– How are you guys doing having just released your debut EP?
We’re doing well! We’ve gotten quite a bit of good press with the EP, so we’re pretty pleased with how everything has turned out.
-I guess it might have been a learning experience. In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently? What are the some of the lessons learned for future recording/songwriting/releases?
Absolutely. It was my first recording experience in this setting, and I learned so much. I just wish I had learned it prior to the recording and mixing! Our producer, Cody Brumlow, was so much fun to work with and he made me feel extremely comfortable, and I am so grateful for that. But at the time, I didn’t know how I wanted to sound let alone how I wanted to get there. Now, I have a better idea. For vocals: double track literally everything. I had no idea that’s an industry standard! I’m used to classical singing, i.e., opera and choir. I’m not used to using a microphone, using a PA system, or mixing. All of us have taken the recording and mixing of the EP as a massive learning experience, and we are happy with how the process has gone.
– Since this is our first interview with you: how and why was TELOMYRAS born?
Telomyras began with our guitarists, Ephraim, and Jack. I think they met on Craigslist! They bonded over love of heavy and traditional metal and started writing together. Then they found Travis, then Eric. I was a later addition, after they had started playing shows. Ephraim was singing and playing guitar for maybe three shows, and decided he didn’t want to continue. They played a show with another Seattle band, Greyhawk, and Eph started talking to their singer, Rev. Rev is a buddy of mine; I’ve worked with him and his spouse in a few operas. Rev knew I wanted to sing in a band, so he got me in contact with Telomyras and the rest is history.
As for why, I think the main reason why we’re all here is because we love metal and we’re having a good time. So, we’ll continue until it’s no longer a good time.
-What does the band’s name mean (literally and not)?
Eph came up with it. It’s a word made up of two Latin words: telo, meaning ending, and myras, meaning extraordinary. So, it means an extraordinary end.
–Sound-wise you play ‘80s inspired Heavy Metal with a modern twist. Are there any new bands or artists where you can recognize yourselves in? What did you listen to when growing up?
I grew up listening to Metallica, Megadeath, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Korn, System of a Down, Nightwish, to name a few. I had an Evanescence phase as a teenager because Amy Lee was one of the first popular bands with a woman singing. Didn’t we all?
The bands I listen to most now are Jinjer, Unleash the Archers, Aether Realm, Amorphis, Carcass, Crystal Viper. I admire Brittney’s (Unleash the Archers) singing so much, she’s amazing. I’m obsessed with Jinjer because Tatiana is incredible and sounds like a fucking monster. I’ve been working on my growls entirely because of her.
–What does inspire you to write lyrics? They feel at times human, at times supernatural, but they’re always very dark.
To be honest, Eph wrote most of the lyrics on the EP because most of the songs were written before I joined. I adjusted them quite a bit, so I do feel that I’ve contributed to the lyrics but not as much as Hydra, or any of the new stuff we’re working on for a full-length album in the future.
I go with the feel of the music. I’ll free-write while listening to the music and eventually I’ll see a theme emerge, then go from there. I end up writing a ton of prose before ever getting to rhymes or actual lyrics. Hydra is about the cycle of capitalism, and how it’s so difficult to escape. But a lot of the new songs we’re working on are much more personal than that.
-How do they connect to the cover artwork?
From my perspective, the cover (done by Sam Haglund) is so many things. The cover is a woman facing a massive skeletal demon with a dark priestess vibe. The woman vaguely resembles me, and that was a choice Eph insisted on. It could be considered a visual representation of the song Cambion, but it’s also a depiction of a protagonist in a story facing the big bad evil. Cambion depicts a person giving in to their inner demons, letting the demon/darkness take over. Since the woman is in some ways me, I see the skeletal demon as the things I carry with me, the things I’ve fought my whole life and will continue to do so until I die. That can be scary, but it also can be powerful.
– Having a front woman in the band I guess the “female fronted” tag will be often used to refer to TELOMYRAS. How do you feel about it? Are you OK with it or sense it like a non-accurate description solely based on gender?
I have mixed feelings on this. I don’t see any “male fronted” tags on other bands, so why is “female fronted” a title? Who fucking cares? But ultimately, I am a woman and I sing in Telomyras, so it is what it is.
– Speaking of which, in the last years there have been more and more movements – and there’s more people speaking up against bigotry – in the Metal scenes that take actions against sexism and different forms of discrimination. Would you say the Rock/Metal community is more welcoming these days?
Seattle is a different beast. The Seattle metal scene has been more inclusive than most, and for a long time now. However, that doesn’t mean there’s tons of representation (for all identities, not just gender) just yet. We still get comments like, “You guys are great; you sound great and put on a fun show, and your singer is a hot chick!” I understand that it’s meant to be a compliment, but ultimately it isn’t. It tells me that they don’t think women fit into metal, and the fact that I do is shocking. I’ve also had people tell me that they thought I was a man before seeing a photo of the band! That, I’m fine with.
-In fact, gender stereotypes seem to be firmly screwed in the genre (as in society in general). What do you think is the reason behind this? Maybe that it tends to be a very nostalgic “world”? And what would be the first steps to make to revert this? As we are all part of this, from musicians to writers, from promoters to fans.
Gender stereotypes and norms are a form of misogyny. Misogyny, racism, ableism, ageism, classism, and the like are all symptoms of colonialism. At the end of the day, it’s not one person’s fault; it’s the world we live in. It will take a long time to change, but change begins at the individual level. I think we all, as individuals, need to address our individual traumas, our collective traumas, and begin to accept ourselves as we are. Self-awareness is radical today, and it can cause a lot more compassion and empathy which leads to more inclusivity.
-As a woman in Metal or as a woman artist; which were your role models when you were younger?
I honestly don’t have a great memory when it comes to my younger years, so please forgive me for not being able to answer well. Role models…I honestly have no idea. When I was a teenager, I was only aware of bands like Evanescence and Nightwish that had women in them. The internet wasn’t such a household item when I was in high school, so a lot of my music came from my dad’s collection; he’s a huge metal fan. But I loved Evanescence and Nightwish at the time.
– You hail from Seattle. How’s the scene over there? Any labels, bands, zines…?
There are tons of bands here. If you’re looking for new music, just search for Seattle bands. Special shout out to Solicitor, another “female fronted” metal band that is bad ass. As for labels, zines, whatever else, I have no idea! I’m not the most connected of individuals. I keep my head down a lot of the time because I’m getting a master’s degree right now, so I’m just grateful to be a part of the metal scene here.
-And finally, what’s next for TELOMYRAS?
We’re always working on new material, and we’re planning on self-producing two songs as demos this year. After that, the goal is a full-length album that truly represents all of us. Our drummer for the EP, Travis Busby, is now living in Texas so we brought on Gavynn Peterson after the EP release. I’m really looking forward to writing more of the content on the full-length album!
– That’s all from our side, thanks again for your time. If you’d like to add some final words, feel free to do it.
Thank you so much, from all of us in Telomyras, but especially me, Sammie. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share with you all. If you feel so inclined, follow us on social media! <3