Friday, August 22, 2014

Mistress Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Certainly!  Here is the short version.  We are a rock/metal band from Philadelphia that focuses on melodic catchy songwriting and has a female singer.  Here is the long version:
The throwback sound of Mistress is that of old school heavy metal with strong, memorable, dirty riffs and soaring, dynamic vocals. The origin of the band began in 2002 when Mita Khrichenko, guitarist, and Jesse Rucco, drummer, started the group over a bond in women and metal. After going through countless lineup changes over the next few years, Mistress finally found their perfect "frontman" in September of 2009 when Deanna Gardas joined the band. After several local shows throughout the following six months, Mistress began recording their first album. The lineup also included Ralph Beam on bass and Andrey Bogdanov on drums, who was featured on "Brains and Bruises", the end resulting full length. It was released in October of 2011.
Shortly following this, Jesse assumed his prior position at the (drum) throne and Mistress eagerly welcomed a new member: Tom Gilbert.
The recording of the second album "Heavy Mental" began during the summer of 2012. It features Deanna on vocals, Mita on guitars and bass, and Grom, a session drummer from LA on drums. The album was released in April, 2013, with streaming tracks available online as well as a free digital download.

2.So far, you have released 2 albums how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?
My goal musically was to combine the instrumentals of a good tight metal band with the vocals of a good radio band.  That is the sound I am hoping to achieve on both records.  The second album has a very talented  drummer playing on it, which really enhanced the overall sound.  The songs are more direct and to the point, and Deanna's vocals (and my music engineering) matured very nicely on this record as well.  The music style is about the same for both albums though.

3.The band has been around since 2002 but waited until 2011 to release their first album, can you tell us a little bit more on the long delay?
This was not a delay that I wanted at all.  It was caused by lazy members of the past!  I auditioned several hundred people over the years for the band.  It is always a very difficult process.  As soon as Deanna joined in 2009, it was time to begin recording immediately.  I still had to wait an entire year for the old drummer to finish his parts.  The bass player and second guitarist were pretty lazy as well, so I ended up recording all guitar and bass parts myself.  This experience is what made me decide to hire a session drummer for the second album.  Everything went much smoother, sounded better and I did not have to wait on anyone!

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with their music?
We have songs about world conflicts, prostitutes, romances gone wrong, movies and everything in between.  I believe the music comes first.  The lyrics tell some sort of story, but are never the starting point.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Mistress'?
I wanted a name that is easy to remember, not too dirty but not totally innocent as well.  One day we were sitting around and made up a story about how our singer at the time was a mail order prostitute from Russia.  The name Mistress naturally came out of that story.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Every time we play at Club Risque, a local strip club, it is a good time!  We did have three stripper malfunctions in a row.  The first time, we did not know that we could get strippers on stage during our set.   The second time, someone told me that the club changed policies, and strippers were no longer allowed to perform with the bands.  After our set, the guy in charge of the strippers to me that someone told him that I said I did not want strippers.  This was stripper sabotage!  Finally, for our third stripper malfunction, we got a fat and a dried up stripper.  The one on my side was so fat that she could not make it up the pole, despite her best efforts.  I tripped over myself while playing when I first saw this.
As far as our stage performance, we keep things energetic and entertaining.  I often jump off the stage and run around bothering the audience while playing.  One time a couple was sitting at the bar, talking and not paying attention.  I jumped off the stage, onto the bar, and started head banging in a power stance right in the girls face.  She turned her head right into my crotch, got freaked out, and the couple left.  Another time we all stripped to our specially planned underwear for a valentines day show.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We have a couple of local shows coming up in the fall as of this moment.  Please check out any of our websites such as for all show information!

8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
We have gotten a couple of offers from some small labels, but nothing that made sense for us so far.  We are always looking, and it would be nice to get something that fits!

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal?
Overall, pretty damn good!  We always run into the occasional elite critic that gets deeply offended that not every song on the album wants to bash your skull in.  Besides that, people seem to like it.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
The next album should be similar with some enhancements!  I am making the songs even more to the point with more diverse arrangements.  Deanna's vocals have been steadily improving even more, so I am excited to record her again.  I am taking more chances with the expression in my guitar playing, and am more confident in my musical engineering abilities as well.  All this stuff will hopefully lead to a much livelier and natural sounding recording.  I can tell you that we are NOT heading into the triggered drums, down tuned guitar, and an over produced sound recording!

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I was always a big fan of the old Metallica sound, as well as the Randy Rhoads Ozzy years from the metal side.  I also love 90s alternative music.  Bands like Nirvana, STP, Soundgarden, No Doubt, Alice In Chains, Chili Peppers (do they fit in this category?).  People always assume and tell me that I really like Megadeth and Iron Maiden (It is a pretty strange thing to tell someone what they like).  That is actually quite the opposite.  I only heard a couple of Megadeth songs and really did not like them.  I do like some Iron Maiden hits, but I was never a big fan.
I really like Kiko Loureiro.  Last year he released the only instrumental "rock" album that I really enjoy.  After I discovered Kiko, he has been a big influence on my playing from a technical standpoint.  I think he is pretty amazing.
The stuff on my playlist in my car is pretty much what I describe above.  I pick and choose songs that I like, and don't worry too much about who the artist is or what genre it falls into.  I think I might have a Ricky Martin song on there somewhere.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
I have been practicing Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, for the last 10 years, and recently I got into photography and videography.  You can see both of these hobbies combined in the latest Mistress video linked bellow.
Skiing and eating shrimp is also high up on my list of interests.  Most recently, I have been enjoying crashing drones into corn fields.  I'll just leave it at that.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks again for the interview.  Anyone reading this, don't forget to listen to our music, because that's what it's all about!  That really is my final thought.  There is so much information floating around about bands that has nothing to do with listening to their music.  Twitter updates, photos, some more photos, more twitter updates, blah blah blah.  Yeah, I have a twitter page too, but I never check it.

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