Backstage with the Metal Warriors of Hysterica
The talented ladies of Hysterica are finally back on the road, bringing their infectious brand of metal mayhem to the masses once again! When I spoke to the band this past spring, they were just emerging from a two and a half year hibernation and were about to release an EP of five new songs called “All In”. They also were making plans for a European tour in the fall. The new songs turned out to be stunning; four heavy metal powerhouses and one beautiful acoustic song. The European tour through Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, did proceed as planned and I caught up with the band at four of their shows as they laid waste to venue after venue. This was my first time seeing the band live and I got to see an impressive show each and every night! I had the pleasure of sitting down with all the members just before their last show of the tour. The ladies were very gracious and we discussed the tour, new tattoos, naked saunas, hysterica(l) rehearsals, as well as new music and future touring plans. Here is how it all went:
This is Joe Prostredny of Afternoiz and I’m here with the incredible force of metal, the awesome Hysterica! How are all of you doing today?
Thank you so much for talking to us again! So we’re here on the last day of your current European tour and you’ve been weaving a path of heavy metal destruction through Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands. How did you feel like the tour went?
Bitchie: Great! I think the tour went really great.
Satanica: It’s been the best tour so far I think!
Satanica: Yeah, absolutely!
Anni: I think we have developed a lot as a band and we’re back on track again more than ever, maybe. It has been awesome and I think that the crowds have been so good here… and so friendly and nice after the shows… and during the shows they are just giving all they’ve got. And, so, it’s been a lot of fun!
Any especially great memories that you’d like to share with us?
Satanica: Well, today we did our tattoos (laughs).
Anni: Yes! (laughs)
Satanica: “Sisters of Steel”!
Bitchie: Everybody did a tattoo somewhere on their body. You need to check it out later!
I’ve seen some of them, already… I’m not sure I’m allowed to see all of them.
You had a very busy schedule with only one day off. Did you do anything fun on your off day, or did you just relax?
Hell’n: Well, we went to the Dutch sauna and got the worst shock…
Anni: (laughing) Yes!
Hell’n: …because everyone was naked! (laughs).
Satanica: (laughing) And we don’t do that in Sweden!
(laughs) No, no we don’t do that in the United States either!
Satanica: It was really weird!
Anni: It was really weird. We’re kind of shy and we like to go to the sauna and stuff but you wear a bathing suit.
Anni: So, we so were so shocked and our tour leader, Jordy, made a joke or tried to trick us when he said “Go to the sauna!” And were like… “ok, this is why he said that we should go to the sauna!”
So… you did or you did not go into the sauna?
Hell’n: We did go.
Satanica: After like… uh fifteen minutes of uh “what?” we were like, “ok we’re just gonna do it”.
Yeah I think that’s a continental European thing. I was in a restaurant the middle of this week in Paris and I’m in the men’s room and women kept walking in and out.
People will just use the nearest bathroom and it doesn’t matter… Now the last time we talked, Anni you were telling me that several years ago, on your first European tour, that you were having so much fun on the tour you couldn’t sleep.
Anni: Yeah! (laughs)
Is that level of excitement still there, or are you sleeping better, now?
Anni: No! (laughs). We’ve had just as much fun this tour, I think, many laughs. Especially when we go to bed. Hell’n, Satanica, and I are sharing a bedroom, so you can just imagine how the (laughing)… trying to sleep!
Hell’n: Shut up! (laughs)
Anni: (laughing) Yeah!
Well after finally seeing you guys live after four years of waiting, I’ve had trouble sleeping as well! The shows were so great, I just lay in bed and they’re going through my head, I can’t sleep, I’m tossing and turning and exhausted the next morning and it’s all your fault!
If you’d done a crappier job I’d have gotten some sleep this week but… No! You had to be fantastic!
Anni: Thank you.
One thing that seems very apparent to me, now that I’ve finally seen you live, is that you really seem to have a lot fun on stage; with the audience and with each other. You bring the music hard and heavy, but there’s also lots of smiles, lot of laughing, and in Satanica’s case, a lot of funny faces… (laughs)
All: (laughing hard)
Satanica: I’ve gotta stop doing that! (laughing)
And I’ve got pictures to prove it!
Satanica: Yeah! (laughing)
Are you having as much fun as it looks like you’re having?
All: Yes, yes.
Bitchie: I think we have more fun!
Anni: More than anyone can imagine! (laughs)
Bitchie: I think it shows!
Afternoiz: Well it does show, that’s why I’m bringing it up.
Bitchie: We also have here internal laughs that nobody understands…
Anni: … and messages!
Bitchie: …we’re never gonna tell anybody! And also if you have contact with the audience then you get eye contact. Of course that’s best, and they move to you, so that’s best, to have contact with the audience and to each other of course.
Anni: [Back home] we share the same rehearsal [space] as another band that is on the same record label as we are. And they said to our record label… because they have been sitting in the next room to our rehearsal, many times. So they were like “they are laughing all the time”…
Satanica: … “they’re not rehearsing, they’re just laughing”.
Anni: “We have never heard or seen a band having that much fun during rehearsal!” (laughs).
It’s not allowed!! Bands are not allowed to have fun!
Satanica: No! We’re serious heavy metal!! (laughing)
Yes, yes! We can’t laugh, we can’t smile! You guys are doing it all wrong. (laughs).
Satanica: And we like to hang out outside of the rehearsal also… at Bitchie’s place and just hang out.
Anni: Sisters of Steel! (laughs).
I’ve been to three of your shows this week, I’ve got one left and your audiences certainly have seemed to be having a lot of fun along with you. You do great job at keeping the audience engaged. Even at one of the shows in a smaller venue kind of in the middle of nowhere in the southwest of the Netherlands… at a smaller club the majority of the audience were locals that had never heard of you before. But after just two songs you already had everyone under your spell! You had them enslaved and they were whooping and screaming and I think that just speaks volumes to how good of a show you guys put on.
Bitchie: Yeah, that’s very difficult because, if you’re a cover band, everybody knows the songs. If you come as a new band they’ve never heard, they’ve never heard the songs before so that’s the difficulty to make people stay and like it. So maybe they buy the records because they want to hear it one more time. I don’t know.
Or ten more times (laughs).
How do the continental European audiences compare to your Swedish audience back home.
Hell’n: There is a difference… there is a difference…
Anni: In Sweden, maybe, most of the metal people are more serious, no not serious… or… what do you say
Bitchie: Maybe more sober? Maybe more drunk?
Hell’n: I don’t know if they are more drunk. Here in Holland, they can let loose.
Anni and Satanica: yeah, yeah!
Hell’n: It’s easier for them.
So they don’t let loose in Sweden?
Anni: In Sweden, most people stand like this, cross hands, listening to that. They are boring!
Bitchie: Especially the “metal experts”. But, we have ordinary people like us [come to the shows] and they kick ass! They do!!
Satanica: But in Sweden also we have a lot of friends that like to come and see our shows.
Well, in North America we’re a lot like the continental Europeans. If you like the audiences here, you have to come see us over there! Now, the title of your recent release is “All In” and you’ve billed this tour as the “All In” tour. That’s actually one of the songs on the album as well and it’s a really great song! But you haven’t played it, why?
Bitchie: Well, we’re gonna do it tonight!
Anni: We have done it, on the shows that you haven’t been to! (laughs).
So, you’ve been keeping it from me!! I’ve been to three shows now and it’s like, they’re not playing that song, why aren’t they playing it?! It’s really, really good… especially on your scream at the beginning. It just reaches out and grabs you by the throat! It’s just a stunning song and I’m really glad to hear you’re gonna play it tonight! I was missing it!
Anni: Yep! We’re going to play it tonight!
You have a new record label, Attitude Recordings. How have you liked working with them? Are they giving you the support you need?
Bitchie: Yeah, they have. They have made a big deal like they promised. We’ll do another video maybe the first month of the next year. So they really promote us I think.
Do you know what the video is gonna be?
Bitchie: We are discussing what song… but we’re not going to tell you.
(pouting)… I guess… it will be a secret for now..
Anni: It’ll be a surprise (laughs).
How did you hook up with them?
Bitchie: Well actually it was Satanica’s contact from the beginning.
Satanica: I worked with her (Regina of Attitude Recordings). I’m a special makeup artist at home and I did the makeup for one of her other bands that she still has. And I’m also her hairdresser. So we started talking and she just asked about the band and finally she wanted us to come to a meeting.
Anni: Yeah. When she hired her and when she did the makeup for their music video… they started talking about Hysterica. They were asking how it was going with Hysterica and then she was like “what is she.. that cool girl… is she playing in a band?”
Satanica: Yeah… so, that’s how it started.
The last time we spoke, your new release wasn’t out yet. Your label sent me the tracks right after the last interview and I got to listen to them and I was really impressed with the songs! The biggest problem is that it was too short. It was a mini album and you’d told me you did that because you wanted to get the new music out… but you told me there was more coming. Any idea when we can expect more?
Anni: Yeah, we are actually planning on releasing a single this winter/spring. So we have an EP and a single. Then we’re gonna work on a new album next year sometime.
Bitchie: It will be called “Sauna Surprise”!! (laughs).
All: (laughing hard)
Oh! I can’t wait for that one!
Anni: Oh, no, no, no, no, no!
I’ll wait for it and see! (laughs) Now, over the years, in my opinion, your music has just been getting better and better. And, Anni, your voice keeps getting more and more impressive! The first album you didn’t really do much screaming or growling… but you did on your second album and that is really becoming more and more powerful as the albums come on. You seem so nice and sweet in person and then you get up on stage and open your mouth and the devil comes out! Did you have training to learn how to do that?
Anni: Thank you so much for the nice words! Well, I have mostly learned everything myself. I’ve found the techniques in the rehearsal with the band, with Hysterica. At the first album, “Metalwar”, we had a couple of phrases on some songs that we thought it would be really cool if I used extreme vocals or growled on them. So I just started to find like a microphone technique that almost sounded like a growl. So I started to find that technique and then I developed more and more so I just learned it myself and then I developed the scream, the screaming vocals thing, after the growl.
So you pretty much taught yourself.
Satanica: Never had a lesson.
Now I don’t sing at all but my understanding is that’s actually really hard. I’ve interviewed singers from other bands that don’t growl, but… they have growls on their albums… but they’re usually “guest growlers” and then during the show it’s recorded.
Anni: Yeah, I see that a lot.
That’s actually not uncommon. And I’ve asked them why they don’t do it and they say “well, it’s really hard and if you don’t do it right you can damage your voice” and they say that you really need a lot of training.
Bitchie: Why do they use it on the albums then?
Hell’n : Because it sounds cool!
Yeah, because it sounds cool! But they’re unwilling or unable to produce it live.
Satanica: We’re trying to make the music honest so we can play what we record.
You don’t really use any backing tracks, right?
Satanica: No, no, never want to do that.
There’s newer genres, well they’re not that new, but like symphonic metal for example… it’s totally impossible to produce the sound with five or six instruments. So backing tracks are becoming more and more common, and I’m not defending or knocking it, it’s just out there. But it’s nice to see a band that wants to just do it all live and wants everything to be true and genuine.
Anni: We don’t say that anything is wrong [with backing tracks], but this is just the way we like to play and work.
Satanica: We want to be more free I think. If you have a backing track it’s basically… you just have to follow it… or it’s a mess. And we have also seen a couple of concerts that it didn’t work so that’s just awful to see.
So, this was your first tour since your recent release of “All In”, an incredible album! What are your upcoming touring plans? Because you’re finishing the European tour today. Is there anything on deck or things you’re trying to plan?
Anni: Nothing that we can say at this moment, unfortunately. We have some plans but nothing we can talk about.
Most of your previous tours have been in Scandinavia and Europe. I know you’ve been to Russia at least once. There was talk of a tour in South America which I don’t think happened. Do you still ultimately plan to tour further abroad? Will you try to hit North and South America?
Anni: Of course! Yeah.
Satanica: It’s one of our goals too, to go there.
Well, we’re waiting for you! Well, I didn’t wait, I got tired of waiting for you guys!
But it was so worth the trip over here.
Satanica: Oh, thank you so much!
Make it a little easier on me and come my way one of these years. Just for me, play in my living room (laughs).
You’ve done festivals in the past. In fact, I first discovered you on from a video on YouTube from the Sweden Rock Festival. Any plans to hit the festival circuit in 2016?
Anni: Of course, we would love to… yeah.
Bitchie: We will try hard to do that.
Satanica: It’s so fun to play a festival.
Bitchie: At least ten festivals, our goal is fifteen, but ten is real!
At one point you were a six-piece band, you’ve been a five-piece band before, now you’re a four piece band with a very full rich sound as it is, but…
Bitchie: We’re never gonna be a three-piece band.
Well I hope not! So, during our last interview, you were talking about potentially looking at adding another guitarist. Is that happening or is it still a big maybe?
Anni: The door isn’t closed, but at the moment we’re not looking for a fifth member at all.
The nice thing is that with the four of you, I mean… you’ve been at the core of this thing for… Anni you joined seven years ago?
Anni: Yes, seven years now.
It’s a nice tight group as it is. And you’re certainly doing a good job, but it’s a rock band so, the more guitars the better, right?
Satanica: But it’s important with the chemistry also… in a group.
Yeah, at this point, if you bring somebody new in… they are coming into an already established group dynamic… and Hell’n, you and Bitchie have been here for…
Hell’n: 10 years, 10 years!
… and Satanica, you’re here for 8 years now…
Well, ladies, it was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to say to you fans before we leave you
Bitchie: (loudly) Thank you!!
Bitchie: …for coming on our gigs!
They should be thanking you!
Bitchie: … and for listening to us, and for supporting us! We need you, we are here for you! And for ourselves of course. Because we have fun!
Tack så mycket! Stay metal!