Can you tell us a little bit about your band and the projects you’re working on?
My band, LadyAthenae, was created in June 2020, during the pandemic, and we released our first EP in December of 2020. We’re now releasing our second EP this week. It has been a dream come true because if you would have told me even just two or three years ago [I’d be making music], I wouldn’t have believed it. I always wanted to sing, and it was always in the back of my mind, but it was kept hidden, almost in my unconscious mind. I did attempt, about 10 years ago, to take music seriously and take singing lessons, but after a couple of months with a teacher, I told myself that I was not worthy of singing, or worthy of being in the arts because my voice just wasn’t fit to sing. But I’m giving myself a chance again.
LadyAthenae consists of myself, my husband, and our friend, and we’ve been creating music since 2020. We received a grant from Canada Council just last November to write our second EP, and we also had a couple CBC interviews last year. What I’m really looking forward to is the live shows, which will start pretty soon, probably in May or June.
The mission of the band is to talk about mental health and mental illness. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2015, and since then I’ve just been trying to live with consistency, and to take care of myself. The songs and lyrics we make are really inspired by all of my struggles with depression, especially on the first EP. On the second EP, it’s more like the other part of the illness, which is hypomanic and manic episodes. These episodes for me are very intense but it’s more related to infatuation, and that's not really a fun place to be.
What are your musical inspirations? What can someone expect when they check out your music?
I have a vision board with my inspiration and when it comes to singers, I printed out a picture of Amy Lee from Evanescence, and Tatiana from Jinjer; I wanted my voice to be a mix of theirs. When it comes to my vocals, the clean portion is really a clear and angelic voice, but for the scream portion, it’s more like an intense voice like Tatiana’s. They sound very manly and that’s what I wanted, for people to be confused, to not know if it is a guy or girl screaming, and that’s my ultimate goal with my screams.
When it comes to the music itself, it’s very much metalcore, but there is also a lot of punk in it, sounds of post hardcore mixed with symphonic elements, sometimes a lot of violins. We did a collaboration with another artist, Divine Foray, he’s a DJ from Montreal, on one of our songs, and he actually added some electronic elements into the mix. There’s at least 30 seconds that give off just eerie electronic vibes. So of course, if you don’t like screaming, maybe it’s not for you, but for the rest, I think you should give it a shot.
It took me a while before I started to love screaming. It was only four or five years ago that I started listening to music with screaming in it and it made me want to listen more, and it was because I wanted to replicate those screams. Actually, replicating those screams was something I found more interesting than actually listening to it.
What do you want someone to get from listening to your EP?
For our upcoming EP, my number one goal is that listeners feel something. Although the music is very dark, there’s always a positive behind it. Of course, everyone will have their own interpretation, and that’s great, but I'd say I want them to feel a sense of hope.
You mentioned how 10 years ago, you wanted to make music more prominent in your life, only to realize it wasn’t for you at the time. During the pandemic, that changed. Can you tell us what changed there? Where were you able to find the hope that you’re trying to pass on to your listeners?
In 2020, I was fired from my job as a recruiter around the same time my husband and I were thinking of buying our first home. So when I got fired, it kinda went to dust and I had to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. In my reflection, I kept thinking to myself, “I have a studio in my home and a sound engineer as a husband.” I kept asking myself, “can I make music?” “Why are all these things so close to me yet feel so far away?” I couldn’t help but remember that I love singing, even if I refused to do so for 10 years. One day I finally found the courage to say, okay, I really want to try, I have no job, I’ll give it my all for a couple of months.
I also started giving singing lessons, about 2-3 years after taking lessons myself. I really wanted to have students to help me believe more in myself, and believe that I really do belong in this place [in the arts]. The context of the pandemic, where everybody was vulnerable and asking questions, played a huge factor in my state of mind at the time.
One last question, what would be the best way to support you and find your music? You know, with the upcoming release of the second EP.