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DIABLA

Interview with Beathe of Diabla
by Lucifera Elena

Diabla is a Norwegian Hard Rock/ metal band with influences from the 80's music scene.They describe themselves as experimental and romantic metal with a twist. Beathe Sanden is intelligent and very outspoken.

1. Diabla is a band inspired by lots of different styles from punk to classic rock as well as hard rock and metal? For those who haven't heard Diabla, how would you describe your music to them?

It's hard rock with a certain twist to it....

I would like to say "melodic hard rock", but I can't, because we have a few aggressive songs that really scare away the AOR people. And people who are into extreme music, don't like the soft ones... And some of our weirder songs keep us from calling ourselves "classic hard rock" :) We don't care about that. We just write whatever we feel like, and throw in whatever we like. The scene is so divided nowadays, it's a shame. Although we are deeply rooted in classic hard rock, we don't think there should be as many strict rules and borders in music.

Some of our songs are radio friendly, but we don't do that on purpose. We just happen to love that style... But we won't sell our souls. Everything we do is honest. When it comes to doing whatever you feel like in music, I think we have a lot in common with The Darkness. They just do what they love, to the degree that people mistake them for being ironic.

People who like Diabla are often open-minded people who like different styles, but who are still not ashamed of listening to guitar-based, catchy rock, even when they are sober! This means: People who realize that the nineties were just a phase...

2. Beathe, what bands are you into? Are there any women in the metal scene or in other forms of music that have inspired your vocal style?

I dig Mötley Crüe, Ozzy, Depeche Mode, TNT, We (great Norwegian band!), the Darkness, Ratt, Malmsteen, Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, Sex Pistols... Too many to mention, really.

I listened a little to Lita Ford, Lee Aaron and Joan Jett, who I guess were role models, but they were not my biggest musical influences. Doro Pesch I never really liked, although I guess she is talented in her own way. Actually, I've mostly listened to male singers in hard rock/metal. My favorite bands were all male. But there are female singers in other genres that really blow me away, for example Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane, the legendary sixties heroes) and Cyndi Lauper (Eccentric singer/songwriter and pop-icon of the eighties).

3. I enjoyed the article on your website with a full explanation of the idea behind the band name. Diabla is spanish for female-devil and to you it means rebellion and the underdog of society. Did you guys thoroughly discuss this meaning before or after you decided on the band name?

It was discussed much later. As soon as the name was uttered, we knew it was the right one. Because to us the name is self-explanatory, but eventually we found out that we actually had to do some explaining. This was due to a lot of weird comments concerning the name... Then we started formulating all the thoughts that to us had been implicit.

4. Has the name of the band ever given you trouble at venues or with any groups seeing you as "satanic"?

Not at venues. But we always have to do a lot of explaining when promoting the band. Most bands with names like these nowadays are much more extreme. Some people have claimed we have a black metal image. This is not understandable to us. Yes, we wore mostly black clothes on the single cover. But when did you last see a black metal fan with lip gloss and leopard clothing effects???

5. I consider myself a satanist and your explanation did seem of interest because it isn't much like the definition I hold of Satanists. Whom I consider strong people that have decided on a different philosophical view of life. These "underdogs" that you considered have been wronged, do you feel they are strong survivors or just victims?

I dont' think I have labelled all satanists, and I am aware of the fact that there are many types of Satanism. It's problematic, but not necessarily wrong. The extreme metal scene as a concept is another thing...

Many of the internationally respected Norwegian black metal bands were once young men hanging out at a place called "Elm Street Rock Café" In Oslo. Their childish ways and their kind of devil-worshipping seemed ridiculous to me, and now it has become a trend.

Some examples: "Kill the Christians" lyrics (And yes, some people are still serious about it. I met one just the other day...) I think it's childish and totally unconstructive.

Mixing in old Norse religion and nazism with Satanism, for no other reason than promoting hate, and failing to realize that Satanism is closely linked with Christianity and its symbols. Norse religion, however, has nothing to do with Satanism. Most of these "boys", as I like calling them, did not know where their beliefs came from, and were just as naive as many Christians are. Church burning. The churches in Norway are actually 1000 year old cultural treasures, although one may not like Christianity or religion as such. It wasn't cool. It wasn't justified rebellion. Just pure, silly vandalism.

One of the before-mentioned guys used to brag about picking up the pieces of his friend's skull after he shot himself. He used one of the pieces as an earring. They also had many other sick ideals. A lot of the people hanging around these freaks actually looked up to them. (And still do.)

Now, some of these young men have grown up, and refuse to deal with the hate they have been spreading. They say it wasn't meant that way, and so on. They say they have started writing more intelligent lyrics, blah, blah. But a whole generation have actually swallowed these esthetics, and I think its a shame. During the last fifteen years, everything has gotten either cold, dark, or blood-dripping and sooooooooo evil.

Everything is even more cliche than the eighties hair-metal scene was, but they're actually getting away with it. (The eighties scene didn't get away with it, and was ridiculed throughout the nineties.) Wear a cheap black or darkred velour dress or armoured leather boots and a heavy upside-down cross around your neck, and you're in. Wear black and white make up in order to look like a corpse. Look grim and hate everyone. Knock someone down for no apparent reason, just to be evil. This is not predjudice. I see it everyday.

Mixing old norse language, Norwegian and English isn't always successful when you actually got a D in these subjects at school. Trying to sound evil when the grammar is wrong is just.......pathetic. Gloryfying strong people, hating the weak. That's fascism!

Claiming that all religious people are weak. That's absurd, because I don't really think Jesus was a weak person. Neither was Gandhi, and he was also highly religious. All this sums up to a really kitchy soup to me, and also a negative one.

So it's actually extreme (black?) metal and what it has done to the 'Devil' concept and the rock scene that annoys us. I dare not criticize you for being a Satanist. I don't know what you actually mean by Satanism, so it could mean a lot. It could mean that you don't believe in turning the other cheek, for example. It could mean justifying revenge in some cases. Believing in your own power and dignity, for example. In that case I agree with you. But if it means legitimizing evil, stigmatizing or hurting others, I don't.

I love Lucifer as a symbol, but am I a Satanist? I don't know. I certainly don't hate religion as long as it's not fundamentalistic and being forced upon me, and I also consider Lucifer a religious symbol.

6. Beathe, are these "Women, especially feminists and other women who refuse to accept gender rules" an inspirational part ot your lyrics. Would you say your lyrics are more serious or more fun?

Both! I write whatever I'm in the mood for. Some of our more aggressive songs are feministic, and quite angry. One ("Manifesto") is about women having children just to have them, realizing they've wasted their youth at 40 because they actually should have done something else. (Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not saying children are bad creatures.) Another song is named "Pamela", and is quite humoristically aimed at the silicone industry. "Small Talk" mentions prostitution...

I also think my fun and romantic lyrics serve the feministic agenda, because some of them are quite sex-oriented, and portray men as sexual objects. In a respectful way, of course, haha. The world needs raunchy lyrics written by women!

7. What is your opinion of women in the metal scene? Do you see any changes for the better in relation to the scene and towards female musicians?

My opinion... I have a thing for Arch Enemy, although it's not my favorite style. That girl singer really rocks. The problem with rock and metal, is that it was invented by men. The electric guitar looks sexy on a guy, but on a girl? I don't know. And the frets are so large... I have too small fingers... Girls have to do their own thing. Invent their own ideals and images. Buy smaller guitars, or whatever. Allow themselves to be girlie if they want to. You can actually be tough, respected and feminine at the same time. Just don't let anyone bully you because you're a cute little girl. Girls shouldn't need to try so hard. They are good enough as they are. As girls. And they should use their personalities to their advantage. Gwen Stefani (No Doubt) is cool, but I guess it's not metal...

I don't think it's gotten better, but it hasn't gotten worse either. Female metal singers should portray themselves more as songwriters if they actually do write songs. That gets you respected. And female instrumentalists should just strive to be themselves, and try a little less to look macho. Female toughness must come natural. You can't be tough as a woman if you're trying to be a guy. Does that make sense???

8. How did someone decide that you guys were inspired by Blondie? Although Blondie was great. How did this comparison come up? How do you feel about being compared to Lita Ford?

HAHA. A lot of people came up to us after gigs when I was a blonde, telling us "you must be inspired by Blondie". Eventually it just got annoying or maybe amusing, 'cause everyone can hear that there are no Blondie-influences in our music. So we added this "statement" to the webpage for fun. After I dyed my hair black, however, nobody's said it. So I guess a lot of people can't tell the difference between hair style and music style.... And yes, Blondie was a very important and influential band. We just got tired of hearing it, that's all.

Lita Ford is.... OK! She's really funny when she uses that overdone and sexy singing style. It's really unique to her, and I don't think anyone instructed her... I think some of her songs are a little boring, but she was an important role model in her time, I guess. Being compared to her doesn't bother me at all.

9. Diabla's promo single "Small Talk/I'm the Snake" came out in October 2003. What kind of response have you gotten for this promo?

All kinds of responses. "Small Talk" is quite aggressive and influenced a.o. by punk. The other song, "I'm the Snake", is me talking about a strange seductive guy, and it gets kind of romantic, I guess. Naturally, people have different opinions about the songs. "Simple" people tend to like just one of the songs, according to their musical tastes. Others grasp the concept, and we have had lots of positive feedback. We've gotten mostly good reviews, and a few weeks ago we played on national TV here in Norway. We're also contributing to a KISS Tribute album with the song "Uh! All Night" which will be released by VME and KISS Army Norway next year. But STILL no real record deal... Record companies tend to want either pop music or eh... "dark-metal". No in-betweens... They want something they can put in a niche, because it's easier to sell, so I guess they haven't gotten it yet. ;)

And when can fans of your music expect a full length album?

Some time this year. I dare not be more specific...

We have actually started recording a full length album. But it's going to take time... Two of the songs are almost finished, and the rest will be recorded as soon as our wallets allow it. We are an unsigned band, you know...

Why is there no band discography on your website? Could you tell our readers what else you have available in way of music and merchandise?

There actually is a discography on the website but you have to look for it under "See/Listen/Read" then "Music".

10. What would be some of the ideal bands you would like to tour with in the future? What bands have you played for that you had the best time with?

It would be a dream come true to tour with Ozzy, TNT or the Darkness. It would also have been cool to go on the road with We!

Diabla had a great time playing with TNT last year. I've always dug them. It was such an honor to open for them. Most of the guys were really great, especially the singer, Tony Harnell, who I've always looked up to. He was actually a nice person who took the time to talk with me. We've also opened for Stage Dolls, a famous AOR band here in Norway, at a fairly large stage, and that was great too.

11. What else do the band members like to do when they aren't working on Diabla?

I like to party and work out.
Morten just likes to party.
Tarald just likes to work out.
And Kjell just plays guitar, drinks beer and watches ghost movies, haha.

Seriously: I guess we're just as varied as our music. We like discussing politics, culture, religion (I've studied the last two) and so on, but ever so often we just chill out like normal rockers... To quote my favorite band of all times, Mötley Crüe: "Sometimes maybe I drink too much, but my heart's still in touch"...

12. Any last words?

I miss the old days when it was possible to be just a rocker. Now you're either into this kind of rock or that kind of metal. I miss joy, sorrow, love, hate, romance and anger all mixed together. Because that's what life's about. They're all a part of life's experiences. And this is what Diabla have to deal with, like anyone else. Which explains why it's possible to have a punk rocker and a melodic dreamer on the same single! Please visit our website at www.diabla.no ! Thanks a lot!
contact: diabla@diabla.no

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