THE AGONIST vocalist Vicky Psarakis recently spoke with Scotty J of Rock Titan. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how she felt when she was initially invited the join the band:
Vicky: "I was a bit shocked, because the whole reason I started YouTube covers was hoping that something like that would happen. I tried starting up my own band before that when I was young, but I couldn't really seem to find musicians in the genre that I was looking for. It was a lot of symphonic metal, female-fronted or gothic or whatever, and that was not anything I cared for. I was having a hard time doing that, and I was like, 'Okay, let me just start doing covers. It's easy — I can do it at home; I can find instrumental versions of songs [and] just mix my voice into it, do a video, boom, it's online. I don't need to rely on a whole team of people.' In the back of my head, I was kind of hoping, 'What if I get picked up this way?' When it did happen — and it happened relatively fast; I would say I was doing covers for less than two years at that point — I was shocked. It was sinking in slowly. Every message I would exchange, it seemed to be more and more real. We eventually did a Skype call with the rest of the band so I could meet the rest of the band through the Internet. I think my unofficial audition was to write a couple of songs, because they were like, 'Okay, this girl can sing and all, but can she write?' I wrote songs and they liked [them]... That got me the spot in the band. I jumped on a plane, went to Montreal, worked on the rest of the album and was like, 'Okay, I guess this is happening.'"
On how long it took for her to feel comfortable as the new voice of the group:
Vicky: "I think a lot of it was just mentality. I told myself right off the bat that yes, I'm replacing someone — this band isn't starting from scratch — but in my book, it kind of is. I didn't know these people beforehand; we're writing music together; we're all in here. For all I care, it could just be a new band to me. I think telling myself that was the best thing ever, because I was treated that way in the band. The guys were all super-nice to me, super-accomodating, wanted to make sure I was okay. If I needed help with anything, they were great to me. That really helped me not focus on all the negative stuff that was going [on] online — all the comparisons and all that. At the end of the day, when you're writing music, the number one thing that matters is that you like it and that your bandmates like it, and if you feel positive and good about it, then you release it and share it with the world. You're not writing the music for the world; you're writing it for you, and you're hoping that by putting it out, it will be able to reach and affect people the same way. I think the second you start writing for other people and not for yourself, that's where you're losing it. I did have to of course go back and listen to old songs to learn them to be able to play them live, but I never told myself to try and assimilate and try to copy that style. It's like, 'That's what existed. This is what exists now'... I had to be true to myself. Otherwise, I would always feel like I don't belong, and by doing that, I felt like I did belong from day one."
On the band's new album, "Orphans":
Vicky: "It's technical at certain parts; it's fast-paced... We have to make sure we rehearse as much as possible to make it sound tight, because the faster the song, the sloppier it can come across live if it's not tight. I can't speak for everyone, but I'm fairly positive that it's written to each one's capabilities. Even though there's some vocal parts in there that someone might think are kind of difficult, it's written to something that I know I can do. Maybe there's something out there that sounds easier, but I would have a really hard time doing. Not everyone's voice is the same. I just tried to stay true to myself, bring in the things I already know how to do or some things I learned how to do, and push my limits but also try to keep it comfortable with at the same time."
"Orphans", THE AGONIST's sixth album (and third with Psarakis), will be released on September 20 via Rodeostar/Napalm.