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The Missing

Interview by Lucifera

1. How would you define the missing:? How did the band get started and when did you decide that you wanted to play heavier music?
The band is defined as fierce, female-fronted metal, and I think that's accurate. I first started in 1994 with two other guys. After a year, it became apparent that they were going lighter in sound and I was going heavier. I wanted to play psychotic, dark metal and industrial, and they wanted to play Smiths covers. They told me I screamed too much. It was pretty funny.

2. Why did you choose this name for the band? Why have you spelled it in this manner?
The name originally comes from the song by Ministry, because I really like them. But I added the colon at the end and changed it to all lowercase letters for my brother. He had served in the Gulf War and there were some tense moments when we weren't sure he would come home. So the name became like a list; something unfinished, like "among the missing:..."

3. How does it feel to have you music played on regular rotation on 89.5 WSOU? That metal radio station from NJ has been around for many years. Who do you know at the station?
They've been playing us in regular rotation since 1995, and it feels great. The first time it happened, they played us in between Metallica and Pantera. I almost drove my car right off the road I was so excited! We don't know anyone there personally, although we've been interviewed there a few times and played some shows for them, so we've met some of the DJs.

4. the missing: won several awards. Care to tell us how this all happened? Do you plan to go out and get all these awards? lol
You mean like the Horror Site Award? Yeah, it's always fun to be appreciated by the Horror scene, especially since I'm such a big fan and all. Technically, we don't get any physical award, but we do get lots of new listeners to the site, which (as far as I'm concerned) is the best prize! On the other hand, money wouldn't hurt either. ;)

5. How did you end up on Female Musician's compilation "Listen, Learn, and Groove"? Have you done any compilation albums recently?
The people at Female Musician found our site and asked us to be on it. That was a neat thing; those CDs were handed out at a big music conference here in NYC. What's funnier is that all the other bands on it are sort of Lilith Fair-ish, so it must've been quite a shock for anyone who wasn't prepared for our sound! We haven't done any compilations lately, although we were recently asked to be on one...we don't have the details on that yet.

6. What are your lyrics mainly about and who writes them? What's the favorite song among the group and why?
I write all the lyrics. I don't consider myself a poet or anything like that; I write bluntly but extremely honestly. And I need to feel connected to the song; I can't write about anything I don't have strong emotions for. So I basically put myself *in* the story of a song, so I can feel everything first and then write what I feel. For example, "Dying Room" is a true account of the orphanages in China. But in order to make the song work for me, and to make the lyrics work, I had to put myself there...standing in that horrible room, watching that little girl die. My favorite? Probably either "Dying Room," because I feel it's about something so important, or "Boogeyman," because it's about something that I simply cannot understand or tolerate...the unnecessary death of a child. And I think the lyrics turned out to be pretty effective in each of those.

7. Tell us what a typical day at a studio is for you?
Hmmm, lately a typical day is an audition!! We're going through some line-up changes at the moment.

8. Why do you have new members? What happened to the old ones?
Two members decided to leave music altogether. Which worked out well, since you really can't have a great band unless all the members are totally dedicated and working toward the same goal. I'm very excited to see how the new members will help our sound evolve.

9. You've played a few shows here and there. Which have been your favorite ones? And what has been your worst experience? Are there any bands you wish to play live with or any venues in NYC you haven't played yet?
Jeez, we've actually played a ton of shows, just none lately. Anyway, my favorite show was probably the one we played at Life. We had about 250 people there; the place was packed! We had strippers and everything...we even got paid! That never happens. My worst experience was probably the show at Meow Mix when I was really sick and lost my voice, right in the middle of the set. I was horrified! As for venues I'd like to play, I'd say Irving Plaza, Roseland, the Hammerstein Ballroom...and Madison Square Garden, of course! ;) If I could pick any band to play live with, it would be Tool.

10. What are some of your biggest musical influences? Did you train as a vocalist? Do you play any instruments?
My influences are kind of bizarre. Some you'd expect, like Tool and Nine Inch Nails. Some you'd never expect, like Weird Al and Stravinsky. But my biggest influence by far is Siouxsie and the Banshees. I decided to become a "singer" after hearing Siouxsie for the first time. She's amazing. I never trained as a vocalist -- can't you tell? ;) I guess you could say I'm self-taught. But I've been playing trombone since I was 7. I learned some piano in school, and I took up the bass about a year ago. I've played rhythm guitar in the band on rare occasion, although I really shouldn't. I also have a theremin that I haven't been able to spend much time with yet, but I'm dying to!

11. What do you think of the music scene in NYC? Good, bad, needs improvement?
Bad! I've never seen it so bad, in fact. The attitude of the crowds is just plain shitty. I think people are getting too used to the Internet, where the music just comes to them. Nobody wants to go out anymore and hear new stuff. They just want to hear the same shit they already have, and they only want to see bands they know or are popular. It's sad. I know lots of great bands who are being more or less ignored by the scene, and it's a damn shame.

12. What about your view on the rise of women in the metal scene? Do you feel women are starting to get more respect or do you feel it's something different?
Are you referring to the popularity of Kittie? Unfortunately, as far as respect goes, they didn't do much, mainly because people are still looking at them as a gimmick...the fact that they are four teenage girls is definitely their commercial selling point, even if their album is pretty good. But they have brought some much-needed attention to the fact that women can and do make heavy music. Now if only people would go out and read your magazine, they'd find lots of great female metal!

13. Are you into the industrial music scene or the S/M scene? The outfits you wear at your performances seem so industrial/S&M influenced.
Uh-oh, you caught me. Yes, I used to work as a dominatrix, and some of that "fashion sense" (if you could call it that!) sort of carried over into my stage wear. I love that whole dichotomy of the dominatrix look; it's sort of like those little poison dart frogs: they're so exotic and beautiful, but if you touch one, it will kill you. I also enjoy the post-apocalyptic Mad Max type of thing, so that's been a factor as well. And the band itself used to be much more on an industrial slant, but I found myself leaning more and more toward out-and-out metal. We still have industrial elements, like keyboard loops and samples, but we're a metal band, first and foremost.

14. The internet has become very useful to unsigned artists. How do you feel about Mp3 and your success at this site?
I think MP3 is a great way for unsigned bands to get their music out where people can actually find it! As for us, we've found a huge number of fans through MP3. And it certainly doesn't hurt that we're actually making money there, either.

15.How do you feel about Napster and the hell they've been put through? Would you say you are for or against what Napster is doing? Do you agree with them combining themselves to a big company and selling the music through subscriptions?
I whole-heartedly agree with Napster selling subscriptions. Really, this is what the music companies should have been doing on their own from day one! They were looking at the Internet as a threat, instead of what it really is: a tool. In fact, it's probably one of the best tools ever to promote their artists and to sell music. The labels are fighting a losing battle. Even if Napster loses this fight, the Internet will win the war. This is where the world is today: online. And whether the record companies like it or not, this is where people are going to be buying and listening to music. So they had better fucking wake up and catch up!!

16. Are there any female bands or artists in the underground you would recommend?
I'm really into a band right now called The Abuse from California. They're sort of like the Deftones crossed with the chick from Tura Satana. And of course, my personal favorite (and yours, too, I think?), Crisis. Damn it, when will they come back to NY?!!? If I could list some more, in no particular order: Tang, Volition, Binky, Mahavatar, Wench, God Among Men....I'm probably forgetting some, but I'm at work right now, it's four thirty in the morning and my brain is mush!

17. What other hobbies do you enjoy besides playing in the missing:? Any unusual hobbies? lol Did you see the movie "Quills"? What did you think about that movie?
No, I didn't see it but I wanted to. I don't have much free time for movies lately; I've been trying to teach myself HTML and stuff like that in the hopes that I can get our website looking a little more interesting. As for unusual hobbies, well, I like to travel around and visit cheesy roadside attractions, you know, like the world's largest wheel of cheese and the Tupperware museum and crazy shit like that. There's a book (and a website) called Roadside America, which is where I find most of these places. Also the Weird NJ magazine has some good listings. And I collect villains...anyone from traditional villains like Dracula, Darth Vader and Captain Hook to people vilified in our society like Ozzy Osbourne, Jerry Springer and the Spice Girls. I think that the bad guy is always what makes any story interesting. And so I like to have them hanging around.

18. Any last agonizing words?
GO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SCENE!!! There are some great bands out there! And I think you ladies kick ass. You're really working hard to expose more female-fronted metal, and I think that's great. Keep up the good work!