Interview with Lori Bravo of Nuclear Death, Lori Bravo and Lori Bravo Raped by Dave Wolff part 2
My lyrics basically became more sexualized. When I formed Raped out of Nuclear Death with Jessie and that started happening, I was writing from personal experience. I wrote “Deadly Beauty
” about being raped by this gorgeous guy at a club. I also wrote “Sexless” about the dude I knew and his girlfriend; he date raped me while I was passed out drunk in his house. I just started writing about my experiences. I was listening to a lot of Hole, Babes in Toyland and Bikini Kill. Hole and Babes in Toyland were the big ones. And Nirvana. I was really trying to get in touch with that other side of me that I was hiding, which was my sexuality and being open about being a woman. Maybe even singing to women. I’d never done that. Tori Amos has always sung to women, Kathleen Hanna has always sung to women. I never thought of singing to women. Mainly I sing to myself.
With Nuclear Death I never thought of singing to women or men. Nuclear Death was acting but with my solo work it’s not acting; I’m telling you the truth about what’s going on. And as I became a better writer, I told more of the truth. And there are some stories like “Desolation Springs”; I was listening to a lot of Patti Smith at the time, I got inspired and that song wasn’t very autobiographical. But there are a lot of autobiographical shit. [Album] “I’d Marry the Devil
” is autobiographical, about me being in love with my gay friend basically. Which is weird because we’re eighteen years apart but we have a love of mind. I didn’t know that was normal and neither did he; we didn’t know that it was normal for a straight woman to fall in love with a gay friend. On “I’d Marry the Devil” he even plays the devil on the album cover; I had him dress up as the devil. I wanted him to look like a version of the devil at the Crossroads; the devil in a white suit who hands me a guitar and I became a virtuoso.
I got in touch with my other side which is all about the devil [shows me tattoos on both forearms]. These are in honor of my father because he had a devil and a snake, he also had the flag of Mexico which I’m getting for Christmas this year here in New Orleans. My dad had an obsession with the devil and so do I. It wasn’t like he was a Satanist; he just had an obsession with the devil: devil faces and devil heads, devilish things. I’ve always been fascinated with the story of the Crossroads. Even though it’s supposed to be Robert Johnson it’s actually Skip James. They just nicked his story and gave it to Robert Johnson because he was more famous and they were trying to sell records. Regardless, it’s a story where you sell your soul. To feminize that, one of the themes of Lori Bravo is the Crossroads. I feminize it; because I’m a woman he’d ask me to marry him. If I married him which would be basically giving up my soul and he gives me everything. My idea was feminizing the person at the Crossroads.
“Bare Bones” is the best music I’ve ever written in my opinion, and the best lyrics I’ve ever written in my life. That and “Songs of Silent Reflux” were written in my studio. The kind of lyricist I am now and the way I want to challenge myself lyrically, vocally, musically and production wise, the way I want things to sound, the kind of feel I want… all that comes with experience. My main thing is to be truthful to myself because this is my therapy, this is how I get up in the morning and don’t want to shoot myself in the head. This is why I don’t want to jump off a bridge into the Mississippi River; this is how I do it. Knowing I have something to say as an artist, it helps me get through things. I went through years of therapy, I went through hundreds of therapists and it never really helped. They always want to throw medication, I’ve already been through medication and I’m over medication. It eventually stopped me from being able to write.
The lyrics became more personal and I took back my femininity. I took back being a woman and celebrating it. That’s one of the many reasons Steve and I broke up because he couldn’t handle it. I suddenly become empowered. He used to say he was a feminist and would call me Yoko. He was born in October; he’s a Libra. He had that thing in common with John Lennon, he was always “you’re my Yoko” and “you’re my artist”. I have Asian in my family. We just had this whole thing, the John and Yoko of Arizona. As soon as I became empowered again he didn’t want anything to do with it. All of a sudden he was like “who are you?” I’m supposed to be hanging around with him, he works all day and then he comes back and I’m supposed to be the little housewife. We weren’t doing anything artistically anymore. We had finished “Harmony” and I had more to say. He didn’t seem interested in it anymore.
If you’re not a writer, you don’t understand writers. If you’re not a songwriter, you don’t understand songwriters. And that’s the thing, he’s tried to write songs but he’s not a writer. I’m a writer, first and foremost. I’m a singer; it’s my gift, I’m a writer, I’m a musician, I’ve always been a writer, so when people don’t understand what a songwriter is… it’s a different kind of thought process. He just didn’t get it that it’s something I have to do. I can’t stop doing it because he doesn’t want to play or whatever the fuck his problem was. I just think he got bored with the whole thing. He also didn’t like the fact that I was feminizing my lyrics. He liked the songs on “Harmony” but after that the things I was writing afterwards, he probably couldn’t relate to it. Even though he called himself a feminist he really wasn’t. He also became controlling and oppressive just like Phil. Same shit, just jealous and mad because I’m a better writer, no idea. The idea was to be with musicians that challenged me. That’s why I was with the people I was with. And when they don’t challenge me anymore, I’m gone.
The only song on “Bare Bones” that isn’t about me is “Suicide and Fentanyl
”, and that’s about my view of the world and what I see. That’s my protest song. That’s my 'fuck you' to political bullshit in this world. All the other songs are all about me in some way, shape or form, or something I’ve been through.
Since your own material is much more personal, do you see more of your listeners relating to it on that level? How cathartic is it to convey these thoughts in song?
It’s very cathartic. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of having a conversation with people, a deep conversation where we talk about how songs make them feel. Some people tell me why they like a song, and it’s always a song I don’t expect them to like. That’s the other thing. I always figure they’re probably going to like blah blah and they like blah blah. So I just never know. I always think somebody’s favorite song is going to be something that’s a completely different song on the album. I find that interesting.
In a way I didn’t write “Bare Bones” to help anybody but myself. I wrote it for me. But if it helps other people, if people can listen to any of the songs and get anything out of them that may help them out, make them feel half better or whatever they need to feel the time they’re listening to the record (it’s ninety minutes long), then good for them. I want to make people feel something, even if they can feel “I hate this”. That’s still a feeling. I hope they don’t hate it, but if they do, oh well. It’s a feeling. What I don’t want people to feel is bored. I didn’t write them to not be boring or be boring. I don’t think any of the songs are boring. I don’t see how they can be boring but the kiss of death to me is ordinary or boring. My songs have never been ordinary or boring. I’m lucky that way. At least to me they’re not. It’s not Puddle Of Mudd or Nickleback. Two bands I really can’t stand.
For me the catharsis is the act of finally being done and accepting that this is the recording. I did not work long and I don’t know if I’ve said this but I didn’t mix it at all. I let Apple mix it. I’d go back and listen to it just to make sure but I really didn’t do anything because there was nothing to mix. I like to record where it’s already ready. If I was working with this big producer and he wanted to do all this fancy mixing and production, well, fine. But I was working on my own and as far as I’m concerned “Bare Bones” just needed to be the way it was.
When somebody tell me they were breaking down crying listening to “Lay You Down in the Soil”. I’m like “wow, good”. It’s a sad song and it should make you break down in tears. It’s horrible. I can barely sing it without crying and I know my mom cries every time she hears it. Every song to me conveys an extreme emotion. There’s nothing on there that isn’t extreme. That’s why I’ve said “Bare Bones” is very extreme music in many, many ways. What I find most interesting (and I’m happy it’s like this) is that people who like Nuclear Death, death metal and heavier music seem to understand and like this too. I’m not getting those messages “I wish she would play like Nuclear Death again”, thank goodness. If I end up doing anything like that, sure, but then it would go under the guise of Nuclear Death again. It wouldn’t be Lori Bravo, it would be me doing “that”.
I’ve talked about it with some people, doing something down the road. But it would be with other musicians because I will never work with any of those people again. Phil or Joel, definitely not. Steve has pretty much screwed himself over with me too. He’s just decided he doesn’t want to be part of my life, and that’s fine. Nuclear Death would happen with other people. And honestly, they’re there to see me anyway. Not saying it’s the only reason because that’s not true either. But let’s face it, without me fronting the band, who cares? (laughs) I don’t know; I wouldn’t want to see Nuclear Death without me, honestly. It would be guys playing Nuclear Death. So what? Big deal. That’s why it was so interesting. We know why I won’t play with those people. That’s just not gonna happen. There’s no such thing as water under the bridge when you’ve been in an abusive relationship and other people support that abusive relationship.
With the music I’m doing now, people feeling anything is a good thing, no matter what it is. The idea is to get a reaction and to make people think. That’s the other thing. As you can see, I’m a very wordy bitch and I talk a lot about my lyrics. And I have a lot to say. I like people to think about what I’m saying and form my own opinions. Even though I don’t like to explain what my songs are about; a lot of people don’t like it, they like the mystery; I will. I know what they’re about. These songs are very direct; there’s really no room for error as to what they’re about. It’s kind of obvious what each song is about. The mystery of the album is more musical than lyrical.
The song “Suicide and Fentanyl” from “Bare Bones”, like many Nuclear Death songs, references today's world, and a call to wake up to what's happening. Are more people becoming aware so to speak, or is there more apathy and ignorance?
I feel more people are aware because of the internet in general, the fact that the web is everywhere and there’s information right at your fingertips. I would figure people are more awoke but I see more homophobia, racism and sexism. Maybe it’s because the internet allows me to see more of that. You had to experience it before; you had to go to a store and hear some bullshit. But now, if I’m listening to WTUL and I’m following their playlist and following things trending of all this bullshit, how woke is that? I talk about babies ripped from mothers because that had just happened. They were taking kids away from refugees and displaced people… I don’t like kids but I would never hurt a child. Folks taking folks is not cool; that got me pissed off.
One of my favorite artists is Cat Power, “Chan” Marshall. She had recently given birth and she’s very much an activist. I happened to be reading something of hers. At that time a lot of people were committing suicide because people were outing them about their sexuality online, teenagers and such. And people were dying of fentanyl. I’m lucky I was a heroin addict at the time… I got good old fashioned black tar Mexican heroin and brown heroin from Mexico. I know heroin is bad, but I knew if we were smoking it you knew how it was gonna affect you. But fentanyl and all that stuff came into it, by that time I was not a drug addict anymore. I was introduced to glass while living in California; I’d never heard of it. When me and Steve were doing biker crank meth people make in their bathtubs, somebody came over for a birthday party if I remember correctly. These Swedish guys who were going to the musicians institute had something called glass. They said it was speed and it cranks you up. I thought it looked like ice; I didn’t know anything about it. While living in Arizona, once I got over heroin I went back to speed and glass. I guess what I’m saying is, when I was a drug addict I knew you were getting the stuff you always get. Now, you just don’t know; everything is pumped full of other stuff. I never liked designer drugs; I was never interested in any of them.
With “Suicide and Fentanyl”, human trafficking, especially women and children… I can’t believe how prevalent it is and how the rich really like to buy those kids after snatching them off the street. “Hostel” was a really good movie. All kinds of nefarious shit goes on where you’re invited to party and never come back. I love Eli Roth. All this stuff was bouncing around in my head… when I did “Suicide and Fentanyl” I had a couple of verses written, the first two I believe. I went in my studio and thought “I gotta finish this somehow”. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, so I allowed myself to open up and channel. I picked a day – usually Saturday – I’m going to go in there and make a song, I’m going to come down and it’s going to be done. When I went up there, I felt visited by Jim Morrison. I was thinking of his confrontational work and the confrontational theater he’d seen. I was thinking of him singing “wake up!” I was thinking of him when I was saying it. People do need to wake up; they’re still sleeping. I think the internet makes people sleep than ever before. They actually think things on there are real. Just like television. Back in the day, people believed everything they saw on TV. Now, people believe what they read on 4chan and Reddit. Unreliable bullshit.
The whole thing just started trickling in and I just started talking. I felt like I was speaking in tongues when I made that song. I really feel, for the most part, that people don’t want to know what’s really going on. I feel that people like being sheep and that people like ignorance. That way they can stay in their little bubble and not have to deal with what really could be going on. Then there’s all the conspiracy theorists; some of which doesn’t sound like a conspiracy. Like, do I believe in aliens? Of course; I don’t know how you can’t. I think it’s arrogant to think we’re the only living things in this huge universe. It doesn’t make any sense, really. Things like that to me seem so obvious; there’s so much proof. If they think of the Egyptians, the technology that was created then, why it suddenly stopped. I love that kind of thinking.
People for the most part don’t really want to know the truth. Whatever the truth is, “the truth is out there”. Is it? We don’t even know. I think there are many truths, because we have to think about how people think all over the world. I’m not saying religions, just beliefs in general. If you’re looking at Hindu gods, tons of them, why is that not as valid as a belief in one guy with a beard who sits in a chair in heaven? You just don’t know. I like the idea of the Norse old gods… my main thing is just the oppression of women in all religions. That seems to be the problem with it all. It oppresses women and keeps us evil and mysterious, men are afraid of us and I just think that’s kind of funny, still. All these different ones that segregate women, that to me is a crock of shit. That’s all in that song. We’re the birthers, we’re Mother Nature. I think women are stronger than men, honestly. I think we go through a lot more in our lives, physically speaking, even if we don’t have children.
I always find that oppressive when you have these religions that segregate women from men. Only men are allowed to go there and do this and be this, they’re only allowed to be that, which I think is complete bullshit. That’s why I think being a witch is so important. We are the healers; you can be a male witch and it doesn’t matter. You’re just working with nature and you’re not oppressing anyone. I don’t care what people believe as long as you’re not trying to make me believe something else.
Everything I’m saying is in that song. In some ways we’ve advanced, in other ways we’ve pedaled backwards. Especially with Trump. He really backed up our country twenty to fifty years. Suddenly racism is so prevalent more than ever, it makes me really sad, being a woman of mixed race I’m against that. I’m against homophobia and sexism in any form. That was just my rant, to show where I stand. I never really speak of my beliefs online. I don’t like to go there because I’ve watched how people tear each other apart and all the bullshit; it’s fuckin’ stupid.
I will tell you I’ve never voted in my life until this last election. I don’t believe my vote counts for shit, honestly. I don’t know what good it really does, if it’s all just glad handing anyway. I thought if it’s just one vote that makes that orange piece of shit get out of office, I’m going to be that one vote. That’s the only reason I signed up. I’d probably never do it again. It was so horrible to be under his ruling. It sent us so far back in so many ways, it opened up people to be racist again, to be open and happy and proud about it. That to me is just disgusting and scary. I’m a woman of mixed race and I have a diverse bunch of people that I love a lot and it scares me to know that harm can come to them. At the time our president was just allowing it to be, okay to be a racist, kkk loving piece of shit. That’s what that’s all about, just me being angry.
Honestly, I don’t know if people are awoke. I’d like to think so. I watch a lot of teen drama stuff, newer stuff that’s pretty cutting edge. It seems to me the characters are awoke, young people that are like sixteen to twenty years old. I hope they’re woke enough. One of my favorite books is Trainspotting and the movie was great too. When the protagonist was saying soon there’s not going to be any male or female or gay or straight people; they’ll all be wankers. That’s how I feel. There doesn’t have to be segregation of anyone.
How soon do you plan to write and record new material? How do you imagine you’ll continue to expand your range of influences?
I’ve expanded a lot already because what I listened to last year is not what I’m listening to is not what I’m listening to now. It’s not that I’m not listening to it; I’m just listening to something else. I haven’t even performed any of my new songs since I put the album out, and I want to do that. That’s the first thing I want to do. I think I’ve said this before; I’m starting to work towards a set where I’m going to be performing outside of my house for a while. First of all, it was from Covid and second, I wasn’t ready yet. Now, I can perform in New Orleans if I want; I just have to get the set ready. I’d like to perform the whole album if I could, but I don’t know if I can do “Suicide and Fentanyl”; I’d have to bring the computer and do the back track and all that stuff.
I got into the artist Sharon Van Etten. In the last several months when she put out her ten year anniversary album, an epic I’d never heard of. Fiona Apple, one of my goddesses, covered a song called “Love More”, so I had to hear her sing it. Since I heard the first lyrics, I thought “I gotta know who this Sharon Van Etten is”. I delved into Sharon Van Etten and became absolutely engulfed in her music. I just covered myself in her work. In the meantime I really got into Lingua Ignota. Her album “Sinner Get Ready” is genius. She should be considered one of the greatest composers of our time, female or not. She is a composer of work; it’s absolutely amazing. Lingua Ignota, otherwise known as Kristin Hayter. I’ve been listening to her and Sharon Van Etten; if you listen to these two women they’re completely different, but there are a lot of similarities by the way it makes me feel. No matter what I listen to, I don’t know if it’s influencing my work; it inspires but it doesn’t influence. I don’t need influence; I know exactly where I’m going.
I don’t know if you know, but I bought a new guitar last year, actually my fans bought it for me. After buying a bunch of things from me on PayPal, I was finally able to buy Dominga, a blue Ibanez. I had Dominga purposely tuned down to D. I had already known if I made this acoustic record, the next thing I was going to be swinging to the heaviest, loudest, most soul crushing shit I could muster. I wasn’t exactly sure what, thematically. There is a piece of my history I have not really addressed properly. I don’t think I’ve written a song about any of those subjects. As you know I wrote songs about when I was raped, “Deadly Beauty” and “Sexless”. I have never addressed the abuse that I suffered at the hands of Steve and Phil; mainly Phil but Steve later, especially after he introduced meth into our lives. He was mentally abusive, keeping me down… He was supportive of me for years but he introduced me to hard drugs, he started blowing off everything not wanting to do music anymore. It seemed like it to me because he wasn’t working with me anymore. He didn’t seem like he believed we could do anything. We never did songs from “Harmony” live. I played them live later as a solo artist. “Sunless” was one of my favorites to play. I played that live a lot on my own. By that time I had broken up with him and he didn’t want to have anything to do with me.
The new record is going to be all about rage. And I mean my rage, feminine rage. Where do you put the rage? How does rage work when you’re angry all the time? I don’t know if you know this; it’s very public now: I was molested as a kid, I have repressed it for years. Recently, while I was making “Bare Bones” it started coming to me that what I thought wasn’t real, was. It was from more than one person, never a relative but people I knew. I blocked it out and I’m remembering. Then, there is of course the domestic abuse. And I’d never written about how it made me feel. It’s made me a very angry young woman. I’ve always had a dark streak, and I’ve always had an angry streak. I don’t let it eat away at me anymore. Here I am and I’m better off than any of those motherfuckers. That’s the thing about it. If I want to look at it as winning, I already won. It didn’t destroy me but it gave me PTSD and strange ways of dealing with relationships. I haven’t had a boyfriend since I broke up with Steve; I’ve said not by choice; it’s just the way it is. It’s not because I’m damaged but you do feel damaged. And I’m a very strange person, not for the faint of heart. I’m very hard to live with because I put music first.
I’m a Suzy Homemaker; everyone knows I’m a very domestic person. I have a meticulous household. Everything’s in its right place. I’m a good vegetarian cook if I want to be. I can be the whore in the bedroom, cook in the kitchen, maid in the house, all that bullshit. That said, my music is always going to come first. That’s something people can’t wrap their heads around. They want to settle down. I’m settled down with my mom. Does that mean I rest on my laurels?
The first song I wrote is about someone I knew since I was twelve years old that dumped me when I moved here [New Orleans]. She’s been jealous and not jealous of me for years and treated me like shit back and forth for years. She would get mad and jealous, dump me and not talk to me for five, six, ten years and suddenly call me and try to reel me back in to be friends with her. I’d want to be friends with her again since I’ve known her when I was twelve years old. But she’s been abandoning me back and forth ever since I’ve known her. Instead of being supportive she just backs away and makes up some bullshit about how I did something. This time I didn’t do anything. I moved to New Orleans and she knew I lived somewhere she’s wanted to move. It was a huge ordeal and it wasn’t easy by any means. That’s what the first new song I wrote was about. It’s called “Hurt People Hurt People.” Jessie my drummer and best friend texted me about it and said “hurt people hurt people.” And insecure people hurt people, too. That’s the chorus of the song. I wrote the song around it. I used her words verbatim as the chorus. It’s very aggressive and abrasive. I actually wrote it on acoustic; I always write on acoustic.
What I’m writing is the heaviest shit I’ve ever written in my life. It’s going to make Nuclear Death seem like Romper Room as far as heavy goes. Being molested is heavy and being abused by someone who loves you is heavy. I’m going to be addressing that. I’m addressing people; I’m not going to call them out by name, but if they hear the songs they’re going to know I’m talking about them. It’s a time of reckoning for these people because these people destroyed my life. Or they tried, I should say, to destroy my life. They destroyed my life when I was a kid, but they didn’t. It did make me stop going to church; I was molested at church. Lutheran Church, by a woman. I don’t like to hide things. I hope my new album will give people some power. I hope it empowers anybody going through something like that. I also hope it empowers women or men to get it out.
One thing I notice about the white side of my family is they’re WASPy and they keep all their emotions in check; not all but my mom is a stiff upper lip Brit and she keeps all her emotions in here. She’s not emotional. It’s kind of good she’s not like that because I am very sensitive and very emotional so you don’t need two stiff upper lips. My brother is the same as my mom, very unemotional. They’re the same sign too, Virgos.
My dad was Mexican and he was non-emotional as well. I’m the emotional one in the family, the in-touch-with-her-feelings person, so much so that it can be overwhelming, With that said, I’m hoping that if there are people that keep their emotions hidden, this album will help them, even if they get it out while listening to it. It’s terrible to keep things in; it’s not good for your human psyche. I understand some people aren’t going to do that. So there are other ways you can get it out. You can go to a concert and scream for two hours. I’m hoping this new album will be cathartic for other people. Maybe the new music I’m making is not only for me for once. It’s to get me through something, but I’m hoping that other people may be able to relate to it and hopefully it will help them with their own baggage. The word of the day for my new music is rage. And how to make something creative out of that emotion. It’s a very powerful and dangerous emotion to have. That’s why I don’t drink vodka because I get mean and I start getting in that mode, and I’m seeing red. It’s not at someone; it’s just in general. Why didn’t I say anything when I was a kid to my parents about what was going on? Shame and guilt. It’s all going to be addressed in these new songs that I have not written. I can’t tell you what it’s going to sound like at all.
[shows me two small cuts on arm and one on other arm] I don’t know how I’ve been getting these, and no, they’re not my cats. I know when my cats scratch me and these are not cat scratches. I keep getting these and I don’t know what it is. I don’t have any nails; I’m not doing this at night. I slept next to somebody for eight days while we were evacing, and she can tell you I’m not doing this to myself. What are these, stigmatas? And they’re supposed to be on the hands, are they not? It’s funny how I’m marked in threes. And no, I’m not thinking of demons; it’s just a trip. It’s just weird to me. They don’t hurt; they’re just there and then they’re gone. What does that have to do with my new music? Because it does. I’m very self-aware and I study myself a lot. I’ve had to because I’ve never had good shrinks. I’m my own shrink and I tend to break down my own psyche and to see what makes Lori tick. I’m always trying to better myself as a creature on earth. I’m very quick to react; I don’t think before I speak. Depending on the time of the month, without bleeding anymore. Even when you’re in menopause there’s still a time of the month when you’re more edgy and your hormones are all over the place. You still have hormones; they’re just all fucked up now because your body is changing and whatnot.
The new songs are going to address these subjects I’ve never addressed. I don’t know what’s going to come out. I’m angry about how things happened like that. I’m angry that I allowed myself to be hurt by men. Nuclear Death wouldn’t have lasted as long if I had left when I should have left. I think it was six months into our relationship when Phil started his shit with me. I was with him for six years, so you wouldn’t have gotten all those records, I can tell you that right now. With Steve it was after “Planet Cachexial” that things started to go awry. “Planet Cachexial” was the last good thing that happened, then things started to get a little druggy and stupid. His brain changed, literally, and it wasn’t fun anymore. He became very abusive and he gaslit me a lot, made me feel I was an asshole and I was nothing, I was ugly and I was fat. I stopped doing meth and I gained weight.
Then I started walking so I could lose weight. My face was all broke out; you gotta get all of the drugs out of your system. There’s going to be a lot of things going into the new record. I promised my dad I’m never going to let someone treat me the way I’ve been treated by men, ever again. My third relationship with my gay boyfriend; it wasn’t like that but we were very volatile to each other. It was kind of like brother and sister fighting. Not like boyfriend-girlfriend shit.
I don’t have a good track record working with guys; First they love me for being me, then as I continue to be me they get mad at me for being me. I was always changing for the better but then I’d get in trouble for it because they’re not changing. I’m all about change, transformation and metamorphosis. You’ve heard the song “The Fluttering” from “The Silent Reflux” where I say “Lucifer Michael will hurt when I transform.” I’m all about transformation, being a phoenix and rising from the ashes. The people I’m with don’t transform; they don’t evolve. If you can’t evolve with me, you’re stuck and you’re making me feel stuck. They’re happy on their even keel, and I’m done. I don’t ever rest on laurels; I’m not that kind of person.
This album’s going to be really heavy. It’s not going to be any less emotional, it’s going to be emotional in a much louder way. I’m excited to see what comes tumbling out of my talkhole here and what comes out of my fingers. I don’t know anything until we start talking to each other. I’m excited about Dominga because I’ve barely played her. When I sit down with Dominga and we start writing… now you know where it’s going. Plus there’s been a lot of weird shit that’s happened since we moved to New Orleans, a lot of hardships we’ve had to deal with including Hurricane Ida. Me surviving Hurricane Ida in this house by myself was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through. It’s definitely going in there. I want to figure out how to make Dominga make the sounds of a hurricane. Here in New Orleans, weather is everything. We have one more month until hurricane season is over. I hope Mother Nature is kind to us… she did give us Hurricane Ida on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I kind of think she’s done with us and she’ll leave beautiful NOLA alone. We’re good; we’re still recovering from Ida. My cat of sixteen years died, that’s another big, huge milestone. And my mom is doing great, even though she fell that’s probably the best of the unholy trinity of everything that happened within three days of the hurricane. I can hear how the hurricane sounded that night. It’s really weird because it’s quieter than you think. Maybe if you’re outside it’s not, but where I was, the sounds it made… I’m definitely going to figure out how to make those sounds on my guitar.
What are the advantages of using the internet over snail mail correspondence and tape trading? Would the net have the same impact on underground metal communities without the postal correspondence of the 80s?
I actually think so, yeah. Aren’t we tape trading now? If I send you some tracks digitally… the only difference is you’re getting it quicker. You’re still tape trading. It’s just not ‘”tape” trading. In a way, would there be so much sense of a community? I don’t know. I think people feel more communal than ever. It seems there are all these Facebook groups… people constantly want me to join their eighties metal, eighties appreciation groups all the time. They’re always wanting me to join and it’s all about whatever. The advantages of that are I can do this. You didn’t want to talk on the phone [no way of taping it. –DW]’; that’s the only other way I do interviews. I hate writing interviews. I like writing, actually handwriting; I don’t like typing and I hate texting. I love it but I hate it. It’s very impersonal… I know it’s easier to read but I like writing, I like the way I write, I like my handwriting. I do notice a lot of people have trouble reading it. When I used to answer interviews back in the day that’s how I did it. I used to like doing it but I don’t have time. So what does the internet do? First of all, it gives me time. If I had to write this down, do you know how long it would take me to write all this shit down? When I write, I write just like I talk, so there would be all these paragraphs of me talking. It’s faster so I like that. It’s more efficient. I used to copy my interviews at the coffee shop so in case I lost them I could get them. I learned that the hard way. You can copy your interview so it they didn’t get it you can send it again. This is Photobooth, by the way. This is what I do. This is why it’s grainy; it’s an old system from 2012 before HD. I like the graniness, it’s kind of like seventies quality in a way.
I think snail mail was fun because people would send us hash. We got hash from Europe sent in cassette tapes. I don’t know how it happened but we got hash, we smoked it and it was really, really good. I don’t remember where we got it from. I’ve had people send me weed in the mail. I’m talking about back in the day; I’m not talking about lately, obviously. I don’t know they did it. I don’t know how it happened that we were able to do that. I never did it; I was never that stupid. But we would get presents like that in the mail. It was always good too. It had something to do with the magnet in the cassette tape, something you couldn’t x-ray. Remember when you used to write “do not x-ray” on video tapes you send? There’s something about that. The pot leaf was sensimilia and it was really purple. We got it in a VHS tape somebody sent us. The tape was of their band, plus weed. You couldn’t do that now (laughs).
I think the advantages are the same. There’s more of a sense of community. I’ve said this in other interviews: people hated us in Arizona. We didn’t have a community, we weren’t in a scene. Nuclear Death was on its own. We were the outcasts; we were the other band that nobody liked. It doesn’t even belong to that kind of genre. We were the only genre of that time. And when other people started making that music they didn’t want anything to do with us. Or, we didn’t know them. There you go with the snail mail and there you go with no internet. There are death metal bands that popped up in Tucson, and these Native American guys from Window Rock that kick ass. If they were around with the internet you’d be contacting people and saying “hey man, we’re up here in Window Rock” Window Rock, Arizona is up with the reservation. “Hey, we can come hang out” and whatever. I think they’re called Mutilated Tyrant. Native American killer death/black metal, go listen to them. I did my plug there.
If other bands were doing that, we wouldn’t know, because there was no way to know. You’d have to happen to go to a party, or happen to go see the band. We were the only ones who were doing it there. The death metal people we knew were from other states. We were friends with Autopsy and Deceased. We snail mailed with them, because they were from there and we were from here. So now you get to meet more people I have all these people that were introduced to me through digital means.
I can still send you stuff. Let’s say I have a copy of “Bare Bones” on CD (that’s coming out in January) that I’m going to send to you. Or if I want to send you a shirt. I’m still doing snail mail as you know. That’s how I merchandise. I’m sending out merchandise to people. I do it on my own, by myself, all my lonesome, pack my orders Thursday night, ship my orders on Friday morning. Well not in the morning, three o clock in the afternoon before they close. I like the advantage of that. Those same people are contacting me on the internet telling me they want to buy something and I’m snail mailing me their stuff. Honestly, things are getting there pretty fast, even with the Covid thing. I think there are many advantages to it. The postal correspondence in the eighties was fun because you got all these pen pals. Now you have pen pals but they’re online. And maybe you can even see them if you’re talking on Skype or Facetime. Then you had to wait a little longer for correspondence. That’s why I didn’t know Euronymous was dead. I had no idea my friend from Mayhem was murdered. I didn’t know that until I saw the movie [Lords Of Chaos]. I never knew what happened to him, because we used to write all the time, and suddenly he stopped writing and I had no idea he had been murdered.
Are you still keeping up with extreme metal? If so, who are some of the bands you recently discovered?
One of them is Mutilated Tyrant
. Look up “Arizona Native American black metal”, There was a documentary done about black metal bands on the reservation. One of them was Mutilated Tyrant, I believe. That’s how I found out about them, and it’s a really cool documentary. They’re also weaving their culture into their work, and they’re killer people. I don’t know if you know anything about life on reservations, but it’s not a pretty sight. It’s poverty stricken, there’s a lot of alcoholism and sadness there. But that’s how they cope, they play black metal.
is a killer Japanese death metal band. They’re badass. I’m really good friends with Tomoki; he sent me all kinds of stuff. There’s this woman who goes under the moniker Her Noise Is Violence; she’s death metal/black metal/electronic. One of my favorite albums is “Unresolved Trauma”. We met through the Lingua Ignota
Twatter of all things, and we’ve become really good friends. Her name is Rachel; she is a badass Then there’s Trinity. It’s really evil; I’m not going to tell you anything better than that; there’s nothing else to say. I’ve been getting into Grave
a lot. Active Entropy from the U.K., really kickass. Black metal/death metal. Blistering Defilement
out of Florida, they have this really cool logo; you can’t even read it. Hide
is a two piece, a male and a female, and they cover a lot of taboo subject matter. It’s noise/metal/electronica/performance art. Funeral Pyre
is my friend Rachel’s other band with this guy from Budapest, Hungary. There’s a band called Shitload
, hardcore punk from New Orleans. They play around a lot here.
, my dearly departed friend Brian Patterson’s band. I think they’re still together; I don’t know, but check them out anyway, check out the work they did do when he was alive. He was the guitar player and one of the main songwriters. That’s kind of hard to say. There’s Orbyssmal
from Brisbane, Australia. I think it’s only one person. Really evil black/noise/death. There’s Vordb Na R.iidr
; he’s an all-around artist: a beautiful visual artist, a writer, a poet… he’s like a brother to me., He has tons of records. Go to Bandcamp… these people are on Bandcamp so you can check them there or on Facebook. Vordb Na R.iidr… His work is hypnotic. Maggot Heart
from Germany and England… really great band. Two women and a guy playing drums. They’re fucking badass. I saw them live; they opened up for King Dude.
There are just so many people; I can just go on and on. There’s a ton of people I already forgot; I hope they’re not going to be angry at me.
How would you most like to be appreciated and remembered as an artist overall?
That’s a great question because the most important thing in my life is to be remembered, appreciated and respected as the artist I am. How would I like to be remembered? As a woman who was an innovator of music, that I helped to create music that had never been written, and that I’m a great songwriter and singer. I think that’s the most important thing to know, that I’m a very unique singer. That’s what I want to be known for, the work I do with my voice and that I know what the fuck I’m doing when I’m writing songs. That I didn’t take shit as far as the way I wanted things to go; I never made the same record twice.
I also want to be remembered as a visual artist, because I am. I’m a photographer, I also paint and draw. I’m an all-around artist. I’ve always said this in my mantra: I’ve always wanted to be the best singer, songwriter, artist, musician, woman, witch, mother, daughter, sister, human and creature of this earth that I can be.