EMQ’s with KAIMA
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with UK based solo female Rock artist Kaima! Huge thanks to Kaima for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi! My name is Kaima – I am a rock/metal vocalist, and I am a female solo rock artist! As a solo artist I have been around for nearly a year, however I was born from my old band, Wild Card. We were around for about a year before we disbanded, and from the ashes I decided to not give up, but face the problems we struggled with – cohesive music direction, the same beliefs, passion and dedication, and come back as a solo artist. This past year has professionally and personally been the hardest in my life, and I’ve been very open about my mental health issues, and experiences with abuse, and so I took that gap to sit down with my guitarist James, and take control of the narrative, instead of letting things defeat me. I wrote, and sang out all of my pain, and turned it into power. It’s the most empowering thing in the world to work through a scarring/negative situation and make something beautiful/positive out of it instead. I also decided to come back as a solo artist because I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone else to get to where I wanted to be – this last year has been full of realisations, and I think my biggest has been this exactly – I don’t need anyone else but myself.
How did you come up with your band name?
It is half of my surname – I am half Cypriot, and my name is very unusual. I am very proud of my heritage, and my family history, and I wanted to keep a part of it with me always, but ‘Kaimakami’ is quite a mouthful, and friends from school used to call me Kaima, so now it is just my preferred name and stage name! My logo, the eye is a variation on the Mediterranean ‘evil eye’ which is tied in heavily with our culture, with crazy eyelashes because I always have makeup or glitter running down my face!
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I am from England, and the metal/rock scene is… well it depends where you are! Where I grew up in the West Country, you are hard pressed to find any musicians, let alone any rockers, whereas I live closer to London, where the scene is teeming with metalheads.. finding ones that are dedicated, or aren’t already taken is a bit harder though! But never give up. It took me long enough…
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
Liar Liar! My debut single as a solo artist… this song came from a lot of toxic anger toward an individual for infidelity, and lots of other fucked stuff like manipulation and emotional/physical abuse… But instead of letting the toxic anger fester inside me, I used the strength I shared with a close friend of mine who went through this with me, to turn the message into one of solidarity, and made what could have been a potentially quite bitter track, a kick-ass thank-fuck-you-were-the-one-that-got-away anthem! It came out back in February 2019, and I’ve been planning my next single, however I’ve been doing my best to fundraise for this to get into the studio/get it mixed/mastered.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Freddie. Gaga. Lzzy. In that order. They shaped everything I truly love and value about myself. I learned to love singing, appreciate truly special music, and be ok with being a drama queen on stage through Freddie, and Queen… I always knew I was a bit different, but didn’t know why/how, and when I sang their songs I felt ok with it for the first time and pretty fucking fabulous too! I credit Gaga for growing me up and teaching me all the things I should have learned at school/home – to love myself and drop anyone that didn’t by the wayside. She pushed me to push myself, and accept all the parts of me that weren’t ‘normal’ – her popularity just for being her awesome theatrical self when I was a kid was proof that I’d get through all the bullying and horrific experiences, and make it someday, and I could stay true to myself whilst doing it. Halestorm and Lzzy Hale in particular introduced me to slightly heavier music – and it blew my mind. I knew from the moment I heard them that that was what I wanted to do. It was exciting, it was sexy – here was a WOMAN who loved herself, her sex life, and was unapologetic about it.. and my god that VOICE… I was determined to be able to sing like her and it took about a year of training but I got there! All 3 paved the way for other beautiful freaks like them to follow down their paths. Without them, the industry would be a very different place. They didn’t just stand up for their beliefs – they fought like hell for them, and they made you feel like one of their own, whilst also taking you on a beautifully wild ride.
What first got you into music?
(I guess the above statement)
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
All of the above musicians – I would be honoured to collaborate with them, and also a band called The Struts. I really like what they’re doing at the moment – the lead singer Luke has a very Freddie attitude and sound which is incredibly sexy, and I feel like they’re kinda bringing their version of rock the mainstream, which is always awesome. I’ve also just discovered this insane fellow female solo artist – Kim Jennett. She was also in a band, and decided to go solo, is massively inspired by Lzzy, has ridiculous gritty vocals that are so rare in this industry nowadays… sounding familiar?! She’s a massive babe with a massive voice, and there are honestly so few of us rock chicks out there, I feel like I’ve struck gold! Society has a tendency to pit women against each other, but I honestly can’t be arsed with that rubbish – we need to stick together. Pulling someone else down doesn’t raise you higher. I supported Hands Off Gretal (another band I’d love to collab with) last week and I was shitting myself because I love their music, but every time I have played with women there has been nothing but love and support. No one is actually alone – we are all shit scared and thinking we aren’t good enough, so why add more stress and negativity to life – it’s hard enough as it is!! Be a damn cheerleader. So yeah – Kim Jennett, Lauren Tate (H.O.G) and 2 other local artists LUNA and Chinchilla – I adore you, lets team up and show the world how badass we are.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Glastonbury! It’s my biggest dream to play the pyramid stage at sunset. It’s my hometown, it was my first festival, and I just want a golden sea of people dancing and jumping to my songs whilst the sun goes down… I dream about it every night.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I haven’t received anything weird yet! Everything that’s made with love is important to me, but you never know!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Everyone feels like they are, but they’re not. Reach out. Social media is horrific but it can also be incredible at bringing people together. Facebook forums, Instagram pages, Tumblr, Reddit – there is always someone else that feels the same way you do. Emotions are meant to be felt, but if you struggle with them like I do – find a doctor. It’s free. Ring a helpline. Join a website to start walking dogs. Volunteer at animal shelters. Find something you love, and find a way if pouring your pain into it so there is something constructive to show for it. If your friends aren’t helping – find new ones. ‘we accept the love we think we deserve’ – from the Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it’s true. I’ve stayed in horrific relationships (platonic too) and situations because I haven’t respected myself to go ‘HELL NO.’ There are 7 billion people out there – you will find someone. They might not be n your hometown, but we have social media for a reason.
If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
As I said earlier, I love being able to take a really shitty situation, turn it into a powerful song, which helps me heal, and then in turn it helps someone else heal. I love when people thank me for my honesty, because it is hard to be vulnerable in such a tough industry, but I think this and admitting flaws is something that is swiftly becoming more applauded. I love being a platform to voice support for those that need it, such as MH, women’s rights, and sex worker rights. And the biggest thing… being able to scream into a microphone and call it my job. Getting sweaty and grimy all half naked on stage, singing about beating my demons?! It’s my dream come true! Fetus Kaima – we did it! I hate rumours. People that shit stir. If you’ve got issues, go and talk it out. You are helping no one here! This industry is hard enough as it is – help each other!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Honestly, I would make rock n roll the ‘current’ genre again… a lot of people tell me I won’t get far because it isn’t ‘in’ (but I do it anyway) and I see a lot of amazing musicians get put off or not follow the music they REALLY want to do because it ‘won’t sell’ which sucks, but in this day and age you have to make a killing to be a full time, successful musician. People think they have to go heavier, or rely on tech more. I just think I was born into the wrong era! It’s selfish, but I guess my ultimate wish would be that you could be able to be successful in the genre that you want to pursue. not what society dictates is the new ‘in’ thing. There is so much more rock has to offer, and I hope that movies like Bohemian Rhapsody and the Dirt have brought that kind of music back into a mainstream a bit more, so a wider audience can love and listen to this genre.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Queen – “Night At The Opera”. Or any of Halestorm’s albums because they showed me how to rock and Gaga’s “Fame Monster” because it grew me up!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I love vinyl because I’m a very visual person but realistically, downloads.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Probably the last 2 shows I’ve played – I headlined the Backroom Bar at the Hard Rock Café in London earlier this year, and there pictures of me as a kid at the Hard Rock café in Florida, and I still have hard rock merch up in my old bedroom. It was just a childhood dream fully realised. They all but rolled out red carpet for me, and I had massive imposter syndrome (and tonsillitis!). I was so humbled and honoured to have been given the opportunity, let alone treated like fucking royalty! So many people turned up, and the room just heaved with people living and breathing the same good rock n roll energy. I am grateful for that experience every day. My most recent show with Hands Off Gretal was a near topper for that though – despite having tonsil issues again, my voice held out for our nearly hour long set. To be able to support HOG made it an incredible night anyway, but playing to a packed crowd, seeing Lauren Tate in the front loving every second, being confident enough to incorporate a fully realised burlesque element into it, and having people stop me to tell me how much my music meant to them, it was just bliss. You can’t make this shit up. And I fully let go of absolutely everything – all of those fears and anxieties – for the whole set. I always snap out and over analyse and worry, but this time I was just totally lost in the moment. I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to do that when I am enjoying myself now – to snapshot that moment in my mind, so I can look back on that, and not the mountains of stress accompanying it.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Helping animals, kids, or being a Disney princess. Or makeup artistry!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Monroe
What’s next for the band?
Getting the funds to go into the studio and release these tracks I’ve been saving up for you all! Then gig, gig, gig. Being on stage is my obsession, feeling the reaction from people who have their own personal connection to the songs I’ve written. I just want more! I’d like to work with some mental health charities, support women’s rights, and sex worker rights. As a provocative performer and a burlesque performer, the sex work industry is looked down upon, but there’s nothing shameful about our bodies! We love them, and we get that other people love them too. Being able to incorporate burlesque into my performance is something I haven’t had the confidence to do until recently but I’m over the moon that I did. We are such a large, loving community, and we don’t have time for hate.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
A cake?! They’re soft and called cakes…
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
… Uhhhh I’m sorry for rambling! I have a lot to say… but I always do! Thank you for having me… and just keep an open mind, and an open heart! It’s much better to add love in a world full of hate.
KAIMA <3 x
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Photograph supplied with kind permission by J Law Photographs