Some artists have a knack for creating out of the box sounds; taking something that wouldn’t necessarily seem intriguing and turning it into something massive. That’s what Death Koolaid have done over their thus far brief, but well received career as the four-piece, female-fronted outfit blends punk rock with hardcore, infecting listeners eardrums across the world. We got the chance to talk with leading lady, Siren Sycho about the band and their new EP, Vol. 2.
There’s an interview where you guys described how the band’s name came about, which essentially came from how bothered you were by the ideologies behind the Jones Town Massacre. Do you find those same ideologies influencing the music you create or are there other, more current influences?
Siren: To a certain extent. Jonestown is just an extreme realisation of certain everyday processes. You can see the same thing happening all around us, ok most don’t end in death but the ideas are the same. Thing like fashion tends, fast food and news channels; you actually think people would be riding fixie bikes if they really knew they had a choice?
Diving into the upcoming release, foremost the artwork is a very intriguing choice. What drove the decision to utilize that specific piece as the records artwork?
Siren: The artwork is based on a Bill Hicks Joke; its his idea for ‘The Best Advert’. A woman sitting there with her legs open and it just says ‘Drink Coke’ below. So it’s a bit of a twist on that. I think everyone can agree that advertising is manipulative and exists for one reason – to get you to buy their product or service, even if you don’t need it (and you generally don’t). And companies will do anything to turn the screw – even if it’s sexist, manipulative and unethical.
Furthermore, is there an overarching theme that connects the Vol. 2 to Vol. 1 that essentially bridges the gap between the two, and if so, what is it?
Siren: The name.
Going back to Vol. 1, it seems like it lays a solid foundation for the bands overall sound and approach to music, but Vol. 2 improves upon that greatly. How would you describe the differences and progression between the two releases?
Siren:There are more layers and textures on the tracks in Vol. 2. The sound is darker in parts and also the music has more variation through out the album. We’d like to think the vocals have improved and there is more of a range coming through. The overall sound is a lot better as we had it mixed and mastered by Dave Dapper, who has also done Ginger Wildheart’s records. It sounds really crisp, yet still has our raw edge to it. Vol. 1 was a bit rushed, we had to get something out there at that point in our career but with Vol. 2 we could sit back and get it right.
Focusing on various aspects of the music industry itself, there’s been a slow but increasing number of women as of late entering into the heavier, harder hitting world of metal and hardcore. What do you feel is causing this higher interest and what do you hope becomes of it?
Siren: I think maybe the Internet has a big part to play in more women doing heavier music. We have seen a big increase in women in heavy music over the last few years. It just shame that when you look a the line ups to many of the larger festival they are still male dominated.
Many independent artists, especially more established ones, don’t see the need or seem to have a desire to sign to a label and they feel it’s essentially doing them a disservice as they can’t always control their artistic side. As independent artists yourself, how do you feel about the label versus non-label argument?
Siren: I think if a big label wanted to pick us up, it’d be hard to say no. The biggest reason for that would be the financial backing that would hopefully come with it, as it’s really hard to do this with hardly any money. I wouldn’t like having to compromise my music and be told how to create but I guess would have to deal with that as it comes. More importantly right now, we want management and a booking agent as this would get us better gigs, support slots, on tours and festivals.
Lastly, do you feel like the on-set of backer platforms (Indiegogo / Kickstarter) and a variety of digital distribution methods (Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, etc) makes it easier or harder to remain independent? Based off previous conversations we’ve had with other bands, it seems to be a split on the comfort level of asking fans for money to help record new music.
Siren: We think it’s a pretty good idea. To be able to sell an album before people have heard it raises some questions. But fans are fans and generally embrace what you put out and trust you will make something of quality. Plus taking risks on new artists and records – discovering new music – is a total joy, and something that happens less now in the digital age, but it used to be the norm.
I supppose as long as the platforms stay on side and don’t start ripping bands off, like Soptify, then long may it continue. We are thinking of doing a crowdfunding campaign to put out Vol. 2 on vinyl. Watch this space for that.
Lastly, this is your platform to voice whatever, so what would you guys like to say to anyone reading this?
Siren: Give our music a listen and if you like it, grab a copy. And come to see us play – you wont be disappointed.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat us. We look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the band.