Being a female metal or rock musician over the course of history has always dragged up challenges and problems that otherwise might not be experienced by their male counterparts. Firstly the immoral and unforgiving stigma directed towards said musicians has always proved an issue, but it's one that has been been challenged head on through arguably a whole plethora of successful artists and bands.
From the likes of Siousxie & The Banshees to Annie Lennox, from Sabina Classen and Orianthi to Vanilla Ninja and arguably the most prolific all-female metal band, Girlschool. These are musicians who stood up to the male-dominated arena of rock and metal, stuck the middle finger up and alluded to the notion of 'who said girls can't rock or mosh?' As AC/DC once put it, 'for those about to rock, we salute you' and for the female rock / metal musicians and subsequent all-female bands, we do exactly that, we salute you. One of these bands is Conquer Divide, who are rampaging and setting the USA on fire with their own unrelenting and uncompromising style of Alternative Post-Hardcore / Metalcore.
Let's be honest, it does not matter who or what you are, as long as you are happy playing music then those who remark on it can stick their opinion where it should belong. As Tamara quite rightly put it when speaking to Blabbermouth, "We are all girls, and you cant hide that, but we want people to focus more on the quality of the music," (http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/all-female-metal-band-conquer-divide-to-release-debut-album-in-july/), so with that in mind we asked our own questions and Izzy (guitarist) duly decided to respond to them.
Will the ongoing debate about female musicians disappear or has it already seen the end? What about the youth of today, could Conquer Divide offer themselves as inspiration for female musicians (whatever style of music) to aspire to? Izzy believes they can (we do too):-
"No, I don't think it's something that will fade away easily. I mean its pretty common for our musicality to be undermined because we are girls, that's the sad reality. On the flip side being an "all girl band" in a male dominated industry has given us an edge to create something different and stand out from the crowd. We definitely want to have a positive impact on young girls and show them that there is always room for girls in metal, you just have to dedicate yourself to do it!"
It would seem logical that giving girls instruments would open doors for newer creativity and ideas, just like the Japanese Metal scene has recently experienced with the phenomenal yet completely unforeseeable rise of Babymetal; well they did go completely viral in a very short space of time, truth be told not many people knew of their existence outside of Japan. Here's hoping that more and more females worldwide grab hold of an instrument or harness some sort of musical skill and form a band, or at least join one. So what about their heritage? Well they do have members originally from the USA, the UK and Serbia and so did this work out for them? Well clearly it did!
"The concept for Conquer Divide was originally formed in Michigan, USA. However to complete the line up the band had to outsource to different areas. It's hard enough finding dedicated musicians to create bands, and when you're specifically trying to find female musicians that's even harder, so that's why naturally we are from different areas. We write music with each other via the internet! Yay technology!"
With their debut self-titled album already out, surely the chances of a tour to support it's release seemed likely, well actually this is not the case. See, Conquer Divide have done the opposite and toured prior to the album release in support of it as Izzy goes on to explain (as well as speaking about current endeavours):-
"We released our album last summer whilst we were on the 2015 All Stars tour, so I guess that was our album release tour! We just came off tour with Slaves, Capture The Crown, Myka Relocate, Outline In Color and currently we have no tours coming up. We are busy doing some writing but we would love to hit the road again soon!"
With the band essentially coming fresh off the block on the international stage, we asked Izzy if she could describe the album's sound without the ill-fated genre tagging, what track(s) are her favourites and why. Most musicians have a stand-out track and usually these take the form of a single or music video as a way to showcase the track(s) they're most proud of. Logically speaking differentiating your song styles offers you greater choice at electing a song you like the most, moreover it allows a plethora of fans from different style preferences to come to like the release in question. However Izzy offered some unique advice when it comes to their album, "We just would advise fans to listen to the album from start to finish to really get a taste of what we are about." before adding:-
"Our album is pretty varied, we have heavy songs like "Heavy Lies The Crown" and "Despicable You" which are more screaming / guitar orientated and then lighter songs like "Broken" and "What's Left Inside" which really focus on Kia's singing abilities. I honestly like all the songs on our album (I know I know, a cop out answer) but for different reasons, for example "Heavy Lies The Crown" has awesome riffs, which for me being a guitarist is fun, "Nightmares" has some sweet synth sections in it."
Creating music as a musician or band, or working in the music industry in one of many outlets such as PR or record labels, show promoters or engineers etc., can be a strenuous job sometimes and as a result it can take toll on your body to the extent you just want out, so to avoid this dilemma musicians often indulge in other interests and or hobbies to take a break from said profession(s). So what does Izzy like to do?
"We all have different hobbies which is pretty cool, I know Kristen really likes travelling because on tour we don't really get to "see" a lot. I still like jamming guitar outside of tour, I'm pretty into working out and I like snowboarding!
And obviously by travelling you are able to take your music with you and not just on tour. Naturally with the internet lending itself as a major driving force for globalization, bands are finding that their music is being picked up in the unlikeliest and remotest parts of the world unbeknownst to them. Even for GMA as a media outlet we see people from the likes of Greenland to French Polynesia take note in what we do, so we have to thank the internet for that. But what of Conquer Divide? Has Social Media aided them well, and what does Izzy think of it's darker side?
"We seem to have a lot of fans in South America which is pretty sweet, our album actually debuted in Japan as well and people seem to dig our music there too! We are actually hoping to tour Japan soon so that's super exciting. I feel social media has been nothing but positive for bands, but modern technology kind of killed CD sales which makes it harder to make a living from music... but as a musician you just have to go with the flow and constantly adapt to the changes."
And with changes in mind, could we see Conquer Divide's debut album take on the form of being released in vinyl format as it's unprecedented resurgence continues to grip tighter on music consumerism?
"We have talked about it yes, but we haven't got any solid plans for it because we are unsure how much demand we have for vinyl..... so if anyone is reading this and wants our album on vinyl let us know!!!"
So what plans alongside the potential for their self-titled debut album being released on vinyl is there and what greetings does Izzy want to send out?
"More tours (hopefully outside of the USA), writing an acoustic EP and getting stuck into writing our second album! I think I can speak for all the girls when I say we want to thank our team at Artery, our supportive family and friends and of course our awesome fans who inspire, motivate and have created a platform for us to live our dreams on."
Check out their lyric video for 'At War' by clicking the inserted video above this text.
Conquer Divide's self-titled debut album is out via Artery Recordings