Characters: the band, interviewer
Length: c.1500 words
Interview with Maenad
By Martha Jane Vikernes, of spikymetalbits.net
I was lucky enough to catch up with Maenad on the Pacific Northwest leg of the Hekatefest tour, and even luckier when they actually agreed to talk to me.
Martha Jane Vikernes: What brings you out here? A press release in March said you wouldn’t be touring this year because of a “domestic crisis.”
Valerian Nightshade: We’re only doing Washington and Oregon. We live in the area anyway, so it’s not like doing one of those big international tours and all the stress that involves.
Musa Hawthorne: Yeah, no customs officials stopping you at the border to confiscate your aromatherapeutic bath salts because they think it’s crystal meth.
MJV: You’ve had this happen to you?
MH: More than once.
MJV: Why didn’t they bring in one of those drug-sniffing dogs and make sure?
MH: I don’t know! Not that it would have done them much good, since I just confuse narcotics dogs. I think it’s something about my body chemistry.
MJV: Was performing here a spontaneous decision?
VN: Not really. I mean, it’s hard to be spontaneous when you need to get an army of roadies together to do anything.
MH: But it went quickly for us.
Violet Aciano: Yeah, it only took us a couple of days to decide to do it, and then about two months to get ready. But – if we’d made the decision the way we usually do things, it’d be like – Val or our manager decide to call a band meeting, and then we try to get everyone together awake and semi-sober, and then we try to talk about the issue but wind up talking about what went on in the latest episode of Mythbusters, and then we take a break for refreshments, and then we’d try to talk about what we called the meeting for in the first place – again – and Lilja would try to tear up anything Yanang or I said –
Lilja Lakebetonika: I would not do that if your ideas did not suck!
MH: Let’s not get into that, shall we, honey?
VA: And sooner or later the rest of us would have to pry two people off each other after a difference of opinion got out of hand. So yeah – compared to our usual way of doing things we were working like a bunch of crazed German efficiency experts on meth.
Yanang Bai: We did hire at German efficiency expert at one point when we were three months behind on Autopsy Reports For Murdered Angels. She was kind of a dick, actually.
VN: She really was at first, but she was okay once you got to know her. It was a real shame about the whole “serial embezzler wanted on three continents” thing.
MH: You know what was funny about that? So, it comes out that she’s this big international criminal, and Artie – she’s our manager – has a couple of guards take her to the police station in the nearest town and all that, but we never see or hear anything about the trial. You’d think the news would be jumping all over the story.
VN: Maybe Artie asked everyone to keep quiet about it, like with that thing in Helsinki.
MJV: Do you wind sharing the reasoning behind your decision to perform here?
VN: It was actually pretty simple. Ever since she got back on her feet our manager’s been nagging us to do something productive with our time instead of watching Hong Kong girls with guns movies and playing video games all day-
VA: We got Team Fortress 2 a while ago. It’s lots of fun, although we all kind of suck at it except Musa and Yanang.
LL: I do not suck! The game just has a crazy learning curve!
YB: You just keep telling yourself that.
MH: Not that TF 2 would really count as a waste of time, since our band therapist did tell us that it’d be helpful to do more cooperative activities together outside of music.
VN: And doing a couple of summer concerts seemed easier than working on the new album.
MH: Sometimes it’s nice just to get out of the house.
VA: Especially in the summer. You see, we live pretty far out in the woods, and there’s a lot of water on our property. We’ve got the lake, and the koi pond right beside the house, and we’re not far from the river, which is nice if any of us want to go kayaking-
YB: Or dispose of bodies.
VA: - but it means that we get mosquitoes in the summertime. We have a bat colony in one of the unused towers and they help a lot, but natural predation can’t do everything.
YB: We could just carpet-bomb the place with DDT, but no, hippie over here has to do things the hard way.
VA: We can’t do that because I had fifty acres of forest and marshland we weren’t using certified as a wildlife sanctuary and we’re getting a huge tax break for it. Besides, it would be bad for the ravens.
YB: Well, I’m sure all the money you’ve saved will be a great comfort when you and everyone you love are all dead from malaria and your eyeballs are being eaten by perfectly healthy ravens.
MH: Guys… we could just drink more gin and tonics. They have quinine.
MJV: This is the first year that Hekatefest is requiring attendees to sign metaphysical damage waivers, and rumors are flying about the possible reasons for such an unusual precaution. Any comments?
VN: That’s really more our, y’know, legal team’s thing than ours. All I can say is that they are not a publicity stunt and they will hold up in court.
MJV: What about the rumors that you sold your souls to Satan?
LL: Do not be ridiculous. For one thing, I am not about to go around trafficking with major religious figures, and if I did, it would be with someone from the old Norse pantheon, not some upstart Judeo-Christian fallen angel.
VN: I had to read Faust in high school. That crap never works out well.
MH: I know what you mean. The powers of darkness are great for creative inspiration, but all evidence suggests that they’re really kind of a bunch of dicks as business partners.
MJV: There’ve also been rumors that you five are either possessed or under some sort of curse.
VN: We can’t be possessed. I checked. A couple weeks ago, when I was at church, I got a little bottle of holy water out of the baptismal font and dumped it into a pitcher of lemonade when I got home. We all drank some of it, and none of us started melting from the inside or anything. Although that would have been pretty brutal.
LL: I drank what?!
YB: Relax, sweetheart. Cholera has a very short incubation period. If you were going to get it, you’d be sick by now.
MH: Wow. That’s one thing I can cross of my list of “substances to try in a mixed drink before I die.”
VA: We could still be cursed, unless there’s some kind of “home cursedness test” that nobody’s told me about. It wouldn’t be the first time.
MJV: One of the remarkable things about Maenad is the way that all of you manage to blend your experiences with different genres and regional scenes into a distinct sound. What would each of you say are your favorite kinds of metal?
VN: Bronze. It was good enough for the heroes of Greek mythology, and it’s good enough for me.
YB: Depleted uranium.
VA: Lithium. I like the way it explodes in water!
MJV: That’s not quite what I was looking for, but thank you. A number of young female hard rock and metal musicians have claimed you as role models. What abilities do you think are particularly important for people in your jobs?
VN: A good immune system. It doesn’t matter how good your voice is normally if it can’t hold up to staying up late and living on beer and junk food for days on end. And if you’re writing lyrics – it, y’know, helps to have a good memory for weird crap.
MH: A robust liver and the ability to multitask.
LL: A great guitarist needs enough confidence in her own abilities to avoid being dragged down by the petty jealousy of small minds. A pretty-good guitarist needs to know how to suck it up and take constructive criticism.
YB: A good defense attorney.
VA: I think a bass player needs to know how to deal with “strong personalities” without getting your own ego mixed up in it, you know? And being able to cook and fix hair helps.
MJV: One last question before I go – Valerian, is it true that you once killed a man with your breasts?
VN: What? No. We have security people for that. But I probably could if I had to.
YB: She could.
MJV: I’d just like to say, thank you for talking to me on such short notice, and have a great show! I’m really looking forward to it.
VN: Here, have a metaphysics waiver. If you fill it out early it should save you some time getting in.
Martha Jane Vikernes is currently on extended mental health leave. Questions, comments, and condolences can be sent care of spikymetalbits.net’s Editorial Department.
- Interview With Maenad