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A Dirty Dozen with SUICIDE QUEEN – February 2021

| 20 February 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: ““One of 2021’s most provocative emerging artists Suicide Queen is an uncompromising trio from Oakland “carrying on the industrial torch with sounds resonating from the likes of Ministry and Skinny Puppy,” says Dark Beauty Magazine. Featuring Kay Dolores on vocals, programming and guitars, Todd Buller on guitars and Ira Mortem on bass, their talent shines on this haunting new track that showcases their prowess for creating industrial crypt teases that lurk in the darkness and come out from the shadows to tempt and seduce willing listeners.” We get Kay, Todd, & Ira to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

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?

Kay: “Swan” was one of the first Suicide Queen tracks. It’s a little strange in that there’s only one verse. But said what I needed to say.

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

Kay: My mother playing Chris Isaak on her loud stereo. Then I got into some of the Southern California punk rock and ‘90s alternative radio. Then Gravity Kills and that 90’s industrial rock thing. My friends and I used to rock out in the living room until that wasn’t enough and we had to get involved somehow.

Ira: My family always played music growing up, so that’s where it started. There was a TV channel called The Box that played all kinds of music videos so that’s when I got really pulled in. When I was 13 is when I wanted to pursue it, but didn’t really get started until many years later.

Todd: Music has been a centerpiece of my life for as long as I can remember. As a young child, songs would transport me to somewhere other than where I was, and that was an instant addiction. It really made me feel like anything was possible, anywhere was possible, and I was a part of something far greater than anything around me. I feel the same today.

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

Kay: The first live show I went to was a radio festival in St. Louis, Missouri. It was the Offspring, Social Distortion, L7, and a bunch of other 90’s alternative bands. Not long after that, I saw Gravity Kills with Doug Firley’s ridiculous, amazing keyboard stand. Being at those shows was like the pinnacle of existence. I was kind of into alt-radio/metal towards the end of the 90’s and remember that’s when MTV and VH1 were still playing music, so I discovered Ministry late one night on VH1. Then some friends got me into The Sisters of Mercy.

Ira: When I was younger I was exposed to Rob Zombie and other shock rock artists, and my first album was the Mortal Kombat Annihilation soundtrack, so I think that’s what led to my eventual music taste.

Todd: Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll,” both the song and the music video. That’s where I was introduced to a cool, gritty attitude. Leather, black hair, loud guitars, all showcased in black & white. I was emancipated and absolutely possessed to play guitar and be in a band from that point on.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Kay: Ministry, Chelsea Wolfe, Lingua Ignota, Peter Murphy, and White Zombie.

Ira: They constantly change, but at the moment my 5 influences are The Gazette, Deviloof, DIMLIM, Kizu, and Sarigia.

Todd: That’s a very, very tough question. I’m influenced by bands. I’m also influenced by band members that play in bands that I don’t necessarily dig as well as solo artists and not so great solo artists that had great band members. I’ll just say, what really influences me is hearing/seeing a truly unique band. A band where everyone is authentic and the telepathy on stage is infectious and undeniable. The volume and rhythm take over. Harmonies, fantastic songs, a thoughtful fashion sense and one hell of an energetic live show. THAT influences me every time.

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

Kay: Zaskia Morgan. She’s from around here [in Oakland, CA] and has an amazing, very unique voice.

Ira: Trent Reznor , because I think he’s done incredible things in the music industry and has continued to create amazing tracks.

Todd: Peter Steele. I believe he was one of the greatest songwriters of my lifetime. Unfortunately, he won’t be picking up my call.

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?

Kay: It’s metal with more synths and more cinematic atmosphere. Metal that also works as a film score. I tend to dislike comparisons, even though I recognize and appreciate when it’s meant to be favorable. Comparisons are generally superficial and oversimplified and define your worth by your similarity to something else. Not something I want. I’d rather be compared to H.R. Giger than any other band.

Ira: I would describe it as dark electronic mixed with some industrial influences and harsh guitars. I don’t really know how to describe it. I don’t think there has been a situation where someone’s comment on our sound makes me cringe or question them.

Todd: It’s hard to say. I personally find it so difficult to describe art, it’s far too subjective. I always suggest the individual go listen and feel free to tell us (and me) what they thought of what they heard. Art is put out there to stir emotions and transcend imagination. Why demoralize that amazing process by reducing it to comparisons? Unfortunately our society has been conditioned to comparisons for swift advertisement and access. I feel most comparisons are cringe worthy, based on the need to compare. In turn, I also understand it helps people get their observation across sometimes.

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?

Kay: I bring the cigarettes. Doesn’t that count for something?

Todd: It all sounds much too wholesome for this crew.

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

Kay: Maybe six years ago, it was Lana del Rey.

Ira: I think I was pretty star struck when I met Davey of AFI since they were a huge part of my teenage years. He’s a really nice guy!

Todd: One time I was standing in line to enter an establishment and Prince was rushed by me in a little tiny hallway. That was a bit shocking. I have some great stories—ask me next time I see ya!

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?

Kay: It’s creating a world, putting all the elements together, and then inviting everyone into that world. By the end of the night, you’ve spent an evening together in the house with all of its ghosts and monsters. I’d have to get into making movies if I couldn’t make music.

Ira: I think playing to people who enjoy what you do. Performing and creating an interaction between you and the audience. I would probably create content, either streaming or making videos.

Todd: The best part about being a musician is being constantly surrounded by music. Creating something, from nothing, for others to experience and remember for the rest of THEIR lives. Stepping on stage, embraced by massive volume. The complete language that’s being spoken sonically between band members. The whole circle shared between the artist and listener. There’s nothing like any of it. I’ve never been good at dreaming up an alternative dream job. It would involve music somehow. Producing, mixing, staying creative in the field.

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?

Kay: I’d like the opportunity to discuss where the music comes from, other than our musical influences, or what got us into playing in the first place. Questions about music we like, how the band formed, that sort of thing gets tired pretty quickly. Art is about so much more than that. The answer though, to where the music comes from, is rather long… It comes from the dirt and the broken glass, the narcotic paraphernalia someone discarded in the street the night before you stepped outside, from the faithful, from the hotel where the girl disappeared, and from seeing your mother eaten by cancer.

Ira: I think I like the question “what are you listening to now?” because it’s interesting knowing what people are listening to in that moment and how it may have changed from the last interview. As for questions I’m tired of, there’s none… yet!

Todd: I would like interviewers to ask more about catalysts of the art, having the interviewer actually be a legitimate admirer of the art in discussion. Interviews are more like school assignments in a lot of cases these days, where the engagement is a bit transparent. I like whacky questions too, you learn a lot about someone in how they can humorize life. I love doing interviews, but questions like what do you sound like? How did the band form? And some like that gets slightly lackluster.

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?

Kay: We’ve played some decidedly questionable venues… not a great time for anyone involved.

Ira: I think there’s always a learning experience. Nothing major comes to mind, however there were times where maybe we could have skipped out on certain shows, or maybe worked on some things in a different manner.

Todd: I lost an amazing opportunity for a management / booking agent deal that would’ve placed my band at the time on some big tours. I was late to the meeting, due to traffic. I’m not late anymore.

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?

Kay: Ministry’s Psalm 69. That was my introduction to what was essentially metal at its core, but brought in so many elements you’d never hear on a Black Sabbath or Pantera record. They may not have been the first, but the kind of associative neural network that can bring so many things together in a cohesive musical structure is astounding. I would have loved to see Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker’s process for that record.

Ira: Ziggy Stardust! I appreciated that album a little later in life, but when I did it just became really special to me. Also David Bowie—who wouldn’t wanna be in a recording session with him?

Todd: There’s so many to choose from! I’ll stick with the Prince theme and say Purple Rain. The musicality and complete vision of that album is electrifying. The landscapes and the ultimate approaches to songwriting and arrangements. The visual cohesiveness and lyrical themes of desire. Every song on that album is necessary to the other, a true romantic concept album. It would’ve been an absolute dream to witness those final takes go to tape. And in the process, maybe learn a thing, or a million.

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?

Kay: Rehearsals, shows, people… and the sense, even if somewhat misguided, that the person you were talking to would still be alive later.

Ira: I do miss playing live. We had a tour lined up before everything happened, so it would have been nice to be able to have done that. I also liked having the option to leave when I did decide to leave my house…

Todd: Live Music, both attending and performing. First, last and always.




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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