Raven of RAVEN BLACK Talks First US Tour, Music Videos & New EP

Interview: Kelly Mason

 

You guys just wrapped up The Hex O’Clock tour. What have been some of your favorite or most memorable moments on this tour?

(Raven) – My favorite part of this last tour was seeing so many new faces and some familiar faces. A few new young fans (Ages 6-13) and seeing so many people singing along to our songs live. It’s a dream come true and very emotional for me personally. One of the highlights on this tour was playing in the heavy rain in Braidwood, IL with a few fans, as we had just left some really HOT and HUMID weather through Texas the week before. It was rejuvenating and was so much fun. Some other memorable bands we became fans of this last tour were Manifestiv, A Troubled Smile, Fable Cry, Of Serpeants, Pain!, On Your Deathbed, Symfinity, Shola Aurora, Tarby, Infamous Memories, Missfit Toys, Spawn of Thirteen, See This Through, Silence is Madness, Beryllium Takeover, and Dezacration. These bands were not only amazing and talented, but they truly showed the support and comradery of being part of a metal community.  They not only played a killer show, they were there and present for the entire show and we are so happy to have met them and know we will continue to be friends in our journeys as musicians and people. 

 – Raven Black incorporates a lot of fun, dark carnival themes into not only your appearance, but your shows as well. As a fan, I really appreciate when a group thinks about visual stimulation during their performances. Why would you say that incorporating visual imagery is important to you, particularly for live shows?

(Raven) – Visual Imagery allows the artist to express the lyrics, melody and music further and the audience gets to experience all their senses, not just their sense of hearing. A live show is visual as well as audible. You can hear music on the radio and headphones. You have to picture its story and meaning. When you attend a live show, there is more you can experience and when an artist connects with you on all levels, it gives you a more personal experience. I have a deep passion to connect to people through my artistry. I also love to hear about their personal interpretations. 

 – Let’s talk about your amazing record, ‘Seven Sins’ which was produced by Ulrich Wild. As a fan, the experience of listening to it was such a treat, because it’s just so killer from start to finish. What was it like hearing those 7 songs on that album for the first time?

 (Raven) – Hearing it for the first time after we went through the recording, mixing and mastering process, I was in awe of what we had done together. I couldn’t believe the final was done and we were actually going to release this creation into the world. It was emotional for me and part of me was excited and scared at the same time. Wondering if people would enjoy it and get it. “Get it” meaning, hear and see our story, message and feel all the emotions we wanted to envoke in the listener. Most people do not know, but the songs are actually placed in story order of Raven’s emotional journey and coming to a self acceptance of her dual existence.

  – One song that sticks out on a personal level for me is your track “Still Healing,” which has really poignant lyrics and is musically unbridled in a brilliant way.  While I’m sure all the songs on the album are special to you, are there any songs in particular that you guys either have an incredibly personal connection?

 (Raven) – “Still Healing” is a song about the struggle of finding love and trying to keep it. She has been hurt and she has grown and learning to accept it, she affirms the truth is out and this in itself is a part of her healing.  It’s one of my favorites. My actual favorite is “The Blackening”, as this is an epiphany/awakening within herself that there is both dark and light and through the pain and loss she has endured, she turns it around in the last outtro and accepts she can be as dark and as light and it balances her complete self. 

  –  Are there any songs on the album that absolutely have to make it on the set list for one reason or another?

(Raven) – “The Blackening” seems to be the one song that is a fan favorite and is the one song that is our heavy ballad, and I feel we will always have one of our heavy ballads within a set list. Blackening may be renewed by another heavy ballad in the future. “Seven Sins” will have to be in the set list until we release our next EP/Album. The current EP is titled “Seven Sins”. 🙂

  –  The band has released vivid videos for tracks such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Scars” and “Seven Sins.”  Can you tell us about the process of the video shoots, and if you plan to release any additional videos off of the ‘Seven Sins’ album?

 (Raven) – Both videos were filmed, directed and edited by our friends.  We started with ideas based on the subject of each song and after discussing the ideas and meanings of each song, each director had provided us their ideas. 

 Seven Sins was super fun and we filmed this on location at a Haunted House park in the desert.  They happen to have a creepy doll room and I was completely drawn to this room.  Our main focus was to debut the band characters and was our first music video. 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Scars was different. We had a storyline and wanted the viewer to be taken into a nightmare. In the nightmare, we were an altered version of ourselves, as are in our real life dreams and nightmares. 

The song is about broken innocence and realization of the fears and scars we have as we grow up, away from childhood lullabies (stars vs. scars). The fear of being hurt, pain, death and ultimately suffering. It wasn’t intended to be so morbid, but the point was to show that some of your nightmares still exist in realty. The fear of suffering from whatever it is your are fearful of. 

 We are currently working on our next music video and I don’t want to spoil it… It’s going to be fun and quirky and should be released by Halloween 2017, if it can be completed by then by our editors. It’s a surprise, so I’ll leave it at that. We will be releasing a few “Lyric Videos” for some of the songs on the EP, for fun and kicks. Something for our fans to enjoy some more. We strive to keep our fans entertained, even when we are off tour. 

We wanna do everything we can to stay connected to everyone until we visit with them again, in person, at our next show. We like to hang out with our fans. 🙂

–  With such a hectic schedule have you guys gotten a chance to begin writing new material for the next record?  If so, can you tell us what we can expect from your next release?

(Raven) – We have over 200 songs we have written over the past 3 years. We continue to write all the time, as each of us is inspired throughout the year. We also go on writing retreats as a band to get away and concentrate on writing together.  We have a few new songs and most likely will be selecting our songs in January 2018, plans to record in February and March and releasing our new EP this Spring 2018. 

Raven Black

  Who have been some of your defining influences, both growing up as well as currently?

 (Raven) – This is such a popular question, and time and time again, I have so many influences, but I’ve been sticking to some of my favorites growing up like Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, Pat Benatar, Sheena Easton, Whitney Houston, Josh Groban, Jason Mraz, Heart, Carly Simon, Karen Carpenter, Minnie Ripperton, Metallica, Motley Crue, Boy George, Prince, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, TLC, Mary J. Blige, Chante Moore, Tool, Alice In Chains, New Order, Depeche Mode, Morrisey, Sex Pistols, Berlin and Maria Brink. 

 – As someone who grew up on female fronted rock, I can’t emphasize enough how important it was to have strong, outspoken female role models to help sculpt my impression of what a woman can be, particularly when I was younger and more impressionable. Is being a strong archetype something that Raven, as a bold, dynamic female herself, feels the weight of as a frontwoman?

(Raven) – Yes, it is one of the most important things to me to be a positive, strong and resilient female figure for all ages of women and even men. 

 – Hard rock and metal are often not given the credit they deserved, simply because the genres are misunderstood.  However, for many it’s a therapeutic outlet. Why do you think that metal, being as equally cathartic and fun as it can be, is important, especially during what can be tough times to live in?

 

(Raven) – I love all kinds of music, but I love rock and metal the most because I feel it is the most emotional. It is deeper than most know and carries the heaviest weight in all its facets, instrumentally intricate, emotionally driven and rebellious in its own way of self identification and preservation. No other genre can do this for me other than classical music sometimes.  

  Finally, are there any words of wisdom or news on what’s next that you’d like to share with your fans?

(Raven) Never be anyone other than yourself. Surround yourself with what makes you happy and don’t hurt others while doing so. Stay tuned for our upcoming video, our Fall Tour and our new album!