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A Dirty Dozen with MOLLY RENNICK from LIVING DEAD GIRL – November 2020

| 6 November 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Canadian modern metal powerhouse LIVING DEAD GIRL is commanding attention with the release of the new single and lyric video “Alive,” an anthemic track about controlling life rather than letting life control you. LIVING DEAD GIRL’s style is a unique combination of Marilyn Manson meets fellow Canadian frontwoman Avril Lavigne, possessing an amalgam of genres including goth, rock, metal, industrial, pop, and punk rock. The music perfectly encapsulates Rennick’s personality, which she admits is a dichotomy of “one wears baby pink and Hello Kitty and listens to pop music, and the other a goth girl in fishnet stockings who listens to Marilyn Manson.” The 21-year-old Rennick’s amazing vocal range sees her seamlessly switching from taunting, high-pitched croons, to menacing, harsh barks, to haunting growls with relative ease.” We get the Living Dead Girl Molly herself to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

Photo credit: Jeremy Saffer

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Alive” has SO many layers to it; we recorded so many different vocal parts for it, I think it could be easy for a new listener to miss just how much “stuff” is going on with the vocals in it, how intricate it really is, especially if you’re not listening through good earphones or speakers. There are so many harmonies, background screams and growls in behind main vocals, and so many different chants in the chorus all with different tones to them. Personally, when I listen to music, I like to try and isolate certain parts of the song in my mind to make myself REALLY hear it, and when you’re in the zone really listening to “Alive,” try to pick out just how many vocal parts there are – I’ve had a few different people now ask me, “are ALL those voices YOU? The screams, harmonies, chants, EVERYTHING?” Yep! It’s all me! There are dozens of different Molly sounds in there; everything from my falsetto to my low range to cheerleader-esque chanting. My vocals have so much versatility to them that I almost consider them my other personalities; I like to include as many of them as possible into every single song to make them huge and dramatic!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I can’t think of an exact MOMENT that made me realize I wanted to be a musician, because I fully believe I was simply born to do it! My parents went to one of the MANY Van Halen concerts they attended when my mom was five or six months pregnant with me; they say that babies can develop music taste from what they hear while they’re in the womb, and I totally believe that. I was surrounded by rock n’ roll before I was even born, and for as long as I can remember, heavy music has always been my passion, and singing and dancing along to it pretending I was on a stage in front of a crowd was a regular activity for me, even as a very young child. I always loved being the centre of attention; I was always performing in one form or another. I actually started a little tradition of organizing “events” where, basically, I would make a promo poster, make tickets and a “ticket booth”, and actually CHARGE my family members (I started around $0.50 a ticket, but remember as I got a bit older, prices actually going up closer to $10!) for tickets, then I would cram my entire extended family into my small bedroom and force them to listen to me singing along to Avril Lavigne into a karaoke machine with flashlights for spotlights (multi-coloured ones, of course!), and a cheap little disco ball. I have lots of old photos of these events and laugh anytime I see them now – the thought of a seven year old actually charging their family money (and it wasn’t optional!) to come watch their “concerts” is hilarious, and just makes so much sense now. I even made little instruments out of cardboard and made myself a “backing band” of stuffed animals. I was obsessed with the idea of playing concerts my entire childhood, and clearly, it wasn’t a phase!

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Avril Lavigne is everything to me. I grew up listening to Van Halen, as Eddie Van Halen is my dad’s lifelong idol; plus Pink Floyd, and plenty of other entirely male rock bands. I’d heard females singing music like Britney Spears, and males singing the heavy stuff, but never heard a girl sing something edgier. Once I discovered Avril Lavigne on MTV with heavy black eye makeup, smashing a guitar into the windshield of a car, I immediately fell in love. I had no idea girls could be badass like that too, and it really struck a nerve in me. ESPECIALLY since Avril, just like me, is from a small town in Ontario. Seeing a teenage girl who by no means was born into the entertainment industry, reach global superstardom, was incredibly inspiring to me. It just kind of showed me that it IS possible, you know? She wasn’t from Los Angeles with already famous parents, she was just a talented Canadian girl who worked hard and got the recognition she deserved – and I made it my goal to be just like that. Her music isn’t heavy metal of course, but she always had such a unique style among the other female musicians of the era, and her “I am who I am whether you like it or not” attitude definitely helped form me into the artist I am now. She was always an individual and different from the others, plus just a totally badass, talented woman, and that’s why I love her so much. Even today despite the fact that I sing a different genre than her, I still get inspiration from her in my own songwriting and performance; particularly her album The Best Damn Thing – the vocal style on that album HEAVILY influenced my (clean) vocal style, and it’s extremely apparent on certain songs off our upcoming record.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I’ve always been the kind of music fan who is TOTALLY OBSESSED with only a couple artists, then other than that of course I listen to other bands as well, but when it comes to actually being influenced by people, I have my two main idols, and these are going to sound like such opposites it’ll sound crazy, but hear me out: Avril Lavigne (of course!), and Marilyn Manson. Those two have been my idols for so long, I feel both of their influences are really apparent in our music. Avril’s vocals and attitude influenced my singing and style, and Manson’s raspy vocals and screaming are what made me want to try screaming in the very first place! Plus, his style transitioned me from Avril-esque tutus, to leather platform boots; and now, I wear both together! I took two very different artists, picked apart elements I love from each, and created something new with it. Avril got me into heavy black eyeliner, then Manson influenced me to add black lipstick and shave my eyebrows off! She started it off for me, he took it up a notch, then over time discovering myself as an artist, I realized I don’t have to choose one thing or another, I can try different things out to create a new category altogether. So Avril and Manson are really my two most significant sources of inspiration, although some other noteworthy artists I have felt influenced by are Halestorm (Lzzy is the textbook definition of “badass woman”), Motionless In White (they combine heavy with catchy seamlessly well), and In This Moment (their theatrics take shows to the next level.)

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

MARILYN MANSON!!! If you haven’t heard the song he did with Avril Lavigne, “Bad Girl,” please do yourself a favour and go listen to it!! Her playful, sexy attitude mixed with his vocals sounds ridiculously awesome, and I would die and go to heaven if I had the opportunity to do something like that with him as well. ESPECIALLY since we can both scream, too! The contrast between his iconic voice and a high-pitched female voice gives me literal goosebumps, so the thought alone of ever being able to do it, makes me feel really excited about the endless possibilities for an absolutely killer track. Marilyn Manson if you’re reading this, please consider it. We would absolutely kill it.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I usually describe my music as “heavy metal, but with vocals and melodies kind of like Avril Lavigne” (oops, I’ve now brought her up a dozen times; she’s obviously my biggest influence ever. Can I make it anyyymore obvious?). I feel like that is the best way for me to describe it though, because obviously Living Dead Girl is HEAVY; we play in tunings like Drop A, have some awesome breakdowns, and in some songs I scream as much as, if not more than, I sing clean. But I know insanely heavy metal can be off-putting to a lot of “regular” people as it’s the kind of thing you either LOVE or you don’t, and I have people telling me every day “I usually don’t like metal but I like your music”. That is so awesome for me to hear, and I think it’s amazing I have created something that can appeal to all different types of people, even people who aren’t metalheads. I think that’s because I include elements of pop music in my writing style, so regardless of how heavy the riff is, how insane the drums are, or how NASTY my screams are, the hook still gets stuck in people’s heads. I make sure my melody lines are catchy enough for people to dance to (I literally dance while I record vocals), and really fun for me to perform (since having fun is what I’m all about). But still heavy enough for people to head bang and mosh to. Like what I said about how there’s things I love about Avril, and things I love about Manson, how I’ve tried to combine elements of both; I LOVE the poppy choruses, with the heavy verses, bridges and breakdowns. Trying to seamlessly pull off so many completely different things in one song and have it actually work, has become my “thing”. I feel like our music is heavy enough to satisfy any metalhead, but still easily-listenable to people who don’t even love metal, and I love having that versatility in the audience, having such a diverse fanbase is really awesome. I would say one comparison I disagree with is I have been compared many times to Amy Lee of Evanescence – don’t get me wrong, she is an INCREDIBLY talented and respectable artist, however, our overall styles, especially vocal styles, are so completely different, that anytime someone has ever compared me to her I assume they didn’t actually listen to my music; they just saw a pale girl with long black hair and formed an opinion before even giving it a chance. There aren’t nearly as many female vocalists in hard rock and metal as there are males, so I feel like us girls are constantly being compared to one another no matter how completely different we may be, and it’s annoying because it’s like people just look at us and assume we’re all the same when we’re not!

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Our guitarist John is a very talented cook, so he makes us crazy good food. When we were in the studio recording the album, he was making us breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I would say the drinks would be… me, truthfully hahaha. Not when we play shows, but if we’re hanging out, or especially CELEBRATING like we did last week–the day we released “Alive” we all went out for dinner and drinks – I’m the one ordering tons of different kinds of super-strong specialty drinks while they drink beer. (Which I make fun of them for because my drinks have way more alcohol in them and actually taste good, ha.) And I’d say pulling out the guitar is Jordan, our bassist. He plays more than the rest of us combined, honestly.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Definitely Marilyn Manson: I’ve met him twice and both times I managed to keep my cool, but admittedly was totally screaming on the inside. I’ve listened to his music and idolized him since I was nine years old, so being able to actually talk to him and hug him was a dream come true. It’s just crazy to be a fan of someone so long – I’ve bought every CD he’s ever released, read his book, and seen in in concert many times – then to be able to actually interact with them as a human being and not just seeing them on TV or social media, is so surreal.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I think the best part of it is the feeling I get from it; it’s a huge mixture of emotions, and it is so rewarding. I use my music as a way to express my emotions (most cliché thing I have ever said), and it’s such a healthy way to channel everything from anger to sadness. I get excited as I write the song and it starts coming together how I wanted it to; I’m both excited and slightly nervous as we release it and I get to share it with the world; I get stressed and worried when something doesn’t seem to be working as I’d hoped; then when it works out like everything always does in the end, I’m happy, proud, and feel so accomplished. Being an artist is an emotional rollercoaster because when you’re literally investing your life savings into a project and taking such a huge risk and putting yourself out into the world to be judged, it’s scary! But it’s a good, fun scary, and at the end of the day, I’m so proud of myself and all that I’ve done and overcome, and receiving messages from people telling me “I listened to your new song five times in a row on my way to work,” “your song cheered me up when I was having a shitty day,” “your song really pumps me up while I work out,” “this song is so relatable it gives me chills,” etc. You feel so rewarded! Knowing that putting my personal thoughts and feelings into a song, and having it resonate with people, feels incredible. I honestly can’t imagine myself doing anything else since this is what I have dedicated my existence to, but another thing I could see myself doing (and will do one day regardless!) is to open my own rescue organization for animals – my family has rescued five cats (three are my parents’, two are mine), plus a rescue dog, and my love for animals is comparable to my love of music; it’s something that I feel so good doing, I genuinely love it to death. Although doing that would obviously be non-profit, so it isn’t a job, per say, but it is a lot of work. I hope one day I’m able to use my platform as a musician to be able to do that on the side as well! And, y’know, being the CEO of my own luxury makeup line is on the list as well… I have a long list!

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask– and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I want to be asked what my involvement in the writing process is; I don’t think most people realize that I am a songwriter as well as a vocalist. I’ve had people ask who wrote the songs or where I “got” them from, and I’m like… “I wrote those lyrics myself!!” I can’t sing lyrics someone else wrote (other than a cover, of course); I need them to be my own so I can really feel it. I think most people assume someone writes it for me as that’s a common thing, and I like people to know that I actually write all my own lyrics and have a lot of input on the music as well. I’m tired of answering “did you get your band name from the Rob Zombie song?” – thank you for not asking that! (And no, I didn’t, actually!)

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

ABSOLUTELY! I started my band when I was 15, so, very young and not a lot of life experience under my belt – lots of room for “living and learning!” I had a manager for both my band and modelling for over eight months (when I was 19) who told me all these things they were going to do – “I’ll get you a modelling gig with Fender,” “I’ll get you in New York Fashion Week,” etc. – and in the entire time they ‘worked’ with me, they actually did absolutely nothing for me. The problem with this is that they had a say in absolutely everything I did, both as a musician and model, and I actually was held back and wasted nearly a year of my career accomplishing nothing. They wouldn’t let me book my own photoshoots; everything had to go through them. They wouldn’t let me book my own shows; “I’ll get you on this festival, and get you a run of shows here, and some shows there” – they didn’t book us a single show. I started getting a bad feeling when I was seeing nothing was happening, but I was new to the industry and wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d been scammed by slimy modelling agencies in the past so my standards of what a manager or agent was supposed to do were probably a little bit distorted. Long story short, I finally told them I don’t think you’re actually helping me so I no longer want to work with you, and very shortly after that I reached out to our producer Mitchell Marlow myself and made arrangements for us to record a full-length album with him. If I could go back and redo something, it’d be that I never would have wasted that chunk of time being told I can’t do anything myself, and just done everything myself to begin with! There was nothing stopping me from contacting a producer to make an album myself, I just hadn’t realized I was able to do that. I would’ve reached out to Mitch and made the album even sooner!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

After reading Marilyn Manson’s autobiography The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell, I would love to be a fly on the wall during the creation of Antichrist Superstar. It sounds like it was literally that – the road out of Hell – and seeing someone overcome SO many obstacles to create what ended up ultimately being a hugely successful and iconic record, would be really inspiring. Plus, all the crazy stories and all the absolutely unbelievable shit that happened during the process would be more entertaining to witness than any reality show out there! That record means a lot to me because it was Manson’s first full-length album and it became such a staple record; it’s very encouraging to see a new artist who, at the time, was incredibly experimental and very risqué compared to what else was popular at the time, do so well; it’s inspirational to see people trying something new, and succeeding with it. I feel like some of the songs on our upcoming record were pretty “risky” things, stylistically, to pull off, and it’s awesome to see that historically, bands emerging with stuff that is considered unusual, do very well. People are always excited to experience something NEW, so taking risks when creating something is everything – Antichrist Superstar is a perfect example of that. Nothing about Manson or that record was what the world was expecting to see in 1996, and he made music history by shocking everyone.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I miss my entire life! I’m the kind of person who is always on the go and travelling constantly, so having stayed in the same place the past eight months is making me super antsy. I’m dying to travel again; I love constantly being in and experiencing new places. I was also planning on moving internationally this year, so watching those plans fall apart was really sad, and difficult to accept. It just feels like my entire life has been put on pause and I’m so anxious and eager to hit “play” again. I really miss both attending and performing concerts; not just the live music itself because that void can be filled with live streams; I miss the crowds and the people, and the entire experience of being AT a concert. I’m totally dying to shoot some music videos; that’s my first plan for the moment the restrictions are lifted!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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