In a matter of days, Dutch death metal outfit Sisters Of Suffocation will begin recording their debut full length album. Just three years into the game, the band appear to be moving at a meteoric pace, with their music spreading throughout the world before the band has even toured outside of The Netherlands.
The four-piece released their debut EP Brutal Queen back in 2016, and if it’s any indication of what we can expect from the bands future (hint: it is), the EP completely sold out its first physical printing. With the second batch following suit. It was becoming very clear that, despite the whimpers of several jaded keyboard warriors, the world wanted Sisters Of Suffocation.
Prior to the band hitting their studio hibernation, we caught up with vocalist Els Prins to talk about the bands plans for the debut album and how they shut down all those who referred to them as a gimmick.
The Neversphere: You’re now working on your big debut album, which road are you taking: will it be a defining statement of who Sisters Of Suffocation is and always will be? Or more so a snapshot of who you guys are right now?
Els: At this point we talked a lot about it. We think this will be our defining album because we’re very happy with all the songs. But, once everything is recorded, people around us will tell us if this will be the one – we’re all going to work our butts off.
The Neversphere: What types of themes and messages did you find yourself addressing musically on the album?
Els: The music is very personal…It’s all about diseases – physical and mental. I’m telling a story, but what we really want to accomplish is to show everybody what we’re doing. We’ve built up a pretty big fan base at this point, so we want to give them something new. With an album, we’ll reach a bigger audience, get bigger shows and we really want to travel the world.
The Neversphere: You pricked up a lot of ears with Brutal Queen was released. Now that there’s fans all over the world watching and waiting, does that result in more pressure when you were writing the album?
Else: Not really. We always grow. A lot of us are new to playing in bands. But we were very confident about what we were writing for the album. So, no, it didn’t feel like extra or anything because we know that people who love the EP will probably really like the album too.
The Neversphere: Apparently, you guys sold out your first pressing of the EP…strong>
Els: That’s true! I released it myself at first, so I planned everything for the EP. Then it all sold out very fast. We printed like 250 copies, so we gained all our money back at that point. Then we started working with a label, but I’d already ordered a second batch at that point, which also sold out, [Laughs].
The Neversphere: That’s crazy…It’s hard enough to get your friends and family to buy an EP, what was that like to see such a warm reaction?
Els: It’s pretty unreal because I sent out all the orders when people order stuff from us online; I do it all from home. So, it’s unreal when you see people ordering from all over the world. People from so many countries have ordered from us, which is crazy when you’re sitting at home in your apartment. That’s the magic about metal, it spreads over the world really fast, unlike other genres.
Also, metal fans still buy CDs and Merch, so you can really see who buys your see and who likes it – you know who’s listening to you, which is nice.
The Neversphere: So far, what’s the furthest country that’s requested a copy of the EP?
Els: The first time somebody ordered from Japan, that was very cool. Now we get a lot of orders from countries like Japan. We got a lot from Australia too. The guy who does our artwork is actually Australian. But we do talk to people all over the world which is awesome.
The Neversphere: Now it’s one thing to sell EPs, but does the love continue to the live shows?
Els: When we first started, a lot of people would see us as a gimmick because it’s not very common for four girls from the same city to play in a death metal band together…and we all really like pink and stuff. We’re promoting ourselves that way, and a lot of people didn’t take us seriously. Once we released the EP, people started to take us seriously. Now we get big shows, festival shows; more people are giving us a chance.
More shows are being announced, we have a booking agency now, which really helps. There’s a lot of love when people discover who we are, there is also a lot of hate unfortunately but it’s nice and I think it’ll be very soon that we’ll be able to go on tour. The main thing we all really want is to go international. Everything is going so fast, we’ve only been around for three years now, so I imagine the next steps will go fast too.
The Neversphere: Given that you are so unique, by now you must be getting feedback from musicians that you’ve inspired them to start a band. Have you had many of those conversations with fans?
Els: What really excites me is when girls walk up to us and tell us ‘I want to do that too!’ That really motivates us because our message is also to fight the sexism part of the metal scene, to make it more common for women to be a part of a man-ruled genre. Whenever girls come up and tell us that we always say ‘Yes, go for it!’ At our shows people are always very nice, we get a lot of good feedback but unfortunately on the internet, a lot of people are being extremely rude to us, which saddens me.
A few months ago, we got a feature on a big platform, and they used the live video of us filmed by someone in the audience. Hundreds of men commented on it saying I was disgustingly fat. What saddens me about that is a lot of girls will look at that and realise ‘I’d love to play music, but I don’t want people to treat me that way’. It happens that women come up to us and say, ‘It’s so cool you’re doing this, but I’m just scared.’
The Neversphere: Now you’ve received that kind of hate, and conquered it, what advice do you have for those who still feel scared to play music for fear of the hate?
Els: It is hard to have people dislike you for being you or for following your dreams. I think a big part is jealousy because I’m 21-years-old and already doing what I love. I chose to go for something that would make me very happy. A think a lot of people are jealous, because mainly older men are looking back on their lives, maybe, and thinking ‘Maybe I should have tried that.’ Maybe that’s where It comes from, I don’t really understand.
But what I’d like to say to people who are scared, if you’re 60 or 70 and you look back on your life, and feel like you’ve made the most of it. How are you going to do that? By just going for it, by trying to conquer your dreams and we’re doing that with our band. If people are going to be mad about me having boobs and a vagina, I can’t do anything about it. So i’ve learnt to accept that I am proud to be a woman and I don’t want to be any different. I don’t let people tell me that I can’t do something because a woman. So, go for it and go through it. It sucks, but eventually it pays off. Working hard always pays off.
The Neversphere: So essentially, don’t listen to these people that write hate on the internet. Instead, follow your dreams or else you’ll become one of these people that write hate on the internet…
Els: Exactly, exactly.
The Neversphere: Back to the album, when do you think you’ll be releasing it?
Els: We’ve been working on it for quite a while now. The day after the EP released we started working on it. It will be released in 2017 but I can’t give a specific date at this point.
We have also decided on a name but [laughs] I’m not supposed to tell.