SUSPENDED means ‘on hold’, but I don’t think, that the booming career of New Mexico based all-female thrash band SUSPENDED is on hold at all. With their most recent EP “Hollowed Minds”, they give you no time to breath and your neck muscles work overtime. Just before the ladies went on tour with Brazilian samba death metallers NERVOSA, we got the opportunity to talk to guitar player/singer Amanda Castillo to introduce this well-talented band a bit closer to you. We got to hear all the ins and outs of this very promising band from Alburquerque, New Mexico. Oh, and for all the record label bosses, who read these lines: SUSPENDED is still unsigned, but their DIY attitude proves, that these ladies are ready for some major steps in their flashing career. We gladly introduce you to SUSPENDED, so remember that name. They will soon become the mistresses of the circle pit of tomorrow!
Before I start this interview we’d like to thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to ask you some questions. Prior to this, we’d also like to wish you a great US/Canada Tour with NERVOSA and NILEXISTENCE in July and August. When did SUSPENDED actually get together and how did you meet up with one another?
“Thanks for the opportunity for an interview! SUSPENDED got together in 2003. We all attended the same high school. When we first started playing, our goal was to compete in the school talent show.”
Can you please introduce yourself to us as a band and tell us which instrument(s) you play, etc.?
“Amanda Castillo on guitar/vocals, Channing Concho on drums and Jessica Armstrong on bass/vocals.”
Who came up with the name SUSPENDED and why did it become your definite choice?
“Actually, Chan’s mom came up with the name. It was something that we all had in common. In high school we all got Suspended for one reason or another.”
Why did you decide to form an all-female (thrash) metal band? Even in 2016, 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…..
“I just wanted to start a band with my friends. I needed some friends, that could learn with me and all my friends at the time that I wanted to recruit were female. After we all got together, we decided it was a good idea to keep it all-female to help us stand out. Usually people are really supportive of what we’re trying to do. But there are people out there that think we get good shows/tours just because we’re “girls”. At this point it just makes me laugh. We’ve been out there pushing our music and paying our dues for over ten years!”
Shortly after your first independent release “Prelude To Indignance” in 2008, which was recorded as a three-piece outfit, bassplayer and vocalist Melynda ‘Mimo’ Montano decided to leave the band and you continued performing as a two piece. What happened?
“We actually released another EP “Dig Your Own Grave” in 2010 with Mimo before she decided to leave. We just wanted different things, times were changing, I (Amanda) decided to start a family and Mimo decided to go back to school and she didn’t have time for a band any more."
How many copies were sold of your debut album “Prelude To Indignance”? I like the artwork very much, which is done by your guitarist Amada. Have you designed more album covers for that matter?
"We sold about 1,000 copies of the album (which are all sold out now). My ex-boyfriend drew the image of “Ralph” our mascot. I then photoshopped it, added color, background and finalized the layout. I’ve only done our albums, but all were done the same way. We had an artist draw the main image, then I add the logo, background, title, etc. and finalize the layout for the booklet. I also do a lot of flyers, t-shirt designs, business cards and other marketing material.”
What’s the response of the press and your fans been like towards “Prelude To Indignance”?
“Mostly positive, but I think we’ve improved a lot since that album.”
How would you describe your music yourself?
“I always describe it as melodic/death/thrash with A.D.D riffage, that will leave you wanted more!”
What’s your favorite track on the album and why?
“My favorite track on “Prelude To Indignance” is the title track, because I think that song was a real milestone for my writing, it set the bar for what we were trying to accomplish.”
In 2014, new bass player Jessica Armstrong joins SUSPENDED and you’re back to a three piece again. Where did you find her?
“Chan saw Jess playing with her old band DISMAY at BuckFest (which is Chan’s dad’s annual festival). Another friend had also suggested Jess, since we’ve been looking for a while at this point. We finally made plans to get together and she fit in right away.”
What’s your favorite track on this EP and why?
“My favorite track is “Embrace The End” because it takes you on a musical journey. But it is still heavy and catchy.”
Who writes the lyrics for SUSPENDED and can you tell us what they are about?
Amanda: “I do, as far as content goes I have a variety of subjects. Ranging from the fictional, to life experiences and my thoughts on society.”
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?
“Music always comes first. After the song is complete, then I’ll listen to it over and over and fit in the lyrics. I like to just sit and listen to the music and try to image what the music make me think about after that I’ll get a subject/title and go from there.”
Can you name the main musical influences of SUSPENDED and maybe you can mention the influences of each band member individually here as well?
“IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, AT THE GATES, DISSECTION, OVERKILL and DEATH. Mostly old-school stuff. I think, the girls would agree with me.”
Do you have Hollowed Minds yourself?
“At times I think everyone has a “hollowed mind” and some more than others. I like to think I pave my own path, but I know that isn’t always true. We all get influenced by others good and band.”
What has been your biggest gig so far?
“Biggest show so far was when we got to open up for SUICIDAL TENDENCIES at the Sunshine Theater in our home town. So close to selling out! But it was packed!”
What’s the metal scene in New Mexico like and do you get to play many gigs?
“The metal scene is somewhat small over here but it is very tight knit. We play a lot here in town, so much that everyone is probably happy to see us go for a while (lol). But seriously we play a lot. Big shows, small shows, house shows, wherever. We just enjoy playing our music for people.”
In a few weeks from now, you’re about to start a huge tour in the U.S/Canada with NERVOSA and NILEXISTENCE. I bet, you are looking forward to that very much! Is this the first huge tour that you’re doing? How do you prepare for that?
“This will be our second time touring with NERVOSA and this is our longer tour to date, so we are very excited! We are no beginners when it comes to touring, but It’s really nice to get to travel with a bigger band, NERVOSA have made a great name for themselves and are very popular. It’s great to see the shows getting better and better over the years. Every tour take months of planning. Of course preparing musically, but there is ton of behind the scene preparation, too. Promoting, booking, getting a vehicle ready, march, raising fund, etc. It’s a lot of work, but always worth it in the end.”
Are there any touring plans for Europe in the near future?
“Our goal since we were kids was to play in Germany before we tuned thirty years old. I just turned 30 in April. At lease, we’re finally traveling out of the county. Hopefully, something great will come up and we can finally make it to Europe but no plans yet.”
We are a Dutch online ‘zine, that focusses 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 thrash band, you already get all the respect, that you need?
“Absolutely! Being that metal is so male dominated it’s nice to highlight the women every once and a while. We love it when promoters book us with other female bands. It’s awesome to see other women doing what we love to do.”
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?
“The first thing that comes to mind about The Netherlands is Amsterdam and the coffee shops and also I think about clogs. Looks like I need to do a little more research. Haha.”
What makes SUSPENDED so outstanding from the 795,373 other all-female (or female-fronted) thrash metal bands?
“We are really passionate about our music. We play because we love the music. Our music is heavy and catchy. We are really a live band, it’s hard to explain all the energy going back and forth between us and the crowed, when we play but it’s AWESOME!”
What are your plans for the future?
“Record more music, put out more music videos and tour in Europe.”
Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview, that makes the story of SUSPENDED complete. Maybe there’s something we forgot to mention here?
“I can’t really think of anything.”
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?Mbr> “To work hard, follow your dreams and listen to IRON MAIDEN.”
The famous last words are for SUSPENDED....
“Check us out, you won’t be disappointed!”
Visit the official website of SUSPENDED at: www.reverbnation.com/suspendedchickz
or go to the Facebook page of SUSPENDED at: www.facebook.com/Suspendedchickz/