Q&A with Metal Mother

Photo Credit: Trevor Showtell

Photo Credit: Trevor Showtell

Hello Taara!  I’m really enjoying your latest album, Ionika.  You know, I’ve heard *about* you for a while, but only recently checked out your music.  Boy, I’ve been missing out!  I’m enchanted by your sometimes otherworldly vocals and spacious synthscapes.  What has the release of your sophomore album been like for you?

Hello! Thank you! The release has been pretty surreal, but then again, that’s pretty much a constant state for me. It’s differed from the release of my first album, Bonfire Diaries, in that I feel I’ve been accepted by a more widespread audience. I know the themes of the album are more concise, and I think it’s helping me find my niche…

You’ve been playing a lot of shows to promote Ionika.  You’re doing a West Coast tour with a stop in Canada.  How is that all going?

Yeah, it’s been insanely fun. I’ve met so many amazing people and potential collaborators recently through playing shows. It’s funny because I spent like 6 solid months in isolation while making the album, then went directly to being constantly surrounded by people all day every day. Life is nuts.

Back in April you performed at your record release party, along with 3 other bands including Tearist.  What was that experience like?

It was great, I’ve been a fan of Tearist for years, so it was super fun to get to play with them. The party was organized by my label/collective, Post Primal, so it was essentially a team throwdown of décor, drag, other experimental performance art, and intense visuals. So fun!

You dropped your debut album, Bonfire Diaries, not that long ago in 2011.  What distinctions to you make between your 2 albums?  Do you look at Ionika as a progression of your debut or is it a whole different entity?

It was a progression of technical skill, but they both embrace completely different themes. I wasn’t going for one thing or another, but because I’ve grown personally, and because music is an emotional outlet for me, the results were different with this one.  As far as production style goes, Bonfire Diaries was a personal lesson in composition and songwriting, while Ionika was more a lesson in technical production and mixing. I also just wanted to make some songs with a faster tempo, for the live performance.

Photo Credit: Rhea Lydia DeCaro

Photo Credit: Rhea Lydia DeCaro

I love your vocals and high quality production values, which are both in line with the output of artists like Kate Bush, Bjork, and Natasha Khan.  How did you accomplish the album production side of things?

With Ionika, I wrote the songs in Logic and then took them to my very talented friend David Earl to bring up the production.  He essentially helped customize the sounds, mix it in a way that worked, and added some super essential parts. He’s a madman genius!

Your lyrics are cogent and direct, although sometimes a bit too buried in the sonics to fully appreciate their meaning.  What are some of the overarching themes of Ionika?

I suppose it’s about finding my place in a mad world, finding clarity in the heart of the obscure, and finding love in the moment of surrender. Of course, paganism, anarchy, existentialism, and feminism are constant ‘themes’ that I like to embrace.

I’ve read that before you created this album, you traveled extensively in the U.K. to learn about your Celtic roots.  Where did you go and who did you meet?  Were you able to connect with long-lost relatives and/or hone your craft while traveling?

Yeah, I traveled to Ireland, England, and Scotland. I did stay with and meet several of my relatives, and other super magical people. At one point I stayed with a woman who had walked along every single ‘ley line’ (energetic veins of the earth) in Great Britain, while praying and singing with a crystal singing bowl at every intersection and power spot. She was an unforgettable human being.  One of the most powerful places I went was Isle Iona (where the name ‘Ionika’ came from), in the Hebrides. It’s supposedly the birthplace of druidism and the source of endless mystical folklore. That was the highlight of my trip.

You are a multi-instrumentalist.  What instrument do you compose on?  What is your specific favorite instrument to play?

Piano has been and continues to be my favorite instrument to play and compose on.

Not only do you possess captivating vocals, you also have a striking visual presence.  From what I can tell your bangs are now a light purple!  I’ve tried the whole hair-dyeing route and only came out with barely red highlights.  Who do you pick up your changeable style cues from or is it all from your own imagination? 

Hehe, thank you! I get inspired from so much: detrital street fashion, black metal, harajuku, avant drag, medieval tumblr looks, thrift couture, sushi, hummingbirds, jellyfish… 

Metal Mother - Ionika

Metal Mother – Ionika

You started up your own record label, Post Primal, and I think Ionika is the 1st release on the imprint.  What plans do you have for future output?

So much! We’re currently building the team to run the label. Currently the only bands are Metal Mother and my good friends Mortar and Pestle. We’re also planning an apparel line, ongoing experimental art parties, and a blog which features interviews of our favorite people and articles about myth, meme, and the occult in the context of popular culture.

You’ve stated that you have a hankering for the TV series Game Of Thrones.  Who is your most favorite character on that show?  I can’t pick just one, so my faves in order of importance are the obvious choice of Daenerys Targaryen, then Arya Stark, Khal Drogo, Sandor Clegane, Jorah Mormont, Bran Stark – and Lancel Lannister for amusement’s sake.

Hehe, yeah, I can’t wait for the next season – OMG!  I mean, yes, Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark are the ultimate heroines, but I also really look forward to every scene Tyrion Lannister is in, and weirdly, I’m becoming more and more interested in Samwell Tarley. I think he’s going to end up our hero wizard. I should probably just read the books.

Lastly, can you please list your official site(s)?  Thanks so much!