EMQ’s with ANABELLE
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with London, England based Vocalist and Multi-Instrumentalist Anabelle Iratni. Huge thanks to her 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?
Howdy! I am Anabelle. Vocals are my main instrument, but I play the modern lyre, piano, keyboard and violin (badly!). I also own a folk harp and a kalimba – but those are just for fun! Alas, aside from being in Devilment, I have a couple of huge things I’m a part of, but I can’t say what they are quite just yet! As for me personally, I’m a classically trained vocalist (mezzo-soprano) with a Bachelor’s degree in Music as well as an MA in Ethnomusicology.
How did you come up with your band name?
It was a gift for my birthday! There is even a mockumentary about my life – you may have seen it – it’s called: ‘Annabelle’. They changed the spelling of my name for confidentiality reasons. Alas, mine is spelled with one ‘n’ – like anal!
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I’m from good ol’ London in the UK. It’s a hubbub of musical activity, but I must admit, it has been dwindling as of late. A testament to the impossible property costs in London.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
I recently released an orchestral version of ‘Lost in the Shadows’ by Kobra and the Lotus. I’ve collaborated with some great artists this year, such as Gate Master, Ward XVI, Ramage Inc. and WinterheartH. I’m gutted as news and releases for me have been delayed because of the cataclysmic wonder of 2020, but I can say that a project that has been 3 years in the making is nearing release! It involves Charles Edward Alexander Hedger (Mayhem, Imperial Vengeance, former Cradle of Filth) Frank Skillpero (Shining, The Monolith Deathcult, Incantation, Dictated) and myself!
‘Lost In The Shadows’ (Orchestral), originally by Kobra and the Lotus
Who have been your greatest influences?
It’s difficult to say! Musically, I’ve always been drawn to performance or character instead of vocal styles. I remember an awful singing lesson where my teacher said I sounded like a silly warbling mess! I was trying to ‘mimic’ a singer I’d heard on YouTube; a common problem among many vocalists, I find. So, I stepped back from obsessively listening to how other people sounded, instead, I delved into experimentation (paired with technical expertise from my vocal teachers) to ‘figure out’ who I was vocally. To name a few influences along the way: Klaus Naomi, Danny Elfman, Salvador Dalí…but above all, my crippling anxieties!
What first got you into music?
Music has always been in my life quite strongly; I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t there. I recall being in the garden as small child playing with two sticks, pretending they were a violin. I had a brightly coloured chunky keyboard as a bubba, as well as an old-school Yamaha keyboard and I’ve been in choirs for as long as I can remember. I had an interestingly rich cultural upbringing: – my nan is Italian and would always be playing obscure ‘folk’ music; my father is French/Algerian and would listen to French pop, Rai or Iron Maiden; My Italian/British mother loved dance, techno and 80’s music – I’ve always been entrenched in a cacophony of different music. It’s quite the fusion!
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Honestly, I’d be happy to collaborate with anyone that will have me! The opportunity to create and do what I love is always welcome. Though Devin Townsend is definitely on the list. I’d love to do something relating to my North African heritage.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Hands down, it would be Bloodstock festival. I have a deep connection with it as it was the first festival I’d ever attended. It would feel like ‘returning home’.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Aside from the occasional artwork, I haven’t received anything that would make a monkey blush. However, I must admit, I do find it weird that people have taken the time to sketch MY mug!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
I doubt I have any fans, haha! A simple nugget of advice I would give is simple: don’t be an asshole. You never know who someone is or who they know, treat everyone you meet with kindness. Be compassionate, be kind, to both yourself and others.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Freddie Mercury! Love me some Freddie.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love performance, singing is when I feel truly alive. Being on stage, I feel the thrum of life – it’s one of the only times I feel connected to the world and my physical body. I absolutely hate egos! Ugh.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
It’s important to remember that it is industries, a complex nexus of disciplines that is subject to commercial and economic imperatives. Any music business is a sophisticated network, and things created by humans, often reflect back societal constructs in some form or another, such as, misogyny and sexism. I’ve been sexually harassed and touched inappropriately during interviews, followed to my accommodation, treated as if I’m stupid and generally not taken seriously being a woman in the industry. Worst of all, I despise being judged on my looks rather than my abilities, to be overlooked or criticised for ‘not being thin enough’ or ‘not being sexy enough’. We need to be aware that metal in particular is not a sanctuary where no inequality exists, this line of thought is as dangerous as the act of sexism itself, or any other blind spot that leads to marginalisation.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Oooft, just one?! That’s like asking which finger I’d prefer lopped off. This is a trap; I will not fall for it – I’ll immediately regret whichever one I choose!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I have no real preference! Growing up quite poor, I didn’t have the luxury of owning much of anything! As long as it can get it into thine ear canals.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
For me, it’s ‘ the moment’ where I knew undoubtedly that music is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was a school music showcase in high school, I was around 16 years old at the time and no one had heard me sing solo. Teachers encouraged me to sing something on the programme as they knew my aspirations to go onto study music academically. I remember totally bricking it, clinging onto a toilet bowl for dear life an hour before the doors opened. I remember the moment my name was called and I stepped onto the platform behind the microphone shaking like a leaf. I remember when the piece had ended, the room was dead silent, an electricity hung in the air…there was a good 10 seconds where everyone just stared at me, completely shocked at what just came out of my mouth, before applauding. I’ll never forget the feeling, I felt alive! I wanted to jump back on the podium and do it again and again and again. I got a mention from the headteacher in the school assembly the next day. I’m grateful for that moment, to have the affirming feeling of my purpose.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
A psychologist, for sure! I love the human brain; I find it fascinating. I’ve drawn on psychology a lot in my ethnomusicological research.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
First, I’d hold a necromantic ceremony, as half the people I’d invite have long since passed. Such as the legend Danny Kaye, Julia Pastrana and my recent budgie, Scruffy. Undoubtedly, I’d invite Sir Patrick Stewart, I have an unconditional love for him. My ultimate ambition is to meet him, hell, even collaborate with him! Katya Zamolodchikova too. Can I invite a dinosaur? I think that would be cool. A dinosaur, a drag queen and Captain Picard – sounds like a right knees up!
What’s next for the band?
Follow me and stay tuned for big announcements 😉
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
It says cake in the name, so…
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
My eternal thanks to Richard and Beth and the Ever Metal team for their unwavering support. I have a couple of huge announcements on the way, so please follow me to find out what the hell it is I’m up to!
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