– Hi Amy, thank you so much for answering to our questions. How is everything in the SÖLICITÖR camp right now? How is the band currently doing?
We’ve been cruising along at lightning speed, and the pressure us on to deliver our debut full length. I think the saying goes «Out of the frying pan and into the fire». For a new band with only 4 tracks officially released, the hype and momentum around this project has been overwhelming – but not completely unexpected. We’ve worked incredibly hard to make this happen. It takes committment and dedication – especially now that I live in Portland and my bandmates are in Seattle. It makes some of our collaborative efforts difficult as I’m not always present, but the guys will send me scratch tracks from the practice space for my review, and I’ll give them status updates on logistical stuff in real time. How we make this work is a miracle to me.
– SÖLICITÖR was born after your former band SUBSTRATUM split up joining forces with members of HEXENGEIST but, what motivated you to form a band like this?
We all agreed that we did not want to waste time – if we were going to start this band, it was going to be all or nothing. We’re not getting any younger, and we’re not going to settle for less. So when we sat down and decided to do this, we actually sat down and talked for a long time about what we wanted versus what we did not. I had a very clear vision for how I wanted us to look and sound without straying too far from ourselves. As the frontwoman of this new band right off the heels of Substratum I was not willing to sacrifice the work I had already put into becoming a force of nature. I feel we’ve taken what we’ve learned over the years and honed it into something harder, faster and louder.
– Even though you are a pretty young act, you have played live a lot. Do you consider SÖLICITÖR belongs to the stage? In fact next year you will hit Europe playing at Keep it True, which is like Mecca for traditional Metal lovers, how are you feeling about it?
Overwhelmed is a word I use a lot. I expected some enthusiasm, I expected to play often. I did not expect to tour for a month on 4 songs and to be fielding multiple international interviews, festival offers and prospective tour offers. Maybe after the full length sure, but definitely not in the first year. We are incredibly grateful for the invitations and opportunities we’ve received and we’re looking forward to continuing to show that we are worth paying attention to.
– In 2020 year you will release your debut full-length, in which stage of the process are you? Can you already tell us anything about it?
We have a handful of songs now and we’re in the process of writing solos and lyrics. We’re planning to hit the studio in November. Expect no frills, execution style speed, sleaze and harder than heavy riffs. My voice is getting a work out. Beyond that, I can’t say much else.
– You play a very traditional Speed/Thrash Metal with elements from different styles. Did you have a clear vision of the kind of music you wanted to play with SÖLICITÖR?
We discussed early on in the formation of this band that we wanted to play fast and loud, but with precision and accuracy. Like a knife, you know? That’s how I see it in my mind, cutting through bloody and screaming. Beyond that, there really are no limitations. We all have similar influences but very different musical backgrounds and I think that helps us keep from stagnating during the writing process.
– And how did you come up with the name? It is pretty straight-forward but doesn’t give any hint on the style you are playing, even though when I see the umlaut I think of MÖTÖRHEAD, which in my mind paints a picture of a no-frills, in your face, filthy sounding band.
Right on the head of the nail with that description. That’s what we wanted. There’s too many band names and everything else is taken, ha.
– After you released your EP on tape now Gates of Hell is re-releasing it. How did this collaboration with them arise?
They were actually interested in a possible Substratum release. The timing was quite impeccable. We had just recorded the two song demo in our practice space and Substratum had been dead for a couple of months. Max Nazaryan had copied me in an email, I sent the tracks over, and our conversation started there.
– You stick in any possible way, from the cover artwork to the sound and themes to a very 80’s style. What’s to you the most important thing in an album of the genre? The overall feeling and attitude? The sound? The speed?
I would say all of those things, yeah. I don’t want to say that we’re a throwback, but I also don’t want to say that we’re not. We take our influences from those classic bands (and some underground ones too) that everybody loves, and we’ve bent them to our liking, sped it up, spit shined it, and thrust it out there.
– Anyway I think you have a trademark element; behind this speed and the overall straight-forward approach there’s underlying a very dark vibe. An almost mystic kind of darkness which reminds me to some contemporaries such as MYSTIK (Sweden). Do you put a focus on the overall vibe or does it just come out naturally?
I don’t think any of us in this band are naturally optimistic people, I say that because we’ve had darkness in our lives and we’ve each overcome a lot. So I think we’re naturally drawn to the edge of comfort – a reality in which nothing can be taken for granted, or even relied on. We are strong in our intentions while writing, I doubt you’ll be hearing any party rock from us any time soon.
– Where does this darkness come from? Books, movies, a painting, a moment…
We live in trying times and the world around us is absolutely insane.
– Talking about such, what feelings do you want to instill or what vibe do you want to convey to your listeners?
There is certainly a feeling of impending doom and hopelessness, from our lyrics to our riffs – «you’re helpless to stop it so just take it» – that’s maybe a lot to unpack. I can’t help but feel that way right now in this particular moment that all of collective humanity is facing. Politics, war, climate change, inequality and greed surround us. So, I think it carries over in such a way that when somebody is watching us, they can’t help but feel like we are here to take over. We are commanding that stage, we are destroying your ears, and we’re not going anywhere. There’s some evil in that.
– Lyrics cover very usual themes on traditional Metal. Do you think sticking to certain stereotypes is almost necessary to build this kind of 80’s aesthetic and to provide something entertaining?
To a degree I feel it’s not heavy metal if you don’t have a line about swords. Or wizards. Or leather. Or driving fast. There has to be a running theme to keep all the threads and subgenres together – otherwise it loses a bit of it’s soul.
– When I reviewed the EP I mentioned your vocals sounded to me like a mix between Kim Sixx and Leather Leone (with hints to Jutta Weinhold, Dawn Crosby and aesthetically to a more Punk looking Betsy Bitch) but, what are some of your main inspirations as a vocalist and frontwoman? Are there any other women artists you can look at for inspiration?
Those are all great performers and vocalists. I definitely have to add Ann Boleyn, Azuzena Dorado of Santa, and Doro Pesch to that list. I have watched countless videos of Jutta Weinhold and Leather Leone. Ultimately though, Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford will remain my ultimate influences, although admittedly partly because I was unaware of many women artists in my first initial years of listening to punk or metal, aside from Wendy O, Beki Bondage, Polly Styrene, or Lita Ford.
– This about your EP being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Harder, faster, louder.
– Besides a frontwoman you have a solid career as a promoter, in fact you recently organized the latest edition of the Eliminator Fest. How did it go? For how long have you been organizing it?
This was actually the first year of this festival. Max Nazaryan (former guitarist of Substratum, now singing for Beretta) and I had previously collaborated on the first year of the renewed NW Metalfest and then moved on to our own idea in the second year. It’s a year long process, honestly, to get everything sorted out and taken care of far enough in advance. We took it on the chin and learned some really hard lessons with this one. Organizing any show is difficult enough. Organizing a two day dual stage festival with only two people to back it? Not sure we’ll do that ourselves ever again. It was a smaller event than anticipated and I’m not sure it met our expectations but there was an enthusiasm from the die hards that I was glad to see. Overall it ran smoothly, our bands were great, and Morbid Saint and Deceased had a great time in Seattle.
– Metal has always been a male-dominated community and in art in general women have always been made invisible, so Metal is not an exception. Would you say the way the Metal world (and society in general) perceive women in our community is slowly changing? As it seems people are more aware nowadays or aren’t that afraid of speaking out and calling out on sexist (and other shitty) behaviors anymore.
Ya know, I’d really like to think so. I hope so. I hope that eventually we’re able to be regarded as artists and performers in our own right, without having to constantly anticipate having to put up a fight to get there.
– As I said, women in art and in masculinized spaces have always been made invisible, that’s why there’s not just less women metal musicians (even though there are tons of them), but less women in any artistic field. Because female artists have to face more obstacles, they have to fight against sexualization, invisibilization, infantilization, etc. By the simple fact of putting albums out and going on stage you are pushing other women to do the same. I guess this is something you are not really aware or think about when you are writing music but would you say you can also use your position as a frontwoman as an empowering tool even for other women?
I am absolutely aware of my position as a frontwoman even when writing. I know that other women will be looking at what I am doing, what I am saying, how I carry myself and how I interact with my band mates. You have to be fearless up there – and you have to convey that in any way that gets it across. I don’t want to hear somebody say «I wish I could do what you do – «I want to hear them say «I want to do what you do!». And that is powerful.
– As its usual, I bet the female fronted term will regularly be applied to SÖLICITÖR. How do you feel about it? Are you OK with it or sense it like a non-accurate description solely based on your gender?
In all honesty I hate that descriptor. We’re just a band. We like playing fast. If you like it, great. Love it, even better. I don’t want that to be the sole reason anyone checks us out, or writes us off. Hate it cause I’m a woman? Get the fuck outta here, it’s 2020 and the novelty’s worn off. End of story.
– Before we wrap this interview up, what are some of the most annoying, sexist comments you have heard toward you in the Metal community or some of the most infuriating experiences you’ve experienced as a woman in Metal?
I’ve been stopped and asked if I’m «just with the band, or?» or «running merch» (Hello bar manager/promoter, I’m the one emailing you daily, I am the band). I’ve had people critique or comment on how I look and what I’m wearing in really weird and infuriating ways. Example «you don’t dress like those metal sluts, I can tell you’re the real deal». Peel the layers off that one. Or better – «You look like you could really kick my ass, I bet I’d like it too». Well, that’ll cost ya, so pay up Smooth Operator. Another thing, seeing clearly the double standards women in our scene face every day. Constantly being asked if we’re true enough, being told or shown that our voices aren’t worth hearing when we have something important to say or add to certain dialogues. I don’t like being considered «one of the boys» – I’m not somehow elevated above the other women at my shows because I’m on stage and they’re not. Or because you think I’m cooler because I’m in a band. I hate that feeling. I think the worst feeling though, is watching someone be completely dismissed and disregarded. Sexual assault and sexual harassment need to be taken seriously and the social consequences of coming forward shouldn’t be solely the victim’s to bear. I’ve watched women drift away and disappear from entire groups because they didn’t feel heard or supported. I’ve watched men high five eacho ther for «moving past that drama» and abusers have been allowed to pull the same bullshit multiple times until it finally came crashing down. I’m not talking about shitty toxic break ups fueled by alcohol and adolescence, where one shitty thing follows you for 10 years. I’m talking about those men who shout women down in front of everyone during conversations, and belittle them like children. I’m talking about the men who talk about women like we don’t belong or have a place in heavy metal, or really anywhere unless we follow some list of guidelines and preferences. The men who put their hands on us and call us liars, and get us kicked out of shows for «causing drama» – cause they don’t mean anything by it, right? Because they’re such a great dude, right? Think about it. If anything needs to change, I want to see men call this shit out for what it is because frankly, I’m tired of preaching to the choir.
– And finally, what are now your near-future plans?
I gotta finish this album and snuggle my cat!