Riding on The Edges Of Heavy Metal....

Let me start by telling you, that CHRISTIAN MISTRESS is NOT a Christian metal band, a white metal band or whatsoever. We made this stupid mistake after linking to their name, but we’d like to have this cleared up once and for all. Besides that, it’s quite obvious, that CHRISTIAN MISTRESS is one of the new, very talented metal bands from the US (Olympia, Washington, to be precisely) at the moment. Their album “Agony & Opium” has been one of the very best releases for 2010 in our humble opinion. All the more reason to introduce you a bit closer to Christine Davis, the front lady of CHRISTIAN MISTRESS. If heavy guitars and wild, powerful metal are your thing, than I’d suggest to read the next interview very carefully. You may the first one to read about these new talents, before they really get big and now you know why!

When did CHRISTIAN MISTRESS get together as a band and how did you meet up?
Christine Davis: “CHRISTIAN MISTRESS have been playing together for only two years (we began in the fall of 2008) as a band, but Ryan and Oscar had already been working out guitar riffs and a few songs a year before they approached Reuben and Jonny to join the band. I had been thinking about starting a new band and knew that I wanted to play music with Reuben and I liked the way Oscar and Ryan played guitar, so it was easy to get CHRISTIAN MISTRESS off the ground. From there we have continued to be committed to the music with the same line up so far. We all met, because we live in such a small town. It is impossible to not know everyone. We are really lucky to have this band in a town with so few people. The only downside is, if someone decides to move away….. Who would replace them?? No one! I became friends with Reuben and Jonny, while working as a bartender. They would come in and DJ for the bar. I loved their attitude and taste in music.”

Who are your most important influences and maybe you can also tell us about the main influences of each band member individually?

How would you describe the music of CHRISTIAN MISTRESS yourself?
Christine Davis: “CHRISTIAN MISTRESS…. a cyclone in the mind’s eye. A riff, that could make you die: precarious, ravaging, all-surrounding.”

Christine, you played in a band, called BURIED BLOOD. What kind of music did you play and did you release anything with them?
Christine Davis: “We were a band from Portland, Oregon, that existed from 2004 - 2007. BURIED BLOOD was a really important project to me, because it was started as a reaction to our former band BLOOD RED SKY breaking up. We felt we could be free to make exactly the kind of music, that stirred us and that was doom influenced heavy metal/punk with double kick drum style. There are songs of BURIED BLOOD up on the internet, that you can listen to on a My Space page (www.myspace.com/buriedblood). In 2007 we recorded an album, that we planned on releasing, but our benefactor for the release blew all the album money on cocaine, so the record never came out. We broke up shortly after that, because of volatile personality conflicts.”

Who writes the lyrics for CHRISTIAN MISTRESS and what are they about?
Christine Davis: “I wrote all the lyrics on “Agony & Opium” and the “Mother Of Mercy/Hereafter” single, but Oscar had completed two songs from our demo with lyrics, before I joined the band, so I used his ideas for the songs “Never Let Go” and “Black Out”. The lyrics are about a lot of different topics, such as our lives, mind trips, hurt, drugs, love, anger, seeking, ritual, patterns, chaos and being chained to heavy metal. I try to use my voice as an instrument and Oscar often writes guitar parts with room for the vocals to form the right sound for the song. I write all the vocal melodies too and we spend a good bit of time making the songs be strong entities unto themselves.”

What’s your favorite CHRISTIAN MISTRESS song and why?
Christine Davis: “Desert Rose” is pretty high on my list. I love it, because it has such a killer opening with the drums spaced out and the heavy guitar chords that pulse in. The vibe is dark and mid-tempo, the lyrics are loosely based on a description of the mind in a lucid dream state. High above the falcon's crest, make way for earth's unrest, soaring on a razor line, legacy of our demise, you are not just what is seen, fill the cup-the burden's beast. All those who speak your doom, lash out with no relent. Oh, what you see could burn out my eyes, in many ways I am lost desert rose.”

What was the biggest gig, that you played so far and do you have any plans of coming over to Europe in the near future?
Christine Davis: “We haven't played too many big shows yet. I think Chicago was a big turnout and the Brooklyn show we played on tour had a great turnout. I know we are playing some bigger festivals in 2011 and we are really hoping to tour in Europe to support our 2nd LP maybe in August or September.”

Do you also play covers on stage or do you just stick to your own penned material?
Christine Davis: “We did play “Teen Archer” by BLUE OYSTER CULT on stage, but that was a one time thing. Since then, we have been wanting to cover the song “Possession” by FAITH, but have never had the attention span to work out all the intricacies of it. It is in a completely different tuning too, so that has made it really difficult. In general, we prefer to write and perform our own songs.”

Are there any funny stories, that you want to share with our readers about live on the road or things that happened when you were on stage with the band?
Christine Davis: “Our most recent U.S. tour was great! Everything worked out fine with no equipment or van problems for the whole thirty-five day tour! Touring with Joe Preston (THRONES) was the best part. He is hilarious, easy to hang out with and gave us a lot of good advice for the tour and in life! Texas was pretty bizarre. I had never been there and it really is different. It has like its own country, which I loved, because all the states in the U.S. start to seem the same day after day. It is different from Europe, where there are different languages and influence in shorter driving differences. In Texas, we camped under the stars in the desert on a day off, swam in a real desert oasis and played the weirdest show of the tour in El Paso, Texas. We had split off from Joe for a couple of days, while he went to a friend’s wedding. The show was peppered with about twenty metalheads and we had a ridiculous guarantee--really three times the amount of our regular guarantee. The only thing was we had to wait two weeks to cash a personal check from the promoter. Of course he was really creepy about it all and we thought he was lying. It was just too strange, that he would give us so much money for such a lame show. I am talking of a bar with no PA and weird new metal bands, where the singer of one of the bands slammed his mic so hard into his forehead, that he started bleeding profusely and being really dramatic about it. It was amazing in a totally awful but hilarious way. Anyways, the check actually cleared and we lived to tell about it. Was it worth the show? I think yes, but the memory is funnier to us than it actually felt at the time.”

What’s the metal scene like in Olympia (Washington, USA) and are there many clubs, where you can play?
Christine Davis: “In Olympia there really isn't a big metal scene, I think of the metal scene as being the whole of the Pacific Northwest and some bands in San Francisco. We rarely play live shows in Olympia, because there is almost nowhere to play. We typically go to nearby bigger cities to play shows. I am from Portland, so sometimes that city (two hours away from Olympia) feels like the metal scene, that I identify most with. Bands like THE GUILD, DRUDEN and DANAVA. WOLVES In THE THRONEROOM and BONE SICKNESS are the other metal bands in Olympia, besides CHRISTIAN MISTRESS. We have a lot of bands, that we are in good relations with in Olympia, that play hardcore and punk music, too. SONSKULL, HPP and WHITE BOSS come to mind. Also, there is a big movement in the Pacific Northwest for performance ritual art, such as the group FAUNA. Acoustic black metal bands are getting some attention too such as RIVER, VRADIAZEI and ALDA. It is hard to set up shows for touring bands in Olympia, because the scene is so small here. Often the crowd that comes to see us is only interested in watching the local bands and they might leave to go to the bar next door while an out of town band plays. Hey, I have seen it happen. If we can set up a party or non-bar venue for a show, we prefer to go that route in Olympia. House shows, art spaces, barns in the woods - those are the places we choose to play here.”

Christine, we are a webzine focused on the female musicians in the (hard) rock and (heavy) metal scene. Do you feel, that women still need the attention, that we like to give to them or do you think that you already get the recognition that you deserve?
Christine Davis: “I think women get attention in heavy music, but I live on the West Coast and here it is very normal for women to play amazing heavy metal and hard rock. Of course, there are more men doing this, but women have a strong presence in the northwest metal scene. Sometimes I feel that the whole women vs. men in music thing gets perpetuated by people always talking about it like it's this "thing", where if we could just get past all the guilt about who does what and what gender they are, we could be more free. I am really interested in being free in everything I do. It bothers me, when show promoters make a big deal out of the fact I am a woman and write things like "female-fronted..." on the show fliers, as if it is this amazing feat of prowess that a woman can actually do this? It's condescending and obnoxious.”

Our webzine is based in The Netherlands (or Holland, if you like). What else do you know about our country besides the fact that we have colorful tulips and beautiful windmills?
Christine Davis: “I have heard from other musicians that have toured Europe that The Netherlands is their favorite country to tour in, because the music venues are way better than anywhere else in Europe. Just yesterday a friend, that tours in Europe often, said that Holland is a special place and it's just different. So now I have high expectations for CHRISTIAN MISTRESS, when we tour over there! Other than that, I have been to Amsterdam and the countryside around the city. It is a really beautiful and relaxed place. I loved it, when I traveled through ten years ago….”

What are the future plans of CHRISTIAN MISTRESS for the short and long term, please?
Christine Davis: “Our only band philosophy is to write the best music we possibly can. Now we are focusing on writing songs for our next album and we would like to tour Europe in late summer of 2011, but haven't figured out how to make that possible yet. In the midst of writing and recording our next record, we are playing a show with LUDICRA on January 1, 2011 in Portland and planning on playing at the South by Southwest Music Festival in March 2011, Austin, TX. So that is our schedule. As for the future, we want to travel all over the world and play with other bands, that we love. We hope to not just join the ranks of bands that get locked in to restricting record contracts and for that goal we have already turned down one big record offer.”

Are you already working on new material right now and if yes, what will it sound like, comparing to “Agony & Opium”?
Christine Davis: “The new record will probably be faster and darker. We all have listened to “Agony & Opium” since going on tour with those songs and the album sounds slow to us. There will be more songs on the next record and the production will be different, because we are graduating from our usual 4-track recording process. We hope the over all sound will be a lot bigger and with the combination of analog and more track options, we should be able to achieve that.”

Where can people buy your EP/album, if they’re interested? Do you have a website? You can advertise for free here….
Christine Davis: “Agony & Opium” is technically an LP. Why? Because we say it is! Now here is Dave from 20 Buck Spin's take on the LP versus EP confusion from the 20 Buck Spin website (http://www.20buckspin.com), where you can buy our record: We must reiterate that despite the media trying to tell a different story, 20 Buck Spin and CHRISTIAN MISTRESS all consider “Agony & Opium” a FULL LENGTH LP and not an EP. Other under 30 minute LPs: “Reign In Blood” (SLAYER), “Legion” (DEICIDE) and “Victim In Pain” (AGNOSTIC FRONT). An LP captures a certain spirit, NOT a certain length of time or number of songs! The band will ring in the new year with a show on Jan. 1 in Portland with LUDICRA and ATRIARCH. We also have a website where we spew our filth onto the world. It is http://www.christianmistress.com.”

Who created the band logo with the four M’s connected to each other? Does it have a certain meaning, please explain...
Christine Davis: “Reuben christened that logo for CHRISTIAN MISTRESS, but it is an old symbol for the Virgin Mary - the original christian mistress, I suppose. We like it, because it has strong imagery, that draws the eye in and confuses the seer.”

Christine, you are a very desirable front lady in the heavy metal scene nowadays. Did you ever had the experience, that male fans wanted more from you after a show than just a smile or an autograph or don’t you get much marriage requests?
Christine Davis: “Yes, there are creeps everywhere, but it is not just a result of being on stage in a band. Women everywhere, in the audience, behind the bar, on the street, experience unwanted advances from men. For me as a musician, I have a ‘don't touch me, unless I touch you’ policy, which I make very clear while performing. If I am close with the audience, often someone will try to touch me, often some kind of petting on the shoulder. It is just normal for someone enjoying the music to want to get closer to the person performing and I understand that touch is a way to do that. But I am really reactive - whether it is a man or a woman - and will always push them away. I can be a bit intimidating.”

Do you play any instruments next to singing? And did you take any singing lessons?
Christine Davis: “I play the bass and piano. I never have taken singing lessons and maybe it shows! I would like to take lessons someday though. When I was a child, I was in a community choir, that traveled all over the Soviet Union and Romania. We sang folk songs from Russia, Eastern Europe and the United States. It was a weird concept, but it was great! I learned how to carry a tune and harmonize from that experience.”

Do you want to add anything to this interview? Maybe we have forgotten something, that’s essential for the story of CHRISTIAN MISTRESS so far?
Christine Davis: “Our “S/T” demo from 2009 was released in a short run of cassette tapes, that have sold out. The demo will be re-released on vinyl in 2011 on Unseen Forces. It will have lyrics and a silk-screened cover with a limited pressing of 300 copies. The songs on this older release are “Poison Path” (earlier version), “Never Let Go”, “Anoxic Living” and “Black Out”.”

Do you have any messages for our readers?
Christine Davis: “Thanks for the interview and we are most excited to play live in Europe someday soon! If anyone wants to write us and recommend bands, that they think we might like to play with when we travel over there, please don't hesitate. Here is our email address: christianmistress@gmail.com.”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Toine van Poorten, Metal Maidens 'zine / December 2010.

Visit CHRISTIAN MISTRESS' official site at: www.christianmistress.com