Super excited about this one! We managed to catch up with the band that MOJO described as “like Aretha fronting Royal Blood after imbibing ayahuasca” (this is one hundred percent accurate, by the way).
Tell us a little bit about how your band was formed…
The Zel & I had been working together before in an earlier outfit called ‘INVASION’, and after the demise, we wanted to put together a cohesive body of work that highlighted a mix of heavy rock, afro rhythms and bluesy soul.
How did you decide to focus your lyrical content on voodoo?
At first, we were attracted to the mysticism of Vodun, and then I thought it would a good idea to shine a light on an Ancestral folklore practice that had been demonised and contorted via time, the Catholic church and slavery – which has let us arrive at the negative Western view we hold of Voodoo and it’s related practices today. Taking something usually seen as dark and evil, and asserting that it’s as positive and as well-meaning as any other spiritual belief system we’re more familiar with. Having people become aware of the practice, aware of the distortion and aware of its true standing pleases me.
And the stage make up?!
The idea behind creating stage personas helps channel our energies for our performances. Finding Spirits/Loa’s who we felt generally matched with aspects of our personalities and trying to embody that on stage, so that’s where the stage makeup comes into play.
What makes you proud about being a woman working in the music industry?
Being able to speak about an experience of a pretty niche group of people within the heavy community, which is ultimately not dominated by women or people of colour, but dominated by white men. I think it’s important to be represented and to take up positive space in these environments, as you just might encourage others to live their truths too.
Congratulations on being named on Bandcamp’s rundown of the best clean vocals in metal! Very well deserved! How did it feel?
It was very unexpected, and very exciting! We suddenly started to receive lots of orders through Bandcamp, and we couldn’t work out why, until someone showed us we were on their home page.
You’ve recently changed your drummer from Zel to Sabo. How important was gender when making the decision for who to pick next?
Gender was very important. I wanted to try to keep the same ethos of the band, which was again being in roles that are often underrepresented.
I first heard about you from your support slot with Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. They seem to be an example of a good ally in the industry since each time I’ve seen them they make sure to have a support act with at least one woman in! How was that tour and how has life changed for you guys since then?
I find myself working with so many great bands, artists and producers, which I love. Getting to record with Uncle Acid several years ago was a pretty great as it was back at Toe Rag studios, where we had recorded the Invasion album several years before. Kevin has made such a specific sound with Uncle Acid that it was lovely he allowed me the freedom to try out a few different ideas for the backing vocals. That then led to the tour, which was fantastic, as the guys in the band were lovely, and we were able to play some fantastic venues. Life hasn’t changed much, but we did pick up a few more fans, which we appreciate.
Let’s not get too negative here. We all love Download Festival, they just need a bit of a nudge in the right direction. What would be the best result of getting more women to play there, and even headline one day?
The result would ultimately be, anger (I fear – initially anyway), then acceptance, then positive promotion, then an increased number of women on the stages & taking up roles where they have previously felt were inaccessible to them. Representation is everything, which is hard to tell someone who’s been constantly catered for forever, so I definitely hope this happens soon.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer these questions, Oya! Follow Vodun on their social media for updates on live shows and new music, and make sure you sign and share our petition below!
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