Metal-Roos: Thank you so much for speaking to me! How much touring have you done for your solo project?
I’ve never really toured my solo project, the last time I did a proper tour for something where I was a creationist, was my old band, before I even went solo. I never actually properly toured my solo material, I played one off shows here and there for Amaranth and Evanescence. When I debuted my first E.P. I did piano shows all by myself, but it’s really exciting! The opportunity came through and I couldn’t say no.
M-R: Why was Australia on the list to visit so soon? Don’t get me wrong we really appreciate it, but we also understand how difficult and expensive it is to get out here…
Incursion Events kind of just pitched it to me! It started as a DJ thing – they asked if I wanted to do anything else, and I’m like if you want, I can come and play on my harp, and they were all about it! They’re really keen so they were like come on out! I’m really excited.
M-R: I read that you began writing and performing music in high school and studied at the conservatorium of music in various disciplines. When did you begin writing your solo material and has your writing evolved during the process?
It definitely has. I can’t say who I wrote my album with me. I’m keeping that a secret until next year, everyone’s going to be really excited surprised when the find out who it is. I started in punk music where I was able to learn basic song structures and flow from there, then I went to my band and had some guidance from different people. I find whenever I work with different people, I always learn something new. Then Cradle taught me there are really no rules, you can write good music and it can be 8 minutes long ago all over the place but always come back and I love that about Cradle of Filth they’re very prog and don’t even know it. The person I worked with kind of brought me to the next level and I really appreciate them for that. Even now, looking back on it, I’m having post album judgement where I could have done this and that better, but I can explore that on the next album. I just felt like I was very safe, but now, I know what more I want to do. I still love the album and I’m very excited to release it.
It gives perspective to look back on it and think about it yourself, but that was me at that time. That was the budget I had, so, you have to be forgiving at these things and plus it gives you drive for the next release. I’m revamping some old songs, I’m writing new stuff, it’s good to have a chance to take more of a direction that I really want, so I’m stoked for that as well.
M-R: Is there any update on your forthcoming EP Martyr?
It’s going to be an LP, a full-length, like about 11 songs. I’ve got some cool guest musicians on it, in the vein of like hard rock with like nu-metal with a bit of an electronic and a bit of gothic rock and it’s all in there. I’m really proud of it.
M-R: Are you still planning a crowdfund campaign to help with your release?
You know what, I thought about it and I submitted the album out to labels to see if anybody’s interested and haven’t heard anything back. If I have to do it independently I will. I’m not sad about that. I think it’s a really smart approach actually. Whether I do fan funding or not I don’t know. I actually did a fan funding campaign for buying a video camera for my YouTube channel. It was with Indiegogo and in the last minute they decided I didn’t deserve the money and cancelled it. They refunded everyone’s money, but by that time all the packages had been sent out! I didn’t lose money though, I contacted everyone, I got all their emails off the website and I contacted everyone who donated. So ever since that experience it’s like, do I want to go fan funding? If I did have to, I’d probably go with PledgeMusic. I have so many pages of handwritten lyrics I’m sure people would love to purchase. I’ve been making bracelets made out of old harp strings, I have some really cool stuff you know, why not, it wasn’t cheap. It was really expensive to do and it would really be nice to see that money back and filling that void of debt that I racked up! hahaha
M-R: What inspires your solo material? Is there any sort of concept behind the music?
Despite me doing black metal and classical and whatever you want to call Cradle of Filth, deep down inside I’m just a dark pop person. I like Fleetwood Mac, I love Evanescence, I love Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey, at the end of the day I love strong melodies and heartfelt lyrics and usually come out in the form of pop structure – so that’s me! The way I want to express is through this hard symphonic electronic rock, so that’s kinda what inspired me to want to do that. I just write so much, I’ve written thousands of songs over the years, some of them I’m like I should sell this to Kelly Clarkson or a country artist, why not right!? Hahaha
There’s some that come through and when I sing and play them on the piano for people they react like, ‘that’s amazing’ which means so much to me. I’m not very good at anything else in life, I just think I can write good songs I’m not saying I’m amazing. When I was working on the album with this person, I actually submitted a piano song and they thought it was a cover! They asked me whether it was Michael Jackson or something, ‘no, I wrote this’ and they’re like, ‘oh, but it’s so good I thought was a cover’ and I was like ‘you know what, screw you buddy! I can write a decent song ok!’ hahaha. But they said ‘you really blew me away’ they meant it as a compliment you know, sometimes artists aren’t the best with words. That was the biggest compliment though, this person is one of my idols. I have so much more material. I have a bank of 25 songs that I know aren’t shit that I would really like to put out in my solo material, but I’m so busy, a goal of mine was to take the time become a better harp player and that takes up so many hours in the day.
M-R: Regarding costume and makeup, what inspires your stage image? Is it just to look cool and dark on-stage or does it have deeper meaning?
I think it’s an extension of making the visuals that reflects the music. Maybe one day I’ll write a book; my life story is really interesting and I’m very emotional person and I’ve been through some really dark times you know. I’m not ready to go open-up about all of it yet, but there’s a lot of darkness and I feel at the end of the day even though I’m like this happy cheerful goth. A lot of my art is releasing that pain and I’m sure other people have been through that pain. But, you know, there’s like sometimes an anime aesthetic, sometimes it’s other artists, like Madonna’s Frozen music video has a special place in my heart. There are definitely a lot of people that have been inspired me to adopt that image, so you know I think its a reflection of me on the inside.
M-R: You have help from Hysteria Machine and Plastik Wrap on your costume and stage gear. How did that relationship come about?
Well, it got to the point where I was making my own headdresses and those things can take up to 6 to 8 hours to create and I don’t really have the full skill set for it or the patience! haha It’s all trial and error, broken fingers, so, with Hysteria Machine, we got a hold of each other at the same time. They were like ‘I love your band’ and, I’m like, ‘I love you’ and, they’re like, ‘let me make your head-dresses’ and, I’m like, ‘oh my god you’re my saviours’. So there’s that. I’ve known about Plastik Wrap forever and we just recently started collaborating in the past few years. They’ve been in Toronto a for a very long time and it’s nice to have them on board.
M-R: Anything special planned for the Masquerade Ball Party for your show in Sydney?
You know, I’m probably just going to be me and show up in a cloak. I don’t think I’ll bring any crazy headdresses. I know it’s kind of expected of me, but at the same time I’m kind of like ‘guys…I’m tired of the image from Cradle Of Filth’. I’m so happy that I don’t have to bring my massive boots to these events. I was mulling it over in my head, ‘should I bring my boots? I don’t wanna bring my boots…should I bring my boots?’. They’re massive and they’re uncomfortable and I don’t wanna do it. I’m just excited to hang out with people and talk to them. I just finished my DJ set today and I’m really proud of it. It’s got a lot of really fun music that I love, so I’m excited to just hang out with people and have a good time.
M-R: I heard that it is a headline DJ set, which was not what I was expecting. Where did that come from? Have you DJ’d before? What can fans expect from that?
There’s a harp show at all the events, like a 25 minute harp set. No, this is the first time I’ve ever been offered to DJ. The first offer was to host and DJ at a party and then he was like do you do anything else and I was like I play the harp, which forced me to be a better harp player. It was like ‘Ahh! Its go time make it happen’. He was like I think I’ll be really cool to hear what you want to play in regards to music, but I’ve been like a club goth since my early 20s. It’s like been like 10 years now, there’s a very special place in my heart for heavy club industrial music. It just matches your heartbeat and you could just dance to it and I love it it’s one of my favourite things.
M-R: The VIP experience gets an intimate acoustic performance, that sounds fantastic! Where did this idea come from?
That was just kind of an extension of Incursion Events. They asked if I wanted to do this and I was like, ‘yeah totally’. I love my fans, I have a really special relationship with my fans. They can always come to me with no judgement and we talk about everything. We talk about hard times, good times. I try to promote positivity in achieving dreams and being kind to yourself when life gets hard or you make mistakes. I think we all connect on that level some of my fans really inspire me, whether they’re transforming gender or whether they’re setting up a business or going for the dream as a dancer… what they do inspires me so we have that love going back and forth for one another.
M-R: I read that you enjoy watching makeup tutorials in your downtime. Have you ever had any makeup malfunctions while on stage? Do you have a ‘favourite look’ that you had in the past?
Oh yeah, so, I’ve had some really bad ones where like the lipstick goes on the microphone and ends up on my chin and all over my face…the most malfunctions have been with lipstick. In Melbourne earlier this year Xen can attest to this, he’s like ‘why are you texting me asking me for lash glue’. I forgot my lash glue, so I couldn’t wear my big lashes on stage, so I look like a Raccoon! I just powdered up really hard, it was hilarious, but there’s been some times where my eyelashes falling off and jabs me in my eye, just fun times haha. As far as look goes, I really like blue eyeshadow, like, it’s been my thing for a while now and all the sudden it’s up in the mainstream, and I don’t know how that happened! Lime-green eyeshadow, I like to keep it fun and colourful, but kinda vampire looking cause that’s how I roll…
M-R: Do you still want to re-launch the Youtube channel with tutorials?
Absolutely! It’s something I’d love to do. I mean, I’m bringing my camera on this trip I’m going to interview some of my friends that have been requested by my fans just to start it up, and I think it’s more interesting when you do it on your travels. So many people have asked about makeup tutorials, and the reason why I haven’t gotten to it yet, is because I took on way to much this year. I started getting really sick, I had a week of this business thing I had to take care of… it was really uncomfortable, and I suffer heavily from anxiety, which we all go through when life throws difficult situations at us. Recovering from that I was down and out for a week with bronchitis which is every singers’ worst nightmare. In those two weeks I lost I was supposed to be doing YouTube stuff and I didn’t do it. But my fans were being very understanding, I was being very honest, I was like, guys I’m doing my best to do this, cos I love y’all and they were fully understanding. So, I’m grateful for that, eventually we are going to get to it, next year there will be some stuff
M-R: You have had experience in several styles of singing, have you ever tried extreme singing? If so how was the experience, if not why not?
I can do guttural vocals they’re not amazing because I’m not in season, but the problem is when you start to pursue guttural vocals. I’m a Coloratura with a 4 octave range and I can sing really really high which Dani likes and probably why he keeps me Cradle of Filth. When you start doing guttural vocals, you form a ring of cartilage around your larynx and it tightens it up and I will lose that higher register. It’s one of those things where, I don’t want to lose that because I really like it. I’ve been hired for a few projects recently that have wanted that voice, it’s a very rare, it’s not a very common voice and people want that high and really spooky voice from a female and I would never want to lose that. Gutturals are just not my vibe I mean its ok, but it’s other people’s vibe. We got so many good growlers out there they do it so well the world doesn’t need another! Hahaha
M-R: You’re obviously super busy with Cradle and your solo material but is there any news on Antiqva?
Antiqva we’re trying to be all occult with the… true black metal. So, it’s my fault this year was crazy, they were trying to set up some dates next year. The main musical composers of the project are, me, Justine the drummer, she does additional orchestral composing and the guitarist Urzorn from the Negator. The three of us are the main composers, but we’ve all had crazy projects. We’ve all been in and out of the studio or on tour. Xen and I oversee the project. We call the shots and he is the front person and the lyricist, but he has to wait to till the music is done before the poor guy can do anything, so we’re going to set up dates for next year when we can all get together and we can just finished this album. It’s not far off from being done. I have to compose more piece. I have to put strings and ideas to two more songs, but we pretty much almost have a full length ready to go it’s just actually committing and finishing it. We also want the musical opinion of Andy, Memnoch and Delay. It’s a big collaboration it’s a massive supergroup and everyone in the project is so damn lovely and I love that project and I feel bad because, some part of me that wants to be so gothic and black metal and that’s what that project is, but there just hasn’t been the time. When we started the project me and Xen drunkenly joked ‘we’re going to take like 10 years to finish this’ and the rate we’re going…that’s pretty much how it’s going to be! Hahaha
M-R: I read that your two favourite genres are metal and pop ballads, and I really enjoyed your cover of Frozen by Madonna, what have you been listening to this year that got you excited? Can you share your favourite pop ballads?
Ok, so something that’s really been emerging is this genre of electronic music called Witch House, it’s electronic music that’s full of really creepy spooky sounding stuff like sort of Chelsea Wolf sounding voice, a lot of choirs and weird spooky electronics. It all started with this band called Aimon and they have a song called ‘Black Cross’ and it just started everything, I just started looking for it everywhere. Sometimes Crystal Castles and Alice Glass are considered part of it, Drab Majesty, it just opened this whole new realm of electronic music that I’ve really been digging. I think it’s because one of my favourite genres was trip-hop so it’s like the spooky end of that, but that’s really my thing this year it’s been influencing a lot of what I’m working on for the next album too. There’s also a band from your country called Vowws, they are so good and cool, this old-school revival of dark-goth music is coming back so I’m really excited to see what happens!
Interview Date: 2018-12-21
Interviewer: Jonathan Hurley