Monday, March 11, 2019

Interview with performer LADY ZOMBIE by Dave Wolff

Interview with LADY ZOMBIE

Having lived in New York City your entire life, you are part of the Lower East Side’s subculture. How long have you been involved in it and how has it benefitted you?
It has been nearly twenty years, and my community is everything. I live to entertain and empower denizens of the subculture. I have performed on some of the most thrilling stages of New York City, from Irving Plaza and the Highline Ballroom, to Otto’s Shrunken Head and Drom. I have been served by the most admirable submissives a Domina could ever ask for (demand). I have written music to inspire another generation of young Goths. My greatest love affair is that which I have with the scene. I wouldn’t trade it, or my experiences, for anything.

Does LES subculture receive more mainstream attention today compared to when you started? If so, is the exposure beneficial?
You still see the occasional digital news outlet interviewing someone from the community every so often. I think it's excellent as a means of reaching people who want to be part of the community, but didn't know how or didn't know that there was a place for them. However, most vanilla people will just poke fun or pass judgement on us. They don't understand. But, that's OK. It's part of what makes this a subculture, isn't it?

Name some of the magazines and digital publications that recently covered NYC subculture. How many publications do you read on a regular basis and what do you get from them?
I haven't seen anything recently specific to the New York scene, outside of publications for our own, by our own. At this point, my consumption is almost purely digital. I follow what Autoeroticasphyium puts out, and I also read Gothic Beauty, Sanctuary Magazine, Kink Queens, etc.

Why did you devote your life to LES subculture? What first attracted you to it?
When you're a teenager in New York City, things are hard enough. You're trying to figure out who you are. You're inundated with culture, music, fashion, and people from all walks of life. When I was a freshman in high school, I decided I wanted to be a Dominatrix for Halloween. I picked up a cheap whip at Halloween Adventure, threw on some black boots, a black mini skirt, a metal studded top, and some red lipstick - and the rest is history.

What made you become a dominatrix professionally after that Halloween? How does the profession help define you?
I've been hyper aware of sexuality and fetishism since my teens. When I began to explore the BDSM culture, I realized how much sense everything seemed to make. Power exchange, consent, respect... I researched everything and anything I could get my hands on. It was the early days of the web, and information was becoming more readily accessible. I was modeling a lot in my early 20s, and a foot fetish website, BuyMySocks, contacted me to collaborate. The first sessions I ever did were foot worship scenarios, and they came through that site. Over time, after training with respected Mistresses in dungeons around the city, I went into business on my own. I love to assert control. I love to be honored through a human being's submission, and to urge them to explore the depths of their kinks with me. Being a dominatrix is the most natural thing in the world for me, because I am not portraying a character. In those moments, I am more myself than ever.

Who in the city were you training to become a Dominatrix with, and where? How much were they helping you develop your “in character” personality?
My mentors were Mistress Maliice and Lady Jessica Sovereign. I never worked for a dungeon, only rented space from them, so my training occurred in different locales around the city. While they were both incredibly helpful with everything from tools of the trade to fashion advice, my Domme Persona is mine exclusively. We are all unique in how we present our Dominas.

How many changes have you personally seen happen in New York since you got involved in the scene?
The scene has really lost a lot of our trademark venues due to the rising real estate costs in the city, and we've also lost so many incredible people. But, that being said, there are many of us from the old school that are still here, and when we're all together it's pure magic. This past Halloween, the Pyramid was full of old school scene people, and we were all dancing together. It made my black little heart sing with joy.

I haven’t been to the Pyramid in a long time; I used to go a lot and I have to confess I miss it. What is the scene there like these days?
The Pyramid is one of my favorite places in NYC. Maria Narciso, the manager/owner, is one of the kindest, dedicated people in the scene. It's all about the music. VNV Nation held their official after party there back in November, which was awesome. We recently celebrated my best friend's birthday there. There are often goth/post-punk events taking place, too. The lighting has been redone, the basement was remodeled. It's beautiful.

What Pyramid-held events held have you attended lately? How long have you been acquainted with Maria Narciso, and how dedicated has she remained to LES subculture?
I go to the Pyramid spontaneously whenever I just need to dance! Recently, I attended Madonnathon, their 80’s Christmas Dance Party, and I was in there on Halloween, too. Maria and I have gotten close over the past year, I'd say, and she's fantastic. She supports the subculture in general. 
Otto’s Shrunken Head is another club I haven’t been to in some time. What events have they been holding there? Are you familiar with the club Arlene’s Grocery? Have you performed there or attended as an audience member?
I'm a regular at Dark Water Tuesday, Father Vincent's long running weekly gothic party. They have something going on almost every day of the week at Otto's. I love Arlene's Grocery, but I have only ever been there as a patron. It has honestly been a long time. 
In the early 2000s you attended the Talent Unlimited High School for The Performing Arts in New York City. Describe your experiences and how valuable you consider your education there.
When I look back at my time in high school, it's with a mix of nostalgia and bitterness. The school itself was amazing. I was in the vocal music program, and through that, I had the opportunity to sing with Whitney Houston at Lincoln Center with the jazz choir. I still love music so much, and continue to record and put out art with Deviant Trust, my band with DJ Amazin' A. Some of the friendships that I forged while at TU still burn strong to this day.

Tell the readers what Kink N Draw is, your involvement with them and how many events they have hosted. What events are coming up for this group in the near future?
I have been hosting Kink ‘n’ Draw since the fall of 2017, and it has been a wild ride! We do one event monthly, usually the second Tuesday of the month. In March, it’ll be on the 19th. Kink ‘n’ Draw is a drink and draw that features monthly themes and a BDSM overall flair! Costumed models are posed in S&M inspired tableaus, and artists sketch them! It’s a lot of fun and very casual, almost like a munch or meetup.

How long have you and DJ Amazin’ A been recording and releasing material as Deviant Trust? Does the band consist only of you two or are you also working with other musicians?
DJ Amazin' A and I have been making music together for eleven years - since 2008! The band is technically just the two of us, but we have partnered with other musicians on various tracks over the years, too. In 2017, we released our music video "Something Animal" at a big party in Brooklyn at a venue called Colony 274.

How many full length releases has Deviant Trust released in the last eleven years? Are they available on CD format or streamed online or both?
Deviant Trust only released one full length album, Erotic Damnation, through individual track releases are available via streaming. You can check out some of our music on Reverbnation! 
How much input do you and DJ Amazin’ A usually have into song and lyric writing? How are your tastes in music combined into your sound and how much originality results from it?
I'm solely responsible for our lyrics, although Amazin' A would overlay some repping onto the tracks from time to time, which he would create himself. I would often come to the table with lyrics, and he would build out the music around those and the melodies that I had in my head. Other times, he'd lay a complete track, and I'd create the lyrics and vocal arrangement to fit with it.

What songs did you write for Erotic Damnation and what were they written about? Did you record and release the album independently or did you record in a studio and release it through an indie label?
I wrote all the lyrics for Erotic Damnation. My songs are mostly about sex, feminine empowerment, vengeance, seduction, and BDSM. We recorded the album independently, in DJ Amazin’ A’s studio, where he mixed and remastered the entire thing himself. We released it independently, in pieces. We still have some unreleased tracks, but we’ve performed some of those songs live.

Were physical CD copies of Erotic Damnation made available upon its release? How many hits have your songs gotten since they were uploaded to Reverbnation?
We made a few demo CDs around 2010/2011 that featured Provocation, Derogative, and a remix. We passed them out for free at shows. Not sure about streaming amounts, but we have amassed over 10,000 listeners on Reverbnation.

To your knowledge were any Deviant Trust demos reviewed in the local press? Were the reviews mostly favorable?
No, not officially, but the feedback that we have gotten from friends and fans is always positive.

Who has the band collaborated with in their time, and how many friendships have you made through the band?
We have collaborated with several talented musicians, including Suicide Gus (guitars, keys, vox, lyrics), Jelly Brain (bass, lyrics), Ali Fangsmith (sound effects, music video cameo), and more. We have also collaborated with models, dancers, and venues. Over the past decade, many friendships have bloomed out of our work with Deviant Trust.

How many shows has the band played in New York? Who are some of the dancers and models you have collaborated with?
I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many gigs we have played together since 2008, but it numbers in the dozens. We have collaborated with performers including: Vixen Scar, Miss Tess, Miss Jerii, Honi Harlow, Master Casanova, Pete D., and many more.

What is the most recent release from Deviant Trust? In how many different formats is it available at the time of this writing?
The last track we worked on was called Elemental. We didn't release it digitally, although we had a "soft" release in a live performance. It's on the top of the list for the next music video that we'd like to produce. I wrote it for my best friend, Mistress La Morta.

What sort of a dedication was Elemental to Mistress La Morta? Where can this song be streamed online?
Mistress La Morta is not only my best friend, but a huge inspiration to me as a woman, a mother, a witch, and a dominatrix. Elemental is a song about the natural and goddess-like powers of a woman (her, in this case), and how the woman cannot be caged, or tamed, by anyone. It is not currently available for streaming, as it is undergoing a remix before we set to work on the production of a music video for it. We will be producing our upcoming video independently.

Are any Deviant Trust performances posted at Youtube where people can view them? Will any new material be released soon?
I solo performed several Deviant Trust songs at the Knitting Factory. Here’s the footage from the event.

In what events in NYC has the band recently participated? How were the turnouts and publicity for said events? Would you want the band to perform out of state at some point?
DJ Amazin’ A and I have done so many gigs together over the years. It sort of all bleeds together. We’d love to perform outside of the NYC area.

How would you like to be remembered for your contributions to New York subculture?
I think I’d like to be remembered as someone who was able to unite people from many different subculture communities and give them a home, a place to be themselves and feel loved for all of their beautiful eccentricities.

-Dave Wolff

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