Another Dying Democracyinterview by Lucifera
Their tough, humorous, intelligent and talented...here's the all female-metal/punk/sludge aggression, Another Dying Democracy.
1. kT, what have you and the gals from another dying democracy been up to?
kT: We are working on our new album and playing a lot of shows.
Teresa: Just playing out a lot and trying to get as tight as possible. We are also working on a new song. I'm really happy about this song because it's the first where I get to put my input in from the start.
2. I noticed that you have a new bass player, Teresa. Has it been difficult keeping members for an all girl death metal punk band in NY?
kT: Yes. It's difficult to keep members in a band because there are other life opportunities that come up and you just can't pass them up. So sometimes the band just has to come second, third or not at all. The ladies that have left this band have pursued other dreams, and replacing them is a gamble because we don't know if they intend to stay committed or treat A.D.D. like another passing phase in their life.
Yvette: Apparently, yeah.
Jess: Well, technically, I'm the only original member left.
Gigi: Not really, at least since I've joined. Some people just have to take care of their own life obstacle.
3. Who are the rest of the members of your band? And who has helped ADD out along the way?
kT: Jess is the original guitarist and Yvette plays along side with her, Teresa is not at all shy about playing the bass, and Gigi, "she bangs, she bangs..." A.D.D. is D.I.Y. baby!! We've done everything ourselves, but we've had a lot of help from friends.
Yvette: The big guy upstairs; Bush....
Gigi: Everyone that has ever saw us play, bought a CD or shirt, signed our guest book, seen our site, booked us at a show, said we rocked or stunk. All that sort of thing makes us stronger and keeps us going.
Jess: And the other kick ass bands who played with us and brought out their people.
4. Do you think NY is a great place to start if you want to be recognized as a musician? Are all of you originally from NY? What area?
kT: I'm originally from Virginia Beach, and I got into hardcore, metal and punk in the very small town of Lake Placid, NY. Now that I live in NYC, I found that it's easy to get into a band and make that attempt to get recognized. However, NY is choking with musicians, so there is no saying if you'll be successful or not.
Yvette: probably not. Kind of...
Jess: There are a lot of different scenes and styles of music, places to play and contacts, but we've played awesome shows in other places, small towns especially. We've been down the east coast twice and went out to North Dakota and Minneapolis. I mostly grew up in Westchester County (Peekskill and Mt. Kisco) but I lived in Florida when I was really little.
Gigi: NY being one of the most closed-minded and overpopulated places in the world. If we can grab attention here, anywhere else should be a piece of cake. I'm originally from New York (Bronx, Baby.)
Teresa: I think NY is the best and worst place to be a musician. It's good because you have a lot of resources at your fingertips and there are plenty or great places to play out, however, it's bad because it is a place that can easily distract you...to many musicians and usually everyone wants to be the leader. In smaller towns where there are as many musicians you are forced to play with people and get along.
5. Tells us why you chose to call the band Another Dying Democracy? Tell us a little of the history behind your band. How did you meet your band members?
Gigi: The name spawned from A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder.) Mmmmmmm. I forgot. Oh yeah, Sick of the Abuse got sick. Jess from ABC No Rio, during the Proof of Purchase era of my life. Yvette in an audition for A.D.D. kT at practice. Teresa at hardcore shows, we also played in a band called Face the Truth, an NYC based hardcore beatdown band. They're still rockin' without us, check them out. Jess: Yeah, I was real sick of the old name, some of us liked very short names and some of us liked very long names. Somebody came up with ADD, and we thought, oh it can stand for something else. It was really Nico, our old singer, who came up with Another Dying Democracy. I think it works both ways, they relate to each other, compatible epidemics....Democracies die all the time, in small groups of people or in nations. It's definitely debatable, whether the US was ever truly a democracy, but like when Bush got voted in on a hummer or the Patriot Act got passed, I said, oh, there goes another dying democracy. Just something to think about. Cause we're so deep. Me and a girl named Robyn from this punk band the Lizzies started Sick of the Abuse back in 2000. I kinda knew kT from us being messengers but actually Robyn heard of her wanting to sing for us. I had seen Gigi play at ABC No Rio with Proof of Purchase, and when we needed a new drummer, and I found out she was open to playing with other bands, I called her. Well, I really met Gigi outside the Smoky Tooth in Yonkers, before she started POP, when she was like, 17, and I was playing in a band called Evacuate. But I don't know if she remembers that.
Teresa: I met the band about a year and a half ago, through Gigi, she and I played in a hardcore band called Face the Truth, while she was playing with A.D.D. Before then I just knew her from going to shows and seeing her play. Then last September, Gigi called me and told me they needed a new bassist, I was very nervous and excited.
6. How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it yet? And what bands would you say inspired your sound?
kT: Death Core, Metal and MORE!!! My first inspirations were old skool new york hardcore bands like Madball, Blood for Blood., and Sheer Terror. From there I started listening to a lot of crust punk, death metal and much more. But I always liked the yelling, growling and screaming aspects of these bands, and I had no problem singing along at the top of my lungs.
Teresa: I usually tell them death metal with a mix of punk and hardcore and that we are really fucking loud.....it's hard to pin us in one genre because all the songs have different styles combined in them. I can't speak for what inspires the band's sound but I can speak for me. I love heavy melodic stuff with a lot of rhythm....bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Isis to name a few really inspire my playing.
Yvette: That's funny, I'm always incapable of describing ourselves to somebody who asks. Bands:...well I think we can all agree on Prince, Wham.
Jess: Don't get kT started on Prince. Me and Robyn used to play Prince on tour, and we used to drive kT nuts. Yeah, I like that it's hard to describe our sound. I guess that means at least we think we're original, or that we don't quite fit in. We're kind of a mix of classic metal, death metal, hardcore punk, crust punk, NYHC, and then we have those weird exotic lounge parts. I always pride myself on my eclectic tastes, I went to music school... Gigi: I'd just say, come and see it. It's beautiful, hard, sick, and ear-friendly. Horror film soundtracks...
7. Any plans to release something other than just the three song CD?
Gigi: Working on the full-length, as I write this down. Woo-hoo. Should be out soon. So gather up your change boys and gurls, we need some gas money. Teresa: When I joined they were working on a full length recording which I think is almost finished. I'm really excited when we have enough new material so I can do my first recording with them.
8. Tell us about the lyrics and the music behind "High Life," "Ghosts of the Underdogs," and "6th Mass Extinction." What was your goal when writing these?
kT: The lyrics to "High Life" reflect on the general outrage of the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws. The criminalization of marijuana smokers is far too severe, and I don't support the war on drugs because innocent people are getting locked up! "6th Mass Extinction" is based on the theory that mankind is technologically advancing into it's own destruction. As of now, there have already been five major extinctions, and we may be the sixth.
Jess: Well I guess I had a lot to do with the melody and structure of each of those songs, I just try to write what's in my black little heart. The beginning of "6th Mass Extinction" is a tribute to Bach's "Air on a G-string"-stop laughing gigi... or rather, a tribute to the version of it as it's played in Abel Ferrara's Driller Killer. You probably won't notice though, I try not to rip anybody off that obviously. I wrote the lyrics to Ghosts of the Underdogs: it's a song about the have-nots, you know, the poor people, struggling to get by, people who work in dangerous conditions, like bike messengers or sex workers who are condemned by the majority and even criminalized, when they're really part of a huge business which the ruling class is constantly taking part in and even profiting from like drugs; and then people who for whatever reason can't fit in to our economic system at all, and suffer and die because of it.
Gigi: Music-writing: whatever rhythmic pattern or melody that gets thrown at me. I try to complement and make as fun to play as possible. I think we kinda just feel each other out and complement whatever the other is playing as best as possible, to create new ear candy- as for lyrics I don't know them so I'm out on that one.
9. What other activities do you have outside of the band?
kT: Bike mechanics, playing the banjo, brewing beer, Wing Chun street combat, drinking with the punks!, gardening at ABC No Rio, lots of reading, watching dating shows and laughing at my cats.
Yvette: Humping roadkill...photography.
Jess: I have a little girl and a man to take care of, and the band is my only other great love. I volunteer in the zine library at ABC No Rio, and I work part time, in an office....I also like to hump roadkill.
Gigi: DRUMMING. That's all I want to do. Step 2 Far, a New York old skool hardcore punk band and Johnny Cage is a Fake, which is an aggressive odd-timing syncopated style of metal. Oh and Ink Stop Tattoos-my work. Anyone want a tattoo-I don't do them but I'll set you up for an appointment. I also just spend my downtime walking everywhere I can, enjoying the company of my significant other, Josh.
Teresa: I snowboard, amateur web and graphic designer, play in another band called Big Genius.
10. Who put together your website? And who did the art for the cover of your demo?
Gigi: Josh and I put together the layout for the demo: G3Slamm (hehehe.) The cover zombie was drawn by Matt [friend of kT].
Jess: This girl who was a friend of our old bass player originally started the website, but she dropped out and I took it over, although I didn't know anything about HTML and learned on an online tutorial- but now we have Teresa, who actually knows what she's doing, so now she's taking over, and a new and improved website will be up soon!
kT: Yea, my friend Matt drew the cover, and if you like his work you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support the starving artists of NYC!!
11. Sometimes people think that women use effects on their vocals. Is that the case with A.D.D? And what do you think of such an assumption? Would you use effects?
kT: I think that the pioneering women of metal and all their followers will kill that assumption. If it is such a shock to see a woman up front now taking her voice to different levels, than wait until it becomes common! Many women will step up to the plate, screaming with talent, never to be ignored! I wouldn't mind using certain effects for particular songs, just to help make a point. Like when the zombie wants to eat your brain, and the victim screams in pain. Braaaaaaaaains!! Aaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!
Gigi: Everyone uses effects in recordings, how else you gonna get people to hear it? Once you run through a noisegate, -that's an effect. For live situations as well when you hear reverb. Not only women do it. R Kelly auto tune up the ass. Technically when recording or even playing live, everything is being put through an effect, whether it be noisegate, compressors, and blah blah.....I guess people who aren't into the recording or mixing aspect of music won't know that. Effects aren't a bad thing, that's how you get your own sound, whether it's the kind of microphone you use, or the kind of guitar/bass rig you use.
Jess: Right, and there is very little of that on kT's voice in the recording. As for live, there is nothing on her voice, no octaves, distortion or any of those "FX", not even reverb, usually....just ask her to do an a-cappella for you, her voice is really that low, she sounds like a freak. I never even heard that stuff about women's voices before. I think maybe Gigi was already making this point, that if it sounds good, than who gives a shit?
Teresa: I think the assumption is that most women's voices can't do heavy growling or screaming. And to a degree it's true, but that can also be said for some men vocalist. I've heard horrible male screamers that need effects to make them sound better. I remember after the first time I heard the EP I was like damn is this the same girl I saw playing with you guys. No one I have played the CD for believes kT is a girl....after my first practice I heard for my own ears that this girl is no joke. To me good growling and screaming is just like singing, it's a talent....girl or guy, you either have it or you don't.
12. Gigi was also in the hardcore band Proof of Purchase. What kind of qualities do you feel she brings to your musical style.
Jess: Well, she definitely brought NYHC, breakdown-style flavor to what was basically a classic metal crust band. In fact, we have a few of those fast syncopated 1-2 beats which, whereas before Gigi, they were more crust, and she made them more upbeat, and tighter. She's also very innovative and capable of any kind of polyrhythmic combination you can think of. Plus she's fucking tough...
Teresa: I love her playing style it's really rhythmic and fluid, she makes playing with her easy because she is so on point. I think part of the uniqueness of our sound is because she is so rhythmic yet very heavy. Most metal doesn't have a lot of melody; I think her hardcore background plays a big part in our sound. Plus she isn't just a drummer she is an all around musician, she has great ears.
13. Do you see a difference in the amount of women in the metal scene compared to when you started listening to metal?
kT: I don't remember seeing much women at shows back in the mid-90s. In Virginia Beach, it was discouraging because most of the women I met at shows, weren't into metal at all. They were there for reasons other than the music. Now, I've met incredible women who put their heart into the scene, and into their music. I've seen more and more women performing at shows, however, I still don't see much difference in the amount of women at the shows. Maybe we'll help change that! Yvette: Not really.
Gigi: Definitely. Some girls are still retarded or feel ballsy, but I know they just want a hug. It's nice to see girls enjoying a meaty kinda sport. Whether they were not into it and now are, or it was the only thing they knew, it doesn't make a difference. Guys beat each other up for us harder.
Jess: I was never a part of the metal scene. But I've been to metal, hardcore, punk and rock shows and in every case, the more women playing in bands, the more women are actively involved at the shows, dancing, singing along, standing in front, working the shows and booking the shows. I'm not saying girls don't get into guy bands, of course we do, but I think to see girls playing is more inviting for other girls. It will be cool when it's not a novelty anymore.
Teresa: I started listening to metal and rock in general when I was 13. I don't recall any women metal musicians...especially singers. Now I see a lot more women taking the reigns in aggressive music. I really like that it's not seen to be so much of a novelty anymore. Aggressive rock has always been more of a boys club maybe because it doesn't usually appeal to a lot of women....but that has definitely changed...when you go to shows and see large numbers of girls kicking ass in the pit even that shows times have changed.
14. You also book shows. Do you only book shows for A.D.D., or is this something you do for other bands as well?
kT: My experiences booking shows for A.D.D. enables me to book shows for other bands as well., however, we are busy and my schedule outside of the band is busy, so that deters my will to book shows that we are not involved in. A lot of time and effort goes into booking a show. It's not fair to your bandmates and other touring bands to do a half-assed job.
Gigi: I try to hook up who I can. As far as A.D.D., kT takes care of most of our bookings, and does a damn good job at it.
15. What are your goals for Another Dying Democracy?
kT: World Tour Gigi: Having a good time with the girls and creating more "EAR CANDY".
Jess: Definitely...do some traveling, and make some great records, something for the grandkids to enjoy...
Teresa: I'd like to see us take this as far as we can...hopefully we can make this a full time gig. I think the talent and motivation is there, all we need is to keep playing and looking out for positive opportunities.
16. Any last words?
kT: Yea, I'd like to quote the band, Against Me! "We want a band that plays loud and hard every night. That doesn't care how many people are counted at the door. That would travel one million miles and ask for nothing but a plate of food and a place to rest. They strike chords that cut like a knife.....our arenas just basements and bookstores across an underground amerika...let's make everybody sing that they are the beginning and ending of everything. That we are all stronger than anything they taught us that we should fear."
Gigi: Thank you for the interview, you ROCK!!
Jess: But I'm not dying yet.