Metal Edge correspondent Bryan Reesman (web site) traveled to Wieze, Belgium last October to interview Liv Kristine (LEAVES' EYES), Kaisa Jouhki (BATTLELORE), Sandra Scherelet (ELIS), and Lisa Johansson (DRACONIAN) backstage during Metal Female Voices Fest V. Here are excerpts from the roundtable interview ("The Women Of Euro-Metal ROAR"), which is in the new Metal Edge (March 2008, Rob Zombie cover).
Q: Sandra, how much pressure did you feel when you joined ELIS following Sabine Dünser's death?
Sandra Scherelet: None. I started my way. Then there were things that you never would have expected. Some people have said it's insulting the legacy of Sabine, which is so ridiculous. I'm very respectful of what she did, but I'm singing in a very different way. But now, after one year, I found myself. It's not easy. It's far more difficult than I expected. When people come and say, "You're insulting her legacy," you get aggressive. "How can you know how I feel?" It's difficult, but now I think I've found my balance. There are some people who can only accept Sabine in front of ELIS, which is okay with me, but some people seem to search for something to criticize.
Liv Kristine: We owe a lot of respect to Sandra because she's really doing a fantastic job.
Q: All of your bands have a presence on YouTube. Beyond official videos, there are unofficial live clips, candid video, even "Lord of the Rings" footage edited together to BATTLELORE's music. What do you think of the site and what's on it?
Sandra Scherelet: There's some good stuff on it.
Lisa Johansson: To be honest, I have never been on YouTube and watched any of it. When I do something, I let it go. Sometimes it's fun to see. But I'm not a computer person.
Liv Kristine: At first I hated it. Now I can watch it without getting angry. It's like, "Ha ha, that's funny. It looks like shit. I look like shit." Some [unofficial] things people will probably see, and they will laugh about it, and you just have to accept it.
Q: What have been your biggest "Spinal Tap" moments?
Kaisa Jouhki: There are so many.
Lisa Johansson: Sometimes I realize that I'm wearing the wrong dress. Maybe the problem is I'm not so much into goth, but I want to really let the metal woman out. I'll put my foot up on the monitor box, which sometimes is not the best thing to do. I'll realize that afterwards, which is really bad.
Kaisa Jouhki: It's difficult to remember anything specific because I think there is a "Spinal Tap" vibe around our band all the time.
Q: Have you accidentally been hit by Tomi's sword?
Kaisa Jouhki: Yeah, I have. I've been a victim of the sword a few times. Also, while banging my head, I'll keep my hands on the mic stand, and I've hit my head on the mic. It makes a really nice sound. Pop!
Sandra Scherelet: I chipped one of my teeth on the mic. It's very dangerous.
Liv Kristine: Microphones and swords, you never know…
Kaisa Jouhki: I remember once the sword hit me, and my voice was like… [shaky Tarzan yell] I just continued, and after the gig there was this bump on my head.
Q: That's very MANOWAR.
Liv Kristine: My true "Spinal Tap" experience was when I was in THEATRE OF TRAGEDY. I used to wear open-toed heels. There was one fan in Austria who, during one of our ballads, suddenly started licking my toes. Then he put them into his mouth.
Lisa Johansson: That's shocking.
Liv Kristine: How could somebody do that? I will never forget it. But I let him do it, and I tried to finish the ballad as best I could.
Other topics included Kaisa's elf ears, male groupies for female singers, the female-fronted scene in Europe, goth stereotyping, and trying to break America.
The full interview is available in the new issue, which will be available for free digitally in the near future. Register at www.metaledgemag.com.
A dual interview with AFTER FOREVER's Floor Jansen and NIGHTWISH's Anette Olzon can be found on the site in the November/December issue (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER cover).