Autona magazine recently conducted an interview with former DRAIN STH drummer Martina Axén, who more recently spent time as the lead singer for SUPERFIX (the aborted project also featuring former DRAIN STH bassist Anna Kjellberg) and SNAKE RIVER CONSPIRACY. The question-and-answer session follows:
Autona: You recorded two excellent albums [with DRAIN STH] and after that you split. What were the reasons?
Martina: Well, one of the reasons was that our singer [Maria Sjöholm] decided to quit the band and the music business overall. We could have continued with somebody else singing, but were stuck in such bad deals with the record label that, basically, it seemed useless to keep on going. To get out of the deals, even after she quit, we had to sign a contract that we could not play together more than two of us at a time in any constellation (within five years) without the label considering it to be "DRAIN," meaning we would still be signed with them. It was unbelievable, because by then, Flavia (the guitar player) had already given up and quit too, and the label still wouldn't let me and the bass player [Anna Kjellberg] go, saying that they considered us being the main songwriters. So me and the bass player signed the papers, got two tickets to Los Angeles the day after, and never went back.
Autona: Will there ever be a reunion?
Martina: We talked about it just recently, and I think everybody is interested in doing it. But who knows when and how. One of us [Flavia] lives in Sweden, one [Maria] in England and two of us [Anna and Martina] here in the U.S. We'll see. I wouldn't mind though.
Autona: I visited your MySpace profile and found a couple of new songs written and also performed by you! So is a brand new solo album in progress?
Martina: I basically wrote an album and would love to put it out. Not like a solo thing, really, I would like it to be as a band. Haven't figured out with who though or how to finance the whole thing. Would love to find the right guitar player to collaborate with, I guess that's the most important thing for me. Someone that's into the same types of bands and guitar players as me. Like Dean DeLeo (and Robert DeLeo), Chris Shiflett, SOUNDGARDEN, FAITH NO MORE, FANTOMAS, TOMAHAWK, PANTERA etc. Someone who likes heavy riffs but also some more intricate chords and meters.
Autona: Do you have any musical expectations regarding your own career? Playing live shows, signing a record deal etc.?
Martina: As soon as I have a CD out I would love to tour. We used to play 150-200 shows a year with DRAIN and I loved it. I've been playing in different bands and touring since I was 16 years old, and for me, to stay at home for this long is just torture.
Autona: The history of female bands in the rock business started with bands like GIRLSCHOOL, VIXEN in the '80. Now there are even female death metal bands and some mainstream modern metal bands like SONIC SYNDICATE have female members. Do you think that DRAIN was influential concerning this development?
Martina: I really do. I get a lot of e-mails on my MySpace site from people telling me about how it changed them. Now everybody seems to want a female in the band to stick out. But so far it's only seems to be OK with female bass players and singers in metal. Things completely changed since we released our first album. You see chicks half naked on music magazine covers now. When we got signed, the first thing the label told us was to cut off our hair. Said it wasn't "credible" to look the way we did. Sweatpants and sneakers, wow, very sexy! (laughing) We all refused and ended up releasing the first album without any pictures at all, and no press pics either!!! There was nowhere where you could see a picture of us. The first Ozzfest tour poster we did was taken at night in the dark, with knee-long big black coats and the faces painted over in photoshop so that you couldn't tell that we were not guys! We had people coming to the shows thinking we were the opening act for DRAIN, not knowing that we were girls in the band! (laughing Later when we changed the label it got re-released with pictures. I don't think DRAIN ever sounded like a girl band. We never intended to. Our heroes were BLACK SABBATH, PANTERA, and all the old-school metal.
Autona: What are your personal plans for 2008?
Martina: Just getting this CD out and start playing shows would be enough to make me happy!!
Martina has released two solo tracks that are available for download on her MySpace profile through Snocap. The songs are "Always" (which features former DRAIN STH bassist Anna Kjellberg), and "Ghost Of Me" (which features former COAL CHAMBER bassist Nadja Peulen).
DRAIN STH's final album, 1999's "Freaks of Nature", was noted for the inclusion of the track "Black", co-written by and featuring lead guitar from BLACK SABBATH's Tony Iommi (who has been romantically involved with DRAIN STH's ex-singer Maria Sjöholm for most of the past decade although it remains unclear if the pair ever officially married).
DRAIN STH's "I Don't Mind" video: