The carnival has arrived, It’s dark, it’s metal and it’s filled with sins!!
RAVEN BLACK: A dark Metal Carnival led by the lovely, petite and fierce Raven Black herself. The band who hails from California, have been on the scene since 2012-2013, and have been able to release in 2014, an EP entitled MIDNIGHT DREARY and in 2016 SEVEN SINS, which is the EP that has gotten them more into the public eye.
The EP, in my opinion, is pretty stellar from start to finish. They have dark elements, harder, edgier, spooky areas, melded with melodic, subdued and mysterious ambiances. Marry these aspects with the vocals of Raven, and it all collectively, really brings the music to life, her heart bleeding with every word, that is released, on these 7 songs. Favorite songs, in my opinion are THE BLACKENING, STILL HEALING and SEVEN SINS. Now the band is working on a new, full length album; letting us more into the world of the dark metal carnival entitled “13” which will be released 2018.
I was able to catch the band, when they hit Providence, RI on the band’s headlining tour. Not only was the band the most down to earth and humble bunch of musicians, but they put on a killer live show, with theatrics, crowd participation, and an overall intense energy.
I was honored to be able to chat with RAVEN, about how she started in show business, the story behind the band and her fascination with numbers.
BACK STORY OF THE BAND, DID THE CONCEPT OF THE CHARACTERS COME FIRST, OR DID YOU START A BAND, HAVE MUSIC AND THEN THE CONCEPT CAME TO YOU?
The visual characters and vision for the Dark Metal Carnival came first. It’s a dark musical carnival show I have played in my head since I was a child.
IN A BRIEF DESCRIPTION WHAT IS THE STORY OF RAVEN BLACK?
The Doctor was a travelling voodoo, black magic doctor, and came across a small child, who seemed lost and frightened. He used his magic to turn her into a doll, but in her hasty fear, she screamed and disrupted the spell/curse, and it left her half human, half doll. She travelled with the Doctor and secretly learned some of his black magic, and conjured up a demon, Muppet, to come save her and defeat the Doctor, but she fell in love with the Demon and trapped him in her heart. The Doctor and the Demon became close allies, and planned to travel the world seeking other followers, who shared their vision for a Dark Metal Carnival World. They then created Stiches, who would be the gatherer and collector of those who wish to visit our Dark Metal Carnival world in the 13th Hour. The foursome continues to travel the world, and host a Dark Metal Carnival everywhere they go, and invite all those to join their world of fun, mystery and blissful insanity.
DO YOU HAVE MUSICAL THEATRE BACKGROUND? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A PERFORMER IN A METAL BAND?
I do have a musical theatre background. Training from the age of 4, I began lessons and training in singing and dance (choir, ballet, modern and tap). I trained with the Mark Taper Forum, as a young child and also studied acting with Amy Weinstein and Theatrical/Lyrical Dance with Annette Charles in Hollywood, CA during the ages of 11-15. I used to compete in theatrical competitions and showcases during my pre-teens, and even auditioned for Hollywood musical productions like Miss Saigon. Metal music is my favorite, because of all the music i listen to, sing to and dance to, metal music is one of the most emotional and that makes it #1 to me. I’m definitely an emotional singer, and my lyrics and melodies are purposefully delivered, to make the listener feel an emotion, whatever it may be to them.
YOU FORMED IN 2012, BUT REVAMPED THE LINEUP IN 2014. HOW HARD IS IT TO FIND MUSICIANS THAT FIT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, MUSICALLY AND CHARACTER WISE ?
Changing the lineup was one of the most difficult steps we had to endure, as our previous guitarist was a long time best friend and best man to Muppet. We had different creative visions and it took Muppet and I over a year to find The Doctor and another 2 years to find Stitches. The entire experience was a growing development. It was very important to Muppet and I, that we brought on new members that had a natural passion for theatre and dark and heavy musical influences, whether classical, metal, rock gothic or punk. As we knew we would be combining several of our musical influences, to create our unique sound, which would ultimately enhance our live performance and my character vocal styles. Each of the members have brought their own unique influences and it has proven to be an amazing collaboration.
I READ SOMEWHERE, THAT YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR NUMBERS. HOW HAS THAT HELPED IN THE VISION OF THE SONGS? VISION BECAUSE SEVEN SINS IS NUMBER BASED, ALSO WAS THERE A REASON FOR ONLY 7 SONGS ON THE EP, AND THE SONG 13?
I have always been fascinated by numerology and having an Asian background and growing up with Asian folklore and culture, numbers have always played a role throughout my life. The numbers “7” and “1” hold a darker and deeper meaning then is known. They are part of the titles but have a deeper and darker connection to me than most know. I had some very dark experiences when I was 7 and 13 years old. Major turning points in my life, growing up and experiences that changed my life forever.
The EP purposely has 7 songs, because it introduces the doll, Raven, and her journey of Broken Innocence and Redemption from Age 7 to Age 13. The EP ends with the song “13” because she underwent a major life changing event at 13, which sprung her into a new identity of self-independence, and began her discovery of her inner strength, and no longer being a victim of bullying and overcoming her shyness.
YOU HAVE PLAYED THREE NEW SONGS IN YOUR SET. HOW IS THE NEW MUSIC FOR A NEW RECORD COMING ABOUT? SINCE THE FIRST ONE IS AN INTRO TO YOU THE “DOLL,” WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO, IN THE FUTURE RECORDS?
The next EP will be released in 2018, and the three new songs we have played live on our Hex O’Clock Tour was just a peek into the rowdy, reckless and heavier side of Raven and her misfits. The next EP will share the story behind each of the other members, and how Raven is orchestrating the group’s avenging their own losses, and triumphantly regain their self-identities, and reigning in their own world together in the 13th hour. The mystery and excitement of being a part of their 13th hour, where everyone is welcomed and encouraged to be who they truly are, both inside and outside. A party and celebration of the dark and light, good and bad, and finding a balance in each one’s duality of existence.
YOUR STAGE SHOW, HOW WILL IT EVOLVE WITH EVERY RECORD?
As we grow as a band, and our fanbase grows with us, each show, in our hopes, will be filled with more stage production, lights and sounds that bring out everyone’s hidden selves. We want people to enjoy and let go, and feel free to mosh, jump, dance, stomp, head bang, and just feel our music, our story and trigger all their senses at every show. We can only promise, that we will try and bring something new, even in the smallest way, to every show experience, and we will be right there with them throughout the 13th hour.
MELODIC SINGING? OR MORE AGGRESSIVE SINGING? WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL PREFERENCE AND WHY?
Honestly love both equally. Lyrically and musically, each thing and sometimes separately evoke emotions in me which will either be expressed melodically or aggressively. It all depends on the emotion of the lyric and the music and what is being expressed in meaning and subject.
YOU ARE FOR FEMALE POWER. IN YOUR OWN WORDS, DESCRIBE TO ME WHAT YOU FEEL “FEMALE POWER” IS ALL ABOUT, IN THIS DAY AND AGE?
Female Power, to me today, means being able to feel strong and beautiful as you are, and there is no defined look or style that would make you anything more than who you are. Being one self and wearing your outside self, is just as important as allowing your inside self to be seen. If you have a child inside you, let her free, and if you have an old soul within you, let her free. Freedom to not worry about what society tells you is appropriate. You are appropriate because you are, and you exist. Female Power to me is being able to love and to hate, all at the same time, for the right reasons, and doing what is right to defend either.
TOUR LIFE FOR A WOMAN, WHAT IS THE GOOD? THE BAD? AND THE UGLY? OF IT?
It’s ugly, ugly, ugly, dirty, dirty, dirty and fun, fun, fun and worth it, worth it, worth it. Of course, this can be changed with some support from a label, that cares in the artist rather than the Profits. LOL.
YOUR VIDEO FOR “TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE SCAR” IS PRETTY MORBID, AND MORPHS YOUR CHARACTERS INTO SOME DEMENTED BEINGS. HOW WAS THE VIDEO PROCESS, AND DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR CREATIVE SIDE, VISUALLY, WILL GO EVEN DEEPER INTO THE MORBID, WITH NEW VIDEOS COMING OUT?
Actually, we really didn’t mean to get too morbid or emphasize the gore, but the nightmare was supposed to describe the scars we have, underneath the reality of our daily living. TWINKLE is truly about the self-realization, that our innocent lullabies and wishful dreaming is not the truth, when we grow up and see that love can be just as painful as it is nurturing. That our waking life may be affected by our nightmares and the scars we have that need healing. The gore and torture was taken too literally, and so the message behind the lyrics was not fully captured. The fear we have and the scars we hold onto underneath the surface, are in constant healing, and adaptation as we experience new scars, and new healing, just like our nightmares and dreams are interchangeable. Some we remember, some we forget and some stay a part of our reality.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK THE VIDEOS ARE TO A BAND, THAT HAS A CONCEPT LIKE YOU GUYS DO? DO YOU SEE YOU DOING SOMETHING EVEN MORE LIKE A COMIC BOOK KIND OF THING IN THE FUTURE
Videos are important to every band. They are an opportunity for you to place a visual piece of work with your music and performance. Our band is theatrical and we have a story or message to share with every song, so for us, music videos are a must. We enjoy making them and sharing them with our fans, and will continue to do so throughout our journey. We anticipate and currently are working on our comic book. We want to take our time, and write the story, and have the right artist illustrate the story for our fans to enjoy, follow and be a part of. We may be doing a fan club subscription online, for those who want to be a part of our 13th hour daily. Exclusive content and more personal platform, for our fans to become involved in what we are and what we do. We are putting this together, and won’t release this until we have an idea of what our fans can experience. Hopefully this can be released soon.
WHAT DOES THE REST OF THE YEAR LOOK LIKE FOR RAVEN BLACK?
We will be announcing our Fall Support Tour for November through December across the U.S. We will be supporting a great band and look forward to a killer tour. We will most likely be releasing a music video for “13”, one of our fan favorites. Then it’s Holidays and we enter into 2018 with a pretty busy schedule for January-February. We’ll be in the studio Jan-Feb for the next EP “13”. We may have a surprise bonus track on there, but we will just have to wait and see….
Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know us. I can’t tell you how much we all appreciate your time and efforts, and sharing who we are and what we do. It means more to us than you can ever know. —Raven
BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
For more info on the band, follow the links below: