Interview by Lucifera Elena
Anita is the mastermind behind Somberlain Productions. This dark rose of the metal scene has been booking death metal and grindcore shows for four years at Castle Heights in Queens, New York. The Somberlain Productions website even has photos of bands that she booked in Castle Heights and her guestbook is filled with praises. She must be doing something right. I decided that Anita deserved long overdue recognition for her work, here is her inteview.
1.Somberlain Productions has been booking shows at Castle Heights for a long time. How long has it been?
I have been booking for 4 years, from 1998 until 2002.
2. You recently stopped booking shows there. Why? And what is your next step?
Unfortunately, our lease expired in September 2002 and the landlord decided not to renew it, forcing the club to close after 10 years.
My next step is to find a new venue to continue booking shows. I am currently checking out a couple of places in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I am hoping to find a place that has a larger capacity so that I am not limited on what bands I can book. However, I donıt think any other club can take the place of Castle Heights because it was like a second home to me!
3. You've booked bands such as Immolation, Mortician, Exhumed, Cryptopsy, Malignancy, Skinless, Dying Fetus, Lividity etc. Are these bands that you are into?
Definitely! They are some of my favorites!!
Who else did you book and what was your favorite show?
There were so many, itıs kinda hard to remember but here are a few:
Deeds of Flesh, Disgorge, Macabre, Fleshgrind, Internal Bleeding, Brodequin, Cephalic Carnage, Goatwhore, Pyaemia, Disavowed, Severe Torture, Dehumanized, Pessimist, Misery Index, Internal Suffering, Broken Hope, along with a lot of great unsigned local bands. There are a lot more that I just canıt think of right now. As for a favorite show, itıs kinda hard to say, there were so many GREAT shows at Castle Heights!!
4. Why did you decided to start booking bands and why did you choose the name Somberlain?
At the time (1998) I thought that the New York scene was lacking underground shows, a lot of the bands that were coming through were mainstream, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, etc. So I thought that it would be cool to get a little underground scene going. I had been hanging out at Castle Heights for a few years and was good friends with the owner. I asked him what he thought about me booking death metal shows there on a monthly basis, and he said that heıd let me book one show and if is was packed then the job was mine. My first show was Cryptopsy and Dehumanized the show was extremely packed and a huge success, so I just kept going from then on. I chose the name Somberlain from one of my favorite bands (Dissection) it is the name of their first album.
5. You seem to have an untarnished reputation in the metal scene for shows. Have you ever encountered any difficulties or even rumors that angered you?
I never really had any major problems with anyone that Iıve worked with,
I have dealt with a lot of bands over the last four years, and I am happy that I maintained a great relationship with all of them. There were a few people along the way that had their negative comments about my shows and Castle Heights but I didnıt really care what they had to say, I just ignored them itıs not worth it!
6. What bands are you into?
Dissection, Suffocation, Marduk, Malignancy, Dying Fetus, Dimmu Borgir, Deeds of Flesh, Misery Index, far too many to list!
7. Women in the metal scene seem to be working their way out of the shadows. Did you book any bands with female musicians? Do you think the attendance of female metal fiendz at shows has changed over the years?
I have booked a few bands with female musicians, The Forgotten, Unhallowed, and Wykked Wytch, not really too many. I think the female attendance at shows has increased in the last couple of years, I remember going to a lot of shows and not seeing many women, and then all of a sudden they are coming out of nowhere so thatıs cool! GIRL POWER! haha.
8. Who does your website? Was the internet a good vehicle to further the promotion of your shows?
My web site was created by Domains Unlimited (Roger Beaujard of Mortician). The internet definitely helped bring in more people! If I didnıt have a web site and mailing list, I think my booking days wouldıve ended a lot sooner! Before I had the site, I was just passing out flyers, and letting people know about the shows by word of mouth, which was difficult!
9. Did you ever feel under-appreciated in the metal scene for your efforts to keep the underground alive?
No, not at all! There was a loyal/steady fan base that came to my shows, and all of the bands that I worked with were extremely appreciative and great to work with. All in all I am very proud of all of the shows that I booked, and I canıt wait to continue!!
10. What does Anita do for fun? What things do you enjoy aside from listening to metal music?
Going out to clubs/shows, shopping, sleeping (thatıs my favorite thing to do. haha)
11. Any last words?
Thank you Elena for the interview! You rule!! And Please keep checking www.somberlain.com for updates on a new venue!
P.O. Box 1040
Long Island City, N.Y. 11101