There aren’t too many heavy metal bands from Peru, however some names come to mind, when talking about this beautiful country. STROGENA is definitely one of them and the band was founded in 2014 in Lima. “Stronger Than Death” is their debut EP, released in 2017. Some line-up changes occurred since and of course there are many other things to talk about during this introduction interview. Metal Maidens teamed up with STROGENA from Peru, who say they are ‘stronger than death’. Find out what these Peruvian metal heads had to tell us.
Before I start this interview we’d like to thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to ask you some questions. When did the band actually get together and how did you meet up with one another?
"Thank YOU! To begin with, Maria wanted to start a heavy metal band, so she was looking for people that were into the same genre. She contacted all of us by Facebook and we got together to practice some JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN’s covers. At first we were all so shy with eachother, but we just knew we wanted to do it again. After that band practice, Maria and Morgana went together for a drink and got along immediately."
You weren’t an all-female band in the beginning, did you? And you even had a male bassplayer (Marco Feijoo) for almost a year, when you finally found your current guitarist Veronica and Maria Castro took over on bass guitar.
"Yes, Marco is Ana’s husband. They both work as music teachers and musicians. After our first bass player quit, we decided to call Marco, because he’s a great musician and he’s also a great friend of us. So yeah, he’d been playing with us for over a year. Because of time issues, he had to leave and Maria took over bass for a while, but now we’re happy to have our sister Ann Simonini (ex-guitarist) on bass".
Why did you decide to form an all-female metal band? Even in 2018, there are still a lot of people in the music industry, who think that women don’t fit in and can’t play an instrument or they come up with other stupid reason. Please comment on this…..
"Actually, we didn’t decide to form an all-female metal band. It just happened. Every time we wanted to add a new band member, we didn’t’ really specify something like ‘we just want female musicians’. We just wanted suitable musicians that also love heavy metal. The fact that no man, except for Marco, decided to join us as an official band member, is just a coincidence."
Could you please introduce yourself to us as a band and tell us which instrument(s) you play, etc.?
"We’re STROGENA, a heavy metal band from Peru. Maria is the vocalist, Verowicca and Ana Rodriguez are the guitarists, Ann Simonini is the bassist and Morgana Rojas is the drummer."
Did any of the band members play in other bands before STROGENA and if yes, did they record anything with that particular outfit?
"Maria used to sing in a band, called ORITHYA, a symphonic metal band. She had some other parallel projects before founding STROGENA. They recorded a demo in 2012".
Who came up with the name STROGENA and why did it become your definite choice? Does the band name mean anything?
"We can’t remember who did it, but we do remember that we had to choose a name quickly, because we had our first gig very fast and we had to hurry to find a name. And we named it like that, because from the beginning of the band, the members are all women, so we called it STROGENA, because of estrogen, the feminine hormone."
What’s the response of the press and the fans like and do you have any plans of releasing a full-length album soon?
"The metal scene in Peru is not as big, as it is in other latin American countries, such as Argentina, Chile or Brazil, so the press support is something that comes more from other places of the world. For example, this is one of the very first interviews for a web zine, that we’ve ever done, so we’re really grateful for it. And about the full length album: we’re working really hard on it! We expect to record it by August, so it will be out at the end of this year. If you liked “Stronger that Death“, you will LOVE all of these new songs."
Do you also get any negative critics and if yes, how do you deal with that? Do you try to forget about it as soon as possible or do you rather try to learn from it?
"We definitely try to learn from it. Half of the band are not professional musicians, but even if we all were, there’s always something new to learn every day. Negative critics are always welcome as well as the positive ones, only if they’re not made with hate of course, you can feel that immediately."
How would you describe your music in general yourself?
"Wow, we’ve never thought about it, we just wanted to let it be. If we had to put hashtags to our music, those would be: #heavy #speed #magick #alcohol #roads #energy #rockandroll."
Can you name the main musical influences of STROGENA and maybe you can mention the influences of each band member individually here as well?
"As a band, our main influences are JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, MOTORHEAD, ACID, etc. Ana’s main influences are RAINBOW, JUDAS PRIEST and DREAM THEATER, Verowicca’s main influences are BLACK SABBATH, ACCEPT, JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN, Ann’s main influences are RAINBOW and VAN HALEN, Maria’s main influences are IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and Ronnie James Dio and Morgana’s main influences are Bill Ward, Chuck Biscuits, Dave Lombardo and Christian “Witchhunter” Dudek."
Who did the artwork of ”Stronger Than Death”?
"It was made by Juan Camilo Mazutier."
What’s your favorite song from it and why?
"That’s pretty difficult, because we love all our four songs, but “Strogena” talks about the band and what we feel, when we play metal, so we guess that’s kind of the band’s hymn."
Who writes the lyrics for STROGENA and can you tell us what they are about?
"Morgana and Maria write the lyrics, but the rest of the band also contributes with ideas and concepts. Most of the lyrics on “Stronger Than Death” are about inner strength and being brave enough to overcome anything with the help of music, metal and willpower. Except for “Hangover Queen”, but I guess the title talks by itself and we love to hang out together and have some drinks and enjoy our friendship. But you know, sometimes it gets out of hand and you wake up with the devil hammering your head and that’s what this song talks about."
How does the song writing come about in general? Do you start with the lyrics or does the music come first or perhaps you write while jamming? Please explain a bit more about this process?
"We don’t’ have a specific order. One day, one of the girls comes up with a riff and while jamming we start creating a song or it can be in the other way, in which someone comes up with the lyrics first or a concept and based upon that we start creating the music."
What has been your biggest gig so far?
"Our biggest gig has been in the Warbound Fest II last April this year. We opened the show for NERVOSA with some other local bands and it was truly amazing. The energy was incredible! Even though there were some technical issues, we really enjoyed to play there."
You’ve played all over Peru until now. What is the coolest or most funny thing you’ve ever witnessed while being on the road. Please share some nice, cool or funny moments with our readers, please?
"Wow, from walking on the edge of a cliff in Marcona, until being thrown baby powder in our faces in Ayacucho, all our trips have been really fun. But one of the most memorable ones was in one of these trips to Ayacucho. There was a very famous carnival all over the place. We’d been visiting the city during our last day, so by the time we had to go back to the hotel it was almost impossible to walk, because the streets were full of people dancing and singing in the carnival and every time we wanted to cross a street, there was someone pulling us (or pushing us) to dance with them (in a very friendly way of course, the people there is wonderful!). We made it to the hotel and finally to the bus back home with a minute of delay."
Do you also play any cover songs during your live gigs and if yes which covers do you play then?
"We used to do so in the beginning. We played covers, like “Killed By Death”, “The Evil That Men Do”, “Hellion-Electric Eye” , “The Trooper” and “Ace Of Spades”."
Can you tell us more about the metal scene in Peru, is it huge and are there anymore (all-)female metal bands in Peru?
"We feel, it’s just getting better with time. It may not be the biggest metal, like COBRA, MANDRAGORA, BLIZZARD HUNTER and some others. By now, we don’t know any other female band(s), that plays the same genre that we do, but we do know a very young female band from Ica-Peru, called BORN In THE MOSHPIT. They play thrash metal and they’re awesome."
Where can people find you on the internet (official website URL, facebook page, etc.) and where can people order your EP? Please promote yourself here (it’s for free – lol).
"You can find us in Spotify, but also in our Bandcamp page: https://strogena.bandcamp.com. If you want to get the latest news of the band, you should follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/strogenaheavymetal/, our Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/strogenaheavymetal/ and finally, our Youtube account: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHWQSLNwoTF6DXKZPWlsEYg"
We are a Dutch online ‘zine, that like to focus on female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Do you think that women still need this attention or do you feel while being an all-female metal band, you already get all the respect, that you need?
"We’ve never liked to play the role of victims, but something no one can deny is that if you’re a woman and you play in a band, your talent will always be disputed. You always have to prove and demonstrate that you deserve to be on the same stage than the other musicians, that may not be doing a great job but no one really criticizes them for it or even care. We feel that if we want a change, we have to do what we preach. And that’s why we rather focus on our music instead of giving you looks, hot bodies and pretty faces. Anyone that has bought our EP will notice, from the artwork to the songs, that metal is all that matters to us. All we want is to be respected, because of our music and to be seen as equals. We want to think, that we’re almost there."
Like I mentioned here already, we are based in Holland (or The Netherlands, if you like). What else do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have colorful tulips and beautiful windmills over here?
"We’re big PICTURE fans! But we also know about some great bands, like REVENGE and VULTURE. They were really awesome."
What makes STROGENA so outstanding from the 795,373 other all-female or female-fronted metal bands?
"Our energy, consistency, constant progress and most importantly: passion. We may not be prodigies or bringing something completely new to our genre, but we do know that once you’re in that gig with us on stage, you’ll feel our fire burning your soul, because that’s the reason why we do heavy metal."
What are your plans for the future?
"By July we’ll have our first live session video and by August we’ll be recording our first full-length album. This album is being inspired by our inner witches, magick and the constant fight between good and evil. You can’t miss it out!"
Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview, that makes the story of STROGENA complete. Maybe there’s something we forgot to mention here?
"Well, there’s nothing better than a bunch of loonies sharing their love for rock and roll together. Since the beginning we’ve been more than a band, we’ve been a family (corny, huh?) but that’s the main reason why we never give up. We always have each other’s back and try to be not only better musicians. but also better human beings. We think, people around us can notice that kind of energy from us and it’s great to feel it back."
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
"Don’t miss any great articles from this page! And also stay alert to our news on social media, you can’t miss our upcoming album, especially if you’re into magick and real heavy metal. It will blow your mind."
The famous last words are for STROGENA…..
"We'd like to thank Metal Maidens ‘zine for their support (and patience!) and for giving us the chance to spread our music. We hope to see you all very soon with a beer in your hand and a neck injury after headbanging to our songs in your city!"
Go to the Facebook page of STROGENA at: www.facebook.com/strogenaheavymetal/