June 22, 2015 Interview – Mia Coldheart & Ida Evileye of Crucified Barbara
In the world of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music, there are a growing number of women popping up among the everyday ranks of long-haired, bearded, and/or tattooed men plying the trade. There is an even smaller, but still growing, number of all female bands out there. As with anything new or more seldom seen, there is a tendency to sort of hyper-focus on this aspect, forgetting for a moment the instruments or quality of the music being played. With Crucified Barbara, who have been around since 1998, there is virtually no chance to lose focus on the music they produce. A gritty alchemical mixture of Motorhead, NWOBHM, Guns N’ Roses, with a modern flair all their own, these Stockholm, Sweden natives have four studio albums under their belt, including last years sizzling In The Red. These ladies of the flying V are taking no prisoners. Their wonderfully penned odes to the dark side of human nature, as well as their raucous rejoinders against the shrinking sect of fools who think girls should not be playing Metal, have propelled them to stages across the world. All the while, their ranks of supporters swell, because what with so many bands chasing trends and pushing genre envelopes out there, music this honest and fun is just not that common anymore. Recently CrypticRock had the opportunity to sit down with two of the quartet’s integral members. Mia Coldheart, she whose voice can be both sweet and wrathful, and who is also responsible for a ton of razor-sharp riffing, was joined by Ida Evileye, she of the thundering four-string bass guitar. Both were good enough to join us for an in-depth chat about where they have come from, what drives them to keep going, as well as life away from music, movies, books, and more.
CrypticRock.com – Crucified Barbara has been going strong since 1998. In that time, becoming a very respected international Rock band. Can you sum up what that journey has been like for you both?
Ida Evileye – How long do you have? (laughs)
Mia Coldheart – When we first started to play, we did our first album, In Distortion We Trust, in 2005. It was released on our own label, in Sweden only. We were told, “Okay, lets see how it does,” then we just started touring on that. We just kept on going and we have been doing better with each album. On this tour, we made it to Seattle, and that has really wrapped it up for us. Because the Grunge scene, Hole, Nirvana, the Seattle scene, is the reason we picked up our instruments when we were teenagers. It was really a huge thing to play a gig in Seattle, since the only reason we were up on that stage at all is because of Seattle!
Ida Evileye – I totally agree, it was a special thing that night in the air, because without that scene we would not exist.
Mia Coldheart – Definitely, just the thought of it, when I was 14 and picked up a guitar and having fell in love with those bands, and then I began to write my own music. If someone said in ten years – no, in twenty years (both laugh) I could be standing on a stage in Seattle with my own band, I would have said no way.
CrypticRock.com – The Grunge scene was, without a doubt, a huge influence on a wide variety of musicians. So where did you come up with the name Crucified Barbara and what does it mean? It appears the name has something to do with you taking the stereotypical image of a ‘proper’ woman as society sees it, personified by the Barbie Doll image, and metaphorically crucifying it to say you will not conform to these expectations or stigmas. Is that close?
Ida Evileye – I guess you can say that in one way, absolutely that was a part of the thinking. It is actualy an old story that goes way back, and that was maybe a part of it. We actually saw this doll on a cross at a festival in Denmark. The traditional name for a sex toy or blow-up doll in Scandinavia is ‘Barbara’ and we saw that on a cross and thought, “Wow that looked cool.”
Mia Coldheart – I think you have a good story behind it. I was not in the band, but I saw an interview about this and there was all this symbolism in there over one full page when they explain the band name. But none of them remembered all of the details.
Ida Evileye – Maybe we have done a few tours and had a few beers since then (all laugh).
CrypticRock.com – Yes that can certainly make us forget some details. Sometimes people lump female bands into one category just because they have females. For example, Nightwish, Arch Enemy, and yourselves, are all different kinds of music. How do you feel about this predilection to lump all female bands into one category? Is that still going on, and overall, do you feel like we are taking the right steps toward gender equality in Rock and Metal?
Mia Coldheart- I think it feels like every generation of bands, there is more women playing music. I think every generation still has to deal with the same bullshit. It is sad to hear that Girlschool still has to deal with the same stuff they have been going through the past 40 or so years. For example, festivals are still booking one girl band, and if there is another one touring, they won’t bring them on. You can have hundreds of bands that sound exactly the same. That really sucks because having two all female bands touring together like Girlschool and Crucified Barbara, which are two different kinds of bands, is a really good bill because of our differences. We are not in any competition, and we just do our own things and it is working really well. I think those people who can look past the fact we are women can enjoy the music and will have a happier life.
Ida Evileye – They are not interested in something stupid like if we are a female band or not.
Mia Coldheart – To focus on that must be really boring and I really feel sad for people like that.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, well, they are narrow-minded. The lyrics to “I Sell My Kids For Rock-n-Roll” off 2014’s In The Red perfectly communicates your attitude regarding the gender issue.
Mia Coldheart – It feels like I did not even really write it. Thanks to all these people out there…(laughs). Yeah, I just summed it all up on that song.
CrypticRock.com – It seem that very early on, girls get their gender roles assigned to them, and they are kind of forced to be aware of what society thinks they are supposed to do, wear, and say. Even their toys are designed a certain way, for example.
Mia Coldheart – That keeps getting worse all the time. We still have more equal rights, but the number of people resisting this positive change is also growing. A friend of mine who plays music has two daughters, and they like our band. One of the girls was looking at one of our videos and asked, “Mommy, can boys play Rock and Roll too?” (All laugh)
CrypticRock.com – That is different for a change. Ida Evileye, you are Crucified Barbara’s bass guitarist. Who would you say are your top three favorite bass guitar players of all time?
Ida Evileye – Geezer Butler, Geezer Butler, and…..Geezer Butler, totally (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – Something tells me you love Black Sabbath. An excellent choice. When it comes to Rock-n-Roll, sex sells. In the genre of Heavy Metal, it seems female sexuality is such a big deal still and gets hyper-focused on. Crucified Barbara does not push their sex appeal to the fore, instead relying on talent and the music to promote themselves. What is your opinion on sexuality still being such a big focal point for many fans?
Mia Coldheart – I think it is normal. If I am looking at a really handsome boy band, of course its gonna be more interesting than if they dress like shit and look like they do not give a shit. Music comes first and it does not matter what you look like, or if you are a man or woman, or if your clothes are nice. It is how you act, and your stage presence that matters. We get a lot of questions like that, like what do we think about girls who dress sexy on stage. We look at all the boys up there who rip off their t-shirts, having no clothes on, they have got make-up and hairspray and so much. Look at the boys and what they are doing. They are having the sex problem, not the women.
Ida Evileye – I think that anybody who goes on a stage can do it any way that they want to. It will shine through, whether you have a musical message for the audience or if you have a sexual message. If you are Axle Rose or the female version of Axle Rose with no clothes, it is all about being genuine and true to what you do. Some people are wanting everyone to listen to the music and the lyrics, and maybe you should not be all naked because then that is what people are going to focus on.
Mia Coldheart – Maybe people want to be naked (laughs). Guys do it much more than the female bands I have seen. It is more embarrassing when guys do it. Like, “Oh I am so sweaty I have to take my clothes off.”
Ida Evileye – It is not that hot (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – That is a good point, that the men are more likely to be scantily clad on stage, but it never seems to get focused upon. So, Ida and Mia, where did you two meet?
Ida Evileye – We met at different parties in Stockholm when we were growing up. We had mutual friends, and we had started playing together since we first heard about each other. We already had a band, and Mia was playing in a Thrash band, and Nicki (Wicked – drums) was playing in a Hardcore band, and our paths crossed. It was not hard back then because people were joining and quitting bands and everyone was hanging out. When we started playing together we realized we got along with rehearsing and playing and it has just gone from there.
CrypticRock.com – Interesting, now In The Red came out last year. Can you tell us a little bit about what the writing and recording process was like for this album.
Mia Coldheart – We wrote it a bit differently from the previous albums because it has been a mix of us writing all together and writing back home on our own and presenting material to one another in the rehearsal room. For The Midnight Chase, the third album, the best songs from there – the ones we play live the most – we wrote them while we were together. We realized that we write best when we are all together in the same room. We set a deadline for ourselves by Christmas, for instance, so we started at the end of the Summer and we began to rehearse every day. We still had gigs on the weekend, and then we still had our day jobs. It caused quite a puzzle for us, and was crazy, but the songs began coming quickly one after another. We would work on one song at a time, instead of all at once, which creates the worry that we would have all the same chords and one long song (laughs). If we got stuck we could just leave that song alone for a while and come back to it later. It was a very efficient way of working together.
Ida Evileye – I think that one of the best things was that you could get a quick response right away to see if the riff or idea worked and felt good, because all of us were present to judge if we liked any given idea. That was a big benefit to working all together.
Mia Coldheart – It was also fun because once we started touring the album, we had already been playing the new songs so frequently that we needed very little rehearsing and cramming to get ready for the live shows.
CrypticRock.com – That is a really good insight into your writing process. Mia, as a vocalist, do you find that with each passing album you try to expand your vocal range? If so, how do you do that?
Mia Coldheart – I always try to push myself and challenge myself and I always kind of regret it when we start the live gigs (laughs). After a couple shows, I get into it. I always try to make my voice more interesting to listen to, and I try to make the vocals better. If I can make it in the studio I am absolutely going to make it live because I have more adrenalin when I get up on stage to meet the challenge.
CrypticRock.com – It really shows in each album you do. Does In The Red have a unifying lyrical theme to it, or is each song standing on its own thematically?
Mia Coldheart – I would say that each lyric means something in different ways. All different subjects, from the dark, depressive lyrical mode to women’s issues.
Ida Evileye – One thing you can say about the lyrics on this album is that we have been a bit clearer about what we want to say. We have tackled some heavy subjects, and subjects we can relate to. “I Sell My Kids For Rock-n-Roll” and “To Kill A Man,” I think Mia has been very focused on the lyrics lately to get across what we want to say, and I think we have been able to do that.
Mia Coldheart – I have more to say now than I did ten years ago, when it was just party and party. With life experience, it is easier now to write. I think I have a bit darker mind now, so it is nice to take the chance to write not just about drinking and Rock-n-Roll. Those who want to just listen to our music for the music can do that, but if you want to get into the meaning behind the lyrics you can do that too.
CrypticRock.com – Most Metal fans prefer to go deeper and get into the lyrics to see what a band has to say, so it is really good that you have that dimension. Now, you recently returned to North America for a tour with Girlschool. How much fun was it to tour The States and do you have plans for a further US tour in the near future?
Mia Coldheart – It was really fun to be back and play in better venues this time. It is really nice to see a lot of the fans we met on the last tour coming back to see us again.
Ida Evileye – I think it is a bit exotic for us to tour here because, in Europe, traveling between countries is so much easier. Coming over here takes a lot of work prior to getting on the plane so we are really happy that it worked out this way. I think a dream come true would be to play the USA as an opening act for a bigger band.
CrypticRock.com – Like perhaps Black Sabbath?
Ida Evileye – To play on the same tour as Geezer Butler? Yes, that would be a dream come true (laughs).
Mia Coldheart – Hopefully in the future. . . . and we could eat a lot of burgers! (laughs)
CrypticRock.com – Yes, lots of burger places in the United States. Can you both expand on some of your own personal musical influences and tastes for our readers?
Mia Coldheart – We all started with Grunge music when we were teenagers. I got more into Metal as a teenager, I had a friend who coached me through all styles of Metal, everything from Dream Theater to Obituary and Megadeth. I never wanted to be narrow minded. Nowadays, when I am home, to stay away from tinnitus, (laughs) I listen to some singer-songwriter stuff, like soft acoustic stuff. I have no limits, I even enjoy some commercial radio hits.
Ida Evileye – I really love Country music. More like the old school stuff like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. I also like Thrash and Hard Rock, otherwise we would not do this, of course, but nowadays if I am going to listen to Metal, I prefer the Stoner stuff. I particularly like the band Clutch. Mostly the bluesy, rhythmic type of Metal.
CrypticRock.com – That is a wide variety of influences right there. What do each of you enjoy doing apart from music?
Mia Coldheart – My hobbies are riding horses and hanging out around horses. I love horses, and I also like to paint and draw. The perfect day would involve painting, drawing, and riding horses.
Ida Evileye – Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. Then, I think all of us talk a lot about food when we are out playing. We love to cook, and my boyfriend is really into that as well.
Mia Coldheart – We like to eat (laughs).
Ida Evileye – Yes, that is really a big interest. I would like to take cooking courses someday. Also, on Mondays in Stockholm, me and Klara Force guest DJ at our friend’s bar. We run it on Monday’s.
Mia Coldheart – Tell them why you have the bar on Monday nights.
Ida Evileye – Well, a lot of our friends that play in gigs work all weekend and Monday is their only day off. They are the lost souls, and we have a haven for them all to come and listen to music and have a few drinks. A lot of our fans in Europe, when they are in Stockholm, they come to our pub on Mondays.
CrypticRock.com – It is nice to have a space for people with unconventional schedules to kick back. CrypticRock.com covers Horror movies as well as music. Are either of you into Horror movies, and if so, what are some over your favorites?
Ida Evileye – My ex-husband loved Horror movies, especially Asian Horror movies, so I have seen a lot of those. Now it just does not work for me because I get so fucking scared! I do not watch them anymore, so when I do, my imagination just goes wild. Sometimes I miss the adrenaline you can get from them, but it has been a long time since I have watched any.
Mia Coldheart- I am getting scared just talking about this. I am sorry to disappoint all of your Horror movie fans (laughs). I cannot watch Horror movies. I hate to be scared, but I really get into it though, if I do see something. For like a week, I cannot go in the city, I cannot go in the forest without feeling like someone is after me. I really need to be able to go out into nature without being scared about something like this.
CrypticRock.com – Understood. Horror films are not for everyone. What do you enjoy more?
Ida Evileye – It must be very positive for a Horror movie director to hear that the viewer cannot go outside for a week after seeing his or her movie. I am reading a Stephen King book just now called Revival; came out in 2014 and it is great. I also like TV series a lot. My top three were Sopranos, The Wire, and Six Feet Under. I feel like series are much more effective than movies, much more like books. With movies, you need to move the story forward and develop the character so quickly because you only have a few hours to finish the story. That is not needed when you have a TV series, because you can establish the characters over a longer period of time.
Mia Coldheart – I like to watch Swedish tragic Dramas, just about life in general, and maybe some psychological things. I do not watch TV all that much because you turn it on and it is murders and violence. I do like Trailer Park Boys. It is the best series, and I love it. It is like our tour bus but with boys. You will understand it when you see it. I want to be on that show (laughs).
Jul 02 Chateau de Beauregard Herouville St Clair, France
Aug 01 Gamrocken Ludvika, Sweden
Feature photo credits: Linda Åkerberg