SIRENS OF TITAN captures the dust soaking stoner rock of today and added a big amount of the seventies feel to it. The sound, that they created with this well-balanced mix can be found on their self-titled album "Sirens Of Titan". It will immediately catch your attention, because of the variation in styles and the high level of musicianship. Metal Maidens would like to introduce this Minneapolis based band a bit closer to you. Guitarist Sam Rhode, vocalist Felicia Mitchell, drummer Conan Malady and new bass player Al Vorse were kind enough to answer all of our questions and you can find the result below. SIRENS OF TITAN, a name to remember...
When was SIRENS OF TITAN founded and can you please introduce the band members to us?
Sam: “SIRENS OF TITAN was formed in 2005. It was initially a side-project for Conan and I from our other bands. The band members at inception were Sam Rhode on guitar, Matt Duffin on bass and Conan Malady on drums. Felicia Mitchell joined about one and a half years later as lead vocalist. However, as of this writing, Matt Duffin has left the band and has been replaced by Al Vorse on bass. To be clear, Matt is the bassist on the album.”
Who came up with the name SIRENS OF TITAN and why did you actually choose this name?
Sam: “Actually, original bassist Matt Duffin came up with the title. It was taken from the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. novel, The Sirens of Titan. It is interesting to note, that there are people out there who assume the ‘Sirens’ aspect refers to Felicia being a female vocalist. The name was actually chosen well before she came onboard. Its gender specificity is merely one hell of a coincidence.”
Did any of the other members play in other bands as well, before they joined SIRENS OF TITAN, and if yes, in which bands did they play? Did they alsorecord something with these previous bands?
Felicia: “I was in a rockabilly/psychobilly band, that I had formed a few years before meeting the rest of the Titans. Before that, I had been in a progressive metal band, an all-female heavy metal band and did some cover band work with Earl Root – the local DJ, and metal guitar player from AESMA DAEVA. He and I were in a cover band for fun between friends. It was called ON THE ROCKS. We just played locally and classic rock mainly. I recorded a demo with a psychobilly band called THE INFERNALS. We wanted to be like THE HORROR POPS and mesh our love of bad horror movies, sci-fi, and kitsch culture. I have a fondness or rather obsession with horror, sci-fi and the beyond and wanted to have a fun outlet to express that. I have sung many styles and also love blues and jazz.”
Sam: “I was in several bands in my home state of South Dakota, before moving to Minneapolis. The longest running being a half original/half cover band called FLATT EARTH. Upon moving to Minneapolis, I formed SACRED GROUND (BEEF) along with Al Vorse. It was a crazy anything-goes fusion/metal/jazz project and you can look it up on MySpace, if you’re curious.”
Al: “I've been in so many bands, that I've kind of lost track. I was in a band called METABOTS, who later changed their name to VULVOX. It was like funkadelic meets SMASHING PUMPKINS. Labels told us our songs were too long and our vocalist needed work. I was on the road with an up-and-coming country vocalist named Rebecca LeLand for a year. We opened for a few major Nashville acts. Most importantly, Sam and I had a MR. BUNGLE-esque group called SACRED GROUND (BEEF) for three years. When that group ended, Sam formed SIRENS OF TITAN and I mostly played jazz and funk after that.”
Conan: “I have played in a wide variety of bands over the years, many of which weren't much more than stereotypical ‘garage bands, that didn't do much outside of my basement. Note worthy bands I was in are INDEPENDENT PROGRESS, a punk band formerly from Yankton, South Dakota and KWANG, a Minneapolis hard rock band.”
How would you describe the music of SIRENS OF TITAN yourself?
Felicia: “Colossal doom. Layered and epic and for my part, I feel it is very organic and raw. I am allowed to really express my voice with much passion and that is where the raw almost bluesy quality of the music comes out.”
Sam: “My original vision for SIRENS OF TITAN was something that brought together all my favorite elements of doom metal and jazz/blues. The idea was to have something raw, dark, and heavy, yet swinging and alive. Like the old SABBATH records: those guys all came out of jazz, and it shows. Somewhere along the way, metal forgot about that aspect of its inception and the idea here is to put it back. The earlier songs are dirtier, while the more recent stuff is starting to incorporate a more epic aspect, a la CATHEDRAL. I don’t know. I call this stuff doomjazz. You’re welcome to do so as well…”
Al: “So much rock and metal is very stiff and lacking in groove. The fact, that these guys understand the roots of this music - British bands who grew up on American blues and jazz - was a big part of me wanting to join the band. I describe it as ‘metal that swings’.”
Conan: “It's hard for me to put it into words. I generally use references of other bands, such as CLUTCH, KYUSS and early BLACK SABBATH melted into one.”
Is it still possible for a band to be original, in a time where there is an overflow of bands? And in which aspect does SIRENS OF TITAN differ from the rest of these other bands?
Felicia: “There is always time to be original. There is always time to stop and question everything and I think that is where originality begins. Musicians have to first and foremost identify themselves or rather probe within to find out what is it they want to communicate in their music. It’s nothing to just want to strap on a guitar and play because you want to just play. Join a cover band for that and that is fine. But if you are trying to find invent something, you have to know exactly what it is you are trying to get across. It starts out very basic and primitive and involves you, your instrument, a sheet of paper and a pen. Nothing else. We can’t help being influenced by what we love around us, but ultimately it’s you facing your own creative limits and kind of letting the doors open up on that and what your ‘voice’ is. I feel, we are different in that we love to experiment and though we may see ourselves within the hard rock/metal genre, we do not want to paint ourselves in a corner with it. We wish to mix up the timing, the styles, and the content. I believe collectively as are never happy with just one style and it shows in our individual tastes. It’s become second nature.”
Sam: “Actually, I thought for a long time that it was impossible to be original, unless you were being utterly bizarre all the time. That to be unique, you had to have crazy time signatures and angular melodies and dissonant harmony. Then I found out KING CRIMSON beat me to the punch thirty years ago. I think, originality is entirely possible and that its possible within the same old boxes, that have been around since Bach. The key is to find your own corner of the box, explore a vein that hasn’t been mined too deep. The idea isn’t to have every chord and melody defy conventional theory; rather it is to create cohesive songs that take you somewhere new or at least take you somewhere old by another route. And hey, stepping outside the box is great, but you’d damn well better have a reason.”
Who can we see as your musical influences and maybe we can also name some influences of each band member individually here?
Felicia: “My personal influences are no strangers to the scene. My vocal gods, if you will, are Geoff Tate, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Mike Patton, Warrel Dane and Joe Lynn Turner. As for female influences, I have always been drawn to unique female vocalists, that defied stereotypes. They were not necessarily thought of us female vocalists. Nina Hagen, Siouxie Sioux, Kate Bush, Jane Childs and Toya Wilcox were all heavy influences on me and are such individuals not only in their music, but in their person. They are pioneers and I am grateful for standing their ground and communicating to the audiences that they will not be defined by their sex and what it means to be a female singer.”
Sam: “My influences are BLACK SABBATH, CLUTCH, CATHEDRAL, KYUSS, FATES WARNING, Django Reinhardt, Birelli Lagrene, John Mc Laughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Vernon Reid and LIVING COLOUR, Tom Morello and RATM, BOB DYLAN, RUSH, IRON MAIDEN, ENTOMBED. MR. BUNGLE / FAITH NO MORE / FANTOMAS / TOMAHAWK / PEEPING TOM. Connect those dots and you’ll get Mike Patton. Furthermore BAD RELIGION, WILLIE NELSON and SLAYER.”
Al: “I'm all over the map musically. A lot of my bass playing influences come from 60s R'n'B and jazz, like James Jamerson at Motown, Chuck Rainey and Jerry Jemmott at Atlantic, Duck Dunn at Stax. Ray Brown was my inspiration for playing upright bass and studying jazz. As far as rock, my favorite stuff is from the early 90s. Maybe you'd call it hard alternative? LIVING COLOUR, JANE’S ADDICTION, FISHBONE, FAITH NO MORE, PRIMUS, RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS and SOUNDGARDEN. I should also mention JIMI HENDRIX, CREAM, LED ZEPPELIN and RUSH. That just scratches the surface for me, there's a lot more.”
Conan: “I believe, I'm the only one in the band, that really didn't listen to a whole lot of metal growing up. My roots are more in the punk scene from having played punk music for so many years, going on tour with my old band and being exposed to so many amazing underground punk bands along the way. I also did play in a jazz band in high school and learned a wide variety of styles of music during that period of my life. I have a very eclectic taste in music and it would be hard to name so many bands here. As of late I have been listening to AGAINST ME!, SOCIAL DISTORTION and GAS LIGHT ANTHEM.”
In the CD booklet we saw Sam mention his Holy Trinity consisting of Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH), Vernon Reid (LIVING COLOUR) and John McLaughlin (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA). I reckon there are quite some variation in music styles here. Maybe he can give a short explanation about his choices here?
Sam: “Well, I’m glad you asked. Tony Iommi, because the man invented metal. Not only that, but he came from jazz. He’s a huge DJANGO fan. You can hear some flat out jazz jams on early SABBATH bootlegs. His phrasing, his melodic approach…all huge. He’s still the best metal guitarist ever, not because he’s the fastest or anything like that, but because he has the ideas. The riffs, man, the riffs.. John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra more or less rewired my brain, when I was seventeen. I had so many ‘You can do that?!!’ moments, while listening to “Birds of Fire”, that things were never the same again. His guitar playing is virtuosic, full of fire and utterly fearless. This guy held his own with MILES DAVIS. Enough said. And Vernon Reid. First off, let me say, that I think he’s the closest thing we’ve got to a second coming of HENDRIX. His unbridled creativity is second only to Jimi in rock guitar. Except he’s not really rock. The real genius of Vernon Reid and LIVING COLOUR is how they managed to more or less make fusion listenable to the masses. Vernon’s guitar playing is insane, employing all kinds of avante scales and tonalities. Yet, it manages to augment and propel LIVING COLOUR’s songs, rather than stand outside them. In some ways, Reid is a synthesis of the first two, Iommi and McLaughlin.”
How did the press react on your debut album so far?
Felicia: “Positive all the way around. We are quite touched by the warm reception we have received. It is validation for people being able to get what we are about and not feel isolated or alienated by our style.”
Were there any negative reactions as well, and if yes how do you deal
with negative criticism in general?
Felicia: “We really have not heard any negatives pertaining to the CD. At least none that I can think of. It’s been great!”
Can you tell us how you created the songs/ideas for this album? Please
tell us about your writing process and its different stages.
Felicia: “It’s really a Lennon and McCartney (THE BEATLES) partnership. Sam creates the structure and I fill in the blanks by creating the melody, tone, and lyrics. Well, Sam creates the tone and I guess, that I fine tune it. I have vocal ideas up and down the place, but I do not play in instrument myself so my communication with him is very primitive and old school. A lot of the songs and song structures existed before I signed on to the band. Collectively, we merged pieces here, edited and revamped them into other songs or there were songs that were completely finished, except for the melody and words. More or less my contribution can be the last part of the process. Sometimes I need to hear and understand what everyone wants to get across, before I basically put a ‘frame’ on the picture. Sometimes, I will add the melody right away, while at other times I sit back and listen to what the piece is evolving into.”
Sam: “The writing process tends to be me writing the individual parts of the songs first, then bringing them in with a loose structure. At that point the rest of the band, particularly Conan, jumps in with arrangement ideas. We get the structure pretty close to finalized, and then Felicia takes the song and puts vocals and lyrics over the top of it. It is really to me an ideal dynamic. My main interest in this band is writing music, writing riffs, and Felicia’s ability to work with my music is something of a godsend. I spent years listening to singers tell me, that my music was too weird to sing over. Felicia came in and (seemingly) effortlessly proved them all wrong. I also love working with Conan, as he has insights into the music that never would have occurred to me. And I should also mention, that Al Vorse (the new bass player) is a hell of a guy to work with collaboratively and I look forward to his contributions going forward. There is one notable exception to this blueprint; to give credit where credit is due, original bassist Matt Duffin wrote the bulk of the basic music for “Lothario”. I did some tweaking and added a few things, but that sucker’s mainly Matt.”
Why did you release the album independently? Didn't you want to be
rejected by record labels, or do you want to hold all cards in your own
hands and you don't have to make any concessions at all?
Felicia: “I think, we are very fiercely independent and wanted complete control on this one. At least that’s my take on it. The best way to do something is to do it yourself, so why not press forward. And it has worked. We have people from Brussels, Britain, Spain, as well as Iowa buying it, so it must have worked. I just do not know, that I personally am ready to try and tackle the massive juggernaut that is the commercial music industry. It’s not that I think they would not be receptive to our music, it’s just such a faceless monster with many tentacles. If someone from a decent label that really supports independent bands wishes to speak with us, obviously we will see what they have to say.”
Sam: “Making and releasing the album independently was a matter of practicality for us. Being a new band, finding someone to finance the album, i.e. a label, seemed unlikely and in this day and age, an original band without a CD is dead in the water. It was the next logical step to make the album, so we did. There wasn’t really much thought put into why we were doing it independently; it just seemed like what needed to be done. As far as holding all the cards goes, yes, we do want creative control of our work. Every aspect of this recording was overseen and approved by the entire band, and that is a good feeling.”
Conan: “Coming from the punk DIY scene, doing everything ourselves seemed like the most logical and best feasible option to get the thing put out there.”
Wasn't it extremely difficult to do everything by yourself, and what was
the most difficult part in the making, recording and releasing of 'Sirens Of
Felicia: “For me, the difficult part was just working with the engineer and trying to communicate what sound I was trying to go for. Everything else really fell into place. If I had to do it all over again, I would have pushed for more control on the mixing side. But now I know and I have that experience and can go into it the next time with a greater understanding of what I need.”
Sam: “Hmmm. I’d say the most difficult part for me was coordinating everything, the music, the mixing, the artwork, the layout, the printing, etc. Outside of the actual recording, I handled most of that stuff, admittedly of my own volition. It was a lot of work, but I learned so much more than I ever could have if I’d let someone else do it. Most of it went pretty smooth, though. Like Felicia said, we had some issues with communication with the engineer in the recording process, but that’s the sort of thing that goes with doing it on your own, and on a very tight (small) budget.”
Maybe there are a few songs that you would like to explain a little bit
more (the lyrcis in '43' for example)?
Felicia: “Funny and glad you asked. Well, “43” is an ode to the 43rd President of the United States. Bet you can guess, who that is. The tempo of the song is so positive and I started to think about our ‘Chief’ and the plight of our country and this pioneer, cowboy, riding the dusty trail theme came over me. I started to think about how he and his daddy could invade undiscovered countries all for the greater good in the spirit of the Old West (being that they are both Texans). It’s all sarcastic of course and certainly not a compliment, but I could hear this sarcastic and rousing song of the Old West almost like a battle cry or a hymn. They firmly believe it’s all for the greater good and I wanted to convey this dysfunctional mindset and write a political song that maybe is not so obvious to the audience. At no time do I make reference to him or daddy and at no time do I say anything overly political, but it’s there.”
Who was responsible for the artwork on your debut CD? Why did you choose this painting, which also reminded me (next to your musical influences) of CATHEDRAL.
Sam: “The artwork was conceived and painted by Jana Pare, a very talented local artist. We didn’t choose the paintings; they were actually created for the album. The back cover is a study of an older classical piece, and the front is a kaleidoscope. The idea was to play up the feminine aspect of the Sirens of Greek mythology. Also, Titan is a moon of Saturn, so images of Saturn are prominent. As to the fetus in the planet and moon, well, Jana put that into the back cover painting first; it was not initially on the front. I saw it on the back and immediately thought it needed to be on the front as well. There is an obvious imagistic reference to the “Star Baby” from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was not deliberate or originally intended that way, but it is interesting to note that in the Arthur C. Clarke novel, the story actually takes place around Saturn, as opposed to the movie, where Jupiter is used. And hell, since Titan’s a moon of Saturn, well, it was another happy coincidence. It’s kind of interesting: there are a lot of coincidences surrounding the way the artwork came together.”z
Where can people buy your CD? Please promote SIRENS OF TITAN here for free!!
“The CD can be purchased at the following outlets:
Stores in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: Cheapo Records, The Electric Fetus and Treehouse Records
Online: Amazon.com, Heaven and Hell Records, TheEndRecords.com, CDBaby.com
Or our favorite, directly from the band at live shows and our websites:
http://www.sirensoftitan.net and www.myspace.com/sirensong.”
What's your favorite SIRENS OF TITAN song and why?
Felicia: “There are two newer songs of mine, that I currently love and we hope to have them on the next CD. Those are “Anathemic” and “WR-104”, which is named after the Wolf-Rayett binary star and an interest to me personally. It’s a star in space, that is spinning at a fast rate to our planet and is essentially eating other stars that cross its path. How metal is that? On the CD, my favorites are “Dancing Methusaleh”, “Saltonaut” and “Hang Me Twice.” Why? Hmmmm. Sorry, but they just all rock and are very emotional in content. They allow me to purge vocally like I am exorcising demons. And that’s always good. They challenge me vocally and I am always up for that. They strike a chord with me emotionally and that is the bonus.”
Sam: “Right now, I’d say my favorite to play is “Anathemic,” which isn’t on the album, but rules (our next record is going to be even better, people: mark my words!!). On the album, I’d say ”Washed Away” (also still one of my favorites to play live), “43” and “Saltonaut.” A dark horse is “Canvas,” which is stylistically a little different than the rest of the album, but really came out well on the recording.”
Al: “I should point I was a big fan of these songs before I was asked to join the group. Now I get to play them, which is a real treat. I always liked "Lothario", because it has this twisted disco/funk-from-another-planet vibe on the intro. Then just goes into all out heaviness, grooving hard the whole time. "Hang Me Twice" and "Thetan Audit" are songs I thought were cool before I joined, but once I learned how to play them, I liked them even more.”
Conan: “I like playing them all, as long as it’s on stage! I would have to say, that I do like our newer stuff, that’s not on the current album, a lot more.”
How important is the internet for a band like SIRENS OF TITAN and where can people find you?
Felicia: “The internet is ridiculously important. I cannot express that enough. Meeting people is one thing, but conversing with them, forming bonds and finding out who they are makes a huge difference. Because then later when you actually do meet them, which we have – one guy drove from across two states to see us – it makes a big difference. The internet is such a community based (of the people, by the people) playground and it has been invaluable to us.”
Sam: “We’re dead in the water without the internet. We’re independent working stiffs and we’ve got no label backing or outside financing (as of yet). The internet allows us to promote and sell within our budget, which, again, is small. We’ve sent CDs all over the world, something we never could have done pre-internet. Where can people find us? Well, we come up fifth in a Google search. Not too shabby. If you want to bypass that, hit either of our websites: http://www.sirensoftitan.net or http://www.myspace.com/sirensong.”
Do you do all the internet stuff yourself as well, or do you outsource
Sam: “Original bassist Matt Duffin built the website, http://www.sirensoftitan.net, and he still maintains it for us. We were lucky to have a budding web designer in the band. Most bands would have to pay through the nose for that kind of thing. Matt also did the layout for the myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/sirensong), but I do the maintenance on it these days.”
Conan:”I do IT work during the day, so I actually host the website from my home server, which brings the cost down to really pennies a month.”
Do you have other hobbies or interests besides playing music in a band?
Felicia: “Me personally, I love movies. I am a huge horror, sci-fi, exploitation movie fanatic and a huge collector. I am a horror geek of the highest order and have been on message boards and have made friends with horror fiends across the globe. I am most relaxed, when I am watching a bunch of horror movies with a good beer and food. I have been this way since about age five. I love action figures. I am also big into art – all forms. I love hot rods and custom cars. I love Japanese culture. I love dark beer. I also love the outdoors.”
Sam: “I love movies and literature. I have eyes and an English degree. I tend to read more highbrow stuff, but I’m not below the occasional Stephen King novel. I’m also not below the not-so-occasional whiskey; high end bourbon is indeed a friend of mine.”
Al: “Like Felicia, I love horror and sci-fi. I may be a little more old-school though. I'm also a bit of a TV historian. I love the great TV comics of the fifties, like Ernie Kovacs and Sid Caesar. I've spent most of my life never caring about sports, however this past winter, I developed a passion for NBA basketball. It’s hard to explain. I actually see a lot of parallels between basketball and music, especially jazz. The city we live in has a pretty lame team (for now), but I really admire Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns.”
Conan: “I am a total computer geek. When I'm not getting paid to work on computers, I'm generally home doing something with Linux.”
What can people expect from the live shows of SIRENS OF TITAN?
Felicia: “Intense, loud and passionate performances. We may not have fire or fog or lots of laser lights, but we are a tinderbox of emotion.”
Sam: “Heavy and more heavy, plenty of dynamic. Four people putting their all into the music. Felicia and Conan are very visual performers, where I tend to be more in the Tony Iommi vein of standing there and getting the job done. Usually in a black shirt.”
Al: “Skull implosion.”
Conan: “We put our blood, sweat, and tears into every performance, whether it be for two or two thousand people, you won't be disappointed. It is always nice to play with a completely opposite style of band and then have them and their fans come up and say how much they enjoyed us.”
Do you use any show elements during your live gigs?
Felicia: “No, but I would love to. Maybe some day. I would so love to be perched on top of some castle with flames and gargoyles and costume changes…..Hey, I can dream right?”
Al: “I always though seeing a group of people on stage, who are passionate about what they are doing and really getting into it - regardless of the genre - is a show in itself.”
Do you play any cover songs on stage, and if yes, which covers do you
Felicia: “We used to do BLACK SABBATH “Snowblind” and have not done that for awhile. There are a couple covers, we wish to bring out and work into the set and make them our own though.”
With which bands did you share the stage already?
Everybody: “JOEY BELLADONNA, DORO, ZEBULON PIKE, VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, EPICA, VAINGLORY, ALL THE PRETTY HORSES…to name a few.”
Did you learn anything from well-known bands like DORO, VISIONS OF
ATLANTIS and our good friends VAINGLORY?
Felicia: “I personally got to email Kate French from VAINGLORY a few times and talk shop with her and it was amazing. It felt like a kindred spirit. She is simply an amazing singer and person and to share some stories with her and see her enthusiasm for what she does is inspiring. From the rest of the bands, that I have worked with, I guess if I have learned anything it is to just completely give it all you got on stage. You must first and foremost enjoy yourself and realize the people are looking to you for the answers and so you cannot become self-conscious or freaked out in a way that all eyes are on you. They are there because they know you have something to offer and to share with them so harnessing that energy and showing them you are very into it, is vital. That is the kind of energy that people feed off of and it is reciprocal.”
We also noticed, that you have been playing live together with our Dutch pride EPICA. Where and when was that and what do you remember from that experience?
Sam: “Well, we shared the stage with them, but we didn’t get to meet them. To be honest, no one in our band was very familiar with EPICA at the time of that performance; it was one of our earlier shows, and we mainly knew Melissa from VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. EPICA put on a great show, though.”
Are there any funny stories to tell our readers about things that happened on stage or during a tour?
Felicia: “The only kind of funny thing I can think of is playing a ‘Day of the Dead’ show and I made all of my band members up as zombies, because I was determined I was going to wear my zombie gear, which I do very well. There was a costume contest at the end of the night and even though I was in one of the bands that performed, I still won. Got a free tattoo out of it. I am pretty dedicated.”
Al: “I really wish I had been in the band at the time for that one.”
Conan: “I don't have anything funny for this band, but I have puked while playing and nearly passed out from heat exhaustion playing a tiny skate shop in Sioux City Iowa.”
With which band would you like to go on tour, if you could pick any band of your choice?
Felicia: Wow. I don’t’ even know where to begin. QUEENSRYCHE, IRON MAIDEN, TOOL, any band Mike Patton wants us to tour with, AUDIOSLAVE, MASTODON, NIN, CLUTCH, SIOUXIE & THE BANSHEES, FEAR FACTORY. Shall I go on?”
Sam: “CATHEDRAL, CLUTCH, LIVING COLOUR. Those are my top.”
Al: “The Mahavishnu Orchestra reunion tour, LIVING COLOUR.”
Conan: “CLUTCH and HANDS DOWN.”
What do you like better: playing live on stage or composing new songs in the studio?
Felicia: “Live. I can’t help it. I thrive on the energy. If we had our own personal studio, then I am sure we would get into recording more.”
Sam: “Recording is still a pretty harrowing process for me, but I do love creating new songs. Hearing a new song come together the way I’ve been hearing it in my head is one of the most satisfying things about making music for me. I also love playing live, but I do think for me, the act of creating takes top billing.”
Al: “Playing live!”
Conan: ”I crave the energy from a live performance.”
What is the metal scene like in the Minneapolis area, where you come from? Are there any good clubs where you can play live?
Felicia: “The metal scene is small, but very dedicated. There is strength in numbers and these people are huge fans and support so many shows. The newspapers however do not support it like they should. If they got behind more heavy metal bands and wrote about them, interviewed them like you are us (which is great we thank you for this), then more people would be aware of what is out there. It is a sad thing when your own state does not write about you and here you guys are asking us questions. It’s an honor, but it is also sad that the critics and newspapers will not give you the time if you are not connected or know the right person. Metal in Minnesota needs to be exposed more. The great clubs to play are First Avenue, The Triple Rock, and Club Underground. Those are my personal choices.”
Sam: “Like Felicia said, the scene is small, but dedicated. There is sort of a bias against metal in the Minneapolis scene at large. The major entertainment papers tend to only cover a few bands that meet their hipster criteria, and the rest of the scene is either ignored or ridiculed. That’s not to say inroads can’t be made, but it is definitely important in this scene for a band like ours to find support outside the metal community. Otherwise you are limited in what you can accomplish.”
Al: “Like Felicia said, metal is sadly under-represented in the press here. They seem more intent on finding the next Replacements.”
Which other, well-known bands come from the area, where you live?
Felicia: “AESMA DAEVA, ZEBULON PIKE and ALL THE PRETTY HORSES.”
Al: “Metal-wise POWERMAD is probably the biggest band to come out of here. They were big in the late eighties/early nineties. Other than that, you have your whole HUSKER DU / REPLACEMENS /SOUL ASYLUM scene. And don't forget PRINCE.”.
Sam: “Don’t forget SLAVE RAIDER, Al!”
What are the future plans for SIRENS OF TITAN (on the long and short term, please)?
Felicia: “Short run: to get as much exposure as possible this summer. Write some more great material. Long run: world domination and a really cool hot rod.”
Sam: “Short term: to keep playing, keep writing and keep building our following. We’re looking forward to creating new material with new bassist Al Vorse.Long term: the sky’s the limit. Like I’ve said, we are an independent band full of working class folk, so touring and the like are hard things to think about without some sort of outside backing, whether that be a label or promoter or whatever. We will be sending out demos and seeing what happens.”
Al: “Hitting the road.”
Felicia, do you think, that women in rock and metal still need the kind of recognition 'zines like Metal Maidens give to them?
Felicia: “Yes and yes. It is a blessing that your magazine addresses this. I do not consider myself a sweet and sassy and typical woman and I do not believe female vocalists should allow themselves to be stereotyped. A lot of mainstream magazines and newspapers can play this up a lot. What I love about metal or hard rock vocalists is so many of them do not present their art in safe forms. They wish to defy what is safe and when writers can see this and become curious about it, it helps us. It helps communicate to the masses we are here, we are wanting to be heard, we may not be making pop albums or selling out and playing in shopping malls but we are demanding to be heard.”
Our on-line magazine is based in Holland (or the Netherlands, if you like). What else do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have colourful tulips and beautiful windmills?
Felicia: “LOL. Very funny. I know you embrace art and music fully and I love that!”
Sam: “The impressive dike system. Yes, I’m an infrastructure geek.”
Felicia, do you also play an instrument, next to singing? If yes, which instrument do you play?
Felicia: “I only play around with the piano here and there. Nothing big though. My instrument is mainly biological and that is enough of a challenge.”
Are there any important gigs on the agenda for SIRENS OF TITAN?
Felicia: “In July, we are playing for Troma-palooza – an independent film festival. If you have heard of the bad but great movies “The Toxic Avenger”, “Class of Nuke Em High” and “Cannibal the Musical”, they were made by Troma. We are playing this outdoor music festival for it here in Minneapolis. I am very happy about that. We are also playing a very important CD release show for an independent solo artist here, that is getting a lot of attention, Owen Sartori. The show is at this beautiful club here in Minneapolis, called Trocadero’s.”
Do you have any plans of playing at the European continent or is it still too early for that?
Felicia: “Wow. I wish. If you know of anyone that wants to sponsor us, send them our way. We would love to go.”
What's the best thing about being in a band? And maybe there is an inferior side too, that you can mention here?
Felicia: “Creative expression that feeds the soul. It is the best.”
Sam: “The best? Creating music. Pounding out a new song and going, wow, that never existed before. The worst? Keeping it all together. I’ve always joked that being in a band is like being in a romantic relationship, only you’ve got three people to keep happy instead of one. It is a tricky thing to find a group of people as accomplished as the ones I work with, and have them all get along as well as they do on top of that. I feel damn lucky to be working with everyone in this band.”
Al: “Making good music with great people. Also a sort of catharsis happens, when you play loud heavy music.”
Conan: “The best thing I would say is playing shows, but it’s tough sometimes to balance work with playing at a club until 2AM.”
What are your plans for the next SIRENS OF TITAN album? Are you most likely going to release it independently again, or are you looking for a suitable record label to release your second album?
Sam: “I honestly can’t say whether it will be independent or not. If we can find a label to help us out, I’d be all for it. These things aren’t cheap to make, and we of course want the next one to sound even better than the first. Right now, though, we’re not really thinking about it. We’re still fresh into pushing the current album, and it will be a little while before we even have enough material for another CD.”
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Felicia: “Please support independent artists. Step outside of the box and explore what is out there. Not every great band has videos or is signed on to a major label. They have to work very hard. Just keep expanding your mind and being open to new forms. I would love to hear from them personally, so they may drop me a line and let me know what they think, what they want to see and what they think I need to pay attention to. So please write away!”
Sam: “Felicia said it best. The fact that you, the reader, are even reading this story suggests, that you’re a person who looks outside the norm for great new music. Keep doing it! Bands like ours need these sort of outlets to compete in today’s crazy-ass music market.”
Is there something you would like to add to this interview. Maybe there
is something we forgot to mention here, that is essential for the story of
SIRENS OF TITAN, so far? Maybe a last newsflash?
Sam: “Last words, eh? Well, since the interview is for Metal Maidens and aimed at the female-metal audience, I personally would like to stress that we are a metal band that happens to have a female singer. So much of the female metal scene is centered around using sex to sell the music, and putting all the emphasis on the next pseudo-goth EVANESCENCE clone, and we certainly aren’t that. In our case, we are a band of equals who play together because we fit together. Felicia’s incredible voice was the right voice for this band; she knew it and we knew it, the first time we all played together. We had not been specifically seeking a female vocalist. As a matter of fact, we sort of assumed we’d end up with a man, just because that’s how most metal is. When Felicia showed up and opened her mouth, that assumption went out the window like a brick tied to an anvil. Gender was pretty much immediately rendered irrelevant; musical chemistry was what counted. I think, in attempting to understand this band, it is key to realize that we are just that, a band. A band of dedicated musicians making great music together. We’re not trying to ride a trend here, and I think it shows. I also think it’s the reason that we’ve garnered so much respect from a lot people who normally don’t take female-fronted metal seriously. The fact that we’re a full-on band, instead of just some guys backing up a pretty face, is what allows our music to punch holes in people’s preconceptions about us specifically and women in metal in general. As such, I hope to see more female metal musicians out there presented the same way, as equals, and not just exotic birds.”
Visit their website at: www.sirensoftitan.org
or My Space: www.myspace.com/sirensong