With Welsh death metal outfit Venom Prison heading to our shores for the very first time to play Download Festival, we caught up with the band's firebrand of a frontwoman Larissa Stupar to share her thoughts on what it's like being a woman in death metal, the dark themes of her lyrics and more!
What are you most excited for about coming to Australia for the first time?
I think we are mostly excited to explore Australia's unique flora and fauna, hoping to have some time to cuddle a koala and take a photo with a kangaroo, jump off a cliff somewhere.
How and when did you realise that you could do heavy vocals?
I think I must have been around 14 years old when my friend and I were trying to figure out how to sound like Corey Taylor, we used to go to this skate park when there would be nobody around to shout and scream around, it was absolutely embarrassing. When I was 17 I joined my first band and just continued to experiment with my voice from there on.
Being International Women's Day, what are your thoughts on the current state of the inclusion of women in heavy music?
I would like to think, that women feel more included now than 10 years ago but I’m actually not too sure on that one. I can only speak for myself and I have definitely had more positive than negative experiences being a woman in a heavy band in the last 2-3 years than 10 years ago for sure. There has been a shift towards more inclusion and equality through popular culture and the #metoo movement I believe. Women in metal and heavy music generally are being take more seriously and have a wider representation but I think there will also always be people who don’t like to see this kind of development. But you know what? Fuck them.
Do you think the use of misogynistic and violent lyrics in death metal has created an unhealthy culture in the scene?
This unhealthy culture and hostile environment was part of metal culture from the very beginning. The misogyny and violence against women being portrayed in death metal music has just reinforced that hostility. Many components of metal music and its culture are considered traditionally masculine and women had to lay off their femininity in order to feel included and considered a true member of the community.
The world can be a fucked up place, which your lyrics no doubt attest to. How do you go about landing on different themes to write about?
I honestly don’t even know myself to be honest, I don’t really go out and look for fucked up things to write about. Sometimes I just read something on the news or listen to a podcast that makes me go “wait a second, that’s pretty grim”. Or I get inspired by real life situations and experiences. It’s not really hard to find injustice and exploitation in the world we live in, I like to just expose things that other people maybe haven’t really thought about before.
What can fans expect from Venom Prison at Download this year?
Expect to feel uncomfortable.
Are there any Australian bands you listen to that you want to shout out?
Yes, our friends in Justice For The Damned, Thy Art is Murder, Disentombed, Psycroptic and Cursed Earth.
Thanks for taking time out to answer our questions, Larissa!
Thank you for having me! See you soon Australia.
Listen to Venom Prison now.