Hear the mighty sonic downfall! A talk with Danish death-doom vortex Konvent.
Hail Konvent! I am so glad to have you, the rising star in the death/doom metal scene in this interview! First question, what got you into extreme metal, especially doom and death metal?
Hi! Rikke here, thank you very much for having us! So first of all, all of our dads raised us on Black Sabbath. When Julie was little, she and her dad also listened to Kiss and Led Zeppelin a lot. When Sara first learned the guitar as a teenager, her biggest influence was Nirvana. Heidi was a big fan of The Darkness in her teens. In my (Rikke) early high school years I was listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers a lot but then I discovered Rammstein and became a huge fan. Eventually, we all wanted to listen to heavier stuff and got involved with death metal, black metal, hardcore and punk.
Basically, your music is made up by endless riffs and incredibly evil vocals (that’s precisely why I would call you as riff machine haha!). And I heard that you were new to your parts back in 2015 when Konvent was found. How did you find your way of songwriting and playing/singing in such a short period (which is incredible from my points of view)?
Thank you very much! Our first drummer Mette and Heidi, who were the ones who formed the band, were more or less on the same level on their instruments and a band seemed like an ideal opportunity to practise as well as write music. Our way of writing is that Sara and Heidi come up with riffs at home, they play them at our rehearsal space and then Julie tries to come up with some drums and I try to figure out where I should put the lyrics.
Have you been inspired by some certain female musicians/ bands/ artists?
We are generally just inspired by music and don’t think so much about who made it. Personally I look up to Simone Pluijmers, who used to sing in Cerebreal Bore and Your Chance to Die, a lot. Her vocals were amazing!
Your album art matches the atmosphere of your music well – the great downfall of energy and control (if I feel this right). While I checked out the artist – Mads Berg’s portfolio, and I notice that his style is neat, colourful and with a sense of retro, ‘standing out’ from the dark, twisted visual which metal music used to take. Why and how did you find him to collaborate? Does the portrait of a female on the back cover have some certain meanings?
It was a bit of a coincidence actually. We had played a show in Copenhagen a few years ago and Mads happened to be there. Sara and him ended up talking and afterwards he reached out to us and asked if he could show us some sketches he had made. We met up and were completely blown away by his designs and started our collaboration. As you mention, his work is usually very different but I’m sure that he contacted us to try and do something completely different and get some new inspiration and we are very happy that he did.
How did you get the deal with Napalm? Since Napalm is a big name in the industry, do you consider you are an underground band, keep your unique sound and attitude, or do you want to get approach to big fame in the extreme metal scene? Do you think the DIY approach is important for the band which more focuses on artistic expression?
In 2018 we were invited to play at a yearly event here in Copenhagen called When Copenhell Freezes Over. They always invite a lot of people who work in the music/metal business around Europe and after our gig we were approached by Thorsten Harm from Napalm Events who wanted to offer us a booking deal. After we signed the deal we were offered a record deal as well.
It could be fun to play at some of the bigger metal festivals around the world but we couldn’t care less about fame.
I don’t know what the alternative to the DIY approach would be, sorry.
Being experienced female musicians in the extreme metal scene (which is men-dominated for sure), what is the biggest difficulty for you so far? Have you developed some strategies?
So far we have heard a lot of positive things about us forming a metal band. We have had a few ridiculous and sexist comments, when doing line checks before a show but in general, people have been very curious, supportive and not sceptical.
A kind of stupid but funny question: Have you got a certain persona/ image/ identity when you are performing on stage?
Not really but being on a stage and doing a show you have to be a bit extra. Mainly I just focus on telling the stories we wrote and portraying those feelings/ scenarios.
Generally speaking, since the underground extreme metal is masculine, female musicians normally find themselves in these two positions: standing out from the ocean which is helpful to get more attention (for example, utilize the feminine traits on appearance but still skillful enough), or fitting in the masculine convention of this subculture (for example, pretend to be a boy). Regard to your own representation, which one, or neither are you? Why? Do you think are there any other possibilities beyond these polarized options in the future?
We try to think as little about our gender as possible and not make a big deal out of it. We have always insisted that we all can wear whatever we want on stage, i.e. if someone in the band wants to wear a shirt that shows a lot of cleavage - fine. If someone wants to wear a hoodie and baggy jeans - also fine. People have a lot of opinions on what you wear on stage if you are a woman and this is our way of saying that there shouldn’t be a difference.
Transgressor the zine is very grateful to your support. Since Transgressor is a very fresher in the underground magazine/fanzine world, I am wondering, don’t you mind speaking to a beginner in this area?
Not at all! We want to talk to everyone <3
I have heard that Heidi and Sara have made some new materials during the COVID-19 lockdown. What can we expect from your next release?
Hopefully, we’ll have some longer and more atmospheric songs but it’s still very early in the process to tell.
Thank you so much for this interview! Any final words for the readers and the girls who want to live a metal life?
Thank you! Don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes because you WILL make mistakes and guess what, they won’t kill you, you can only learn from them. If you’re dreaming about starting a band, don’t be afraid to reach out to your network. You never know. Maybe your mom has a colleague who has a friend who has a niece around your age who wants to start a band too.
Listen to Konvent: