do a cover, I immediately gravitated towards “Moonstone” by the Black Mirrors for its witchy vibes. Mike succeeded in making it our own and cranking up the electronic sound and the guitars to give it a more metal feel than the hipster original to match the sound of our EP.
MG: What is something besides music that you’re passionate about and how does it influence who you are?
Nina: I’m very passionate about the resurgence of my culture. It teaches me to be humble and loving, and to give all I can into what I create. It also teaches me to trust in myself and this gift I was given. Both Cree (nehiyaw) and Metis cultures are full of positive and important teachings that I intend in bringing with me on my music journey to keep me grounded and remind me that I’m here to share.
MG: I’ve noticed that you have a bit of a theatrical side in your performance. Are you a theatre buff at all, or is that side of your stage expression a natural part of it all for you?
Nina: I was a HUGE theatre buff in junior high and high school, and I even did a big theatre production in college called “Ladies in Lights”. I would always pick musical theatre for songs for competition, and I would always fight for lead role in high school productions. I was probably annoying as hell, but it taught me so much about how to command the stage and make sure that every single one of the attendees is having as good a time as I can provide. One of my opera coaches gave me incredible arias and the reins to all of the blocking, so it was sink or swim for those performances, and I really learned how to put away my fear to ensure the audience is comfortable and not awkward because of my nervousness. Now I absolutely live for the stage and I really love to entertain people.
MG: You have a talent for writing gorgeous, poetic lyrics. How do you find inspiration for your writing, or what kinds of things inspire you the most?
Nina: I wish I could take the compliment for that, but I cannot. The one song I did help write was “Frozen Ramparts” from the first EP, at the beginning of our journey. I’ve been writing my own music as Lady Datura and my inspiration is usually pivotal moments in my life made into gothic or horror metaphors, but Mike has taken over all lyrical writing for our album. Maybe in the future, I’ll do some more writing for Hyloxalus as I really enjoy it, but Mike really has the power metal down to a T and he does it best!
MG: Well, good job Mike! The lyrics and vocals work so well together. It’s clear you are a great team! What is one festival or show that you would love to play and why?
Nina: I mean, every metalhead wants to play Wacken, but I would love to play Wave Gotik Treffen as I have always been a goth chick before anything else.
MG: What is one band/musician you listen to that people may not expect you to love? Do you have a song recommendation from said artist?
Nina: I absolutely love the rap group Snotty Nose Rez Kids and their song “Boujee Natives”. I have to thank the local trap artist Ghetto Barbie for opening me up to rap music and showing me the beautiful poetry that comes out of so many different groups and musicians in the genre.
MG: How can we best show Hyloxalus some love and support, and do you have any plans for performance around the corner?
Nina: Pre-order the album on our Bandcamp! And yes, a few shows coming up in fall, yet to be announced.