It's too difficult as it is to tour these days when people prefer to stay at home and watch videos from the 80's on YouTube
15/09/2017, Sophi KATZ
Masquerade began in late 2012, founded by vocalist Suzi Sabotage and then-bassist Sebastian Holm. For quite a long tome before the end of 2012, Masquerade was for quite a long time a vaguer post-punk project with no specific name, riddled with temporary musicians who changed frequently. The first shows were set up under these circumstances, which included playing at Finland’s most famous goth festival, Lumous, the next summer the band having been accepted on the basis of a rehearsal room recording of Play Dead (first song Masquerade ever wrote), featuring a drum machine.
The first solid line-up consisted of Markus on drums and Joel on guitar in the beginning of 2013, both of whom were part of creating Masquerade’s distinct sound. The band started to evolve as a whole followed by such early songs as Needle Through a Bug, Cuts and All Things Hurt. The group soon gathered interest in Finland and even abroad despite having no recorded music or video, ending up on national television in August, and new shows springing up. Helsinki’s most significant punk venue Lepakkomies held their first official gig, and the event was sold out.
Their first release was a promotional demo on the internet consisting of three songs. They received widespread praise beyond all expectations and brought Masquerade a lot of additional attention, i.e. being listed in Cvlt Nation’s six best releases of 2013. The first music video was one hundred percent self-made clip for Needle Through a Bug, in which they already had a new bassist. Early in 2014, they got a proposal from Fight Records for a maxi-EP, which they went to record to a studio in Kouvola, Finland for three days in February. After that Masquerade was set for a March tour in Finland, England and Sweden.
A music video for All Things Hurt, the second song on the upcoming record, was released in Spring, following the departure of Joel and Markus. In July the song Cry Like Birds was published to promote the record. October 2014 finally brought the day when the maxi-EP Blood is the New Black was released, and also got a distributor in the USA, Mass Media Records. In January 2015 the current bassist Jacques Saph joined in. On 8th March the band was seen on MTV3 as guests in a programme called Tähdet, tähdet. In April the band took in William Freyermuth on drums and Anton Välimaa on guitar.
June 2015 saw the band’s first Russian gigs and in August they embarked upon their first journey outside of Europe: U.S.A. and Mexico. Shortly after that, they started to record and mix the upcoming album, releasing a new digi-single Panic Paranoia. In June 2016, the guitar was taken over by Rudy Soininen. Their latest album, Ritual, saw daylight on 15th July 2016, including ten tracks. Aside from songwriting, the band undertook the mixing, mastering and artwork of this record.
In August 2016 the band signed a contract with Danse Macabre Records, who later released Ritual in CD format. In September 2016 Masquerade set upon a European tour which conquered two new countries, Italy and Austria.
The band played at the legendary Wave Gotik Treffen in June 2017, followed by th release of their fifth music video (a song off the forthcoming second album) "Too Depressed to Dance".
A professionally pressed CD by Danse Macabre Records - signed on request - just let them know and they will autograph it for you.
Suzi Sabotage: vocals
Jacques Saph: bass
William Freyermuth: drums
Rudy Soininen: guitar
Let’s shake, rattle and roll…
How did you came up with the name Masquerade?
There's a phrase I once heard, "We cover our faces to reveal our true selves", which appeals to me as a person who wears drastic makeup. It's like a mask but not something that I use to pretend to be someone else, that so-called mask represents my personality more than a bare face.
Which bands or artists have affected you the most so far?
Siouxsie and the Banshees, X-Mal Deutschland, Nina Hagen, Edith Piaf, Schoolyard Heroes, Jefferson Airplane & Starship (the songs with Grace Slick), Sex Pistols, Miranda Sex Garden, Indica, Siekiera, David Bowie, Cocteau Twins, to name a few.
What are your songs about and do you hold back things you would like to scream out or do you just go for it?
For example, Masquerade's next album's (which we are currently working on) themes revolve around ostracisation, loathing and the surreal. I'm a higly impulsive person, who will voice their opinion about anything or anyone without pretensions. I hate this phenomenon that you should be a kiss-ass and shy away from speaking your mind just to be accepted. There's actually going to be a whole song about it on that upcoming album of Masquerade - called "Mouths Sewn Shut".
Have you ever been in other bands before?
Only in a travelling freakshow.
It's pretty awesome to see and hear a female-fronted band since it’s mostly a man in the spotlight of a band. How do you experience it in particular as a woman? Do you think there is any difference in climbing your way up there?
When you're young, as a woman making music, they make you look like a little dumb girl who knows nothing about her métier, and when you grow older, they comment on the signs that you've aged and speculate whether you should already retire. Male musicians rarely encounter behaviour of that sort towards them, so it's up to us women to tear such archaic attitudes down, now, once and for all.
Would you like to start an another band or project alone or with others? In which genre if so?
I have already three of them, apart from Masquerade and Virgin in Veil I make music as an solo artist, genre being electro punk (you can listen to it at http://suzisabotage.bandcamp.com) and recently I collaborated with Texas band Tearful Moon on a song of theirs, which is going to be released very soon.
Which instruments do you play and which instruments would you like to learn to play?
I only play synth aside from singing, and some very (and I mean, VERY) bad guitar. I'm trying to learn violin by myself but it's such a tough instrument, and unfortunately I don't have much time for it.
How is the atmosphere in Finland for a band like yours to perform your show?
They don't differ from other European countries that much. At our shows people often give us space, being there and attentive but further away from the stage. I guess we can be pretty intimidating at times!
Are you more inspired during the day or during the night to write lyrics and make music?
Both, my inspiration doesn't ask time nor place. I like to do it in a solitary fashion, though, that almost never varies.
Are you working on a new album we can expect soon?
Yes, as we speak we are busy with the second album of Masquerade, planned for the very beginning of 2018.
If it was up to you would you like to release music on CD, vinyl or cassette and why?
LPs are the most impressive but very costly in many respects. I guess CDs are our preferred format at the moment.
How do you feel about the mainstream audience's perception of goth, punk or deathrock music?
They ignore it, which is sad, because we'd like to perform to all kinds of audience.
Who would you like to direct and shoot the music videos if you could choose?
I'd like someone who was involved in the surrealist/avant-garde/dadaist movement in the beginning of the 20th century to be my mentor while making a music video, but they're all dead.
Any artist who you'd like to collaborate with for the cover of your album?
Jean Cocteau and his opium-influenced drawings!
How is it going on stage and what has been the most memorable night and why?
I love the stage, being a performer is my true calling. Playing a gig itself is like running a mini-marathon. I love the heady feeling but it's also tough physical work to keep moving and singing at the same time. I guess our first Wave Gotik Treffen performance, which took place last June, has been thus far the most enjoyable and memorable performance.
With which bands would you like to go on tour?
Touring with 13th Sky two years ago in the United States was such fun, that I pick them!
In which country would you like to play when you are on tour and do you prefer to play for a small audience or big audience and festivals or in a club?
The bigger the stage and the audience, the better! I mean, I like to move around a lot and at our most recent gig in Paris, due to it being a small stage, I accidentally hit our guitarist's Les Paul and made it detune, that's why I prefer a lot of room. The most, I'd like to play in countries we've never performed in before.
What are your personal thoughts on our subculture these days? What would you like to see differently or do you prefer that it stays like it is?
I would like people to go out and see gigs more than they do and invest in music, otherwise the whole thing will wither and die. It's too difficult as it is to tour these days when people prefer to stay at home and watch videos from the 80s on YouTube - they forget that "back in the days" the scene was so thriving BECAUSE people and bands were active and didn't just procrastinate.
Tell us your most beautiful dream or the worst nightmare you had?
I often drift into daydreams but day-nightmares too, the mixture of scary visions and intense feelings induced by anxiety. They have been influencing my lyrics a lot these days.
If you could dress a famous person to your personal taste who would you pick?
I think celebrities already take enough elements from alternative fashion without me separately dressing them!
Do you see dancing shadows at night that whisper melodies in your ear?
I see only one shadow moving each night and that's our black cat trying to kill me in my sleep!
THE QUINSY • Each concert is unique. But we are famous for our powerful gigs
GOTTERDAMMERUNG • Rose gardens are beautiful but they die too…you might as well dance in that garden during the last night.
ELM • 'ELM brings you... Electronic Lust Music.... or whatever better acronym anyone can come up with'
JEN CLOHER • Jen Cloher, the Australian version of Patti Smith, about privileges, jealousy and the Australian feminist underground music scene
BLACK LINE • BLACK LINE, the music collective leading LA’s EBM revolution
VIRGIN IN VEIL • A nipple, or a racist politician? What’s more dangerous? Sex, or war?
THE BREATH OF LIFE • 'A True Watchmaker work'
DICEPEOPLE • 'Electro with an Industrial/Gothic edge and broad range of other influences'
THE MESCALINE BABIES • 'I love Christian death, but their first album is nearly 40 years old, we should try to evolve the concept.'
SEEMING • I'm trying to paint a world where humans are not the stars or the narrators—where it's not about us at all.